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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 African
7American neighborhoods during the mid- to late-1960s, setting
8off riots that rampaged out of control from block to block;
9burning, battering and ransacking property and raging crowds
10created chaos in which some neighborhood residents and law
11enforcement operatives endured shockingly random injuries or
12deaths; 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 the
18key 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 Report,
10the Eisenhower Foundation in 1998 sponsored two complementary
11reports, The Millennium Breach and Locked in the Poorhouse; The
12Millennium Breach, coauthored by former senator and commission
13member Fred R. Harris, found the racial divide had grown in the
14subsequent years with inner city unemployment at crisis levels;
15The Millennium Breach found that for most of the decade that
16followed the Kerner Report, the U.S. made progress on the
17principal fronts detailed in the report, which were race,
18poverty, and inner cities; then progress stopped, and in some
19ways reversed, due to a series of economic shocks and trends
20and 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 middle
2class with a boost from 1960s legislation; however, the
3percentage of blacks living in poverty is still more than twice
4as high as the percentage of whites; a lack of opportunity has
5been shown to increase drug abuse, unemployment, poverty,
6violence, and other negative factors within a community; and
7    WHEREAS, Blacks now have a louder voice in government, yet
8poverty and disenfranchisement remain; notwithstanding the
9Kerner Commission's optimism about potential change, there
10have been only scattered efforts over the last 50 years to end
11the United States' racial divide or to address the racial
12component of poverty in the U.S.; and
13    WHEREAS, Now more than ever, it is obvious that we need to
14rebuild these economies in urban areas which have been fostered
15by racial discrimination; to accomplish this, we can replicate
16a successful rebuilding plan from our country's history; and
17    WHEREAS, In the wake of World War II, Secretary of State
18George C. Marshall proposed a comprehensive plan to rebuild the
19economies and spirits of Western Europe in 1947; as part of
20this plan, the U.S. gave $13 billion in aid to 16 European
21nations; this aid included shipping food, staples, fuel, and
22machinery, rebuilding war-devastated regions, removing trade
23barriers, and investing in an industrial capacity; and



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



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1to revitalize and to help elevate the African American
2population; this new plan must provide federal, state, local
3tax credits, and other enhancements to encourage businesses to
4relocate to these struggling communities in order to foster
5economic vitality; therefore, be it
8we urge the Illinois General Assembly and the United States
9Congress to explore a new, domestic investment plan to promote
10economic growth and recovery in targeted African American
11communities; and be it further
12    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be sent
13to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President
14Toni Preckwinkle, all members of the Chicago City Council,
15Governor JB Pritzker, all members of the Illinois General
16Assembly, President Donald Trump, U.S. Senate Majority Leader
17Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,
18U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of
19Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and all
20members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation.