R.I.P. Hadiya Pendleton

Usually, I reserve the R.I.P. series for famous and successful achievers who have passed on. It hasn’t changed. Though many have never heard of her, she had a promising future, only to have it snatched away by a bullet.

Hadiya Pendleton was a regular girl. She was a gifted student who performed in a band at President Obama’s inauguration. She was just hanging around with some friends when a shooting occured. Pendleton was shot in the back and died. She was only 15.

I am saddened as I read about her death. I would be heartless not to. I am also reminded of the tragic murder of Derrion Albert in the fall of 2009. Like many youth, his life was taken in the poor inner streets of the big city. Like Pendleton before him, he was killed in the streets of Chicago.

What was so memorable about Albert’s death was the footage taken of that horrific brawl. We see first hand raging youth from two different neighborhoods take out their frustrations on each other. Albert was reported as the peacemaker trying to calm things down, but was unfortunately struck on the head by one of the angry males and was kicked afterwards outside Fenger High School. Albert was only 16 when he was killed.

Even though the killers of Albert are serving time in prison, the violence continues in the streets of Chicago and every other community. 2012 alone saw high profile cases where crazed men opened fire killing unarmed people in movie theaters, temples and even elementary schools. The latest mass murder was enough to spark the gun control debate once again, and yet too many people are out of touch with reality and empathy.

Many of us still morn the deaths of the people in the events mentioned. Even those of us unfamiliar to the victims share the grief of others. But I see a troubling reaction to a segment of this crisis.

2012 also marked one of Chicago’s bloodiest years. Most of the deaths due to homicide are under the age of 25. Most of those deaths are black and brown living in poor neighborhoods in the Windy City’s southside. As of this moment, Chicago leads the nation in the homicides of young people. Here are some startling indicating findings, courtesy of Alden K. Loury of the Chicago Reporter, behind this crisis:

-More than 73 percent of the city’s 1,118 homicide victims under the age of 25 from 2008 through 2012

-Almost 70 percent of Chicago’s population loss between 2000 and 2010. Those 21 communities collectively lost 140,000 residents during that time. The city as a whole lost 200,000 residents

-More than 53 percent of the locations of Chicago public school closings announced since 2001

-Nearly 43 percent of Chicago’s 109,000 foreclosure filings from January 2007 through June 2012

-More than 71 percent of the city’s 138 public elementary schools that were low-performing in math [“Low-performing” is defined as schools where fewer than 10 percent of students’ standardized test scores exceeded state standards during the 2011-2012 school year]

-Nearly 68 percent of the 221 Chicago public elementary schools that were low-performing in reading

-Nearly 59 percent of the 46 public high schools whose average 11th grade ACT composite scores were below 16

-More than 56 percent of the city’s more than 72,296 teen births from 1999 through 2009

Furthermore, these communities also have heightened levels of poverty, unemployment and percentages of adults without high school diplomas.

The Girls Like Me Blog asks an important question to us all, How many dead black (and brown) children does it take to get a Sandy Hook response? Even though thousands of black and brown youth are killed from gun violence every year in every corner of this nation, it takes the lives of 20 children – all mostly white – to get the President to have a press conference on the incident and help invoke the conversation on gun violence??

This is not to say we shouldn’t mourn for the people in Newtown, Connecticut, but why isn’t black and brown communities given that sympathy then their youth is lost in the same manner?

For those of you who don’t know where I’m going with this, let me explain. In this nation African Americans and Latinos are never seen as victims of a problem. We are seen as the problem. Conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter made that point clear when she blamed this country’s gun violence on minorities. Yet, we’ve heard those accusations before numerous times and some people are tired of arguing with the mentally deficient while cleaning up the messes caused by corporate avarice.

The attitudes this society have in regards to the deaths of minority youth is shameful. One could say that no one who calls himself an American would not feel for those youth, but sadly, there are people like that, and some of them have the power to show just how much they don’t give a damn. They consider those people as Americans let alone worthy of human dignity, and that is a huge part of the problem. Too much apathy in regards to race and poverty leads to impending chaos.

Hadiya Pendleton’s life was cut way too short by a lonely, crazed individual with no hope or love in a society that’s careless about its youth and future. In the new year Chicago’s homicides seems to be gaining some momentum as more young lives are taken. So far, very few people outside the communities seem to care. If this is the kind of reaction afforded to youth of color struggling to survive in the so-called land of opportunity, no one – absolutely no one has any business to complain.

