Henry Ford once said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
This past week I have been overwhelmed with emotions while attempting something some say is impossible – stopping gun violence. I keep talking to myself, saying Quit! No, Keep going! Quit! Keep going! Cry, no laugh, and laugh so you won’t cry! If there has ever been a challenging time for me during this walk across America, it has been now.
At the time of this blog, the team and I are approaching Kansas City, MO. I just met with 25 mothers who all have lost children to gun violence. Their stories have brought me to tears and as much as I want to explode with anger, it’s for this very reason I can’t give up. Their stories have encouraged me…
Prior to Kansas City, the team and I just came off a break for a few days in Las Vegas. I was a finalist in the 10th annual Steve Harvey Neighborhood (Hoodie) Awards, sponsored by Ford motor company. Steve Harvey is a nationally syndicated radio host and comedian with over a million listeners and he has been giving back to African American communities by recognizing community leaders, like Best Teacher, Best School, Best Church, Best Barber, etc… with the public voting to decide who wins. I was up for the Best Community Leader; this was determined by your outstanding work in the community to help improve the lives of others.
I won the Hoodie Award for the Best Community Leader, beating out three other candidates, receiving tens of thousands of votes across the country. I was honored and humbled by the grace of God extended towards me. Ironically, while walking, I won a new 2013 Ford Fusion; I haven’t owned a car in over 5 years.
This Best Community Leader award encourages me to continue walking across America to bring a greater awareness to the gun violence issue in our country and raise $15M dollars to build a prototype community and economic development center on Chicago’s south side that will house life changing programs designed to save the next generation of children in the inner cities.
Gun violence continues to be a humanitarian issue that negatively impacts us all. I’m not trying to change laws (that would take to long), but I am trying to change hearts and minds. 12 people were shot to death in a movie theater in Aurora, CO. 6 people were shot to death during worship in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI. and in both cases, several others were injured. Who’s next!
Gun violence doesn’t care who you are, what you believe, or where you come from; it just has one agenda – KILL. I’m convinced, if gun violence will show up at the movies and at a place of worship, if we don’t do something NOW, it’ll show up at your home sooner than later! Who’s NEXT?
Help me help others… go to www.projecthood.org and give or text the word HOOD to 50555 for a $10. donation
“It’s time we stop ganging up on each other, and start ganging up on the problem!”
Today is Sunday, July 22,2012. Like no other day, since camping out on the roof and walking across America, my heart is so heavy. I am grieving like no other time before. At the time of this writing, 12 people are dead, the youngest being a 6 year old, all victims of gun violence. 59 others are hospitalized with 9 of them in critical condition, all at the hand of 1 shooter with several guns.
First, my heart goes out to the people of Aurora, CO., who had to endure this horrific and traumatic experience, ironically after being recognized as one the safest cities in America (Dec. 2011). I’m praying for those families who lost loved ones and for those survivors who will have to endure the injuries and scars of gun violence for the rest of their lives.
I am glad to see all of the city of Aurora, the state of Colorado, America and our president, Barack Obama, come together to grieve this senseless tragedy, as we should! The outpouring of support has been tremendous; for people to come together for a common cause standing one with another, democrats, republicans, independents, liberals and conservatives. Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics and other nationalities all coming together to let it be known that evil will not prevail!
I am sure that Aurora will use this experience to strengthen them by continuing to love and support one another, as communities should. As I watched a live prayer vigil in Aurora, I only wish I could take the love being shown, the compassion being shown, the cooperation being shown, the togetherness and the unity and somehow bottle it up and transport it to the south side of Chicago!
I am more than sure, if we could have this kind of display of concern coming from all walks of life, we could stand against the evil “dark knights” that rises every week, every month and every year in the city of Chicago, as hundreds of people get shot, killed, wounded and emotionally maimed for life; and many of them are our children!
Although I am grieved, I have made a conscientious decision to continue the struggle of helping all of America to see the plight that most inner city communities face on a consistent basis. I have no doubt that when America understands the magnitude of the trauma, they will rise to the occasion just as they have in Aurora, CO. and begin to make a difference in the lives of many without hope.
Let us continue to pray for everyone everywhere who have to face the hideous and horrendous effects of gun violence. Let Aurora, CO. be the example for all of us to follow in handling Dark Knights.
Red and yellow, black and white we are all precious in God’s sight!
Exodus 18:20 (King James Version)
And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Revelation: If things are to get any better, we must show our children the way to walk. There is so much to be said about those that “Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.” It isn’t always for our benefit, but you never know who is watching. Modeling correct behavior can definitely shift the tide in a generation of children who are growing up without a moral compass.
