South Side park to be named for Hadiya Pendleton

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Buckthorn Park on Chicago’s South Side will be expanded and renamed in honor of slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton, ABC Chicago reports. The project will reportedly cost $1.2 million.

A Chicago Park District spokeswoman told the Sun-Times Friday morning that the district had not yet received a formal request to change the park’s name, but that an advisory council meeting held Thursday night may have been the first step in that process.

Pendleton was shot and killed in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood on Jan. 29, 2013, a week after attending President Obama’s second inauguration. She was just 15.

As a member of the King College Prep band, she and her bandmates participated in the Presidential Inauguration Heritage Music Festival.

A line forms as mourners enter during visitation for 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton at Calahan Funeral Home in Chicago in February 2013. | Sun-Times photo

Pendleton was the unintended victim of the shooting, and her death brought national attention to the city’s violence epidemic. She was shot in a neighborhood park less than a mile from President Obama’s Kenwood home.

Her alleged killer chalked it up to collateral damage in an ongoing gang war, telling police she had “nothing to do with it. She was simply there.”


Pendleton’s parents were Michelle Obama’s guests at the 2013 State of the Union just weeks after she died. President Obama specifically addressed her death while speaking about gun violence in America at the 54:40 mark below –

From Obama’s speech –

She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house. Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, mother of Hadiya Pendleton, weeps in the arms of her family and friends following a press conference at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park in Chicago in January 2013. | Jessica A. Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times

Homicide Watch Chicago reported at the time –

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the gunman a punk Wednesday and reached out to Hadiya ’s parents, Cleopatra and NathanielPendleton . Nothing can break your heart more — and I did it just to call as a parent so they know they’re not alone. But, nothing pains you more than calling a fellow parent, trying to comfort them, the mayor said haltingly, his voice filled with emotion. You read about Hadiya … . You look at her. You look at how she talked about her future. She took her final exams. She had dreams. And this gang-banger, this punk took that away from Cleopatra. They took it away from Hadiya … . They took it away from the city of Chicago. She is what is best in our city. A child going to school who takes a final exam, who had just been to the inaugural.

Community members and students march in memory of Hadiya Pendleton in February 2013. l Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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