Racial Justice: Gov. Pat Quinn OKs Panel to Tackle African-American Economic, Social Disparities

(Chicago, IL) – To address economic and social inequalities faced by African Americans in Illinois, the state legislature this year overwhelmingly approved and Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that creates the Commission to End the Disparities Facing the African-American Community.

The measure, House Bill 1547, sponsored by State Representative Monique Davis (D-Chicago) and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), charges the new 31-member, unpaid panel to research and make policy recommendations regarding disparities facing African Americans in areas of health care, employment, education, criminal justice, and housing.

“Representative Davis and Senator Hunter deserve credit for spearheading this important racial justice legislation,” said Pamela Rodriguez, president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC).

“Racial justice demands that Illinois have a comprehensive strategy for ending current social and economic disparities faced daily by African Americans, disparities which have only deepened with onset of the economic crisis in 2008,” Rodriguez added.

In addition to Representative Davis, House sponsors included State Representatives Cynthia Soto (D), Annazette Collins (D), Camille Lilly (D), LaShawn Ford (D), Eddie Lee Jackson (D), Charles Jefferson (D), Susana Mendoza (D), Greg Harris (D), Mary Flowers (D), Marlow Colvin (D), Lisa Dugan (D), Patrick Verschoore (D), and Robert Rita (D).

In addition to Senator Hunter, Senate sponsors included State Senators Jacqueline Collins (D) and Donne Trotter (D).

The commission, which will make its recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly by December 31, 2013, will hold at least one public hearing.

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