CHICAGO — In 2014, an 18-year-old girl was killed after she was struck by a stray bullet in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. Alexandria Imani Burgos had just graduated high school and was starting college when her life was cut short. Now her family is using their pain to help save lives.
On Saturday afternoon, her family brought the community together to remember her life and ignite hope for the future.
“Kids always gravitated with Alexandria. I guess they knew her humbleness and her beautiful heart,” Alexandria’s mother, Milagros “Millie” Burgos, said.
Tragically, Alexandria, a Von Steuben High School graduate with aspirations to become a social worker, was fatally hit by a stray bullet on Oct. 19, 2014.
“By Telling her story, people will know her and they won’t forget her as well,” Milagros said.
Along with honoring Alexandria, her parents, Millie and Rafael Burgos, also recognized several other families who have lost young loved ones to guns.
“It’s not only us, but it’s many families that we’ve come together and we advocate together to the forces that be to inform them our stories about our children, that they should be here,” Rafael Burgos said.
Since Alexandria’s death, Millie and Rafael have worked tirelessly to advocate for better gun reform laws.
“They share the message that we can live in peace and we need to put the weapons down because lord forbid, this could be your child, this could be your brother, this could be your sister,” said Yolanda Androzzo from One Aim Illinois, an organization that works to end gun violence in the state.
Some recent gun reform legislation passed in Illinois include the assault weapons ban, the Firearm Industry Responsibility Act and the ban on ghost guns. Lobbyists are now proposing legislation called Karina’s bill.
“It will ensure that firearms are removed promptly, immediately, from a home when a domestic violence survivor has a restraining order. So that’s coming up in veto session,” Androzzo said.
As Rafael and Millie continue working with community leaders to reduce violence, they recognize they can’t bring Alexandria back, but they’re doing everything possible to protect the next generation.
“A community can come together and we can embrace each other and show each other that there could be peace and that gun violence is preventable,” Millie said.
Alexandria’s family gathers with the community every October to honor her life, but her parents say her murder remains unsolved.
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