Rooftop pastor walks through familiar city

July 15, 2012 (CHICAGO)

He's walking from New York to Los Angeles to raise money to build a community center for his South Side New Beginnings Church.

The pastor's walk brought him through Gary, Ind. and then back home to Chicago.

On Sunday afternoon, he was joined by dozens of supporters as he started to walk 10 miles to Navy Pier. He was joined by a group of diverse walkers, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn.

Emanuel walked the entire way to Navy Pier and said it was worth missing a family dinner. The walkers made it just after 8 p.m.

"You see everybody out here," Emanuel said. "He has touched a nerve that everybody has a role to play."

Brooks began his coast-to-coast walk in New York more than one month ago and is now in the Midwest portion of his Project HOOD Walk Across America to raise money for a community center. The walk follows Pastor Brook's 90-day stay on the roof of a Chicago motel in the winter.

"It is no secret that guns are available to kids," Brooks said. "They are doing some crazy things. But the only way we are going to solve the issues is when we stop ganging up on each other and start ganging up on the problem."

Brooks thinks a community center would help with the violence problem. On Sunday, he got a big boost from Walgreens. They gave him a check for $25,000.

Brooks is trying to raise $15 million to build the community center at the site of a former hotel on King Drive. He hosted a fundraising dinner at Logan Art Center at the University of Chicago Saturday night.

Myrna Roman joined the walk. She doesn't live on the South Side, but she knows violence. Her son was murdered fours years ago. She said the long walk in the heat was worth it

"I'm hoping that by supporting a person like Pastor Brooks, maybe we could make it contagious and have more people out here like him, you know, and we can learn from him," Roman said.

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