HomeArticleVictory: Access to Justice Funded at 10M

Victory: Access to Justice Funded at 10M

Springfield, ILLINOIS, June 3, 2019 —Diverse community, faith, and business leaders applaud the Illinois General Assembly for including the“Illinois Access to Justice Program” in Fiscal Year 2020 State Budget.

Thanks to the leadership of House Chief sponsors Assistant Majority Leader Fred Crespo, Deputy Majority Leader Art Turner and Representative Emanuel Chris Welch, and Senate Chief Sponsors Senate Majority Leader Kim Lightford and Senator Omar Aquino.  Big thanks to Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Majority Leader Greg Harris.

The Access to Justice program directs funds towards holistic legal and support assistance for Illinois’ marginalized communities, the most vulnerable people in our state, immigrants facing deportation and the formerly incarcerated working to reintegrate into their families, communities, and workforce. Access to Justice will strengthen the existing infrastructure of community-based legal aid organizations and community organizations by providing the funding they need to hire and retain talented attorneys or train community navigators. The Access to Justice program has built strong alliances between communities of color.

Access to Justice was successful because of the support of over 200 endorsing faith, community, civil rights, immigrant, and business organizations. This includes faith leaders Rabbi Seth Limmer, Bishop Byron Brazier, and Father Don Nevins; community organizations Southwest Organizing Project, Centro de Informacion, United African Organization; Legal associations Cook County Bar Association and Black Women Lawyers Association; Worker Centers Centro de Trabajadores Unidos and Chicago Workers Collaborative; Civil Rights organizations Latino Policy Forum and Chicago Urban League; National partner scaling models across the country National Partnership for New Americans; business organizations, Illinois Restaurant Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. See over 200 supporters below.

State Representative Fred Crespo, 44th Representative District
“I started this initiative with the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition because one of biggest issues facing black and brown communities is lack of access to employment. This program will reduce barriers to jobs in a fiscally responsible way by matching funds in a one-to-one partnership with organizations like the Westside Justice Center and The Resurrection Project. Our communities have long suffered the consequences of divestment, so it is up to us to undo the errors of the past. This partnership will allow us to reinvest in our families and expand access to the services they need to move up the socioeconomic ladder.»

State Representative Art Turner, 9th Representative District
“Mass incarceration and the politics of racial hate have left communities of color reeling. I’m committed to not leaving Springfield without funds for the most vulnerable. We did just that. Now a community driven approach to provide legal services will repower and strengthen our amazing resilient and talented communities color.” 

State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch, 7th Representative District
“Both the Latino and Black community have the same need for access to justice. Our issues are identical, some of our community members are in Cook County Jail, and some are in detention centers, but regardless we are behind bars. This program provides our state’s vulnerable and resilient populations with legal assistance, education and more importantly access to family sustaining employment and prosperity.”

State Senator Kimberly Lightford, Senate Majority Leader, 4th Legislative District
“Our complex legal system is stacked against those who can’t afford an attorney. I have dedicated my career towards removing barriers that keep our communities from thriving and connecting individuals to family sustaining employment, Access to Justice does just that.”

State Senator Omar Aquino, 2nd Legislative District
“Access to legal services is critical to all communities of color.  As the co-chair of the Latino caucus, funding programs that address the needs of the Black and Latino communities is a top priority. Access to Justice will help ensure Illinois families are protected from the harsh federal policies and tactics under this administration.” 

Tanya D. Woods, Executive Director, Westside Justice Center
“The chance to live healthy and prosperous lives should be a reality for all Illinoisians. But far too often, unemployment, lack of education, economic opportunity, and housing, and crime and violence continue to unduly burden historically oppressed people. Now, thanks to our courageous legislators and our Governor, the comprehensive resources of the Access to Justice Program can aid in redirecting power and restoring promise to those communities so that they can evolve from just surviving to thriving.”

Eréndira Rendón, Vice-President, The Resurrection Project.
“Access to Justice will support Illinois’s immigrant community to access Know Your Rights information and legal counsel, this combination functions as the lifeline communities need to remain in Illinois with their families. I thank the leadership of Leader Fred Crespo, Leader Art Turner, Representative Chris Welch, Leader Kim Lightford and Senator Omar Aquino for protecting our families.”

Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association.
“Illinois’ foodservice industry is the largest private sector employer in the state, with projected employment in 2019 of 588,000 people and more than $30.1 billion in annual sales. Today thousands of hospitality positions remain unfilled across our state.  Access to Justice will reduce barriers towards securing employment and connect employers to a talented pool of workers. I thank our leaders for taking this bold step.”

John Rowe, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Co-Chairman; Exelon Chairman Emeritus
“I applaud the leadership of Fred Crespo, Art Turner, Emanuel Chris Welch, Kim Lightford and Omar Aquino for this smart, innovative program. IBIC was proud to support Access to Justice because in addition to being the right thing to do – it is a jobs program to connect our state’s vulnerable and resilient communities to available positions across the state. Access to Justice is economically important, politically smart and morally right.” 

