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Michelle Obama speaks out for forgotten kids in violent neighborhoods

Updated: June 7, 2013 6:28AM

First lady Michelle Obama pointed to a South Side neighborhood while discussing the struggle facing children who grow up in violent communities and called on the nation to “embrace” the group, which often feels forgotten.

In an interview with CBS that aired Sunday, the first lady spoke of visiting Harper High School students in April in the West Englewood neighborhood, which she said “has been riddled with violence.”

She said she heard “stories of how every day [students] wake up and they wonder whether they’re going to make it to school alive. I mean every single kid worries about their own death, or the death of someone, every single day.”

“One kid told me he felt like he lived in a cage because he feels like his community is unseen, unheard, and nobody cares about it. What’s our obligation to these kids? We do have one.”

The White House pointed out that 29 current or former Harper students had been shot in the past year. Eight of them were killed.

“We have millions of kids living in these kinds of circumstances, and we as a nation have to embrace these kids and let them know that we hear them, we see them,” said the first lady, who grew up on the South Side. She visited the school not long after the shooting death of 15-year-old honors student Hadiya Pendleton, which occurred about a mile from the Obama family’s Kenwood home.

In a speech in Chicago last month, the first lady said, “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her.”

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