President Obama will speak about his proposals to curb gun violence when he visits Chicago on Friday as part of a three-city tour to promote the economic policies he will outline in Tuesday's State of the Union, White House officials said.
The visit will come less than a week after first lady Michelle Obama attended a funeral in her hometown for 15-year-old shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton. The Chicago Tribune reported that Pendleton's mother will attend Obama's address:
The president's visit answers calls from Chicago anti-violence activists that Obama talk about the recent spate of gun violence in the city, several of the activists said.
"This is an important issue," said Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project, which attracted about 45,000 signatures by Sunday night in an online petition that urges Obama to speak up. "We think of this as a victory for all of us."
The group posted the petition on change.org shortly after Hadiya, a King College Prep student, was slain about a week after performing with her school band at Obama's inaugural festivities.
The White House announced that Obama will also travel to Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday and Atlanta on Thursday to speak about proposals he will unveil in the State of the Union.