Inaugural Chicagoland Gun Violence Awareness Walk to Benefit Chicago Survivors

To celebrate the new Office of Gun Prevention and to support Chicago Survivors, walk on Saturday, September 30th will provide equity and dignity to survivors.

When children get the help they need to process their pain, they are less likely to turn to violence themselves.”

— JaShawn D. Hill, LCSW, EMDR Chicago Survivors Executive Director

ELMHURST, IL, US, September 22, 2023 / — Today, the White House announced a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention This comes after the Centers for Disease Control said that every day, 120 Americans die from gun violence and that guns are now the leading cause of death among children in the United States.

The focus on gun violence in the United States and in Chicago is at the forefront, and today we’re announcing that volunteers in Elmhurst are organizing a family-friendly fundraising walk to support Chicago Survivors on Saturday, September 30th, 2023, at 9:30 AM at Bethel United Church of Christ located at 315 E St Charles Road Elmhurst, IL 60126. Attendees from all over the Chicagoland area are encouraged to attend this in-person event. The walk will provide an opportunity for physical solidarity and financial support for survivors of gun violence in Chicago. Virtual participation through donations is also welcome. All participants, volunteers, and donors are encouraged to register in advance by clicking on the Eventbrite listed below.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that 50% of Chicagoans witness gun violence by the age of 40, and the average age of a Chicagoan witnessing gun violence is just 14. Since its inception in 2015, Chicago Survivors has been at the forefront of pioneering comprehensive services to survivor families of Chicago homicide victims, who are also crime victims of community violence. Operating around-the-clock, Chicago Survivors delivers services citywide, meeting families at the scene of the shooting, in hospitals, and in their homes. The organization delivers a range of services designed to reduce trauma for families, such as clinical therapy for youth, up to 6 months of grief/trauma counseling for adults, criminal justice advocacy services, and practical support including funeral planning, emergency food and relocation funding. 

The Elmhurst Walk Fundraiser to support Chicago Survivors was specifically inspired by volunteer work in Highland Park, IL. Last year, Elmhurst volunteers watched in horror as heartbroken Highland Park volunteers rallied to support survivors of the July 4th parade shooting utilizing every channel possible: from technology to traditional media, social media, government, and powerfully GoFundMe pages. The Highland Park supporters also hosted in-person fundraisers, including a walk with thousands of participants. Directly inspired by Highland Park’s passion, Elmhurst volunteers created the first-ever Walk Fundraiser to Support Chicago Survivors.

The goal for this walk is to fund one-on-one youth/counselor partners for next summer’s Chicago Survivors Storyteller’s Youth Camp. Every $1,000 raised will help Chicago Survivors to provide a cost-free, trauma-healing summer camp for a child impacted by homicide in Chicago. The summer healing camp program is designed to respond to the needs of youth impacted by the trauma associated with the gun violence death and the ongoing loss of a loved one by providing a treatment-focused and trauma-informed summer camp. Counselors needed for this work are experts in neuroscience and art therapy healing methods.

Chicago Survivors Executive Director JaShawn Hill, a licensed clinical social worker, said funds raised will help children impacted by the loss of a loved one due to violence. “When children get the help they need to process their pain, they are less likely to turn to violence themselves,” Hill said.

Maria Pike, advocate and survivor who lost her son to gun violence shared the following message with her social media followers: “Families in Elmhurst are fundraising to help survivor families of victims of gun violence in Chicago! …Elmhurst moms are walking … in support of Chicago Survivors, a crisis response, wraparound services organization for survivor families of victims of gun violence, which includes siblings, youth, and children across the Chicago area. So grateful for the continuous support of our sister moms.”

Shannon Goodrich, local Elmhurst volunteer for the walk shared the following: “Some might wonder where the idea for this event came from.  A group of us in Elmhurst were talking about how we wanted to ensure equity and dignity for survivors of gun violence, yet we know inequities exist.  We hope this walk will raise funds toward sponsoring fifty children who need emotional trauma counseling because they have lost a family member to gun violence and will receive professional support through art therapy at a Chicago Survivors summer camp.

JaShawn D. Hill
Chicago Survivors
+1 773-430-7221
email us here
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