peters 031020CHICAGO – At a meeting of the Illinois Senate Black Caucus earlier this week, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) was unanimously elected by his colleagues as the new caucus chair.

“I am honored and humbled to have been elected by my colleagues as the new chair of the Senate Black Caucus, and I want to thank them for trusting me with this important position,” Peters said. “The list of issues facing Black communities in our state is long and relentless, and I am excited to lead our caucus as we fight to win real safety and justice.”

Peters takes over as chair following a tumultuous summer, during which the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others by police sparked a nationwide movement of protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

“We are in the midst of three interconnected crises that are shining a light onto the systemic injustices that Black communities in this country have been aware of for generations,” Peters said. “We have a public health crisis caused by COVID-19 that is revealing the massive gaps when it comes to Black health care and treatment, an economic crisis that has highlighted how years of disinvestment and austerity has ravished Black communities, and a public safety crisis that has proven that we have a tiered, inequitable system of justice that does not apply equally to everyone.”

Peters intends to use his position to address and find solutions to what he believes to be the most important issues Black communities are currently facing.

“Black Lives Matter, and since the issues that affect us aren’t going to fix themselves, we must support the Joint Black Caucus agenda, and we cannot rest until we have achieved real progress,” Peters said. “We do this by fighting to improve our public health, so that no one has to struggle to find health care. We do this by winning real safety and justice and moving away from incarceration and toward investments in our communities. We do this by turning our environmental justice communities into the center of a Green Belt. And, we do this by passing budgets that are not built on the backs of working class Black families.”

The position opened after current chair, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), announced his intention to step down. Belt offered words of encouragement and praise to his successor.

“Being selected as Senate chair of the Black Caucus was one of the greatest privileges of my career,” Belt said. “I had the unique opportunity to work with my caucus colleagues to identify and promulgate policy that was designed to move the state of Illinois toward a more just and equitable society. Now that the torch has been passed on to Sen. Peters, I know he will continue the fight for social equity, diversity and inclusion for Black communities.”

Peters will serve as chair during the transition into the 102nd General Assembly, which is scheduled to be inaugurated on Jan. 13, 2020, and beyond. The Illinois Senate Black Caucus also voted for newly-appointed Sen. Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to serve as Caucus secretary.