By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
At 17, Zachary Love is an ordained minister, the national youth president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and a founding member of Youth Exceling in Service (YES) has already found his purpose in life—not running the streets but rather in search of lost souls and to become governor in 2038.
A member of Pickens Memorial Temple C.O.I.G.C., Love, was ordained on November 15, 2015 by PUSH founder and president Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and Supt. Van W. Wells, first administrator superintendent of the 1st Jurisdiction of Illinois for the C.O.I.G.IC of Illinois.
Born on the South Side of Chicago, Love met Dr. Cornel West while In Washington, D.C. “He told me he would be coming to Chicago in a few weeks. Dr. West invited me to attend a rally for mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.”
“West is my mentor and he introduced me to Rev Jackson after he saw how serious I was in engaging with the youth and the ministry. That meeting was on April 4, 2015 ironically another historic day,” said Love referring to the then 47th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King.
“Rev. Jackson invited me to come to PUSH, and I was on cloud nine. It was a dream come true for me.” Love said another hero of his is Pastor Ira Acree who heads the Greater St. John Bible church on Chicago’s West Side. “Dr. King is my super hero,” Love said.
Love will be a senior this fall, and he plans to attend Morehouse College majoring in political science and minoring in business then on to Wiley College majoring in divinity.
When asked what are his long-term goals, Love said, “I want to be a world leader, and I plan to be governor of Illinois in 2038. That is what brought me to PUSH,” a confident love said.
“I want to be governor of Illinois which is known to be a corrupt state,” said Love. “When you look at Chicago, it is so violent and it is affecting most of the Black and Hispanic communities. You have food deserts…high unemployment and few resources. You don’t see the Gandhi-type changes taking place in Illinois, and that is what I will bring to the people of Illinois…fairness, employment…hope and integrity…
“As governor, I want to sign the budget for the Monetary Reward Program (MAP), and I would take the power of CPS out of the hands of the mayor,” young Love said. “I do not think the mayor should be the one who decides issues at CPS. It worked with Mayor Washington and now it is not working,” said Love referring to the CPS’ more than $800 million deficit.
Love wants to run education like a business. “It would have an elected board but with term limits.” I would either get rid of the red light cameras or put them on every street because it makes no sense to have them at 55th and Ashland and 95th and Western in these poor communities, but not in downtown or Hyde. “That is like taxation without representation. Red light cameras would have to go,” he vowed.
“The budget for policemen would not be this high especially since they are not doing anything to merit these funds. Just look at the dozens of shootings and for what? That is a waste of money especially when we have an educational system on the brink of failure.”
About the prisons, Love vowed to reform the punitive and profitable system, offering inmates a chance to turn their lives around, thereby reducing recidivism that he says is costing taxpayers a great deal of money.
Love said under his leadership, Illinois prisons would be more than places where contractors get rich off of contracts. Love sees prison reform as another place to save troubled souls. “I would change their thinking through counseling….”
On Chicago’s violence, Love said, “I want a peaceful summer. This violence is outrageous, but it should have been dealt with a long time ago.
This generation, which is being hurt the most, will soon be the next voting generation. We have to grow up and realize we have to stop killing each other.
“These guns are not falling out of the sky they are being placed in our communities…channeled into our neighborhoods. Instead of pointing the finger…playing the blame game, we now have to stop all of this. We cannot act on impulse…. Let’s do everything we can to make this summer the least violent.”
“Teenage minds are not mature including mine. If my only option is to go to jail or make a living by carrying a gun or selling drugs…when you give me limited resources, I will improvise. It is so sad that those are the resources laid in front of us instead of a job,” said Love.
“Having a job can be a beacon of hope for Chicago Jackson,” Love said quoting Rev. Jackson. “We need everyone to come to the June 25-29th PUSH convention. We need the unity of everyone…every coalition to make this state, this city a better place for everyone,” young Love said. “Like minds can make this happen in Chicago.”