Civic leaders at a loss of how to stem Chicago's bloody tide of homicides are calling on the president to help his hometown.
"The president's voice is so urgently needed here," said Rev. Jesse Jackson during a Saturday march, according to The Guardian. "[That alone] would illuminate the condition."
Leading the weekend march in honor of recently slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, Jackson argued Obama's presence would spotlight the complex social and economic issues in Chicago that "compound problems related to gun violence."
After the silent march from Pendleton's school, King College Prep to the S Oakenwald park where she was shot, the teen's cousin Shatira Wilkes told CBS Chicago, “Chicago is becoming a place where we are just becoming comfortable with death. I don’t want to become comfortable with death."
Jackson argued Obama's presence in his hometown would demonstrate "ultimate national seriousness" according to NBC Chicago.
Jackson wants the president to approve federal measures that would address the soaring homicide rate, which he called a crisis unlike any other city—and one Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the police department can't handle alone.
The city's homicide rate crept forward, with one person killed and four others wounded in weekend shootings around the city. A Portage Park man was killed in the hallway of his apartment building in the 3900 block of N Central, reports the Sun-Times. Manuel Hernandez was shot in the chest Friday night around 8:30 and was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.