As the state budget impasse continues into its eighth month, the executive director of a state commission said African Americans in Illinois are in "a state of emergency."
Speaking Tuesday morning during a press conference at the Thompson Center, the leader of the Illinois African American Family Commission (IAAFC) urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to redirect $4 billion in public funds, or approximately 15 percent of the state's budget, to African-American communities "to repair the harm done as a result of Illinois' budget crisis."
"Now eight months without a state budget, our communities are left with little to no services," said Michael Holmes, executive director of the state-mandated IAAFC, which works to "facilitate partnerships between government entities and communities to ensure a safe, healthy and secure environment" for African Americans across Illinois.
IAAFC, he said, "is calling on the governor and the General Assembly to reinvest in black neighborhoods."
The commission spoke out one day before President Barack Obama's speech to the Illinois General Assembly.
"I'm hoping that he can convey a message to the General Assembly that this [budget impasse] needs to get resolved quickly, and people need to begin to talk about serving the residents of this state," Holmes said.