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 Illinois General Assembly will convene for the “Lame Duck” session on Monday, January 9, 2017. Take action now and send an email to your state representatives to oppose legislation that will increase sentences for second time gun possession but not make our communities safer.
As of January 1, 2017 four new laws in Illinois are opening doors for people with past felony convictions to work in Illinois schools, park districts and health care facilities. Take action now and help to spread the word about these new employment laws.
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.
The FAIR COPS Ordinance would immediately increase police accountability by establishing an Office of Police Auditor to independently monitor patterns of police misconduct, ensure that officers are investigated and held accountable for their actions, and make policy changes that provide meaningful systemic reform. As people of faith, we are called upon to demand justice now.
Update: The Chicago City Council is scheduled to vote on the Mayor's ordinance on Thursday, September 29, 2016. CRS does not endorse the Mayor's ordinance.
The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner reached a compromise on a stopgap funding bill for fiscal year '16 and the first six months of fiscal year '17 on June 30, 2016--the last day of the fiscal calendar. However, the immense damage done in the past 365 days, without a state budget, will not be repaired by this stopgap bill.