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 thisi 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.
- Join us at 7:30pm on Wednesday, September 5 for a Voting Our Values webinar/conference call with UU leaders around the state who are engaging voters in their congregations and communities.
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:
- Collect Voting Our Values pledges (online or on paper) after Sunday services starting the first week in September, when it will be the UUANI Action of the Week.
- 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.
Sunday, August 19 from 1-3pm: IL Jobs with Justice WAVE (Western [Suburban] Alliance for Voter Education) Organizing Meeting at DuPage UU Church.
Thursday August 23 from 3:00-4:30pm: DuPage Listen, Lead, Share Community Dialog on clean energy policy at Downers Grove Public Library (1050 Curtiss St).
Saturday August 25, Tuesday September 11 & Tuesday October 9: UUA/Second Chances Coalition phone banking to restore voting rights to 1.4 million citizens returning from felony incarceration. The Florida Voting Restoration Amendment has been called “the most significant voting rights campaign since the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”
Sunday August 26 from 12-4pm: The People’s Agenda Quad Day Voter Registration at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Saturdays September 1 & 8 from 1-3pm: Voter engagement door knocking with Faith Coalition for the Common Good in Springfield.
Week of September 4: UUANI Action of the Week – Voting Our Values pledge.
Wednesday September 5 at 7:30pm: UUANI Voting Our Values webinar.
Saturday September 8: Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice actions in Carbondale, Champaign, Elwood/Chicagoland (buses from Chicago), Galena, Mattoon, Peoria and East St Louis.
Sunday September 9 at 2pm: NAACP Listen, Lead, Share Community Dialog on clean energy policy on Chicago’s westside (Harding Street Church of God, 3924 W. 14th St).
Wednesday September 12 at 6:30pm: Listen, Lead Share community dialog on clean energy policy in Springfield.
Thursday, September 13 at 7:00pm (Central): UUA webinar for Solidarity with imprisoned Indigenous Water Protectors.
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 Springfield Scorecard
UUANI advocates saw several legislative victories this spring, while some issues are still waiting for support. Here's a scorecard for the spring session of the 100th Illinois General Assembly:
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: 3 victories and maybe one more
- HB4469 "Know your rights" affirms access to voting rights for pre-trial and post-incarceration people. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 23 and is on the governor's desk.
- 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. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 30 and is on the governor's desk.
- HB5341 "Fair Access to Employment (F.A.T.E.)" provides that outstanding fees, fines, and court costs cannot stand int he way of determining whether someone can have their criminal record sealed. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 30 and is on the governor's desk. VICTORY! SIGNED into law August 20!
- HB3142 "Dont ask" disallows public institutes of higher learning from asking about criminal history on applications. Passed House last year. Has good support in the Senate and Judiciary Committee recommends DO PASS.
- HB5334 Employee Background Fairness Act is stalled in the Rules Committee of the House. May be considered in the fall.
- HB4473 Juvenile justice: Period of detention -- Right to a speedy hearing (within 24 hours) and use of detention as a last resort for juvenile offenders. In Rules Committee since January.
- HB4543 Juvenile justice: Increase the age at which detention/lock-up may be mandated from 10 years to 13 years; foster custody care to replace detention for 10-13 years. Provides further support services. In House Rules since April 2018. Has some good support.
IMMIGRANT JUSTICE -- 3 victories!
- SB35: Immigration Safe Zones -- Provides that public buildings and agencies funded by state taxes be declared areas safe for all citizens regardless of immigration status. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 31 and is on the governor's desk.
- 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. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 30 and is on the governor's desk.
- 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. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 31 and is on governor's desk.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE -- no victories yet
- Say NO to SB2250 -- "Coal Bailouts" -- mandates selection of sources of electrical energy be based on economy, with coal-based facilities the cheapest resource. In Senate RULES. Not much support, thank you very much.
- SB3005 Transparency -- Enables citizens to initiate and participate in administrative review of questionable permits to polluting properties. In Senate Rules Committee. Has some nice support and may come up in the fall.
- SB3080 Clean Water Act -- Provides for the replacement of lead-pile infrastructure in Illinois communities. In assignments, has good support. Public Health committee recommended DO PASS. May come up again in the fall.
- SB3101 EPA Clean Air Transparency -- Provides public participation in distribution of funds through the Volkswagen Clean Air Act, seeking distribution of funds to a wide range existing community clean air programs. Passed the Senate in April. House is in an emending flurry. May come up in the fall again.
- SB3174 Fracking Transparency Act -- Allows citizens to review fracking permits and plans via the Illinois Gas and Oil Act. Passed the Senate in April, gaining momentum in the House. May come up again in the fall.
- SRJCA1/HRJCA39 The Fair Tax Act -- did not get any momentum this year, but support has been building and may pass in two years.
- We did pass a budget (but with significantly reduced or eliminated funding for vital state services and social justice programs).
GUN SAFETY -- 2 victories
- SB337 Gun Dealer Licensing, now Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking, PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 30 with enough votes to override a veto by the governor.
- 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. PASSED BOTH HOUSES May 30 and is on the governor's desk. GOVERNOR SIGNED July 16!
AND we finally passed the ERA!
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!