First Lady Michelle Obama attended the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old South Side Chicago girl whose death by gunfire went viral a week-and-a-half ago, in Chicago on Saturday, according to the Washington Post and multiple media sources.
Hadiya was murdered just a mile from President Barack and Michelle Obama’s Chicago home approximately a week after she attended President Obama’s second inauguration in the nation’s capital. While in Washington, D.C., she was participating with her school’s band. She attended the King College Prep School.
Obama, who reportedly reached out to Hadiya’s family and asked to come to the service, met privately before the service with family members as well as with approximately 30 persons who were close friends and classmates of the slain girl.
Besides Michelle Obama, long list of political dignitaries attended the service at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side. The presence of the political attendees spotlighted Chicago’s most infamous claim, being the American city that is currently most negatively affected by guns on the streets.
Also attending the funeral from the current Washington and White House scene were President Barack Obama’s White House senior adviser and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, both of whom have strong ties to Chicago’s South Side
President Barack Obama was not in attendance, but a handwritten note that was delivered to Hadiya’s parents was made public in the program.
The note read:
Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya’s passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence.
Other political figures who attended the service from Chicago politics were Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and United States Rep. Danny Davis. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was also there.
The pastor at Greater Harvest Baptist Church, Eric Thomas spoke. According to the Chicago Tribune report, Hadiya was eulogized as an honors student. She was an active student in school as one who enjoyed cheerleading, debate, and volleyball. She was said to love Chinese food, cheeseburgers, and Fig Newtons. Her favorite class in school was Latin. Her aspirations for her future beyond secondary school were to major in pharmacology or journalism in college.
Of the murder, Chicago police have said that Hadiya was an innocent bystander in a park, on Jan. 29, when she was killed by a gunman who opened fire into a group of people. Though she was not involved with any gang activity, several of the other people gathered at the park reportedly had gang affiliations.
Amidst this tremendously sorrowful event, President Barack Obama continues to highlight gun violence and gun controls as he begins his second term in office at the White House.