May 6th, 2009
11:55 PM ET

She thought the killing would stop. It was just getting started.

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from David Mattingly on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/06/art.mattingly.chicago.memorial.jpg caption="David Mattingly holds the memorial of Blair Holt."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/06/art.chicago.memorial.jpg caption="Diane Latiker's memorial honoring the victims of the violence in Chicago."]

David Mattingly
AC360° Correspondent

Makeshift memorials come and go on Chicago’s Southside. Neighborhoods often gather to mark the violent death of friends and family by placing balloons, cards and candles where victims were struck down. But Diane Latiker had another idea. In 2007, she decided to do something to make the city take notice of the wave of violence that was killing so many school aged children. She purchased 30 landscaping stones and wrote the name of a young person who was killed on each of them. Latiker thought the sight of so many names would shock the city to action. She was wrong.

Latiker was moved to create her memorial after the murder of 16 year old Blair Holt. The student and aspiring rap star was killed in the crossfire of a gang shooting on a city bus. His name was one of the 30 she selected for the stones. Today however, Diane Latiker’s memorial has grown and shows no signs of stopping. 30 stones have grown to 153. There are so many, shelves and a roof had to be built to display them. Requests for more stones from grieving families come in all the time.

In the attached picture, you can see me holding Blair Holt’s stone in front of just a portion of the memorial. Latiker says her display is getting attention but all she sees is grief and sadness, not action. Just since September, more than 30 school-aged children have died violently in Chicago, the most in three years. That’s a huge reason to worry, summer is just a month away.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Heather,ca

    Sometimes saying nothing says everything. That memorial says everything. The silence of all those young lives cut short by senseless domestic terrorism. The community failed them and robbed them of their future, their destiny and their lives. They mattered and were loved by their family. They were liked by their friends and teachers.
    It goes without saying that the memorial shouldnt be there,but that memorial makes a statement that is the only voice these children have. I hope the country is watching and listening.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm |