You Want Me to Fight the Power in This??
Let's start with my own ridiculousness. I got up at 7am today to get ready to go to the Faith in Action Assembly sponsored by the Community Renewal Society at the historic First Baptist Congregational Church. I'll be honest, subzero temps kind of put the kibosh on any outdoor activities...my thoughts were quickly drifting to lighting a fire and sipping a latte whilst reading Karen E. Bender's A Town of Empty Rooms. However, I couldn't wimp out over a little frostbite. I got up and put on my three layers of clothes and headed out into the frigid day, secretly praying there was coffee to be had at First Baptist.
No coffee, but things soon heated up—hundreds turned out for the rally, looking for answers from their elected officials. People sang and worshipped and gave their testimony as to why the status quo isn't working.
Surprisingly, the State's Attorney Anita Alvarez (ahem, sixteen shots and a coverup if you have been sleeping under the proverbial rock.) showed up and what a brave soul she was. She should be on pins and needles about the upcoming election, but unsurprisingly, she squirmed on the questions, agreeing to support the FAIR COPS ordinance in Chicago, but waffling on legislation that would eighty-six IPRA and require an independent commission to investigate instances of police brutality and abuse against the public.
While police brutality is definitely a number one issue and one of the reasons that not much has changed since 1960... other issues on the docket surrounded economic justice and the fact that the State of Illinois is six months into the fiscal year with no budget. The Fair Tax Bill to impose a graduated income tax had been originally legislated in 2014 only to be withdrawn. Had it been passed then, we probably wouldn't be in the conundrum we're in now. The shape of politics in the city and state I now call home is abysmal and it makes me sad and ashamed.
The Illinois state legislators that attended supported the platform with vigor in their words— let's hope that their actions have the same vigor and that they serve as the disruptors rather than the puppets of private industry.
Big Fat Disclaimer: you may find one or many of the songs or language in the songs on this playlist uncomfortable or *gasp* offensive. Some of the language is harsh, but definitely real. Parental discretion and discussion is strongly advised! I know this blog is usually pretty lighthearted and fun, and I like to keep it that way, but I take today as being a National Day of Service pretty seriously— these issues affect you and me both. To quote MLK, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Not to get all preachy, but I hope that you are inspired to be the tiniest of whistleblowers, bridge-builders, and disruptors. Our lives depend on it. So, what's a protest rally without a soundtrack? I'm not really a Pete Seeger kind of girl. Enjoy the eclectic mix.
The platform also called for the elimination of having to sign a sworn affidavit to lodge a complaint against the police, which is ridiculous that you need to sign one since filing a complaint is a First Amendment Right (you know that whole freedom of speech thing we like to tout.) The need to sign an affidavit is at best, intimidating and at worst, could lead to police retaliation. So guess what? People don't file complaints and it's business as usual.
The other issue on the platform was that of ending legal employment discrimination for people with criminal records. Senate Bill 42 promotes the model of prison as rehabilitation and once people have served their records, they are done and should be given opportunities to get their life back on track. It's no secret that recidivism is driven primarily by the inability for ex-felons to gain meaningful employment after being incarcerated. (Woot! That BA in Criminal Justice has not gone to waste...) FORCE (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality) is working hard to get this passed and the goal was to get as many politicians on board as possible.
We (ooh, doesn't it feel good to be a part of something feisty?) had some successes today and I'm glad I went. I feel like I did MLK proud and I've got a head start on my ballot.