Obama & Chicago's Inner-City Violence (Part 2): FINDING SOLUTIONS

March 2012 vigil for Greg Robinson

President Obama will return to Chicago on August 12 for a birthday party at his home in the city's posh Kenwood neighborhood. It will be the third time he has come back to the South Side this summer. But  he is not expected to visit areas in the city regularly affected by violence. Instead, the backyard gathering will serve as a fund raising event for his 2012 re-election campaign.

Yet, the President has begun to address inner-city violence across America more often.

At a National Urban League event in New Orleans this week, he made a pledge to make the issue of gun violence a priority. According to Reuters, President Obama mentioned that he would use as many avenues possible. "I'm going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organizations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction," the President said. 

This Saturday, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition will hold a press conference at an AMC Movie Theater in downtown Chicago. The group is expected to call for a renewal of the assault weapons ban.  To push the measure forward, there is a petition on the Rainbow Push website.

Cyber columnist Monroe Anderson has a suggestion for the public: hold a news conference and make a special request. "Chicago residents should request that the President send in the U.S. Army to patrol the streets," the veteran journalist advises. For Anderson, it is a step up from asking The National Guard to assist with violence--a solution proposed by Illinois politicians last year.  

From a legal perspective, both alternatives would have to comply with the Posse Comitatus Act of 1787. It requires that an Act of Congress or a waiver signed by the President must be in place for military patrols to assist with calming public unrest. 

Anderson confesses that asking for military help would be used more for publicity than politics. If the national media pushes the story, it would likely gain the President's attention. "President Obama is not going to send in the Marines, but he may give Mayor Emanuel some federal money for more police," he says. 

La Chelle Sanders, a community activist, is an "advocate for unity in the community." As founder of the I-Matter II foundation, Sanders coordinates events to keep young people involved in positive activities. This weekend, the foundation will host a "Shoot For Peace" charity basketball game at the UIC Athletic Building. 

"People talk a good talk but now it's time to work," she says. 

Ms. Sanders admits that working together will not be easy but it is necessary to keep the streets safe.  

"It's up to us to take back our streets, community, and take back our kids."

~ Zack A. Isaacs

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