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Women’s Caucus calls for justice and peace as protests continue across Illinois

collins 013120CHICAGO—The women of the Illinois Senate came together to issue a united call for justice and peace. Lawmakers from both parties called on the state to address the issues that have led to the protests and to join together in healing.

“We cannot condone violence in any form,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Deputy Majority Caucus Chair (D-Chicago). “That means that we must have justice for Americans who have been brutalized by the violence of law enforcement. Voices across Illinois join those across the nation in loudly proclaiming that Black lives matter, and that peace cannot come about without justice.”

Lawmakers joined together to denounce the racism that has led to widespread protests, saying that the demonstrations, which have occurred in communities large and small throughout the country with the participation of people from all segments of society, show without a doubt that Illinoisans have joined their fellow Americans in demanding change.

“Recognizing the many lives lost and affected by racist violence, we must stand together as a unified voice to condemn racism, while demanding accountability from law enforcement we trust to protect us,” said State Senator Iris Martinez, Assistant Majority Leader (D-Chicago). “Comprehensive, meaningful reform must be passed in order to fix the broken, unfair systems that allow these tragedies to continue to happen.”

Lawmakers implored all Illinoisans to come together in support of the Black community and in support of keeping protests peaceful. They also implored law enforcement agencies throughout the state to stop the use of violence during protests and to commit to de-escalation.

“It is going to take all of us working together to finally achieve change in our communities,” Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said. “We have been fighting for years to fix this broken system that has neither valued nor protected us. Equitable resources are long overdue in the black community, quality jobs, health care and education, and black people should not have to fear for their lives every time they encounter police. I ask leaders on all levels to unite in seeking justice and reform.”

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) echoed Lightford’s call for unity.

“This is the time to address years of inequity in Illinois,” Holmes said. “We must listen to those who experience racism in their daily lives and come together with solutions and significant changes to put human lives and dignity first. This can be a profound opportunity to improve the lives and futures of those held down for so long.”

"Violence is always the wrong way to accomplish change,” said Assistant Republican Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris). “Turning peaceful protests into rampages of crime is a crime not just against property but is a crime against the cause of social justice. Community and government leaders must listen heavily and then take long-overdue action to deal with systemic and reoccurring racial problems that DO exist in our country. The history of our nation consists of pivotal moments in time that will shape who we are for generations… THIS IS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS. Our kids are watching and learning.​​"

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