CRS on Other Sites

Watch the FORCE Project Video

The CRS FORCE Project has produced a new video. Check it out!

Read More

The Achievement Gap: Catalyst In-Depth Winter 2013

A special diversity initiative has given promising black students from the worst elementary schools a seat in top high schools. But the program’s success won’t close the gap for poorer students who need better prospects for a good education.

Read More

Sealing Bill Passes General Assembly

On August 2, 2013 Governor Quinn signed the Illinois Sealing Bill into law! The FORCE Project fought for over 2 years to make this bill to expand opportunities for employment, housing, and education for people with records a reality!

Read More

We're Moving!

On October 25th, Community Renewal Society is moving to 111 West Jackson, Suite 820 Chicago, IL 60604. Please update your records.

September/October issue of The Chicago Reporter:

Crossing the border: When immigrants are deported, their nightmares may still continue.

Read More

CRS Puts Faith into Action on King Day!

1000 CRS members, FORCE Project leaders, and partner organizations took action on martin Luther King Day and won commitments from Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and more than a dozen members of the Illinois General Assembly!

Read More

CRS News

Leaders spoke about importance of Fair Tax for social justice, delivered letter Insisting an end to IPI’s “misinformation campaign” against the Fair Tax

SPRINGFIELD, April 8, 2014 – Hundreds of religious leaders from around the state marched on the offices of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) in Springfield.  The group called on the organization – funded by the wealthiest corporate special interests in America – to stop their false attacks on a Fair Tax, and to let the citizens of Illinois make the decision for themselves about a Fair Tax on the November ballot.   

"The Illinois Policy Institute is being dishonest when they claim a Fair Tax is anything besides a tax cut for the overwhelming majority of Illinoisans.  The smoke and mirrors about future rates if we drove off the fiscal cliff are designed to confuse and scare voters, all in an effort to protect an unjust status quo," said Rev. Jason Coulter of Ravenswood United Church of Christ. 

Documents exposed in a December news report revealed that the Illinois Policy Institute has been serving as a conduit for the national State Policy Network, a group financed by America’s wealthiest corporate interests, including billionaires David and Charles Koch. The documents revealed funding to IPI from the group as earmarked for the purpose of making a Fair Tax “politically toxic” to Illinois voters.

“We, the citizens of Illinois, should decide tax and budget policy, not lobbyists and lawmakers backed by the wealthiest corporate special interests in America,” said Rev. Coulter.

The Illinois Policy Institute is responsible for many false attacks on the Fair Tax, including claims it would raise taxes on low- and middle-income families—claims which have been thoroughly debunked.  The truth is that a Fair Tax – implemented with a rate structure proposed by the Fair Tax Act’s chief sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon – would cut taxes for 94% of Illinois residents, including everyone making up to $205,000.

Today’s attendees emphasized that tax relief for the overwhelming number of Illinois families and the protection of vital public priorities were both vitally important to the success of their communities.

“I can’t possibly pay any more taxes than I already do, and we won’t stand for any more cuts to my kids’ schools.  Enough is enough!” said Tammy Jordan of Shiloh Baptist Church of Waukegan.  

“As a home healthcare worker, people’s lives depend on my care.  If there are any more cuts to the budget, I’m afraid what will happen to those seniors,” said Monique Cooper of the First Baptist Congregational Church of Chicago.   

Rev. Coulter noted the unfairness of Illinois’ current tax and budget system that requires low and middle income families to pay a tax rate that is two to three times more than that of the very rich, factoring all state and local taxes paid.

“This is backwards.  Our faith calls us to fight for a Fair Tax because we believe in a community where everyone pays their fair share.  Jesus said, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’”

Contact: Alex Wiesendanger awiesendanger [at] communityrenewalsociety [dot] org 646-784-1033

Founded in 1882, The Community Renewal Society empowers people to build just communities by working to eradicate racism and poverty. It does so by informing, organizing, training, and encouraging individuals and communities in sustained and strategic efforts to engender systemic change.

Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice.  Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty.

Community Renewal is at the leading edge of reform on several issues, including education, senior health care, housing, tax policy, and criminal and juvenile justice. CRS is uniquely positioned to identify problems, convene key leadership, engage them in discussions about a variety of pressing issues and, in partnership, develop solutions for change.

###

Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice.  Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty. For more information visit www.communityrenewalsociety.org

Leaders to speak about importance of Fair Tax for social justice, deliver letter Insisting an end to IPI’s “misinformation campaign” against the Fair Tax

SPRINGFIELD, April 8, 2014 – Hundreds of religious leaders from around the state will march on the offices of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) in Springfield beginning today at noon at the Lincoln statue at the Capitol building.  The group will call on the organization – funded by the wealthiest corporate special interests in America – to stop their false attacks on a Fair Tax, and to let the citizens of Illinois make the decision for themselves about a Fair Tax on the November ballot.  

Documents exposed in a December news report revealed that the Illinois Policy Institute has been serving as a conduit for the national State Policy Network, a group financed by America’s wealthiest corporate interests, including billionaires David and Charles Koch. The documents revealed funding to IPI from the group as earmarked for the purpose of making a Fair Tax “politically toxic” to Illinois voters.

