Approximately 1,000 Chicago residents carried crosses symbolizing those who died in the city’s raging violence during a silent protest New Year’s Eve.
Each 3-foot cross bore the name of a person who had been shot in 2016, one of the city’s most deadly years in decades, reports NBC News.
“This is a Chicago problem,” Rev. Michael Pfleger said. “The reason we’re on Michigan Avenue is because this is a Chicago problem. And until everybody in Chicago decides it’s their problem we’re not going to end it.”
People only broke the silence to call out the names of the victims.
“This is their day. This is where they can be remembered,” Greg Zanis, the maker of the crosses, said, according to ABC 7. Some of the crosses also had the picture of the victim they represented.
Chicago experienced a level of violence not seen in almost twenty years. 2016’s homicide rate reached approximately 760, while 2015’s murder rate was about 500.
The violence in Chicago raged throughout the year, Christmas weekend alone saw eleven people killed and fifty shot.
Brianna Cummings, a mother who lost her 18-year-old cousin to the city’s violence, hoped the protest would bring awareness to the issue.
“I’m hoping everybody will wake up and realize too many people are being lost to gun violence,” Cummings said.
Kelly Fitzgerald Clark, whose husband was murdered, cried when she saw a cross bearing her late husband’s name.
“We thought nobody cared,” she said. “I lost my husband in February. Homicide. We didn’t know it was going to be like this.”
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