All photos and videos courtesy Eydie Teplitsky-Kugler
A visit to Highland Park days after the July 4th parade mass shooting.
By Eydie Teplitsky-Kugler as told to Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth
So just so that you know, I do not live in Highland Park.
I frequent Highland Park because of friends who live there, activities I’m involved with, and also my daughter teaches at The Art Center (TAC) during the summer.
After dropping her off at her work this morning, I wanted to capture the energy of the city. I wanted to feel it.
Even though the police had a very strong, positive and friendly presence, that’s not what I wanted to capture. Even though there was still a lot of press visible, that’s not what I wanted to capture.
My first encounter was at Starbucks. That’s when I heard the women who was taking everyone’s orders ask them before taking their order, “how are you?” Each interaction contained a small conversation and it ended with “I’m glad you are safe”. I walked from one end of town to the other and I stopped to talk to people that I passed by or people that were near me and those words and energy were the exchange of the morning. “how are you?”
I hugged strangers, strangers hugged me, we told each other, “I’m thankful that you’re alive.” It was so surreal. There was a huge exchange of kindness woven in through all the grief and tears.
I will never forget how this day felt. For brief moments, the anger lifted, and I felt compassion and kindness mixed in with grief.