Corey Brooks will return to the rooftop of eight storage containers on Easter, resuming his efforts to raise millions for a Woodlawn resource center.
Brooks came down in March to be with his mother as her health failed. He stayed with her at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana, until she died Friday. She was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.
Brooks plans to officiate her funeral on Friday and preach an Easter sermon at New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive, before returning to the rooftop across the street. Before she died, Brooks said his mother encouraged him to continue his work.
“She really cared about people,” Brooks said. “She understood the magnitude of the problems in Chicago, and she knew that young people in our area really need all the help they can get. Her encouragement for me to continue to do that is a tremendous blessing.”
Brooks had spent 121 days on the rooftop before going to see his mother. Originally a 100 Day Campout Against Violence to raise $35 million for the Project H.O.O.D. Leadership and Economic Opportunity Center, Brooks indefinitely extended his stay outside in February. He said he’ll continue his campout until all funds for the Woodlawn resource center are secured.
The center will have teen programming, a trauma center, sports facilities and — an element Brooks is particularly excited for — a school for young Black boys from single-parent households living below the poverty line.
With $11 million raised in cash and pledges, Project H.O.O.D. will begin Phase 1 of construction by the end of the month. The initial phase includes demolition of the existing building, a former restaurant, and finalizing plans with the city.
“We’re not completely at our goal, but ... I’m happy about the progress,” said Brooks. “Tearing down that building is a very significant start to getting everything going.”
Brooks hopes to break ground on the new center late this summer.
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.