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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Fri Sep 9, 2016

Chicago Activists To Rally For Education Policy Changes At First Presidential Debate

Education activists from Chicago and other U.S. cities will rally outside the first 2016 presidential debate later this month in Hempstead, New York in hopes that the candidates will embrace their seven-point public education policy agenda.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24, 2016

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:08pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Community Activists, Elected Officials Decry Cuts In Rauner's Budget Proposal (VIDEO)

Carrying sings that read, "Rauner's Cuts Hurt Women" a group of community activists and Chicago-area elected officials staged a demonstration in the Loop on Thursday, pushing back against budget cuts outlined in Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's 2016 budget proposal.

"If all we do is cut, cut, cut, all we get is blood, blood, blood. We will have the blood of innocent people running down the streets," said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st).

Boykin was one of roughly 50 participants in the press conference and demonstration "Rauner Says"--mimicked after the game "Simon Says"--outside the Thompson Center. The game attempted to demonstrate how Rauner's proposed budget cuts would negatively impact women and low-income Illinoisans.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:19pm
Thu Nov 13, 2014

'Chuy' Garcia Talks Race, Inequality In Chicago; Supports Graduated State Income Tax

Chicago mayoral candidate and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia stressed his support for a graduated state income tax at a Thursday morning University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) panel discussion on race and inequality.

Garcia said property taxes, which are a major source of revenue for public education in the city and state, are "very regressive in terms of how they affect the general population" and are "not the best source to fund schools."

"A fairer system of taxation would be a graduated state income tax, or something that is more progressive tied to an income tax," Garcia said in a follow-up with reporters after the talk, which was sponsored by UIC's Great Cities Institute. "I think that is a much more sustainable funding source for schools, for human services and things of that nature. I think it's one that we really need to look at. States that have that type of progressive taxation tend to have better-funded school systems and less disparities in education."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:40pm
Wed Mar 19, 2014

Schakowsky Speaks Out Against Proposals To Expand Medicare Means Testing

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) says Medicare beneficiaries would have to shoulder a severe financial burden if additional means testing is introduced into the program, as some federal proposals have recommended.

The congresswoman on Wednesday jointly released 150,000 petition signatures against means testing Medicare with national groups including the Medicare Rights Center and Social Security Works. The petition calls on President Barack Obama "to drop support of Medicare cuts," according to the groups.

"At least one in five seniors are already cutting back on health care because they can't afford it," Schakowksy said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. "Shifting more costs onto their shoulders is not the answer, especially when there are better solutions."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:49pm
Fri Aug 23, 2013

Chicago Freedom Riders To Demand Jobs & Justice At Washington’s ‘Realize The Dream’ Rally

The more than 150 activists and Chicago public service workers who are set to take part in Saturday’s “Realize the Dream March And Rally” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington say their message will be the same as the thousands of people who rallied at the nation’s capital in 1963: jobs and justice.

“Fifty years ago it was unimaginable that the United States could have an African- American president. Today that unimaginable thought is a reality,” said Tonya Pugh-Rizer, an SEIU* Healthcare Illinois and Indiana member who boarded a bus to Washington Friday evening with other workers and activists, who are calling themselves the "Chicago Labor Freedom Riders." 

“But even with an African-American president who has worked hard to address issues that impact working people, we are still marching for jobs and justice,” she said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:18pm
Mon Aug 19, 2013

Duckworth Discusses 'Disturbing' Cuts To SNAP At Suburban Meeting

Recent federal proposals to slash billions of dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are something that U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-8) says she takes personally.

“I was hungry as a child,” the congresswoman said at a Monday roundtable discussion in Arlington Heights on hunger and SNAP cuts.

When Duckworth was in high school, her father lost his job and was unemployed for about fours years. During that time, Duckworth’s family relied on SNAP, or food stamps. But even with SNAP assistance, Duckworth said she often had to save items from her school breakfast and lunch to avoid going hungry during the weekend.

“It just disturbs me that in the greatest nation in the world, one of the richest nations on the face of the earth, we have kids who go to bed hungry ... we have seniors who go to bed hungry,” Duckworth said. “We have adults who have to choose between medicine or food, and that’s just simply wrong.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
3:50pm
Thu Jul 18, 2013

Outraged Parents Seek Explanation For CPS Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) had few answers Wednesday night for community residents outraged over devastating district-wide budget cuts that threaten to deprive students of much-needed teachers and resources next year. Progress Illinois was there for the heated meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Thu Jul 11, 2013

Chicagoans Criticize CPS Budget Cuts, Plan Meeting With School Officials Next Week To Discuss Funding (VIDEO)

Officials from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to meet with community members at a Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) public meeting next week, following a massive protest Thursday. Roughly 200 parents and students gathered outside CPS headquarters to push back against impending budget cuts that threaten to strip critical resources from the district.  

During the protest, the Thomas Kelly High School marching band’s drum line performed what may have been its final concert, according to Thursday's participants who say the school’s music program faces an uncertain future.

“How are they making things better,” asked Anita Caballero, board president of the BPNC, who participated in the demonstration. “All of the schools in the Chicago area are losing all of the things that make education work, they’re losing teachers; they’re losing counselors; they’re losing materials; and we can’t stand for it.”

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