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Dozens Of Cyclists Honor Hadiya Pendleton On Gun Violence Awareness Day

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Wearing orange and rolling through Chicago, dozens came out Friday night to rally for peace on Gun Violence Awareness Day.

The Wear Orange movement was started in honor of Hadiya Pendleton, the teenage victim of a notorious 2013 killing.

Her mom spoke with CBS 2's Jermont Terry Friday night when a sea of orange filled Nichols Park in Hyde Park.

The Chicago South Side Critical Mass bike ride group prepared to pedal with a purpose. Danielle McKinnie rallied the crew as they hit the streets to address gun violence in Chicago.

"We've got to fight even harder because now people are more desensitized to these shooting," McKinnie said. "When I hear another I'm like, 'Didn't I hear about that?' Then I realize it's a different one."

With a snap of their helmets they cycled down 55th street.

"I feel like I'm compelled to get out here and do something for the good," said cyclist Bill Wood.

The first stop was Harsh Park, where in 2013 Hadiya Pendleton's life ended by gun violence. Someone shot the 15-year-old in a park a week after performing at then-President Obama's inauguration parade.

Cyclists like Bill Wood reflect on the toll Chicago continues to see with youngsters getting shot or murdered.

"We're out here riding bikes today," he said. "Kids should have the opportunity no matter where they are to ride their bike freely without fear."

More than 120 children under 18 have been shot so far this year in Chicago. Just this week a gunman shot a 14-year-old girl walking in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, and a 15-year-old was shot Thursday night on Lake Shore Drive.

The cyclists arrived to the park named after Pendleton, and her mother was there to receive hugs as the community keeps her daughter's memory alive.

"I just wanted to meet the cyclists out here and tell you thank you. I think it's a beautiful tribute every year," said Hadiya's mother Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton.

Some out cycling Friday have also lost their own loved ones to senseless violence. They hope by riding their bikes people will realize all neighborhoods should be free of violence.

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