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Rep. Maurice West has an 8-point plan

Monday, Jun 1, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* In continuance of our new series, here is Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford)…

The black community is gasping for air.

We experience microaggressions on a daily basis. But in this current moment we have lists of names that bring us to tears, vandalism that deters the message of our voices, and a virus that is no longer breaking news but is yet breaking up black families. The black community is gasping for air.

George Floyd. Saying his name reminds me of names that cried aloud in the Rockford community: Mark Barmore, Logan Bell, Kerry Blake. Names of black men who died at the hands, or the knee, of a police officer. Sadly, I find myself hesitant to start listing names in fear of missing a name – that’s how long the list is of black men and women killed by the police in the past 10 years, often captured on video.

It’s counterproductive to vandalize and terrorize a community that we live in. However, we must acknowledge the reasons behind the rage and violence as well as commend the peaceful protests that rose up for the sake of seeking justice, seeking equality. We must not mistake protesters for looters or vandals. There was a DISTINCT difference this past weekend in Rockford and I commend the organizers of the protest.

I encourage the Rockford community to understand the weight of current events that makes it hard for black people to breathe. On top of police violence and the fear many of us feel in living our daily routines, COVID-19 is roaming freely throughout the world and is killing black people in disproportionate numbers. There’s economic hardship in the Black community that makes it hard for us to live before and especially during this pandemic. To make matters worse –healthcare inequalities add to this strain as the ONLY west side hospital in the Rockford community has decided to dump their primarily black Medicaid patients.

The black community everywhere is gasping for air.

In Rockford and in Illinois we have political leaders who truly love the people they represent more than the job itself. Let us work together to address the underlying issues: police reform, economic redevelopment, healthcare, and education.

    1. Not all police are bad. However, we need a statewide system where police officers can be held accountable to answer circumstance around deaths of unarmed black people.

    2. The funds that are going into Rebuild Illinois and other capital improvements must include African Americans in these well-paying infrastructure projects.

    3. Healthcare equity on both the west and east side of the Rock River must be a priority.

    4. Illinois has some of the best higher education institutions in the country – however, the black representation is weak. We need a pipeline to advance black students at community colleges, state colleges, and private universities.

    5. There are hundreds of millions of dollars going into hiring contact tracers for COVID-19. 80% of that money should go to black nonprofits not universities. This is the moment to strengthen the infrastructure of our black communities to stop black deaths, contain the spread of the virus, and create jobs. I want to thank Dr. Sandra Martell, the Director of the Winnebago County Health Department, for committing to working with me on that.

    6. Looters have destroyed small businesses – businesses that were already suffering due to the pandemic. We need business relief and equity for these businesses by releasing the nearly $400M small business grants and technical assistance funds to save these businesses and especially black businesses.

    7. Provide real and immediate economic relief to people who are unemployed and can’t get through the flooded IDES system. Our community needs immediate federal stimulus checks so that people can feed and clothe their families.

    8. Provide mortgage and rental assistance immediately to stop foreclosures and evictions in our communities.

While we work on that, we also need the people protesting in this country to utilize their voice and go to and complete the form. Your vote and your voice is necessary – you are the boss of EVERY ELECTED OFFICIAL. If they are not hearing you, then it’s time for them to go. Get involved in the political process. If I could do it, I know you can too!

There are so many names that we must never forget – and my heart aches for the loss of their lives and for their families. It’s time for a strategy – it’s time for a response. Now is that time.

Maurice West

State Representative, 67th District


  1. - RNUG - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    So … did West copy Welch, or was it the reverse?

  2. - Annonin - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 4:02 pm:

    Who cares ?
    The economic planks are most important. The policing items get lost in the courts and contracts If people get work, earn a living and help their families. Infill housing in neighborhoods isn’t real hard.
    But people need to be determined and probably willing to drop a dime on the mopes. West and Welch are on track

  3. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 4:09 pm:

    RNUG, please stick to the post at hand.

