*When a close friend asked me recently if I thought Barack Obama would respond if she wrote him a letter, I told her, “It would have to be pretty special.” Not to deter her from writing the leader of the free world, but its probably pretty hard to get the guy’s attention – what with all he has to contend with.
But 13-year-old Malik Bryant wasn’t even trying to get Mr. Obama’s attention, and got a letter from the president anyway.
It seems what he wanted for Christmas – safety – struck a chord with Mr. President.
Malik lives in Chicago’s high-poverty, high-crime Englewood neighborhood. And he only asked Santa for one thing this Christmas. In a letter collected through nonprofit group Direct Effect Charities’ annual Letters to Santa program, he said, “I just wanna be safe.”
Did you ever imagine a child needing to ask for such a thing?
The Chicago Sun-Times was the first to report Malik’s story on Monday, and the boy’s letter pulled on the heartstrings of several folks in high places including Direct Effect CEO Michelle DiGiacomo, who reached out to her congressman, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley.
Santa may not have seen the letter, but president Obama did after Quigley instructed his staff to contact President Barack Obama, NBC Chicago reports.
And on Sunday, Malik opened his president’s response to his letter.
“Each day, I strive to ensure communities like yours are safe places to dream, discover, and grow,” Obama wrote. “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.”
Malik told NBC’s “Today” he was surprised the president wrote to him.
“I didn’t expect my letter to go to the White House, but I think it sent a message to everybody that it’s not safe out here in Chicago,” Malik said. “It’s dangerous.”
Read more at HuffPost Black Voices.
Watch Malik tell his story in the video directly below.