Newsletter: News from the Tenth District

June 23, 2020
Press Release

Last week, we received good news as the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. This came in addition to their decision in favor of LGBTQ equality in the workplace. These decisions represent historic victories that shows the true heart of our country and furthers the vision of our founders. I am given new hope that the United States will again be the beacon of democratic values other nations aspire to. For the 6,000 Dreamers in our district and the 700,000 across the country, home is here. This week in Congress, we are building on this progress and plan to vote on the Justice in Policing Act to reform policing and hold officers accountable.

At home yesterday, I held a telephone town hall focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the Justice in Policing Act. You can listen to our town hall here.

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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Justice in Policing Act

This week, the House will pass the Justice in Policing Act.

When history looks back on June 2020, I think this month will be defined by the mass movement for racial justice.

In more than 2000 communities across the country, Americans have marched demanding change for the victims of police brutality and racial profiling. I’ve personally participated in more than a dozen of these local gatherings.

Here’s the bottom line, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and so many others should be alive today, and their tragic deaths expose a system of law enforcement in dire need of reform.

George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day, May 25th.  This Thursday, exactly one month after George Floyd’s death, I will join my colleagues in the House of Representatives to vote for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, sweeping legislation that will change the way we view policing in our nation, hold officers accountable, end police brutality, and improve transparency.

Led by the Congressional Black Caucus, this package of reforms is long overdue to address the systemic racism and excessive policing targeting Black Americans and other communities of color, and I am proud to add my voice and my vote to this effort.

 

Supreme Court Rulings

Though the Supreme Court does not complete its session until June 30, it has already issued some major decisions this month.

Last Monday, the Court affirmed that LGBTQ Americans have the same workplace protections everyone else enjoys under civil rights law. I have long argued that no one should be fired or discriminated against because of who they are or who they love, and now that is the law of the land.

And on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled President Trump could not unilaterally end the DACA program protecting undocumented young people who came to this country as children. 

You can read my press releases on the DACA decision here.

Both of these decisions are major victories, but our work is far from done.

In Congress, I was proud to help pass the Equality Act in the House to ensure LGBTQ Americans have legal protections in all spheres of public life, from housing to public accommodation.  The Senate must now act as well.

As well, the Senate should pass H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act passed by the House last year. This legislation would permanently protect Dreamers and provide a pathway to citizenship. We must also continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

 

UPDATE: EtO MONITORING IN LAKE COUNTY

I have repeatedly called for U.S. EPA to conduct air monitoring of ethylene oxide in our communities, but we continue to be met with inaction and foot-dragging. Last week, the Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan announced the conclusion of the ethylene oxide (EtO) monitoring program. I commend Lake County, Waukegan, and Gurnee for stepping forward to conduct their own air monitoring in this absence of leadership from the Trump Administration. In particular, I want to thank the Lake County Public Health Department, and especially Executive Director Mark Pfister, for their critical work conducting this air monitoring.

Their monitoring has informed our community, and for further understanding it is vital that the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry produce a health risk assessment based on this data. I look forward to working with ATSDR to ensure this work is completed in a timely manner so that all of our communities can have confidence in the safety of the air we breathe.

Learn more here.

 

KEEPING IN TOUCH

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for all small businesses, but we know that Black-owned small businesses face many distinct barriers adding to their struggles. We can better lift up black communities when we also lift up Black-owned businesses and provide more opportunities to black workers of all ages and skills. We also have to do more to support Black entrepreneurs, and help Black-owned businesses access the capital and resources they need to grow. That’s why last Friday on Juneteenth, I hosted a conversation on the unique challenges facing Black business owners during the Covid-19 pandemic. I was joined by Pastor Arthur Gass, President of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County, Chris Ayers, owner of Waukegan-based A-List Limousine, and Twanda Taylor, owner of Zion-based Twanda’s Nail Salon. 

The conversation can be seen in full HERE.  

 

Telephone Town Hall

Thank you to the nearly 6,000 constituents who joined last night’s conversation on our telephone town hall. I appreciate your thoughtful questions and only wish we had time to get to all of them! If you weren’t able to participate yesterday, you can listen to a recording here.

