On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in Harold Washington Park for an afternoon of reflection and celebration at the annual “Party for Peace.”
The event was founded in memory of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed shortly after performing at former President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013.
With families of shooting victims wearing orange t-shirts adorned with photos of their loved ones, speakers took to the stage to both remember those lost, and to celebrate the progress that has been made in curbing gun violence in Chicago.
“We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. It doesn’t have to be this way,” Hadiya’s mother Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton said.
Along with the messages of remembrance, there were also messages of hope for a brighter future in a city that is looking to cut down on the gun violence that has impacted it to its very core.
“It’s definitely a celebration for me,” event organizer Nza-Ari Khepra said of the “Party for Peace”. “Just to continue to push, because this is a problem we can solve.”
Even amidst the signs of hope for the future, there were still those that mourned the loss of loved ones and pleaded with citizens of the city to stop violent acts.
“My daddy was shot and killed, and we need to put the guns down,” one little girl said.