Hadiya Pendleton's Mother Appears in PSA for Gun Control

By Kyla Gardner on February 16, 2013 10:42am 

CHICAGO — Days after President Barack Obama told parents of Hadiya Pendelton that they "deserve a vote" in the gun control debate, the slain teen's mother has filmed a PSA to confirm stricter gun laws are exactly what she'd vote for.

"Congress is debating how to fix gun laws," Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton says over a montage of photos and video of her daughter. "They can start with background checks for all gun sales."

The PSA was made by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The bipartisan coalition support a crackdown on illegal guns and includes Mayor Rahm Emanuel as one of its members.

Hadiya, a King College Prep student, was fatally shot in a park just blocks from the school Jan. 29.

Hadiya's death became a focus in gun control debates nationwide. Cowley-Pendleton and Hadiya's father Nathaniel attended the president's State of the Union address as guests of first lady Michelle Obama.

While in D.C., the Pendletons joined 120 survivors and family members affected by gun violence to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill for "common-sense gun reforms," according to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns' Demand a Plan campaign website.

In the PSA, Cowley-Pendleton also talks about the pain of losing her daughter, who was on the majorettes dance team at King.

"When my daughter Hadiya performed at the president’s inauguration, it was the happiest day of her life," Cowley-Pendleton says. "A week later she was murdered, gunned down near her school. A piece of my heart is gone."

Hadiya was an innocent victim of mistaken identity in a gang retaliation shooting, police said.

Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, have been charged with her murder. No weapon has been recovered, police said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has poured nearly $1.4 million into the war chest of Robin Kelly, who is running on an anti-gun platform in the race to represent the 2nd Congressional Distrct.

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