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Alderman Says Progress Has Been Made Since Hadiya Pendleton’s Death

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Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s been a solemn day on Chicago’s South Side. One year ago, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was murdered. Her former classmates honored her memory at their high school.

King College Prep held a memorial service this afternoon. Students placed purple tape on their lockers. Purple was Hadiya’s favorite color. A portrait of the honor student hangs in the school main office.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams tells us what’s changed in the community where Hadiya lost her life.

In the park where Hadiya Pendleton was murdered one year ago Wednesday, the Alderman insists the community is safer now.

“Crime is down. Violent crime is down,” said Burns.

In part, Will Burns says, because police targeted the gang whose alleged members fired into a crowd killing Hadiya last January 29th.

“Their presence wasn’t wanted. Police were going to arrest them and get them off the street,” said Burns.

Hadiya Pendleton’s death resonated across the country. Wednesday, the anniversary was noted by Senator Dick Durbin on the Senate floor.

“Those who knew her talk about her warm heart, her big smile, what a great friend she was to all those around her,” said Durbin.

That such a child, an innocent honor student, could be murdered put a harsh light on Chicago’s gun violence.

“It’s devastating. We just have to do something,” said Cleo Pendleton, Hadiya’s mother.

Hadiya’s parents have led the crusade against it.

“We did get out there and talk and there’s a face associated with a crime of this type and it did make people want to behave differently,” said Cleo Pendleton.

Alderman Will Burns has one hope for the park where a 15-year-old girl lost her life.

“It’s a place where I hope kids are continuing to come and that we keep this park in the hands of the community,” said Burns.

This week Hadiya’s parents told us they don’t want to hide her face. They want to remember how she wrote and the stories she used to tell when she came home from school, memories they promise to embrace long after this painful one year anniversary.

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