While the nation is grappling with yet another senseless death due to gun violence, Hadiya Pendleton’s family is dealing with the much heavier task of burying their daughter…and picking out a dress that she would like to wear for her funeral.
“It’s been 48 hours of nothing but love, but now they need some time alone,” cousin Shatira Wilks said.
Wilks, along with Hadiya’s parents and other family and friends, have been front and center in the conversation about guns in the inner city and nationwide.
On CNN’s Early Start, Nathaniel Pendleton (Hadiya’s father) said that he supports using her death to help shape the debate over gun-control.
And her mother, Cleopatra Cowley, appeared on Al Sharpton’s show to raise awareness about her daughter’s death…and to talk about the wonderful kid she was.
In between heartbreaking sobs, Cowley said that her daughter absolutely loved life.
“She was amazing…she had a major heart. She was quirky, she loved to laugh, she loved her brother, she was an avid reader, she very much loved volleyball and being a majorette, she loved life,” Cowley said.
“And she was a true teenager, just a kid, and she didn’t want to be anything more than she was – and that was just 15.”
Cowley continues, recalling the moment when a friend of Hadiya’s called her at work to let her know her daughter had been shot.
“I took the first cab I could come across to get to my baby,” she said, racked with sobs. “Never in a million years did I imagine I would be getting a call that my baby was shot.”
The family is dealing the best way they know how. Her little brother, Nate, misses her so much he is sleeping in her bed. But the family said they are finding solace in the knowledge that the teen’s death is stirring more debate about gun-control in a city where more than 500 people were killed last year.
Something must be done to protect our children.