‘As bad as tragedy was, everyone really comes together’
Waukesha, Wis. , Waukesha, Wisconsin, nearly two weeks after the Christmas parade tragedy, small businesses are coming together along the parade route to show strength to the community by hosting fundraisers, hanging ‘Wakeshaw Strong’ signs and lighting blue lights Can you
“As bad as it was, everyone really comes together,” Jasmine Hale, an employee at Chef Palms Kitchen, told Granthshala News.
On November 21, Darrell Brooks Jr. drove his SUV through barricades and into the crowd of the parade, reportedly killing six people and injuring dozens. Brooks has been charged with six counts of first-degree intentional murder and is being held on $5 million cash bail.
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“‘Wakesha Strong’ is like every sign for every restaurant,” Easy Aqua owner Dominic Martino told Granthshala News. “Everyone is turning on blue lights and stuff like that — everywhere you go the last few days, it’s just blue,” Martino told Granthshala News.
Waukesha Mayor Sean Reilly told a livestream on the city’s Facebook page that blue lights were being lit “to show unity and stand with the wounded”. Posters in the city read, “Join with a blue light.”
“The blue light was an idea by someone in the city to have everyone in Waukesha put out the blue light at a certain time, last Sunday, but also to keep the blue light on throughout the community,” says Joan Skimmons, of River & Gallery The owner and one of the blue light bulb distributors explained.
“We have people coming all the time… people looking for the blue light. They all want to participate.”
“To see everyone do this, it means a lot,” Martino said.
Skimons told Granthshala News that she lights it up because “we want to be remembered. We never want to forget that,”
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Waukesha’s Local businesses It has also organized several fundraisers since the tragedy.
Chef Palms Kitchen recently hosted the Lobster Benefit Dinner, raising thousands for Christmas parade victims.
“It felt healing to me because me and another chef who works here … we were both on the parade and we responded,” owner Pam Dennis, a retired Navy nurse, told Granthshala News. Dennis said he responded “wherever we could to help” on the night of the attack.
He credits the community volunteers who want to pitch in his kitchen “just from all walks of life. Everyone wants to unite.”