Writing at his website, Earl Ofari Hutchinson weighs in on the debate surrounding whether President Obama should attend the funeral of the 15-year-old girl who was gunned down on the South Side of Chicago soon after performing at his inaugural festivities.
The clamor continues for President Obama to attend the funeral of 15 year old honor student Hadiya Pendleton gunned down on a Southside Chicago street. There's even an online petition on the White House website imploring Obama to attend. The petition delicately sidesteps the issue of race and whether black lives are less valued than those of whites. But the glaring fact is that Pendleton's murder unlike that of countless other virtually nameless and faceless young African-American victims of murder violence in Chicago and other inner city neighborhoods made national news because she had returned to Chicago just days earlier from performing at Obama's inaugural festivities.
Obama has certainly not ignored Pendleton's horrendous murder. He deplored the killing and offered compassion and support directly to her family. The family has publicly expressed their appreciation for his outreach to them. However for many that's simply not enough. The constant carp is that Obama went to Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut and expressed sympathy for the victims of the mass slaughter in both places. They incessantly remind that blacks, and that foremost includes blacks in Chicago, have been the biggest, most enthusiastic of his supporters, and in several states pivotal to his election and reelection triumphs.
The heavy inference is that Obama owes blacks more than just distant words of support, but concrete action. And since gun violence has been a relentless and horrific plague in poor black communities, and he's on a crusade against it, Pendleton's funeral should be a mandatory stop for him to send the strong message that black lives are just as important as any others. These are painful points to ponder …
The push for Obama to attend Pendleton’s funeral, though, begs the question of whether he has a special obligation to appear at every victim of violence's funeral. The answer is no.
Read Earl Ofari Hutchinson's entire piece at the Hutchinson Report News.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.