In the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “I am Praying with my Feet!”
On June 5, 2012, I embarked upon on the most grueling assignment of my life. I started my walk across America in NYC’s Times Square with 10 other people. Before the team arrived, I ventured over to Brooklyn, NY to visit one of the worst communities in the area, Bed-Stuy. I met with Pastor Robert Waterman and several other young people and ministers and talked about the importance of them starting a Project HOOD campaign in their community; they agreed! As I looked around, I was reminded how much outside of Chicago, our country is in need of much prayer, resources and compassion.
When I left Brooklyn, I headed back to Times Square to do an interview with CNN. Everyday, young men are dying and it seems as though no one cares. It seems like everybody is talking about the problems, government and church, yet seldom do you hear about the solutions. When you look at the inner cities of America, you see the same four giants over and over again… spiritual, social, educational, economical deprivation!
All of this is breeding hopelessness! From the first few miles, it was easily recognizable. Leaving Times Square in NY, going straight to Harlem only helps to confirm what I really do believe. The violence in America is going to escalate if we don’t choose to turn things around.
We must find the compassion, strength and tenacity to make the inner city a better place.Violence is the ignored terrorist that plagues our communities, while preying on our children. I’m a pastor, and I know, we can pray until we are blue in the face, but when we get up off our knees, there must be some work! Oft times, I’ve been asked, “how are you feeling, how are you guys holding up?” Because it seems as if not enough people care, my heart is hurting more than my feet…violence has been accepted as a way of life – BUT only in certain neighborhoods.
It reminds me of the bible parable found in Luke 10:25-37, where the story asked a provoking question that challenges each one of us, who is my neighbor? It goes on to detail how a man fell victim to thieves (violence), was lying in the street hurt and a priest came by, looked at him and kept on walking, a Levite, came by, looked over him and kept on walking, but a Samaritan came by and looked after him. The one person who was least likely to help saw past all of the sociological and cultural boundaries, recognized another human being in trouble and HELPED!
We are living out this biblical story right now. What we need in America, is people who will not just look at, not just look over, but who will look AFTER another person’s problems… WHY? It’s the right thing to do… HOW?
1. Having a sense of compassion that stirs in their innermost being and drives them to action.
2. Spread the word about Project HOOD’s agenda to eliminate spiritual, social, educational, and economic ills present in inner cities and replace them sustainable models of urban renewal.
3. Give financially towards the building of this center in Chicago that goes beyond basketball and babysitting, but offers cutting edge life changing alternatives that…
– Address spiritual ills by creating a violence refuge to seek healing,
– Address social ills by creating a conflict resolution clinic to negotiate peace, strengthen character and build relationships;
– Address educational ills by Arts/music Initiatives (arts & music are no longer in our schools – studies show a correlation to arts and increased ability to learn) Technology Initiatives (Reducing technological divide by providing computers, training and e-networking);
– Address economic ills by forming a business incubator and creating jobs. Additionally, Project H.O.O.D. will have Green Initiatives never before seen in urban communities with the use of rooftop gardens and grey water.
When we do build this community and economic development center, lives will be changed. Why wait? Go right now, go to the website www.projecthood.org and give, go to your Twitter and Facebook pages and encourage others to help, call somebody, whatever you do, please, in the name of hope and peace, do something.
Corey B Brooks