Building Community for Justice

UUANI powers the social justice work of congregations.

UUANI provides Unitarian Universalists across Illinois with advocacy and legislative leadership to effectively build community and power to promote justice and a healthy planet. We bring social justice into the heart of spiritual life of congregations and develop ways for church communities to live the UU principles. We help bridge communities and congregations and align spirituality with tangible actions to affect change.

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ACTION OF THE WEEK

 

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Spring legislative roundup: Legislative victories and election urgency

The state legislature just finished a remarkable session in terms of issues reflecting our UU values of worth and dignity, justice and equity, compassion and interdependence. We helped our partners secure big wins on many of our major priorities: ending mass incarceration (equitably legalizing cannabis and other bills), reversing income inequality (the Fair Tax and raising the minimum wage), stopping xenophobia and the criminalization of immigrants (Welcoming Illinois legislation and banning private detention centers), and halting environmental devastation (coal ash protections); as well as licensing gun dealers and protecting women's reproductive choices.

Our advocacy was impressive: thousands of messages to legislators, hundreds of witness slips, dozens of people meeting with legislators, plus letters to the editor and a petition drive gathering almost 1000 signatures.

Yet as important as continued legislative advocacy is, there's no question that the last elections made a profound difference in terms of what was possible at the state level this session - just as the 2016 elections changed things drastically at the federal level. It's no coincidence that there has been very little progress in terms of advancing our values at the national level.

Looking ahead

Many of us are convinced it's time for us to engage as powerfully in the electoral process as we do in the legislative process, and more fully affirm our UU principle about using the democratic process. The question is how.

We will be seeking your input as we develop the next round of our Voting Our Values campaign. Let us know if you'd like to get in on the ground floor of this effort to engage our communities around our values.

In the meantime, we will continue our work of:

Strengthening congregational justice leadership and engagement through the Social Justice Leadership Corps training program - let us know if you're interested.

Connecting UU justice advocates with each other through cluster gatherings:

in Southern Illinois (tentatively Sept 28 in Carbondale)

in Chicagoland with the UU Prison Ministry of IL (tentatively Oct-Nov)

in Central Illinois (tentatively Nov 16 in Bloomington)

in Northwestern Illinois (tbd - let us know if you're interested).


2019 Campaigns

Immigrant Justice

HB 2040 (Cassidy): Private Detention Facility Moratorium Act
Extends the current ban on private prisons for criminal custody to civil detention – including detention of immigrants and refugees.
PASSED and SIGNED! Effective immediately!

HB 2691 (Hernandez): Retaining IL Students & Equity (RISE) Act
Ensures equal access to state financial aid for students currently ineligible for deferral aid (undocumented students, transgender students, those who have exhausted funding).
PASSED and SIGNED! Effective immediately!

HB 1637 (Welch): Keep IL Families Together Act (KIFTA)
Protects IL residents from ICE activity in public places and further limits collaboration between state or local law enforcement and ICE.
PASSED and SIGNED! Effective Immediately

Racial Justice

HB 2045 (Ammons): Healthcare in Prison
Eliminates the $5 co-pay for medical or dental services in prison.
PASSED and SIGNED!

HB 2444 (Cassidy): Children’s Best Interest Act
Prevents unnecessary harm to children caused by separation by requiring a Family Impact Statement that provides community-based placements or sentences whenever possible.
PASSED! awaits governor

HB 3332 (Ramirez): Housing Income Tax Credit
Creates a tax incentive for landlords to rent to people with records, making it easier for them to access and maintain stable housing.
Tabled.

SB1780 Housing as a Human Right
Prohibits discriminating against people with records in renting and selling housing.
PASSED, awaiting governor

HB1438 (SFA2) Cannabis: Restore, Reinvest, Renew
Legalizes the possession of marijuana, eliminating it as a cause for arrest.
PASSED and SIGNED!


Still on the table for racial equity:
Education and job training in prison
Reduce mandatory minimums
End unlimited solitary confinement
End money bond HB3347

Economic Justice

SJRCA 0001 (Harmon): Fair Tax
Allows lower tax rates for lower incomes and higher tax rates for higher incomes, reducing income inequality and providing adequate revenue in support of the common good.
PASSED and SIGNED!

SB0001 Raise the minimum wage
$9.25 on January 1, 2020, $15 by January 2025
PASSED and SIGNED

Environmental Justice

HB 3624/SB 2132 (Williams/Castro): Clean Energy Jobs Act Jobs and economic development for disadvantaged communities; a million fossil fuel vehicles off the road; a carbon-free power sector by 2030, and 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Tabled until fall session

SB9 Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act
PASSED and SIGNED!

OTHER
Gun Dealer Licensing Act
PASSED and SIGNED!

SB25 (HFA1) Reproductive Health Act
Secures abortion rights in Illinois against possible national legislation banning abortion.
PASSED and SIGNED!

Well Done, UU Illinois! See you in the Fall!

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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Sept 14 Faith in Place Green Team Summit in Chicago

Oct 29 Environmental Justice Advocacy Day in Springfield.


 
 

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UUANI is supported by contributions from Unitarian Universalist individuals and congregations in Illinois, and by grants from the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Chicago Area Unitarian Universalist Council, and the Illinois Environmental Council. We are grateful for each of these forms of support!

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