Updated: March 10, 2014 6:14AM
The parents of slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton will participate with a nonprofit troupe that addresses social issues when it performs at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Arbor Park Middle School in Oak Forest, troupe director Ray Moffitt said.
The event is part of a violence-prevention initiative by the MWAH! (Messages Which Are Hopeful!) Performing Arts Troupe.
Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and her husband, Nathaniel, will take part in the 90-minute presentation in the gym of the school, 17303 Central Ave. Afterward, they will meet with MWAH! troupe artists and a select group of Arbor Park students in a discussion session in the school library.
Hadiya, 15, was a 15-year-old honor roll student at King College Prep in Chicago who was shot in the back and killed last year after being mistaken as a rival gang member.
Monday’s presentation is to include the troupe’s debut of a song written by a Connecticut band for Newtown Kindness, an organization founded by the family of one of the 20 first-graders who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
The song, combining several MWAH! troupe members with an Arbor Park vocal ensemble, was written to promote and encourage acts of kindness.
Among other focuses will be the continued toll of heroin-related deaths, and a discussion of pop star Justin Bieber’s recent run-ins with the law.
Eight Arbor Park Middle School students and staff members will be recognized as heroes for demonstrating such qualities as extraordinary leadership, a determination and will to succeed, a caring attitude toward others, and for showing steadfast courage in facing difficult personal challenges, Moffitt wrote in an email.
In the finale, about 40 Arbor Park students will join MWAH! troupe members in a hip-hop dance production.
For more information about the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe, visit www.mwah.net.