senatefloor 111220CHICAGO – As COVID-19 cases rise to levels worse than they were during the initial outbreak, State Senator Jacqueline Collins said the Illinois General Assembly’s decision to postpone legislative session is the right one, but lawmakers must not lose sight of efforts to fight systemic racism.

“We must treat this virus seriously,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “While the safe and responsible thing to do now is to postpone meeting, one of our top priorities when we do return should be legislation tackling racism in Illinois.”

Collins led a Senate committee hearing to highlight systemic racism in access to home lending during the fall, part of an ongoing effort by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to identify measures that will put Illinois on a course for racial and economic equity. The Black Caucus has focused on reform in the areas of criminal justice and police accountability, education and workforce development, economic access, and health care and human services as its major policy goals.

Since September, the Senate has hosted subject matter hearings on these four policy pillars in an effort to provide legislators and the public with a deeper look into the Black experience in Illinois. The hearings, which are set to wrap up this week, have served as an opportunity to gather facts and recommendations to help the Black Caucus formulate a specific legislative agenda for when the General Assembly next convenes.

“When race is still the greatest predictor of whether someone gets a home loan, whether someone can cash a paycheck at a bank, whether they die by police or from the coronavirus, then we are forced to reckon with the sobering truth that our systems are racist,” Collins said. “I believe more Illinoisans than ever are grappling with this truth, and I urge them to make their voices heard to all their representatives in government as we await the next legislative session.”

The General Assembly is expected to convene prior to the spring session.