HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — The city of Highland Park sponsored a community vigil Wednesday night to remember the victims of the July 4 shooting tragedy.
Wednesday night, hundreds stood side-by-side to remember the lives of those lost. For vigil attendee Jeremy Holleb, while he wasn’t at the parade last Monday, he wanted to partake in the tribute to support a community he has called home for years.
“Our community rallies like none other. We are strong together and we’ll continue to be strong through this event,” Holleb said. “Hopefully, something gets done, so other communities don’t have to deal with this.”
Before the bagpipes rang and candles were lit, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering mentioned the same hope.
“At the end of the day, it’s a question of why are we here? Why do we have to go through this, and why do others have to go through this?” Rotering said.
Rotering also spoke about the Chicago-area mothers who marched at the Capitol in Washington D.C to urge lawmakers to take action regarding assault weapons.
“We need to have a reckoning and say, ‘Is this how we want to live our lives?'” Rotering said.
While still trying to comfort her residents, Rotering says she is on the same mission as many others, to rid Illinois and the country of military-style guns.
“We don’t have to have these combat weapons in the United States,” she said. “We are surrounded by states with lax gun laws, so it needs to be a national ban.”
A couple of local women have also been trying to rally support for Highland Park – through art – and you’ve probably seen the “Highland Park Strong” signs all over the place.
An art director named Eliane Rozenblat says she came up with the logo on those signs and started the ball rolling on getting the project off the ground. She says she wanted to do something to help everyone heal, as her 7-year-old and many of her other relatives, were at the parade.
Rozenblat said early on, she stumbled upon a community Facebook page, created by Limore Zilberman, who was using it to help get supplies and donations out to first responders in the aftermath of the tragedy. They’ve been working together on the yard signs ever since and thus far, the project has raised around $150,000 for survivors of the shooting.
“Unfortunately, tragedy brings people together. I just hope this unity outlasts this tragedy and continues for generations to come,” Zilberman said. “It’s been a beautiful effort. We’ve done all we can to help reward people and donate to those dealing with this in different ways.”
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