“We face two pandemics in Chicago. We already know how to end both.”

CHICAGO – In the wake of a mass shooting at a Gresham funeral that wounded at least 15 people, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) expressed her support of the victims, asked those with knowledge of the crime to come forward and called for city and state government to act to address the root causes of violence.

“We face two pandemics in Chicago. Both spread and perpetuate themselves. And we already know how to end both,” Collins said. “We know the solution to the coronavirus is to bring our resources to bear to support public health and follow the science. We know that to end the pandemic of violence we need to stem the flow of guns, drugs and gangs, and address the poverty, disenfranchisement and criminalization of communities of color in Chicago.”

Collins also urged the city’s leaders and the community to come together to end the shootings. Gresham has experienced a spike of violence this year, and reports indicate last night’s shooting was a retaliation in an ongoing, deadly feud.

“Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote that ‘Few are guilty, but all are responsible,’” Collins said. “Those with knowledge of these crimes must come forward and work with police. And it must be said that police need to foster a relationship of trust that starts with reform and accountability. This has to be a two-way street.”

Collins cited a number of recent actions the General Assembly has taken in an attempt to fix the root causes of violent crime in Chicago. The state legislature created the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty to explore ways of ending the cycle of poverty in Illinois. Collins was among those who supported a minimum wage increase to $15, which will proceed in stages over the coming years, as well as the legalization of cannabis for adult use with the most robust social equity provisions in the country’s history. In addition, Collins advocated for increased funding for violence prevention, youth employment and Teen Reach programming in the FY 21 Budget. Collins is in the midst of acting to address the vast disparity in banking and home lending between white and Black and brown communities.

“Gresham is an epicenter of these two pandemics, and for the same reasons. We can’t give up on our efforts to end them simply because the solutions are costly or inconvenient to those in power,” Collins said. “A person who wears a mask protects another from COVID-19. A child with a bright future and a supportive society does not pick up a gun. We know how we need to act, and we need to act now.”

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001collinsCollins calls for more action to end maternal mortality crisis among women of color

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.”

Collins, who sponsored the creation of the ongoing Task Force for Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans through House Bills 1, 2, 3 and 5 in 2019, renewed calls for further action. That task force met last week as part of its ongoing efforts to draft a report, due by year’s end, laying out legislative recommendations.

A separate measure last year focused on related issues, Senate Bill 1909, would have strengthened medical coverage and postpartum care for mothers. That plan easily passed the Illinois Senate, but stalled in the House and was eventually changed to unrelated legislation.

Meanwhile, women of color and their children are several times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, even when adjusting for all other socioeconomic factors. Nationwide, Black mothers die from pregnancy-related causes at a rate two to three times higher than white mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In the city of New York, mothers like Sha-Asia Washington are 12 times likelier to die in childbirth.

“The reasons I pushed for the creation of groups like the maternal mortality task force and the Illinois Council on Women and Girls are unfortunately clearer now in 2020 than ever,” Collins said. “We must refuse to allow Black mothers and babies to become a statistic.”

001collinsMiddle 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 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.”

Under the new law, Illinois schools will be required to include civics courses in their curricula for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

The measure was House Bill 2265, which passed the General Assembly last May and was signed into law the following August.

CHICAGO – 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.

COVID19 Updates

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1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

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