Policy for the Common Good

Policy staff writing about the intersection of our faith and policies.

An important part of Community Renewal Society’s (CRS) work is to bring together congregations to fight for social justice. Every fall CRS holds an Annual Membership Assembly to set priorities for our organizing and policy work. On Saturday, October 4, CRS membership voted to initiate two new campaigns and renew three campaigns launched in 2013.

There is plenty of evidence that our current public safety strategy is not working. It's time for Cook County to invest in preventing violence instead of reacting to it. We cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem.

As we learned from the Civil Rights Movement, united and organized people can achieve life changing results. Every voter, every vote, and every election matters. Join us to build our power and raise our voices together for justice.

Like in Ferguson, young leaders in our communities report needing to be protected from the police, instead of by the police.

There were shouts of joy and celebration on Thursday, July 24, as 500 Reclaim Campaign leaders began a partnership with Cook County Chief Judge Evans to prevent violence by creating a new Restorative Justice diversion and reforming the court system.

The Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee of the Illinois General Assembly met for the first time this week. We are advocating for the committee to look at long-term criminal justice sentencing reform.

The Cook County justice system is broken. Its policies perpetuate the cycle of violence plaguing our communities by draining our limited resources and devastating people’s lives. Instead of rehabilitating individuals who need support and treatment we impose costly punishments that often lead to isolation and despair. This is what the Cook County justice system did for Russell Cunningham, a CRS leader and member of the Reclaim Campaign from First Baptist Congregational Church. 

Overall this was a very difficult legislative session in the Illinois General Assembly. But, we are not giving up or slowing down.

Fiscal cliff, flat tax, fair tax -- everyone in Illinois is talking about these issues. As the May 1 deadline approaches, we frame our fair tax commitment with the principles of fairness and justice. Now more than ever, we need you to take action.

Illinois' current flat tax system is unfair and not really flat. Taxpayers in the lowest 20 percent pay almost 14 cents on the dollar in state and local taxes while those in the top 1 percent pay only 5 cents. Justice calls us to the fair tax campaign.

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