The voices that can garner attention in Chicago regarding the plight of the Black community are fewer and fewer. We have a number of charlatans and carpetbaggers who show up to get their names and faces in front of television cameras and then they disappear, never to be heard from again. Since Dr. King, few Blacks in leadership positions have led us to any significant progress. Our condition and plight is a double-edged sword. We suffer from not only what others are doing to us but also from what we do to ourselves.

I cannot name a single thriving Black community in the city of Chicago. Our business districts tend to look like war-torn Beirut. And even though we have a Black mayor, a Black president of the Cook County board, a Black state’s attorney for both the county and the state, a Black lieutenant governor, a Black out-of-towner police chief (who knows nothing about this city), the progress we are making as a group is stilted.

Yet one of the most outspoken voices for the Black community has now been silenced. A 40-year-old allegation of alleged sexual abuse has taken out Father Michael Pfleger.  My question is, ‘Why now?’ Who benefits from this allegation? Who loses the most because of this allegation?

St. Sabina is one of the last vestiges of stability and cleanliness in an otherwise desolate neighborhood. The church sits right on the western edge of Englewood. I have no clue what the city’s plans are for the Englewood/Auburn Gresham neighborhoods, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that keeping it the way it is is feasible. Too much prime land sitting empty. And a troublesome preacher who can call a press conference and actually get the media and people to show up needs to be silenced so that the carnage that is going on can continue.

Of all the allegations someone can make against a person, pedophilia is one that is indefensible. It does not allow the accused to continue doing their job while the charges are being investigated. Instead once the allegation is made public, the alleged victim is kept anonymous, and the accused’s entire career is placed in limbo. Even worse, no one can argue against the unfairness of the situation because it is something that involves (or involved) a child.

Be you a supporter or a foe, we all need to stay vigilant and pay attention to the outcome of this situation. I don’t agree with some of Father Pfleger’s tactics, like shutting down the Dan Ryan. But there is still something in the back of my mind questioning, “Why now?” It’s not like he has been in hiding and difficult to find. He is a very public figure. He has also been able to stay at a church longer than the archdiocese’s rules normally allow.

I hope these are not just manufactured charges to get him away from St. Sabina.