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City Donates Office Space to Foundation Named for Hadiya Pendleton

By Wendell Hutson | June 13, 2014 6:16pm | Updated on June 16, 2014 7:59am
 The parents of slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton unveiled a logo at a June 13, 2014 news conference they said was created by their late daughter.
Hadiya's Promise
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BRONZEVILLE — The Hadiya's Promise organization, named after the slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton, finally has an office, thanks to the generosity of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Formerly named the Hadiya Foundation, the nonprofit is now based at the Martin L. King Jr. Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave., and the mayor said he could not be happier.

"Given we had the space, I am humbled the city can participate in this small way," Emanuel said at a Friday news conference with Hadiya's parents Nathaniel Pendleton and Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton. "We, as a city, are lucky to have them. I know the Pendletons will give back to their city."

Hadiya, a 15-year-old King College Prep student, was shot to death Jan. 31, 2012, and would have turned 17 this month. The organization's goal, said Cleopatra, will be to lobby for stricter gun legislation and provide activities for youths.

Emanuel also praised her parents for having the heart to forgive the men accused of shooting their daughter.

"I applaud Nate and Cleo for showing such passion in the aftermath of their daughter being murdered," Emanuel said. "I can tell you as a father of three I don't think I would have their passion. I would be angry and turned inside out with rage."

Cleopatra recalled her last conversation with Hadiya.

"The last words I uttered to my baby was 'I love you.' I would always tell her to show her beautiful smile," she said.

As a way to keep Hadiya's memories alive the Pendletons unveiled artwork Cleopatra said was created by Hadiya on Christmas Day 2012 as she played outside in the snow.

"She loved the snow and played outside making images in the snow," added Cleopatra.

By using the artwork as the organization's signature logo, Angela Rudolph, executive director of Hadiya's Promise, said the Pendletons want to convince youths to put their guns down.

"At the end of the day young people are carrying guns because they either don't value life or they believe their life has no value," Rudolph said.

Forgiving the men charged with her murder has been difficult, said Nathaniel.

"Some people say those men took my baby away from me but I say what they did was set her free," Nathaniel said. "This journey [without Hadiya] has not been easy but it is necessary for us to move on."