When I heard about Hadiya Pendleton’s death I immediately thought of my cousin. Like Hadiya she attended King College Prep and was a member of the band. However while my cousin, a few years older, attends college and looks forward to a bright future Hadiya’s life was snuffed out before it began.
Before Hadiya’s murder I heard reports that there were request being made for President Obama to come to Chicago and make a speech addressing violence. I thought how is that going to help. Will the President’s speech erase decades of Jim Crow like segregation in Chicago? Will it heal a city suffering from the legacy of a Mayor named Daley? Will a speech from Obama help erase the legacy of crack cocaine as the children born addicted to the drug come of age and have children of their own? Will it reconstruct the State Street Corridor, that was once home to the largest housing project in the country, and give the city an opportunity to think critically about how it would place and/or acclimate people who existed in an almost subhuman subculture before they were nonstrategically dispersed throughout the city decimating once vibrant middle class neighborhoods?