A week prior to the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, the teen who was randomly shot down in a playground shelter on Jan. 29 in Chicago, I was figuring out how I could be at her Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side.
As a mom, I wanted to support these parents and family members by joining with a community who was grieving for another innocent life lost because too many guns are easily accessed on our streets.
When the event became bigger than life and Michelle Obama flew in, I chose to say a prayer for Hadiya and speak out from home instead.
It seems that the death of this young girl has become emblematic of the gun violence problem, and on a wider scale, a hope for future change
In the shadow of recent gun-related atrocities, including massacres in schools, movie theatres and houses of worship, and especially since Sandy Hook, I have found myself becoming one of the millions of moms saying, "Enough is enough."
In this country, with or without the compliance of the core group of the NRA, we need to begin re-legislating a series of sensible gun laws. Now is not the time to hesitate.
In addition to what has been going on everywhere else, in the last 14 months, there have been three gun-related murders that have affected Oak Park.
- On June 17, 2012, a man in his 20s was shot dead in Oak Park on the 700 block of North Austin Boulevard, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
- On Jan. 2, 2012, an Oak Park and River Forest High School graduate, 19-year-old Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner III, was shot and killed while driving in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood. Police do not believe he was the intended target of the shooting.
- And on Dec. 28, 2011, Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis, 41, was working a part-time security job at M&M Foods, 1201 N. Austin Blvd., when two armed men wearing masks came in around 8:30 p.m. and tried to rob the store, killing him in the process, according to Chicago Police Department Supt. Garry McCarthy at a press conference on Dec. 30.
Who knows what 2013 will bring? I'm not willing to speculate.
In the wake of all that, and in light of all this, especially as we memorialize the short, promising life of Hadiya Pendleton, I am moved to shout out about a topic I rarely touched until now.
Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged the CEOs of two of the biggest financial institutions in the country, Bank of America and TD Bank, to stop supporting gun manufacturers unless the companies agree to "common-sense reforms" on firearms.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, on Thursday, Feb. 1, "Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced plans to shift 200 more sworn officers from desk jobs to street duty and assign them to 'area saturation' teams already focusing on the gang violence that now has a face: 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton."
Yesterday, President Obama's Organizing for Action team digitally blasted out to me and the world that 92% of Americans, 89% of Republicans and 74% of NRA members do support universal background checks for gun sales.
What are we waiting for?