Leader Spotlight: Leroy Jordan

Leroy Jordan, a Springfield (Illinois) community activist and educator, is formerly the Assistant Superintendent of the Research and Information Systems in the Springfield Public School System. Prior to being Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Jordan was employed for 21 years at Sangamon State University where he was the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. He started his career in 1964 teaching at Iles School. He was also the President of the board of the Springfield Board of Education. Mr. Jordan has worked in the field of education for more than 48 years. He currently serves as the Director of Black Catholic Ministry for the Springfield Diocese, whose major purpose is direct contact with all diocesan Black Catholics while sharing the Black Catholic religious heritage with other Catholics. Additionally, Mr. Jordan serves as the Chair of the Rail Task Force for Gamaliel affiliate Faith Coalition For The Common Good in Springfield, IL. 

How do you see Gamaliel’s Fire of Faith Campaign playing out in your community? 

I think it’s a great effort and is certainly strong in Springfield, Illinois. Faith Coalition For The Common Good had a kick off to Fire of Faith and I was one of the leaders on railroad relocation. My task was to promote the community benefit agreement (CBA) and to ask politicians if they would support the agreement and stand with us. Most politicians we were working with said that they would support us and were willing to be a part of this new plan. The original plan was designed to move the tracks off of the third street corridor to the tenth, which would displace a lot of home owners and businesses. We had a listening session where community members shared their concerns with community leaders. Representative Johnson signed an agreement stating that people would be treated justly in terms of relocation. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) also committed to providing a person to oversee the process. Local jobs are another important issue in our community. We’re looking at both jobs AND training for jobs associated with this project. Additionally, we are looking at safety and noise abatement. Noise free zones in the city along the rail corridor are an important factor to consider. We’re also talking about safety as it relates to overpasses and underpasses. It is our responsibility to work to keep our community safe and look at the while picture.

How has Gamaliel and the Fire of Faith Campaign supported this major initiative? 

I think that the idea of Fire of Faith and community organizing on a broad level has been very helpful. We are getting people in our community involved because it directly affects them. This is a statewide project, so Fire of Faith helps in moving everyone together toward transportation reform. The Catholic Church is also getting people involved from a faith perspective; the two are connected and interrelated. Gamaliel’s Fire of Faith Campaign and the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith (October 12, 2011-November 24, 2013) are deeply connected; they are both about seeking justice for all people and the responsibilities of communities to work together toward this justice. 

Do you believe that the Fire of Faith Campaign mirrors Catholic Social Teaching? 

Oh yes, definitely. From my perspective it most certainly does. Faith Coalition For The Common Good is made up of various religious traditions, so it transcends the idea that one group is operating without the assistance and support of the others. We’re not wealthy; we can’t hire lobbyists. All we have is our numbers. The more numerous we are, the more likely we are to be successful. Fire of Faith reminds me that it is time to get fired up and I’m fired up! Fire it up! We’re bringing it!

Posted in