Hadiya Pendleton’s father calls on Black Caucus to stop fighting tough gun sentences

CHICAGO -- Hadiya Pendleton marched in President Obama's second inaugural parade in 2013. She was shot and killed a week later in a park near her South Side home.

The "Wear Orange Campaign and National Gun Violence Prevention Day" were inspired by Hadiya's friends and family.

Hadiya's parents, Cleopatra and Nathaniel, joined WGN Morning News to discuss the day, which they created to honor their daughter and other victims of gun violence.

Her mother says that they hope celebrating her daughter's life will unite families who lost loved ones to gun violence. They also want to engage local organizations that help families cope with their losses.

This initiative is a part of the over 250 events taking place across the country, where people will wear orange and take steps to improve their communities. Famous monuments will also be lit orange to honor victims.

"It's phenomenal, because these are communities that are often overlooked," Hadiya's mother said.

Above all, they want peace. "Being angry is not going to bring her back, so the only thing we can do is fight back," the young woman's father said.

He additionally pushed back against a controversial anti-violence bill passed in the Illinois House, only to be stalled moments later.

Senate Bill 1722 would increase sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders and create a violent crimes task force. But a motion to reconsider by the legislative Black Caucus says the bill is missing criminal justice reforms that were discussed in negotiations.

"I'm not going to discriminate. If you commit a crime, whether you're black or white, you should go to jail. But there are communities that are specifically targeted," Hadiya's father said.

Alternative plans include revenue to fully fund violence prevention programs and provide educational opportunities and job programs.

'Wear Orange Day' is Friday, June 2, which would have been Hadiya's 20th birthday.