Faith leaders from across the county are determined to follow up on helping resolve the crisis at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office,which has resulted in a string of news stories about stacked bodies of unidentified people and other mismanagement practices.
In August, AustinTalks reported the $1.9 million allocated statewide to bury the poor had ran out, leaving burials of indigent persons to county morgues.
With just $60,000, it was unclear how the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office would handle the task. Last year, that amount paid for 125 indigent people to be buried in separate coffins in seven mass graves.
Earlier this week, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle indicated she welcomed input and partnership with faith and community leaders in carrying out the sacred trust at the Cook County morgue.
“We look forward to meeting with President Preckwinkle to further offer our good offices and share some insights on how county government may partner with community and faith leaders to give oversight in the interest of the sacred resolution of human remains at the county morgue,” said the Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church.
On Saturday, pastors of the Leaders Network formally extended a written invitation to Preckwinkle to meet regarding the body pile up at the morgue and the need to implement changes that will ensure the dignified handling of the dead.
“Its important that the community and faith leaders are a part of this process. It provides the much needed transparency that this crises desperately requires, and it will put in place a partnership that would potentially ensure that we never have to experience a travesty like this again,” said the Rev Ira Acree of Greater St John Bible Church.
The pastors have already given comfort and direction to several distressed families. They are asking any family with loved ones at the Cook County morgue or any recently missing loved ones to call the Leaders Network office number at 312-473-6496 for assistance.