By now we hope you’ve heard the story of Hadiya Pendleton. She breathed her last breath earlier this week in the middle of the day after being gunned down in a small neighborhood park not far from the Obamas residence in Chicago. The 15 year-old honors student had recently returned from performing at the President’s second inaugural and her tragic death is eliciting a profound response from a city already reeling from more than 40 youth homicides in this young new year.
We are asking all of you to take action in lending your voices to an online petition submitted by our brothers and sisters at the Black Youth Project calling upon our President to come to Chicago to deliver a major policy speech addressing the type of violence afflicting Chicago and other urban centers across the country.
As debates continue across the country about the scourge of gun violence, Chicago’s inner-city neighborhoods are emerging as a symbol for the tragic consequences wrecking the lives of so many families. The President rightfully visited Newtown immediately after the horrific tragedy in Connecticut last December, and the time to come to Chicago and deliver the type of speech that calls upon all sectors of our society to come together and invest the necessary material, intellectual and political capital in supporting and introducing initiatives addressing this problem is now!
IMAN is working closely with the Black Youth Project and other tremendous community-based organizations around a joint commitment to proactively address violence and the culture of death in our neighborhoods. This year, we will be opening the Takin’ it to The Streets community festival on Saturday, June 15 with a large rally that will unite many of the great efforts going on around the city to deal with violence, and to renew our commitment to doing all we collectively can to work together and hold each other and our elected official accountable to not being resigned to letting our young people die senselessly in our streets.