Hadiya Pendleton will not be forgotten, but it’s more than just keeping her memory alive, it’s bigger than that, her parents said.
Friday, June 13 they unveiled “Hadiya’s Promise: Because Every Child Matters,” a new initiative with two functions. The foundation will advocate for better gun control to help stop the violence and also work with other groups to offer youth a safe place. Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nate Pendleton also revealed the new logo for “Hadiya’s Promise”–her footprint in the snow, which she took a photo of one winter. The name above the logo is also in her own handwriting.
The teen was fatally shot Jan. 29th, 2013 as she stood talking to friends in a Chicago park. She would have been 17 June 2nd.
“In this journey, me and Cleo have taken action against this violence,” said the slain teen’s father.
“We choose not to remember her for January 29th, she had a lot to celebrate,” said the mother.
Hadiya’s Promise is a recommitment to the movement, said Angela Rudolph, the executive director.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in attendance to support the family.
“I will tell you as a father of three, I don’t think I would have this compassion, I would be so angry, churning inside with rage,” he said. “I’m in awe of these parents who take this personal moment, this loss and try to turn it to make sure no parent ever has to walk that path.”
He said the City of Chicago is working on initiatives to keep youth out of the streets such as summer job programs, but he said that there isn’t enough for everyone. This year, they have enough for 22,000, but more than 45,000 applied, he said.
To help curb the violence, the mayor said the city needs gun legislation that reflects Chicago’s culture.
Rudolph called the National Rifle Association “powerful” and said they must “demand action,” if they want to see positive change.
When it comes to stopping the youth from participating in the violence, Nate Pendleton had one solution.
“We have to start by changing the mindset of these kids,” he said.
An advisory board, that will not include any elected officials, has been formed and members from it will participate in strategic planning. They will hold three meetings through the end September.