We all remember the senseless and tragic death of 15-year-old Chicago student Hadiya Pendleton two years ago.
The honor student was trying to shield herself from the rain, under a park canopy, when a young man jumped the fence and opened fire, presumably targeting other gang members in the park.
Pendleton’s death made national news as she had just performed in President Obama’s second inauguration a few days prior. First Lady, Michelle Obama identified personally with Hadiya being that she too was a stellar student from Chicago. She was so moved she spoke at Pendleton’s funeral.
Today, on what would have been Pendleton’s 18th birthday, her friends, family members, community members as well as supporters across the country have banded together to remember her by wearing orange.
According to the Chicago Tribune, months after her death, Hadiya’s friends started the Wear Orange campaign to raise awareness about gun violence in their community and across the nation. They chose orange in reference to hunter’s orange, a very bright and fluorescent color that lets others know they are not to be targeted by other people.
The Wear Orange campaign started the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day in honor of Hadiya and others who’ve lost their lives.
Today, from 3:30-8 p.m., Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will join with other city leaders at a Wear Orange Party for Peace in Harold Washington Park to honor those lives.
You can watch Hadiya’s friends, family and other community members talk about the initiative in the video below.