On Saturday October 4, the Reclaim Campaign held a public meeting where Cook County Commissioners commitment to actively seek a $1 million increase for the violence prevention, intervention, and reduction grants in the 2015 Cook County Budget.
This is good news, but we still have much more work to do. The current budget increases spending on the Cook County Jail by $27 million but makes no increase for preventing violence in our communities.
We have made progress but we have not yet secured a commitment for this $1 million investment into our communities from a majority of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the body that approves the final Cook County Budget.
Over the next two weeks there will be four public hearings on the Cook County Budget in Chicago (10/17), Markham (10/21), Maywood (10/23), and Skokie (10/27). These hearings will give community residents an opportunity to voice their concerns before a final budget is approved in November.
We need a budget that reflects our values. At the budget hearings, Reclaim Campaign members will provide testimony and ask Commissioners to prioritize resources our communities need to prevent violence and protect our families.
We thank Commissioners John Fritchey, Timothy Schneider, Robert Steele, and Commissioner-Elect Richard Boykin for investing violence prevention, not incarceration. Over 400 members from Community Renewal Society, Southside Together Organizing for Power, and Kenwood Oakland Community Organization attended Saturday’s meeting, but the fight is not over. Now is the moment to put your faith in action and win a real investment into violence prevention for our communities.