CHICAGO (WLS) — An event Friday night honors Hadiya Pendleton by giving scholarships to young people in Chicago and the suburbs.
Pendleton was the 15-year-old Chicago high school students shot and killed in 2013 after returning home from performing at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration as a drum majorette, an unintended victim of gun violence in the city.
Dr. Herstine Wright created the scholarships after seeing news stories about her death and life.
“See that such a child who had such a future ahead of her to have life cut off like that in a senseless violent situation it hurt me to my heart (to the core of my being,” she said.
Wright, a retired educator and founder of Advocates for Change, didn’t know Pendleton or her family, but wanted to offer something positive to young people in her memory.
“We have to do something to inspire them to want to be better because of the things they are faced with in the community; the violence, the shootings, the robberies,” she said.
“It’s definitely in the light of who Hadiya was,” said Cleopatra Cowley, Pendleton’s mother. “I feel honored, her dad and Junior feel honored, that there is work that is continuing and children having opportunity to gain assistance that didn’t have.”
Cowley said she appreciates a new generation is learning about her daughter and that Wright is keeping Pendleton’s legacy alive 10 years after her death.
“Congratulations to all the young people getting the award and make us all proud,” she said. “Do your best, make us all proud.”
Twenty-three high school seniors and college freshmen in our area will receive $1,000 scholarships at an event in Oak Lawn tonight.