Anti-violence movement launched at Hadiya Pendleton fundraiser - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Friends launch anti-violence movement at Hadiya Pendleton fundraiser

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Tuesday night fundraiser organized by Hadiya Pendleton's volleyball team aimed to help keep the memory of the slain 15-year-old alive.

The event, held at the Hope Academy Athletics Center, featured a volleyball tournament. Funds raised from tickets, food, and merchandise sales will help set up volleyball scholarships in Pendleton's name. Pendleton loved volleyball and was on a club team along with her best friend Kyra Caldwell.

"This is mind blowing," Hadiya's father said of the outpouring of support at the event. "They got a lot of love...a lot of love."

The T-shirts at the event say it all: "set peace, spiking violence."

"You know you have to know the terminology. They're not saying raise it...they're saying get it out of here," Hadiya's mother said. 

The money raised from the fundraiser will cover the cost of a three-day volleyball summer camp which costs around $150 per child. Organizers hoped to raise $10,000 to give away 50 scholarships.

Pendleton's parents say they miss their daughter but they're glad to see the awareness that's coming out of their grief.

"It's surreal," Cleo Pendleton said about being at the event. "I did have a difficult time coming to the gym with an active game going on, but at the end of the day, it's awesome."

"They're out here playing and they're trying to raise money to keep things going as long as it's positive, I'm with it," Hadiya's mother added.

Pendleton was killed after taking exams in January. The honor student was hanging out in a park, just blocks from her high school when shots were fired. She was hit in the back and died a short time later at the hospital. Another student was hit in the ankle.

That shooting sparked a national debate in Chicago and across the nation about gangs and gun violence.

Her volleyball teammates say they want to continue the conversation and do what they can to honor their friend. And while this volleyball is going on, next week, other student organizers are asking anyone who wants to stand with them against gun violence to wear orange. The group is calling it the anti-violence movement Project Orange Tree and will wear orange this Monday. They also plan to fast until April 4, the 45th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King.

Orange, they say, is the color hunters wear while in the wilderness, so they won't be accidentally shot.

For more information, visit the Orange Tree Project website.

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