White House officials tell NBC News that first lady Michelle Obama will travel to Chicago Saturday to attend the funeral service for Hadiya Pendleton, the teenager killed by a stray bullet in a park about a mile away from the Obama’s Chicago home.
Pendleton’s death garnered national headlines because she didn’t fit the profile of the typical teen lost to gun violence. She was nonviolent, anti-gang, and educationally-minded. She had performed for the president in the Inauguration Day parade only the week before the shooting.
As her mother, Cleo Cowley, said on PoliticsNation, “Never in a million years did I ever dream I would get a call about my baby being shot.”
“She wasn’t the violent type. She loved people,” she said. “I want there to be an awareness.”
The first lady’s presence will certainly help bring that greater awareness. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will attend as well.
When asked about a petition posted on the White House’s website that called for President Obama to attend the funeral, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters last week that “the president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton.”