The band majorette, 15, who was gunned down near her Chicago school just a week after performing at the Presidential Inauguration, was commemorated during the State of the Union speech — and her parents were seated up front next to the first lady. Read on for the emotional tribute.
Hadiya Pendelton, 15, performed with her high school band at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, and was tragically shot and killed a week later in a Chicago park, allegedly by two gang members. Her parents Cleopatra and Nathaniel Pendleton attended the State of the Union Speech on Feb. 12, and sat beside First Lady Michelle Obama as President Barack Obama called for stricter gun laws.
President Obama gave a touching shout out to Hadiya, who was an honor student and band majorette for her high school. He remembered her for being “so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend,” he said during his speech.
When he mentioned her parents Nate and Cleo, he said they deserved a vote on Congress for gun control, as well as all of the families impacted by gun violence — including the families in Newtown, Conn., Gabby Giffords and the families in Aurora, Colo.
Barack Obama Calls For Gun Control During State Of The Union
During his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12, the president made a call to action for gun control to protect our children:
“Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children,” he said in the speech.
“It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.
Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.
Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.”
What do YOU think of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech HollyMoms? Do you agree with his views on gun laws?
— Christina Stiehl
More On Hadiya Pendleton & Other Victims Of Gun Violence:
- Michelle Obama Attending Funeral Of Girl Who Played At Inauguration — Shot Dead
- President Obama Cries During Speech On Sandy Hook School Shooting
- President Obama To Sandy Hook Shooting Victims: I Will Reduce Gun Violence