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Michelle Obama brings anti-violence message to Chicago

First Lady Michelle Obama is visiting Chicago on Wednesday to help find ways to tackle the city’s gun violence problem.

She will have lunch at the Hilton Chicago with Mayor Emanuel, and business and civic leaders, as part of an effort to raise $50 million to support programs that help youths stay away from crime.

After that, she will visit Harper High School in the West Englewood neighborhood.

 

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Dozens of Chicago Public Schools students are headed to Washington DC today for a college tour, with a very special guide.

First Lady Michelle Obama will take them around Howard University, then talk to them about the importance of higher education.

It’s part of the Escape to Mecca program, which inspires African-American students to attend college by immersing them in campus life.

The First Lady was home in Chicago today and tackling a tough subject and speaking out against youth violence.
Michelle Obama fought back tears at one point during her speech this afternoon as she spoke about Hadiya Pendleton. The First Lady compared her own upbringing to that of the 15-year-old girl who was murdered in January.

Speaking to several hundred of Chicago’s top corporate and philanthropic leaders, Michelle Obama headlined the first major event for Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Public Safety Action Community Fund, raising private money to fund community programs for at-risk youth. The First Lady urged business leaders to help the mayor create opportunities for kids who live in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

The mayor hopes to raise $50 million dollars in private money.  So far, the initiative has raised $33 million.

After the First Lady’s event today the Loop, she made her way south into anarea hit hardest by gun violence in Chicago. She spoke to students at Harper High School in the city’s West Englewood. Nearly 30 students, current and former, have been shot just in the last year.  8 of those students died after being shot.

Michelle Obama made a point of sitting down and talking with students at the school and listened to them, she promised, so she could report back to the president.

What the teens heard from her, however, is something they will take with them for a lifetime.

The First Lady spent over two hours talking to about 20 kids living on the front lines who are worried about their lives every day because of gun violence that has taken over their neighborhoods.

The homicide statistics are making headlines nationwide and the Obamas  appear to be acknowledging a growing problem in their hometown that the nation can no longer ignore. In Washington today, two senators introduced a bi-partisan gun control bill.

But kids on the streets of Chicago aren’t tuning into the political debate, they are fighting the war on the their front steps.

 

First Lady Michelle Obama brought a message of anti-violence to her hometown on Wednesday.

During her visit, Mrs. Obama spoke at a luncheon hosted by Mayor Emanuel at the Hilton Chicago, encouraging business and civic leaders to raise $50 million to support programs that help youths stay away from crime.

In emotional remarks, the first lady recalled the shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old who was murdered a week after performing in Washington during President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Saying, “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her,” Obama reflected on the opportunities that led her to the White House instead of a similar fate.

Back in February, the first lady attended Pendleton’s funeral. The 15 year-old honor student was shot and killed at a park in the North Kenwood neighborhood, which is just about a mile from the First Family’s home. Mrs. Obama has kept in close contact with the Pendletons.

After the luncheon, Mrs. Obama was scheduled to visit Harper High School in the West Englewood neighborhood. She will meet with a small group of students and counselors to hear first-hand about their experiences with violence. Twenty-nine current or former Harper students have been shot in the last year, eight of them fatally.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.

First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Chicago on Wednesday to help find ways to tackle the city’s gun violence problem.

She will have lunch at the Hilton Chicago with Mayor Emanuel, and business and civic leaders, as part of an effort to raise $50 million to support programs that help youths stay away from crime.

After that, she will visit Harper High School in the West Englewood neighborhood. She will meet with a small group of students and counselors to hear first-hand about their experiences with violence. Twenty-nine current or former Harper students have been shot in the last year, eight of them fatally.

Back in February, the First Lady attended Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral. The 15 year-old Honor Student was shot and killed at a park in the North Kenwood neighborhood, which is just about a mile from the First Family’s home. Mrs. Obama has kept in close contact with the Pendletons. She invited them to the State of Union address, and then again to the “Easter Egg Roll” at the White House.

WGN News Writer C. Hayes published this story.

First lady Michelle Obama has chosen Harper High School as one of her stops on her visit to Chicago today; and gun control will be foremost on her mind.

In just the past year, eight Harper students have been shot to death, 21 others injured; Mrs. Obama plans to meet privately with a small group of students and counselors to hear their stories.

The first lady will also be the featured speaker at a luncheon at the Hilton Chicago hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The mayor is trying to raise $50 million to expand city programs for at-risk children.

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