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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. Corey Brooks is set to step off on his cross-country walk to raise gun violence awareness, and raise money to build a new community center on Chicago’s South Side.
Brooks was in New York City Tuesday morning, where he will begin the walk all the way to Los Angeles.
Brooks, of the New Beginnings Church at 6620 S. King Dr., is being joined on the cross-country walk by his 11- and 22-year-old sons and some other church members.
“I’m going to do it one step at a time, with a lot of commitment a lot of determination, and a lot of support from people across the country – specifically from the people in Chicago,” Brooks said. “We’re really looking forward to a great journey and trying to bring attention and awareness to gun violence, along with raising $15 million, so we’re going to do everything we can to help the city of Chicago.”
The $15 million is intended to start the redevelopment of the West Woodlawn neighborhood where his church is located, beginning with the new community center at 6625 S. King Dr.
Over the winter, Brooks made headlines for camping out for 94 days on the roof of the Super Motel, which had stood abandoned on stood on the site and had been a haven for prostitution and drug use.
With the help of actor-director Tyler Perry, Brooks raised enough money to buy the motel and have it demolished.
Brooks has already raised about $100,000 to begin construction of the community center.
“We figured that if we could take away something that was taking away lives, and build something that would add to life, then it would be more beneficial for our community,” Brooks said, “and once we build this community economic development center, there is no doubt that people’s lives are going to be changed.”
Brooks estimates that the cross-country trek will take about three and a half to four months.
“It’s going to be a tough journey,” Brooks said. “When we get to the West Coast, you know, we have to go through Death Valley. It’s going to be pretty hot. But we’re determined, and we’re going to make it there, and we’re going to raise as much money as we can to build a great and awesome center on Chicago’s South Side.”
More information about Brooks’ journey is available at ProjectHOOD.org.