Fall of 2016, Gloria Kennedy agreed to support Fred Tetter with reactivating the Kankakee Black Chamber to help support Black owned business in the area. Back in April 2018 a group of concerned Kankakee residents sat down to begin the Greater Kankakee Black Chamber of Commerce. As suggested by then board Secretary Judy Sergeant, the chamber needs to bring something different to the community to begin changing the current economic condition. The Board consisted of Gloria Kennedy, Sherry Williams, Mary Williams, Judy Sergeant, and Ricky Tucker. We decided to bring some attention to the organization by organizing a line-dance fundraiser. With the help of the Kankakee, Pembroke and Sun River
Terrace Line dancers lead by Rod Sessions and my friend and special guest “Casper” hosted the event and it was supported by several members of the community. Now the GKBCC is a state and federal recognized non-profit organization that is positioned to develop, educate, economically empower, sustain and promote African-American businesses by advocating for economic development through pro-black business legislative policies, entrepreneurship, procurement, community reinvestment, programmatic and professional development, and capitalistic activity within the Kankakee Area.
Meet the Board
Gloria Kennedy – President
Gloria Tucker Kennedy is a wife, daughter, mom, grandma, friend and a passionate community servant. Not only is she the President for Greater Kankakee Black Chamber of Commerce, but also serves as Chairman for the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce Black Business Council, and is a member of several other community organizations. She is a member of Greater New Hope MB Church, Women in Support, NAACP, KIEOP, NABVET’s Pembroke Chapter #0084, and Choice Youth Outreach. With this ongoing quest to give, Gloria has been able to promote significant, positive change in our communities and individuals through advocacy, empowered by compassion. She takes pride in engaging in a civically based approach to community building as she is committed to a life-long service based on personal and professional experiences. As a Kankakee resident and daughter of a Southern born mother, her mindset is based on a strong foundation built on loyalty, commitment, honesty, dependability and open-mindedness. These brief but significant attributes have naturally inspired her to become a voice for the voiceless and a beacon of hope to the hopeless.
Ricky Tucker – Vice President
Ricky is a native of Kankakee with 5 children and 6 grandchildren. He is an active member of his community.
A Graduate of Westview High School and Olivet Nazarene University, he retired from FedEx and is currently employed by Kankakee School District 111. Ricky serves as the Spokesperson and Vice-President of The Kankakee Black Chamber of Commerce.
Sheryl Mason-Thomas – Treasurer
Residing in Kankakee County and the Village of Sun River Terrace, for over 40 years. Sheryl is a Mother of 4 and a grandmother of 3. She has been employed for Kankakee School District 13 as an Educator for over 20 years. Currently Sheryl is a head start teacher. She is a member and treasurer for the Greater Black Chamber of Commerce, former Mayor of the Village of Sun River Terrace, and Board member for over 8 years. Sheryl is a member of Mt. Calvary MB Church here in Sun River Terrace. Her passion is helping others and working with the youth.
Walter Wilson – Communications Coordinator
Walter K. Wilson moved to Kankakee County from Aurora, Ill along with his family in 2002. He is currently attending Kankakee Community College in pursuit of his Associates in Business, with a goal of completing the program in the spring of 2020.
He is also a member of Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church were he serves as Associate Minister under the leadership of Pastor Howard L Wills, Sr. Walter is also a part of the Sunday School Department and part of the Evangelism Council Committee.
Robert Peters – Media Specialist
Kimberly Hudson was born and raised in Kankakee until the age of twelve and then moved to Ft. Myers Florida. She returned as an adult and began to find a sense of direction, finally realizing that her passion was to serve. Kimberly currently holds a Masters degree in Professional Counseling and is a doctoral student at National Louis University in the Educational Leadership program. Her mission is to help as many people that God will allow her to help and be of service. She is a Resource/Communications teacher at Bishop Macnamara Catholic High school during the day and in the evening is a Substance Abuse therapist in a mental health center. Kimberly has asked God to place her in a position where she can help His people. She understands that her learning and educational experiences are not for her to boast or brag about, but are for her to give back to her community to encourage, give hope and to let others know that they too can make it and be successful. As a African American single mother she knows all too well of life struggles and obstacles because she also had to face and endure them. There are still struggles that Kimberly faces even after her accomplishments, but she now knows that if God brought her through that He will bring her through anything!!! She is honored and grateful to be a part of GKBCC.