While speaking in Chicago at a conference on youth violence this week, Michelle Obama compared herself to Hadiya Pendleton, the honor student from her hometown who was shot to death a week after performing as a majorette in the presidential inaugural parade.
“Hadiya Pendleton was me and I was her,” Mrs. Obama said. “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.”
Mrs. Obama said the only difference between herself and the young people killed on the Chicago streets is that she had a few more advantages — involved adults, good schools, a supportive community and a safe neighborhood.
“That was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother and first lady of the United States and being shot dead at the age of 15,” Mrs. Obama said.
Mrs. Obama also spoke of gun proposals that the president is trying to get passed, but made sure to mention that in order to reduce the murders in Chicago it will require an intensive effort by community leaders.
“Right now, my husband is fighting as hard as he can and engaging as many people as he can to pass common sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence,” Mrs. Obama said to applause. “And these reforms deserve a vote in Congress.”