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Aquino announces adult literacy grants for 2nd District

literacy 073019CHICAGO — State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) announced today that adult literacy programs in his district will receive $110,000 in state grants.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White awarded the grants through the Adult Literacy Grant Program, which helps learners develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“The services these programs offer allow adults to develop and enhance the skills needed to be productive and successful,” said Aquino. “Education is the best predictor of future success, so I am glad to see the state making meaningful investments in adult education.”

The programs receiving funding in the 2nd District are:

  • Adult Volunteer Literacy Program, Saint Joseph Services, Inc.: $35,000
  • Community Literacy Program, Erie Neighborhood House: $75,000

A total of 14,352 learners will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 6,086 volunteer tutors will provide training for learners putting them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

“An estimated 2.1 million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English-language instruction,” White said. “I am pleased to provide funding for 113 local literacy projects that will allow adult learners to achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. I will continue to do all I can to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”

In total, the secretary of state’s office awarded $5.6 million in grants to adult literacy programs around the state.

To learn more about adult literacy grant programs, visit https://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/literacy/adultlit-grants-overview.html.

SNAP benefits made more accessible to elderly, homeless and people living with disabilities

snap 072219CHICAGO – A bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that would allow specified people to use their SNAP benefits at participating restaurants was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

House Bill 3343 would allow elderly, homeless and people living with a disability to redeem their SNAP benefits at private establishments that contract with the Department of Human Services and on hot food served in grocery stores.

Aquino’s RISE Act signed by Pritzker

graduates 062119CHICAGO – Undocumented and transgender students in Illinois will now be eligible to receive state financial aid for higher education as Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act into law today. State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“Every student, regardless of their immigration status or gender identity, deserves full access to higher education,” said Aquino. “Now that we will provide these students with the means to attend an institution of higher education, we will see a massive return on investment when they graduate and enter the workforce as productive employees.”

The RISE Act, filed under House Bill 2691, allows transgender students who have not registered for selective service and undocumented Illinois residents to apply for state financial aid such as the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant.

Aquino worked with students and immigration activists to develop the bill with Representative Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).

House Bill 2691 takes effect immediately.

For-profit detention banned in Illinois

aquino 041019CHICAGO – Illinois will no longer allow for-profit civil detention centers under a bill Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law today. State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“Today is a major victory for those who value justice,” said Aquino. “Now that we have banned for-profit detention, the next step is to craft policies that will rehabilitate and prepare people to re-enter society as involved and productive citizens.”

Private prisons are already banned in Illinois, but other privately run detention centers were not. House Bill 2040 expressly prohibits the State of Illinois, any unit of local government, county sheriff or state agency among others from coordinating the development of any private detention center. The bill was filed partly in response to a decision by the Village of Dwight to annex land to build an immigration detention center. The detention center was slated to be managed and operated by Immigration Centers of America, a for-profit corporation.

“It is completely immoral to profit off of detaining people,” said Aquino. “Today Illinois made the right decision to end this horrible practice.”

House Bill 2040 takes effect immediately.

Sen. Omar Aquino

Senator Omar Aquino

2nd Senate District

Years served: 2016 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Education; Government Accountability/Pensions (Chairperson); Higher Education; Licensed Activities; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago; B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology, Loyola University Chicago; Bilingual Case Manager at Central West Case Management Unit at the Jane Addams School of Social Work; Legislative Assistant in the Illinois House of Representatives; Outreach Coordinator for Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth; Devoted to improving education, aging services and human services.

Associated Representatives::
Luis Arroyo
Delia C. Ramirez