First lady Michelle Obama was among the mourners at the funeral of a 15-year-old girl who was shot to death eight days after performing with her high school band at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
As you know, a funeral was held for Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old victim of gun violence who was killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was a high school honor student and a member of the majorette squad that performed at President Obama’s inauguration. She was fatally shot about a mile from the president’s home.
Police are still searching for the suspected gang member who gunned her down.
The L.A. Times published an article about Hadiya’s funeral that brought me to tears, but it was something at the very end of the piece that caught my eye, something I hope a lot of people will now share widely:
[Damon] Stewart, Hadiya’s godfather, talked about how the teen had become an important symbol for people. He said he had read a Facebook post that said, “I’m not going to buy into the hype. What makes this girl so much better than the others?”
He had an answer: “She is important because all those other people who died are important. She is important because all of the families who were silent, she speaks for them. She is a representative of the people across the nation who have lost their lives.”
“I’m not going to buy into the hype.” Hype? Really? The story of yet another child with a promising future and an infectious smile who had her life cut short by a murderer’s bullet is “hype”?
What Hadiya’s godfather said was spot on: She speaks for others who died the same way. She was, and still is, important. And that’s no hype.