Ministers put focus on West Side

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Several West Side ministers vowed late last week to push Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration to pay more attention to Austin.

Friday’s meeting came just days after the Chicago Tribune reported about the lack of economic development planning and jobs initiatives in Austin.

“The city has a plan for every area . . . We have not stood up and demanded that we have plan,” pastor Robbie Wilkerson of New Birth Christian Center told Tribune reporters Gary Marx and David Jackson.

The Tribune’s original story highlighted the haphazard attempts that “have failed to lift a once-stable community devastated by plummeting property values and vanishing jobs.”

Also quoted in Sunday’s story: Pastors Marshall Hatch Sr. of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, Marcenia Janell Richards of Life Center Ministries and Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church.

The West Side was in the news last week for another reason: The Rev. Al Sharpton Jr. and Martin Luther King III plan to temporarily live in an undisclosed location on the West Side to put a spotlight on gun violence in Chicago, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

The men are working closely with Revs. Acree and Hatch, according to Maureen Forte, president of the Chicago chapter of the National Action Network, a nonprofit organization Sharpton founded in 1991.

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