Monday, March 1, 2010

Chicago ministers group to play hardball on Wal-Mart

A coalition of Chicago ministers is readying a campaign for more Wal-Mart stores in Chicago — and preparing another against aldermen who stand in the way.

The alliance of just over 200 ministers, representing more than 100,000 congregants, will first demand that Mayor Richard M. Daley grant administrative approval to begin construction of a Wal-Mart at the Chatham Market shopping center, saving that project from falling into foreclosure. The group also will pressure aldermen to approve that store and others in retail-starved neighborhoods such as Englewood and Pullman.

If, as appears likely, more Wal-Marts don't get the green light this year, the ministers say they'll mount a campaign against aldermen who oppose the big retailer's expansion. Taking a page from union groups that have held Wal-Mart back, the ministers say they will support candidates in favor of the store with political advertising and urge their congregants to vote against dissenters.

"The pressure must be applied, starting with the mayor," says the Rev. Larry Roberts of Trinity All Nations Ministries on the South Side. "The procrastination is just bringing more damage to the city and the communities."

Rev. Roberts is leading the coalition, which also includes prominent clergymen the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins of Bethlehem Star M.B. Church; the Rev. Simon Gordon of Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church; the Rev. Alan Ragland of Third Baptist Church of Chicago; the Rev. D. Darrell Griffin of Oakdale Covenant Church; the Rev. Herbert Lee of New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church; the Rev. Thomas Barclay of Progressive Beulah Pentecostal Church, and the Rev. Walter Turner of New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church.
Via Newsalert!

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