At Veronica Lopez’s Sweet 16 party, children played among the headstones. Aunts, uncles and cousins sat on lawn chairs and striped blankets on the grass. A few feet away from Veronica’s grave, her four older sisters pressed candles into a red velvet cake and carefully lit them. Veronica’s mother watched them and waited for a sign from the gentle wind. “Let her blow out her own candles,” she directed her daughters, her voice hopeful. Veronica, called Dayday by her family, was buried in this cemetery west of Chicago in June after being shot to death at age 15.
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