  4. - Just Another Anon - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    Kudos on having a plan.

    Some criticism. As to point one, I have issues with a system of justice or punishment designed to only service one specific category of victim. Rep West’s plan seems to only want to investigate and punish offers for the death’s of (1) unarmed, (2) black, and (3) men. I tend to think that the same rules and procedures should apply to investigate the deaths of unarmed Asian women, and all variations of those variables.

    As to point 2, vague, but I tend to support minority contracting requirements. I temper that support with concerns about potential contract steering and “minority” companies which are really aren’t. Show me the proposed solution and lets talk our concerns out.

    Three and Four. Vague talking points. Show me where there is a lack of equality in opportunity or access, and lets figure out how to address that.

    Five. 80% seems high, especially where, per IDPH, 16.5% of coronavirus cases occured in African Americans. It would seem to me that the communities which would need the most contact tracers would be the spanish speaking communities, since over 31% of coronavirus cases occurred in Latinos. Roughly 19.5% of cases occurred in Caucasians. I also tend to think of universities as serving all communities, so I think the comparison is less than apt.

    6. I agree wholeheartedly that relief should be made available for small businesses and businesses which suffered looting.

    7. I think this conflates the issue and the solution. Lets work to get the state’s system fixed so we can get folks their money. A second federal stimulus issue shouldn’t be a supplement for fixing the state’s bungling of the unemployment system.

    8. Evictions and foreclosures are already suspended. If you want additional relief, then make a proposal. I generally don’t think that the role of government is to interfere in rental or mortgage contracts between private parties. At the same time, much of this financial pain is occurring because of government decree. Where the pain was caused by the government, I think the government has a good reason to resolve the issue.

    The underlying problem with most of these issues is that through decades of corruption and spending (future) money like it was going out of style, Illinois finds itself in a precarious financial position. “Balancing” a budget by incurring huge long term debts is not sustainable. We are here because of all the can kicking, it has to stop somewhere. Fix the pension issue through responsible reforms and moderate tax increases. You can’t solve the problems just by cutting and you can’t solve them just by raising taxes, you have to do both.

  5. - Earnest - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 4:27 pm:

    Thank you Representative West for a very reasoned reply in a very emotional time. What struck me were your recommendations for funds that were already allocated to be spent in a slightly different and more equitable manner. It’s not necessarily about new spending, which is what people often first think, but about how we utilize what’s already there in a better manner. The problems may feel gigantic, but there are realistic and achievable steps that can be accomplished. It may sound odd, but the phrase that really brings home the true scope of the issue to me is “microaggressions on a daily basis.”

  6. - City Zen - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==The funds that are going into Rebuild Illinois and other capital improvements must include African Americans in these well-paying infrastructure projects.==

    Again, what about leadership roles for African Americans within the trade unions working on those infrastructure projects? Why do they continue to get a free pass?

  7. - Nagidam - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 5:30 pm:

    ===So … did West copy Welch, or was it the reverse?===

    ===RNUG, please stick to the post at hand.===

    Rich I had the same question as well. The points of the eight point plan are either verbatim or a version of each other including the part about the census. This is not a knock on the plans or even if one legislator copied the other. The question I have is this a comprehensive policy initiative coming out of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus?

  8. - Wire Tap - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 6:28 pm:

    Rep. West is a rock star. One of the up-and-coming stars in Illinois. Much better than the person he replaced…

  9. - PublicServant - Monday, Jun 1, 20 @ 7:27 pm:

    I hope he’s run all this by Bailey.

  10. - Barrington - Tuesday, Jun 2, 20 @ 7:30 am:

    All good goals except for #5. 80% of contact tracing funding reserved for red nonprofits?

  11. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jun 3, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    === Why do they continue to get a free pass?===
    Unions are democracies and they get to vote in their own leaders. Governments don’t get to choose union leaders.
    You want diversity in trades union leadership join a union and run for office. Or join a trade union and vote.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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