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Treasurer Pappas honors Black clergy for their leadership

Photo caption: COOK COUNTY TREASURER honors Black clergy for leadership roles. Her relationship with the Black churches goes back to a period when she saved 300 Black churches from a scavenger tax scam.

Just a day before Black History Month ended, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on Monday, February 27, honored more than 20 African American Clergy for their leadership by presenting them with Certificates of Excellence.

Pappas said she holds these annual events because “I honor and respect the people I work with.”

Some of the ministers were recipients of either her saving 300 Black churches from the tax scavenger roll or had participated in her coalition to save the churches going back as far as 1998. At that time some tax scavenger buyers were seizing Black churches because the ministers failed to sign the non-profit waivers.

Back in 1998, it was this reporter who confirmed that one tax scavenger sale buyer had been buying up Black West Side churches whose pastor’s failed to turn in non-profit waivers. This reporter turned to the late Ald. Robert Shaw (9th) and Treasurer Pappas who ended that practice.

“I am grateful that God gave me this office and that I can do good,” she said. “I feel like a senior advisor. I feel that my legacy is what it is. I am doing these amazing studies like the one I did on Redlining and tax buyers.

“We are now in Springfield getting the interest rates reduced from 18 to 9 percent on penalties and that is amazing. I am just really grateful,” Pappas said.

Praising the ministers, Pappas said she is also working with the Black Men United “day and night. We go out on Saturdays with giveaways, giving out meals,” and other projects. She explained she isn’t doing this for public relations but from her heart. “These guys are all my friends,” said Pappas.

Rev. Walter Turner, pastor of the New Spiritual Missionary Baptist Church, was part of the 1998 coalition that worked with Pappas to save Black churches. Turner said, “It was a tremendous act of kindness, but it showed the genuine love she has for our community to make sure that the one stable institution we had would always be there.”

Another honoree, Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of the Greater St. John Bible Church, also thanked Treasurer Pappas saying, “Thank God that she uses her office to save people. That is what elected officials should be doing.” In being honored, he said, “It is greatly appreciated. I am always humbled when I am honored.”

Also honored was Bishop Shirley A. Coleman, from the Spiritual Holistic Ministries of Love and Faith, who is the former 16th Ward Alderman in the Englewood community, now headed by her daughter, Alderwoman Stephanie Coleman.

Others who were honored included: Pastor John Harrell, Proviso Baptist Church; Pastor Kevin McCollum and Pastor Emeritus Mack McCollum, both from New Home Baptist Church; Pastor Reginald Bachus, Friendship Baptist Church; Pastor Maze Coburn Jr., Victory and Grace Christian Church; Pastor Michael Eaddy, People’s Church of the Harvest; Pastor Leroy Elliott, New Greater Saint John Church; Pastor Cy Fields, New Landmark Baptist Church; Pastor Mack McCollum, New Home Baptist Church; Pastor Leslie Sanders, Hope Presbyterian Church of Chicago; Pastor Darnell Taylor, Pleasant Ridge M.B. Church; Pastor Jasper Taylor, Broadview M.B. Church; Pastor Walter Turner, New Spiritual Light M.B. Church; and Pastor Marvin Wiley, Rock of Ages Baptist Church.

Pappas also honored leaders from the business field including Mac Arthur, owner of the MacArthur Restaurant; Larry Huggins, owner of Riteway Huggins Construction; Karry L. Young, owner of Karry L. Young Construction; Edward Calahan, owner of Calahan Funeral Home; activists from Black Men United, Johnny Jackson, Anthony Prince and Terry Young. She also honored Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey and the family of the late activist Nancy B. Jefferson, who was known as, “The Mother of the West Side.”

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