• Simeon Career Academy receives grant for teaching program

    simeon acad 023420CHICAGO – Simeon Career Academy will receive a state grant to develop teacher training programs that cater to educators of color, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) announced.

    “Preparing our students for a future as educators is a direct investment back into our community,” Collins said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Simeon to lay the groundwork for classroom leaders who reflect their neighborhoods.”

    The Illinois State Board of Education awarded the City of Chicago Public Schools Education for Employment system a $237,000 grant, of which Simeon will receive a portion, to develop Career and Technical Education programs focused on careers in education. The programs are intended to emphasize recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

  • Collins calls for comprehensive approach to end violence

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  • Collins: We are in a fight for the life of every mother like Sha-Asia Washington

    collins 013120Calls for more action to end maternal mortality crisis among women of color

    CHICAGO– State Senator Jacqueline Collins again called for action to end the culture of prejudice, discrimination and dismissal in the medical community that has contributed to the death of women like New York mother Sha-Asia Washington, a Black woman who died in childbirth last week at age 26.

    “The events of this year prove that we are in a fight for the life of every mother like Sha-Asia Washington on every front,” Collins said. “We are fighting for Black women like Patricia Frieson of Chicago, who was the first in Illinois to die of COVID-19. We are saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the streets, but we need it to mean something in the hospital and the doctor’s office.”

  • Middle schools to teach civics under new law by Collins

    collins civics 070120CHICAGO– Middle school students will be required to study civics as part of their course work under a new law passed by State Senator Jacqueline Collins that takes effect today.

    “Current events teach us the importance and impact of civic engagement at every age,” Collins said. “In the malicious action and shameful inaction of our current president, we are given daily reminders that to be a society ruled by laws, not men, we must be vigilant and active. That starts with education about our system of government and our own responsibility to it.”

  • Collins urges faculty, staff and students to follow safety guidelines as schools prepare to reopen

    school masks 062520CHICAGO– With plans to return to in-person learning at schools this fall, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) urged students, faculty and staff to be mindful of safety guidelines and take all necessary precautions.

    “Chicago has seen a precipitous decline in cases of COVID-19 due to an increase in testing and the mindful actions of everyday people,” Collins said. “If we are cavalier about social distancing, sanitation, or face coverings, however, that hard work and sacrifice could be reversed. Returning to school is important in light of the great inequality in access to at-home learning, but as we return to the classroom we must remember we are still in a pandemic.”

    The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health outlined guidelines for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person learning this fall, while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff is prioritized. The groups worked with educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses and other stakeholders to create the 60-page guidance.

    The guidelines for Phase 4 will, among other things:

    • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings;
    • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
    • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
    • Require schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
    • Require an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.

    The guidelines will apply to all K-12 schools public and private. 

  • Governor enacts program to help closed, damaged business properties, Collins urges owners to apply

    collins 041119CHICAGO– Following Gov. JB Pritzker’s announcement today that his administration will launch a $636 million Business Interruption Grants program, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) urged local business owners to apply.

    “I applaud the governor’s action today, and am gratified to see that one large part of it will be aimed at businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage,” Collins said. “This shows an understanding of what business owners in these areas are going through and what help they need to stay afloat in light of the once-in-a-lifetime hardship they now face.”

    The Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will launch a first round of $60 million BIG grant funding for small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, help offset the costs of months of being shut down or restricted in their operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely in the near future.

    Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted area with recent significant property damage. Those who qualify for these grants include:

    • Businesses with under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or pro-rated amount if in business for less than a year. Such business must have in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020.
    • Applicants who can attest to experiencing costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020 due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID pandemic.
    • Businesses within a subset of DIAs that have experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID.

    DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions, with applications being accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.

  • Collins calls on African-American blood donors to help address shortage

    Senator CollinsCHICAGO – With the state’s blood supply declining rapidly in light of blood drive cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) called on healthy, eligible African-Americans in Illinois to step up and donate blood when they can.

    “The Black community is in particular need of this help, especially in light of the prevalence of diseases like sickle cell anemia among African-Americans,” Collins said.

    Sickle cell patients are at particularly high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection. Patients with sickle cell disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood – beyond the A, B, O and AB types – to reduce the risk of complications.

    According to the American Red Cross, each donation center is required to follow the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance.

    Red Cross blood centers have seen donations by African-Americans drop by more than 50% since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in March.

    “The most vulnerable members of our community need our help,” Collins said. “If you are healthy and able, please step up and help fill this need.”

    Many blood centers throughout the state have extended their operating hours to meet the critical need for donations. To make an appointment to donate blood with the Red Cross, residents can visit or call 800-733-2767.

  • Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosts Days of Action

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  • Collins calls for reinvestment in community as businesses repair after nights of unrest

    Illinois Legislative Black Caucus presserCHICAGO – In the wake of nights of protest over police misconduct that have resulted in damage to businesses all across the country, State Senator Jacqueline Collins called on the South Side of Chicago to commit to healing, and on major employers to continue investing in the communities hardest hit by the unrest.

