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