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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Oct 30, 2013

Chicagoans Demand Aldermen Release Crucial Legislation From Rules Committee (VIDEO)

Chicagoans took to City Hall Tuesday afternoon to demand that aldermen resurrect critical ordinances from the Rules Committee, also known to some as the place "where good legislation goes to die."

About 50 organizers with the Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of labor and community groups, staged a "burial protest" highlighting the various measures stalled in the rules committee, putting a specific focus on a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Surplus Ordinance Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) introduced back in July.

The ordinance calls for any TIF surplus funds to be sent back to government agencies, including the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, which would help ease recent school budget cuts. The measured garnered support from 32 out of the  council's 50 aldermen, but it's been pending in the Rules Committee since it was introduced.

TIF funds come from a portion of collected property tax dollars from those living inside a TIF district. TIF dollars are typically used for economic development projects in the city. The activists, however, said the "buried" TIF Surplus Ordinance would release millions of additional dollars that could be used for the struggling public schools system as well as expanded community services, including the reopening of six city mental health clinics that closed last year.

"But instead of being debated and voted on, this ordinance is stuck in [the] Rules Committee," stressed Grassroots Collaborative Executive Director Amisha Patel. "There it's buried along with many other good ordinances."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:57am
Wed Oct 16, 2013

Community Members Launch Economic Plan To 'Take Back Chicago' (VIDEO)

Chicagoans packed a town hall meeting Tuesday evening to launch a new social and economic justice agenda for the city. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about "Take Back Chicago."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:35am
Fri Sep 27, 2013

Chicagoans With Mental Illness Push Back Against Stigma At Town Hall Meeting

Stigma and misconceptions about people with mental illness can create major barriers when it comes to them accessing housing, employment and other services and supports, according to panelists at a Chicago town hall meeting on the topic Thursday. 

Janice Parker, a panelist and assistant director of consumer affairs at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Center on Adherence and Self Determination, said she's suffered from severe depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder due to a previous abusive marriage. She says she has faced discrimination numerous times just due to her illness. For example, when she tried to receive a government-provided medical card when her condition made it too difficult for her to work, she was told, ”Well, you don’t look sick to me.”

But Parker, who is African American, said what's really bothersome is that she's felt stigmatized the most within her own community.

"In our community, women aren't supposed to be tired," Parker said at the discussion, hosted by Access Living. "We're not supposed to be overburdened. [They say], 'Buck up ... Stop being a wimp."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:14pm
Tue Jul 9, 2013

Chicago Activists Speak Out Against Public Service Cuts, Offer Alternatives

The concept of a social safety net in Illinois is under attack, according to Chicago activists who spoke out at a forum Monday evening regarding threats to public services. Members of the the Alliance For Community Services and other groups offered up various ways to avoid future social services cuts. Progress Illinois was there to learn more.

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