Nine days after after a devastating mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park took the lives of seven people and injured more than 40 others, residents and neighbors of the Chicago suburb are continuing to take action to support the community and call for gun control -- locally with a vigil, and nationally in Washington D.C.
"It is important that we band together as citizens, as voters of this country, and stand up against these gun lobbyists and say we need change and we need it today, because if it doesn’t happen today, the next shooter is coming to your town tomorrow," Dr. Emily Liberman said Tuesday near the White House in Washington D.C.
Liberman and her family attended the Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park. They escaped the shooting by hiding for hours in a bathroom near the parade route.
"We were all in darkness, silence, crouching on the ground, praying that the shooter wasn’t coming for us, praying that the other people we were separated from were alive," Liberman said.
Liberman is joined at the nation's capitol this week by members of March Fourth, a new group of supporters, survivors and relatives of the mass shootings in Highland Park and Uvalde, TX, meeting with senators and members of congress in hopes hopes that collective strength will lead to action on assault weapons.
"We are here in D.C. to scream at the top of our lungs that we demand a federal ban on assault weapons right now," said Kitty Brandtner, a Chicago North Shore resident and the organizer of March Fourth emphatically said in an Instagram post Tuesday.
One of the senators the group met with was Rep. Chris Murphy (D), of Connecticut, a state that in 2012 saw a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, where 26 people were killed. Of those victims, twenty were children between the ages of six and seven.
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, a city-led vigil to honor the victims and support the survivors is planned in Highland Park on the lawn in front of City Hall. The event is set to include remarks from Mayor Nancy Rotering, a candle lighting ceremony, musical interlude by the Pipes & Drums of the Chicago Police & Fire Departments, and remarks from faith leaders.
Here's where you can find some other local ways to help, or find services that you need.
Highland Park Community Fund
To help those directly impacted by the mass shooting in Highland Park, the Highland Park Community Foundation has established a July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund.
According to the city, "All contributions to the Response Fund will go directly to victims and survivors or the organizations that support them."
This fund was started by families affected by previous mass shootings have started this fund. According to VictimsFirst, 100% of what is collected goes directly towards the victims.
Upcoming Vigils and Gatherings
- City-led vigil, City Hall, Highland Park, 1707 St. John's Ave., 6:30 p.m.
North Shore Hospital Systems
As victims were transported to several hospitals in the area, including Highland Park Hospital and Evanston Hospital, North Shore Hospitals is asking those interested in donating blood to make an appointment.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Plug in your zip code to see donor centers near you.
Donations, Community Support, Therapy Animals, Meals, Auctions and More
A makeshift memorials with flowers has begun to take shape across the streets of downtown Highland Park near Port Clinton Square, as well as in Highwood at Everts Park. All are welcome to lay flowers.
Pet, hug, and talk to one of the miniature therapy horses visiting the Highland Park Library from 1-2 p.m Wednesday. "The horses are trained to be gentle and friendly, providing comfort, affection, and stress relief," organizers said.
Nonprofit Lasagna Love, a grassroots organization of "neighbors cooking for neighbors can "cook and deliver a free lasagna to anyone who needs one." Here's how to help.
A nonprofit organization providing brand new stuffed animals to children in crisis. Monetary contributions may be made here.
Highland Park Yard Signs are available for purchase through the city of Highland Park, with funds going directly to victims and survivors.
Mental Health Resourcess
An organization that provides support during times of grief. Several upcoming workshops are scheduled for all ages.
District 113 Drop-in Counseling
District 113, along the American Red Cross and the FBI Victim Services Response Team will be providing drop-in counseling at Highland Park High School through July 15 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
The JCFS Chicago Warm Line phone connection is available to provide assistance for anyone affected by the Highland Park shooting who does not have an urgent need and is looking for someone to talk to about their emotional distress. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 855-275-5237
JCFS is also offering free, drop-in counseling sessions at the Bernard Weinger JCC at 300 Revere Dr. in Northbrook are available Monday through Thursday from 2-8 p.m. and Fridays from 2-4 p.m.
Highland Park residents can text 224Help to 844-823-5323 to receive immediate assistance from a licensed mental health care professional, 24/7.
Family Service of Lake County
A walk-in trauma center for free 30 minute appointments. Walk-ins accepted 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Call 847-432-4981 for more.
Highwood Public Library
Supportive mental health services, support groups and individual therapy free of charge. Appointments are available from 3 p.m - 7 p.m.
Find more stories here.