As of December 2018, there were about 71,000 individuals, including juveniles, who were incarcerated in various facilities across Illinois including: 40,872 in Illinois state-operated facilities and approximately 23,000 individuals incarcerated in local jails.  Since the election of President Donald Trump, fear in the immigrant community is real and growing. The Department of Homeland Security reported a 171% increase in the arrest and detention of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record over the last two years.



2nd Timothy Baptist Church, Springfield
African Methodist Episcopal Ministerial Alliance
Alivio Medical Center
Baker’s Dojo of Karate Bodybuilding Science & Education
Baptist Ministers Conference of Chicago
Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp
Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago
The BPP Illinois History Project
Center for Changing Lives
Centro de Información
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
Centro Romero
Centro Sin Fronteras
Chicago Commons
Chicago Jobs Council
Chicago Urban League
Chicago Worker’s Collaborative
Christopher House
Cook County Bar Association
Cook County Juvenile Detention Center Foundation
Enlace, Chicago
Erie Neighborhood House
Fairmont Community Partnership Group
First Defense Legal Aid
First Ladies Health Initiative
Gads Hill Center
Gamaliel of Metro Chicago.
Greater Austin Independent Political Organization
Greater Southwest Development Corporation
HANA Center
Hispanic Housing Development Corporation
Holy Spirit Missionary s – USA-JPIC
Illinois Faith Based Association
Illinois Migrant Council
Indo-American Center
Instituto del Progreso Latino
Interfaith Illinois
Justice and Peace Ministry, Diocese of Joliet
NAACP, Chicago Westside Branch
Latino Policy Forum
Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration
Monroe Foundation
Mt. Carmel Martial Arts Academy
NAACP, Chicago Westside Branch
The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Chicago
Network of Woodlawn
New Community Covenant Church
The North Lawndale Employment Network
North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
Northwest Side Housing Center
Nehemiah Trinity Rising
Pilsen Neighbors Community Council
The Resurrection Project
Rincon Family Services
Sigma Omega Foundation
SER Central States
Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue
Southland Ministerial Healthcare Network
Southland Juvenile Justice Council
Southwest Organizing Project
Spanish Community Center
Syrian Community Network
Teamwork Englewood
The United Martial Arts Association
The Westside Coalition of Black Marijuana Entrepreneurs
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team
United African Organization
United Way of Chicago
University YMCA, Champaign
Wearhouse Workers for Justice
Westside Baptist Minister Conference
Westside Health Authority
Westside Justice Center

