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Jan-31-2013 12:23printcomments

President Obama Says He's Praying for Hadiya Pendleton, but Is that All He's Going to Do?

The area in which the girl was shot is a place where violence doesn’t usually take place.

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

(WASHINGTON DC ) - President Obama and the first lady are praying for the family of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year old girl who was killed just a few days after performing at President Obama”s inauguration. Even sadder was that the young girl died less than a mile from the president’s house.

There is a petition asking President Obama to attend the young woman’s funeral, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that he is unaware of such a document. So far, the White House hasn’t announced its interest in attending the girl’s funeral, but there is a growing roar within the African American community for President Obama to be a bit more responsive to the deaths of black youth in general.

Carney says that the first family’s “thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton,” but didn’t say much else in terms of an announcement or decisive action on the part of the president.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy made a promise to find Hadiya’s killer after the man shot his gun into a group of the girl’s friends as they waited out the rain under a shelter in the park. A 16-year old boy was shot in the leg during the incident and a girl had a bullet graze her ankle. An $11,000 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information on the whereabouts of the killer.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church has put $5,000 toward the reward to find the man who killed the girl, and said it’s “a bounty out on the head of the killer, before you kill somebody else.”

“Every indication points to the fact that none of the individuals in the group were involved in any sort of criminal activity,” McCarthy said at a Wednesday news conference. “These were good kids by everything that I learned... Wrong place at the wrong time.”

The area in which the girl was shot was not just close to the president’s house, it was also a place where violence doesn’t usually take place. The incident has heightened awareness and let the community know that violence can happen anywhere. The police appear to be taking cues on this incident, offering protections to middle and upper class residents that are hardly offered in poorer communities.

“Anybody who thinks that this territory belongs to a gang is wrong,” McCarthy said. “If I have to put a policeman here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365, we’re going to make a point that this territory belongs to the community.”

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