We are poised to join these campaigns for 2018:
Fair Tax Illinois
The Illinois Fair Tax is a proposed amendment to the Illinois state constitution that would change the state income tax system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax. This campaign began in 2012 -- though defeated each election year, it has gained strength and we believe it will pass this year. We join the Responsible Budget Coalition of Illinois. Rally in Springfield February 14, before Governor Rauner's budget address, then add your energy, voice and witness March 15 to May 10 when legislators will be lining up in support of the working classes of Illinois -- or not.
The Love Resists Campaign of the UUA
The Love Resists campaign gathers the energy of Unitarian Universalists to support the efforts of marginalized people to raise power for equality: Dreamers, people of color caught in the criminal justice web, people facing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, people facing religious discrimination.
Environmental Justice campaign of the Illinois Climate Table
We join forces with the Illinois Climate Table to monitor the implementation of the Future Energy Jobs Act of Illinois, passed at the end of 2016. We will support legislation designed to enact recommendations of the FEJA.
The Poor People's Campaign
Challenging a cultural dynamic that supports systemic racism, poverty, and environmental injustice, working for better jobs, better homes, better education, a better day for people disenfranchised by our American world of today. PPC has identified these targets for action this spring:
= Voter Suppression, especially as we conduct all-important mid-term elections this year, includes banning requirement of difficult-to-acquire IDs, the disenfranchisement of people with records
= Ecological Destruction, leading to water contamination, toxic neighborhoods near landfill, lead poisoning and asthma in poor communities
= Economic practices that undergird poverty, including poor wages, mass incarceration which disenfranchises a population, and inequality of taxation -- PPC will continue the Fight for 15 Movement for fair wages and the Fair Tax Campaign
=Militarism, especially the militarism of police actions and the proliferation of poorly-regulated gun ownership.
A Calendar for ACTION FALL 2018
Here are 2018 opportunities to promote our 2018 campaign agenda:
In terms of our UU values, we’ve won a few victories in Illinois so far this year – notably the FATE (HB5341) restorative justice bill and the "red flag" gun restraining order (HB2354) – while several other efforts await the Governor’s signature. Of course, the biggest decisions yet to come are the upcoming elections. The UUA, the Poor People’s Campaign, UUANI and many others are all focusing in this direction.
AND this fall we join the Climate Table of Illinois and Faith in Place to continue our work for environmental justice.
VOTING OUR VALUES
We’d like to challenge each UU in Illinois to proactively affirm and promote our 5th Principle – the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process – by taking the UUANI Voting Our Values pledge and encouraging others to do the same, with the goal of 100% participation.
Take the Voting Our Values pledge.
Every vote in every district counts, especially in the race for Governor, and there are numerous other contested races around the state. Here are some ways you can participate in the UUANI Voting Our Values campaign:
Reach out to youth and young adults in your congregation and in your community, especially those who are just turning 18 or at college. Contact YaYAJustice@uuani.org to connect with other UU youth and young adults.
Visit your neighbors in the blocks surrounding your building and/or invite them to a community conversation about what matters to them in the upcoming election
Link up with an organized effort in your community to engage voters through door-knocking, phone banking, postcards, etc.
Share the non-partisan League of Women Voters voter guide (which will be the UUANI Action of the Week Oct 2.
Arrange a “Souls to the Polls” caravan to an early voting location between Sept 27 and Nov 5, and offer rides or absentee ballots to those who may have difficulty voting.
Remember, this is not just about candidates – it’s about our UU values.
LISTEN, LEAD, SHARE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Our other major focus currently is the Listen, Lead, Share campaign of the Illinois Climate Table. The plan is to have community conversations in each state Senate district to generate input and support for a transition to 100% renewable energy that works for everyone. UUs have been involved in sessions in Bloomington and Alton, with many more to come (see below).
CALENDAR for upcoming events
August-November: Volunteer with registration and voting at Cook County Jail.
Tuesday September 18 at 10am: Rally to #EndMoneyBail at the Thompson Center in Chicago.
Saturday September 22 from 10am to 5pm: Faith in Place Green Team Summit at the Field Museum in Chicago. UUs are invited to meet up in the Sirgusa Picnic area (lower/ground level) at 9:30am.
Tuesday September 25: UUANI Action of the Week – National Voter Registration Day.
Tuesday October 2: UUANI Action of the Week – League of Women Voters Voter Guide.
Saturday October 6 from 9:30am-4:00pm: How Can We Save Our Democracy? Meadville Lombard Day of Learning at the Unitarian Church of Evanston.
Thank you for all your work for justice. Together we have power!
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UUANI 2018 Springfield Scorecard
Our UUANI campaigns of Spring 2018 yielded some sweet victories and some disappointment.
We joined our efforts with UU Prison Ministry of Illinois and Community Renewal Society of Chicago to support legislation that promoted restorative justice. Two bills passed both houses and were signed into law by Governor Rauner:
• SB3388 Adult Redeploy Act expands the availability to probation-eligible people of support services such as counseling, life coaching, problem-solving courts, and other restorative justice processes.
• HB5341 "Fair Access to Employment (F.A.T.E.)" provides that outstanding fees, fines, and court costs cannot stand in the way of determining whether someone can have their criminal record sealed.
And one bill was passed by both houses, but vetoed (amendatory) by Governor Rauner:
• HB4469 "Know your rights" affirms access to voting rights for pre-trial and post-incarceration people. The Governor objected to being the first state to install voting booths in jails.
We joined our efforts with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to support legislation promoting the safety and welfare of undocumented people.
• SB3488 Anti-registry Act -- Provides that agencies may not create registry lists based on discriminatory characteristics such as national origin, religion, disability, race, color, gender identity, immigration status.
• SB3109 Professional licensing may be awarded regardless of immigrant or citizenship status
• SB35: Immigration Safe Zones -- Provides that public buildings and agencies funded by state taxes be declared areas safe for all people regardless of immigration status.
• SB34 Voices Act -- Requires law enforcement to provide visas to qualifying individuals who are survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking or other criminal activity without requiring them to jeopardize their safety as undocumented people.
• SB3103 Immigrant tenant protection. Tenants rights for undocumented people.
In these bills, Governor Rauner felt that the legislation violated federal law by attempting to supersede it.
One victory, and one on hold.
• HB2354 "Red flag" Firearms Restraining Order -- Allows a citizen to register a lethal restraining order mandating that a citizen demonstrating real and present danger to a community be denied purchase or ownership of firearms.
• SB337 Gun Dealer Licensing, now Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking, Passed both houses, but is being held away from the Governor's desk.
We got no traction for environment protection bills, but the chances may change with the results of the November elections.
Next step -- change the dynamic in Springfield with your VOTE!
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!