As the nation mourned the loss of children and teachers killed in the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, residents of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood gathered to remember a different kind of massacre -- the hundreds of people killed each year on the city’s streets.
The Facebook invitation for the Dec. 15 vigil was titled "496 Stars: a vigil for the fallen." And then it became 497 stars. Then 498 and 499. Each star represented one person who was killed this year on Chicago's streets. Members of Occupy Rogers Park hung wooden stars on a tree, each inscribed with a victim’s name and age. At the rally, one more star was added, representing the 500th person killed this year.
One attendee, Malcolm London, shared his poem, titled "A Change Gone Come."
"We wear bullet wounds like birthmarks," London said.
The nation is crying out for "meaningful action" to be taken after Newtown. No doubt we need it.
But will whatever action is taken protect the children who have already been dying for so long on Chicago's streets? I don't know.
But I do know this: There are too many stars on that tree.
Tags: Chicago homicides, chicago violence, Food Not Bombs, gang violence, gun violence, homicide, homicide victim, Jim Ginderske, Kenneth Wesbrooks, Megan Cottrell, Murder, Occupy Rogers Park, Overpass Light Brigade, Peace Angels, Sarah Jane Rhee, street violence, Violence