SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside issued the following statement ahead of the Illinois General Assembly convening for the first time since the spring of 2020:
“It is critically important that the legislature meet in a safe fashion to take action on areas of racial and economic justice and to further address inequities magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud that the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus took time this summer, fall and winter to develop comprehensive packages of legislation to address criminal justice reform and law enforcement accountability, economic equity and job growth, education and quality, and affordable health care access for the people of our state.
“From the cruel killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd to the inhumane treatment of Anjanette Young in her own home, no person should face a justice system that regards them as less than human and that disrespects their essential rights to life and to equal justice under the law. It is time to hold those law enforcement officers that commit acts of corruption and brutality accountable. It is also time to ensure that when we need law enforcement, that they are professionally trained for their job, which is providing public safety. We cannot and should not rely on police officers to solve problems caused by a lack of jobs and economic access.
“It is critical we provide economic equity and more job opportunities for communities across our state. That starts with fully funding neighborhood schools so that they can offer students and families a diverse and well-rounded education that prepares them not only for a good career, but for participation in civic life. It also means ensuring that when our students grow up and want to start their own businesses, that they have access to capital and banking services in their communities. But we cannot expect students to learn and workers to thrive if they are unable to access high-quality health care at an affordable price in their own neighborhoods. It is paramount that we ensure all Illinoisans have access to preventative health care and mental health and wellness services.
“While these critical pieces of legislation are born out of the centuries long struggle for fairness for African Americans, they will improve the quality of life for all Illinoisans. I look forward to working with my colleagues to swiftly pass these measures because when it comes to economic equity, education, jobs and public safety, the time for justice is now.”
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