• Lightford celebrates July 1 minimum wage increase

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  • Lightford appointed as co-chair of the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security

    lightford 022019CHICAGO – To better inform policymakers on the root causes of poverty and economic insecurity, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) was appointed co-chair of the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security.

    “I believe we have come to the precipice of a moment that can make the changes necessary to put us on track to eliminate poverty across Illinois,” Lightford said. “That effort starts with getting to the root causes of poverty, a major one being systemic racism, and no longer being shy about the way we approach them.”

    The commission will consist of four members of the General Assembly, a member of the judicial branch and 20 members of the public, including people who have experienced deep poverty and advocates for youth, veterans, mental health, education equity, those experiencing homelessness, those differently abled and others.

    “I look forward to the important work we’ll be doing through this commission, and even more to engaging my colleagues in a conversation that can create generational change, eliminate poverty and economic disparities across our state,” Lightford said.

    The commission is tasked with educating policymakers on the impact poverty has on other measures of economic stability and economic outcomes, including educational attainment, rates of incarceration, lifetime earnings, access to health care, health care outcomes, and access to housing. The Department of Human Services will provide support for the commission to complete its work to produce a strategic plan that addresses poverty and economic insecurity in Illinois by November 30, 2021.

  • Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    harmon 03052020CM0660SPRINGFIELD, IL – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced four appointees to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group created to help guide Illinois through the reopening process following stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    Senators Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will represent Senate Democrats on the commission. 

  • Lightford and other black leaders host Juneteenth March for Justice and Police Accountability


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  • Lightford, Van Pelt announce financial assistance for hardest hit businesses

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

    CHICAGO – Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) joined Gov. Pritzker and small business owners to announce new grants that will help businesses that have been particularly harmed by closures to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Black and Latino communities are the hardest hit by COVID-19, another symptom of the disease that is racism in our country,” Leader Lightford said. “Working families who have yet to receive a proper pay day have struggled to maintain during this time. Our small business built in our local communities by the people who care about them the most were forced to shut down and were damaged by individuals who exploited our pain for personal gain. They need a government that will work for them without hesitation.”

    The Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program is a $636 million initiative administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The first round of BIG grants, valued at $60 million, will offset the costs that businesses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest. Grants are broken down by type of business as follows:

    • Businesses in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) with Recent Significant Property Damage
      • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
    • Bars and Restaurants
      • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
      • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
    • Barbershops and Salons
      • 1,000 grants of $10,000.
      • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
    • Fitness Centers
      • 500 grants of $20,000.
      • 30% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.

    DCEO will publish a full list of eligible costs and losses that can be covered by the BIG program. Applications for these programs will open Monday, June 22 on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website and will remain open for 7-14 days. One week after the application period closes, grant administration partners will begin reaching out to recipients. Priority will be given to businesses in DIAs.

  • Lightford: Welcome to the movement

    lightford 061220As I made my way to Cicero and Monroe on Thursday, I saw block after block of boarded up store fronts and empty lots and buildings in disrepair. Then, it dawned on me that parts of the West and South Sides of Chicago have looked like this since I could remember — destroyed and abandoned.

    When I arrived, the area was surrounded by local residents who, quite frankly, were not interested in yet another spectacle in their neighborhood filled with empty promises and photo opportunities. And I agree with them.


  • Lightford joins Black elected officials at West Suburban Day of Action

    lightford 061120MAYWOOD -In solidarity with protestors across the nation, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) welcomed colleagues of the Caucus of Black Elected Officials to the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center Sunday.

    “I have been that angry Black woman for 21 years, and I am not going to stop being that angry Black woman until we have access to resources,” Lightford said. “For those of us who have experienced institutional racism and sexism, do not give up. Do not give in. Do not feel oppressed. Find someone like Representative Welch, Clerk Karen Yarbrough or Mayor Thompson that will fight with you.”

    The event was the fourth in a series of events that came together shortly after a weekend of unrest across Chicago that resulted in the looting of a number of local businesses. Lightford was joined by Gov. JB Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Senate President Don Harmon, Rep. Chris Welch, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, local mayors and trustees, and other West Suburban leaders.

    “We are here in Maywood, a stop on the Underground Railroad 400 years ago as our ancestors sought freedom,” Stratton said. “And today, we are still seeking freedom.”

    Those who attended received food, hand sanitizer, census information and other helpful resources. They also heard from legislators about the issues in the Western Suburbs and what changes they expect to see.

    “There is not justice without police accountability. There is not justice without criminal justice reform. There is not justice without reversing the disinvestment and instead making significant investments in our Black communities,” Pritzker said.

    Legislators continue to support peaceful protests as they work on an agenda that answers the call to action.

  • Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosts Days of Action

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  • Lightford: This budget begins to reimagine our state

    lightford 052020SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement after Governor JB Pritzker signed the Fiscal Year 21 budget, found in Senate Bill 264, providing funding for services that will put Illinois on the road to recovery from the health and economic stresses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “When we approved this budget, we did not think we would be in the middle of a movement today. I am proud of the work we did to bring much-needed funds to minority communities that were placed in the path of the COVID-19 storm as a result of decades of systemic racism.

    “This budget is only the beginning of reimagining our state. We will continue to fight boldly for basic human rights through a path that not only recognizes the wrongs of the past, but turns the tide once and for all. I look forward to continuing this important work alongside Governor Pritzker and my colleagues in the General Assembly.”

  • 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.”

  • Black Caucus demands justice and equitable resources at Day of Action

    lightford action 060620CHICAGO—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted a day of action on the West Side of Chicago to help rebuild communities. While many peacefully protested to end injustice and systemic racism after racial acts of violence, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, others took advantage of the moment by damaging many businesses and properties.

    Together the Black Caucus, governor and lieutenant governor came together at the event to discuss how to move forward both in terms of rebuilding communities and providing equitable resources for black communities going forward.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) made it clear that the black community has never been treated fairly, and that’s about to change.

    “We want everything that has been owed to us for many years,” Lightford said. “Racism has been within our institutions and in our government for as long as it has existed, but I want African Americans to know that you have a group of black legislators that have been fighting on your behalf for many years. We finally have a governor who will listen, and we will continue to work with him to provide desperately needed resources, including quality jobs, health care and education. The state owes us, and we’re ready to receive it.”

    This was the first of four days of action. The upcoming days of action include:

    Friday, June 5: South Side, 63rd and Halsted, 3-5 p.m.

    Saturday, June 6: South Suburbs, 1550 Sibley Blvd., Calumet City, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Sunday, June 7: West Suburbs, 300 Oak St., Noon to 1 p.m.

    The Black Caucus will join the governor in a press conference for each of the coming days of action.

  • Lightford approves violence prevention grant for PLCCA

    lightford 041120MAYWOOD – To continue providing services that help curb violence in Proviso and Leyden Townships, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) supported funding for Proviso Leyden Community Council in the budget recently approved by the General Assembly.

    “Proviso Leyden Community Council has been an important resource for communities across my district and beyond for more than 50 years,” Lightford said. “Their work is even more valuable during these times and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of our investment.”

    Organizations across the state are poised to receive grants to support violence prevention and reduction through programs and services. Under Senate Bill 264, PLCCA will receive a $788,500 grant to continue their mission to promote community development and empower people through education, training and supportive services.

    Proviso Leyden Community Council provides family services from cradle to adulthood, behavioral health services and supportive services, like job readiness, utility programs and more.

    For more information on PLLCA and they services they offer visit

  • Black Caucus demands justice and equitable resources at Day of Action

    lightford daysaction 060420CHICAGO—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted a day of action on the West Side of Chicago to help rebuild communities. While many peacefully protested to end injustice and systemic racism after racial acts of violence, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, others took advantage of the moment by damaging many businesses and properties.

    Together the Black Caucus, governor and lieutenant governor came together at the event to discuss how to move forward both in terms of rebuilding communities and providing equitable resources for black communities going forward.


  • Senate Black Caucus members stand with communities in calling for swift action

    Sen. Christopher Belt

    SPRINGFIELD—Senators of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement after the protests and riots in Chicago brought on by racist acts of violence against countless African Americans, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor: 

    Senator Christopher Belt(D-Centreville), ILBC Senate Co-chair

    “In 1903, the great black scholar, W.E.B. Dubois, stated “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line. Here we stand in 2020, fighting for justice and equality because of that very same issue, the color line. That said, please understand this is not just ‘our’ problem, but rather, it is a ‘we’ problem. I am calling on my fellow legislators to stand with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to denounce this system of racial injustice that injures, destroys and kills not only people of color, but the very fabric of the American tapestry,” Belt said.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)

    “COVID-19 was not done showing us just how deep the inequities in our country are before we had another series of Black murders at the hands of racists in the headlines. It is exhausting to feel like you have been yelling at the top of your lungs for years without being heard, and I am deeply pained for our people forced to live in fear in the very country they helped build,” Lightford said. “I extend a call to action to my colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly and legislators across the country to hear the ache in the hearts of those who are fed up. We can only move forward by coming together to ensure every individual’s basic human rights are protected.”

    Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago)

    “What we are witnessing from many of the protestors is a demand for change—an acknowledgment that the status quo is unacceptable and must end. They are crying out, screaming to be heard and wondering aloud how many more will have to die before we finally recognize the sanctity of black lives,” Sims said. “As we fight tirelessly for justice, I ask that we don’t use lawlessness as a means to do it. I know there is an overwhelming need to be heard and understood. If no one else hears you, I do. I will continue to work relentlessly with leaders on all levels to fix our utterly broken system and hold bad actors accountable. We can, and we will, achieve change together.”

    Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago)

    "The story of this crisis isn’t the looting, it is the why, the what, and the how,” Peters said. “Why are people so mad? Why are people so hurt? What do people need? How are we going to help?"

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

    “Just in the last month, we’ve mourned the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now George Floyd,” Van Pelt said. “How many more names must be said? Countless black lives were lost at the hands of police, failed under a system that was never meant to protect them, never meant to protect people that look like me. We can’t breathe, and haven’t been able to since we were abducted from the shores of our native land."

    Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)

    "What we are witnessing today is the strange fruit sown by institutional racism and neglect. It has given us a harvest of poverty, mass incarceration, food and health deserts as well as educational inequity.  We are not only fighting a virus, but violence and vandalism. Yet, we should not conflate the peaceful protests and righteous indignation with the criminality of a few bad apples," Collins said.

    "The days ahead of us must be days of rebuilding and healing, but they must also be days of reform and accountability that save lives. We must come together with one voice to say 'Black Lives Matter.' If we do not have reform and accountability, then there can truly be no healing."

    Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

     “The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are painful illustrations of the deep-rooted systems of oppression, and systems of protection for bad actors, that continue to burden African-American families. These murders sow further hopelessness, anger, and agony, which has been expressed over the past few days through widespread protests. While some have seen this as an excuse to commit shameful acts of destruction, it was heartening to see countless Chicagoans take to the streets to peacefully demand justice and make our voices heard in a productive way,” Hunter said.

    “Our path forward must not end with protests. Now is the time to harness our collective anger to galvanize a movement toward ending police violence and enacting transformational reforms centered around police accountability, transparency, and oversight.”

    Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)

    "It is sickening that we have to continuously address the racial biases the criminal justice system has against Black Americans. It's evident how much racial disparity is prevalent throughout the justice system and how much officers believe we are so much of a threat to the country that we helped build.

    "The whole situation is just tiring, and a change is more than overdue. Even if you're not a part of the problem, you must be well aware of the harassment that blacks receive daily and how the media would rather paint a bad picture of us than be a part of the solution. 

    "We cannot solve this problem on our own. We profess no easy answers. It's obvious that real change will only happen when all of America believes Black Lives Matter."

    Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Dolton)

    “The young people of America have mobilized in unified outrage and it is time we acknowledged their cries. It is time we acknowledged the humanity and grievances of African-Americans throughout this country."

  • Lightford backs grants for childcare providers

    Lightford052920SPRINGFIELD –After hearing concerns from childcare providers about the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) made it a priority to ensure funding was available to keep them afloat.

    The General Assembly recently approved this year’s budget, contained in Senate Bill 264, which provides funds for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant Program for childcare and daycare providers who have had to close their businesses during the current pandemic.

    “Childcare providers from across my district reached out to me with concerns about having to permanently close without financial support,” Lightford said. “I went to Springfield with their concerns in mind, and I am glad we were able to drive funds to this important issue.”

    Childcare centers are one of the many types of businesses that were widely affected by the closures required during the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, childcare providers can only operate at a limited capacity to care for children of essential workers.

    The grants will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity once the program is established and funds are made available.

  • Lightford protects workers under new plan headed to the governor

    lightford floor 052320SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led a measure through the Senate Saturday to expand disability benefits for some frontline state employees, protect retail workers from assault, and allow horse racetrack casino, or racino, employees to organize.

    “The current pandemic has underlined the need for securing basic rights for working class people with disproportionate infection rates among populations with a high number of essential workers,” Lightford said.

  • Lightford announces $31.5 million in grant opportunities for historically underserved communities

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  • Lightford steps down as Black Caucus Chair after five years

    lightford 052819SPRINGFIELD –Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement after stepping down as Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Sunday.

    “It has been an honor to serve as the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair for the last five years. I worked very hard to lay a foundation that will be passed on and built upon. The ILBC is strong and will continue to advocate for the Black community across the state. 

    “My time to move on from this leadership role has come, and I am proud to pass the torch to the next legislator chosen to carry on the work I began with this phenomenal group of legislators. I am committed to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and its mission, and will remain a supportive, engaged leader.

  • Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

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  • State helps support struggling hospitals

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