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On Tuesday, Brooks plans to start his 3,000-mile walk from New York to Los Angeles to raise funds for a community center in the Chicago neighborhood of Woodlawn and draw attention to his city’s issues with youth violence, The Chicago Tribune reports. His two sons Desmond Marshall, 22, and Cobe, 11, will join him on the journey.
Brooks’ wife, Delilah, who in the winter spent three months without her husband at home, said seeing her husband taking on the entire country with their sons is “a little different.”
“At least he was accessible when he was on the roof,” she said, adding that her husband’s mission is “amazing” and “unbelievable.”
Members of the church said they will miss their pastor, but they will unite in their support of his trek.
“We’re going to be praying for him,” said Marlo Finner, 41, of Bronzeville.
“(The trek is) not going to be easy,” said Juanita Burton, 49, of South Chicago. But “someone needs to take a stand.”
Brooks said he took the rooftop of an abandoned building and lived in a tent late last year to raise awareness to the high rate of young Black men who are dying from gun violence. In 2011 alone, Brooks presided over the funerals of ten Black males under the age of 25. He says none of the men’s deaths drew media attention.
The parents of one of the young men whose funeral he oversaw are members of his church. He said when the dead teen’s friends arrived at the funeral to pay their respects, rival gang members in the church’s neighborhood shot at them.
Brook will begin his trek from Times Square in New York. By July 15 he expects to be in Chicago and plans on ending his walk in Los Angeles in about four months, according to The Tribune.