total hearts received for Moments That Survive

Andrea Castellanos

My family and I attended the Highland Park parade on July 4, 2022. We placed our chairs, like we do every year, on the corner of Central and 2nd. Ten minutes into the parade, we heard quickly repetitive booms. Everyone went still and silent. Being from Chicago, I was positive that it was not fireworks.

Before the first round stopped, I grabbed my kids and yelled, “RUN!” It all happened so fast and slow at the same time. It felt like the shooting never stopped. I kept trying to have a visual of all three of my kids.

After we made it to safety, we found out that the monster was on the rooftop straight across from us. Twenty-four hours later, my oldest son is so silent, and my daughter is terrified to go outside the house. I had nightmares all night. I’m going through so many stages, but most of all, I’m angry. Angry that my babies had to go through this. This has to stop!

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.