The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

In Pictures: Hanging 500 Stars To Honor Chicago Victims Of Violence

By aaroncynic in News on Dec 19, 2012 8:00PM

People gathered at Lunt Beach in Rogers Park on Saturday for a memorial service to commemorate the 499 victims of violence in Chicago's especially violent year. Members of the Peace Angels, Occupy Rogers Park and the Overpass Light Brigade hung 499 wooden stars with the names and ages of victims to a large tree, one star to represent each person killed on the streets this year, including the deceased's name and age. After a shooting occurred Saturday afternoon, a 500th star was added to the tree.

The Chicago Police Department's official homicide count is 463. Occupy Rogers Park collected the 500 names by using media reports for violent deaths to arrive at a number that includes, among other things, police-involved shootings.

"We included all violent deaths caused by another, including cops, which you won't see compiled on any official list," said Kelly Hayes, an organizer with Occupy Rogers Park. "We didn't rely solely on the City of Chicago for our statistics. We compiled our list based on press information about deaths caused by violence, and by deaths known to be caused by police actions."

The Overpass Light Brigade, who use individual light up letters to spell out messages over highways at night, stood silently holding letters which spelled out “For The Fallen,” as community members spoke and read poetry. Watch video of Louder Than A Bomb poet Malcolm London below.

"Violence and killing affects all of us and degrades our communities," said Hayes, "and to address that we must confront the real causes, which disproportionately impact communities of color and the poor."