    “In the wake of violence against property, much of it owned by Black Chicagoans, I am reaching out to every resource available to try to aid small business owners as they work to recover, and I’m trying to be an ambassador for the 16th Senate District as we work with major employers in the area to show that this part of the city should remain an investment,” Collins said. “That is part of the work needed in this moment. The other part, the part we must all do together, is to fight against the violence against human life that gave rise to these protests. Unarmed Black people have been killed by police who have faced no accountability. During peaceful protests all across the nation, video evidence clearly shows escalation and unprovoked violence on the part of police.

  • Collins calls for action as report shows vast, racist disparity in Chicago home loans

    Mortgage calculator“There is no justice until we erase the last red line.”

    CHICAGO – Following a report by WBEZ showing a vast disparity in mortgage lending between predominantly white and predominantly black neighborhoods in Chicago, State Senator Jacqueline Collins called for action to induce more equitable lending practices.

    “WBEZ’s report shows an overhead view of what many families in Chicago have seen from the ground: That banks are denying many mortgage loans to black Chicagoans who are prospective homeowners,” said Collins, D-Chicago. “As they reported, these disparities cannot be explained away by factors as simple as location or a home’s size. Even considering such differences, the report shows this inequality.”

  • Collins: Gambling has rapidly expanded into poor communities with no study of impact

    collins 050120 2State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) spoke to WTTW's Carol Marin this week about the vast and rapid expansion of video gaming in Illinois, even as the state has repeatedly refused to study the effect it's having on poor communities and those who struggle with addiction, even as it is now home to more gambling positions than the state of Nevada.

    "I see a lot of red," Collins said, looking at a map of the 16th Illinois Senate District with dozens of markers indicating gambling sites. "I see a lot of poor people losing their livelihoods on false promises."

  • Collins: Expanded COVID-19 testing on South and West Sides will save lives

    collins 013120CHICAGO– In light of a move by Gov. JB Pritzker to expand COVID-19 testing and create alternate housing options specifically to address the effect of the pandemic in the black community and on people with disabilities, State Senator Jacqueline Collins urged a deeper inquiry into the cause of the much higher death rate among the black community.

    “Expanding testing is an important first step, but we must continue fighting against the grim outcomes for the black community, which accounts for 70% of COVID-19-related deaths in Illinois,” Collins said. “The fact black Chicagoans and Illinoisans are dying at a rate so much higher than our share of the population is another sad result of the barriers put in place by a history of disinvestment and disenfranchisement. The governor has been forthright in acknowledging this inequity. I thank the governor and his administration for taking this step, but I urge them to follow through on it and find ways to save lives in the black community.”

    Black Chicagoans make up 29% of the city’s population and had accounted for 70% of COVID-19-related deaths as of April 5, according to a report by WBEZ. Outcomes throughout Cook County have also fallen hardest on the black community, with 58% of COVID-19 deaths occurring among the black community, which makes up 23% of the population in the county, according to the same report.

    The governor has announced Chicago will expand testing in communities of color, adding 400 tests per day, partnering with five medical institutions in order to do so.

    Swabs will be collected at Lawndale Christian Health Center, PCC Community Wellness Center, Chicago Family Health Center and Friend Family Health Center, then sent to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for testing. 

    In the Metro East area, three locations of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation system will add 470 swabs per day starting next week, to be processed at Anderson Hospital in Madison County.

    A state-run South Suburban drive-thru testing center will also open early next week in the Markham-Harvey area.

    As of April 9, the governor’s office reported the following demographic information on the race and ethnicity of those who have been tested:


    Total People Tested

    Percent of Total People Tested

    Percent of Positive Tests among the Race/Ethnicity Category

    White (Not Hispanic or Unknown Ethnicity)




    Black or African American (Not Hispanic or Unknown Ethnicity)








    The state has also taken steps to expand alternate housing, with an effort to prepare up to 2,000 hotel rooms across Illinois to serve as safe quarantine spaces. That effort has yielded rooms on standby, ready to be activated within the coming days next week in Springfield, Rockford, Metro East, the Quad Cities, Schaumburg, Mt. Vernon, Peoria, Carbondale, Quincy, Marion, Macomb, Champaign and the collar counties. The state is also supporting the City of Chicago and Cook County in their efforts to do the same.

    These rooms could be made available to help those in cities, who more often live with roommates in smaller apartments, circumstances that make self-isolation more difficult. Such alternate housing rooms would be available to residents who tested positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospital-level care, or for asymptomatic high-risk individuals who need social distancing as a precautionary measure. Rooms will also be made available to medical professionals and first responders.

    Residents should contact their local health departments to find out more about these measures.

  • Illinois Council on Women and Girls releases first report

    collins 030520Collins calls for action on gender-based violence, economic opportunity, health care

    SPRINGFIELD– Convened to study and recommend legislative solutions to systemic problems women face in all parts of life, the Illinois Council on Women and Girls issued its first report yesterday.

    The report, available in full here, highlights the barriers women face under the law and makes 14 specific recommendations related to gender-based violence, academic and economic opportunity, leadership and inclusion, and health care.

    Headed by Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, the council was first formed last year through a law sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago).

