A group of parents who have lost children to gun violence in Chicago called on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to answer how he, if elected mayor, would grapple with thousands of shootings that plague their streets each year.
About a dozen people gathered at Grand Avenue and Springfield in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, the site where a father had been shot to death in December.
“It’s not about us, it’s about our children. I want to know what are you willing to do for us mothers, who lost a child,” said Elizabeth Ramirez. “What can you tell me as a mother who is suffering from losing a child?”
“We’re sick and tired of marches. We’re sick and tired of doing vigils. When these children are getting killed for no reason, why is that happening?”
Ramirez said her son, Harry Rodriguez Jr., was shot to death during his own surprise birthday party in October of 2011. Rodriguez was a forklift truck driver and also coached youth football and basketball.
Garcia vowed to restructure the police department, putting an emphasis on community policing and adding homicide detectives. Garcia said he would make sure beat cops are “men and women who look like the neighborhoods they patrol.” He spoke of investing in neighborhoods so that they are prosperous and people find other places to turn.
“I hear you. I feel you. I stand with you,” Garcia called out to the gathering. “I will be someone who is accessible.”