‘Enough is enough’: Vigil held in Union Park honors the 21 Robb Elementary School shooting victims

By Irvin Ibarra, Staff Reporter

A vigil honoring the 19 students and two teachers killed at the recent Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, provided community members the opportunity to speak out about the tragedy and the need for greater gun reform laws to combat gun violence nationwide and in Chicago.

Beginning with a short prayer in English and Spanish, the community members and activists who gathered at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., held candles and each others’ hands as their heads were down, bowed in remembrance of the victims.

Dawn Valenti, a crime victim advocate for the Chicago Police Department who has been working with families affected by gun violence for the last 15 years, organized the vigil held on Wednesday.

“I picked this park because I was here when the Sandy Hook tragedy took place, and I did a vigil here as well,” said Valenti. “Everybody across the country should honor these children, these 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds that went to school and didn’t come home.”

Alongside Valenti were two families who have lost family members due to gun violence in Chicago and spoke on the issue. Milagros Burgos, the mother of 18-year-old Alexandria Imani Burgos who was killed by gun violence on Oct. 19, 2014, said that in the eight years since her daughter’s passing, her family is still fighting for common gun legislation.

“Please listen to us,” Burgos said. “The families [are] hurting every single day that lost a loved one, Uvalde, El Paso, Chicago. … I’m Alexandria Imani’s voice … because we cannot stop sending the message. We all have to be that voice.”

Diana Aguilar, another parent who lost their child — 6-year-old Aliyah Shell — to gun violence, said the school shooting was unacceptable and warned that gun violence can happen to anyone.

“They never walked out to go home to their loved ones and, excuse my language, but that’s f—ed up. Enough is enough; when is it going to be enough?” Aguilar said.

Toward the end of the vigil, Valenti read aloud the names of the victims in Uvalde.

“As a city, we’re sending a message to the families of Uvalde that we stand with you, we fight with you and we’re here for you,” Valenti said.