Our baby girl Hadiya was shot and killed in a Chicago park on January 29, 2013, just a week after we watched with pride as she marched in Washington D.C. as part of President Obama’s inaugural celebration. She became a symbol of the devastating impact of gun violence. But to her younger brother Nate, family, and friends, she was also our heart. She was special and stood out in a crowd. She was always the person who made people smile. She was everyone’s best friend. It’s been eight years since she was killed and there’s not a morning that we wake up that she isn’t our first thought.
There have been times when I walk to my closet and run my hands through her bright yellow dress with beautiful sequins on it. It’s the dress Hadiya wore to her eight grade graduation luncheon. The brightness, the sparkles. It is a dress that was just so her. Sometimes, for just a moment, I imagine that I’m saving it for the children that she will never get a chance to have.
Hadiya was taken from us too soon. But her spirit and her smile will be a part of our lives forever.