TRANSITIONING: David Cherry, center, with Leaders Network co-founders Rev. Ira Acree, left, and Rev. Marshall Hatch, during the organization's MLK celebration on Jan. 14. Cherry was elected as the organization's second president during the celebratory meeting. | Photo provided

A prominent West Side religious organization has a new president. The Leaders Network, the faith-based social justice organization, swore in David Cherry, the head of the Chicago-based All Stars Project, during the Leaders’ Network’s monthly meeting and annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, held Jan. 14, at Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd. 

“I am honored to accept my new role as president of the Leaders Network,” Cherry said in a statement on his Facebook page. “I am joining our extraordinary Founders and Co-Chairs Ira J. Acree, Marshall Pastor Hatch and Cy Fields as leaders to end the tale of two cities in Chicago and create One Chicago where which works for everyone regardless of race or zip code.” 

Cherry replaces Fields as the organization’s president. Fields, the pastor of the New Landmark Baptist Church in East Garfield Park, co-founded the Leaders Network in 2005 with Hatch, the pastor of the New Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in West Garfield Park, and Acree, the pastor of the St. John Bible Church in Austin. 

The organization “was birthed out of a mobilization effort of dozens of Chicago west side churches to donate disaster relief funds to aid families victimized by Hurricane Katrina,” according to a statement the Leaders Network released last week. 

Cherry is the Leaders Network’s second president and the first elected president since the organization established presidential term limits last October. According to the statement, Cherry’s election was unanimous. 

“Cherry has extensive and first-hand knowledge of the social issues in poor African-American and Latino communities, particularly those confronting inner-city youth,” the statement reads. 

“For more than 25 years, Cherry, a highly skilled and dedicated community organizer and activist, and a native New Yorker, helped diverse communities develop around issues of democracy, social justice and inclusion,” the statement explains.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Leaders Network also swore in Deborah Williams as secretary and  Eric L. Pernell as treasurer. Rabbi Max Weiss, of Oak Park Temple, was presented with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Award. 

The Leaders Network’s meetings take place at 9:30 a.m., every second Tuesday of each month, at the Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd.