President Obama: Make a Speech in Chicago Addressing the Crisis of Gun Violence
  • Petitioned President Obama

This petition was delivered to:

The President Of The United States
President Obama

President Obama: Make a Speech in Chicago Addressing the Crisis of Gun Violence

    1. Petition by

      Aisha Truss-Miller & Family with the Black Youth Project

February 2013


After thousands of people signed Aisha and the Black Youth Project's petition calling on President Obama to "come home" to Chicago and address gun violence in his home town and other cities, the President came to Chicago on February 15th and made a speech on gun violence. The Black Youth Project said: "Thank you to the 49,000 individuals from across the nation that signed their name in solidarity and made their voices heard. President Obama’s speech included points with which we strongly agree, as well as points that we strongly contest. Regardless, we thank the President for answering our collective call, and we will continue to work with any and all individuals and organizations committed to combating the systemic challenges that threaten the lives of Black and Latino youth. Now that the President has come and gone, we all have work to do!"

A week after performing at President Obama's Inauguration, 15-year-old Chicago student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in my city -- another young life taken as the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago impacts another family. The news about Hadiya immediately triggered memories and feelings associated with my cousin, Leonard Truss, who was shot and killed by an AR-15 in front of his home just before his 18th birthday, only a few blocks from where Hadiya was murdered.

My cousin was joyful and considerate. I remember taking him to baseball games and youth events, and how he was always more than happy to carry elder’s grocery bags; but like Hadiya, and too many youth in Chicago and across the country, his life ended too soon.

That's why my family and I are joining with the Black Youth Project to ask President Obama to come to Chicago and honestly speak on the root causes of gun violence in Black and Latino communities. This speech must be a substantive one, that includes specifics on the policies and programs his administration will initiate to save the lives and improve the futures of our young people.

We know that President Obama cannot solve the issue of gun violence alone. However, he can call the nation to consciousness about the need for a response to this specific crisis that is affecting youth in cities like mine.

President Obama rightly went to Newtown to comfort the families who lost children in that horrific tragedy, and now it is time he come home to Chicago and comfort the over 500 families who have lost loved ones to gun violence in the past year.

Youth in my community face specific challenges that lead to gun violence -- and these challenges require different solutions than other tragedies commonly invoked in current gun control debates, like Newtown and Aurora. It is time President Obama talked openly and honestly with the nation about all the factors that threaten the lives of inner-city youth; namely gun violence and the illegal distribution and loose regulation of arms, the lack of living-wage jobs, the varied shortcomings of public schools, the disproportionate rate of incarceration for youth of color, the circumstances and culture that propels the cycle of violence, and yes, the misguided choices young people sometimes make.

We are facing a crisis that demands the leadership of our President and our country. Please stand up for and with Black, Latino, and inner-city youth by signing this petition.

Recent signatures


    1. Pres. Obama Announces Visit to Chicago to Address Gun Violence!

      45,000 signatures later, we're pleased to report that President Obama will visit Chicago this Friday.

      According to the Sun-Times, his remarks will address a variety of post-State of the Union topics, but will shine a particular spotlight on Chicago’s gun violence crisis.

      We thank you all for signing your names in solidarity with us, and we thank President Obama for answering our collective call.

      However, we urge the President to make his speech a substantive one that addresses the underlying factors that perpetuate violence in Black and Latino communities.

      We hope his speech will detail how he will work with community groups, city and state officials to address the underlying issues leading to gun violence in the Windy City, and other cities across the country.


    2. Reached 40,000 signatures
    3. WaPost: Why won’t Obama stand up for Chicago’s slain youth?

      "As the president, Obama sets the tone for what is recognized as a national crisis, a tragedy and a priority. He does this through speeches that greatly shape public opinion and help set the country’s collective agenda. He also does it through his physical presence, marking sites as significant and worthy of national attention. We must not forget, however, that the president’s silence and absence also speak volumes to the American people."

      Why won't Obama stand up for Chicago's slain youth?

      Michelle Obama, accompanied by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is scheduled to attend the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday. Pendleton, an honor-roll student who had performed as a majorette during the presidential inauguration ceremony, was fatally shot in her home town of Chicago on Jan.

    4. President Obama Still Needs to Speak to Youth of Chicago

      The White House just announced that the First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday. This seems to us at the Black Youth Project an appropriate response to this incredible tragedy. We hope the First Lady’s attendance at Hadiya’s funeral will provide some comfort to her loved ones.

      The family and friends of Hadiya Pendleton have our sincerest condolences, and are in our prayers.

      At the same time we want to be clear that Michelle Obama’s presence at the funeral does not in any way address the systemic issues contributing to gun violence in Chicago and other urban areas.

      Mr. President! Come home to Chicago and give a major speech on gun violence, detailing how you will work with community groups, city and state officials to address the underlying issues leading to gun violence in the Windy City. We need your voice and leadership.

      President Obama Still Needs to Come Home; First Lady Attending Funeral Not Enough

      The White House just announced that the First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton on Saturday. This seems to us at the Black Youth Project an appropriate response to this incredible tragedy. We hope the First Lady's attendance at Hadiya's funeral will provide some comfort to her family and friends.

    5. Reached 4,000 signatures
    6. BYP Founder Discusses Our Petiton to the President on MSNBC!

      "Even in cities like Chicago–which have some of the strictest gun laws in the country–gun violence is rampant, with continual record high homicide numbers. “Those gun laws aren’t comprehensive,” said founder of the Black Youth Project Cathy Cohen. Saddened by the shooting death last week of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, Cohen called for President Obama to visit Chicago to address the issue. “We want him to come home,” Cohen said. The president has visited Aurora and Newtown, and, Cohen said, “our children are worthy also.”

      As gun violence continues, time to make leaders accountable - MSNBC

      Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords returned to Capitol Hill last Wednesday to address the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a moving plea on the issue of gun control. "Too many children are dying," said Giffords, herself a victim of gun violence.

    7. NY Daily News Spotlights Our Petition to President Obama

      "There were more than 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, and 108 of those victims were 19 or younger, according to the Black Youth Project. Pendleton was one of 42 people murdered in Chicago in January.

      “These last couple of years are the worst I have ever seen,” Truss-Miller told the Daily News.

      That’s why the Black Youth Project enlisted the help of Truss-Miller, a passionate community organizer who works for Affinity Community Services, a social justice organization."

      Read more:

      Petition urges President Obama to visit Chicago in wake of Hadiya Pendleton murder

      Uncredited/AP Hadiya Pendleton was fatally shot in Chicago on Jan. 29, not long after performing during President Obama's inauguration. One week after an honor student who performed during Obama's inauguration was killed, other young people in Chicago are asking the President to pay attention to gun violence in his hometown.

    8. Reached 3,000 signatures



    Feb 08, 2013

    @tnewmstweet I signed

    mia farrow


    Feb 01, 2013

    Please everyone RT and sign petition that Obama address Chicago Gun violence.



    Feb 01, 2013

    RT @therealbakari Black Youth Project petition asks President Obama to stand up for Chicago victims of gun violence.

    Van Jones


    Jan 31, 2013

    Do you think President Obama should come to Chicago & address the violence?

    Jasiri X

    Reasons for signing

    • Sadesta Jacques DALE CITY, VA
      • 9 months ago

      This is our future

    • Kerry Johnson WATERLOO, IA
      • over 1 year ago

      Stop the senseless killings.......

    • judith johnson HUMBLE, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      Because. Its right thing to do

    • Carlotta Stanley BRODHEADSVILLE, PA
      • over 1 year ago

      I'm only one person and if my signature will help to do the right, humane thing, it is important that I sign.

    • Mary Patterson DURHAM, NC
      • over 1 year ago

      President Obama needs to get the guns out of the hands of the doofuss and ignorant people first. Then enforce stiffer back ground checks on people with the need for weapons of mass destruction. What will you be using this weapon for / purpose of purchase? This way a person must either tell the truth or become a bigger liar that in which they already were. I say stop the violence in America period.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.