Memorial and Protest to be held Tuesday, December 30th at 6:30 p.m. at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago
Chicago –(ENEWSPF)—December 30, 2014. On December 17th, hundreds of people attended The Chicago Light Brigade’s annual memorial for victims of violence in Chicago. The gathering was not only a vigil for Chicagoans who were killed this year, but also a protest of the role police play in maintaining the culture of violence that has taken so many lives in our city.
Community members, including friends and relatives of those we’ve lost to violence this year, expressed their grief in speech, song, and poetry. The response to this event was so overwhelming that Chicago Light Brigade organizers have decided to bring the imagery they created back to the neighborhood where their group began. “We held the previous two events in Rogers Park, because a lot of us live here, but this year, we thought the event should be more central,” says organizer Kelly Hayes. “That allowed a lot more people to attend, which was beautiful, but when it was all said and done, we knew need to bring this imagery home.”
“We know connecting with this project means something to people,” says Hayes, “and we want to honor that. We had people as far away as Washington state folding origami lilies and sending them to us. When word of what we were working on got out on social media, the idea of holding up a lighted flower for each person lost really resonated with people, and a lot of folks got involved.”
It took over a week for community members, including children and elderly residents, and their out of state helpers, to fold more than 400 origami lilies for the event, and about half a day for Chicago Light Brigade members to connect all of the paper flowers to LED lights.”The end result was more than worth it,” said teacher Jerica Jurado, whose students both helped fold the flowers, and attended the event.
Connecting this year’s event to the current Black Lives Matter protest movement was an easy decision for organizers. “We collaborate with these young people every day. They’re our friends and we admire what they’re doing in the streets,” says organizer Babur Balos. “We stand with them, and we don’t think we can have honest conversations about making communities safer without addressing the fact that police are allowed to kill our young people without cause or consequence. How can you ask them to work against street violence if you won’t address state violence? It’s hypocrisy.”
Attendees will gather outside the Heartland Café, 7000 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, on Tuesday night, December 30 at 6:30 p.m. for one last look at the vigil’s imagery, and speak out about local efforts to increase community safety without involving police. “If people knew what kind of chain reaction they were setting off by calling the police when they don’t have to, I think a lot of them would make a different choice. That’s why we have to have these conversations. There have been enough Tamir Rices and Dominique Franklins. We need to do better in 2015,” says Jurado.