Nehemiah Stark

Hundreds gathered in downtown Chicago  to join a memorial, mourning this year’s victims of violence in the city — both those killed by violent crime and in police involved shootings.

"We need to make sure we also honor those lives that have been taken from us," Babur Balos, an organizer with Chicago Light Brigade. "We do not forget that."

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According to local news site DNAinfo , there have been  391 murders in Chicago this year. In 2013, there were 413 murders in Chicago, more than in any other city in the United States.  However, as  noted by the Pew Research Center, Chicago does not have close to the highest murder rate in the country when adjusted for population.

But there are still hundreds of victims. The protesters on Wednesday were also concerned with the police response, in line with the demonstrations against police brutality organized under the #BlackLivesMatter movement in recent weeks. Speakers included parents of victims, and activists from various organizations, including We Charge Genocide, which helped organize the event.

Toward the end of the vigil, the crowd stood silently for four and a half minutes, which represented the four and a half hours Michael Brown lay on the ground after he was killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. They held the illuminated paper flowers in honor of the dead.

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Fusion spoke with the protesters to understand why they attended and what message they hoped to send.

Page May, activist/organizer in Chicago

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Jessi Grant, assistant art teacher

Kyra Shannon, student, Chicago

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Steve Serikaku, retired schoolteacher and activist/organizer

Babur Balos, activist/organizer