CHICAGO (CBS) — Today CBS embarks on a daylong mission of Unifying America; communities coming together to overcome differences.
So many people are working hard in Chicago to do just that, including The Leaders Network, a group of community and religious leaders trying to bridge the divides on the city’s West Side and beyond.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Mainly Clear And Not As Cold Sunday Night
CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas sat down with four men on a mission.
Three west side ministers – Rev. Marshall Hatch, Pastor Cy Fields, and Rev. Ira Acree – and community organizer David Cherry make up the leadership of The Leaders Network, a group that started with an effort to provide aid to families impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
Together, they summarize their mission simply: they try to help people.
“Whether it’s somebody down South in Katrina, on the other side of the globe in Iran … or somebody downtown, or a single mother who just lost their child, or somebody in the Latinx community whose apartments burned down,” said Fields, senior pastor at New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in East Garfield Park.
And it turns out, people from all walks of life want to help them help people. The Leaders Network has expanded over the years to include people of different races and religions. The group had Rabbi Max Weiss deliver closing prayers at a recent Zoom meeting.READ MORE: At Least 20 Shot, 2 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
“We fight for racial, social, and economic justice,” said Cherry, who is president of the Leaders Network and head of the Chicago-based All Stars Project, a non-profit that helps tens of thousands of inner-city youth.
That fight for economic justice brings The Leaders Network to their most recent goal. The group wants to a launch a new credit union on the West Side, and they’re working with people experienced in the finance industry to make it happen.
“It’s very difficult for Black people who live on the West Side to get loans to open up businesses. It’s very difficult for them to mortgages. It’s very difficult to get any kind of financial support when it comes to becoming part of the success of the city,” Cherry said.
“The only way we’re gonna succeed as a country, and even those right here in this Chicagoland area, is that why come together,” Fields said.
The Leaders Network also invites officials from the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, and other government offices to their meetings to explore ways to improve quality of life.
Look for stories on many CBS platforms throughout the day on Wednesday, including CBSN.MORE NEWS: Boy, 11, Shot And Wounded In West Pullman; He Is Second Child Shot In Area Within Week
Coming up on CBS This Morning at 7 a.m., a look at Unifying America through the lens of country music.