After months of camping on the rooftop of a motel adjacent to his church, Rev. Corey Brooks has accomplished his mission, and will see the crime-ridden building demolished Tuesday morning.
"I'm grateful to the community and to all the citizens of Chicago and the suburbs who have helped us tremendously to make this effort possible," Brooks told Fox Chicago while waiting for the wrecking ball to arrive. "It's a celebration for all of us."
After burying 10 young black men from his congregation in a year, Rev. Brooks of New Beginnings Church began a vigil atop a motel near his church he said welcomed the kind of crime that breeds violence, HuffPost Chicago blogger Hermene Hartman first reported. Living out of a tent since Nov. 22, Brooks refused to leave until he reached his $450,000 fundraising goal, the amount he would need to raze the building and replace it with a community center.
Brooks only left the rooftop twice between November and February--to console the parents of two teens killed by gun violence, and attend their funerals.
An unexpected donation of $98,000 from actor, director and producer Tyler Perry during a Chicago visit to promote his new film, "Good Deeds," helped Brooks reach his fundraising goal, allowing him to move forward with the construction of a community center in its place.
Volunteers from Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), several local pastors, college students and elected officials helped prepare the motel for demolition last week, NBC Chicago reports.
Brooks' next step will be more fundraising: he's seeking to raise $15 million to redevelop the property and move forward with the community center construction, CBS Chicago reports.
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