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The following Q&A provides responses to business-specific questions that may arise from the City's guidance regarding public communications about the Highland Park shooting. Please review the full public guidance in addition to the information below. If you have a question that is not answered in this Q&A, please email us at

Ghida Neukirch
City Manager

Carolyn Hersch
Business Dev. Manager

Amanda Bennett
Communications Manager


Q&A for Business Owners

Interested in learning more about the rationale behind these recommendations? The City has compiled a Q&A with more detailed explanations. If you have a question that is not answered in this Q&A, please email us at

It is possible that the one-year remembrance may prompt customers to share their experiences of the Highland Park shooting, similar to the immediate aftermath in 2022. What are some recommendations to sensitively redirect these conversations?

The City recognizes that this was a challenge in the immediate aftermath of the incident as every small conversation has a cumulative effect on your staff and guests. The City will continue to reinforce messaging that individuals should not approach casual acquaintances, including customer service associates, hair stylists, and other captive audiences, with discussion about the Highland Park shooting.

The City recommends communicating this information to customers and staff in advance of interactions and suggests signage and talking points to that effect. Some language to consider:

  • “We understand that the Highland Park shooting may be on your mind, but to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all, we kindly request that you refrain from discussing it in our establishment.”
  • “As we approach the one-year mark since the Highland Park shooting, we recognize that this is a difficult time. Please refrain from discussing it while you are here.”
  • “To support the mental health of our staff and guests, we respectfully request that conversations avoid discussion of the Highland Park shooting.”
  • “Please be respectful of everyone’s mental health: keep conversations focused on positive topics.”
  • “We are here to provide you with excellent service and a pleasant experience. To ensure that all feel welcome, comfortable, and safe, we ask that you avoid discussing the Highland Park shooting here.”

May I use the Together Highland Park Unidos artwork to create items sold in my store?

Yes, you may use the artwork files to create merchandise for sale. The City requests that individuals who sell items with the logo clearly disclose that the product is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the City of Highland Park.

The primary purpose of the Together Highland Park Unidos mark is to encourage community togetherness and a sense of collective purpose as we travel this resiliency journey together. As a result, please do not modify the mark: please do not change the colors, alter the fonts, or otherwise adjust the design. The Together Highland Park Unidos media kit provides black and white versions. The media kit is available at

Questions regarding the use of the Together Highland Park Unidos mark should be directed to


I have been approached by an artist interested in using my storefront, windows, or sidewalk for a project related to the one-year remembrance. Will the City allow this? What, if any, permits would I need?

The City urges artists to carefully consider the above guidelines, particularly with respect to use of victims’ names or likenesses.

Please be advised of the following considerations if approached by an artist about using your storefront for a project:

Chalk art: Chalk art along public sidewalks does not require a permit. Individuals may chalk the public right-of-way without permission from the City or adjacent property owners. If a chalk art event is planned, organizers should contact the City Manager’s Office (847.926.1000 / for more information about the event plan, route/affected areas, and other details that may require the issuance of a special event permit. To preserve the integrity of public infrastructure, the City requests that chalk artists use water-soluble chalk (avoid permanent or paint-based chalks) and avoid placing chalk art on buildings, furniture, and monuments.

Exterior storefront art installations: The applicable permit application (such as for outdoor displays, landscaping, etc.) must be completed. Information about permits is available at


What is the City planning for July 4, 2023? What will be the impacts on businesses in Downtown Highland Park?  

Information about the activities planned for July 4, 2023, is available at The Community Walk (begins 11 AM) will follow the typical parade route along St. Johns Ave. and Central Ave. from City Hall to Sunset Woods Park. Due to the enhanced security needs of such a high-profile event, business and property owners may expect additional road closures than is typical. Letters have been sent to all property owners and businesses within a 1,000 ft. radius of the planned road closures. Parking information will be shared with participants and the community at large in June.

The City is planning a meeting for business and property owners scheduled for Wednesday, May 17, at 8:00 AM at City Hall. Further details will be shared at that time. Notes and Q&A will be distributed following that meeting.


How can my business participate in July 4, 2023 activities?

All community members, including businesses and their employees, are welcome to participate in July 4, 2023, activities. Please note that the Community Walk will not be a typical parade: there will be no floats and participants will be unable to pass out treats or promotional items. The Community Walk is an opportunity for active engagement. Viewing the walk along the route will be discouraged.

Should your business decide to participate in the walk, each member of your team who will be participating will need to register in advance. Registration information will be available at Individuals who have not pre-registered will be required to register on-site.


I’d like to make an in-kind donation of goods to the City on behalf of my business to support the July 4, 2023 activities. Are there any opportunities available?

Please email the City at with details, and a member of staff will follow up. The City greatly appreciates the outpouring of support from our business community.


My business will be closed on July 4, 2023. How can I communicate this to customers in a sensitive manner?

For this first year, the City recommends avoiding phrases such as “for the holiday” in an effort to separate the holiday from the shooting. The following phrases are recommended:

  • July 4, 2023 Hours: ______________
  • We will be closed on July 4, 2023. We will reopen with regular business hours on July 5, 2023.


My employees were impacted by the shooting. Are there any services available to them?

Lake County residents are encouraged to contact 211 Lake County, through which trained, multilingual resource navigators will consider callers’ unique needs and connect them with local service providers. 211 Lake County navigators are trained to not only provide information regarding the services a caller is seeking, but to consider other available resources that may be helpful to them. 211 assistance is available 24/7 at, by calling 211, or by texting your zip code to 898211. Note that 211 does not provide immediate counseling services.

The City’s Resiliency Division is also able to assist with resource navigation and accessing services. Individuals should contact Michelle Koso, Victim Liaison/Social Worker at for assistance in English. For assistance in Spanish, individuals may contact Cynthia Vargas, Resiliency Manager, at

The City recognizes that business stakeholders were impacted by the Highland Park shooting and is exploring opportunities for informational programming or training to support employees’ unique needs. Should any opportunities become available, the City will share information via the Business Development eNews. If such a program would be beneficial for your employees, please email


Is the City sponsoring any fundraising drives that my business can participate in? Whom should I contact if I want to coordinate a fundraiser?

The City is not sponsoring any fundraisers. Businesses and individuals interested in fundraising to support community initiatives related to resiliency are encouraged to consider the Highland Park Community Foundation’s Highland Park Shooting Recovery Fund as the beneficiary of these efforts as a fiduciary of the City.



What if the media wants to speak to me and/or film at my establishment?

 If a business receives a media request related to the one-year mark of the Highland Park shooting, please answer it at your discretion. The City has provided an informational kit to media partners with information specific to their needs.

The media plays a positive role in promoting our businesses, and some understand that this is a difficult time. Note that the media will be present on July 4, 2023, during the Remembrance Ceremony and Community Walk.  If you do not want to answer a media request, it is important to respond in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Acknowledge the request. It is important to acknowledge the media request and respond in a timely manner, even if the business chooses not to provide a statement or comment. Remember, you may want to contact the media outlet for your business in the future.
  • Consult with legal and public relations teams/specialist if the business is unsure how to respond to the request to determine the best course of action and/or how to respond.
  • Be honest and transparent. If the business does choose to provide a statement or comment, it is important to be honest and transparent in their response.
  • Show empathy and compassion for all affected by the tragedy.
  • Respect privacy. If the business chooses not to provide a statement or comment, they should respect the privacy of those involved and not disclose any information that could be deemed sensitive or private (e.g., contacts for interviews, what happened to individuals)