The Highland Park shooting: HP Strong


Photo by Ava Trandel

Photo of HP Strong sign in downtown Highland Park.

Ava Trandel, Managing Editor of Features

On July 4, 2022, the Highland Park and greater North Shore community was forever changed. Families in every town lined the streets for the annual parade – looking forward to a day full of spending time with loved ones, having barbecues, and enjoying fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. Just after 10:00am in downtown Highland Park, the beautiful day was violently thrown into disarray as a gunman, 21-year-old Highland Park resident Robert Crimo III, opened fire on the crowd from a rooftop.


Residents of Highland Park and the surrounding towns were stunned by the tragedy. What made the experience more foreign to residents was the almost immediate national news coverage and FBI presence in the hours following the incident. The shooting resulted in 7 dead, over 40 injured, and thousands left with the  horrific memory of what they and their community had witnessed. Mass gun violence has never affected Highland Park so intimately, leading the town to question how they would recover.


There was an overwhelming surge of support from those nearby who wanted to help and be part of the town’s recovery process. Limore Zilberman, a Deerfield resident, wanted to get involved as soon as possible. She said that she “couldn’t sit still and not be part of those who wanted to help the community.” She, along with the help of some of her family and friends, bought out entire sections from local grocery stores and delivered the food to first responders at the scene. She also brought food to doctors and nurses in local hospitals who were tending to the injured and wounded victims.


Zilberman had to idea to get the word out to others via popular Facebook groups. She shared what she had already done to help and people immediately took interest and wanted to be a part of the aid. When She quickly realized how many people wanted to get involved but did not know how, she was prompted to start the “Stronger Highland Park” Facebook group, which has grown to 12,000 members. By Monday July 11, one week after the shooting, she had raised $10,000 for the recovery effort. From that point onward, Stronger Highland Park became the central point community members turned to, and Zilberman became the facilitator for all of the support people were giving. Whether businesses wanted to dedicate a day to donating 100% of their proceeds to the Highland Park recovery effort or if individuals wanted to coordinate blood drives to provide aid to hospitals, Zilberman helped people connect and raised awareness for these opportunities.


Rosenblat, a friend of Zilberman and graphic designer, wanted to get on board with “Stronger Highland Park” and had the idea to start a yard sign campaign. Rosenblat designed the “logo” for HP Strong – the map of Illinois with a heart over Highland Park – and the idea quickly took off from there.When Zilberman and Rosenblat began, they had made100 yard signs; they have now sold over 8,000, with many of them being delivered to other states. 


Zilberman was surprised by the amount of support people were willing to give from not only local community members, but from people nationwide. Individuals who live outside of Illinois, but have connections to Highland Park have worked to involve members of their own communities in HP Strong. Zilberman described how in Arizona, for example, a group of people organized a blood drive for both the sake of a blood drive and to raise awareness about Highland Park. 


Zilberman said that one thing she has taken away from her experience working with Stronger Highland Park has been how connected we as a community have become in this time of need. She hopes that Stronger Highland Park will continue to serve the community in the future, and prove to be a reliable resource for residents in need. She also wants to start a group dedicated to working on memorializing the victims of this year’s tragedy next year, while simultaneously overcoming the challenges that we have faced and returning to enjoying the 4th of July, like we had before. Zilberman has gained a new perspective on connectedness, and said that, “we shouldn’t wait for tragedy to find connection points for people.”Zilberman said that as a leader of HP Strong, she wants to show people, “that one person can make a difference, so don’t be afraid to be a leader and organizer, because only good can come out of that.”


Jennifer Madeley, School Therapist and Health, Wellness & Community Teacher, has played a crucial role in supporting the community following the shooting. She and her friend worked together in order to create a variety of free therapy services for all impacted individuals. Many therapeutic organizations took the initiative to do the same, hosting forums for students, first responders, and parents. Madeley said, “when tragedies happen, the best thing health services can do is offer their support.” Not only did she offer this forum to LFA, but she also believes it is crucial to keep students informed through learning opportunities, such as Stop The Bleed.“A lot of lives can be saved when you are well prepared to help others in life threatening situations,” said Madeley. Regarding how we at LFA can make a difference, she said, “there’s not much we can do to mitigate these attacks… however, we can sit back and accept America’s given gun culture, or we can find new ways to invoke change and make our voices heard. It is also equally as important that we as a community continue to have these hard conversations and face the problem at hand.” Ultimately, Madeley wants to convey the importance of being an active member of society and to express that LFA health services are here to help!