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. The CRS Platform for Renewal 2014-15 includes:
Reform Education Funding in Illinois
CRS is convening a coalition committed to fighting for a fair funding formula, replacing the existing education formula with one that considers the needs of each school district. We will also continue our efforts to expand state revenue to fund education adequately and protect vital services.
End Police Brutality
CRS is developing a campaign to end policing policies such as sweeps and stop-and-frisk that criminalize communities of color. We are also fighting for policies that ensure fair oversight and accountability of police behavior, and protect citizens from police violence.
What's moving into a second year of action?
Reduce Violence with the Reclaim Campaign
The Reclaim Campaign is an effort to reduce violence by moving resources away from punitive criminal justice systems into community-based Restorative Justice Peace Hubs that rehabilitate lives and make our communities safer.
Sign up for the Reclaim Campaign Day of Action on Monday, November 10.
Remove Barriers to Employment
F.O.R.C.E. (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality) in collaboration with other criminal justice advocates is fighting pass legislation that removes absolute lifetime barriers to employment for people with records from the Illinois School Code and the Illinois Health Care Background Check Act.
Sign up to attend the Absolute Bars Subject Matter Hearing on Tuesday, December 9.
Fight for Good Jobs and Housing
The West Side Community Benefits Coalition is working to ensure the West Side community directly benefits from the thousands of jobs and new housing the Illinois Medical District Gateway Project will create by negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement with the master developer.
Sign up to stand with us at the Illinois Medical District Commission Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 18.
We can’t do this without you, please sign up to attend an upcoming action to advance these campaigns forward!
Annual Awards and Recognition
Every year we honor people who have made extraordinary contributions to the work of Community Renewal Society and our work for justice.
Christina Rice, Kingdom Baptist Church
John Purdy Sr. Memorial Leadership Award
Christina Rice has been one of the key CRS leaders on affordable housing and creating good jobs since Kingdom Baptist Church joined the organization in 2011. In 2012, the membership of CRS elected her to the Strategy Team. She has regularly led the CRS Choir at actions and assemblies, as well as numerous meetings with elected officials and coalitions. In the past year, Christina chaired the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faith in Action Assembly, the largest public meeting in CRS’ recent history and has led the team shaping the Illinois Medical District Community Benefits Campaign.
New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church
City on the Hill Award
New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church has been a fixture of the East Garfield Park neighborhood for over 68 years. Since joining Community Renewal Society, the church has emerged as one of the most active and powerful congregations in our network. Their Social Justice Ministry has expanded to include more than ten active members and regularly produces busloads of leaders for actions. The pastor, Rev. Cy Fields, has been one of the core leaders of the Reclaim Campaign, leading public actions, speaking on behalf of the campaign, and chairing negotiations and power meetings with key decision makers. Sister Diane Roberts, the Servant Leader of the Social Justice Ministry, has been one of the core leaders in CRS’ work to create jobs in our communities.
Ali Abid, Appleseed Fund for Justice
Ali Abid is a staff attorney and Criminal Justice Policy Analyst for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. Before joining Appleseed, Ali was a George N. Leighton Fellow, teaching and researching on Prisoners' Rights and Mass Incarceration and Race at the John Marshall Law School. He has published papers on Restorative Justice, Mass Incarceration, and International Human Rights. Ali is a native of Chicago. He earned his Law Degree at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and founded the Constitutional Law in the Classroom program, in which he and other law student volunteers taught civil rights at elementary and high schools on Chicago's South and West sides.
Senator Don Harmon
Legislative Lighthouse Award
Currently serving his fourth term in the Illinois Senate representing the 39th district, Senator Don Harmon has promoted a progressive agenda in the Illinois Senate, advocating for better opportunities for our children, greater access to affordable healthcare, improved government oversight and ethics reform, strengthened civil rights, substantive environmental protections, and economic opportunity for all. In January of 2009, Senator Harmon was appointed Assistant Majority Leader, and in 2011 he was appointed President Pro Tempore. Over the past year, Senator Harmon supported CRS’ Platform for Renewal as the chief sponsor of SJRCA40 for a Fair Tax as well as SB3007 to reduce the time from arrest to preliminary hearing in Illinois. Senator Harmon has been a dependable ally to CRS, and he was instrumental in arranging a recent meeting between the Reclaim Campaign and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Board Member Election
At the Annual Membership Assembly, the following Board members were elected to the class of 2017:
Sammie Dortch, Ed.D.
Pastor Cy Fields
Rev. Walstone E. Francis
Rev. Dr. Larry L. Greenfield
Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr., D. Min.
Rev. Jesse Knox, III
Richard N. Peterson