"In 2022, our community endured its darkest day. Seven people were killed, dozens injured, and thousands forever changed by mere seconds of gun violence. The days that followed were an intense whirlwind of complex emotions that we had never experienced on such a scale. Through it all, our community found ways to respond to violence with selflessness, to grief with compassion, to anger with action, to despair with hope.
This was accomplished through many individual and organizational acts of service, from grassroots efforts to raise funds to professionals offering their expertise gratis to gifts of art and music to opportunities for community members to come together and move forward as one Highland Park. Every action made a difference.
As Councilmember Lidawer stated, the Humanitarian Award is the City’s annual opportunity to recognize sustained acts of service, whatever form they may take. It is only fitting that we recognize the Highland Park community with the 2023 Humanitarian Award. Our community came together like never before to support victims’ families, individuals who were injured, friends and neighbors who were traumatized, and businesses that were temporarily closed. So many came forth showing compassion and care for strangers and friends alike. For this generosity of spirit and boundless kindness, we will be forever grateful.
So many people whose acts of service enhanced our community’s resiliency are here in this room tonight – but countless others are not. On behalf of my Council colleagues, I ask each of you to reach out to a friend, colleague, or neighbor whose service in the aftermath of the tragedy made a difference and thank them for it. Let’s create a wave of kindness and community spirit as we move forward together.