Humanitarian and self-made multi-millionaire Dr. Willie Wilson will have given away more than $1 million by year’s end to the homeless, first-line responders and others who have reached the end of their financial ropes and are on the streets of Chicago begging for change just to survive.
“This is a shame the way we are treating these people like this. They don’t deserve this kind of treatment just because they have hit bad luck,” Wilson told the Chicago Crusader. “It is painful to see our people, including other ethnic groups, living under viaducts or in one of the many Tent Cities that have been erected along slithers of parkways and under viaducts,” the philanthropist said.
Wilson also voiced concern about those Chicago firefighters and policemen who are on a no-pay status because they refuse to be vaccinated. “It’s Christmas,” Wilson told the Chicago Crusader, “and they have children too. They deserve to have a nice Christmas for their families.”
On Wednesday, December 22, Wilson presented a $50,000 check to the head of the Fraternal Order of Police in support of more than 243 police officers, and 20 firefighters, currently on a no-pay status because they refuse to be vaccinated.
Knowing that it may be a controversial move, Wilson said he is looking at their plight in a humanitarian way. “These are our heroes, our first-line responders who have been here for us. Our allegiance to them and appreciation for their service should not end because they are exercising their constitutional rights,” Wilson said.
He told the Chicago Crusader he is not getting involved in the issue of their refusing to be vaccinated because “that is their decision to make. I am coming from a humanitarian position. They are our heroes putting their lives on the line for us. We have to be sensitive to their not having a paycheck and food. That is why I am stepping up and donating $50,000.”
Wilson, a deacon at his church, quoted the biblical passage, Matthew 25-35: “For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink…, noting, “likewise we must show that same love to our first responders and their families.”
Asked why he continues to give away his money, Wilson, who was born in Gilbert, Louisiana, said, “I came from a poor family, sharecroppers, and I decided that regardless of what I do, something bad, people talk about me. If I do things good, people talk about me; so I will continue to do good things and help people. I care about Chicago. I care about people, and I don’t care what color they are.”
“I have seen a lot of mothers and seniors in these shelters. Those are our mothers, fathers and grandmothers,” he said. “We cannot let that happen. In one shelter in Tent City there was one Porta John. There was so much stuff in there, the door couldn’t even close. People were still trying to use it. There was no soap or water. It was around Chicago Avenue and Kedzie. We were around a viaduct. It was a disgrace, a damn shame. It makes no sense,” Wilson said.
He said the homeless need more portable toilets complete with water and soap. “They need support and not being ignored. It’s time for us to step up to the plate and give them a helping hand.”
“In California, we are helping the homeless and the churches. We just came from California and were in Detroit and Atlanta, Georgia, donating to the homeless. In New Orleans, we gave away $1 million because of the storm,” Wilson stated. “Home-lessness is widespread.”
“I think they should reopen some of these mental health centers. We need to care about our people. We cannot discard our people like this. It is shameful. I wouldn’t want my mother out there. I will do my part, but what we need is more affordable housing.”
Wilson concluded his comments extending a hopeful holiday greeting, saying, “Merry Christmas to all of Chicago. We are looking forward to 2022 and helping even more people as we go through another year of this pandemic,” he said.