Tanique Parker, 16, cries as she leaves the wake for friend and classmate Hadiya Pendleton at Calahan Funeral Home on Chicago’s South Side, Feb. 8
The handwritten note from President Barack Obama on the back of the funeral program for Hadiya Pendleton:
“Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, 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. God Bless.”
A mourner holds up a program for the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton…
NBC: The national debate over gun violence took a highly personal turn for first lady Michelle Obama when a Chicago girl was slain near Obama’s family home just days after she performed at the presidential inauguration in Washington.
The first lady and top federal, state and city officials joined hundreds of mourners on Saturday at the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, 15…..
The first lady met privately with members of Pendleton’s family and with about 30 of her friends and classmates before the funeral…..
…. “Hadiya’s life has touched individuals, mothers, fathers, families and governments across this planet,” her aunt, Linda Wilks, said. “If this does not demonstrate the power of light and love, we are a people deeply cloaked in darkness.”
Jackiegrumbacher: It’s a privilege to have a safe place here where we can mourn Hadiya together.
I think of all the years before there was a cyber place to gather when people had to deal with the grief from a local or national tragedy alone or with family, friends and neighbors. We didn’t get to hear from those in other parts of the country or the world and so our perspective was limited, even though our pain was real.
Now a young girl in Chicago, senselessly shot down in a park, is all of our daughters and we know that the grief we feel is a shared one and so is the anger. Because a child in Chicago is also our child, there’s a stronger possibility that we can put a stop to the intolerable conditions in which we attempt to raise our families.
As Nena pointed out above, we are over 300 million strong and we are very powerful when we choose to be citizens who act together. More and more Americans are saying “enough.” More Americans are “seeing” the ones who are slaughtered and are saying that the senseless death of our collective children will never end until we the people stop it.
It’s past the time when we can vaguely hope that things will get better. They won’t – not without all of us speaking out and not without all of us pushing.
As PBO has told us time and again, we are the citizens. We can make change happen. And our time is now.
We do it for Hadiya. We do it for our children and grandchildren. And we do it for all the children yet to be born who deserve a better world.