Albany Park vigil, rally aims to bring change after uptick in crime, shootings on northwest side

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Monday, September 21, 2020
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A group of people fed up with gun violence in Chicago gathered in Albany Park Sunday to not only hold a vigil but also rally seven people were shot and killed in a matter of days.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People fed up with gun violence in Chicago say they want change.

Many come out to rally during a vigil in Albany Park Sunday where seven people were shot and killed in a matter of days in just that one neighborhood.

Yet another weekend of shootings has many Chicago residents saying enough is enough.

"As we are looking at the apartments and they are looking down on us, and people on the streets and in stores and restaurants, driving by, if they can know that we care and we care about this community," said Jamie Freedman with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

"I think it is important to show in the face of these sorts of traumas in the community that people are banding together," said demonstrator Derek Barthel.

They gathered in response to an uptick in crime on city's Northwest Side after five people, including two teens, were injured in a drive-by shooting Tuesday in Albany Park.

"People are scared and we are trying to do everything we can to get additional resources, whether that is through additional officers or services or wrap-around services to help assist the community," said Alderman Samantha Nugent, 39th Ward.

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Some of the demonstrators brought photos of lost loved ones to gun violence to the march organized by Israel's Gifts of Hope. It was named after Israel Aragon, who was shot and killed in Albany Park as he was returning home from work in 2016. His killer remains on the run.

"This is the fourth walk that we've done in the past three years and we are still out here fighting for the same thing," said Dalia Aragon with Israel's Gifts of Hope. "Obviously we need to do more than what we are doing at the moment."

"I wish that it would stop but if they can't catch the killer or the killers, where do you begin," said fellow demonstrator Carolyn Ruff.

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Aragon said the community must continue to speak up and that silence is not an option when lives are at stake.

"We need to use that fear," she said. "We need to use that uneasiness to advocate for the things that we need."

"We have to get together to show that we are here to end this. That means all of us," Freedman added.

Next month the 17th Chicago Police District in Albany Park will be hosting a virtual community meeting to address crime enforcement and what residents can do to help police.