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Endia Martin Murder Vigil Draws Parents of Other Slain Children

By Quinn Ford | May 1, 2014 8:26am
 Community members held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night for slain 14-year-old Endia Martin.
Candlelight Vigil
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BACK OF THE YARDS — Endia Martin is not the first child in Chicago lost to gun violence.

And Wednesday evening, parents of other slain children held a candlelight vigil to call on city leaders to address the problem.

"The question really is when will it be enough?" asked Joy McCormack, whose son Francisco Valencia was killed in 2009. "Why aren't there thousands of people standing with us tonight? Why, as a city, are we accepting this violence as normal?"

McCormack was part of a small group who joined friends and family of Endia for a vigil outside the home where the 14-year-old was killed Monday.

A 14-year-old girl has been charged with the murder, which authorities said stemmed from a fight over a boy. The alleged shooter's uncle has also been charged for supplying the gun to his niece, prosecutors said.

Standing in front of a memorial of balloons, candles and stuffed animals, McCormack and other parents who have lost children called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local leaders to get guns off the streets of Chicago.

"We need our mayor, we need everyone in our justice system to step up and do something," said Tiffany Hardmon, whose daughter was fatally shot in July. "We can't wait until it's another child being buried."

Of the 97 people killed so far this year, 16 homicide victims have been under the age of 18, according to DNAinfo Chicago data.

Ashake Banks, whose 7-year-old daughter was killed in June 2012, said too many of Chicago's victims were children.

"It's happening to girls and boys. All you see on the news is babies dying," Banks said. "Something needs to change in Chicago."

Jay Ritchie had stopped by the 900 block of West Garfield Boulevard to add a candle to Endia's memorial before the vigil began.

Ritchie said she now lives in South Shore but grew up near 57th and Loomis streets, just blocks away from where the 14-year-old was killed.

"It wasn't always like this," she said of the neighborhood. "Some of us make it out of here."

Ritchie said the 14-year-old's death "really hit [her] heart." She has a daughter, too, she said.

"Maybe the city will come together," she said. "It's going to take more than just us standing here because in another few days, this will be forgotten."