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Tom Cullerton urges residents to become involved in “Wall of Faces” project

vvmfVILLA PARK- When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was completed in the early 1980s, nearly 60,000 service members who had either died or were missing in action in the Vietnam War were honored.

Personnel records on many of those listed on the wall, however, were destroyed in a fire at a government facility in 1973. Since that time, the military and a host of organizations have been working to establish information on who these brave men and women were.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging Illinois residents to help give a face and name to these heroes.

“Our nation’s heroes made the ultimate sacrifice to fight for our freedoms and protect our democracy,” Cullerton said. “Every fallen solider was someone’s son, friend, child, parent or neighbor. They had dreams and served to protect our great nation. Now it is our turn to preserve their memory and honor their service to our country and state.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and its Wall of Faces project is collecting photos of every service member honored on the wall.  Cullerton says Illinois residents can visit www.vvmf.org/how-to-submit to learn how to submit pictures to the project and help honor our fallen.

Earlier this month, Cullerton passed a resolution urging Illinois communities to become involved in the Wall of Faces project.

Andrew Johnson, Vice President of the National Newspaper Association said, “It was awesome to witness how quickly the Illinois General Assembly acted to support a bill honoring Illinois’ Vietnam veterans.  Their actions in passing this resolution will ensure that Illinois’ veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Out of the 58,000 names on the memorial wall, fewer than 5,000 remain without a photo. More than 20 states have found every photo for their fallen service members.

“I urge residents across our state to work together to match names with faces of our fallen,” Cullerton said. “My hope is Illinois will become the next state to find a photo of each one. Our state is known for honoring and recognizing the accomplishments of our military men and women. I have no doubt our communities will work together to find photos of our Vietnam Veterans and give our fallen heroes the respect they deserve. ”

Senate Resolution 731 passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Cullerton urges Illinois residents and veterans organizations to reach out to his Villa Park office at (630) 903-6662 with any questions or concerns.

Collins joins protesters at bank over security measures

Buzz-In DoorwayCHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, gave the following prepared remarks this morning, joining citizens in protesting at 8140 South Ashland Ave. over security measures they see as obtrusive.

“As a community, we know it is the prerogative and the duty of Fifth Third Bank to protect its property, its assets, its employees and its customers. At the same time, what I believe we are all here to point out is that security measures such as the buzz-in doors and conspicuous metal detectors ultimately do little to deter bad actors while they simultaneous foster an environment that tells customers they are not trusted. Further, as these measures are not in force at other branches in neighborhoods with smaller minority communities, it sends a message of prejudice.

Hastings: Time for Illinois to walk away from Crosscheck

hastings crosscheck 111517CHICAGO – Illinois legislators grilled election officials today on the State Board of Elections’ decision to remain a part of a controversial voter registration system. The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, or Crosscheck for short, compares names of registered voters across states to see if anyone is registered twice.

However, critics argue the unsecure system is designed to suppress minority voters. Communities of color are more likely to have the same last names, which the program flags as a potential double voter. Additionally, the program does not check middle names or suffixes such as Junior or Senior.

The result is that voters with similar names can often be mistaken by the program as double-registered voters, which could have them potentially thrown off the voter rolls.

Security concerns have also been raised as Crosscheck does not use secure networks and passwords to access the database have been sent on unsecure emails.  

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) says he’s worried the state is leaving the personal information of Illinois voters in danger by remaining in the program.

“Keeping sensitive voter information on an unsecured database is a hacker’s dream,” Hastings said. “The state of Illinois should walk away from the Crosscheck program and use more reliable systems that don’t expose the private information of Illinois residents.”

The state of Illinois is also a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) which is considered to be more reliable in determining the accuracy of voter registration.

Cunningham questions state use of "Crosscheck" voter data system

cunningham crosscheck 111517CHICAGO – Amid rising concerns about data security and voters being wrongfully removed from registration rolls, State Senator Bill Cunningham chaired a joint committee hearing Wednesday to examine the Illinois State Board of Elections use of a controversial national voter registration database known as "Crosscheck."

At a joint hearing of the House Elections Committee and the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee, legislators grilled election officials over the many problems associated with the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, a registration system that compares state voter rolls.