Mother of slain teen to attend State of the Union address
The mother of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton will be the guest of Congressman Deerfield Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider at the State of the Union address on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
According to The Daily Herald, Schneider contacted Cleopata Cowley-Pendleton, whose daughter Hadiya was killed Jan. 29 at Harsh Park, in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, not far from the Obama family home.
Although Hadiya and the friends that were with her had no gang ties, a gunman fired into the park in what police said was a gang-connected shooting causing her death to become a symbol of Chicago’s gun violence.
Schneider told The Daily Herald in a statement he was, “honored and humbled to be able to have Cleopatra Cowley, Hadiya’s mother, join us at the State of the Union address… her voice is a powerful and trafic new one joing the chorus of concerned citizens calling for sensible action to reduce gun violence in the future. Our hearts were broken by the sudden and tragic passion of Hadiya Pendleton. As a nation we can’t continue to watch as members of our community — children — are being killed day after day.”
Senator Dick Durbin will also chair a hearing on gun violence and the 2nd Amendment on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Members of the Pendleton family are expected to attend that hearing as well.
First Lady Michelle Obama was among those who attended Hadiya’s funeral at Greater Harvest Baptist Church Saturday.
While family and friends kept the focus on the 15-year-old girl who was shot dead in a South Side park, the first lady’s appearance inevitably brought attention to anti-gun efforts nationwide.
The back of the funeral program has a copy of a handwritten note from President Barack Obama: “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.”
In addition to Michelle Obama, dignitaries in the crowd included Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Barack Obama.
Prior to the service, the first lady met privately with about 30 of Hadiya’s friends and classmates, and then with members of Hadiya’s family, according to a White House official.