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Young Victims Of Gun Violence To Be Mourned At ‘Gone, Too Soon’ Tribute Saturday

Community members are invited to share poetry, songs and other creative expressions to remember the lives of Chicago children lost to gun violence.

Natalie Manning (left), co-founder of This Is Life, activist Sharon Cooper (center), sister of Sandra Bland, and Chez Smith, founder of Gyrls in the H.O.O.D., pose for a photo at the "Gone, But Not Forgotten" vigil in June.
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ENGLEWOOD — Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th) will be among several speakers paying tribute to youth gun violence victims Saturday at “Gone, Too Soon,” the second in a series of events to honor children and teens whose lives were cut short.

Hosted by Gyrls in the H.O.O.D. and This Is Life, “Gone, Too Soon” will give people an opportunity to express themselves through poetry or song, and conclude with a candlelight vigil. Families of victims will be on hand to speak as well, said founder Chez Smith.

“It’s important for the community to mourn the losses of our children,” Smith said. “So often we go from headline to headline without processing. Gone, Too Soon will provide a living environment in which to release the pain.”

This summer has been a brutal one for Chicago’s children, with the deaths of 3-year-old Mekhi James, 20-month-old Sincere Gaston, 13-year-old Amaria Jones, and others on the South and West sides prompting action from public officials and activists desperate to put an end to the bloodshed.

The first event in June honored Black female victims of violence, with 60 people — including the sister of Sandra Bland and “The Chi” actress Genesis Denise Hale — braving the rain to attend. It ended with a balloon release and a letter-mailing campaign demanding Kentucky’s attorney general arrest the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death.

This time around, mental health professionals will be available to offer grief counseling and “Trap Pastor” Dwayne Grant will offer words of hope and encouragement to those grappling with loss.

“Gone, Too Soon” will be from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Salvation Army, 945 W. 69th St. The event is free and will go on rain or shine.

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