Chicago honor student, Hadiya Pendleton, will be buried this weekend. Hadiya was killed Jan. 29 at Harsh Park. Her death sparked outrage not only in her Chicago neighborhood, but nationwide.
Just days after performing in inaugural festivities near Washington, Hadiya was shot and killed at a playground not far from President Obama’s Kenwood home.
With Chicago’s death toll rising, community activists are yearning for President Obama to visit Chicago and speak out about the recent violence. It was announced on Thursday that Michelle Obama, along with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will attend Hadiya’s funeral.
Local Chicago officials planning to attend include Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Quinn plans to speak; Preckwinkle does not. It was unclear late Thursday whether Emanuel would speak.
Hadiya’s family wants to make sure the funeral doesn’t turn into political fanfare and just focus on Hadiya’s accomplishments and life. “It’s a nice gesture and we appreciate it,” said Shatira Wilks, a cousin who serves as the family’s spokesperson. “But that is who we are.”
The Rev. Courtney Maxwell, of Greater Deliverance Temple Church of Christ, who will deliver the eulogy, also emphasized that the funeral will not be political.
“There absolutely will be no talk about the gun issue,” Maxwell said. “We want to talk about celebrating her life and not get into a political situation as it relates to guns.”
Hadiya’s parents, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton, is appealing to the public for people to come forward if they have information about the shooting. There is a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Hadiya’s killer.