This week, the Black Youth Project officially launched its “Obama Come Home” campaign on behalf of Black and Latino Chicago youth.
The campaign asks President Obama to come home to Chicago, the president’s hometown, to work with the community to present a concrete action plan for saving the lives and improving the futures of Black and Latino youth in Chicago and throughout the nation.
In 2012 alone, more than 500 Chicagoans were murdered. Chicago Police attribute the high murder rate to gun violence. The shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton last week, a mile from Obama’s Kenwood home, begged the question that few have spoken aloud: where is President Obama’s leadership on the crisis of gun violence affecting Black and Brown youth in the nation’s urban centers?
Although a White House spokesperson made a brief statement on behalf of the president and first lady expressing sorrow for the Pendleton family’s loss, the statement fails to address the systemic variables that contribute to high gun violence deaths amongst urban youth. The president’s silence is particularly striking, given the forceful leadership and resolve he correctly demonstrated in response to the recent suburban Newtown, Connecticut massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Youth advocates and activists around the country—from Chicago hip-hop artist Rhymefest, and former White House Green Jobs advisor Van Jones to Chicago’s own Father Flager and the Reverend Jesse Jackson—have expressed support for the goals of Black Youth Project campaign, which asks Obama to come home to Chicago, address the concerns Chicago’s youth have about their personal safety and reassure the nation about the value we place on the lives of young Black and Latino Americans.
The campaign has a petition that seeks 50,000 signatures.
“We know President Obama cannot solve the issue of gun violence alone,” the petition says. “However, he can call the nation to consciousness about the need for a response to this crisis.
Community and student rallies are being planned this week in Chicago.
“Black and Latino youth are facing a crisis that demands the leadership of our president,” says Cathy Cohen, Founder of the Black Youth Project, an organization committed to empowering Black youth across the country. “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 change.”
About the Black Youth Project:
The Black Youth Project is a diverse online resource for black youth and all those who are committed to enriching the lives of black youth. Through our three main sub-sites – BYP Research, BYP Blog, and BYP Action – we produce research about the ideas, attitudes, decision making, and lived experiences of black youth, amplify the perspectives of young black people daily without censorship or control, and work to mobilize black youth and their allies to make positive change and build the world within which they want to live.
For more information, about The Black Youth Project, click here.
To sign the petition, click here.