    “The barriers women and girls face must be given names,” Collins said. “The entrenched systems that keep women out of the halls of power can only be cast aside by specific efforts to dismantle them. I am committed to using the recommendations laid out in this report as the basis for future legislation in the future. I thank the council for its efforts.”

    The Illinois Council on Women and Girls’ report recommends actions be taken to:

    • Improve efficiency for publicly funded crime laboratories to reduce rape kit backlogs.
    • Create public awareness campaigns about gender-based violence, targeting veterans, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ communities.
    • Provide localized accounts of the prevalence of gender-based violence across Illinois by collaborating with local governments.
    • Ensure that elementary and secondary school students who are parents, expectant parents, or survivors of gender-based violence can safely stay in school, succeed academically, and complete their education.
    • Empower girls and young women by creating opportunities for them to engage with the executive branch on issues important to their communities.
    • Integrate efforts to better serve students and parents on Illinois military bases.
    • Increase access to affordable childcare, especially for working women and women in school.
    • Increase opportunities for trauma-informed services for college students who experience gender-based violence.
    • Encourage the involvement of women and girls in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) career pipelines by focusing on access for current and former youth in foster care, youth with disabilities, youth from LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants and refugees, and racially diverse groups.
    • Promote understanding of how to engage government by using local youth advisory boards led by elected leaders.
    • Encourage the expansion of internships targeting young women through partnerships between schools and high-growth industries.
    • Expand access to postpartum health care coverage to help reduce disparities.
    • Increase access to substance use and mental health services for pregnant and postpartum women to reduce rates of maternal morbidity.
    • Highlight health care disparities by improving data collection.
  • Collins: Human trafficking is hiding in plain sight

    collins 013120CHICAGO– As an international transportation hub, Chicago is a major venue for one illicit industry: Human trafficking.

    Targeting victims who often have tenuous legal status or are otherwise without resources, human trafficking often goes unreported unless concerned citizens discover it and act to inform the authorities. As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) announced legislation that would expand awareness training to include more types of service jobs in Illinois, giving employees the tools to spot and report human trafficking.

    “Human trafficking is industrialized kidnapping and modern-day slavery,” Collins said. “By expanding this training program, we are empowering more citizens to know when and how to step forward and do the right thing. These crimes against humanity are hiding in plain sight here in Illinois, and we must all be vigilant.”

    In Illinois, the Department of Human Services is developing training on how to spot the signs of human trafficking and report them to authorities. Once developed, employers in the hotel and motel industries will be required to periodically provide the training to employees. Collins’ legislation would expand that training requirement to include restaurants and truck stops as well.

    “This is especially urgent at a time when Illinois has committed to expanding gambling, which promotes the sort of travel and rise in entertainment and hospitality that can create the conditions that human traffickers seek to exploit,” Collins said. “By doing this, we’re giving working people the power to fight crime that enslaves people and undercuts law-abiding business.”

    Collins’ legislation has been drafted and awaits consideration in the Illinois Senate.

  • Collins and Flowers’ plan to fight maternal and infant mortality signed into law

    Mother and childSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the remaining pieces of legislation in a plan by her and State Rep. Mary Flowers to reduce rising infant and maternal mortality rates:

    “It’s fitting that this action comes the day after Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and mere days before Women’s Equality Day, because this is another stark reminder of how systemic bias harms not only women, but the many lives that a woman’s life touches,” Collins said. “When women of color’s medical concerns are ignored, their families pay the price.”

  • Collins joins advocates at Stop The Violence rally to call for investment in anti-gun violence

    Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins

    Gathering to call for a comprehensive and well-funded approach to reducing gun violence, advocates spoke at a “Stop The Violence” rally in front of the state capitol Wednesday.

    State Senator Jacqueline Collins joined other officeholders that included Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to address activists, who included anti-violence group inVEST. Advocates called for a plan funded in part by the legalization of cannabis to fund programs aimed at attacking the root causes of gun violence and reinvesting in communities long hurt by punitive public policy.

  • Collins speaks out against deceptive marketing by power companies

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  • Senate passes Collins nursing home accountability plan: Legislation targets dangerously low staffing levels, consent for medication

    Senator CollinsSPRINGFIELD – Responding to staffing levels in Illinois nursing homes that are among the lowest in the nation and at the heart of severe safety issues for residents, State Senator Jacqueline Collins passed a plan out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to enforce mandatory staffing levels and increase transparency around nursing home practices.

    “Reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News has revealed a clear picture of what many families in Illinois already have seen firsthand: Most nursing homes in Illinois are understaffed and resorting to practices which are unsafe for our elders and the personnel who care for them,” Collins said. “Bed sores, deadly infections and the administration of psychotropic drugs without clear consent are all recipes for disaster. That disaster is happening right now.”

  • Collins' Illinois Council on Women and Girls welcomes 21 new members

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  • Collins calls for crackdown on nursing home violations, safeguards for residents and their families

    collins 030619SPRINGFIELD– Following an investigation by Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News revealing wide dissatisfaction in nursing home care and illuminating the burden it places on the families of elders, State Senator Jacqueline Collins introduced legislation today designed to enhance nursing home residents’ quality of care.

    “It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Collins (D-Chicago) in announcing Senate Bill 1510 at the state capitol to reporters today.