47th Street: Hundreds Gather in Cold to Say Farewell to Hadiya Pendleton
Danya Bell (left) and
Artureana Terrell (right) attended grade school with
Hadiya Pendleton. Bell cries after learning they will not be allowed in the
because it was overcapacity. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)
By Angelica Robinson and Josclynn Brandon The Red
Line Project @RedLineProject
Posted: Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013
Michelle Obama's attendance at a funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya
Pendleton has left Chicago residents wondering whether national
attention will do anything to curb violence.
Harvest Baptist Church hit capacity Saturday monrning, well before the
funeral service began, which left many mourners standing outside during
was shot and killed on Jan. 29, blocks away from President Barack
Obama's North Kenwood home. Pendleton was an honor student at
King College Prep and performed with her school's band at the
Presidential Inauguration just a week before her death.
Obama, Gov. Pat Quinn, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, were among the list of
Chicago's well known political figures who attended the funeral
Thomas and her teenage daughter attended the funeral. Thomas said the
First Lady's presence underscores the prevalence of gun violence in the
neighborhood Michelle Obama grew up in.
that this is going to spring-board more things happening for Chicago
and for the nation," Thomas said. "Because this is a big problem for
But April Lawson, who lives in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, said
having Michelle Obama there was a distraction.
“I see so
many police people out here," Lawson said. "I really just want to say,
are you guys going to find the little shooter that shot her?
That’s what we need you to do right now.”
godfather, Damon Stewart, addressed the politicians in the audience
when he stepped to the church microphone.
this run into a political thing,” he said. “Keep it
mother, Cleopatra, also addressed the politicians, who sat in a pew
together on the left side of the church.
want any of the VIPS to touch this microphone,” said Cleopatra, who
will appear at President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday
in Washington D.C. “And they didn’t want to do it. “
also talked about dealing with the loss of her daughter.
thing out of my mouth: I’m not worried about her soul,” she said. “I
know where she is.
know how hard this is. And for those who do, I’m sorry.”
Hadiya Pendleton, 1997-2013. (Courtesy photo)
Robinson said he has been a classmate of Pendleton's since elementary
school and saw Hadiya just hours before she was gunned down.
wasn't able to go in to the funeral. He said having the First Lady drew
a crowd people that weren't necessarily interested in saying goodbye to
Pendleton, but were interested in the politicians that attended.
Robinson said he felt robbed of his last chance to say goodbye.
"She was a
loving person and I think it would hurt her to know that we didn't get
a chance to say goodbye to her one last time," he said.
A crowd of
upset mourners yelled at police demanding to be let in the
church. A 43-year-old man was arrested outside of Pendleton's
funeral and charged with disorderly conduct. Police said it was over a
parking issue outside the church.
Pendleton's classmates gathered outside the church as the funeral,
which lasted more than 90 minutes, took place inside. Some of the King
College Prep students held their own prayer service outside in the
Lawson said said we shouldn’t lose sight of what the funeral is
about the young lady and what she represents," Lawson said. "She
represents us burying our future.”