On February 28, staff from IMAN and four other Chicagoland organizations traveled to Springfield to gain support on several bills that advocate for the fair and equitable treatment of people from low-income communities of color. The bills constitute the 2012 Collective Advocacy Strategy platform of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO), an alliance of African American, Latino, Asian, Arab and Muslim organizations across the Chicagoland area that represents over 30 communities and districts. IMAN is a founding member of IMAN.
This year, the United Congress is moving forward with a new strategy for advocating policy in the state’s capital, ensuring that its platform is being pushed with legislators as much as that of special interest lobbyists who are in Springfield promoting their platforms on a daily basis. The United Congress intends to have representatives from member organizations in Springfield every week of the legislative session and these organizations have committed to dedicating a few staff members and leaders to take the lead on promoting the platform with select legislators each time they are in Springfield.
Some of the bills included in the United Congress platform this year include: two juvenile justice bills that would allow (1) for youth to petition at any time to have their record expunged and (2) to bring justice to youth who have been arrested but never convicted in order to make it easier for them to turn their lives around and apply for schools and jobs; a prisoner redistricting bill that would uphold the principle of “one person, one vote” and collect the legal home addresses of Illinois prisoners annually; and an Asian American Employment Plan, which would collect data about the number of Asian American state employees in Illinois and help secure better representation for Asian American communities.