Highland Park marks 1 year after July 4 shooting with community walk reclaiming parade route

One year after a shooter terrorized July Fourth paradegoers in Highland Park, Illinois, community members are planning to gather to honor the seven people who were killed, commemorate the day and reclaim the space to move forward.

In collaboration with the park district, the city is hosting a series of events during the holiday Tuesday aimed at giving people “an opportunity to engage with the day and gather as a community in the way that feels most comfortable to them,” city communications manager Amanda Bennett said. The city approached the event planning with a trauma-informed perspective, Bennett said.

A 10 a.m. Remembrance Ceremony at City Hall is set to include remarks from Mayor Nancy Rotering, a musical performance and a moment of silence at 10:14 a.m. to mark the exact time police say the first shot was fired. Then, attendees may walk the parade route.

“The Community Walk will symbolize the reclaiming of the 2022 parade route as we build resiliency together,” the city said on its website.

A community picnic at Sunset Woods Park is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band will perform at 7:30 p.m., and a drone show called “We Are Highland Park” is scheduled for 9:30 p.m.

There will be no floats, performers or giveaways.

“This is not a parade,” Bennett said at a June 14 media briefing. Media helicopters are not permitted to fly overhead to capture footage; reporters are asked not to film in areas touched by gun violence, and to avoid running footage of last year’s event to avoid re-traumatizing participants.

Security is tight: Attendees must register prior to each event and show a QR code to enter the secured event space. Those who are not comfortable attending in person may watch the events via Zoom.


Savage is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.


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