WBEZ | First Lady Michelle Obama http://www.wbez.org/tags/first-lady-michelle-obama Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago remembers teen victim of city gun violence http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-remembers-teen-victim-city-gun-violence-105447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Funeral2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hundreds of mourners and dignitaries, including first lady Michelle Obama, stood and applauded the family of a 15-year-old Chicago girl for their strength Saturday, a week and a half after her death brought national attention to the city&#39;s staggering gun violence.</p><p>One speaker after another at Saturday&#39;s funeral remembered Hadiya Pendleton as more than a symbol, but as a girl who had dreams, joked with her friends and loved school and performing as a majorette with the group that performed at events surrounding President Barack Obama&#39;s inauguration just days before her death on Jan. 29. Police say Pendleton was an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting.</p><p><span id="_oneup">Her godfather, Damon Stewart, said some people on Facebook had asked what made Hadiya&#39;s death noteworthy when more than 40 people had already been slain in Chicago this year &mdash; many without so much as a mention in local newspapers. The answer, Stewart told the packed South Side church, was obvious.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">&quot;She&#39;s important because all those other people who died are important,&quot; Stewart said. &quot;She&#39;s important because all of those lives and voices of those families who were ignored, she now speaks for them. ... I don&#39;t believe in coincidence. God needed an angel. God needed to send somebody for us to change.&quot;</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Michelle Obama met privately with the family before the service and then accompanied the girl&#39;s mother to the open casket at the front of the church. Obama, who grew up on Chicago&#39;s South Side, put her arm around Cleopatra Pendleton and patted her back. The woman threw her head back and wailed as the lid of her daughter&#39;s flower-strewn casket was closed.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Moments later, the hundreds in attendance rose to their feet to begin the service with a round of applause &quot;to the strength of this family.&quot; Then, the choir began to sing so loud the floor shook.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Some of Illinois</span>&#39; most recognizable politicians and clergy were in attendance, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. But Pendleton&#39;s family says her Saturday funeral service was not about politics &mdash; it was about remembering a girl who loved to dance, who once appeared in an anti-gang video.</p><p><span id="_oneup">None of the dignitaries was slated to speak Saturday. Instead, close friends, holding back tears, got up to remember her. One of them said she felt Hadiya was &quot;still here with us, whispering the answers in chemistry.&quot; The captain of the King College Prep majorettes presented Cleopatra Pendleton with her team jacket.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Father Michael Pfleger, a prominent Chicago pastor, said Hadiya was the face of an &quot;epidemic of violence causing funeral processions around the country.&quot;</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">&quot;Sisters and brothers, I beg you,&quot; he said. &quot;We must become like Jesus. We must become the interrupters of funeral processions.&quot;</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Pendleton was shot and killed while she talked with friends after school at a park not far from the Obamas&#39; home in the Kenwood neighborhood. Police have said the shooting appears to be a case of mistaken identity involving gang members who believed the park was their territory. No charges have been filed.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Pendleton&#39;s death brought new attention to Chicago&#39;s homicide rate and the national debate over gun violence. Pendleton&#39;s slaying came in a January that was the city&#39;s deadliest in a decade. In 2012, Chicago recorded 506 homicides.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">A glossy, eight-page funeral program included photos of Pendleton and details about her life, including her favorite foods &mdash; cheeseburgers, fig cookies, Chinese and ice cream &mdash; and the numerous school organizations she was involved in. The program also included a copy of a handwritten note from President Obama addressed to the girl&#39;s family.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">&quot;Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya&#39;s passing,&quot; it reads. &quot;We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God bless, Barack Obama.&quot;</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Other dignitaries at the service were Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett &mdash; all of whom are from Chicago.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Quinn mentioned Pendleton&#39;s death in his State of the State address earlier this week as he called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">&quot;There are no words in the English language . or any language . to relieve the pain of parents who lose a child,&quot; Quinn said.</span></p></p> Sat, 09 Feb 2013 13:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-remembers-teen-victim-city-gun-violence-105447 Today in presidential history: President and First Lady Obama vote early, and in her case, absentee http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/today-presidential-history-president-and-first-lady-obama-vote-early-and-her-case <p><p>President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama announced Monday afternoon that they were voting early in the 2012 Presidential Election and, in the case of the First Lady, early and absentee.</p><p>According to a statement released by the Obama campaign the pair &quot;are making history by voting early in person and by mail in order to promote the ease, convenience, and importance of voting.&quot;</p><p>The First Lady sent out this tweet Monday afternoon:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><a href="https://twitter.com/MichelleObama/status/257890221545369600"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/michelle%20votes.jpg" title="" /></a></div><p>She then sent a photo of herself with her absentee ballot:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><a href="https://twitter.com/MichelleObama/status/257890221545369600"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/first%20lady%20ballot.png" title="(Obama for America/Jocelyn Augustino)" /></a></div><p>But the President won&#39;t be missing out on the typical photo opportunity voting on election day provides candidates election day; he retweeted the First Lady, and noted that he would be voting in Chicago on October 25:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><a href="https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/257891902035214336"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/obama%20votes.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div><p>The Obama campaign has put a large emphasis on early voting in this election, as demonstrated in these videos for the campaign targeting swing states like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQhhiba5PIc">Ohio </a>and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3jDk80NDwU">Iowa</a>.&nbsp;<a href="http://vote.barackobama.com/en/IL/early-voting/">Early voting in Illinois</a>&nbsp;begins October 22 and ends November 1; voter registration ended October 9.</p><p>Since we&#39;ll miss the whole family voting together this year, here&#39;s a few photos of the pair -- with their children Sasha and Malia -- voting in Chicago at&nbsp;Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School&nbsp;on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3008241693_965a58f7a8_o.jpg" style="height: 718px; width: 620px; " title="Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator Barack Obama and his wife Michelle vote in Chicago, IL on election day, Nov. 4, 2008. (David Katz/Obama for America)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3008241427_03b14bb3fc_o.jpg" style="height: 605px; width: 620px; " title="Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator Barack Obama and his wife Michelle vote in Chicago, IL on election day, Nov. 4, 2008. (David Katz/Obama for America)" /></div></p> Mon, 15 Oct 2012 14:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/today-presidential-history-president-and-first-lady-obama-vote-early-and-her-case Early voting ends today http://www.wbez.org/story/absentee-ballot/early-voting-ends-today <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-28/obama.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thursday is the last day to vote early in Illinois. It's also the final day to apply for an absentee ballot in the state. Election officials in Chicago are expected to give an update on early voting turnout later Thursday.<br /><br />So far in suburban Cook County, more than 70,000 people have voted early. That's more than double the total number of suburban residents who voted in the previous midterm election in 2006.</p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/absentee-ballot/early-voting-ends-today