Through Millburn Streets, ‘Rooftop Pastor’ Makes a Stand to End Violence
Rev. Corey Brooks says he’s ‘Praying with My Feet’ on walk across the nation to raise attention and awareness of urban ills.
The Rev. Corey Brooks, known as the “rooftop pastor,” was walking the sidewalks, starting at the Whole Foods in Union walking up Springfield Avenue through Millburn and Maplewood on Day Three of his trek across America to raise awareness and money to end urban violence.
He’s trying to silence guns “one neighborhood at a time,” Brooks said last Thurday, June 7, during a stop at Walgreens in Maplewood. Walgreens is sponsoring the walk and a large group of managers and staff members greeted the charismatic pastor on the steps of the new store on Springfield Avenue.
The journey began Tuesday in Times Square, New York City, with an appearance on Good Morning America. The group is talking as they walk, first in Manhattan and Harlem to spread their message and efforts to raise $15 million for a community center on the Southside of Chicago. They'll be stopping in other cities (and other small towns) along the way. Sometimes more than one a day. The next stop from Maplewood was Newark, where Corey Brooks met up with Mayor Cory Booker.
Brooks last fundraising effort earned him the “Rooftop Pastor” moniker when he lived for three months —in the dead of a Chicago winter -- in a tent on the roof of a Chicago hotel used for drugs and prostitution. The money he raised allowed him to buy and demolish the hotel in hopes of building the Project HOOD Community and Economic Development Center.
On Thursday, the stroll down Springfield Avenue was a picnic compared to the crossing of the Hudson via the George Washington Bridge. “It was a little scary,” said Johnnie Clanton, 22, one of a group of walkers joining Brooks on the three-month journey. “But there’s no turning back.”