“As our state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need a budget that addresses the needs of Black and Brown communities such as access to health care, affordable housing, high quality education and vital services for those adversely affected by the pandemic. We must heed the call to action this past summer in many marginalized communities around the country to address systemic racism and rebuild the relationship between Black and Brown communities and the criminal legal system.
“As I continue to reach out to my community about ways we can rebuild our neighborhoods and economy, I am reminded that we must treat housing as a human right. To further protect residents who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, we must extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures and work to offer other forms of housing relief. We must also prioritize job training in highly impacted areas that will lead to high-wage jobs to help grow our local economies and help families who have been devastated by COVID-19.
“As we begin to craft a fair budget for Illinois, I intend to make sure our schools and universities are properly funded. It is important that every child in Illinois has access to high quality education, but because of a significant digital divide in low income communities, we have seen how important it is to invest in an equitable remote learning system as parental unemployment has forced some students to miss school because they must work.
“The State of our State highlights the need for immediate federal assistance after the Trump administration failed to take the pandemic seriously and provide relief to Illinois’ immigrant and refugee community. As the state faces new expenses such as testing and treatment, school safety and vaccination distribution, it is time for Congress to pass a robust relief package addressing proper assistance for states and continuing to expand health care coverage to undocumented seniors. I look forward to working with my colleagues and Governor Pritzker to make sure everyone in Illinois is included in this relief.”