Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Little Lost Girl is about Rosalind Channey’s niece, not her daughter.

It’s been 13 days since the fatal shooting at Clark Street Beach, and Evanston is still mourning. About 10 people – mothers, fathers, social workers, educators – shared their grief Tuesday in a communitywide healing event at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.

District 65 put together the healing space for staff members Monday and another for the community Tuesday to support those rocked by the recent shooting. On April 12, 18-year-old Jacquis Irby, son of former District 65 school board Vice President Marquise Weatherspoon, was shot and killed. Two 15-year-old boys, Irby’s brothers, were also injured, one critically.

Rosalind Channey coped with gun violence by writing and illustrating Little Lost Girl. Credit: Gina Castro

“We all need to heal, and we often don’t do that,” Gilo Kwesi Logan, who facilitated the two healing spaces, said in an interview after Tuesday’s event. “We’ll clean out our cars, our house, the basement and the closet, and we don’t clean out our inner selves, souls and spirits in our own hearts. We need to do that. So this is just a small, little incremental contribution to creating that space for people to do that.”

District 65 requested that members of the media not take photos of the April 25 event. Logan also asked that names and comments made by residents be kept confidential. The RoundTable has chosen to honor the requests. Those identified in this article gave their permission.

A beat from Logan’s djembe drums (from Mali, Africa) greeted residents as they took their seats in the circle. With each strike of the drums, negative energy is expelled and positive energy takes its place, Logan said. This creates the ideal space for communitywide healing.

Erin Fowler, of Moms Demand Action Evanston, arrives at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. Her group’s current priority is safe gun storage. “It drastically reduces the incidence of guns if people are safely storing their weapons,” she said. Credit: Richard Cahan

“Beat is universal and it’s primordial, so playing it is in honor of that and to really awaken that energy and bring it to the space,” Logan said.

During the 1½-hour gathering, residents poured out their emotions, thoughts and concerns. Some expressed feeling numb, depressed and hopeless. All had been touched by gun violence in numerous ways. One had lived on a street prone to fatal shootings. Others asked themselves, “What if it were my child?”

Logan closed out the healing space with a final question: How do you cope?

One resident read aloud a quote seen on Twitter some years ago that continues to be meaningful today.

“It can be overwhelming to witness/ experience/ take in all the injustices of the moment; the good news is that they’re all connected,” the resident read from a phone. “So if your little corner of the world involves pulling at one of the threads, you’re helping to unravel the whole damn cloth.”

Rosalind Channey, another resident, was the last to share how she copes. She wrote and illustrated Little Lost Girl, a children’s book, for her niece. The book follows the thoughts and feelings of Channey’s niece after her father was fatally shot.

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Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....

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  1. Only ten people were there? For a school board and administration that does nothing but talk about restorative justice, healing/peace circles, and anti-racism it is perhaps revealing that they couldn’t be bothered to attend a vigil for a former board member whose child was *murdered* Perhaps they were too busy arguing on facebook groups…