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Local News

New clergy group plans to stay active after election

African-American Clergy Coalition endorses O'Dekirk

JOLIET – The African-American Clergy Coalition created for the Joliet mayoral race will remain active after the election, the Rev. David Latimore said.

Latimore is among 14 African-American pastors who signed their names to an endorsement for Councilman Bob O’Dekirk in the Joliet mayoral election.

The African American Clergy Coalition was formed around the election, said Latimore, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church. But, he said, the coalition will remain active in city affairs regardless of who is elected.

The strongly worded endorsement letter released Friday speaks of “visionless leadership” in the city and “historically neglected residents of the East Side.”

The group’s creation has come with some controversy.

Two prominent African American pastors, Herbert Brooks and Warren Dorris, questioned the endorsement letter when it was first circulated last week, saying they and other African-American pastors had not participated in the endorsement process.

“I’m an African American pastor. I’m an African American clergy,” Brooks said. “I didn’t know about the meetings. I didn’t know about the letter.”

Both Brooks and Dorris had announced in January that they were supporting Mayor Tom Giarrante in the election.

Latimore said about 25 pastors were invited to participate in the African American Clergy Coalition endorsement process. He said 15 responded. But an invitation was not sent to Brooks or Dorris because they already had made endorsements.

“We were asking those clergy who had not made a public declaration for any candidate to come in and listen with open ears,” he said.

Pastors who signed the endorsement were Craig Purchase, Clint Wilburn, Richard House, Angelo Hill, Tracie Jennings, Edward Martin, Jerry McElroy, Eddie L. Pierce, Glenda McCullum, Nona McKenzie Parker, Lonnie Posley, Jimmie E. Sellers and Gary R. Williams.

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