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Families Hold Vigil For Child Victims Of Gun Violence In Chicago, Call For Solutions

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In recent months, it has become a repeated headline – children caught in the crossfire of the violence on Chicago streets.

On Saturday, families who lost a loved one held a vigil at the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Fullerton Pkwy., as they called for an end to such unspeakable tragedies.

As CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported Saturday evening, pictures of more than 70 children who have been killed by gun violence since last October were placed on display outside the church.

The powerful display was just one way the church urged community members to step up to help stop the violence.

"It's senseless," said vigil attendee Hoan Huynh. "We need to do better for our young people, and we can't have young kids dying in our streets every single day. It is not just. It is not normal."

The vigil brought together dozens of community members - not just to remember innocent lives lost, but to figure out how to stop the violence in the first place.

"We have to invest in community-led solutions," Huynh said. "We have to invest in people who are at the frontlines of these challenges and who understand communities and who understand what needs to be done - and we need to actually invest resources in these community led solutions."

Attendees say they showed up because they want to be part of the solution. Several speakers said that may include defunding the police, and seeking out alternatives to policing that could be put into place in our communities plagued by violence.

"Folks need to understand this isn't just a South Side problem. It's just not a West Side problem. This is a Chicago problem. This nationwide problem," Huynh said. "We need to do better."

The violence that has taken more the lives of more than 70 children in the past year. It has also killed hundreds of others - people that weigh heavily on the heart of the Rev. Ciera Bates-Chamberlain.

"16 When I think about that number, I not only think about the 680 homicides, I begin to wonder how many people were touched by this 680," Bates-Chamberlain said. "I begin to think about the children, about the mothers, the aunties, the uncles, the friends."

Many vowed they won't stop fighting for those victims, safer communities, and the healing of those impacted.

This is the sixth year the church has hosted the Vigil Against Violence.

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