CHICAGO – Yesterday, Pastor Corey Brooks learned of an eight-year-old girl who was shot in Chicago. This shooting came after a week where six kids were killed within a 24 hour period. The pastor recorded this video while the eight-year-old girl was in surgery. He later learned that she tragically did not make it.
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.
This past Tuesday, six children were shot within 24 hours. In an earlier Rooftop Revelation, I said it was five kids when it was actually six. Is there any hope for Chicago?
The chaos, the lawlessness is so bad in Chicago that the criminals openly mock our police and our city leaders, and even our governor. Two criminals broke into two stores and stole the cash registers. They took out the cash and they drove over to Governor Pritzker's home in Chicago, and you know what they did? They left the empty registers on his front lawn. If that isn't a message that the criminals are running the city, I don't know what is. Then you know what they did? Those same criminals, right after they did that, they joined other criminals and began to rob other stores. Is there any hope for Chicago?
I'm going to tell you something. I usually am mild-mannered and even-keeled, but this wave of violence I'm telling you, it infuriates me. It just infuriates me.
I've been working to counter this violence and despair for so long through Project H.O.O.D. and my community center that's housed on the second floor of our church. And before we started, this very area was ranked as the most dangerous neighborhood in all of Chicago. Now, because of our work, it doesn't even make the list. You know why? Because we gave people in our community the most valuable thing you can give anyone: hope.
We gave them hope by building a relationship with the police to get the criminals off the street. We gave them hope by giving them a way out through trades and vocational training and rehab. We gave them hope by helping them to get off drugs. We gave them hope by showing young men how to be fathers so they could break the cycle of fatherlessness in their families. We gave single mothers hope by providing male role models for their young boys, their young daughters.
And what makes me so angry and infuriates me is that we see our leaders mocking our efforts with their wishy-washy ideas, like defund the police. Come on, man. The police are not our enemy. Equity initiatives? Come on, we need equality of opportunity. All of this race talk in the classrooms? We need traditional and rigorous education.
I'm not here to brag about Project H.O.O.D. I don't have to. Just look at our track record. That's why I'm on this roof, to build this huge facility so that we can scale up and the work that we've been doing for so long serves to reach more people.
Our leaders are going in the wrong direction. An eight-year-old girl is in surgery right now. How many more will it take before our leaders wake up? You know what? They'll never wake up. You know why? They don't care, but we do.
We're in the streets every day, and we and other similar organizations around the city are our best hope. So yes, there is hope in Chicago. It starts with the people. Not our leaders — all of them. I take what we know, what we must do to get the job done. We must continue to put it to work. We must continue to strive in the midst of struggle. We must continue to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters and show them that different path, give them the hope that they need.
So yes, there is hope in Chicago, and it starts with all of us.
Follow along as Fox News checks in Pastor Corey Brooks each day with a new Rooftop Revelation.
For more information, please visit Project H.O.O.D.
Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is "What Killed Michael Brown?" Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.
Camera by Terrell Allen.