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Van Pelt calls for productive reaction to McDonald verdict

vanpelt 100518CHICAGO –– State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) released the following statement today as the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald has ended with verdicts of guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm:

“I will continue to pray for the McDonald family as I have since Laquan was taken from them. The verdict will not bring Laquan back or undo this tragedy. 

“The jury’s verdict simply makes a statement about the long journey ahead of us to repair and improve relations between our police and our community.

Castro announces funding boost for Education and Work Center

castro 041118HANOVER PARK – Local residents will soon have access to additional resources through the Education and Work Center thanks to added state funding, State Senator Cristina Castro (D – Elgin) announced this week.

The Education and Work Center is a joint venture of Harper College and Elgin Community College. During the budget impasse, both colleges were struggling to fund other responsibilities and nearly pulled out of the EWC, which would have been forced to shut down.

“I have a strong commitment to higher education in Illinois,” Castro said, “so I couldn’t sit idly by and watch the Education and Work Center close its doors while I had the power to do something in my role as a State Senator.”

Thanks to Castro’s hard work, the EWC will receive an additional $225,000 in funding. This money was originally appropriated in the 2017 budget vetoed by Gov. Rauner. The General Assembly overrode that veto to enact the budget, but Gov. Rauner refused to release the funds. The General Assembly again put the funds in the 2018 budget, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“I do wish the Education and Work Center would have received its funding over a year ago when it was originally given,” Castro said, “but nevertheless I am grateful that this important institution will finally have the funds to provide much needed services to the community.”

Because of the new funding, Harper College and ECC have an opportunity to work together to add new classes, including classes that offer college credit. In addition, the colleges will retain the ability to add classes in the future if they see a rising demand.

“The EWC does more than just provide education,” Castro said. “It provides jobs, it’s an important part of the local economy and it offers local residents the opportunity to learn how to be successful. I’m proud to have fought for its funding increase.”

Hutchinson: What we fight for is bigger than what we fight against

Hutchinson Black CaucusState Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement ahead of the verdict in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald:

"In thinking about the coming Laquan McDonald case verdict, we know that the fight for civil rights has a long and storied history.

"For those that weren’t directly part of the struggle, the memories of the pain, bloodshed, death and hope that a new day was coming have been sanitized by distance and time. But they are still etched in the souls of those who have died or lost loved ones to allow us to claim our space and continue the fight.

Clayborne named keynote speaker at Uganda National Prayer Breakfast

clayborne 052318BELLEVILLE – Sen. James F. Clayborne, Jr. (D-Belleville) will be the keynote speaker at the Uganda National Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 8.

“I am honored to be given the distinct privilege of speaking before the people of Uganda at their National Prayer Breakfast,” said Clayborne. “I look forward to discussing the importance of hard work, which is the foundation of everything I’ve accomplished during my career.”

The event is attended by 1,500 guests, and the theme this year is, “All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23).

The breakfast will be attended by high-ranking Ugandan officials, including President Yoweri Museveni​, and involves a series of meetings, including the Women’s Forum, Business Men’s Meeting and a Youth Leadership meeting.

“This will also be a great opportunity to discuss ways to expand relations between our two countries,” said Clayborne. “As always, I will take pride in representing the great state of Illinois and the people of the 57th Senate District.”

The Uganda National Prayer Breakfast is organized by the president and the Ugandan Parliament each year.

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