Three weeks ago, Jacqueline von Edelberg stood up for gun control at the Art Center Highland Park with her artwork “Enough.”
“Enough” consists of 30,000 strips of fabric to represent every child killed since the Sandy Hook Massacre with messages of support from people across the country.
Last week, von Edelberg was at Sunset Woods Park in Highland Park, this time attending memorials and vigils for victims of the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park. With it came a new version of the artwork that allows those affected by the shooting to leave messages for themselves and others.
The offshoot project began after the town von Edelberg calls home was the site of a mass shooting that killed seven people and injured at least three dozen others. She said the most recent gun control rallies often end with her and others talking about how “it might as well have been our kids.”
Von Edelberg said his children missed the rain of gunfire by “seconds”.
Von Edelberg created the new piece after the parade shooting, adding the names of the seven victims during a rally in Sunset Woods Park on Saturday.
The rally expanded its view of gun violence from a grassroots focus to issues across the country: mass shootings, street shootings and suicides.
Anthony McIntyre, president and founder of the Antmound Foundation, an advocacy group that aims to reduce gun violence through direct community action, said the pain of gun violence is the same regardless of location.
He also said he was “troubled” by the way gun violence is handled in different regions.
“We have to recognize that it’s not just a problem when it affects you directly,” McIntyre told the crowd. “If you don’t solve gun problems nationwide in communities like Waukegan, North Chicago and Zion, you’ll still have those problems here in Highland Park.”
Representative Brad Schneider told the crowd that those affected by gun violence are “one community.”
“The grief we feel today, we have to feel every day,” Schneider said. “There are shootings in the street, there are shootings in homes with domestic violence. There are suicides. … Enough is enough.”
Between 2012 – when the Sandy Hook school shooting happened – and 2020, 28,229 children were killed by firearms, according to CDC data. No data was available for 2021 and 2022, but over the past decade an average of 3,528 children are killed by firearms each year.
Von Edelberg said the idea grew out of his involvement with Nettelhorst Elementary School in Lake View, where a rainbow-colored “cloth fence” was created in 2009 before the school got involved. school community in the Pride Parade that year.
Since then, she’s created similar artworks advocating for reproductive rights, voting rights and gun control – the latest of which has featured First Lady Jill Biden and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. .
“If you take enough humble material and wrap enough context, you could really make a huge shift,” von Edelberg said.
Von Edelberg’s main exhibit on gun violence now stands outside the Art Center Highland Park, where it was installed on June 16 after several trips across the country.
James Lynch, director of the Art Center Highland Park, said people were stopping by to leave their own messages about the original “Enough” and to read others.
“The arts lead the way” in healing, Lynch said. “We take our role in the community very seriously in what we can do and what we can contribute to help heal.”
Some believe that for healing to begin, there must first be a change.
Kati Murphy, a Lake Bluff resident who was at Saturday’s event, left a message saying, “Our children deserve to feel safe, it’s time for change and healing.
“It’s time for us to take a stand and make some big changes in how we view guns,” she said. “We can’t heal until that happens.”
She said the art is both “beautiful” and a “painful reminder” of the issue.
“I wish we didn’t need it,” Murphy said. “I wish we didn’t have to keep bringing hundreds and thousands of people together to share collective grief, because that shouldn’t be happening. We shouldn’t have to go through this.”