Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral was today, as hundreds gathered to mourn the loss of a girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration.
While Hadiya Pendleton’s family and friends kept the focus on the 15-year-old girl shot dead in a South Side park, Michelle Obama’s appearance inevitably brought attention to gun control.
Hadiya Pendleton’s pastor, Courtney C. Maxwell from the Greater Deliverance Temple Church of Christ, held services about 11 am after a heart-shaped balloon adorned the area by her casket.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Pastor Maxwell thanked everyone for being at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church:
“The family says thank you and God bless you. Only God can keep you and strengthen you, for God is our refuge and our strength.”
Pastor Maxwell described Hadiya Pendleton as:
“genuine and real. … She was energetic, loved music, loved the arts.”
Another man, identifying himself as the Life Center church’s assistant pastor of the , read from the Bible:
“She is more precious than rubies. … Her ways are of pleasantness.”
A female musical performer played a religious song, accompanied by 30 choir members dressed in white, who stood and swayed gently from side to side before the large cross.
Kenya Edwards, a radio personality and a friend, read a poem called “Walking,” which was written for Hadiya Pendleton by Zora Howard.
Then two girls who appeared to be Hadiya Pendleton’s classmates and friends performed a poem they wrote for her. The girls took turns to speak each part of the poem:
“Dear Hadiya. I wish you were still here with me. That smile … that you smile so confidentially.”
To the shooter they added:
“Know that you killed an innocent person.”
It ended when they both said:
“We’re sorry Hadiya. We miss you.”
According to NBC News, the materials included in the funeral also included a note to the family from President Obama:
“Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya’s passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God bless, Barack Obama.”
The funeral of slain Chicago teen Hayida Pendleton was attended by hundreds.
RIP, Hadiya Pendleton, you will be missed.
First lady Michelle Obama joins hundreds to mourn Hadiya Pendleton at funeral on.msnbc.com/WW6uPB
— msnbc (@msnbc) February 9, 2013