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As the Illinois General Assembly navigates the remaining 24 hours of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield, Equality Illinois applauds the bold leadership of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in their work to eliminate systemic racism and advance long overdue and long delayed equity and justice for Black Illinoisans, including Black LGBTQ Illinoisans.

We know the legislative process is fast moving and will involve thoughtful debates and substantive amendments.  We want to take the time to thank the Black Caucus for the reforms on the table, reforms that will make the lives of Black Illinoisans, including Black LGBTQ Illinoisans, better.  There is much to call out about these remarkable pieces of legislation.  We admire the robust criminal justice reforms, including limiting the use of force by police officers, safeguarding civilian’s rights through heightened accountability for police officers, and strengthening the Illinois Attorney General’s authority to take action against harmful police departments.  We honor the enhanced efforts to ensure educational equity, including the greater emphasis on restorative justice and the teaching of Black history in schools.  We appreciate the proposals to bring about greater economic equity, including a comprehensive approach to equitable economic development and an insistence on meeting equity goals in the state’s historic cannabis legalization law. And we honor the insistence that healthcare equity is only fully realized when healthcare providers are culturally competent and healthcare institutions are collecting the right information.

The Black Caucus agenda is a real opportunity to end systemic racism and build an Illinois that lives up to her values of equality, equity, fairness, justice, and opportunity.  As these bills move through the legislative process and onto the Governor’s desk, we call on all members to keep the spirit of equity and the courage to be bold at the center of the work.