CHICAGO — It was 10 years ago Sunday that 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton lost her life, shot and killed in a park in Kenwood, a few days after performing with her high school band at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Cleopatra Crowley-Pendleton, Hadiya’s mother, said a day like Sunday is a yearly chance for their family to reflect and cherish the memories they had together, helping keep Hadiya’s character and personality alive in their minds.
“I remember her as being as everyone’s friend. I love that fact that she was an avid reader, her imagination was just crazy,” Crowley-Pendleton said. “She was very, very funny. I cry sometimes because I reflect on my inability to laugh daily like I would. She was a phenomenal storyteller.”
Moving forward, Crowley-Pendleton’s mission is to keep her daughter’s legacy alive, and in doing so, help keep the legacy of young people around Chicago alive as well.
It was this time last year a piece of that mission was achieved, as it was announced the winter garden at the up-and-coming Obama Center will be named in Hadiya’s honor.
“I love that the area that has been identified in the Obama Library is one that young people can visit,” Crowley Pendleton said. “It’s just a lot of different things so, I’m excited about that.”
Hadiya was also on the mind of former First Lady Michelle Obama, who took to Instagram Sunday to talk about Hadiya’s life.
“To this day, Barack and I still think about her story. That’s why we are proud to honor her legacy through the Hadiya Pendleton Winter Garden at the Obama Center,” Obama wrote on Instagram. “When the center is complete, we hope the garden can be a way to share Hadiya’s light and help young people find their own place in the world.”
While construction is ongoing, the Obama Center is slated to open sometime during 2025.