As more vigils took place in remembrance of the seven people killed in the Highland Park mass shooting, hundreds of people stood united to honor the victims and demand an end to gun violence.
Crowds comprised of gun violence survivors, activists, youth and community leaders gathered at Sunset Woods Park Saturday where they pleaded for a future free from gun violence. Multiple participants said they want state and federal lawmakers to act immediately to prevent another tragedy and also questioned how the suspect was able to purchase guns legally in Illinois, despite warning signs.
Those who attended the rally heard from local leaders, advocates for gun safety and survivors of the parade attack. One woman told NBC 5 that while her heart is heavy, she knew she must attend the rally to support her community.
"For it to hit me in this way, not just close to home, but at home, and for this to be the first time that I'm really feeling the trauma, I think is really a tough pill to swallow as well because this is something that communities go through every day and something that I feel, the best thing we can do now is a call to action," said Jessica Becker, a Highland Park resident.
Orange ribbons lined the park, serving as a reminder of the number of people who have been killed due to gun violence in the U.S.
"If we all agree that deaths of innocent people due to guns being in the hands of those who should not have them is wrong, then all of gun violence victims should be treated equally," said Anthony McIntyre, founder of the AntMound Foundation, a non-profit from Waukegan.
A Highland Park couple who survived the shooting has started an online petition, calling for Illinois to ban the possession and sale of assault weapons. So far, the petition has gotten more than 50,000 signatures.
While attendees don't know when they're going to see change, they just hope what happened on the Fourth of July in Highland Park never happens again.
"There’s so much push back against anything we want to do with guns, it's made this last too long, and enough is enough," stated Caryn Flieger with Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.