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Churches, Activists, Unions Join To Make Chicago Better

Mon., Oct. 20, 1997

Muslims, Jews and Christians of several denominations joined with union leaders and community activists Sunday in launching a new civic organization they say will address some of the city’s most pressing urban ills.

About 10,000 people from Chicago and the suburbs gathered at the University of Illinois-Chicago for the official start of United Power for Action and Justice.

“This is how you get things done,” said Debora Henry, from Chicago’s Third Baptist Church. “There is strength in numbers.”

United Power’s organizers say the group already has wide-ranging support and has raised $2.5 million. What the group lacks is a clear idea of what it is going to do, but organizers say their first goal is to build relationships and trust among the many diverse groups interested in social causes.

“Violence, drugs, gangs, employment. … I think these are going to be things that we are going to be very much in agreement on,” said founding member Donald Nevins, pastor at the Holy Family Church of Chicago.

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