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Hadiya Foundation in the Works, Mom Says

By Patty Wetli | March 21, 2013 3:26pm

NORTH PARK — Hadiya Pendleton's mother told a group at a "Creating Peace" rally Wednesday that a foundation is being created in her daughter's name.

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton offered few details — "More info to come," she said. — but did say that the foundation would provide wrap-around social, economic and education services.

The foundation is in its nascent stage, said Cowley-Pendleton, whose 15-year-old daughter was shot and killed in January as she stood in a South Side park with friends from King College Prep High School.

The murder drew international attention and first lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral.

Cowley-Pendleton, who appeared at North Park University, had talked of establishing scholarships in Hadiya's name in February.

Speaking to some 150 people Wednesday, Cowley-Pendleton said she still finds herself planning Hadiya's 16th birthday and anticipating driver's ed.

"I have no idea where my heart's going to be next week. I don't know when I'm going to cry," she said.

With a daughter who was an honor student and band member, Cowley-Pendleton and her husband, Nathaniel, thought "violence was something we never thought we'd have to attack head on," she said.

"You're thinking, 'I'm doing all the right things.' You're in your bubble, you don't think about people on the outside looking at your bubble," she said.

Other speakers at the rally, which included communitiy activists, North Park students and families who have lost loved ones to violence, offered heartbreaking testimony regarding the emotional toll violence can take on surviving loved ones.

Klyn Jones, a classmate of Hadiya, said of her friend: "I can't hear her laugh and I can't see her smile. It hurt then, it hurts now."

"I am, was, no I still am friends with Hadiya Pendleton," Jones said. "I was friends with her spirit, not her body."

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) repeated his call for lawmakers to begin chipping away at Chicago's "illegal gun problem."

"If you want to create a culture of safety ... we need to acknowledge that guns are an instrument of death ... and defending them results in people dying every year," the alderman told the crowd.

Pawar has been vocal in pushing for gun insurance, which, similar to car insurance, may not curtail purchases but could make reckless behavior more expensive.

"If you buy 10 guns per month and you're losing them to the streets, you should pay more," he said.

Should conceal and carry become a reality in Chicago, Pawar told DNAinfo.com Chicago he would work with local business leaders to create "no guns allowed" or "gun free" zones within the ward.

"My job is to stand up for what I believe in. If that's a problem, vote me out," he said.

Ashley Douglas, a North Park student, delivered a moving spoken word poem in memory of her twin brother, shot dead while attending a basketball game.

"I'm tired of seeing rest in peace," she said.

"Stop complaining it's raining violence if you're only going to sit in silence."