State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today in response to reported remarks by President Donald Trump.

“As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and on the anniversary of the 2010 Haitian earthquake that killed nearly 230,000 people, I am deeply offended by President Trump’s vile and vulgar language referencing countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean as ‘shithole countries.’

“His remarks clearly displayed the danger of ignorance and power. In the words of James Baldwin, ‘It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.’

“Former First Lady Michele Obama once said, ‘Being President doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are.’ President Trump’s racist rant reveals who he is.

“As a citizen of Chicago – a city founded by a Haitian, Jean Baptiste DuSable, I believe every decent minded person concerned about the values and vision of this country should be troubled by the temperament, tone and tin ear of this thin-skinned president.

“What do countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have in common? They are God’s children who have been blessed and kissed by the sun. Let us not forget the words inscribed on Lady Liberty – a gift from the French in recognition of the United States abolition of slavery, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’”

12064554State Senator Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, gave the following prepared remarks this morning, joining citizens in protesting at 8140 South Ashland Ave. over security measures they see as obtrusive.

“As a community, we know it is the prerogative and the duty of Fifth Third Bank to protect its property, its assets, its employees and its customers. At the same time, what I believe we are all here to point out is that security measures such as the buzz-in doors and conspicuous metal detectors ultimately do little to deter bad actors while they simultaneous foster an environment that tells customers they are not trusted. Further, as these measures are not in force at other branches in neighborhoods with smaller minority communities, it sends a message of prejudice.

“We understand there is a concern over bank robberies in the greater Chicago area. But last year, of the 192 robberies committed in Northern Illinois, FBI statistics clearly show the problem is as likely to occur in the Western or Southern Suburbs as it is in Berwyn, Cicero, or other parts of our city and its surrounding suburbs. To focus attention on branches in some neighborhoods and not others is to misunderstand the degree of risk to all financial institutions.

“I also know that it’s not the intention of Fifth Third Bank to discriminate or act prejudicially, and so I want to join everyone here in asking that the bank acknowledge a mistake and work to correct it. We hope these steps can be taken so that Fifth Third Bank can continue to work hand in hand with us to provide essential services to the community.”

110717 3126Rejecting a move that would have severely weakened the standing of grieving families in the face of misbehavior by insurance companies, the Illinois Senate voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of legislation by Senator Jacqueline Collins Wednesday.

The measure, House Bill 302, would further strengthen the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act by requiring insurance companies to search their records back to the year 2000 if they have electronically searchable files to determine if life insurance policyholders have died, and to take steps to get money to beneficiaries. Rauner’s veto would have shortened the required search period to just five years prior, and would also have disallowed the use of third-party auditors to help in such searches. Under that change, Illinois would have been the only state in the country with such a prohibition.

“I worked closely with Treasurer Frerichs and Representative Martwick to improve this law because grieving families across Illinois did not know about $550 million in unclaimed life insurance benefits, all returned to them through the efforts of auditors that the governor’s veto would have disallowed,” Collins said. “It is easy to lose track of life insurance policies – for our elderly loved ones to lose paperwork in a move or to forget they exist because of the passage of time of the ravages of dementia. I’m glad my colleagues saw, as I did, that the right thing to do is to stand on the side of families who don’t have a small army of financial advisors to handle these issues in the darkest of times. This is not about politics, partisanship, or profit. It’s about doing the right thing.”

The Illinois House voted to override last month. The Senate voted 38-16 to override the governor’s veto. The bill becomes law in 2018.

Governor signs automatic voter registrationOn the 54th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the governor signed a new law co-sponsored by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins ensuring Illinoisans who are eligible to vote will be automatically registered when they conduct business at state facilities.

Collins worked with representatives of Common Cause Illinois and numerous other activists, advocates and Springfield lawmakers to craft legislation that creates the optional, opt-out system.

“Let us not forget that today marks the 54th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, when more than 250,000 gathered at the nation's capital to demand civil and voting rights for African Americans,” Collins said Monday. “In light of their struggle and sacrifice, I view this legislation as the harvest from the seeds of hope they planted beneath that hot summer sun on August 28, 1963.”

Collins said removing barriers to voting is the first step in encouraging more people to exercise their power at the ballot box.

“Your vote is your voice, and now more than ever, that voice matters,” Collins said. “This automatic voter registration system will save the state money and save voters time, and it arose from a bipartisan, democratic process. I want to thank all advocates for their tireless work on this issue and the governor for signing this bill. And I call on all of them to start the next conversation: Challenging potential voters to move beyond apathy.”

Photograph courtesy of Common Cause Illinois.

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

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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