United Congress’ work has been, and will continue to be, grounded in the communities we represent and in the lives we touch. We are intentional about building relationships across community and religious sectors to ensure that the voices of those marginalized in our communities are lifted. We are excited to share with you what United Congress accomplished during the month of May.
United Congress partnered with the Juvenile Justice Initiative to successfully pass SB2370. This bill raises the age for juveniles to automatically receive legal representation in a homicide or sexual offense interrogation, it ensures that all interrogations of juveniles for felony offenses are videotaped, and requires law enforcement, when juveniles are in custody, to utilize Miranda Warnings that are simplified and easier to understand.
United Congress is also proud to share the passage of SB2282, led by Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN). This bill will ensure that individuals on parole can attend religious activities and/or work together in community based organizations without the fear of being in technical violation of their parole mandate and subsequently be sent back to prison.
Both bills are now awaiting Governor Rauner’s signature.
UCCRO’s member organizations participated in a rally led by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to end Homeland Security raids of undocumented persons in our communities. With over 100 people in attendance, United Congress called on the African American community to stand in solidarity with the Latino community to stop the separation of our families.
On The Table
Thank you to Target Area for allowing United Congress to host this year’s On the Table conversation around “Barriers to Access to Health Care”. This vibrant discussion shed light on health disparities in communities of color and how these disparities are systemically linked to other issues impacting our communities. Many of the themes discussed shed light on the systematic and structural racism of health institutions that neglects communities of color. One of the big problems around health insurance coverage is that the Affordable Care Act leaves many people uninsured still, especially the undocumented population and the low income. On the Table allowed for a deeper discussion of what health is and how we can change our outcomes as a community to overcome these disparities.
Youth in Motion
Youth arrived at the Capital at the conclusion of their “Shift Gears Illinois” tour, a 3-day 210-mile youth bike tour across the state to urge legislators to pass a just budget, release emergency funds for youth jobs and shift resources away from incarceration to youth employment and programs. Last year’s Shift Gears Illinois tour was a first-of-its-kind action calling on the state to invest in young people after Bikes N Roses’ (BNR) funding was slashed in a round of budget cuts that shuddered critical programs across the state. One year later, Illinois is still without a budget and the state’s youth and most vulnerable communities are disproportionately feeling the impact. United Congress is proud of the youth who rode 211 miles from Chicago to Springfield, calling on Governor Rauner and the Illinois Legislature to “Shift Gears” and move from funding juvenile detention centers and place more funding in summer employment for youth across Illinois.
Congratulations to P.A.S.O. on their new office location! P.A.S.O. held an open house for colleagues to view their new office location and inform people of the services offered, including the addition of the immigration legal clinic.