Black Caucus holding press conference on economic access, equity and opportunity for Black communities

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 03:41 PM

Photo of Black Caucus prior to the pandemicCHICAGO – The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will be in Chicago this week to release their Economic Access, Opportunity and Equity pillar as part of their agenda to rid systemic racism for veto session. They will share details on Thursday, October 1 at 1:00 p.m. at Teamwork Englewood, 815 W. 63rd Street, Suite 2, Chicago IL 60621. House and Senate members will be in attendance to offer recommendations that will increase economic development and mobility for black people across the state.

Economic access, equity and opportunity is the third of four pillars the Black Caucus is using as the foundation for their agenda to address systemic racism. They include:

      • Criminal justice reform, violence reduction and police accountability
      • Education and workforce development
      • Economic access, equity and opportunity
      • Health care and human services

A virtual joint hearing of the Illinois Senate Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Executive, Financial Institutions, and Local Government Committees on affordable housing and land use policies will follow the press conference at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The Black Caucus is set to have a series of hearings for each pillar. Five hearings have already been held on criminal justice reform and education.

What: Press conference, followed by virtual joint Senate committee hearing

Who: Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

When: Thursday, October 1, 1:00 p.m.

Where: The press conference will be held at Teamwork Englewood, 815 W. 63rd St. in Chicago in Suite 2. It can also be viewed on, a subscription-based service.

Hunter to host Blood Drive Friday

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:43 AM

blood donor mask 093020CHICAGO – To help remedy Chicago's dire blood shortage caused by COVID-19, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Rev. Byron Brazier of Apostolic Church of God are partnering to hold a community blood drive Friday. African-American blood donors are especially needed to help patients battling sickle cell disease. Blood banks have seen donations by African-Americans drop by more than 50% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Those who are interested in being part of this community solution are asked to add their name here and make an appointment to donate blood at using the group code F932. Even one donation could save the life of a community member.

What: Blood Drive

Who: State Senator Mattie Hunter, Rev. Byron Brazier, and other community officials 

When: Friday, Oct. 2 from noon-5 p.m.

Where: Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester, Chicago, IL 60637

State lawmakers discuss paths to sentencing reform and violence reduction

Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 05:25 PM

simspeters 092920CHICAGO—Members of the Illinois House and Senate came together to discuss sentencing reform and violence reduction in a joint Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“We must confront the vast disparities in how individuals throughout the state are sentenced,” State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Criminal Law Committee, who co-chaired the joint committee alongside State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who heads the Senate Public Safety Special Committee. “We have to ensure that our justice system treats everyone fairly regardless of their race, religion and economic status. That often is not the case. These issues are important to achieve a more fair and equitable system.”

McGuire, Bertino-Tarrant to lead Senate hearing on COVID-19 response in schools

Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 05:00 PM

school temp 092920WHO: Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire, Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, members of the Senate Education and Higher Education Committees

WHAT: Joint Senate hearing on education funding and COVID-19 response in K-12 schools

WHEN: 12 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020

WHERE: Virtual meeting. Watch via the Illinois General Assembly website at

JOLIET – Senate Education Committee Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Pat McGuire will lead the third joint Senate committee hearing tomorrow on the topic of COVID-19 response in schools and school funding.

“Illinois is committed to ensuring that every student receives a quality education, regardless of ZIP code. However, whether a family is afflicted with COVID-19 is greatly influenced by ZIP code. We've got to figure out how to untangle this,” said McGuire (D-Joliet).

“We need to ensure all of Illinois’ children receive the opportunity to be successful, especially during this awful pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I look forward to hearing from advocates and experts to devise a strategy to improve educational outcomes and learning experiences for students across the state.”

The hearing is the latest in the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ agenda-building series of hearings, tackling the topics of education, economic access, criminal justice, and health care.

“I am deeply concerned for the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the already troubling achievement gap that exists. We need to be equipped with the proper data to ensure we are making the right decisions to keep students on track,” said Kimberly Lightford, Senate Majority Leader and ILBC Chair (D-Chicago). “That effort will directly tie into school funding and making sure school districts have the resources to address the inequities exacerbated by our current crisis.”

People can submit written witness testimony online at:

To watch the virtual Senate committee, visit and click, "Watch Live Virtual Committee Video." The link will be available at 12 p.m.

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