CHATHAM — Hadiya Pendleton's father may not have had strong opinions about gun laws in the past, but after his daughter's murder, he is fighting for change.
During a South Side forum Monday on violence sponsored by WVON radio, Nathaniel Pendleton said he hopes to help spread the word about the need for new gun laws.
"I am hoping that the president's push for tighter gun laws brings about a difference, and that my daughter's death was not in vain," Pendleton said via teleconference during the Monday forum.
"Even though the funeral is behind me, I am still numb over her death."
He and his wife were invited by first lady Michelle Obama, who attended his daughter's funeral Saturday.
Other panelists at Monday's forum, titled "Trouble in Our House," included Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois; Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League; Richard Wooten of the Chicago Police Department; Che "Rhymefest" Smith, Grammy-winning rapper and community activist; and Harold "Noonie G" Ward, a former gang member.
WVON personality Kendall Moore moderated the forum, which addressed the causes of violence.
"People know who the shooters are and they sit back and watch them walk out the house with a gun," Hardiman said. "Let's get these individuals into counseling to find out why they feel shooting and killing people is OK."
For their part, Zopp said the Chicago Urban League is concentrating on helping youth and ex-offenders find employment. She said unemployment and poverty drives some people into lives of crime.
"We have to create more jobs and fix our [public] schools. These are our children out here shooting people," said Zopp, who is also a Chicago School Board member.
"For us as a community to sit back and do nothing is simply unacceptable."