In December, President Obama flew cross country to grieve with the parents of the 20 slain Sandy Hook Elementary school children. And now friends of 16-year-old Hadiya Pendleton are asking Obama to do the same for her. Pendleton, an honors student and drum majorette, was shot and killed in a park in Obama’s hometown of Chicago 2 days after she danced for him at his 2nd Inauguration.
In an emotional press conference, Mr. Obama said the deaths of the 20 schoolchildren in Newtown touched him deeply. The president broke down on national TV and vowed to take “meaningful action” to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy from occurring in the future.
Hadiya’s killing marks the 42nd death by gun violence in Chicago in January alone — the bloodiest January in Chicago in over a decade. In response to Pendleton’s death, President Obama and the first lady released this statement on Wednesday: “The president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton.” But Chicago city leaders say that’s not enough. They want Mr. Obama to come to Chicago and take a stand against violence at Hadiya’s funeral the way he took a stand in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Jasmine Brand blog reports that a petition has been posted on the White House’s web site, asking the president to attend Hadiya’s funeral.
The petition, created by Slog the Stranger, reads:
As Newtown swirls down the memory hole and passion to implement sane gun control gets sidetracked by whatever the latest Congressional bullshit circus will be, President Obama should stand up and take advantage of a tragic opportunity to keep the anti-gun violence movement engaged. Sixteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, a sophomore at the selective enrollment King College Prep, a young woman who performed in the King Band at Obama’s Second Inauguration, was shot to death Tuesday afternoon in a South Side Chicago park. From the National Mall in the District of Columbia to Harsh Park in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue. From the inauguration to the mortuary.
President Obama and his entire family should attend her funeral. Pendleton died about a mile from their Kenwood home. And then maybe America will pay some attention to the everyday, routine, one-at-a-time death toll wrought by guns in this nation, instead of waiting for the next mass shooting to sit up, notice, talk, and do nothing.