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Deservedly proud of her best supporting actress Oscar, the Dreamgirls actress showed off the statuette at the Chicago Theatre. Jennifer received a raptuous reception when she went back to her native Chicago on Tuesday
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On Wednesday Jennifer jetted into New York, to speak at the United Nations
Photo: © Getty Images

Homecoming queen Jennifer gets a warm welcome in Chicago

8 MARCH 2007

Fresh from her triumph at the Oscars, Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson received a heroine's welcome when she returned home to Chicago this week.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday in the hope of catching a glimpse of the 25-year-old starlet, whose journey from Chicago's South Side to Hollywood's A-list has captured the imagination of the city's residents.

"She's an inspiration to everyone who has a dream," the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, told the vast crowd. "People told her 'You can't.' And she said 'I can.'" The mayor went on to proclaim Tuesday 'Jennifer Hudson Day'.

An emotional Jennifer proudly showed off her best supporting actress Oscar statuette, telling the crowd "Not only can I do it, but you can do it too," before singing a song from her hit film. Earlier in the day Jennifer had returned to her former high school, the Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, where she received thunderous applause as she spoke to students. "If you can see it, you can achieve it. Don't let anybody tell you what you can or cannot do," she urged.

The following day, Jennifer made an appearance at the United Nations' headquarters in New York. On the eve of International Women's Day, Jennifer spoke at an award's ceremony promoting women's achievements and paid tribute to her own female inspirations, including her mother and grandmother. "One reason my dreams have been able to come true is because of the people in my life," she said. "They've always believed in me, and had hope for me, and loved me."

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