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LaShawn Ford


PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Nov 2, 2015

Dozens Arrested During Protest Over 'LaSalle Street Tax' At Chicago Board Of Trade (VIDEO)

Forty-one protesters with Fair Economy Illinois were arrested Monday after they blocked the entrances of the Chicago Board of Trade building as part of their campaign for a "LaSalle Street tax," or a tax on financial transactions to generate state revenue. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the protest. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Oct 11, 2013

State Sen. Lightford: Flurry Of Charter School Bills Expected In Upcoming Legislative Sessions

At an education forum in Oak Park Wednesday, State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said she plans to introduce legislation to help stop the Illinois State Charter Commission's "hidden agenda" of expanding charter schools across the state.

The Illinois legislature set up this special charter governing body back in 2011. The commission has autonomy from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the power to override local school boards if they reject applications from charter companies looking to open schools in their communities. A number of education activists have blasted the commission, saying its sole purpose is to override these charter denials.

"This independent authorizer, they've hired a lobbyist that has a salary, and there's a hidden agenda," Lightford said at the forum, held at Oak Park's Percy Julian Middle School. "(School) funding would come away from you and go directly into this situation, and I think it's something we all should be very mindful of."

Lightford said she would introduce a bill at some point during next year's legislative session that would get rid of the commission's override powers and give charter authorizing responsibility back to ISBE.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Tue Sep 3, 2013

Second Chance Summit Offers Hope to Ex-Offenders

Rita Allison felt hopeless.

Allison admits that she made some bad choices in her early 20’s, including committing felony retail theft. The offense ultimately led to a conviction, and Allison, now 55, says she has been unable to find steady employment since then due to her criminal record. 

The Bronzeville resident had been employed in the medical records field for years. But Allison said she got that job based on her resume, and didn’t have to provide a criminal history. However, things began to change for her in 2009, when she began looking for new work. Allison told Progress Illinois she was continually passed over for a number of jobs due to her felony record. Her husband, a veteran, receives a pension, but Allison says it isn’t enough to survive. As a result, she has gone without additional income for a period of time, causing her, Allison says, to lose her apartment.

But an upcoming event in Chicago might help Allison and others in her position. The Second Chance Summit, being held September 7 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum, will educate those with non-violent class three or four felony convictions on how to get the crimes expunged from their records. Legal volunteers from organizations including the Wiley Resource Center and Cabrini Green Legal Aid will provide free guidance, and members from the Urban Weatherization Initiative, an organization that trains Illinois residents to work in the green industry, will also be on hand to sign up participants for paid trainings.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Fri Jul 26, 2013

Emergency Hearing Called To Discuss Sex Abuse In IL Juvenile Facilities

In the wake of a Bureau of Justice Statistics report that revealed Illinois’ juvenile detention facilities have some of the highest sexual abuse rates in the country, state legislators have called an emergency hearing to discuss the issue.

The Restorative Justice Committee will meet July 30 at the Michael A. Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago, and testifying before them will be Department of Juvenile Justice (DOJJ) Director Arthur Bishop, as well as members from the prison watchdog group the John Howard Association and officials from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.    

“Before pointing fingers, we need to ask questions,” State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), the committee chairperson, told Progress Illinois. “We want answers from the results of the study, and solutions moving forward.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jun 17, 2013

West Side ‘Peace Corner’ Provides A Safe Haven For Youth (VIDEO)

The Peace Corner Youth Center on Chicago's West Side offers youth a safe and recreational space after school and during the summer. Just before a violent weekend of shootings across the city left eight people dead and more than 40 wounded, Progress Illinois attended the non-profit's open house to learn more about its violence-prevention programs.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Mar 19, 2013

Illinois Students With Positive HIV/AIDS Status May Soon Be Able To Keep Anonymity

Illinois is the only state that requires principals be notified of students’ HIV-positive status, but legislation working its way through the Illinois General Assembly may change that. Here, we take a closer look at the disclosure law and the bill looking to undo it.