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The Majority Report 10/9/18 - Black Caucus calls for solidarity after verdict


Lightford: Van Dyke verdict should prompt solidarity

black caucus budgetLegislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) last week urged community solidarity as a jury deliberated the fate of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who faced charges for the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald. On Friday he was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

“…I would like to make it clear how important this trial is to our communities throughout the state of Illinois. The last time a Chicago officer was convicted of murder was nearly 50 years ago, and there are many who feel justice has not been served time and time again in Chicago and across the country,” Lightford said.

“My hope is that we can take this moment to come together to heal Chicago and communities throughout Illinois that are longing for police officers that work for them and a criminal justice system that treats them fairly.” Read more.

Other Senate Democrats weighed in, as well. State Senator Jacqueline Collins of Chicago said the Van Dyke conviction serves justice.

"(The verdict) shows that Officer Van Dyke’s gun and badge cannot speak louder than Laquan McDonald’s blood," she said. "No one is above the law. Our voices must not die away.”

Senator Elgie Sims Jr. echoes McDonald family’s request for peace

Senator Toi Hutchinson: 'What we fight for is bigger than what we fight against'

Senator Patricia Van Pelt calls for productive reaction to verdict

The case from 2014 to today


Cullerton urges criminal probe of Quincy response

 vets home 030918State Senator Tom Cullerton is calling for a criminal inquiry into the Rauner administration’s response to the health crisis at a Quincy veterans home.

A new report from Chicago Public Radio confirms the administration deliberately withheld information that could have saved lives at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy during an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

“This goes beyond negligence. This is willful endangerment of a vulnerable population that it is our sacred duty to protect. This is criminal neglect,” Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, said.

Legionnaires’ disease claimed the lives of 14 veterans or their spouses at the Quincy home and sickened nearly 70 residents and staff. Now, state records show that Rauner’s administration waited weeks – and in some cases months – in 2016 and 2017 to publicly acknowledge additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

Cullerton is urging the Illinois attorney general to consider criminal charges against Gov. Bruce Rauner and other officials directly involved in the decisions to conceal the truth. Read more.


Senate Democrats observe Hispanic Heritage Month

HispanicAmerican IntroTo honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Illinois Senate Democrats discussed the importance of the month and this year’s national theme, “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance Traditions.”

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15. It’s a time to embrace the culture and traditions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The celebration was first Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, but it later was extended to 30 days by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The date Sept. 15 is significant because it is the day many Latin American countries gained independence, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Click here to view all of the Hispanic Heritage Month videos by the members Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, including State Senators Cristina Castro of Elgin and Iris Y. Martinez and Omar Aquino, both of Chicago.

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