CHICAGO — Friends, family and community members gathered Saturday to celebrate Hadiya Pendleton, a young life taken too soon.
It’s been more than a decade since 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at a park in the Kenwood neighborhood in 2013.
Pendleton would have turned 25 this weekend so, in her honor, the annual party was thrown for members of the community, which included good food, entertainment and conversation, alongside the Pendleton family’s continued advocacy speaking out against gun violence.
“Every year for her birthday, I try to celebrate the fact that she lived,” said Cleopatra Crowley-Pendleton, Hadiya’s mother.
“Today is about happiness, today is about partying today is about forgetting our griefs,” said Nate Pendleton, Hadiya’s father.
The family hopes the annual party continues to keep the memory of Hadiya alive, and encourages the community to come together when it’s needed most.
“I mean that’s what this whole thing is about, that’s why we created it that’s why we wanted to be out here,” Nate Pendleton said. “There’s a bunch of people [here and] we’re all full of love, but sometimes bad things happen so, right now, just for a day, we’re going to try and put those bad things behind us.”
Proceeds from the event Saturday benefitted the organization Hadiya’s Promise, which encourages young people to put down guns and stand up for peace.