Leon Finney to be honored for 80th birthday, commitment to community

By JOANA SALIEVSKA
Herald Intern

Leon Finney – Victor Powell

Rev. Dr. Leon Finney, Jr., a longtime Chicago community organizer, social justice activist and pastor at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church, 4800 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., is turning 80. There will be a series of events in the Hyde Park – Kenwood, Woodlawn and Bronzeville neighborhoods to honor and celebrate his life and work this weekend, July 13 to15.

Finney founded the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, owns the influential Urban Broadcast Media Group and served as Vice Chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority.

“In 1976, I met with business leaders and urged them to invest in the distressed communities of the city and to relieve crippling poverty that has impacted many people,” said Finney in a statement. “Sadly, the urging that I put forth to bring about a healthier Chicago was not manifested and we still find ourselves in desperate need of a strategy to alleviate violence and poverty.”

In a recent city council meeting, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Finney for his work.

“Your place of worship is more than a place of worship,” said Emanuel. “It’s a place of hope.”

Dowell described Finney’s many contributions to Chicago as a “legacy still in action” and celebrated his devotion to social justice and community development.

Finney is honored to be recognized for his work. “I’m deeply humbled by the outpouring of love that I received from the various constituencies that make Chicago a truly great city,” he said.

There will be three events this weekend to celebrate Finney’s life and work:

• On Friday, July 13, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be a fundraising event at the Apostolic Church of God Banquet Hall, 6343 S. Kenwood Ave. where Finney will be “roasted and toasted.” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and ComEd Senior Vice President Melissa Washington will host the event. Proceeds from the event will go to Finney’s Urban Broadcast Media Group, a non-profit online multimedia service.

• On Saturday, July 14, Finney will be honored at Operation PUSH, 930 E. 50th St., by Rev. Jesse Jackson. The event will be live streamed at www.rainbowpush.org at 10 a.m. and noon.

• On Sunday, July 15, Finney is being honored during the Metropolitan Apostolic Church service, which will be led by Bishop Dr. David Daniels.

For tickets and details for Friday’s dinner and fundraising event, visit the ticketing website www.bit.ly/2kTy8hw.

hpherald@hpherald.com