In front of a sea of microphones, Vice President Kamala Harris told residents of Highland Park on Tuesday evening that she hopes they “hold each other tight as a community” in the aftermath of Monday’s mass shooting.
As she finished her brief remarks, onlookers did just that. Highland Park native Carly Shapiro embraced Ashley Kaufman in an emotional hug. A couple of blocks away, dozens of people gathered to light candles, lay flowers and lean on one another for support as they mourn the seven people killed by a gunman who opened fire at the city’s Fourth of July parade. The shooting, one of the worst in Illinois history, also left dozens of people wounded.
As the community begins to process Monday’s tragedy, vigils like Tuesday’s are slated to continue.
On Wednesday evening, the weekly Gourmet Market event in nearby Highwood was instead a candlelight vigil that was attended by hundreds. What is typically an evening with vendors and live music (Wednesday’s iteration was originally meant to showcase music from Cuba’s golden age) was instead an emotional remembrance of the lives lost.
A large collection of ribbons and notes with messages like “enough is enough” and “highland park strong” were strung together in Everts Park, where local elected officials and faith leaders spoke during the vigil.
In downtown Highland Park, a makeshift memorial has been created. It includes blue-and-white heart-shaped posts with the names of the victims.
Other community events, including in Highland Park, have been canceled because of Monday’s shooting. Highland Park canceled community events scheduled for this week and next, according to the city’s website. The popular outdoor music venue, Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, also announced that it will cancel shows through Sunday out of respect for the community.
“Ravinia stands in loving support of our Highland Park community,” the festival posted on its Twitter account. “We wish comfort and peace to the victims, their families, and all those affected, and look forward to gathering together again soon.”
The following vigils are planned for the days to come:
Central Synagogue (874 Central Avenue, Highland Park) will host an event of unity and healing at the Synagogue at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 7
Am Shalom (840 Vernon Ave, Glencoe) will host a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 7
Glencoe Union Church (263 Park Ave, Glencoe) will host a Ecumenical Service at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 10
More information can be found on the City of Highland Park’s website.
The Chicago Botanic Garden announced it will be free for all through Sunday. “In times of crisis, nature can be healing, a respite. To support our community, admission and parking to the Garden will be free for all from 3 to 8 p.m., starting Wednesday, July 6, through Sunday, July 10,” the garden wrote on Twitter.
While faith and community groups plan in-person events, there are also resources available for children, families, educators and community members dealing with grief after mass shootings. The federal government’s Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs has compiled a list of those resources, which can be found here.