Faith Leaders
Rev. Felix Beard, New Joy MB Church
Presiding Albert D Tyson, Fourth Episcopal District AME Church
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Beth Emet
Apostle Angela Walker, Gods House of Divine Revelation
Rev. Anonio Grafton, Big Zion Baptist Church
Rabbi Ari Hart
Rev. Beth Brown, Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church
Rev. Billy Webb, Dependable Baptist Church
Rev. Bishop Smith, Fulfill Purpose
Fr. Brendan Curran OP, Dominicans Commission for Justice/Peace
Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa
Dr. Byron Brazier, Apostolic Church or God
Rev. Carl Harris, True Holiness
Apostle Carl White, Victory Christian International Ministries
Rev. Charles Mickens, Lights of Zion
Rev. Charles W. Dahm, O.P., Dominicans
Bishop Claude Porter, Proviso Baptist Church
Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V. Viatorians
Rabbi Craig Marantz, Emanuel Congregation
Rev. Dan Paul Borlik, DePaul University
Rabbi Daniel Kirzane, Oak Park Temple
Apostle Darrell Lockett, After God’s Own Heart Ministries
Rev. David Bjorlin, Resurrection Covenant Church
Rev. David Swanson
Fr. Don Nevins, Saint Agnes of Bohemia
Sister Dorothy Dempsey, Adrian Dominican
Rabbi Ederick Kamil, Congregation Etz Chaim
Sister Elizabeth Salmon, M.M., Maryknoll Sisters
Rev. Elmer Varson, Lacross Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Emma Lozano, Lincoln United Methodist Church
Elder Eric Thomas, Greater Harvest Baptist Church
Apostle Ernestine Brown, Zion Deliverane Outreach
Sister Esther Fiegel, Dominican of Peace
Evangelist Tonya Hunter, Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church
Rev. George Henderson, Greater Garfield Baptist Church
Dr. Gordon Bradshaw, Movers and Shakers
Rev. Gwen Appleberry, Gods Gift Ministries
Rev. Herbert Manney, No Limits Ministries
Rabbi Isaac Serotta, Makom Solel Lakeside
Rev. James Boyd, First Unity Baptist Church
Rev.  Jeffery Mullins, Kingdom Crusaders
Rev. Jeremy Chia
Rev. Jewel Holmes, Joyful Harvest
Sister JoAnn Fleischaker, Dominican Sisters
Rev. John Collins, Great True Vine Church
Rev. John Harrell, Proviso Baptist Church
Rev. John Watkins, Greater St. John
Fr. Jose Maria, Good Shephard Catholic Parish
Bishop Joseph Jones, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Bishop Keith Walker, Gods House of Divine Revelation
Rev. Kevin McLemore, Epiphany United Church of Christ
Bishop Larry Brookins, True Foundation Transformation Church
Rabbi Lauren Henderson, Mishkan Chicago
Rev. Lavell Short, Faith Walkers
Rev. Leonardo Gilbert, Sheldon Heights Church of Christ
Rev. Leslie Sanders, Hope Presbyterian Church
Rabbi Lisa Bellows, Congregation Beth Am
Rev. Lisa M. López, Christ Presbyterian Church
Arch Bishop Lucious Hall. First Church of Love and Faith
Rev. Marvin Alexander, Union Baptist Church
Rev. Marvin Hunter, Grace Memorial AME Church
Sister Mary Ann Penner, IHM Sisters
Sister Mary Carr, Dominican Sisters
Sister Mary Cullen, Adrian Dominican Sisters
Rev. Matthew Johnson, The Unitarian Universalist Church
Rabbi Max Weiss, Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion
Brother Michael Gosch, Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator
Rev. Michael Herrington, New Life Church of the Harvest
Rabbi Michael Siegel, Anshe Emet Synagogue
Rev. Nancy Goede, Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park
Rev. Nayoung Ha, HANA Center
Rev. Pamela Rumancik, Unitarian Church of Hinsdale
Sister Patricia Crowley, Benedictine Sisters of Chicago
Rabbi Paul Cohen, Temple Jeremiah
Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation – JRC
Rev. Randall K. Blakey, LaSalle Street Church
Sister Regina McKillip, Dominicans of Sinsinawa
Sister Rose Therese Nolta, SSPS
Rabbi Sam Gordon, Congregation Sukkat Shalom
Rabbi Scott Gellman, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Rabbi Seth Limmer, Chicago Sinai Congregation
Rev. Sherman Johnson, Emanuel Baptist Church
Rev. Shirley Colman, Spiritual Holistic Ministries of Love and Faith
Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Bishop Simon Gordon, Triedstone Full Gospel Church of Chicago
Rabbi Steve Hart, Children of Abraham Coalition
Apostle Steve Jones, Praise Tabernacle
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel, JCUA
Apostle Timothy Tredwell, Performing Christ
Rev. TL Barrett, Life Center God In Christ
Rabbi Todd Zinn, Chicago Sinai Congregation
Rev. Vince Amlin, Bethany UCC/Gilead Chicago
Rev. Walter Johnson, Greate Institutional AME Church
Rev. William Fleshman, Abundant Life Center
Rev. William Jenkins, Flesh Becoming Word

Business Leaders
AJ Wilhelmi, Illinois Health and Hospital Association
April Preyar, Justus Junkie
Bertha Garcia, Owner, El Guero
Carole Segal, Co-founder, Crate and Barrel
Clare Muñana, President, Ancora Associates, Inc.
Craig Freedman, President & CEO,  Freedman Seating Company
Dave Bender, American Council of Engineer Companies of Illinois
David MacNeil, President & CEO, Weather Tech
Donna M. Carroll, President, Dominican University
Ellen Rudnick, Sr. Advisor on Entrepreneurship; Adjunct Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Ivy Lam, UCA- Illinois Board member
Jaime Di Paulo, President and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Jos Saldana, General Director, Gin’s East Mexico, Former President & CEO of Bibas Global;
Judith De La Mora Macias, President Jalisciences
Lauren Lowery, Finders Plus Realty
Mark Frey, AMITA
Mark Harris, President and CEO, Illinois Science and Technology
Martin Slark, Chairman Molex
Michael Jacobson, President & CEO, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition
Sam Sanchez, Co-Owner, SamCo;, Exec. Committee, Illinois Restaurant Association
Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association
Samuel C. Scott III, Former CEO, Corn Products International; Chairman, Chicago Sister Cities
Sarah Pang, President and CEO, One Chicago, former Executive VP, CNA
Scott Grams, Executive Director, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association
Sergio Suarez, President and CEO, NAIMA
Steven Wang, CEO, Chinatown Hotel &Wells Plumbing
Susan Patel, CEO, Patel Handicrafts
Terry Howerton, CEO, Tech Nexus
Tiffany Taylor, Taylor Realty Group
Todd Maisch, President & CEO, IL Chamber of Commerce
Rodolfo Medina, President, Second Federal Credit Union

Elected Leaders
State Comptroller Susana Mendoza
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson
Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer
Chicago City Council Latino Caucus
Congressman Sean Casten
Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia
Chicago City Council Black Caucus