Many In Chicago Are Hopeful but Cautious As They Await President Obama's Visit on Friday

4798 President Obama visits Chicago Friday to talk about gun violence. But some of the people most affected say their voices aren't being heard. Host Michel Martin speaks with Aisha Truss-Miller and Chris Buford of the Black Youth Project, the group whose petition led to presidential visit.

We are going to continue our conversation about gun violence. We're focusing on Chicago. President Obama is heading there tomorrow and our next guests say it's really about time that the violence in Chicago receives this kind of high level attention and response. They're both young people living in Chicago and they've both been directly affected by violence. They say that voices like theirs are not being heard in the national gun control debates, so we are going to bring them to you now.

Joining us are Aisha Truss-Miller and Chris Buford. They are both part of the Black Youth Project. Welcome to you both. Thank you both so much for joining us.

AISHA TRUSS-MILLER: Thank you for having us.

CHRIS BUFORD: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: Aisha, you started a petition on, asking the president to come to Chicago and talk about violence there. Why did you think that was important?

TRUSS-MILLER: Well, I've been doing community work for years and I'm about holding myself, parents, teachers, institutions, politicians, the gamut accountable for creating and sustaining safe spaces for young people and I just felt that it was time that we hold our national leader accountable to highlight the violence in Chicago and the difference between the violence that's going on in Chicago versus the other places that's been getting highlighted.

MARTIN: Is there something specific that you want to hear from him? Is there a particular message that you really feel he needs to bring or is it just really his presence that you think is important?

TRUSS-MILLER: Both. But there is something that I definitely want to hear from him and I hope that he will discuss particularly why our young people seek safety, love and community amongst gangs and cliques and how we have collectively failed our young people of color across the nation. I'm also looking for him to speak about how his administration and their agenda can holistically invest in the development of marginalized youth in communities.

MARTIN: OK. I want to hear more about that in a few minutes, but I want to hear from Chris, too. Chris, you're 26 now, but you told us that you were in and out of juvenile detention, that you saw a lot of violence in the streets and, you know, you could easily have ended up as a victim of violence.

Source: NPR | Michel Martin
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