Sen. Robert PetersCHICAGO — State Senators Robert Peters, Elgie R. Sims, Jr. and Celina Villanueva joined advocates and community leaders Tuesday outside the Capitol in support of permanent funding for the Reimagine Public Safety Act.

“Our sole objective today is to ensure community violence intervention programs receive the funding they need,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “After enduring years of a system built to fail us, we've constructed a framework targeting the root causes of violence in our most underserved and overlooked communities. It's high time we pledge continued investments in these communities, and I am proud to lead this charge in the Senate.”

Signed into law in 2021, Peters championed the Reimagine Public Safety Act to address gun violence in Illinois by working with the communities most affected. Since becoming law, legislators have pursued additional measures to expand the act, bringing gun violence prevention training and programs to more areas. These programs often include initiatives such as conflict mediation, youth mentoring, job training, and community outreach.

“Continuing to prioritize the Reimagine Public Safety Act is a moral imperative,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “By allocating resources to initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of crime and violence, we invest in the long-term well-being of our communities.”

Under the Reimagine Public Safety Act’s newest proposal, legislators are calling for permanent state funding. A growing number of research and statistics from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University highlight the positive impact violence prevention programs have on communities. From 2018 to 2023, violence prevention program data in Chicago showed a positive correlation in reduced gun violence.

“I come from a career background centered on youth programs where I've learned firsthand the impact of our presence in young people’s lives. It's evident – our engagement can truly transform their trajectories,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “As chair of the Senate Revenue Committee, I'm committed to advocating for funding allocations that prioritize community violence intervention programs.”

Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus will spend the following weeks advocating for Reimagine Public Safety Act funding.