As the countdown to the start of school continues, children on the South Side received backpacks today in honor and memory of a fellow student.
Cleo and Anthony Pendleton established the foundation in their daughter’s name after the 15-year old honor student was gunned-down last January while standing with friends in a South Side park.
After Hadiya’s death, it took a while for her parents to heal to the point where they could move on. And one of the first things they did was establish a foundation to be able to give back to the community in the name of Hadiya.
Hadiya death became a national story when she was an innocent bystander who killed by gang members who thought she was standing with rival gang members – she was not.
Just weeks before, Hadiya had marched in the inauguration parade for President Obama.
Her senseless death magnified the gang problem in Chicago and First Lady Michelle Obama, Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Emanuel all attended her funeral. A reward of 40,000 dollars was raised and tips from the public poured into police and two suspects were eventually arrested and charged.
Now her parents are focusing on neighborhood children hoping to catch them before they go astray and leave another family with nothing more than a picture of a loved one.