Slain teenagers honored in park re-dedication

CHICAGO, IL (WGN/WCMH) — Two teenagers who were shot and killed were honored by the city of Chicago Saturday.

After spending millions on improvements, the city re-dedicated a park, now known as Hadiya Pendleton Park. Pendleton was only 15 years old when she was killed. She was shot just days after performing at the President Obama’s inauguration in 2013.

“This has been a long, long road,” said Hadiya’s mother Cleo Pendleton.

The park was also dedicated to the memory of 17-year-old Vonzell Banks. Banks was shot and killed near the park last July.

“I want our hearts to go out to those that are still losing their babies and babies that are losing their parents,” said the Banks family. “We have to stick together and we have to do better.”

Although the park is a meager two acres of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, it is so much more than that for the two families touched by the rampant gun violence in the city. Cleo and Nate Pendleton see the park as a source of joy and a symbol of what kids should be doing.

“I’m hoping that this symbol of of just what kids should be doing, the noise in the back brings me great joy,” said Cleo.

Both the Pendleton and Banks families hope the park will be an integral part of creating a safer Chicago. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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