Cole, the founder of My Block, My Hood, My City — a nonprofit group that takes teenagers from the city's South and West sides to explore neighborhoods they don't often get to see, is hoping to acquire tickets to Tuesday's address after striking out waiting in line Saturday.
Cole and a few friends were at McCormick Place at 5 a.m., ready to stand in line to try and get some of the free tickets that were offered to the public for Obama's farewell speech.
Despite a 5 hour wait, the group left empty-handed, and Cole felt like he failed the teens he hoped to take to the historic event. After a disappointing outcome at McCormick Place, he reached out on Facebook to ask for any help getting the group into the event.
Cole ideally hopes to get 10-15 tickets for the group. He says if they aren't able to get in, the group will stream the speech live, but he's hopeful and believes that My Block, My Hood, My City will be in attendance at the event.
"I think people recognize these teenagers need to go and see Barack Obama speak," Cole said. "If anybody can relate to the plight of these teens, Obama can."
President Obama can greatly influence the young minds he works with, especially since Obama himself started as a community activist, Cole points out. And he believes it would be valuable for the teens to see a sitting president speak, that the experience could "empower them with values and change their trajectory in life."
"We're always hearing about issues in Chicago with our teenagers, what better way to make an investment in their future than by having them be inspired by our sitting president?" Cole said.
The group would appreciate any ticket donations, but Cole hopes to hear response from politicians, who he mentions in his Facebook post. Although not singling them out, Cole says that politicians are role models, whether they know it or not, and that "people aspire to be them, so it would be cool to have a politician take a teen along with them," Cole said.
No matter what, Cole hopes that Obama's remarks on Tuesday "empowers the next generation of future leaders in our city."
If you would like to donate tickets or help My Block, My Hood, My City attend Tuesday's event, contact Jahmal Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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