The tragedy surrounding the death of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton has affected Michelle Obama and others in the White House. The FLOTUS will attend Pendleton’s funeral Saturday, February 9, says a White House official who requested not to be named.
Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, both Chicago natives, will join the first lady, according to the official reports CBS News.
Mrs. Obama is not expected to speak during the funeral, nor are her daughters Malia and Sasha expected to accompany their mother. Michelle Obama’s decision to attend the funeral follows a petition on the White House website that called on the Obamas to attend Pendleton’s funeral.
Pendleton performed at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration as a majorette in the King College Prep’s school band just a week prior to her death. If anything, the 15 year old’s passing put a national scope over the cycle of violence devouring the Windy City’s youth.
President Obama personally contacted the family offering his condolences last week, according to people close to the family.
Pendleton’s family has expressed extreme gratitude for the generousity of the Obamas, but they have also expressed concern that the first lady’s attendance would overshadow the funeral. “It’s a nice gesture and we appreciate it,” said Shatira Wilks, a cousin serving as the family spokesperson.
According to Wilks, the family is committed to making the funeral a celebration of the teen’s life.
Pendleton was shot January 29 at Harsh park about a mile from the Obamas’ Kenwood home. The shooting attack occurred around 2:20 p.m., wounding Pendleton and an unnamed 16-year-old boy. A $40,000 reward is available for information leading to an arrest in the teen’s death.
Photo: Associated Press