President Donald Trump holds a Black History Month listening session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Wednesday. Credit: Photo by Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Thursday, February 2, 2017.

  • Trump suggests meeting directly with Chicago gang leaders would be a ‘great idea’

President Donald Trump is talking about Chicago again, calling the gun violence problems “totally out of control” and indicating that directly working and meeting with gang leaders is a “great idea.” Speaking at an Black History Month listening session Wednesday, he said that if city officials can’t stop the shootings, “we’re going to solve the problem for them.” “Because we’re going to have to do something,” he continued. “What’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.” Ohio pastor Darrell Scott said during the meeting that he has been talking to Chicago gang members who want a “sit-down” to discuss decreasing shootings in exchange for “social programs.” [Sun-Times]

  • Rahm hosts dinner for DREAMers at his home

Mayor Rahm Emanuel followed through on his promise to host undocumented DREAM students for a dinner at his house in support of Chicago’s sanctuary city status. Emanuel, first lady Amy Rule, and their children were joined for dinner by Cardinal Blase Cupich, four students from Mexico, a student from India, and a student from Nigeria. “The dreams of these kids to go to college and what they want to do are no different than Amy and mine’s children, and their parents’ concern for them and their hopes for them is no different than Amy and I have for our children,” the mayor told reporters. “The power of the United States is that people from all walks of life, all over the world, can come here to Chicago, the most American of American cities, and give their children a chance at a better life.”  [Tribune]

  • Willis Tower to undergo $500 million renovation

The Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower and the world’s tallest building, is getting a $500 million renovation. The plans include an outdoor deck, six floors of retail, and a new “winter garden.” The tower attracts more than a million visitors every year, but owner Blackstone Group L.P. wants to entice more. “The significant investment and realization of this vision will reinforce Willis Tower as a civic destination and the ultimate place to work, with unique retail and entertainment experiences,” the company said in a statement. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Officials getting ideas for stopping the violence from teens behind bars

Teens behind bars could provide officials with important keys to curbing the violence. Two 17-year-old residents of the Temporary Detention Center at Cook County Juvenile Justice Center, Leonard and Nigel, recently took part in a local antiviolence solutions summit. “Some people do it just to make a name for [themselves] to try to get some fame or something,” Leonard told NPR. “Some people do it because they actually lost people . . . or they are forced into it.” Both teens said that role models for young people are missing in the neighborhoods plagued by shootings. More after-school programs, sports, and recreational activities would also help steer kids off the streets. “We got one recreation center, but the gym only go from 6 to 8,” Leonard said. “And if it’s on a school day, they’ll open it up from 2 to 8. So what’s left, the streets?” [NPR]

  • Former Bulls player Luol Deng on being a refugee from Sudan

Former Chicago Bull and current Los Angeles Laker Luol Deng is a refugee from Sudan, one of the seven nations from which President Donald Trump has banned immigrants and refugees. Deng said in a statement after the ban that he is a “proud refugee.” “We’ve never really asked to leave my homeland, and a lot of these people go through a lot of things that they have no control of,” he said in an interview. “To see a light at the end of the tunnel and to go towards that light and then that light is turned off is very difficult, not just individually, for the family.” [Tribune]

  • Gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar calls Rauner a “coward”

Alderman Ameya Pawar, the first Democrat to officially announce a campaign for governor in 2018, slammed Governor Bruce Rauner for not speaking out against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order directly. “@GovRauner is a coward—a real failure in leadership,” he tweeted. “#WeWillResist.” Pawar has said he’ll be running as a progressive. [NBC Chicago]