HUMBOLDT PARK — After 12 murders in their community this year, Humboldt Park residents gathered where a neighbor was recently killed to celebrate the lives of those lost.
Fifty block club members, block elders and new residents of the 4100 block of West Crystal Street came together Wednesday night at Keeler Avenue and Crystal Street to sing, speak and hear names read out loud from a list of the 168 people who have been killed in Humboldt Park since 2007.
The group has taken over the same intersection for three straight weeks — ever since Sam Walker Sr., 34, was gunned down on July 31, one a week after his 13-year-old son was shot and killed in East Garfield Park.
“It’s not about this community; it’s the whole neighborhood,” said Sam Day, a former block club resident and member of the Noble Neighbors organization. “There are people here who have lost children. There are people who came even though they have a hard time walking, but they want to be here with us.”
“We want people to hear us singing, because if they hear us they’ll come and join us,” Day told the crowd. The group joined hands and sang church hymns, prompting several neighbors near the intersection to join in from their windows.
A Northwest Side mother stood with block residents near a memorial to Walker. Her own son, Harry David Rodriguez, was killed in 2011 when a masked gunman walked into their Belmont Cragin home and shot him during his surprise 24th birthday party.
Sixteen-year-old Kardeon Glover was the most recent victim of gun violence in Humboldt Park. He was shot Sunday in the 900 block of North Karlov Avenue.
“It’s not about us; it’s about them,” Elizabeth Ramirez told the gathered crowd.
It wasn’t long ago that Ramirez couldn’t speak about her son because of her grief, Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) said. “But today she’s able to advocate on behalf of others.”
Ramirez started the group Parents for Peace & Justice after her son’s death.
“What we’re doing here today is very important,” Mitts said. “This is the message we need to be sending to the city of Chicago.”
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