The mother of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager who performed at President Obama's inauguration in January and was gunned down weeks later, is the face of a new ad from Guns Against Illegal Guns.
Cleopatra Cowley, mother of the Chicago teen shot and killed just a week after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, is featured in a new public service announcement calling on Congress to reform the nation’s gun laws.
In the ad, paid for by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Cowley advocates for universal background checks on all gun sales. "Tell Congress to support commonsense reforms so no more innocent children are killed. And no parent has to go through this heartbreak."
Cowley’s daughter, Hadiya, has become the one of the most recognizable faces in President Barack Obama’s efforts to curb the country’s gun laws. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the 16-year-old’s funeral earlier this month.
Cowley herself has also become a leading figure in the fight to pass stricter gun control laws. She and her husband sat next to the first lady during last week’s State of the Union address, where the president told her story as part of his attempt to call on Congress to act.
“Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house," Obama said of Hadiya.
The president again told Hadiya’s story during a visit to Chicago later in the week.
The 30-second ad begins with scenes from the president’s inauguration with Cowley narrating that it was “the happiest day” of her daughter’s life. The ad then quickly flashes to a picture of her daughter’s casket.
A day before the State of the Union, Chicago police announced two suspects were charged with murder for Hadiya’s death. Hadiya was with her friends at a park near her school, and police believe the suspects mistakenly they were a rival gand.
Speaking to NBC News after the suspects had been arrested, Cowley said, “My baby deserves a revolution and I pray that what happened her to her will have an impact.”