Talk about a faith walk. Chicago pastor Corey Brooks has already lived on a rooftop, so walking across the country is not that much of a stretch. It’s all for a good cause.
Brooks, the pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago spent three months living on the rooftop of his church earlier this year to bring attention to his goal of creating a community center out of an abandoned hotel across the street. When Tyler Perry heard about it, the filmmaker donated the final $100,000 Brooks needed to make his goal of $450,000. The hotel has since been demolished.
Brooks, 43, will begin his nationwide walk accompanied by his sons Desmond, 22, and Cobe, 11, from Times Square. He hopes to reach Staples Center in Los Angeles in the next 3-4 months. His goal, through is Project HOOD organization, is to raise the $15 million needed for a state-of-the-art community and recreation center. New Beginnings and the proposed community center are in the middle of the Englewood and Woodlawn neighborhoods in Chicago that are plagued with gun and gang violence.
“In any inner city that is highly populated by African-Americans there are four basic social ills,” Brooks told blogger Morgan Reid. “There are educational issues, economic issues, social issues, and spiritual issues. We have to form a center that combats all of that.”
Dubbed “The Walk Across America,” Brooks hopes to raise awareness about gang violence and raise money to build the center. Gang violence in Chicago has long been a problem, and as the church is in one of the more violent areas of the city, Brooks feels it’s his mission as a pastor to do more than just preach. His church has already instituted a “No Murders in Woodlawn” initiative with church members patrolling the community. His church offers counseling to victims of gun violence as well. His walk across the country will span over 2,000 miles and Brooks hopes he’s ready.
“The hardest part about the walking is not the physical, it’s the mental,” Brooks told Reid. “Getting myself motivated is really difficult. I’m hoping that’s not the case when I get on the road, because if it is, that will be a really tough four months.”
You can contribute to Brooks’ effort via www.projecthood.org and follow the journey there or via Brooks’ Twitter @coreybrooks.