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An American Fourth of July: Fireworks, Parades, and Gunfire

Close to 570 Americans Were Shot Over the Weekend and 220 Were Killed 

Project Unloaded’s Founder, who is from Highland Park, Calls on Americans to “Address the Rampant Gun Culture that Calls this the Price of Freedom”


CHICAGO —  As Americans gathered to celebrate freedom, communities across the nation experienced a crisis as American as apple pie: Gun violence. In Chicago, at least 68 people were shot and eight were killed over the weekend. In Kansas City, six people were shot across three separate incidents. And in Highland Park, Illinois, more than 30 were shot and six were killed when a gunman opened fire on a parade. In sum, close to 570 Americans were shot and hundreds were killed. Many more were likely forever changed by gun violence they witnessed over the weekend.                                                                                        

“Once again, a weekend that should have been joyous turned traumatic and deadly because of gun violence,” said Nina Vinik, founder and executive director of Project Unloaded and a native of Highland Park. “In Highland Park, the parade route was lined with armed officers and the city is generally safe, in part because it has some of the nation’s strongest local gun laws. But it wasn’t enough – and it won’t be, until we address the rampant gun culture that counts lives lost as the price of freedom.”

Project Unloaded, which launched in early 2022, is changing the cultural narrative about gun ownership and safety. The organization’s first campaign reaches young people, the majority of whom say they’re interested in gun ownership, on the social media platforms where they already spend their time to educate them on the risks of using guns. By flipping the script on gun culture and pushing back directly on the myth that more guns make us safer, the organization believes it can reduce rates of gun use and save lives.


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