CHICAGO (CBS) -- A vigil was held in Rogers Park Tuesday night for Miguel Cisneros, who drowned last month in Lake Michigan off Pratt Pier.
Cisneros, 19 – a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep on the Near West Side – was supposed to be moving in at Columbia University for a full scholarship. But his dreams were cut short on Aug. 22, when his swim turned deadly.
Since then, anguish has turned to anger and action as word spread that the athletic Chicagoan was feet from the pier with no life ring in sight – despite cries from residents for years.
Cisneros' mother, Maria Diaz, has been pushing the city to install permanent life rings along the lake. She said a life ring could have saved her son's life.
"Tonight, ask Lori Lightfoot – mother to mother – and Park District official Mike Kelly to make the necessary changes to protect the life of all who use the beaches and the lakefront," Diaz said at the vigil at Tobey Prinz Park.
Residents installed life rings at Pratt Pier more than once after Cisneros drowned. The Chicago Park District said they took the life rings down were not authorized safety devices, but also said last week they are willing to reevaluate their position on keeping some up.
Diaz met with Park District officials last week. So far, there have been no changes.
But she has a state representative who is willing to bring the issue to the Illinois House.
On Friday of last week, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) released this statement: "This issue isn't new to our community and my constituents have been demanding action for years. I'm encouraged that the Park District appears ready to act, but even before the most recent tragedy we were working on legislation to mandate appropriate safety equipment at our beaches and I am prepared to move forward with it."
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