U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor packed the Chicago Public Library Wednesday night.
People began lining up at 1 p.m. for the 6 p.m. event and all of the 500 plus seats in the Winter Garden and 200 more in the overflow room were taken. Hundreds of people were turned away.
Justice Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court, was introduced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel."'I don't know of another justice who would get this kind of turnout," the mayor said.
He added, "She has brought a heartbeat to the Supreme Court."
Even though the crowd treated Justice Sotomayor like a rock star, she spoke with great humility.
The Supreme Court justice is on a book tour to promote her memoir called "My Beloved World."
She spoke of the hardships of growing up in a Bronx housing project, with an alcoholic father and suffering from juvenile diabetes.
"Life is not easy. It wasn't easy for me," Justice Sotomayor said.
But she said she imagined there were people in the audience who had a harder life than hers.
What Justice Sotomayor emphasized was that we should all pursue our dreams but that we shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.
"Most of us fail at what we do because we don't ask for help," she said.
She also spoke about the importance of role models. They affirm, "Yes, someone like me can do this," she said.
Justice Sotomayor said in a 60 Minutes interview that she likes to be known as Sonia from the Bronx.
She told the audience in Chicago that we should not make assumptions about people who live in poverty or in housing projects.
"There are families there like mine who are living honorable lives," she said.
Justice Sotomayor also explained the importance of her Puerto Rican heritage. Her parents were born in Puerto Rico and she was born in New York.
During the question and answer period, someone asked her to name her favorite Puerto Rican food.
"Mama's chuletas," Justice Sotomayor said saying that her mother's pork chops were her favorite.
She laughed when she explained that she even took her mother's pork chop pan when she visited her in Florida.
She earlier said that most Americans may not realize that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and that that they have fought for the U.S. in wars and died at a disproportionately high rate.
Justice Sotomayor acknowledged that we have a long way to go to have true equality in the United States.
"There are so many differences among us but what is important is our commonality," she said.
Sotomayor hugged many who asked her questions and even popped in to greet those of us who watched her on a video screen in the overflow room.
She shared her heart with people on a chilly night in Chicago.