The Slatest

Michelle Obama Mourns Chicago Teenager Who Has Become Symbol of Urban Gun Violence

First lady Michelle Obama (L) ducks in a side door after arrivng at the Greater Harvest M.B. Church for the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Chicago to attend the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead in the South Side of Chicago late last month and went to school less than a mile from the Obama family home, points out the Washington Post. Pendleton’s death has captivated Chicago and many of those who attended her funeral Saturday, including Obama, had never actually met her. But Pendleton has emerged as a powerful symbol of the tolls of gun violence at a time when the president is trying to get lawmakers to pass tougher gun-control laws.


Hundreds of mourners lined up to pay their respects for the girl who was part of her school band and performed during President Obama’s inauguration mere days before she was shot and killed in a park. Police say Pendleton and her friends were likely caught in the crossfire of a gang fight. The presence of several political leaders from Washington could mark a shift in the increased national consciousness over gun violence. So far, much of the focus has been on mass shootings but Pendleton’s death highlights a different kind of gun violence: “urban and quickly forgotten,” points out the New York Times.