‘We Are All Survivors’: Hundreds attend vigil at Highland Park City Hall


HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil outside Highland Park City Hall on Thursday to commemorate the seven people who were shot dead at the city’s July 4th parade 10 days earlier.

Mayor Nancy Rotering said scores of children and other community members were traumatized by the shooting, which was caused by a “hateful and cowardly” gunman armed with an assault weapon.

“The trauma of gun violence doesn’t end when the shooting stops. Experiencing gun violence in our community has a lasting impact on us – we are all survivors,” Rotering told the assembled crowd. “Each of us will have a different experience and schedule as we find a way to move forward into our new normal. It’s our responsibility to each and every one of us to honor those affected and injured with action – whatever that means for you and yours.”

Before lighting candles, the mayor read out the names of the seven people who died after being shot dead around 10:15 am on July 4 when more than 80 bullets were fired into the crowd from a rooftop overlooking the parade .

Katie Goldstein, Irina McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy, Jacki Sundheim and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza died at the scene. Steve Straus died later that day at Highland Park Hospital and Eduardo Uvaldo was pronounced dead at Evanston Hospital the next morning. Cooper Roberts, an 8-year-old boy who was shot in the abdomen and suffered a severed spine, remained in critical condition 10 days later.

“As we face the ugly truth of what happened here, we are reminded of the fragility and vulnerability of life. It forces us to put things in perspective, challenges us to broaden our understanding of how things work, and connects us in profound ways,” said Rotering.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering spoke during a candlelight vigil outside Highland Park City Hall on July 14, 2022. (City of Highland Park/via video)

“We will keep those murdered in our hearts and minds as we work to resolve that this evil attack will not define who we are or how we treat each other,” she said in comments also read Spanish. “We will recognize our common humanity as we live our lives. We recognize that the intensity of our sorrow and suffering represents the depth of our love we have for our neighbors and our hometown.”

The vigil, the first since the shooting, held outside City Hall, included remarks from local Jewish and Christian clergy.

“It’s hard to speak of healing when we’re in these depths. It may be so for a long time,” said Rabbi Isaac Serotta of the Makom Solel Lakeside congregation in Highland Park.

“It’s going to be a long time before we can walk these streets, or anytime, without looking up at the rooftops for danger,” Serotta said. “It will be a long time before we can say the name Highland Park to someone who asks us where we’re from without hearing their sad, knowing ‘Oh’ – like we do when we hear names like Columbine and Newtown .”

Rev. Quincy Worthington of Highland Park Presbyterian Church evoked the dream of the nation’s founders and Martin Luther King Jr. when he called for a world where children are free from fear and dehumanization.

“Let’s go from here and not think that this is over now, that this ministry is somehow ending,” Worthington said. “But knowing that now begins our hard work to protect and nurture our sisters and brothers, from the avenues of Highland Park to the streets of Englewood, from the shores of Lake Michigan to the shores of the Rio Grande, from the ‘Bean’ in downtown Chicago to the ‘Beanheads’ in Washington, DC,” he said.

“Now that our legitimate differences threaten to tear us apart, let us weld our universal commonality even more strongly together.”

The candlelight vigil at City Hall came a day after US Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Highland Park) held a minute’s silence on the House floor to honor the victims.

“These wonderful people were the center of the universe for their families and pillars of strength for their communities. They were loving parents and grandparents, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. They had personal passions and diverse interests and all loved life. Each had a special spark that will still burn brightly in the people who knew and loved them,” said Schneider.

“By elevating and honoring them, we also face the fact that, as Rabbi Wendy Geffen aptly said at one of the funerals, ‘we shouldn’t be here,'” the congressman added. “Yet here we are, giving sad remarks and moments of silence, over and over and over again. Every day, in communities across America, we needlessly lose 111 lives to gun violence. No community is left untouched.”

Highland Park City Council, which had held an emergency meeting at Councilor Tony Blum’s home on the morning of the shooting, canceled its scheduled meeting for Monday. It will next meet in special session on July 25.

More patch coverage of the July 4th Highland Park Parade filming


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