Oak Parkers are calling on the village board to take firm action against rowdy funeral processions in the aftermath of a particularly disorderly June 10 procession that left four people wounded from gunfire on Madison Street.
An online petition requesting immediate action from the Village of Oak Park to address dangerous funeral processions has been racking up signatures, already over halfway to its goal of 2,000 signatories. Just under 40 comments have been left on the MoveOn.org petition and all share a similar theme of feeling unsafe in the community during funeral processions.
“It feels like OP leadership is waiting for a local child to become a martyr before acting, just a real failure of imagination,” wrote signee James K. “The rights to assemble for a funeral procession end when they overlap with the rights of everyone around them to be safe.”
The June 10 funeral procession was held for Jamal Goings, a 33-year-old man from Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood who was fatally shot May 23, according to the Chicago Tribune. Goings was reportedly connected to the Guttaville faction of the Gangsters Disciples.
Resident Kathleen O’Malley created the petition just four days after the procession. She, her husband and their two children found themselves stuck in the middle of the procession as it passed through Oak Park via Madison Street.
“I’ve really had enough,” O’Malley said.
Since moving to Oak Park 11 years ago, she and her husband have seen several dangerous processions come through the village. While they were living on Ridgeland Avenue, funeral corteges would often pass right outside their home, prompting them to move to a different part of the village, according to O’Malley.
O’Malley wants to see the Oak Park Police Department take greater initiative to prevent similar violent instances by enforcing traffic laws against such behaviors as drinking and driving, speeding, driving erratically and disturbing the peace.
While she does not think a full-on ban on funeral processions is possible, she plans to speak at the village board’s June 20 meeting to request they put new parameters in place regarding processions.
“I know that the most powerful thing you can do is use your voice if you want change,” she said.