Humboldt Park mural honors young victims of Chicago gun violence

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new mural unveiled Wednesday in Humboldt Park honors all the young victims of gun violence across Chicago. So far this year, 201 children have been shot in the city.

"Today we celebrate life, and we remember them," said Annette Flores, the mother of Neftali Reyes Jr. He was shot and killed at the age of 19, more than three and a half years ago.

Reyes was an aspiring professional baseball player. The mural, painted underneath a Humboldt Park viaduct a half a mile from where he lived, shows him as he was in his high school jersey - a jersey his father wore today.

"He learned how to catch before he could walk," said Neftali Reyes Sr. "I was there when he learned how to read. When he learned how to steal bases. I was there for the ups and downs."

SEE ALSO | Toddler shot while playing outside West Humboldt Park home

While the mural is centered around Reyes, it is dedicated to all of the city's gun violence victims. It is called "the Tunnel of Blessings."

"These walls hold stories," mural artist Sandra Antongiorgi said. "They hold stories of the day she took her first step. Or the day he hit his first home run. Or the day they made the honor roll."

And those were the stories that were celebrated on Wednesday by everyone in attendance, including mother Migdalia Perez, whose 14-year-old son was killed 27 years ago.

"You're still missing that hole. That one child," Perez said. "You know you have four children. And it's like every day I've got to think, I have the three, not the four. And I miss my son."

The mural is located at 1798 N. Humboldt Boulevard in Chicago.
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