A group of CPS students gathered in honor of Hadiya Pendleton yesterday.
James and Jordyn Willis, students at Lindblom High School on the city’s south side, organized the march.
The teenagers, who were mostly students at Lindblom Math and Science Academy and CICS Ralph Ellison, organized their rally and prayer vigil to draw attention to the gun violence many of them said threatens their own lives. The students said they didn’t know Hadiya personally but they were touched by the girl’s death because she was another promising youth that was an innocent bystander. The teens wanted to use Hadiya’s shooting death to ask city leaders to meet with youth leaders and find solutions to the crime plaguing the South Side.
“Things gotta change and it’s up to us to change it,” said Chelsea James, a 17-year-old senior who helped organize the peaceful march. “We could all get shot right now. I’m tired of it.
“We have to go through this every single day. We are living in fear. We can’t go to the park without being gunned down. We risk our lives every single day,” she said
City police officers tried to force the students to go to school, saying that they were truant. The students informed the police that they had parental permission to skip school and gather.
Before the gathering ended, the students presented a plan to end violence and went to Harsh Park, where Hadiya was killed, to pray.
In response to Chicago’s gun violence crisis, The Black Youth Project has started a petition, asking that President Obama make a speech addressing gun violence in the Windy City.
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