On Wednesday, Michelle Obama gave an electrifying speech on gun violence to Chicago business leaders.
Referencing the death of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, slain only days after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the First Lady said, “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her.”
Mrs. Obama, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, similar to Pendleton, added, “But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya? Oh we know that story.” She continued, “Hadiya’s family did everything right, but she still didn’t have a chance.”
Mrs. Obama’s emotional speech urged Chicago leaders to fight gun violence by actively responding to it. “I want to urge you to come together and do something worthy of Hadiya Pendleton’s memory and worthy of our children’s future,” she challenged the listeners. “Join me and Hadiya’s classmates and young people across this city who, by the way, even in the face of so much hardship and such long odds, are still fighting so hard to succeed.”
She concluded her speech, “I look forward to this city being the model of what communities can do to wrap their arms around our youth and make them the best they can be, to embrace all of our neighborhoods and every last one of our children.”
Other parts of Mrs. Obama’s speech touched heavily on White House efforts to improve gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.