On the town hall, we asked a few poll questions. To have your voice heard on these and other issues, call my office. Here are the results:

Do you support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act?

  • Yes – 57%
  • No – 10%
  • Not Sure – 34%

Have you completed the 2020 Census yet?

  • Yes – 94%
  • No, but I will – 5%
  • No, I don’t plan to – 1%

How do you feel about the plan to reopen in your community during the Covid-19 pandemic?

  • We are moving too fast to reopen – 36%
  • We are moving at the right speed to reopen – 56%
  • We are moving too slow to reopen – 8%

 

2020 Census Update

It’s worth emphasizing that 99% of the people who joined the call last night said that they either already have or they will complete the census form.  I hope you will join them and complete your form.  It’s really easy to do, either online at 2020census.gov , or by phone in English at 844-330-2020 or in Spanish at 844-468-2020.

 

Art Competition Winners

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This week I had the wonderful privilege of personally congratulating the Tenth District’s Art Competition Winners. From left to right:  3rd Place - Lauren Fink of Warren Township High School with her work “Share the Sweet Light;” 1st Place - Janette Martinez-Tolentino of Waukegan High School with her piece titled “Stronger Together;” and 2nd Place - Angie Ordonez of Waukegan High School with her work titled “Great Ideas for a Great Nation.” I want to thank all the students who submitted their incredible works for this year’s competition and our judges, Amy Amdur and Ann Rintz. 

 

IN CLOSING

As always, I hope you and your family are staying safe and well during this challenging time.  I am both proud and excited that Illinois, and Illinoisans, have been diligent in bending the curve and we will be moving into Phase IV on Friday.  Let’s keep up the good work, wear our masks, protect our social distancing, and make sure we continue to beat back this virus!

Finally, I’d like to close this week with a poem shared by Cheryl Jenkins a rising junior at Grayslake North High School. Cheryl performed the poem at the Buffalo Grove Black Lives Matter rally last Thursday and moved the crowd.  I think it’s worth a few moments of your time.

 

By Cheryl Jenkins

When I think about our Culture

I think of Fredrick Douglas

 

When I think about our heritage

I think of Booker T. Washington

 

When I think of greatness

I think of Harriet Tubman

 

And when I think of legacy

I wonder, what will mine be?

 

Every morning I wake up to

The sun

And I wonder, have I won

Won this game of life we play

The game we play every single day

 

But who knows

Who knows what we'll become

after we’re done

Once we all

WAKE UP

 

We’ll see our legacy

Our legacy in the people we always see

Our culture in the black people around you and me

Our heritage in the books we never read

 

But do we believe we are great

Have the stars written our fate

Or can we escape from the shackles of society

And become the best we

 

I dream of a day where we all are great

When we wake up with a smile

And have gone the extra mile

 

We don't care what others have to say

Because when do haters ever get their way

 

When we look back we see the parents, grandparents

brothers, sisters that never gave up

And we will always

WAKE UP

 

Wake up to the soldiers who die for this country

To the black people who allowed us to be free

To the teachers, who aren't represented in this society

 

I WANT TO CHANGE HISTORY

I will make my own legacy

I will respect the heritage my parents taught me

I will love the culture that goes through the seas

 

And I WILL WAKE UP

We wake up to the greatness we now and forever see

That I see in both you and me

 

To the culture that says never stop fighting

Even when some stop trying

To the heritage that we don't learn in school

But from our parents, who say don't be anybody's fool

And we embrace our legacy

 

When I think of our culture

I think of my grandmother

 

When I think of our heritage

I think of my grandfather

 

When I think of greatness

I think of mom and dad

 

And when I think of legacy

When I dream about our legacy

 

I dream of a legacy of Love

I dream of a legacy of Confidence

I dream of a legacy of hope

I dream of a legacy of strength

I dream of a legacy where we can fight together

 

I dream of BLACK LIVES MATTER

 

And that I will embrace for me

Stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy.