The City of Chicago’s contracts with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Illinois Policemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (PBPA) are currently under negotiation. The current contracts codify policies that enhance the code of silence in the police department. The contracts do not effectively hold police accountable, they make it hard to identify and investigate police misconduct, and they allow police to lie about misconduct.
The Chicago City Council is days away from voting on how to spend millions of surplus funds. Low participation in the city’s property tax rebate program has resulted in a surplus of $14 million. We are joining community organizations across the city and calling on aldermen to use this unique opportunity to fund essential violence prevention programs, which invest in our youth and curb the violence devastating our communities.
One week ago today, hundreds of us filled St. Mark United Methodist Church to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and denounce systems of racial injustice. We featured a panel of noted experts, who offered us analysis and action steps for addressing racism. Together we lamented racism’s destructive effects on our lives by naming seven manifestations of racism, and collectively answered a call to action for us, the beloved community, to dismantle racism.
The Reclaim Campaign to reduce violence in our communities is celebrating two major victories! Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart publicly announced a plan to tear down three divisions of the Cook County Jail over the next two years. President Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners recently increased the funding for community-based violence prevention in the FY17 Cook County Budget from $3.2 to $6.2 million!
CRS member churches came together to affirm our priorities for the “Platform for Renewal 2016-17,” present our annual congregational and partner awards, celebrate campaign victories, celebrate board members whose terms have ended, elect new board members and dialogue about our strategic vision. Father Larry Dowling of St. Agatha Catholic Church and Jaquie Algee of Trinity UCC co-chaired the assembly.
Fifty days have passed since the video of LaQuan McDonald’s killing was released, and yet Mayor Emanuel and the City Council have taken no decisive action to address the systemic failures of Chicago’s police oversight.