Sorrow And Outrage, But Also ‘Peace And Love’ At Little Village Vigil For Adam Toledo

Adam Toledo
Young mariachi musicians — teenagers just a few years older than Adam — played for the Toledo family, including Adam’s mother, under the Little Village arch. “Como quisiera, que tú vivieras,” they sang. “How I wish you were alive, that your eyes had never closed,” the song goes. Linda Lutton / WBEZ
Adam Toledo
Young mariachi musicians — teenagers just a few years older than Adam — played for the Toledo family, including Adam’s mother, under the Little Village arch. “Como quisiera, que tú vivieras,” they sang. “How I wish you were alive, that your eyes had never closed,” the song goes. Linda Lutton / WBEZ

Sorrow And Outrage, But Also ‘Peace And Love’ At Little Village Vigil For Adam Toledo

Hundreds of Little Village residents — including the family of 13-year-old Chicago police shooting victim Adam Toledo — gathered Sunday evening near the alley where he was killed.

They were there to mourn the loss of a boy many said could be their brother, their son or themselves — and to push for resources residents said their Latino neighborhood desperately needs.

“This is a day to heal,” Elizeth Arguelles told the crowd in Spanish. “If you want to scream, if you want to be silent, if you want to talk, if you want to hug someone — we are together,” said the community organizer with Increase the Peace, which planned the event. Neighbors stood shoulder to shoulder in the parking lot of Farragut High School and lined the adjacent street.

Toledo
A crowd walked through the Little Village neighborhood, including 26th Street, the community’s bustling commercial strip, to protest the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by police. Linda Lutton / WBEZ
Adam Toledo
Volunteers passed out flowers, which protesters carried throughout the vigil and march, and then laid on the site where Adam Toledo was killed. Linda Lutton / WBEZ

It was the largest protest in Little Village since Toledo was killed at the end of March; organizers say more than 1,000 people turned out.

It came three days after the city released graphic police bodycam video of the shooting, including a video that shows Adam running down the alley at 2:30 a.m. on March 29. He appears to have a gun in his hand, but his hands seem to be empty when he raises them in the air as officer Eric Stillman fires a single shot to his chest and Adam crumples to the ground.

Young organizers blasted the city for shortchanging Adam and other neighborhood kids of in- and out-of-school programs, resources and hope.

Adam Toledo
Neighbors came out of homes to stand along the route. The procession filled the streets for more than a city block. Multiple chants rang through different parts of the march. Linda Lutton / WBEZ

“I’m tired of seeing our communities get the short end of the stick. So, defund CPD and fund our hoods!” said Increase the Peace youth leader Anahi Botello, 19. “How many more of my brothers and sisters of my community have to fall in order for us to see change? Justice for Adam!”

Vigils and protests were held throughout the city over the weekend. On Friday evening, thousands of people gathered in Logan Square and marched through Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s neighborhood. They called for Lightfoot to resign, for the abolition of police and for criminal charges to be filed against Stillman.

Adam Toledo
“Hands up, don’t shoot!” protesters chanted as they moved through the neighborhood. Linda Lutton / WBEZ

The gathering in Little Village attracted entire families. Parents pushed strollers; teenagers walked with friends.

Police had a heavy presence in the area. Officers were stationed on every corner nearby, and helicopters buzzed constantly overhead. Before starting their march through the neighborhood, Increase the Peace organizer Luz Cortez told the crowd, “Let’s make sure that CPD hears our voices!”

”Peace!” the crowd roared, following her lead. “Love!” they shouted in unison.

“That’s what we’re gonna be walking with today,” Cortez said. “Peace and love.”

Adam Toledo
Hundreds knelt for a moment of silence for Adam Toledo. Linda Lutton / WBEZ
Adam Toledo
Aztec dancers perform a ceremony at the site where Adam Toledo was killed. Linda Lutton / WBEZ
Adam Toledo
The procession ended in the same alley where Adam Toledo had been running from police. Many marchers stopped at the fence seen in the grainy police video of the shooting. It’s now painted with a mural and surrounded by vigil candles and other offerings. One by one, protesters added the carnations they’d been carrying to the alley memorial. Linda Lutton / WBEZ
Adam Toledo
Linda Lutton / WBEZ

Linda Lutton covers Chicago neighborhoods for WBEZ. Follow her @lindalutton.