The Illinois Policy Institute is responsible for many false attacks on the Fair Tax, including claims it would raise taxes on low- and middle-income families—claims which have been thoroughly debunked.  The truth is that a Fair Tax – implemented with a rate structure proposed by the Fair Tax Act’s chief sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon – would cut taxes for 94% of Illinois residents, including everyone making up to $205,000.

In February, more than 100 religious & faith leaders gathered in Chicago to call for a Fair Tax, with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes.  They believe the Fair Tax is important because it gives tax relief to vast majority of families while also preventing devastating cuts to important public priorities, which would have an especially harmful effect on Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.  Today, in addition to demanding accountability from the Illinois Policy Institute, faith leaders will be visiting their elected officials in Springfield to urge them, among other issues, to pass the Fair Tax Act before the May 4th deadline.

***Interested media please RSVP to awiesendanger [at] communityrenewalsociety [dot] org*** 

 Who: Hundreds of faith leaders from various denominations across the state gathered in Springfield

 What:  March to Illinois Policy Institute office by 500+ faith leaders, including speaking program and delivery of letter demanding IPI cease its misinformation campaign against a Fair Tax  

 Date & Time:  April 8, 2014. 12 PM.

 Where: Lincoln Statue at the Capitol to the office of the Illinois Policy Institute, 802 S 2nd Street, Springfield

 Visuals:  Signs, banners, 500+ religious leaders gathered from across Illinois

###

Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice.  Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty. For more information visit www.communityrenewalsociety.org

Historic civil rights organization hires activist, author, scholar and preacher to lead “the ongoing struggle against economic injustice and institutional racism.”

CHICAGO, Jan 29, 2014 -- Rev. Curtiss DeYoung, EdD has been named the new Executive Director of Community Renewal Society.  Rev. DeYoung is currently Professor of Reconciliation Studies and the co-chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. 

Rev. DeYoung has more than 10 years of non-profit executive management experience, and has worked actively within diverse neighborhoods of the Twin Cities to engage congregations and communities in building collaborative actions toward justice and peace.   He is a national expert on issues of racial reconciliation and justice, with international speaking experience.

CRS Blogs

Apr. 08, 2014

Get on the bus!!

On April 8, we will answer our call to put our faith into action! 

Along with more than 500 other church leaders in our orange CRS t-shirts, you will speak with the legislators that represent your community and CRS.

Buses will leave from churches across Chicago and the suburbs beginning at 6 am. We will provide breakfast and training (and prayer) on the buses. Once you arrive in Springfield, your team--led by a trained team captain--will set out to find your target legislators to speak with them about the issues on the CRS Platform for Renewal.

You will ask them to:

  • Support and co-sponsor legislation to reduce the statutory time to preliminary hearings from 30 days to 10 days in Illinois;
  • Support and co-sponsor HJRCA33 or SJRCA40 for a Fair Tax;
  • Vote against HB5672 and any other new or enhanced mandatory minimum sentences; and
  • Vote for legislation to remove absolute bars to employment for people with records in public healthcare and education.

Your team will take a break to have lunch (provided by CRS), and then in the afternoon we will gather back together again for an action and a prayer rally.Then, we will load back onto our buses at 2:45 pm and head back home. 

While we will take a free-will offering on the bus ride home to help cover the costs of the day, there is no charge to come, so reserve your seat on a bus today by calling Kristin at (312) 673-3844.

FAQs:
How can I learn more about the issues on CRS's Platform for Renewal?

You can sign up for call-in issue briefings led by CRS Policy staff on: 
March 31st at 7pm - http://goo.gl/i7jqAT
April 5th at 10am - http://goo.gl/9ecFQO
April 6th at 7pm - http://goo.gl/2zzXsx

For call-in info contact Luis Carrizales 312.673.3810 or lcarrizales@communityrewnewalsociety.org

How did we arrive at the issues on the Platform for Renewal?

CRS is continually listening to leaders and community residents in member congregations. Over the summer, congregational leaders and staff spoke with more than 1200 people in churches and communities through one-on-ones, house meetings, and neighborhood canvasses. At the end of August, the Strategy Team, a group of high-level leaders elected by the membership, met to distill the learning from this listening and empower issue teams to work on campaigns. From these conversations, leaders from churches have developed the 2013-2014 Platform for Renewal including some ongoing campaigns from last year as well as new initiatives. 

From these conversations, leaders from churches developed issue teams, and, at the Annual Membership Assembly on October 5, 2013, more than 300 church leaders voted to launch the Platform for Renewal, including campaigns for a Fair Tax, removing absolute bars to employment for people with records, reducing the time to preliminary hearings, and opposing mandatory minimums.
Read More

CRS on Twitter

130th Anniversary Luncheon

IMG_3825
IMG_3834
IMG_3835
IMG_3843
IMG_3847
IMG_3852
IMG_3854
IMG_3857
IMG_3858
IMG_3864
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at the Palmer House Hilton

Source: Flickr