After four days of civil unrest, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday turned to religious and community leaders to urge protesters to channel anger over the death of George Floyd toward efforts for criminal justice reform and economic development in minority communities.
“What’s very important to me is that we establish an agenda — an agenda that’s led, in part, by the very peaceful protesters that are out on the streets, that were there protesting last night, the night before and the night before, the folks who there with legitimate grievance,” Pritzker said. […]
Joining Pritzker and Preckwinkle at Kleo Art Residences, an affordable housing development in the Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side, were religious leaders including Cardinal Blaise Cupich of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and Apostle Carl White of Victory Christian International Ministries, who recalled when businesses along Roosevelt Road were set aflame in riots of 1968. […]
Earlier this year, Pritzker unveiled a criminal justice reform agenda — including an eventual end to cash bail — that he hoped to begin advancing in the General Assembly’s spring legislative session before it was subsumed by the coronavirus pandemic. Preckwinkle has been a proponent of similar efforts at the county level.
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“Real change, structural change comes from protests paired with policy. That means police reform with genuine investigations, transparency and accountability. That means taking the justice and criminal justice and making it mean something. That means sustained economic investment in black and brown communities across our state,” Prizker added. “Activism is critical and it will take activism plus action to build ourselves into the state, into the nation that we must strive to become.”
Among the faith leaders present, Cardinal Blase Cupich.
“Last week, we had a death in the family. Our brother George was murdered. We should mourn. We should be angry and hurt but we also should heed the wishes of the Floyd family and not dishonor this gentle memory by spreading the sickness of violence,” Cupich said.
* ABC 7…
Preckwinkle said George Floyd’s death “caused an uproar because it was routine.” […]
Cardinal Cupich also called for “passing legislation that guarantees equal opportunity for employment and healthcare,” but said policies are not enough.
“We must resolve to break this heartbreak, to turn this heartbreak into action and people of faith need to take the lead for we know that even the darkest deeds can be redeemed by love and love is what is called for now.”
The governor said the state is looking to the federal government for support for the “basic functions of our state.”
“We have lost revenues in our state, and we need to rebuild those coffers in order for us to deliver the services on the ground that people need and the supports that small businesses need,” Pritzker said.
“The last five days have at least demonstrated to everybody who wasn’t already paying attention that we have systemic racism that also needs to be addressed in a state budget … we’re the land of Lincoln, we’re the land of Barack Obama … but over the last five days I think it’s been brought to the fore that our communities — our black and brown communities — are the ones that we need to focus on.”
The governor was also asked if he’d call a special session to deal with these issues and he said he wouldn’t, offering the same reasons he gave in May.