About the Campaign
The Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) is fighting to dismantle systems of anti-Black police brutality in our neighborhoods by advancing a campaign to establish community control over the Chicago Police Department (CPD). For decades the Chicago Police Board, which governs the rules and operations of CPD, has lacked the independence needed to effectively regulate the department and abolish systemic officer abuse. As an appointed body, the loyalties of the Chicago Police Board rest with the mayor, city council, and by extension, CPD. This system actively undermines the will of the people, and perpetuates egregious patterns of racialized police violence and corruption in our city.
In order to end structural anti-Black violence within the police department, WCRJ is waging a campaign to ensure that voters directly elect members of the Chicago Police Board. We are leveraging the collective power of community to gather the 85,000 signatures needed to place a referendum question on the 2022 ballot, which would let voters determine whether or not the Chicago Police Board should be elected by the people.
How You Can Support the Fight
In order to collect the 85,000 signatures required to place the elected police board referendum on the ballot in Chicago, we need the support of engaged community members. There are two ways you can support the fight!
Join the "Power to the People Committee" to protect our democracy by leveraging grassroots power through ballot initiatives. The power to the people committee leads our binding referendum campaigns by building public and political awareness for direct democracy and strategizing gathering petitions to establish precedent for direct democracy initiatives through grassroots ballot referendums in Illinois.
You can also join WCRJ's campaign by gathering petition signatures from family, friends, and neighbors.
Instructions for collecting signatures are outlined below. Please follow the directions carefully in order to make sure the signatures you gather are validated by the Board of Elections.
Invest in emergency and long term financial assistance for low and middle income householdsDirect emergency financial assistanceto every Illinoisan who is left behind by the CARES Act, including formerly incarcerated people, students, undocumented workers, and members of the untaxed and uncompensated economy. Ensure continuous payments are made throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis. Implement an immediate and permanent increase in the state EITC from 18% to 36% of the federal credit for all filers, and disburse payments on a bimonthly, rather than annual basis. Permanently expand the universe of state EITC recipients to include undocumented earners and young people, and extend the maximum credit to uncompensated workers - such as family caregivers and students - in low income households.
Restore the basic needs safety net for the Illinois' most vulnerable householdsIndefinitely extend the COVID-19 emergency increase to Illinois’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Enact an immediate and permanent increase in Illinois' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant amount to 60% of the annually adjusted federal poverty guidelines. Abolish the state ban on TANF for households with members who have been convicted of a drug-related felony.
Expand eligibility and funding to the Child Care Assistance ProgramIndefinitely extend COVID-19 emergency child care measures to ensure continuous funding to state licensed child care providers who are forced to close, increased reimbursement rates to daycare centers that remain open during the pandemic, and offer child care to all essential workers at a $1 monthly rate throughout the entirety of the pandemic shutdowns. As the Illinois labor force returns to work, ensure the affordability of child care for all households by permanently raising the CCAP eligibility threshold to 400% of the federal poverty line and eliminating all copays.
Direct small business relief to Black owned enterprisesFor all forthcoming state level business relief packages related to COVID-19 shutdowns, establish 33% set-asides specifically for Black owned enterprises and nonprofits. Implement a statewide economic relief package explicitly aimed at stabilizing local POC owned enterprises through grants, loan forgiveness, and employee targeted tax credit measures.
Increase state revenue through progressive taxationIn order to fund both emergency and long term COVID-19 economic relief measures, establish new progressive revenue streams, including a statewide high end real estate transfer tax. Anticipate passage of the Fair Tax Amendment by preparing an assertive progressive income tax structure, through which Illinois’ wealthiest households and corporations equitably contribute to state resources.
After you have carefully reviewed the signature gathering instructions, download the petition form to get started.