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Jennifer Hudson
Brian Kersey  /  AP
‘She’s an inspiration to everyone who has a dream,’ Mayor Richard Daley told hundreds of Jennifer Hudson fans in Chicago on Monday. ‘People told her, “You can’t.” And she said, “I can.” ’
updated 3/6/2007 6:38:10 PM ET 2007-03-06T23:38:10

Since being booted from “American Idol,” Jennifer Hudson has won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild prize and an Academy Award for best supporting actress.

On Tuesday, the 25-year-old star of the movie “Dreamgirls” added one more award to the collection — she got her own day in her hometown.

Mayor Richard Daley proclaimed Tuesday “Jennifer Hudson Day” to honor the budding star, whose Cinderella story took her from Chicago’s South Side to the Hollywood A-list.

“She’s an inspiration to everyone who has a dream,” Daley told hundreds of screaming fans. “People told her, ‘You can’t.’ And she said, ‘I can.’ ”

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Hudson, who appeared on stage in a black wool coat and Burberry scarf, hoisted her gold Oscar statuette in the air and thanked those who had gathered outside the Chicago Theatre for the ceremony.

“Not only can I do it, but you can do it too,” she said before singing a brief song from the hit movie.

Earlier Tuesday, Hudson was greeted by thunderous applause when she spoke to students at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, her former high school.

In “Dreamgirls,” Hudson portrays a vocalist cast out from a 1960s girl group. The role came barely two years after “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell told Hudson she was “out of her league” and she was voted off the TV show.

Her resiliency resonated with fans, who said they admired Hudson for never giving up her dream.

“Anything is possible if you believe,” said Sharhonda Woodard, 18, who braved bitter temperatures for a chance to see Hudson in person.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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