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Students Hold Vigil for Gun Violence Victims

By Casey Cora | May 30, 2013 4:45pm
Bronzeville Student Vigil
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRONZEVILLE — A wave of silence fell over dozens of teenagers gathered outside a high school as they lit candles and stood among chalk outlines representing those killed by gun violence in the city.

Many cried and consoled one another as the name of 118 victims were read aloud Thursday, their identities depicted in the drawings that stretched along the sidewalk for nearly a city block outside The Chicago High School for the Arts.

“It’s important to me that we give them this much attention,” said Marissa Weaver, 17, of Hyde Park.

Weaver, of Hyde Park, battled tears as she talked about her friend Kevin Ambrose, a 19-year-old Columbia College theater student gunned down earlier this month outside a CTA Green Line stop. Weaver said Ambrose was friends with a lot of her classmates and his murder rocked the student body.

 Friends and teachers gatherered outside a Bronzeville high school for powerful daytime memorial ceremony.
Students Hold Vigil for Gun Violence Victims
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"I think that was a wake up call for a lot of people. I feel that after his killing it solidified us," she said.

On Wednesday, four people were shot on the same block where Ambrose was killed.

The vigil was organized by Rachel Otero, an 18-year-old high school senior from Canaryville. She said she was motivated by the “hurt expressions on the faces of my friends and classmates.

“We have no other option but to speak on behalf of those too hurt for words.”

Otero said no one from the school had been killed, but said some gunshot victims were friends of the students who participated in after-school programs together. Organizing the daytime vigil, she said, was a way for the school's art-focused students to get pay homage to the victims.

The chalk outlines will remain outside the school until they are washed away. Organizers said the public is welcome to visit the memorial outside the school, 521 E. 35th St.