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From the South Side of Chicago, Pastor Corey Brooks has watched Americans wage a culture war this past year over whether equality of outcome or equality of opportunity is the way forward. He has seen this debate within his own community and in places as far away as Louden County, Virginia, and Coronado, California. He woke up on the 41st day of his 100-day rooftop vigil to build a community center with thoughts that he wished to share with his readers.

What follows has been lightly edited. We strongly encourage you to watch the accompanying video so you may hear the pastor in his own words. 

I want to talk about the equality of opportunity today. The argument for equality of outcome is all the rage. Institutions across America are lowering the standards so that we can all be equal in the end. 

But you know what? That really means that we're all equal…on the bottom. 

That's not what we're fighting for on the South Side, or in any other impoverished neighborhood across America, whether they be brown, black, Asian or whatever. If equity is what we're fighting for then we may as well just lay down and give up because there is no American dream with the equality of outcome. That's why we're fighting so hard for equality of opportunity.

What very few people realize on the South Side is that since the 1960s our government and post-'60s liberalism has made us an experiment in this pursuit for equality of outcome. Our community is literally government-controlled. We have every form of government assistance available from housing, food to medical care. The outcome after 60 and 70 years of this is that we are all equal on the bottom. 

The American dream is very dim from where I sit. 


We can blame the government, the post-'60s liberalism all we want to, but the sad thing is that we, in this community, allowed it to happen. What is even worse is that we have had generations after generations born into this world. And this is all they know — just like your world is all you know. 

We have to educate them to understand that this is not acceptable. We also have to educate them to know that change is possible. 

We come from a proud people who survive the worst horrors of America, and we can reverse the conditions in our neighborhoods. The first thing we must accept is that government has no interest or the ability to fix the damage it did to our communities. We must do it ourselves. 

That is why I've made it my mission on the South Side of Chicago to fight for the equality of opportunity. The fight begins with ourselves. American history is full of people who said things don't have to be the way they are. We must fight for the change today on the South Side. We must add to that legacy. 


If our public schools are not equal to schools in other neighborhoods, then we must hold our educators accountable. If crime makes us too afraid to go out, then we must fight for the right to protect ourselves. And we must also break the codes of the street and help the police rid the neighborhood of those keeping us down for the almighty dollar.

The pursuit of equality of opportunity begins with us. We must awaken our spirit. We must take the first step and we have been taking that step for years at Project H.O.O.D. We have been helping countless people pursue the path of equality of opportunity and they have succeeded. That is why we must pursue the equality of opportunity with everything that we have. It is our only hope, our universal hope.