Chicago community members held a vigil on Monday in honor of Jaslyn Adams, a 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed on Sunday while sitting in the car with her father at a McDonald’s drive-thru.
Jaslyn’s father, Jontae Adams was also injured in the shooting and remains hospitalized.
Paying homage to Jaslyn’s nickname “Pinky” a crowd of people gathered on the city’s West Side in a sea of pink to remember Jaslyn’s short life, and grieved over the visions and prayers they held for her future. The vigil took place outside the McDonald’s where Jaslyn was killed.
“It’s about time we take a stand. We have to put down these guns,” Lawanda McMullen, Adams’ grandmother told Block Club Chicago. “It just don’t make no sense. A 7-year-old baby lost her life.”
At the vigil Jaslyn’s family asked that the suspects turn themselves in.
Police are actively searching for the suspects involved in the shooting and are investigating whether Jasyln’s father was an intended target. Witnesses told WLS they saw two men ambush Adams’ car in a hail of over 50 gunshots. Jaslyn was struck multiple times while her father sustained a gunshot to the torso.
“He couldn’t breathe on the phone. He was just like, ‘Ma, come get me, they shot my baby, they shot my baby up,'” McMullen told WLS, recalling the moment she got the heartbreaking phone call from her son. “They said she came in with no pulse. [They] opened up her chest and did chest compressions but could not get her back.”
“I know that Jaslyn will not die in vain. This right here is the beginning of the change we need,” Johnny Adams, Jaslyn’s grandfather, told Block Club Chicago. “It’s time for a change. Change in our neighborhoods, our communities, our systems, everything needs to change. And it starts today.”
According to an April 1 report by the Chicago Tribune, 2021, was one of the deadliest years over since 2017 in regards to gun violence: “The number of total shooting victims, including those killed by gunfire, also continued to rise, with 706 through March 2021, a 43% increase over the year-earlier period, when there were 493 people shot, the statistics show.”
However, organizers of the vigil don’t want gun violence in the city to be highlighted without nuance. Ongoing systemic disparities along with ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have crippled resources for Black and brown community members.
“There’s not enough programs for them to stay out of trouble. And jobs for the adults, too. Since COVID happened, people have been losing their jobs, and it causes people to do stupid things,” said Deshawn Nelson, a community organizer who planned Monday’s event. “I think we all need to come together … just to talk to the kids so they have somebody there for them.”
“We have to be able to, to bring resources back to communities like North Lawndale that are suffering,” Alderman Michael Scott said. “I hope that an incident like this does not discourage people from investing and wanting to live here, or [lead to people] uprooting their family and maybe leaving this community. I know that we have a lot to offer and a lot to give.”
At the vigil attendees prayed for the Adams family and also provided free Happy Meals, one of Jaslyn’s favorite selection at McDonald’s.
The community hopes the vigil spreads a message of togetherness and community care in an effort to spread awareness and seeks to emphasize that Black and brown children should feel safe in their neighborhoods.