A week and a half ago, the Black Youth Project launched a petition asking that President Obama visit Chicago and address the city’s gun violence crisis.

BYP is 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 send our deepest thanks to Aisha Truss and her family, who were brave enough to partner with us on the petition, and share their story of loss.

Thank you to the 45,000 individuals from across the nation that signed their name in solidarity and made their voices heard.

We should also note that we were one of many across the city who called on the President to come home.  We feel proud to stand with others who are committed to saving the lives and improving the future of black and Latino youth.

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.

Namely, 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.

Once again, thank you Mr. President for addressing the life or death issues facing our young people.

We look forward to your speech this Friday.