“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter. “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Then Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:16-17)
Jesus wasn’t asking Peter to be charitable. He was telling him to give the sheep what they need. Put in the language of democracy, Jesus was speaking not of benevolence but of justice.
In the recent elections, we have heard voices saying the only role for government is to protect people from interference with little or no role in responding to the needs of those around us, especially those suffering most. PCG believes government by the people should also be for the people, promoting the common good so that everyone has a chance to flourish.
PCG has accomplished much in the past year. We helped to reform the payday loan industry by capping interest rates and limiting the size of monthly loans. With coalition colleagues, we helped pass the Illinois Safe Children Act, which removes juvenile prostitutes from the criminal justice system and provides services as an alternative to jail. We are at the forefront of drug policy reform in Illinois. PCG staff is assisting in the implementation of programs that divert low-level first offenders to education and treatment programs rather than incarceration.
Throughout the past year, we have helped to lead the Responsible Budget Coalition, a statewide coalition of health, social service, education, business and faith organizations. Our goal is to solve Illinois’ budget crisis by raising adequate revenue to prevent further harmful cuts to essential services. PCG will continue this work in the coming months. In 2011, we will also:
- Advocate for an increase in the TANF grant and tax credits, to help those least able to make ends meet.
- Support legislative measures to implement health care reform in Illinois.
- Press for changes in drug laws that disproportionately incarcerate African-American and other minorities.
- Promote environmental policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources, increase energy efficiency standards, and reduce our state’s dependence on coal.
Your support continues to be essential as we work to advance the common good. Your year-end gift will enable us to keep working on behalf of “all of Jesus’ sheep.”