Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was shot and killed a little more than a week after taking part in inaugural festivities in Washington.
As first lady Michelle Obama and mourners paid their respects, a Chicago family buried a 15-year-old girl Saturday amid renewed calls for an end to gun violence.
Hadiya Pendleton, an honors student and band majorette in prep school, died after being shot while talking with friends on Jan. 29, little more than a week after visiting Washington to perform at an event for President Obama's second inauguration.
"She's important because all of those lives and voices of those families who were ignored - she now speaks for them," said Hadiya's godfather, Damon Stewart. "I don't believe in coincidence - God needed an angel. God needed to send somebody for us to change."
Hadiya's mother, Cleopatra Pendleton, told mourners: "No mother, no father should ever have to experience this.''
Mrs. Obama, who did not speak at the service, met privately with Mrs. Pendleton and other family members, while the president sent a note pledging to work to end the scourge of gun violence.
Displayed at the funeral, the president's note said: "Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya's passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence."
Kristina Schake, communications director for Michelle Obama, said that, "as a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence. Too many times we've seen young people struck down with so much of their lives ahead of them."
The shooter, a suspected gang member who may have fired randomly into a crowd of students, has not been apprehended.
Hadiya's death accelerated calls for new federal gun-control legislation proposed shortly after the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.
Those calls are particularly loud in Chicago, which recorded 506 homicides in 2012.
During the funeral, two friends of Hadiya read a poem that compared the violence in Chicago to that of Iraq. The girls also spoke to the killer, saying: "Know that you killed an innocent person."
Father Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and activist, said during the funeral that Hadiya has become the face of an "epidemic of violence causing funeral processions around the country," and that "we must become the interrupters of funeral processions."
The hundreds of mourners included Hadiya's fellow majorettes, wearing their black and gold team jackets. During the service, they presented Hadiya's jacket in a frame.
The funeral included a heavy security presence because of Michelle Obama's attendance.
The first lady went to the funeral with two other administration officials who hail from Chicago, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Other public officials also attended the funeral at Greater Harvest Baptist Church in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood. They included Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff for President Obama.
The shooting took place about a mile from the Obamas' home in Chicago.
The Obama administration has proposed a legislative package that includes a renewed assault-weapons ban, expanded background checks for gun buyers, and restrictions on the size of ammunition magazines, as well as new school safety and mental health programs.
Some congressional Republicans say gun-control laws are ineffective and violate Second Amendment rights to gun ownership; they attribute gun violence more to challenges like gang activity, the drug trade and mental health issues.
David Jackson, USA TODAY