Michelle Obama speaking up in So Cal

07/16/2014 4:50 pm0 commentsViews: 36

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The inability of veterans to find jobs is
“unacceptable” in the United States, and the idea of even one veteran being
homeless should “horrify all of us,” first lady Michelle Obama told a
gathering of government and business leaders today in Century City.
Speaking at a Unite for Veterans summit aimed at finding ways to boost
employment and end homelessness among veterans, Obama hailed efforts by local
businesses and Mayor Eric Garcetti to tackle problems facing veterans. But she
said more work is needed from all levels of society to end those problems.
“After everything they have done for us, the idea that any of our
veterans are spending months or event years struggling to find a job is
unacceptable. It’s unacceptable,” she told the crowd at the Century Plaza
Hotel. “And the image of even one of these heroes sleeping out in the cold,
huddled up next to an overpass, that should horrify all of us. Because that’s
not who we are.
“And the truth is we know that there are simple steps that we can take,
whether that’s in business, government or in our communities, to prevent and
solve these problems,” she said.
Obama, continuing a two-day swing through the Southland, noted that one
out of every 10 homeless veterans in America lives in Los Angeles. But she
hailed a commitment by Garcetti to end veteran homelessness by the end of next
year.
“And I know that’s a big number, and make no mistake it is an
aggressive goal,” she said. “But we have seen time and time again that if you
break these numbers down, if you work on the ground with landlords to find open
apartments, with developers to build new housing, if you rally community groups
and congregations around this issue, then this problem becomes imminently
solvable.”
She also hailed Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong initiative, aimed at finding
jobs for 10,000 veterans by 2017.
“I really, really want to commend you for doing this the right way,
because you’re not just talking about hiring these veterans, you’re talking
about retaining them and giving them a chance to grow in the years ahead,”
Obama said. “You’re including volunteers to work with veterans on their
resumes, holding mock interviews. You’re focusing on good jobs, jobs in health
care and entertainment, jobs in engineering, finance and so much more.”
After her speech, Obama mingled with the crowd, shaking hands and
speaking with attendees at the Unite for Veterans Summit.
A short time later, Obama spoke

at the Grammy Museum's Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon. Photo by Gary McCarthy

Michelle Obama at the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner
Education Award Luncheon.
Photo by Gary McCarthy

The award honors educators who “find innovative ways
to engage students by integrating music in their classrooms and curricula.”
This year’s honoree was Sunshine Cavalluzzi, a teacher at El Dorado High
School in Placentia. She was recognized for what the museum called her
“innovative economics lesson plans.” Six-time Grammy nominee Janelle Monae
was also honored for her “continued commitment to Grammy Museum educational
programming.”
Obama told the crowd that when big-name musicians come to perform at the
White House, they spend time leading workshops and mentoring sessions with
young people.
“Thanks to your generosity, the Grammy Museum has flown nearly 1,000
students to Washington to visit the White house and take part in these
programs, and thousands more have participated by video,” she said. “These
young people have had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They’ve explored
soul music with Janelle Monae, learned about country music with Lyle Lovett,
Darius Rucker, Kris Kristofferson. As you heard, the talked about Motown with
Smokey Robinson and John Legend.
“I could go on and on,” she said. “These sessions are amazing.”
She pointed to students showing that kids who are involved in the arts
have higher grades, graduation rates and college-enrollment rates.
“But today, as we honor your work to promote arts education and we
recognize leaders like Sunshine and Janelle, we also need to be thinking about
all the young people who will never have these opportunities in this country,”
Obama said. “We need to be thinking about the 6 million children in this
country who don’t have a single art or music class in their schools.”
On Tuesday, Obama took part in a Democratic National Committee
fundraiser, speaking at a $5,000-a-person roundtable discussion at the home of
Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, and his partner, architect
Sonny Ward.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to return to Los Angeles next week
for a pair of fundraisers. He is scheduled to attend an event at the home of
“Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes, with actress Kerry Washington co-hosting, on
July 23. Tickets will range from $1,000 to $32,400.
The next day, the president is expected to attend a roundtable
discussion with about 30 people at the home of Michael Rapino, CEO of Live
Nation, with tickets costing $32,400 each.

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