‘We’re strong together’: Highland Park residents grieve, demand legislative change

By K'Von Jackson and Abra Richardson

Standing shoulder to shoulder, embracing friends, family and loved ones, community members of Highland Park along with Mayor Nancy Rotering urged for continuous support for the community and laid out the next steps for the future.

“People are coming up to me with tears in their eyes in need of a hug,” Rotering said. “We saw thousands of people going for trauma counseling at the high school.”

On July 4, a shooter opened fire during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, killing seven and injuring dozens more.

The suspect in the Highland Park shooting, 21-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of residents attended a public vigil at Highland Park City Hall where Rotering and Rabbi Isaac Serotta from the Makom Solel Lakeside Congregation honored the community and the lives lost.

“I’m so proud of our community for coming together,” Rotering said. “I wish it were not because of a tragic act of violence.”

Attendants were offered candles, teddy bears and pins decorated with blue decals to honor Highland Park. The American Red Cross, armed guards and emotional support dogs were in attendance to ensure safety and security.

“We are still in that shadow, remembering those who were murdered,” Serotta said. “Praying for those injured and standing with those traumatized by these horrific moments to slowly step forward together. Because we cannot stop to linger in this valley.”

Rotering assured residents she plans to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C., on July 20 to discuss stricter gun laws and red flag laws.

“My highest wish is that assault weapons get banned in the United States and large capacity magazines get banned in the United States,” Rotering said.

Rotering, along with other members of the community, lit candles as bagpipes played and people embraced loved ones.

“This is who we are. We are Highland Park, and we’re strong together,” Rotering said.