A Chicago public school 7th grader, Malik Bryant, wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking for safety in his gang-ridden neighborhood. Santa never responded, but President Obama did.
By way of DirectEffect Charities’ “Letters to Santa” program in Chicago, Bryant participated with 8,500 other public school students in sending Santa a wish list for Christmas, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
I would like to ask you sum but first Imma tell you about me Im a black African American I stand 5’10 Im In 7th Grade My favorite subject is math I have 2 siblings living with me and Im the only boy on my Moms side of my family But any way all I ask for is for safety I just wanna be safe. Sincerly Malik Bryant [sic]
Bryant’s teacher suggested he receive winter clothes and school supplies, which looked to be added to the bottom of his letter. (See below: Scarf, gloves, hat, school supplies)
What usually happens is, the letters are sent out to charitable “Santas” around Chicago who then fulfill the children’s wish lists, typically toys and video games. But the charity organization’s CEO, Michelle DiGiacomo, was so struck by the absence of material items in Bryant’s wish list, she decided to try and get it forwarded to President Obama. And through her congressman, Rep. Michael Quigley (D-IL), she was able to.
In a nicely packaged first class envelope, Bryant received the typed letter signed by the president. It read:
I want to offer you a few words of encouragement this holiday season.
Each day I strive to ensure communities like yours are safe places to dream, discover, and grow. Please know your security is a priority for me in everything I do as president. If you dare to be bold and creative, work hard every day, and care for others, I’m confident you can achieve anything you imagine.
I wish you and your family the very best for the coming year, and I will be rooting for you. Sincerely, Barack Obama.
As seen in the video above, the Chicago Sun-Times was there with cameras when Bryant opened and read the president’s letter. After reading it, Bryant described how he can’t go outside to play ball or ride his bike. He had even seen his murdered friend lying in the street just blocks from his house. Bryant responded to Obama’s letter: “I’m surprised he wrote it but it’s not going to solve safety reasons out here. It’s still dangerous.”
Don’t worry, Malik, President Obama is rooting for you.
All the while the Chicago Sun-Times proclaims, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”