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Advocacy and Action for Justice, Equality and Opportunity

2018-2019 Platform For Renewal

The members of Community Renewal Society approved the following Platform for Renewal at the Annual Membership Assembly on October 7, 2017. In October 2018, our membership affirmed continuing this work over this year. The Platform for Renewal reflects an extensive listening program and detailed policy forecast analysis, led by the Organizing and Policy teams during the summer of 2017, and refinements made to the Platform issues by our issue teams. Read the Annual Membership Assembly Recap.


Police Accountability

Our focus on increasing police accountability in Chicago continues with three initiatives: (1) collaboration with the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) to establish independent community oversight of the Chicago Police Department through the passage of a city ordinance; (2) partnership with the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability (CPCA) to demand changes to the police union contracts currently being negotiated to provide greater police accountability; and (3) coalition with the ACLU-Illinois and four other organizations in a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department and development of a court-enforced consent decree.

Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability

The City Council is currently considering various proposals for civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department. CRS, as a member of the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), is fighting to ensure that the civilian oversight agency that is created gives the community real power to set police department policy and hold public safety officials accountable.

Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability

The Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability proposes critical changes to the police union contracts and mobilizes communities to demand that new contracts between the City of Chicago and police unions don’t stand in the way of holding officers accountable. We are composed of community, policy, and civil rights organizations taking action to ensure police accountability in the city of Chicago.

The current police contracts with the City of Chicago harm accountability by making it hard to complain about police misconduct, easy for officers to lie, and hard to investigate claims of misconduct. These contracts must be reformed. We call on the Mayor’s office to negotiate a contract with our recommended fourteen changes, and on aldermen to refuse a contract without these changes.

Chicago Police Department Lawsuit & Consent Decree

The first federal court-enforceable consent decree, now in implementation stage, includes provisions for increased police accountability; ending the code of police silence; alternative diversion practices and crisis response teams; rights for people with disabilities; improved use-of-force policies, requiring police to document when pointing firearms at people; additional requirements for officer training; and improved assessment data collection and sharing. CRS is proud to have stood alongside our coalition partners: American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, One Northside, Communities United, Equip for Equality, and Next Steps.



Restoring Opportunities and Justice Reform

As a member of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI), we continue to advocate for statewide legislative initiatives to increase employment opportunities, housing, and educational opportunities for people with criminal records.

Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois



Community Development (Housing and Jobs)

Access to safe, affordable and quality housing, as well as living wage job opportunities consistently arise as major concerns throughout the Chicagoland area. Community Renewal Society supports the Just Housing Initiative to pass legislation in Cook County to prevent housing discrimination against people with records.

Just Housing Initiative

Community Renewal Society is a supporter of the Just Housing Initiative. Now that the Just Housing Amendment has become law, we need to get out and educate Cook County! We’ll need to help applicants understand their rights and inform landlords about the new protections.

Legislative Priority: Just Housing Amendment (Comm. Brandon Johnson)

Twitter: #JustHousing


Just Economy for Safe Communities

We are working in two areas to invest in our communities and make them safer by partnering with: (1) the Responsible Budget Coalition to pass the Fair Tax, which would bolster our economy and raise billions in revenue to fund schools and social services—all while helping ensure the wealthy pay their fair share; and (2) the End Money Bond Coalition to end money bond in Illinois and reduce pretrial incarceration.

Responsible Budget Coalition

Community Renewal Society is a member of the Responsible Budget Coalition, which is a large and diverse coalition of more than 300 organizations concerned about state budget and tax issues. The RBC is a non-partisan, trusted source of information on state budget and tax policy and a leader in the fight to pass a budget that chooses revenue over cuts to vital services. The individual organizations that belong to the RBC represent a diverse range of interests but are united by these three common principles:

  • Adequate revenue to support state priorities and make smart investments

  • No more cuts to vital programs and services

  • Fairness in raising revenue

A Fair Tax, with lower rates for the middle class and higher rates for higher incomes, will help to ensure Illinois' financial stability and get our fiscal house in order. The Illinois income tax structure is poorly designed and unsustainable. Illinois needs a long-term solution to our state's fiscal problems, now. Join Community Renewal Society and our partners in the Responsible Budget Coalition in advocating for the Fair Tax now!

Legislative Priority: SJCRA 1 – Fair Tax (Sen. Don Harmon)
Twitter: #FairTaxNow

The Coalition to End Money Bond

The Coalition to End Money Bond is calling on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices to end money bond and dramatically reduce pretrial incarceration across the state. The Commission will be making formal recommendations on the future of Illinois' pretrial justice system in December 2019. Currently, the commission is not open to the public and includes only one community representative.

Join the Coalition to End Money Bond in calling on the commission to hold a public hearing this July so that the voices of impacted communities can be heard in this important conversation.

Legislative Priorities:
HB 2689 – Pretrial Data Act (Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth)
HB 3347 – Equal Justice for All Act (Rep. Justin Slaughter)

Twitter: #EndMoneyBail

Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition

On January 18, 2019 Governor JB Pritzker signed into law the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act as one of his first official acts in office! After years of tireless advocacy, the Illinois General Assembly passed SB 337 (PA 100-1178) on May 30, 2018 with bipartisan support. Many lives will be saved by this legislation. Community Renewal Society is a member of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition that works to change the culture around firearms by advocating for common sense, evidence-based, gun violence prevention measures that will save lives in Illinois.


Commitment to Anti-Racism

We continue the work of applying anti-racism frameworks and tools to assess our work, which began with the 2017 Strategic Plan. Staff, Board and leaders participated in a Crossroads Chicago ROAR anti-racism training in December 2017. Since then, the Anti-racism Audit Task Force undertook an anti-racism audit, presented to the Board of Directors in December 2018 and whose recommendations will be considered by the Board early in 2019. These recommendations will have a meaningful impact on the way we do our work, which will affect our staff, Board, congregations and community leadership.