The First Lady Makes Another Visit To The Chi, Speaks To Harper High Students

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Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama payed her third visit of 2013 to her hometown Chicago. With compassion and humbleness, she talked to the students of Englewood’s Harper High School, where (according to the White House) 29 current or former students had been shot in the last year. Eight of the 29 were killed.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama sat and talked during a two hour meeting with 22 students who were involved in their school’s youth programs. Each student had personal experiences with city gun violence to share.

“She said, ‘Have you ever experienced a family member hurt or killed?’ I told her, ‘Yeah.’ When she was talking about how her life was and how we changed her, she got real emotional. I was like ‘Wow, we see the first lady crying.’ Tears were coming out her eyes,” said 16 year old Ta’taleisha Jones, who was present at the meeting.

Earlier in the day, the First Lady expressed her views on gun violence in front of business leaders at a luncheon hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She spoke about 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot a mile away from the Obama’s Kenwood home only a week after performing at the president’s inaugural parade.

“Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her, but I got to grow up, and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and have a career and a family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine,” she said. “… Hadiya’s family did everything right, but she still didn’t have a chance.”

Some young people were elated by the First Lady’s appearance, like Harper High senior Donte Tanner who said that “her being down to earth and so genuine and truthful brought out what politics really should be doing.”

Other students weren’t as optimistic, such as 11-year-old Dejuan Cox who said that it was nice that the first lady visited, but still believes that it won’t stop the violence.

So what do you think? Are these White House visits inspiring and sparking hope for a better Chicago? Or are they just another example of all talk and no action? Say what you feel in the comments box below.

By: Kennedy Ward, Junior, Morgan Park High School

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