Hadiya Pendleton killed 1 year ago today

Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student gunned down at a South Side park, is remembered one year after her murder.
January 29, 2014 3:23:27 PM PST
Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student who was gunned down last year at a South Side park, was remembered at the Chicago school she attended and in Washington, D. C.

Purple ribbons adorned the trees outside King College Prep, where Pendleton attended school. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended Wednesday's memorial, which was held after school.

"The mourning period for me is over. I just want to celebrate her, celebrate the message that she taught me and everyone who knew her," Iakaphar Walker, friend, said.

One year ago, Pendleton and her friends were mistaken for a rival gang while hanging out in Harsh Park, which is about a mile from President Barack Obama's Kenwood home. Her death drew national attention; the honor student had just performed in Obama's inauguration.

Chicago Police Department officials said youth murders are down 40-percent in the past year. But Father Michael Pfleger, who spoke at Pendleton's funeral, which was attended by first lady Michelle Obama, said more must be done.

"We are losing our future. We have not done enough a year later to transform the situation. We've done some things and there has been some progress, but we have awful long way to go," Pfleger said.

Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin paid tribute to Pendleton and her parents on Senate floor. He co-sponsored a measure to prohibit the trafficking and straw purchase of firearms.

"The current federal laws are an embarrassment. They are too weak. They need to be strengthened, Durbin said.

On Pendleton's street, save the children signs are still on almost every home in the neighborhood where she was killed.

"The community has definitely gotten closer. There is more interaction between neighbors trying to keep an eye on things," Vincent Booker said.


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