CHICAGO - One day after nine-year-old Janari Ricks was shot to death on the Near North Side, community members gathered to remember his life.
To understand what it means to lose a child, you need only look at the devastated faces of the young people in the former Cabrini Green neighborhood who knew him.
“All of these are his friends,” said Kevin Dunn at the vigil Saturday evening.
Tears flowed freely at the vigil honoring Ricks. He was shot multiple times Friday.
“I just wanted them to be seen because they need to be seen. They need to know they’re not the problem,” said Dunn.
Ricks was supposed to be a 4th grader at Salazar Elementary School this fall. He loved to play basketball. Police say he was on North Cambridge when someone opened fire, striking him multiple times in the chest.
“The killing of innocent children and women and elders got to stop and the community can no longer hide them or cover them,” said Gator Wallace Bradley.
A large crowd of mourners noted Janari’s death falls on the birthday of a seven year old boy, Dantrell Davis, who was shot in the same area while walking to school in 1992.
At the vigil, one man said,“This community has not gathered to retaliate This shooting has not brought about a spirit of revenge In fact it only brought this community back together as it did with 30 plus years ago with Dantrell Davis.”
“Enough is enough. Why we got to keep on burying our babies? They don’t even stand a chance,” said Ashake Banks.
Since her daughter died, Ashake Banks tries to reach out to mothers with the same loss.
“I reach out to her. I try to go meet her face to face. Put my mask on still just give her a hug cause she still need a hug inspite of what we’re going through with the virus,” said Banks.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Saturday, “While our City has made progress in reducing violence in recent weeks, all of that is lost when we lose another child to gun violence. How many more families must be torn apart? How many more communities need to be traumatized?”
Just in the last six weeks, at least 14 children have been shot in Chicago.