Hadiya Pendleton

‘Wear Orange' Gun Violence Prevention Weekend Honors Hadiya Pendleton

This year, in wake of multiple recent tragedies, the fight to end gun violence has never been more urgent, according to the "Wear Orange" website.

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Resounding the call to end gun violence, crowds donned orange clothing at the Bronzeville park named for Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago teenager who was fatally shot in 2013 just weeks after performing at former President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

Pendleton's parents were among those who participated in the event for "Wear Orange Weekend," three days in which people are encouraged to wear orange - Hadiya's favorite color - to push for a future free from gun violence.

This year, in wake of multiple recent tragedies, the fight to end gun violence has never been more urgent, according to the "Wear Orange" website.

"if we don't act, it's going to keep happening," said Nate Pendleton, Hadiya's father.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was in attendance and delivered a similar message.

"It starts with us," she said. "Some parents, guardians, caring adults who are in these children's lives. We've got to reinforce values and community norms."

In an effort to reduce gun violence across the city, leaders have long encouraged safe activities, like participation in White's tumbling team, which has mentored more than 18,500 kids over its 63 years.

"I’m glad to be here to share with the people our community …and show them how high we can get without herbs and spices," White said.

Shortly after Hadiya's death, her friends all wore orange, which is also the same color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves from gunfire. Since then, the "Wear Orange" movement has become a nationally-recognized campaign in the fight against gun violence.

"It is a way of saying it without speaking 'don’t shoot me.' And I love the symbolism," stated Cleopatra Pendleton, Hadiya's mother.

Both community members in attendance and Hadiya's family are committed to carrying on her legacy and making Chicago a safer place.

"We should be able to have fun in all neighborhoods and not get shot," Nate Pendleton said.

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