Members of the West Side faith leaders group Leaders Network vow to fulfill the
dream of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will the soft launch of a community credit union in Austin.
The location will be just a couple of miles from where King and his family lived
when he brought his civil rights movement north to Chicago in 1966.
In an accurate display of commemoration of the 60th anniversary, faith leaders on Monday will march from the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church at 116 S. Central to the all-new Leaders Network Credit Union located at 5600 W. Madison St.
The Leaders Network is collaborating with Great Lakes Credit Union, which was founded in 1938 and is committed to financial empowerment diverse communities. As a not-for-profit financial
cooperative with over $1 billion in assets, GLCU serves over 80,000 members in Chicagoland
and surrounding areas.
Faith leaders view the establishment of the Leaders Network Credit Union as an added boost to the ongoing rebirth of the West Side. King’s move to the north came after leading victories for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
When King visited America’s northern cities, including Chicago, he saw firsthand the despair and hopelessness created by racism and poverty. “What difference does it make if you can sit anywhere you want in a restaurant if you don’t have a dime in your pocket to buy a cup of coffee,”King said before launching the Chicago Freedom Movement in 1966.
“In 2005, several faith communities organized and modeled our social justice work after Dr.
King’s SCLC to advocate for the marginalized on Chicago’s West Side and beyond,”said Rev.
Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Church and Leader’s Network co-chair. “This giant step
toward financial empowerment of families is launched today in honor of Dr. King who himself
resided on the West Side in 1966. In 2023, the dream still lives.”
Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church and Leaders Network co-chair added: “Dr King spent the last months of his life fighting for economic justice for blacks, poor whites, Latinos and indigenous people.
“This credit union initiative, if duplicated in other urban markets, could ultimately change the landscape in America, because Black families and black businesses will be able to get loans in their own community without being redlined or getting out right denied,” Acree said.
Rabbi Max Weiss said every community should have access to full banking services. “Our partnership with Great Lakes Credit Union will allow us that access.”
Monday march starts at 9:15 a.m. and will end at the credit union with the Leaders Network making a deposit of $250,000 to open the account.