Updated: Jul 27, 2019
On Tuesday, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) hosted the 2018 Forum for Safety and Liberation in collaboration with the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) and Black PAC.
On Tuesday, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) hosted the 2018 Forum for Safety and Liberation in collaboration with the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) and Black PAC. We were joined by nearly one hundred local residents for a public dialogue on how communities can build safe and free neighborhoods by dismantling anti-Black systems of police occupation and mass incarceration, and investing in initiatives that promote equity and liberation for people of color. During the forum, grassroots leaders shared community-level perspectives on key issues related to racialized disparities in public safety, and called upon prominent local figures, including State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Chicago Police Commander Boyd, as well as mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Troy LaRaviere, to support a community defined platform for Black safety and liberation.
Through storytelling, members of WCRJ and our comrades at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) described the devastating impacts that decades of racially targeted law enforcement and detention practices have had on communities of color. Speaking truth to power, grassroots leadership articulated a new vision of community safety rooted in racial equity, justice and political power.
In response to community concerns, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx outlined a set of initiatives her office will implement in order to promote fairness within the law enforcement system, including bail reform, data transparency, restorative justice, and prosecutorial diversion programs. Mayoral candidates voiced their commitments to equitable investment in public schools, affordable housing, and living wage jobs for all Chicagoans.
In the coming weeks, as we continue our fight for safe and free neighborhoods, WCRJ will deepen its engagement with community members for input and leadership. Through base building, political education and legislative advocacy, WCRJ will be on frontlines in the struggle for safety and liberation. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in our campaigns.
This morning, the Illinois state legislature sent Governor Rauner a critical bill, which would take steps toward securing equal pay for Black employees. HB 4743 which would explicitly prohibit employers from engaging in wage discrimination against Black workers.
This morning, the Illinois state legislature sent Governor Rauner a critical bill, which would take steps toward securing equal pay for Black employees. HB 4743 would explicitly prohibit employers from engaging in wage discrimination against Black workers. In order to get this bill signed into law, we need your help.
In recent decades, race based wage disparities have persistently increased. The average Black worker in 1979 earned 80% of what his white counterpart was paid for equal work. In 2016, Black men were taking home only 70% of white male earnings. Similarly, in 1979 Black women were paid 95% of white women’s wages. Today, Black female workers earn just 82% of white female earnings and 65% of white male earnings for equivalent work. Research demonstrates that such disparities cannot be attributed to differences in age, education, job type, or location, but are rather the direct result of pervasive anti-Black wage discrimination.
HB 4743 would offer workers in Illinois explicit legal protection against race based wage exploitation. Please join WCRJ as we demand equal pay for Black workers.
Call Governor Rauner at 217-782-0244 and demand his signature on HB 4743.
Updated: Jul 27, 2019
At the end of the legislative session, the Illinois State House and Senate passed two dangerous bills, which would undermine the safety and liberation of Black community members across the state.
This legislation represents the latest attempt by Mayor Emanuel to amass political leverage by promoting anti-Black “law-and-order” legislation. Released by the mayor’s office as so-called “public safety” measures, these bills would fail in their proported attempt to promote the security and well-being of local residents. Rather, HB 1804 and SB 2562 would further escalate the racially targeted mass incarceration of Illinois children and enhance the ability of law enforcement to target and suppress racial justice advocates.
With your help, we can stop these bills.
HB 1804 would offer Iocal law enforcement overly expansive powers to apprehend and prosecute Illinois residents for non-criminal activities. This bill designates the mere act of possessing or being a passenger in a stolen vehicle as a Class 2 felony, punishable for up to 7 years in prison, even if the accused was unaware that the vehicle had been unlawfully seized. In such cases, HB 1804 would grant juvenile court judges broad authority to hold presumptively innocent child defendants in pretrial detention as they await their court date. The adverse implications of HB 1804 would disproportionately affect Black children, who are targeted by Illinois’ juvenile justice system at a rate of six times that of white youths.
SB 2562 would allow police officers to use drones equipped with facial recognition technology to spy on political activists at large scale public demonstrations. Increased surveillance capabilities of law enforcement would violate residents’ civil liberties and intimidate marginalized activists from exercising their first amendment rights. SB 2562 would perpetuate the Chicago Police Department's long history of abusing surveillance authority as a means to suppress Black activists.
We are calling upon you to join WCRJ in resisting these toxic bills.
Contact Governor Rauner (217-782-0244) ASAP and demand that he veto HB 1804 and SB 2562.