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CHICAGO — A unity rally was held in Chicago Sunday, with participants caravaning around the city to protest violence across Chicago.

“We are tired of everything going on. We are tired of the nonsense, the violence, and just people being killed,” said organizer Keith Thornton Jr., the 911 dispatcher who was calm amid the chaos the night Officer Ella French was killed.  

People of all different backgrounds came together to end gun violence in Chicago. Among them, parents who’ve lost children. Elizabeth Ramirez, the mother of DJ Rodriguez, says she’s been living with the pain of losing a child for a long time.  

Ramirez spoke about her son, whose life was lost over a decade ago while celebrating his birthday.  

“The system has failed us,” Ramirez said.

Things kicked off in Palmer Square, with participants driving around the city to raise awareness before ending in Logan Square.

“Just like crime is unplanned, we are going to be unplanned as well,” Thornton said. “There is no specific route. The route is going to be wherever God leads us.”

Gatherers joined for prayer and hoped that action would spur change. 

“Someone has to start now and it starts right here with us,” Thornton said.

According to CPD, in the first week of 2022, authorities probed 11 murders, down from 21 during the same week last year. Additionally, in that first week of January, shooting incidents were also down from 61 to 48, compared to 2021’s numbers. 

Last year as a whole, CPD data shows there were almost 800 murders. However, the number does not include expressway shootings, as state police handle those.