Related Midwest Blog

Pastor Brooks' Project H.O.O.D. community center builds on history of Black civil disobedience

Project HOOD Blog.jpg

Several structures, roads and museums are named after Chicago’s Black founder Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, yet like many other notable Black Americans, his contributions have not made him a household name. Black History Month attempts to remedy this by honoring Black heroes, pioneers and innovators, many of whom—like du Sable—were not sufficiently appreciated in their time. 

At Related Midwest, we want to make sure that current-day Black history-makers are appreciated in our time. 

Through our work, we’ve partnered with leading Black architects, construction experts and more talents in our community—notable Chicagoans who deserve to be spotlighted. This month, Related Midwest will highlight some of our partners speaking candidly about what Black History Month means to them and the secrets of their success.

Today, we’re highlighting the work of Pastor Corey Brooks, who recently built on the rich history of civil disobedience to raise awareness for social justice issues in his community on the South Side. In 2011, Brooks, who is the pastor of New Beginnings Church Chicago, camped out on the roof of an abandoned hotel to draw attention to crime, violence and lack of opportunity in his neighborhood of Woodlawn. 

Last year, Brooks once again took to a rooftop for 100 days as part of a “Tent-a-Thon”  to fundraise for a historic solution to these problems: building a community center for his nonprofit, Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), that is dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty, violence and incarceration. Brooks slept outside, braving Chicago’s cold winter weather, in the hopes of drawing attention to the need for a safe space in his community. By the time he stepped down from the roof, Brooks had raised enough money to begin building the Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center. 

Related Midwest is honored to support Brooks’ history-making actions. President Curt Bailey and Executive Vice President Don Biernacki joined Brooks’ Tent-a-Thon last winter to learn more about how Related Midwest can play a role in helping Brooks achieve his goals. Building on our previous commitments to the Woodlawn community, we’re proud to donate architecture, building design and construction services for his Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center. 

Brooks is making Black history today, and we’re proud to work with him to turn the Project H.O.O.D. community center into reality.