Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HJR0008
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Full Text of HJR0008  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Pent-up frustrations, including bad policing
3practices, a flawed justice system, unscrupulous consumer
4credit practices, poor or inadequate housing, high
5unemployment, voter suppression, and other culturally embedded
6forms of racial discrimination boiled over in many poor
7African American neighborhoods during the mid- to late-1960s,
8setting off riots that rampaged out of control from block to
9block; the burning, battering and ransacking of property and
10raging crowds created chaos in which some neighborhood
11residents and law enforcement operatives endured shockingly
12random injuries or deaths; and
13    WHEREAS, Many Americans blamed the riots on outside
14agitators or young Black men, who represented the largest and
15most visible group of rioters; however, the Kerner Commission
16turned those assumptions upside-down in March of 1968,
17declaring it was white racism, not Black anger, that turned
18the key that unlocked urban American turmoil; and
19    WHEREAS, As a result, The National Advisory Commission on
20Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission after its
21chair, then-Governor Otto Kerner Jr. of Illinois, was formed;
22it was an 11-member Presidential Commission established by
23President Lyndon B. Johnson in Executive Order 11365 to



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1investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots in the United
2States and to provide recommendations for the future; and
3    WHEREAS, The Kerner Commission found that poverty and
4institutional racism were driving inner city violence and
5proposed aggressive government spending to provide equal
6opportunities to African Americans; the report was rushed into
7print by Bantam Books, and the 708-page report became a
8best-seller, selling 740,000 copies in a few weeks; and
9    WHEREAS, To mark the 30th anniversary of the Kerner
10Report, the Eisenhower Foundation in 1998 sponsored two
11complementary reports, The Millennium Breach and Locked in the
12Poorhouse; The Millennium Breach, coauthored by former senator
13and commission member Fred R. Harris, found the racial divide
14had grown in the subsequent years with inner city unemployment
15at crisis levels; The Millennium Breach found that for most of
16the decade that followed the Kerner Report, the U.S. made
17progress on the principal fronts detailed in the report, which
18were race, poverty, and inner cities; then progress stopped
19and in some ways reversed, due to a series of economic shocks
20and trends and the government's own action and inaction; and
21    WHEREAS, African American poverty remains a critical issue
22today; in 1969, about one-third of Blacks lived below the
23poverty line; by 2016, that number had dropped to 22 percent as



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1a significant number of African Americans moved into the
2middle class with a boost from 1960s legislation; however, the
3percentage of Blacks living in poverty is still more than
4twice as high as the percentage of whites; a lack of
5opportunity has been shown to increase drug abuse,
6unemployment, poverty, violence, and other negative factors
7within a community; and
8    WHEREAS, Blacks now have a louder voice in government, yet
9poverty and disenfranchisement remain; notwithstanding the
10Kerner Commission's optimism about potential change, there
11have been only scattered efforts over the last 50 years to end
12the United States' racial divide or to address the racial
13component of poverty in the U.S.; and
14    WHEREAS, Now more than ever, it is obvious that we need to
15rebuild these economies in urban areas which have been
16fostered by racial discrimination; to accomplish this, we can
17replicate a successful rebuilding plan from our country's
18history; and
19    WHEREAS, In the wake of World War II, Secretary of State
20George C. Marshall proposed a comprehensive plan to rebuild
21the economies and spirits of Western Europe in 1947; as part of
22this plan, the U.S. gave $13 billion in aid to 16 European
23nations; this aid included shipping food, staples, fuel, and



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1machinery, rebuilding war-devastated regions, removing trade
2barriers, and investing in an industrial capacity; and
3    WHEREAS, Due to what became known as the Marshall Plan,
4European economies experienced unprecedented growth from 1948
5to 1952, postwar poverty and starvation disappeared, and
6standards of living increased remarkably; and
7    WHEREAS, Former National Urban League President John
8Jacobs often spoke of the need for a new domestic Marshall
9Plan, championing the idea that we could rebuild urban areas
10in the U.S. the same way we rebuilt entire nations abroad; and
11    WHEREAS, African Americans in the City of Chicago are
12disproportionately affected by both the violence and the
13poverty in the city, particularly on the West and South sides;
14African Americans make up approximately a third of the city's
15population; despite this, they have consistently accounted for
16more than 70 percent of homicide victims for decades; due to
17pre-existing inequalities such as segregation, financial
18disparities, lack of access to a good education, lost wages,
19lost homes, lost inheritances, lack of access to testing and
20treatment, and other issues, the current COVID-19 pandemic has
21disproportionately hurt African Americans, especially in
22Chicago; and



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1    WHEREAS, Across the nation and in our State, a
2comprehensive and targeted economic recovery plan is necessary
3to revitalize and to help elevate the African American
4population; this new plan must provide federal, state, local
5tax credits, and other enhancements to encourage businesses to
6relocate to these struggling communities in order to foster
7economic vitality; therefore, be it
10SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that we urge the Illinois General
11Assembly and the United States Congress to explore a new,
12domestic investment plan to promote economic growth and
13recovery in targeted African American communities; and be it
15    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be sent
16to the Mayor of Chicago, the President of the Cook County
17Board, all members of the Chicago City Council, the Governor
18of Illinois, all members of the Illinois General Assembly, the
19President of the United States, the U.S. Senate Majority
20Leader, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, the U.S. Speaker of
21the House, the U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader,
22and all members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation.