Former Classmates of Hadiya Pendleton Launch Anti-Violence Movement ‘Project Orange Tree’

Fed up with the violence that has claimed countless young lives in Chicago – including their former classmate Hadiya Pendleton – a group of King College Prep students have launched an anti-violence movement, Project Orange Tree.

The group will wear orange this Monday; and plan to fast until April 4th, the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s death.

They’ve chosen orange because it’s the color hunters wear while in the wilderness, so they won’t be accidentally shot.

Hadiya Pendleton’s Mother Featured in New Gun Control Ad

Cleopatra Cowley – mother of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton – is featured in a public service announcement calling for gun control.

The ad, paid for by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, specifically cites universal background checks as a necessary, commonsense reform.

Cowley also breifly details the tragic circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death.

Things Gotta Change and It’s Up to Us to Change It



By Kymone Freeman


“Things gotta change and it’s up to us to change it” – Chelsea James



These were the words of a 17-year-old senior at King H.S. who helped organize a peaceful march in protest of the rampant violence in Chicago that the school, the mayor and until recently, the president ignored in his hometown. The irony of symbolism isn’t lost on the fact that a school named after Dr. Martin Luther King, prince of peace and non-violence who himself was gunned down, is now the site of the rumblings of a renewed movement in the Fight Against Violence.



“Silence is betrayal” -MLK

Mr. President, We are Still Waiting for a Comprehensive Discussion of Gun Violence

Tuesday night President Obama gave his State of the Union Address.  He turned to the topic of gun control at the end of his speech and used that opportunity to make an emotional call for a vote by the Congress on various pieces of legislation meant to strengthen gun control in the United States.


The President also discussed the senseless death of Hadiay Pendleton, the young 15 year old who was killed in a park only one mile from the President’s Chicago home.  Without a doubt the President’s discussion of Hadiya’s life and her tragic and horrific death was incredibly moving. We at the Black Youth Project continue to keep Hadiya’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers. 


While we mourn Hadiya and all the young people in Chicago who are the victims of gun violence, the Black Youth Project is still waiting for the President to comprehensively address gun violence in the city. In the State of the Union address the President made a plea for his legislative agenda.  We urge the President to go further on Friday during his time in Chicago, and make a substantive speech that addresses the underlying factors that perpetuate violence in Black and Latino communities across the nation. 

2 Charged with Murder in Hadiya Pendleton Shooting

According to the Chicago Tribune, two young men have been charged with murder in the shooting of Hadiya Pendleton.

The two suspects – 18 year-old Michael Ward and 20 year-old Kenneth Williams – were reportedly out for revenge after a previous shooting. They mistook a friend of Pendleton’s for a rival gang member.

Police cracked the case after using surveillance footage from the scene. The two were arrested while on their way to a strip club; Ward later confessed to the shooting.

Chicago Police Set to File Charges Against Two Suspects in Hadiya Pendleton Shooting

The Chicago Police Department is almost certain that charges will be made later today in the shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old King College Prep student whose funeral two days ago brought out hundreds of mourners, including First Lady Michelle Obama:

Charges could come this evening against two people being questioned in the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said today.

Hundreds Gather to Attend Funeral for Hadiya Pendleton

Hundreds packed the funeral of 15 year-old Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday.

Her death – just one week after performing at President Obama’s inauguration – catapulted her into the center of a raging national debate surrounding gun violence.

But attendees heard remarks from her loved ones that painted a heartfelt, deeply personal portrait of the young lady; a loving daughter, and best friend, a normal teenager.

President Obama Still Needs to Speak to Youth of Chicago

The White House just announced that the First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday.  This seems to us at the Black Youth Project an appropriate response to this incredible tragedy.  We hope the First Lady’s attendance at Hadiya’s funeral will provide some comfort to her loved ones.


The family and friends of Hadiya Pendleton have our sincerest condolences, and are in our prayers.


At the same time we want to be clear that Michelle Obama’s presence at the funeral does not in any way address the systemic issues contributing to gun violence in Chicago and other urban areas. 


It also does not address our petition, which asks the President to come home to Chicago and give a major speech on gun violence, detailing how he will work with community groups, city and state officials to address the underlying issues leading to gun violence in the Windy City.