Days after negotiating a successful Community Housing Covenant with the owners of the Concordia Place Apartments, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his national field team Sunday, April 4, brought hope, joy and 150 Easter baskets to children at the complex, keeping a promise he made to the mothers after last week’s signing ceremony.
Since being released from rehab after a successful operation, Jackson has been negotiating with Sam Horowitz, owner of the privately-owned, HUD financed 297-unit apartment complex at 13037 S. Daniel Drive.
Mothers, with their families, were forced to live with roaches, bedbugs, termites, mice and unfair housing rules that were not HUD sanctioned. Jackson, along with Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Reverend Cam- eron Barnes, national youth director, negotiated an agreement by which the owner agreed to make all repairs.
Thanks to the Easter basket donation by Walgreens, on Easter morning smiles replaced the tears and fears often seen on the faces of children living in the complex. Many had been forced, along with their mothers, to sleep in their cars at night to avoid a takeover by mice. This past Easter Sunday brought more than sunshine for the children.
Deborah Lewis, president of the Concordia Place Apartments Tenants Association, thanked Jackson for the Easter baskets.
“Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Barnes did a wonderful job today. They made the children so happy.
“Reverend Jackson just brought so many blessings. He put smiles on the faces of the children. My heart is full of joy. Thanks for everything they are doing, and I appreciate everything. My heart is singing joy,” said Lewis.
Lewis wasn’t the only happy one on Easter morning. “Today was significant in that Reverend Jackson kept his commitment to the residents in terms of wanting to restore some normalcy and quality of life during this holiday season where we remember the death burial/ resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Grant. “It is simple, restoring humanity and giving people a sense of hope to see the looks of joy on the faces of the young people receiving baskets of gifts that were donated by corporate partners. It certainly raised a bright light..,” Grant said.
And that was the goal of Barnes, to shine a light on a myriad of problems at the Concordia Place Apartments. He focused on solutions for the mothers. It was Barnes, who lives in Altgeld Gardens located near the Concordia Place Apartments, who brought the plight of the mothers to the attention of Jackson.
Bringing the Easter baskets to the mothers was also Barnes’ idea. He presented the idea to Reverend Janette Wilson, PUSH Excel’s national executive director, and John Mitchell, Jackson’s chief-of-staff. Barnes’ wish came true on the eve of Easter.
He and volunteers worked late Saturday night and early Sunday morning stuffing the Easter baskets for the Concordia Place children on his birthday. “I am so happy for the children,” said Barnes.
But, Jackson brought more than Easter gifts. His vision for restoring normalcy to the Concordia Place Apartments includes “connecting the young people to the PUSH Excel programs, especially the juniors and seniors in high school, and getting them prepped for college.”
“We’re going to make them a part of our virtual HBCU tour this spring, and making sure they are aware of scholarships and assistance for financial aid for the fall of 2021,” Grant said, explaining the offers will include the PUSH Excel oratorical program as well.