30 January 2013

Two days after writing about a Chicago mother who lost all four of her children to gun fire, I didn’t expect to be revisiting Chicago and murder again, but I am.

A week after marching with Chicago’s King Prep Marching Band in Washington, D.C. in celebration of  President Obama’s inauguration, 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down yesterday after leaving her high school.

We already know this is unacceptable. No one, not even Wayne LaPierre, would say slaying an innocent 15-year old girl who was looking forward to spending the summer studying in Paris is behavior that we can condone. But when do words become action? At what point do we actually do anything about it?  I know there aren’t simple solutions to deeply systemic societal issues, but all I see is empty rhetoric and lots of posturing.

Today, Congress dithered back and forth about gun control and Chicago officials held a press conference spewing useless comments about how Harsh Park, where Pendleton was murdered, doesn’t belong to the gangs, it belongs to the community. I’m sure that will make parents feel better about sending their kids there to play. 

Pendleton’s godfather, Damon Stewart, who is a Chicago police officer, told the Associated Press that his own brother had been gunned down when Stewart was 12.  Does any of this make any sense? Of course not. Yet it happens over and overin cities across the country. 

An $11,000 reward is being offered for information about Pendleton’s death. That’s money that should be going toward funding some child’s bright future rather than her death. 

I tried to find out which community groups had put up the reward money so I could contribute to it, but wasn’t able to. Instead I’m sending $10 to The Faith Community of St. Sabina, the outreach arm of Father Michael Pfleger’s parish on Chicago’s South Side.  He spoke at today’s press conference and the church’s website shows that it is taking a very active stance against gun violence  in a community that is riddled with it. It's too late for Hadiya, but maybe St. Sabina's work can save someone else. 

Jan. 30:  The Faith Community of St. Sabina: http://www.saintsabina.org/

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