CITY HALL — Hadiya Pendleton's parents confronted what they called "an extremely emotional time" for them as they marked what would have been her 17th birthday with an appearance at City Hall Monday.
Nathaniel Pendleton and Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton attended a news conference Monday hailing passage of a bill to automatically expunge the arrest records of non-violent juvenile offenders never actually charged with a crime. Yet it also fell on the birthday of the King College Prep student whose shooting death in January 2013 focused national attention on Chicago's street violence.
"Right now, this is an extremely emotional time for me and my wife," Nathaniel Pendleton said when asked about the birthday. "Thoughts right now are just all over the place. We're just hanging in there."
The Pendletons created Hadiya's Foundation in her memory to foster a community approach to raising children. It most recently received office space from the city to continue its mission. They have also spoken out frequently against gun violence and in favor of gun control.
Yet on Monday they also threw their support behind the expungement movement and cheered passage of the expungement bill last week in the General Assembly.
"We're talking about kids who have been arrested wrongly," Nathaniel Pendleton said. "We're not talking about people who've been convicted of heinous crimes."