DOWNER'S GROVE and WHEATON — After a heartbreaking and violent week in Chicago and across the nation, dozens gathered to pay their respects at vigils for victims of gun violence Sunday.
At a memorial in Downer's Grove, teenagers took turns reading the names of the 17 people killed in Parkland, FL. They also remembered those killed at Northern Illinois University 10 years ago, and CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer, who was laid to rest Saturday after being shot to death by a suspect last week.
Delphine Cherry says she lost a son and a daughter to gun violence, and understands how those families must feel.
"We have to stop the killing and stop letting people tell us we can't do anything about the NRA," Cherry said.
Organized in part by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the vigil also included speeches from candidates for state office. Some local city and county leaders called for a ban on assault-style weapons.
At a similar but less political vigil in Wheaton, parents and students marked the 10 year anniversary of the NIU shooting, which left five people dead. Joe and Laural Dubowski were at a memorial service for their daughter Gail and her four classmates at NIU when news of the Florida shooting popped up on their phones.
"It just added a layer of sorrow that we already feel at this time," Joe said.
Laura Carr was in the NIU classroom that day. She organized the vigil Sunday and helped make hundreds of condolence cards to send to the families of victims in Florida.
"Small acts of kindness can make a huge difference when you are grieving, when you are sad, when you are hurting; that's what helped me the most," Laura said.
While Laura, Joe and his wife say their faith has also helped, the love of a stranger goes a long ways.