Obama to attend funeral after public outcry.
First lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral service for 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, the young girl who was shot just a mile away from the Obamas’ Chicago home.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett will join the first lady for the services Saturday.
All three Obama administration members are former Chicago residents, offering their support to the city as it rallies against widespread violence. Duncan served as CEO of Chicago Public Schools before departing for Washington, and Jarrett began her political career in Chicago in 1987.
With over 40 people killed, January was the deadliest month for Chicago in over a decade. Last year, the city recorded more than 500 homicides. Pendleton’s family hopes that her death will propel the ongoing gun control debate further.
No arrests have been made so far in the Pendleton homicide investigation, despite the $40,000 reward offered for information on the crime. The case influenced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to put an additional 200 police officers on active patrol, and has drawn nationwide attention.
Last week, the Obama’s received a hefty dose of criticism for failing to address the innocent lives taken by guns in Chicago.
“Where are the tears for Hadiya and all the brown babies like her? Where are the hastily-called speeches and the national groundswell of condolences and hand-drawn cards and warehouses full of teddy bears and school supplies for our children? And as the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School cry and yell out and stand on a national stage to proclaim that their children’s right to life supercedes the Second Amendment (Amen! It does! And they have the right to say it!), why aren’t gun control advocates, Congress and CNN, the Today show, the New York Times and our most treasured, respected media organizations making the connection between the deaths of our children and the severe lack of uniformed gun control legislation and support to stop the flow of illegal guns in our communities?”