*If a string of tornadoes were to whip through Chicago, uprooting trees and destroying houses, there’s no question that federal help would be on the way.

But civil rights leaders and local elected officials are having a difficult time getting Washington to treat urban violence as a priority.

That President Obama once beat some of these very same streets as an organizer hasn’t helped elevate this issue.

So on Wednesday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged local government officials to declare a “state of emergency in Chicago.”

“Can we stop the violence? No. We don’t have the capacity to deal with the unemployment,” Jackson said during a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. “We raise the consciousness. Our little underfunded organization [the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition] can’t hire the thousands of people who need jobs.”

Read MORE of this Chicago Sun-Times column by Mary Mitchell HERE.