While she didn’t know 14-year-old Dajae Coleman personally, his shooting death struck home for Karen Maxwell, an Evanston Township High School parent whose 14-year-old stepson Charlie played basketball with Dajae.
“Very often Charlie comes home late at night and I don’t even worry about him,” says Maxwell, who lives on the north side of Evanston. “I don’t think that should be a privilege. I think every kid should be able to do that. Every parent should have that peace of mind.”
Along with an Evanston Township High School student who founded a Facebook group called "Stop the Violence" in response to Dajae's death, Maxwell is hosting a candlelight walk this Saturday night, as a “show of solidarity to end the violence.”
Walkers will light candles at 9 p.m. at the intersection of Church Street and Dodge Avenue, near the spot where Dajae died, then carry them to the lakefront.
“There are so many people who say, ‘It’s not my neighborhood, it’s not my problem,” says Maxwell. “I want people to stand up.”
Maxwell says she organized the walk before the Mayor Tisdahl scheduled a panel on non-violence and gun control this coming Tuesday, Oct. 2. But, Maxwell says, she’s not sure she believes gun control is the answer.
“Is there a way to make a difference by getting citizens involved?” she says, suggesting neighborhood watch groups or other local action. “I’m not an expert on gang violence, I’m just a parent who wants to see the community stand up.”
Roughly 200 people had responded to the event on Facebook as of Friday afternoon, according to Maxwell. To RSVP, visit http://www.facebook.com/events/446300505408615/.