“We’ve had too many gun violence lately and this needs to stop,” said one protester in Sunset Park.
“It’s a different type of grief, it’s traumatic grief that most people never experience,” said Linda Davis, who witnessed the shooting on Monday.
“It’s just devastating to see my community go through this pain,” said Jordana Hozman, the vigil’s co-organizer and North Shore March for our Lives.
Also in attendance were State Rep. Bob Morgan and U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, just as angry and upset as the communities they represent.
“We were just here,” Morgan complained. “We were just here!”
There were no Fourth of July torches here, but candlelight and streaks of orange stripes cut across the crowd. Orange has been adopted as the color of the movement against gun violence, most notably on Wearing Orange Day, an annual celebration in honor of Hadia Pendleton and the tens of thousands of people killed each year by gunfire.
“We’re filling the space with orange to show the impact of gun violence on everyone’s lives,” Davis said.
“Each of them is a hole in our hearts and society,” Rep. Schneider said.
The stripes are part of an art installation called Stop It, a call echoed by the people of Highland Park.
“We fought all the enormity that we survived, but we saw people being shot,” Davis said. “We can’t do it ourselves, we need everyone together to help us move forward because it will be a process.”
Businesses start reopening after Highland Park shooting
Many of the businesses around the crime scene perimeter in Highland Park have yet to reopen. But others are starting.
The business owners said it was not an easy decision – the choice had more to do with keeping their business running than keeping them busy and distracted.
“It’s heartbreaking. This is my community, my home. You just feel empty and very vulnerable,” said Highland Park resident Bonnie Tolan.
On the morning of July 4, as people fled from the gunfire around them, Highland Park coffee shop owner Yang Choi found that, as one of the few businesses open, she had become a haven for entire families.
“Someone said, ‘Please everyone come down and then just go to the kitchen or the bathroom so no one can see us.’ They just screamed. Maybe there were 25 people here,” said Choi, owner of Perfect Blend. “With strollers, children, parents and a dog. They just arrived.”
After 21 years in her office on Central Avenue, Choi didn’t want to reopen. But she did.
“My community needs to get back to normal as soon as possible,” Choi said.
Many others in the area have done the same in an attempt to regain a sense of normality.
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Many shop windows now say, “Highland Park is strong.”
“The people who come, you see, have pain on their faces. They are very worried,” said Anat Borokhov, owner of ABC Design Jewelers.
An Israeli immigrant, Borokhov lived in Highland Park for 37 years. Robert Crimo’s family lives a block away from her. It closed on Tuesday but reopened on Wednesday.
“I feel like I had to open up because I have obligations to other clients and people who are getting engaged and they wait for their happy moments and want certain things. They are counting on me,” Borokhov said. “It’s terrible for me, every day I have to come to my store and walk by and see all the chairs and all the strollers that people have left. It’s embarrassing because they still want to come and get their stuff, but they. I’m in pain too, and they, I should, shouldn’t?”
And then there’s orthodontist Josh Gilbert.
He was at the parade with his family on Monday.
To return to work, you need not only to serve your patients, but also to be distracted and busy. But there are problems.
“Young patients also come to us who have suffered personally, and it is difficult to know what to say to these patients. People are very quiet,” said Dr. Gilbert of Gilbert Orthodontics. “With kids, you just don’t know. Everyone handles this differently. So we don’t want, if parents who are having a hard time with their kids, we don’t want to unintentionally provoke someone.”
In general, members of the business community rally with each other and the people they serve.
Borokhov, a jewelry store owner, hopes to create a token for each of the victims.
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The Central Avenue Bakery is planning a Friday fundraiser in which they hope to attract kids from the area.
A lot happens when people get together, trying their best to console each other as shock gives way to grief.
WATCH: Highland Park community continues to mourn those killed and injured in shooting
Whether they knew them or not, many came to pay their respects to the victims and survivors of the Fourth of July shooting, which killed seven people and injured dozens.
“My brother is actually connected to one of the victims here, his grandfather, so we just (came) to pay our respects to them. We are very sad,” said North Shore resident Abigail Lopez.
Chicago community activist Pastor Donovan Price traveled to suburban North Shore Thursday offering prayers and a reminder of how connected we all truly are.
“The pain people feel here is the same pain you feel in Englewood. The pain they feel here is the same. The same tears I see mothers cry night after night in Chicago,” Price said.
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On Thursday morning, brigades picked up items left on the parade route during the chaos.
In the afternoon, some went to the city’s high school to collect what was left.
To help heal, local gun violence advocates are inviting residents to Sunset Woods Park on Thursday night not only to mourn but to reconnect with their fellow Highland Parkers.
“I think a lot of people are feeling broken and torn right now, which is understandable; so I think it will be a great place for people to come together,” said Jordana Hozman of March for Our Lives North. Coast.
But for husband and father Giovani Flores, the coming days present another challenge as he struggles to keep his family safe.
“It’s just not good. It doesn’t seem safe anymore,” Flores said.
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