Rest in Peace, Hadiya and all the other victims of a negligent, careless nation. Maybe someday soon, things will get better for the youth of color. Your deaths will never be in vain.

For those of you who want to help, there are a couple of petitions you can sign to get something started:

Assure the President and his family will attend the funeral of 16 year-old Hadiya Pendleton

President Obama: Make a speech in Chicago addressing the crisis of gun violence

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24 thoughts on “R.I.P. Hadiya Pendleton

  1. This is so tragic. This beautiful girl’s life was cut short by gun violence. It’s so senseless. Mr. Obama needs to address this violence in his city of Chicago. He needs to address the violence in the urban cities of the United States. And I read on another blog that in Los Angeles a Latino gang leader was sentenced to twenty years in prison for terrorizing a neighborhood in Compton they target African Americans they murdered a young girl there a couple of years ago. So the Latinos hate the Black people too? This is so sad and frightening.

    1. The problem in LA has been going on for some time with the black-brown conflict. This nation needs to wake up and stop embarrassing itself by allow this to happen at such outrageous numbers.

  2. Sorry, I seriously doubt that halfrican-hobama will give the “killing fields of Chicago” the necessary attention that it needs. Why? Because he’s is too busy pressing shoulders with the corporate elite of this empire of ours; sending of drones targeting individuals on his wishful kill list, but in reality, killing many more innocents in collateral damage when the target is missed, …..again.

    Furthermore, the psychopathology of halfrican-hobama suggest that he’s still detached not only from reality, but the current plight of black and brown people in Amerikka. He only shed a few tears when the kids’ skin tone is as pale as my wall at my residence. Moreover, if you peer back through Obama’s life trajectory, only then will you begin to realize that he’s a sick prince in need of professional assistance. Hobama was abandoned by his alcoholic Kenyan father. He was continually dropped off at his white grandparents’ house to run around in his soiled pampers. Indeed, he has experienced a lot of mental bruises and pain as a child. In my opinion, these are the reasons why he doesn’t feel any connection whatsoever with black and brown people today.

    Now, he holds one of the most powerful political office in the world only to exact pain targeting people that looks very much like him through his own policies at home and abroad.

    In sum, I will sign the petition for Halfrican-Hobama to hold a news conference regarding Hadiya, I just don’t think that her death will touch his conscious, that’s if he has one.

    1. Sadly, this crossed my mind as well. Still, something has got to give. Obama is in the highest office in the land thanks to many of us, and we need to pressure him and the city to help us and help ourselves.

  3. This makes me so extremely sad. How senseless is this? How can someone just run up to a crowd and start shooting? What have we become? I have only questions and no answers. Life has become expendable to so many of us. Things must change. RIP my little angel.

  4. This really breaks my heart to hear this. This beautiful girl had her whole life ahead of her. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. I will gladly sign that petition. Obama really needs to speak about this murder. If he doesn’t,I think many people will see him in a very different light.

    “In this nation African Americans and Latinos are never seen as victims of a problem. We are seen as the problem. Conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter made that point clear when she blamed this country’s gun violence on minorities.”

    I would have to agree with that statement. It’s an undeniable truth.

      1. His silence is very scary. He definitely needs to say something at this point. But then again he doesn’t face re-election so I guess he can do whatever he wants. He doesn’t have to please anyone. I get the feeling he doesn’t care who he pisses off.

  5. Signed and signed. Hopefully these petitions will get more attention to the gun violence in Chicago then the complete deathly silence it gets now.

  6. Reblogged this on Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings and commented:
    Sad…a beautiful, talented young lady senselessly cut down in cold blood. When will it end?
    I’ll ask this, since I don’t run the risk of being unpopular…I already am. Here it is: why do we only demand that this president do something about it? When the next, white-run president gets into office in 2016 will we all fall silent when these tragedies occur? When will we stop expecting a figurehead to enact real change for real people? If you know the definition of insanity then that is a pertinent, valid question IMHO.

    1. I think people did ask for other Presidents to do something about gun violence, but they were just as silent as the current one. That’s what I believe though. I’m not sure if it actually happened.

      1. It did, yes. The angry white guys with guns demographic threw a shitfit, and the various Presidents and Congresses kissed their asses and did nothing.

  7. I just watched the State of the Union address. I must say I was glad that at least the Oresident did mention Hadiya by name. It was hard to look at her parents though. I know they must be in a living hell. I hope this brings them some sort of comfort.

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