President Obama will return to Chicago Friday to address the city’s rampant gun violence, according to a statement from the White House. First lady Michelle Obama visited the city over the weekend to attend the funeral of slain teen Hadiya Pendleton, one of the city’s 42 homicide victims in January. The Rev. Jesse Jackson called upon Obama to “please come home” after the young girl’s death. The president will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday before returning to his former city.
“The president will travel to Chicago for an event amplifying some of the policy proposals included in the State of the Union that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and the Americans striving to get there,” a White House official said in a statement. “He’ll, of course, also talk about the gun violence that has tragically affected too many families in communities across Chicago and across the country.”
Obama said earlier this year that gun violence would be one of his focuses during his second term, influenced by mass shootings such as those in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., as well as continued violence in cities such as Chicago. Newly proposed gun control measures include a ban on some assault weapons and on high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as the reinforcement of background checks for potential gun owners.
Jackson previously said that the president’s presence in Chicago would “illuminate” the city’s condition, and that the first lady’s attendance at Pendleton’s funeral was no substitute. Hadiya was shot and killed in a park close to the Obamas’ Chicago home.
“Her being there is very important since it was her neighborhood,” Jackson said, according to CNN. “I think the president’s coming is important because she did not deal with the politics. She dealt with the calming concern for a broken-hearted family.”