Photo caption: Brandon Johnson (credit: brandonforchicago.com)
By Pastor Dr. Walter A. McCray
As a significant and broad-based constituency of faith leaders, it is with great enthusiasm that we give our full support to the candidacy of Commissioner Brandon Johnson for Mayor of the great city of Chicago. We make our endorsement in the spirit of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—a prophet of social justice, an advocate of “The Beloved Community,” and a peacemaking servant whose godly cause led to his martyr’s death on April 4, 1968.
As faith leaders in the best traditions of the Rev. Dr. King, we unite and stand together. We pledge to pray, to collaborate, and to inspire all progressive-minded voters to elect Brandon Johnson to the highest position of elected office and leadership in Chicago—our world-class city. Together we believe that Brandon is Better for Chicago!
- Brandon Johnson – A Peacemaker, Not Just a Peacekeeper
The social prophet Jesus, from the town of Nazareth, Galilee, proclaimed these words of Good News and transformation: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 6:9).
Brandon Johnson stands for much more than being a big-stick-kind-of peacekeeper amidst the rampant violence plaguing the city. In stark contrast, Johnson advocates the ideals of a true “peacemaker.” Genuine peacemakers envision policies and programs that foster genuine security and holistic well-being of their community. As a peace-making Mayor, Johnson will work to improve the quality of life for all Chicago residents—especially for those who live in the oft-neglected communities and neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.
Commissioner Johnson presents himself as the fresh kind of peace-making leader that Chicago needs at this critical juncture of our history. Certainly, in order to keep the peace, Johnson supports policing practices that are lawfully right and humane. Yet, he will do much more. Commissioner Johnson has arisen to address the root and systemic causes of violent crimes in our city. His budget-values and programs will successfully tackle vital issues related to mental health, to employment training and opportunities, to educational excellence, to access to financial capital, to community- and culturally-sensitive policing, and to the like.
- Brandon Johnson – Feels The Pulse of The People
Much more than the other candidate, Commissioner Brandon Johnson is in touch with the communities we stand for. Brandon is one of us; he feels with us. Brandon has placed his caring hands on the pulse of the people. The community which nurtured Johnson has groomed him for leadership in the city that he loves and desires to lead. No one can raise any serious question about Johnson being a legitimate Chicago resident. With his family he verifiably lives in Chicago’s Austin community. Johnson’s faith tradition is the Church of God in Christ. Being a Commissioner of Cook County shows that Johnson understands and can fairly represent the desires, needs, and nuances of a wide constituency.
As one who has served with the Chicago Teachers Union, we know that we can trust Johnson to earnestly attend to the educational welfare of Chicago’s children. Johnson comes to us with the deserved backing of public-school teachers, administrators, staff, activists, and parents. These are the committed stakeholders who labor day-in and day-out—laboring with respect, love, care, and expertise—for the education of our children. Yes, Brandon Johnson as a CTU member is a model of HOPE, and example of great educational potential for all the precious children of Chicago.
- Brandon Johnson – A Leader for Economic Empowerment
As faith-leaders, we believe that the goal of community economic empowerment tips the scales in favor of Commissioner Brandon Johnson for Chicago’s next Mayor. The financial reality that appreciates the City of Chicago as a multi-billion-dollar corporation does not escape our notice. Yet, the truth of factual data is well-known: for years and years, many of the historical power-brokers of the City have economically short-changed Chicago’s Black and brown communities and citizens. Vacant lots, sub-standard housing, limping business districts, community disinvestment, flight to the suburbs, and the like, these all testify to the dearth of meaningful and broad economic investment in Chicago’s under-empowered communities of Color.
In a deprived economic climate and wasteland, Brandon Johnson is our best bet to bring about equitable and economically-based community transformation. There is a far greater possibility than otherwise that Johnson as Mayor—even as the corporate head of Chicago’s multi-billion-dollar budget—will steer well-deserved public funds our way. Much more than his rival for mayor, Johnson has positioned himself to assist those businesses, not-for-profits, community entities, entrepreneurs, and private-sector employees who need help the most. With Johnson at the economic helm, underserved Chicago communities stand to reap economic revitalization or a financial windfall. Without question, our vote for Brandon Johnson is a vote for the economic-political empowerment of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. It is a vote to socially redeem left-behind and homeless persons—to redeem those discouraged souls whose financial struggles and deprivation has dashed their lives into hopelessness.
- Brandon Johnson – The Only Progressive Choice
As faith-leaders we are free! And in this freedom we have conscientiously chosen to follow the faith-dream of Brandon Johnson. Among the two front-runners in this mayoral race, we believe that the candidacy of Brandon Johnson for Mayor of Chicago is the only viable progressive choice that is on the table. The other choice feels too much like “Been there, done that.” Make no mistake, Chicago needs change.
We stand together, we walk together as faith leaders. The virtue of faith always envisions a promising future, even while simultaneously stretching its pro-active arms to improve the human condition. Both the adversities and the opportunities facing Chicago—in this season of great challenges and uncertainties—are calling faith-leaders to move forward into new vistas. In contrast, our gut-feelings are warning us to resist the temptations to embrace and maintain the status quo. As faith leaders we certainly must not repeat or retreat into the political failures of our past. As faith leaders, we must continue speaking truth to power.
Pro-active faith is progressive. It brings about a better human, societal, and civic experience for all. In this vein—in this dream for Chicago and all her citizens—we join our forces with the far-sighted and deep-seated courage of Commissioner Johnson. Brandon Johnson speaks of ideas that ring different; the trajectory of his political strategies sing a refreshing new song about a future that promises better things for Chicago. With all our strength we faith leaders have determined with Johnson to progressively move our community forward. The opportune time is NOW for Chicago’s transformative change with Brandon Johnson as Mayor.
Rest assured, our integrity as faith leaders always presses us to hold accountable all elected officials of our city. We listen carefully for any promises they make to secure our vote by aligning their values with the hopes and aspirations of the communities that we represent. When he is elected, and we fully believe that his campaign will succeed, we shall hold Mayor Johnson accountable to fulfill the promises of his platform.
- Brandon Johnson – A Vote for Better!
Based on the rationale stated above—and in good conscience toward God for the well-being of our diverse constituents, and for all Chicago—as faith-leaders we hereby encourage the persons that we lead, and those that we can influence, to cast their deciding vote on behalf of Commissioner Brandon Johnson for the next Mayor of Chicago! Brandon Johnson is our peacemaker. With the help of God and the wise counsel of the elders, Mayor Johnson will improve the security of our communities, and enhance the quality of life for all Chicagoans of good will. Yes, “Brandon is Better” for Chicago!
As pro-democracy faith leaders, we encourage all freedom-loving persons to vote their conscience in the upcoming election. All Chicago citizens should work toward and remember the coming election day, April 4th. Historically, this date—April 4, 1968—marks the fateful day of the tragic event when the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was snatched from him as he fought for human dignity, equality, freedom, and empowerment in America. In this spirit, we encourage all Chicagoan’s to honor the life, memories, and freedom-values of the Rev. Dr. King by casting their vote.
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