By// Chandler Rollins
Michelle Obama met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a fund raising luncheon for the “Get In Chicago” initiative, Wednesday. The gathering brought 800 leaders from across the city to develop a plan to improve safety in its neighborhoods.
“Get In Chicago” led by Tom Wilson of The Allstate Corporation and Jim Reynolds of Loop Capital will provide opportunities for at risk youth by directly investing into programs that have proven effective in reducing violence.
Chicago’s murders and shootings have decreased over the past two months. The murder rate fell 69 percent in March, 36 fewer murders in the city than in March 2012. Emmanuel addressed guests saying, “We need to make sure that our progress marks not arrested but a permanent reality for the children of the City of Chicago, year end and year out.”
Chicago native, Michelle Obama, spoke of her upbringing on the South Shore and the importance of resources in shaping her life. “I had adults who pushed me, I had activities that engaged me, schools that prepared me to succeed, I had a community that supported me and a neighborhood where I felt safe. And in the end, that was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother, a First Lady of the United States and being shot dead at the age of 15.”
In February, the First Lady attended the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old majorette who was shot and killed at a Chicago Park just days after traveling to Washington for the President Obama’s second inauguration. “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.”
On the verge of tears, she urged Chicago business members to come to join together and show are youth that we believe in them. An effort which she described will be worthy of Hadiya Pendleton’s memory and of our children’s future.
As of today, the business and philanthropic community of Chicago has raised $33 million, more than half of the initiatives’ $50 million goal. For mote information on how to get involved in the program head to www.getINchicago.org.