Adam Toledo’s household creates sanctuary for at-risk youth in his honor


Adam Toledo would have celebrated his 14th birthday on Wednesday.

But tomorrow his family will stand in front of a mural of Adam who was fatally shot and killed by a white Chicago policeman on the west side of the city in the early hours of March 29th to announce the creation of Adam’s Place, a rural sanctuary to Adam Teenagers.

“A year ago, his family celebrated with pizza and cake,” said Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, lawyers for the Toledo family, in a statement on Tuesday. “This year, as Adam’s parents and siblings struggle with their grief, address themselves to other families to help prevent the excruciating worry of losing a child.”

Videos released last month by the Chicago Civil Police Department revealed that 34-year-old officer Eric Stillman was responding to reports of gunfire fired in the Little Village neighborhood when he met Adam and passed him through a Alley chased. According to the videos, Adam threw a gun behind a fence before turning to Stillman with his hands up. Stillman shot in less than a second.

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“Adam was a loving son and a good boy who had never had problems with the police. Despite his parents’ best efforts, he snuck out of the house on the night of his death, attracted by older youth and the thrill of the street,” they said Lawyers. “While the Toledo family seeks justice for Adam, they also know that many families in their ward and elsewhere struggle to get their own children out of the way.”

Adam’s Place will provide a “safe, nurturing haven” in a rural setting where vulnerable teens ages 10-14 from Chicago and other Midwestern cities “can develop skills, values, and self-esteem by learning about how to be around.” to take care of nature “. keep others and yourself away from the dangers of city streets, “the lawyers said.

Attorneys said Adam’s Place, Inc. was registered as a not-for-profit in Illinois and is currently applying for 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit status. The company raised funds and has farmland under contract within a three and a half hour drive from Chicago.

Andrea Fernanda Serrano kneels as she pays her respects to the location where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot dead with a mural in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood on Friday April 16, 2021.

Lawyers said the family plans to model the sanctuary on the Newberry, South Carolina Boys Farm, a nonprofit that provides care services to boys in difficult family situations. Members of the Toledo family will serve on the board of directors, the lawyers said.

“As those of us who live in Little Village and other areas of Chicago know, needs are great. But hearts are big here,” Betty Toledo said in a statement. “We have seen grace in the peaceful protests, the colorful murals, the flowers and candles, and especially the love and compassion shown to us by our friends, neighbors and strangers across the country, many of whom have known the pain of losing a child.”

Adam’s murder nearly two months ago sparked outrage in Chicago and cities across the country. The incident spurred Mayor Lori Lightfoot to call for changes in police foot-tracking policies, and thousands of people gathered on the west side of the city to demand justice for Adam and his family.

Community members protest the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago officer on Friday, April 15, 2021 in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

In mid-April, a group of Latin American lawyers called on the Justice Department to “investigate the circumstances that led to and led to Adam’s death”. The group also pushed for stricter guidelines on foot chasing and car chases, clearer training guidelines, and more guidelines for police interaction with children.

“Trust and trust in the police are in short supply in the Latino community,” said Arturo Jáuregui, founder of the Pilsen Law Center, at a press conference. “An objective investigation by the Justice Department would tell our community that this time is different.”

Stillman, the officer who shot Adam, has not returned to regular field duties and has “gone through the administrative process after he was released,” the Chicago Police Department said Tuesday. This process includes a minimum of 30 days of administrative tasks and eight hours of critical incident overview training.

The city’s civilian police inspectorate is still investigating the incident.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks about the videos of 13-year-old Adam Toledo who was fatally shot and killed by a Chicago police officer during a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, April 15, 2021.