President Obama has had to address gun violence a lot in the last few months, but the lack of attention he’s paid to Chicago hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Black Youth Project has launched an “Obama Come Home” petition, urging the commander in chief tackle the issue.
Chicago had over 500 homicides in 2012, and will do similar numbers this year. January saw more than 40 people killed, including 15-year-old Hadiya Pendelton. The teen performed at the president’s inauguration, and was shot blocks from his Chicago home, heightening the public’s call for the POTUS to do something.
Following Pendleton’s death, the White House released a statement on behalf of the president and first lady, but residents, activists, and Hip-Hop figures in the Windy City feel the gesture isn’t enough. “We know President Obama cannot solve the issue of gun violence alone,” the petition reads. “However, he can call the nation to consciousness about the need for a response to this crisis.”
Since the Sandy Hook shooting massacre, Obama has called for stricter gun laws. He has made mention of Chicago but hasn’t given it nearly as much press as the aforementioned incident which he noted as the “worst day” of his presidency.
“Black and Latino youth are facing a crisis that demands the leadership of our president,” said Black Youth Project founder, Cathy Cohen. “Young Black and Latino citizens turned out in record numbers for this president in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections. They stood by him. Now they need him to stand with them for a change.”
The Black Youth Project is a diverse online resource aimed at enriching the lives of Black youth. It’s petition seeks to amass 50,000 signatures.
Photo: Pete Souza