I was going to write about Cabaret Church (below) for this newsletter column until Ryan Wallace from Community Renewal Society (CRS) called me this morning. Now I’m going to write about the possibility of getting arrested on Tuesday, and what you can do to help the effort, so to speak.
As you may know, members of UCE are traveling to Springfield on Tuesday (4/12) to support three primary issues:
- Additional state revenue to stop the devastating budget cuts proposed by Governor Rauner;
- HB494 and SB42 to remove absolute bars to employment for people with felony records in the education industry and increase access to employment for people with records in healthcare;
- Comprehensive police reform to establish clear guidelines for police body-worn camera programs, end stop-and-frisk discriminatory tactics, and improve police accountability to our communities
We will be training and briefing on the bus, lobbying in teams until noon, meeting in the Rotunda for a vigil and march inside the Capitol, and then marching to the Lincoln statue before boarding return busses at 3:00 pm. If you’ve never participated in anything like this, and you have Tuesday free, I encourage you to join us. It’s never been easier. Since there are so many UCE’ers participating already, CRS has hired a bus to load in our parking lot. It’s never been easier.
We have asked for a meeting with Governor Rauner to discuss his draconian proposed budget cuts. These cuts will do great harm to Illinois families by eliminating services for homeless youth, immigrant services, and after-school programs. Services for mental health, substance abuse treatment, Medicaid, and higher education will also be severely cut. All of this because Illinois faces a $6 billion deficit caused in large part by the failure to maintain 2014 income tax rates.
I’ve been asked to join a delegation of ten CRS leaders who will occupy Governor Rauner’s office until he agrees to meet with us. It’s a reasonable request from the faith community as hundreds from CRS converge on the capitol, representing thousands of Chicagoans directly, and millions of Illinoisans through our work. There is the possibility that we will be arrested for our action since we plan not to leave his office until we have a conversation.
See you on the bus Tuesday!
I will leave you with a word about Cabaret Church, which will take place on May 31st in McHenry. This is something that Rev. Sean Dennison, myself, and others have been talking about for more than a year. I lobbied to host it here in Evanston — maybe for Cabaret Church II? This time around, you can attend the early service at UCE and then carpool out to McHenry. What more can I say? It will be a celebration of religious and creative freedom — with circus performers, music, and cabaret.