Two Years Later, Chicago Remembers Hadiya Pendleton

A painting and a poster at the Hadiya Pendleton Foundation office. (Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul)
A painting and a poster at the Hadiya Pendleton Foundation office. (Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul)

“We are now part of a fraternity that no one wants to be a part of,” Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, mother of murdered 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, told a group of University of Chicago students at an Amnesty International event last December. She reminded them that no matter who they are, gun violence affects them. “Regardless of your background, origin — whatever — you should care,” she said.

The national sense of urgency over the reckless violence that two years ago yesterday took the life of an honor roll student like Hadiya Pendleton — who just a week earlier had performed at President Obama’s inauguration — has vanished. Two years ago First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her hometown to say “Hadiya was me” and Pendleton’s parents were in attendance at the President’s State of the Union address; there was no mention of Pendleton in this year’s address.

Yet there are signs of change here in Chicago, however gradual.

Since Hadiya Pendleton was mistakenly shot by a gang member in a park two years ago today, Chicago murders are down: In 2012, the city lost 516 lives to murder, whereas in 2014, the number was 390 — its fewest since 1965. And as of Thursday, the city logged 27 murders this month — 17 less than the city ended the with in January 2013.

Also since then, Cowley-Pendleton has founded the non-profit Hadiya Pendleton Foundation to help combat gun violence in Chicago and nationwide. The suspects behind her daughter’s murder are awaiting trial. And Alderman Pat Dowell, whose ward is where Hadiya Pendleton lived when she was murdered, has taken the first steps toward renaming a local park after her in her honor.

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Source: Huffington Post

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