A Citywide Call to Mourn
For us, the act of remembering became a call to wider action. While Hyde Park Union Church recorded and remembered each child by name at its monthly vigils, Rev. Johnson began collaborating with Fr. Vaughn Fayle (OFM), a Franciscan priest and internationally recognized composer, on a work of music to gather the city together around the care and protection of its children. But we also began gathering and training a network of clergy and pastoral care professionals in child trauma to support existing efforts to address youth violence in the poorest neighborhoods of our city.
Through further collaboration with documentary photography Carlos Javier Ortiz and artistic director Hallie Gordon of Steppenwolf Theatre, this work of music – called Urban Dolorosa, meaning the Sorrowing City – soon developed into a multimedia and multidisciplinary effort to properly remember the children lost and forgotten by our larger city. This citywide memorial effort began in the belief that the arts and shared rituals of remembrance have the power to bring our diverse neighborhoods and faith traditions together to mourn as one sorrowing city.
During the first week of November, performances at five locations throughout the city will call the city to join us on a memorial pilgrimage. These events will include musicians from the Chicago Community Chorus, Johnson College Prep, Holy Cross/IHM youth choir and marimba ensemble, and North Park University’s chamber soloists, as well as poetry from Mama Brenda Matthews and many additional volunteers. For us, these events are only the beginning of a citywide call to remember forward – to honor the young lives lost and to support the families who mourn by recommitting ourselves to the care and protection of all of our children.
Join our movement. Join with the families and neighborhoods traumatized by grief and fear. Join the ever-growing list of churches, faith congregations, community groups, and artists.
Attend our memorial events and declare with one sorrowing voice that all our children in Chicago are precious and deserve protecting.
Read More about this unprecedented artistic collaboration!