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South Side Organization will Honor Rev. Pfleger at its First Black Tie Gala

By Wendell Hutson | October 18, 2013 8:44am
 Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham, is among five honorees this year at the first annual Black Tie Gala by a South Side nonprofit organization. 
Gala Honors Rev. Michael Pfleger
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WOODLAWN —New Beginnings Community Development will honor Rev. Michael Pfleger and four others at the nonprofit's first Black Tie Gala for their community service work.

Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham, said being honored for doing "God's work," including his anti-violence activism and after-school programs.

The gala begins with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive. The other honorees are comedian and actor Steve Harvey; Paul Adams III, founder and president of the Providence St. Mel School; Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor of New Life Covenant Church; and Walgreens.

Each honoree is being recognized for having a track record in community service, said Robert Marshall, gala coordinator.

"Before Steve Harvey moved to Chicago, he was known for supporting underserved communities," contends Marshall. "He has done a lot of things behind the scenes and we want to recognize him for that."

Local artist will provide entertainment, added Marshall.

Tickets for the event are available online for $350 and Marshall said tickets are $250 for young professionals under the age of 35.

Marshall said the tickets will probably go fast, and said all money raised fron the event will support Project HOOD, Master's Academy and the New Beginnings youth center.

In November 2011, Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, slept on the rooftop of the shuttered Super 8 Motel across the street from the church for 94 days until $450,000 was raised, which allowed the church to buy the property and demolish the dilapidated building. Brooks now plans to build a $15 million youth center on the site at 6625 S. King Drive in an effort to help reduce youth violence.

South Side residents credit Pfleger for reducing violence with his peace youth basketball tournaments, neighborhood marches and outdoor prayer vigils.

"This is a man who cares about what goes on in Auburn Gresham," said Mattie Walker, 88. "I moved to Auburn Gresham 39 years ago and I have seen this community go from good to worse. Here's a man who is at least trying to bring the glory days back."

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) whose ward includes New Beginnings Church plans on attending the gala and said Pfleger is well deserving of recognition.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn are honorary co-chairs for the event.