First lady Michelle Obama visits Southland


Obama took part in a panel discussion on the unique challenges faced by military families in Beverly Hills.

The first lady shared stories about "Joining Forces," an initiative to help volunteers who want to help military families find service opportunities.

Obama has made support for military families one of her signature issues since her husband took office. This year she is joining Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president, to feature the stories of military families throughout the country.

The first lady met with members of the writers, producers, directors and actors unions at the Writers Guild Theater to discuss how military issues could better be portrayed in film and TV. The first lady thanked industry leaders for what they've done so far, but said that more can be done.

"What we know is that there is a power in this platform we have," Obama said. "You all have the vehicle to tell stories that pull people in. And if we think again about that yearlong goal that in the end this isn't just about the story, it's about having the men and women and their families who serve our country feel the gratitude everyday from a grateful nation."

Obama received a warm welcome from a crowd made up mostly of Hollywood writers, producers and actors.

The discussion got under way at 10 a.m. and was moderated by director J.J. Abrams, who topped the box office this past weekend with the movie, "/*Super 8*/." Parts of Doheny Drive were shut down between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Following the discussion, Obama filmed a scene for the Nickelodeon show iCarly, where the lead character is part of a military family.

"I'm going to put on my acting cape, I've been memorizing my lines," Obama said. "I am terrified. I can give a speech, I can talk to you all, but oh, I am shaking."

The first lady was also appeared at fundraising events in Pasadena and Bel Air for her husband's 2012 reelection campaign.

The cost was $1,000 a person for the one in Pasadena. For $10,000, they were able to take a photo with Obama and spend some time with her.

The one in Bel Air was also a $1,000-per-person dinner.

Obama plans to visit Oakland and San Francisco on Tuesday and fly back to Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

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