Reverend Jesse Jackson led hundreds of people as they marched in downtown Chicago to commemorate the 775 homicide victims in the city this past year.
Greg Zanis, of Aurora, Illinois, built two-foot long crosses for each victim, and demonstrators walked down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago silently carrying each one.
The Chicago Tribune has tallied up 775 victims in 2016 – a staggering 57 per cent increase from the 492 people killed in 2015.
Reverend Jesse Jackson (pictured left) led hundreds of people as they marched in downtown Chicago to commemorate the 775 homicide victims in the city this past year
Jackson said he was ‘honored’ to join Rev. Michael Pfleger who marched alongside the famed civil rights activist
Women embrace in front of a cross bearing the name of murder victim Louis Antonio Torres who was shot dead while he was driving in November
August was the deadliest month with 96 homicide reports, according to figures reported by the Chicago Tribune. Victims ranged from just a few months old to those in their 80s
Zanis has honored homicide victims in Chicago for several years, and even drove down to Orlando after the nightclub shooting left 49 dead in June.
The crosses were lined outside Restoration Church, organized by month, before they were carried in the march on Saturday.
August was the deadliest month with 96 homicide reports, according to figures reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Some victims in the past year were just infants, while others were in their 80s.
Greg Zanis, of Aurora, Illinois, built two-foot long crosses for each victim and demonstrators quietly shouldered each one as their names were announced on a megaphone
Rev. Michael Pfleger says he hopes the visuals of the protest along Chicago’s premiere retail street will inspire people to take action to prevent further violence in 2017
Zanis told ABC: ‘When I look out at these crosses here, even though I made them, I’m shocked to see this portable cemetery here. I don’t know what to call it.’
On Saturday, hundreds convened downtown, with Reverend Jesse Jackson shouldering a cross on the front lines as one woman announced the long list of names through a megaphone.
Rev. Michael Pfleger who marched alongside Jackson, says he hopes the visuals of the protest along Chicago’s premiere retail street will inspire people to take action to prevent further violence in 2017.
Zanis (right) said he was shocked by the figures even though he made the crosses himself
‘It will remind us first of all, these are not just numbers or statistics, these are human beings,’ he said.
The crosses will then be placed in a vacant lot on the city’s South Side.
Chicago has become notorious for its gun violence and the city’s police department has reported a shooting every day from February 2015 to December 29, 2016.
There were 775 homicides over the course of 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune, which made a concerted effort to tally up each homicide.
It was the first time in nearly two decades that the city saw more than 700 homicides in a year.