Highland Park locals remember Fourth of July shooting victims
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The Highland Park community came together for a strong Fourth of July parade in remembrance of last year’s mass shootings in Highland Park and Chicago.

Today, residents of Highland Park and Chicago gathered to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Fourth of July parade mass shooting.

On July 4, 2022, a mass shooting occurred in Highland Park, Illinois, at 10:14 am during a Fourth of July parade, resulting in seven deaths and 48 injuries.

These cities held community walks in memory of the victims instead of the traditional Fourth of July parade, which was preceded by a ceremony at Highland Park City Hall.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said Tuesday that a parade was inappropriate. However, we wanted to emphasize that evil does not win. And this is our parade route, and this is the community we are reclaiming.”

In 2023, the occasion will serve as a reminder of their sacrifice.

Over the past year, there have been more fatalities from mass shootings in the US, according to The Economic Times. On July 4, 2022, a mass shooting occurred on South Martin Luther King Jr Drive in the 6500 block.

During the period July 4, 2022 to June 30, 2023, 47 mass shootings occurred in the Chicago area alone, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. This resulted in 272 injuries and 46 deaths.

In an effort to give people the opportunity to engage with the day and come together as a community, city communications manager Amanda Bennett hosted a series of events. 

In planning the event, Bennett said the city incorporated trauma-informed practices.

“Do we ever celebrate the Fourth of July?” a third-grader asked her at City Hall this year. It really broke Rotering’s heart for so many of us who grew up here, raised our children here.

There is no reason for this one act of cowardice and hate to ruin the joy of this community,” she said.

In addition to Rotering’s speech, there was also a musical performance and a moment of silence at 10:14 am, the time cops say the first shot was fired. The parade route was then walked by attendees.

A city website said, “We will build resiliency together by reclaiming the parade route for 2022.”.

The city plans to use drones instead of fireworks at night to avoid the “very familiar sounds” of fireworks. There are so many people in our community who feel it is too soon. I realize that.”

Floats, performers, and giveaways will not be available.

The media was asked to avoid shooting in gun violence-affected areas and to avoid reusing footage from previous years. It was also forbidden for media helicopters to fly overhead to capture footage.

Each event required attendees to register, present a QR code, and go through security, so security was strict. It is estimated that over 5,000 people attended the event, according to Ghida Neukirch, city manager.

Zoom was also available for people who couldn’t attend