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The Majority Report 07/13/18 - Senators speak out against officer who ignored racist tirade


Senators speak out against officer who ignored racist tirade

Sens. Aquino and MartinezAssistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) joined the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago at a press conference on Friday to call for further disciplinary action against a Cook County Forest Preserve District police officer who resigned this week after failing to adequately respond to a racist verbal attack on a woman.

“This was an example of a peace officer standing by as a woman was verbally attacked,” Martinez said. “We have to continue to pursue this, making sure we examine this man’s pension. The fight is not over.”

Mia Irizarry, the woman shown in a viral video being berated for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag, was also at the press conference. The video shows the officer in question repeatedly ignoring her requests for him to detain the threatening individual.

Senator Aquino, who recently sponsored legislation allowing a victim of a hate crime to pursue civil action against the perpetrator, commended Irizarry for her composure in the face of racism.

“We live in a land where you get justice when justice is served. We will make sure he is found guilty of hate crimes,” Aquino said.

Both Aquino and Martinez called for the officer’s termination earlier in the week.

 “A woman being verbally abused for simply wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag is another example of how racists feel emboldened in their attacks on minorities and immigrants thanks to the current administration,” Martinez said. “But beyond that, it is inexcusable that a peace officer whose main responsibility is to maintain order and protect the safety and well-being of individuals visiting the forest preserve property would ignore a call for help from someone feeling threatened, no matter their race.”  

Aquino said it is unacceptable that the officer watched idly as the woman was verbally attacked for displaying her Puerto Rican heritage.

“There is no room for this type of racist behavior at our forest preserves, and there is especially no place for women or minorities to feel unsafe with an officer present,” Aquino said. “As a person of Puerto Rican heritage, I am especially offended and disappointed by the lack of support the woman received. My hope is that both the officer and her harasser face the proper consequences for their actions.”

Both Aquino and Martinez are of Puerto Rican heritage.

Click here to view the full press conference


Lightford: Janus decision will disproportionately harm black women

Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) says the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME will be extremely harmful to black women, the largest demographic within public unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“African-American women already have two major disadvantages as they apply for jobs: being black and female. State jobs and union protections have often given black women entrance into the middle class,” Lightford wrote in a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times this week. “So, while the governor and his business buddies are high-fiving the decision, the black community that Rauner claims to care so much about stands to be the most hurt by his single-minded obsession with taking down unions.”

Janus v. AFSCME is a case brought to the Supreme Court challenging the ability for public unions to collect agency fees from all public workers. These fees pay for the unions’ collective bargaining efforts, which result in benefits for all employees regardless of membership, like wages, health care and benefits. The Court ruled that collecting these fees violates public workers’ First Amendment rights, a decision that experts say could have a devastating effect on Illinois’ economy.

Read Lightford’s full letter here


July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Minority Mental Health Month

This is the 10th year July is being recognized as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. In May 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Campbell was an author, advocate, co-founder of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Urban Los Angeles and a national spokesperson. She passed away in 2006 after a battle with cancer.

The purpose of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is to draw more attention to mental health in minority communities and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. The goal is also to increase access to treatment and services for minorities.

Are you or someone you know struggling with mental illness? Click here for support.



Illinois at 200

July 10, 1933To mark the countdown to Illinois’ bicentennial on Dec. 3, all this year the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has published daily tributes to the people, places and events that have helped forge the state’s rich history.

From inventors and entertainers to our communities and the Capitol, Illinois has a lot to celebrate.

This week’s bicentennial countdown featured a vote to end prohibition, and a meteoric explosion.

To find all of our historical vignettes, visit I Like Illinois online, on Facebook and on Twitter. #IllinoisProud



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