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*** UPDATED x1 *** Rep. Harper elected new Illinois Legislative Black Caucus chair

Friday, Dec 11, 2020

* Press release

Echoing her career work fighting for Black families and disadvantaged communities, state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, was elected Joint Caucus Chair for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC).

“I am honored to receive the trust of my colleagues as we enter what I expect to be an impactful legislative session,” Harper said. “This past year has illustrated the critical need for reform in Illinois to combat systemic racism in the areas of education, economic development, criminal justice, health care and human services. Tremendous sacrifice has led us to this moment, and it is our duty to improve the quality of life for Illinoisans.”

Since its founding in 1968, the ILBC has worked to ensure that the interests of African Americans and Black communities are given equitable representation in the Illinois General Assembly regarding areas of education, health and welfare, minority business enterprise, job creation, consumer education and criminal justice reform. As Joint Caucus Chair, Harper succeeds Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford.

Harper plans to focus on four policy pillars announced by the Black Caucus this fall to promote racial justice and equal opportunity. The four pillars are:

    • Criminal justice reform, police accountability and violence reduction.
    • Economic access, equity and opportunity.
    • Education and workforce development.
    • Health care and human services.

“In addition to working to pass our legislative priorities regarding racial justice, we will continue to focus on assisting students pursuing higher education and sparking greater interest in civics and the legislative process,” Harper said. “I’m grateful for the dedication and hard work exhibited by Senator Lightford and I can’t thank her enough for her incredible leadership and stewardship of the Black Caucus. I look forward to working with the diverse and talented members of our caucus to continue our mission to improve the lives of Illinoisans.”

* Politico

Harper, a Chicago Democrat, defeated Rep. Carol Ammons for the leadership position.

Also elected to the joint Black Caucus leadership team: Sen. Emil Jones will be treasurer, newly elected Rep. Lakesia Collins is secretary, and Rep. Curtis Tarver II is sergeant-at-arms. All are Democrats.

Separately, the Senate Black Caucus elected Sen. Robert Peters as its chair.

The House Black Caucus will elect its new leadership Dec. 15. There is buzz that Rep. Kam Buckner could be part of the leadership team.

*** UPDATE *** Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford…

After six years in this role, I leave it with a heavy heart but a content one. My colleagues and I went to battle against a governor who tried to undermine our communities for four years and we still managed to get things done that will have lasting impacts on closing opportunity gaps for the people we serve. And now we have a historic opportunity to undo harm from generations of systemic racism through the passage of our Black agenda. And I’m going to finish what I started because there is nothing more important to this caucus, our communities and our state then putting racism and the structures that have given them life to rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - Ok - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    This is huge. Rep. Harper is very strong and wise.


  2. - PublicServant - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 10:57 am:

    It’s also a message. We’ve got our house in order. We speak as one.


  3. - Just Do It - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    =We speak as one.=

    And yet remain at least 5 votes short . . . .


  4. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    Leader of a group that speaks for the old ways.


  5. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    - Amalia - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    Old ways of what?

    Black men and women being murdered in the street by racist cops? I don’t think so.

    Being denied a job because of the color of your skin? I don’t think so.

    Being denied an education because of where you were born? I don’t think so.

    Oh, you must most mean supporting MJM. Please, Amalia, then explain why on the federal level the Congressional Black Caucus is the biggest group that supports the senior system. Or look at other state legislatures. The white establishment says, “these are the rules, no matter your race,” and Black legislators play by them, only to be denied. Work your way up the committee, only to be turned away when it’s your time. The fact is that the ILBC members have had their seniority respected by MJM and now, in his time of need to be Speaker again, they’ve extracted concessions and set a standard the next Democratic Leader will have to meet. For some, say West, that’s still not good enough for reasons he has already stated. But the idea that’s all old ways. Shove it.


  6. - walker - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    Great choice.


  7. - Amalia - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    oh Precinct Captain, have a nice weekend.


  8. - shocked - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    I’d love to see Rep. Harper turn around and announce she’s running for Speaker


  9. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    Too much salt in the comments raises one’s blood pressure.


  10. - 14th ward - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    =Precinct caption= Sounds a little overboard.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    - 14th ward - Friday, Dec 11, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    There’s no overboard when combating racism in all forms, big or small, condescension in blog comments included. Amalia’s comment here and on other posts demonstrate a clear pattern.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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