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belt 011421SPRINGFIELD – In order to dismantle systemic inequality, combat discrimination in the workplace and promote growth in underserved communities, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) has sponsored legislation that seeks to eliminate barriers to economic access, equity and opportunity.

“Black Americans make up about one in nine workers, but they represent one in six front-line workers— they should have the same career opportunities as any other individual,” Belt said. “This legislation is part of a larger effort to level the playing field moving forward.” 

In order to eliminate historical economic disparities, the Senate passed a series of bills that addresses the third pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ anti-racism agenda—economic access, equity and opportunity—which is made up of nine parts:

 

  • Banking and investment
  • Economic mobility
  • Small business and entrepreneurship
  • Procurement and the Business Enterprise Program
  • Industry specific equity
  • Environmental equity
  • Housing, land use and gentrification
  • Pay equity and worker’s rights
  • Capital investments

To help address inequities in state procurement practices, the package of legislation would also create the Commission on Equity and Inclusion, which would be charged with developing a procurement scoring evaluation that properly promotes minority contracting, minority contracting revenue, and minority contractor’s credentials in state agencies’ and universities’ procurement contracts. The commission will also help provide support for diversity hiring and diversity training initiatives at state agencies.

“Encouraging the success of minority workers and businesses starts with pushing for equality in the workforce and in government contracting,” Belt said. “A diverse business community makes our economy richer and stronger. When we break down barriers to economic access, equity and opportunity, it isn’t just minorities that get a boost—the whole state benefits.”