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Senate President John Cullerton statement on verdict

jjc 051018Illinois Senate President John Cullerton issued the following statement regarding today’s verdict.

“Justice is the reason we have the rule of law. This conviction brings justice for the killing of Laquan McDonald. It is my hope that it begins to restore some semblance of faith in our systems and belief that we all have the right to equal treatment and protection under the law.”

Lightford: A drop of justice in a history full of injustices

lightford 082418CHICAGO- Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement following a guilty verdict in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

“My heart goes out to Laquan’s family as they continue to grieve his loss. This is only a drop of justice in a history full of injustices against Black people and people of color. We still have a lot of work ahead of us in reforming policing, criminal justice, human services and creating opportunities for underprivileged communities.

“Let us continue to organize, continue to let our voices be heard and participate in our democracy wherever and whenever we can.”

Van Pelt calls for productive reaction to McDonald verdict

vanpelt 100518CHICAGO –– State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) released the following statement today as the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald has ended with verdicts of guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm:

“I will continue to pray for the McDonald family as I have since Laquan was taken from them. The verdict will not bring Laquan back or undo this tragedy. 

“The jury’s verdict simply makes a statement about the long journey ahead of us to repair and improve relations between our police and our community.

Castro announces funding boost for Education and Work Center

castro 041118HANOVER PARK – Local residents will soon have access to additional resources through the Education and Work Center thanks to added state funding, State Senator Cristina Castro (D – Elgin) announced this week.

The Education and Work Center is a joint venture of Harper College and Elgin Community College. During the budget impasse, both colleges were struggling to fund other responsibilities and nearly pulled out of the EWC, which would have been forced to shut down.

“I have a strong commitment to higher education in Illinois,” Castro said, “so I couldn’t sit idly by and watch the Education and Work Center close its doors while I had the power to do something in my role as a State Senator.”

Thanks to Castro’s hard work, the EWC will receive an additional $225,000 in funding. This money was originally appropriated in the 2017 budget vetoed by Gov. Rauner. The General Assembly overrode that veto to enact the budget, but Gov. Rauner refused to release the funds. The General Assembly again put the funds in the 2018 budget, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“I do wish the Education and Work Center would have received its funding over a year ago when it was originally given,” Castro said, “but nevertheless I am grateful that this important institution will finally have the funds to provide much needed services to the community.”

Because of the new funding, Harper College and ECC have an opportunity to work together to add new classes, including classes that offer college credit. In addition, the colleges will retain the ability to add classes in the future if they see a rising demand.

“The EWC does more than just provide education,” Castro said. “It provides jobs, it’s an important part of the local economy and it offers local residents the opportunity to learn how to be successful. I’m proud to have fought for its funding increase.”

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