Leviticus 26:12(King James Version)
And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
Revelation: Having God walk with us is a privilege that we often take for granted. In this scripture God tells us that when we are mindful of keeping his statues, that he is ever faithful to us. He promises rain in due season and even peace in the land. I know many yearn for peace. When I hear the cries of mothers and sometimes feel as if their tears are the only rain, I am comforted that there will be peace. So when walking, I know He is with me. And when peace seems far, I am comforted that He promised. I just keep walking…
2Kings 23:3(King James Version)
And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
Revelation: I was constantly asked when I returned home, what happens if my knee gives out, what happens if I cannot continue. Will I give up? The only thing I could tell the reports and well-meaning spectators is that I will do this even if it kills me. If I have to roll into Los Angeles with a wheelchair, I will make it to LA. I made a covenant with God. He has promised me peace for flock, and I have promised him my steps. This agreement between us is not predicated on what He will give, because he has given more than I could ever recount. But instead, it is based on me giving Him all of me, so that I may be of service to others.
Today even though I must leave my home to continue this journey, I am thankful for all that God has promised and all that he has already done. I’m praying with my FEET!
Corey B Brooks
The past few weeks on the road have provided me the time to reflect on things that I may not have in the busyness of being a Husband, Father, Pastor and community member. Often, we have to be removed from the noise of everyday, and just tune into God. As you may know, I love social media and it keeps me connected to my flock while on my Walk Across America to End Violence. Twitter is my favorite platform. I am able to communicate those things I see or learn along the way to all of our supporters in a mere 140 characters or less. But it also has become my tablet, my diary. While on the roof I kept a diary of “Rooftop Revelations” and God has used those lessons and precepts to bless the lives of many. And being ever faithful to me, he has given me “Roadside Revelations”. I would like to just share some of those #RoadsideRevelations with you. These particular revelations were inspired by the hills of Pennsylvania.
Whatever HILLS (Challenges) you’re facing now are only preparing you for the Greater challenges you’ll face later!#RoadsideRevelations
Although a HILL looks and feels like an Obstacle, at the end of the day, it takes you to the TOP! #RoadsideRevelations
There r some HILLS no matter how much you pray God is NOT going to remove it You’ve got2 climb it! #GodKnowsWhatsBest
You’re only LOOKIN’ at 1 side of the HILL, Keep climbing there’s a blessing on the other side.#RoadsideRevelations
HILLS will Challenge u on your way UP but HILLS will Encourage u on your way down; There’s a blessing on the other side#RoadsideRevelations
The only MOUNTAIN/HILLS that God wants you to speak to and remove are the ones He DOESN’T want you to climb!#RoadsideRevelations
The ascent may seem slow and hard, BUT it’s the decent that’s going to get you there faster! #RoadsideRevelations
For every HILL you face, there are people along the way to help you to climb it if you keep #Walking! #RoadsideRevelations
Although a HILL looks and feels like an obstacle, at the end of the day, it takes you to the TOP! #RoadsideRevelations
There r some HILLS no matter how much you pray God is NOT going to remove it You’ve got to climb it! #GodKnowsWhatsBest#RoadsideRevelations
You’re only LOOKIN at 1 side of the HILL Keep climbing there’s a blessing on the other side. #RoadsideRevelations
The ascent may seem slow and hard, BUT it’s the decent that’s going to get you there faster! #RoadsideRevelations
HILLS will challenge u on your way UP but HILLS will encourage u on your way down; There’s a blessing on the other side#RoadsideRevelations
There are some MOUNTAINS/HILLS you want to climb – ask Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, David, Jesus… #RoadsideRevelations
Abraham – “If you don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL how will u know there’s a ram in the BUSH” #RoadsideRevelations
Moses – “If you don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL how will you get the instructions for your journey?” #RoadsideRevelations
Joshua – “If you don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL how will get your NEXT assignment?” #RoadsideRevelations
Elijah – “If you don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL how will you know that Prophets don’t belong in Caves?” #RoadsideRevelations
David – “If you don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL you’ll never Discover some of the Poetry and the Songs HIDDEN in you!#RoadsideRevelations
Jesus – “If I don’t climb the MOUNTAINs/HILLs I will never make it to LA!!!” #Simplicity #RoadsideRevelations
Corey Brooks “If you Don’t climb the MOUNTAIN/HILL how will be able to SACRIFICE for others?”#RoadsideRevelations
I hope you envision the mountains and hills that I have endured so far and draw parallels to the hills and mountains in your life, whatever those may be. Remember that I walking these hills to help children in America overcome the mountains of opposition that they face; failing educational systems, ill-equipped social communities, steep economic handicaps and ineffective spiritual community infrastructures. I know that each step up that hill is one less step towards a future horribly impacted by violence for those children. And when you envision those mountains, remember that nothing is insurmountable, not with God walking with you.
Corey B. Brooks