The Crusader Newspaper Group

Son of Rev. Marshall Hatch seeks commissioner seat vacated by Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson

Photo caption: Marshall Hatch, Jr.

The son of prominent pastor Reverend Marshall Hatch seeks to become the Cook County District 1 Commissioner, taking the seat left vacant by Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.

Reverend Hatch confirmed to the Crusader that his son Marshall Hatch, Jr. will run after a story was published in the online publication The Triibe.

Hatch, Jr. may face West Side activist Zerlina Smith, who ran for alderman of the 29th Ward. Sources told the Crusader that Smith is considering running for the position.

The Crusader reached out to Hatch, Jr., who did not respond by press time Wednesday, April 26, for the Crusader’s print edition.

The junior Hatch holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bates College and a master’s degree in divinity from the University of Chicago. An activist and avid reader, Marshall Hatch, Jr., was captain of the basketball team when he was a junior at Bates College.

According to The Triibe, Marshall Hatch, Jr, 35, currently serves as executive director of the MAAFA Redemption Project, an extension of his father’s New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago’s West Garfield Park community on the city’s West Side.

The program provides Black men 18 to 30 years old with mental health support and family wellness and mentorship. The program also helps young men overcome past traumatic experiences.

The District 1 seat on the Cook County Commission represents the West Side, Forest Park, Maywood, Broadview and Bellwood.

Hatch, Jr., told The Triibe he was convinced to run on the night of the runoff mayoral election between Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas. He said Johnson, an Austin resident, “did a good job articulating the idea of trying to fulfill the dream of combining the Civil Rights Movement and the labor rights movement.

“I was convinced that night because I really did feel something spiritual in the room,” Hatch, Jr., told The Triibe. “It wasn’t just a phrase when he said we’re building a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-class movement, I saw it.”

An unapologetic supporter of Johnson, Hatch, Jr., said former District 2 Commissioner Robert Steele gave him his first internship as a young future leader.

According to his profile story at Bates College, during the pandemic, COVID-19 killed Hatch, Jr.’s beloved aunt, Rhoda Hatch, the matriarch of his father’s side of the family. She was the organist at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, where his father has served since 1993. After Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke publicly about the disproportionate impact COVID-19 was having on communities of color, entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey asked to meet Hatch and his father.

Winfrey subsequently announced a $5 million gift to establish Live Healthy United, a community-based initiative directed at providing food, contact tracing, personal protective equipment, and wellness checks to Black and Latinx communities. The MAAFA Redemption Project is one of five Chicago groups working under that umbrella

In addition to being executive director of the MAAFA Redemption Project, Hatch, Jr., has spent summers overseeing food giveaways in the parking lot of his father’s church.

Marhsall Hatch, Jr., may have some competition in the race for the District 1 Commissioner’s seat. Sources told the Crusader Zerlina Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for alderman in the 29th Ward in 2019 and 2015, is also considering running for Johnson’s vacant seat. In 2021, Smith reportedly took out a second mortgage on her Austin home to fund her unsuccessful campaign for Cook County Board President.

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