CHICAGO – Simply by filing into a church pew on Chicago’s South Side on Saturday and mourning the killing of a smiling 15-year-old girl whom she had never met, first lady Michelle Obama spotlighted the everyday gun and gang violence plaguing U.S. cities.
“Genocide,” one eulogist called it, lamenting that guns had “become part of our wardrobe.”
Since being gunned down in Chicago a week after performing with the King College Prep High School’s majorette team during President Barack Obama’s second inaugural festivities, Hadiya Pendleton has become a symbol for the innocence lost to senseless shootings.
The first lady, who met privately with Pendleton’s family and around 30 of her classmates, did not speak at the funeral, which lasted four hours. But her appearance carried heavy political overtones, coming as the president is pressuring Congress to enact tougher gun laws.