First lady Michelle Obama will return to Chicago April 10 to speak at a working lunch hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that is aimed at addressing youth violence in the city.
According to an announcement Wednesday by the first lady's office, she will urge business leaders to invest in more opportunities for youth. Participants in the lunch will include representatives of leading civic groups such as the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executives' Club of Chicago and World Business Chicago, which the mayor chairs
Among the business leaders expected are Thomas Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of Allstate Corp. and Allstate Insurance Co., and James Reynolds Jr., founder, chairman and CEO of Loop Capital.
Wilson and Reynolds are heading up an effort by Emanuel to raise $50 million for community-based programs that serve at-risk youth — an effort he announced in February, when last year's spike in homicides, along with the fatal shooting of South Side high school honor student Hadiya Pendleton, was making national news.
Allstate agreed to provide $5 million for the programs during the next five years. The MacArthur Foundation agreed to ante up another $5 million to evaluate youth programs. Nearly $9 million more has been pledged by other businesses and nonprofit groups.
Next month's luncheon will be at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
The first lady last visited her hometown Feb. 28, when she appeared at McCormick Place to roll out her latest anti-obesity initiative, "Let's Move! Active Schools." The trip was timed to the third anniversary of her nationwide campaign to get kids fit.
Michelle Obama also attended a Feb. 9 funeral service for Pendleton, a 15-year-old band majorette who was fatally wounded by gunfire in a North Kenwood park a mile from the Obama family home. Two men have been charged in the slaying. Pendleton had just visited Washington with her high school band to take part in President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities.
The first lady later hosted Pendleton's parents at the president's State of the Union speech Feb. 12. She has invited the girl's 10-year-old brother and other relatives to the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, and they are planning to attend.
Tribune reporter Hal Dardick contributed.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun