Roundup: June 23, 2023

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Illinois tightens health benefits for undocumented immigrants

The Pritzker administration has announced it will roll back healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrants in Illinois. Citing high costs of the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults & Seniors programs, the state will implement:

  • A “temporary” enrollment pause beginning July 1 for residents ages 42-64
  • A cap of 16,500 seniors who can enroll
  • Co-pays of $100 to $250 for hospital visits not eligible for federal reimbursement

JCUA members worked to protect and expand these programs in Springfield this session. We join ICIRRHealthy IllinoisBPNC, and more in opposing this eleventh-hour roll back, which will limit healthcare access and affordability for thousands of undocumented residents across our state.

Until the pause takes effect on July 1, our coalition is working to enroll as many people ages 42-65 as possible. Spread the word and apply here.

Memorial for Chicago torture victims gets funding

After years of organizing by survivors, Chicago will soon have a memorial dedicated to the victims of police torture.

Mayor Brandon Johnson announced this week that the Mellon Foundation will donate $6.8 million to create eight monuments across Chicago, including the long-promised Chicago Torture Justice Memorial.

The monument will be dedicated to the victims of CPD Commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew,” who coerced false confessions from more than 100 people between the 1970s and the 1990s. In the 2000s, JCUA helped form the Justice Coalition of Chicago to address the culture of CPD police torture, leading to victories like the settlement of four cases in 2006 for $19.8 million.

The Mellon Foundation grant will also support projects to commemorate the 1919 Chicago race riots, Native Americans, activist Mother Jones, and more.

Five years since UChicago Trauma Center opened

When JCUA adopted an organizing model in 2014, our first campaign was to convince the University of Chicago to open a Level 1 Trauma Center on its Hyde Park campus. At the time, there was no trauma center anywhere on the South side, even as South side residents were more likely to experience gun violence.

We joined a grassroots coalition with Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) and many partners, and after a difficult campaign, our communities won when the university committed to opening the center.

After five years of operation, the UChicago Medicine trauma center has served 21,387 patients, 38% of whom had penetrating trauma like gunshot wounds. This is an astounding example of the power of organizing. We are proud to see the trauma center continue to be a vital hub for equitable healthcare in Chicago.

Join JCUA’s racial justice training on July 9

On Sunday, July 9th, JCUA is holding our annual Racial Justice Training. This day-long program, led by a multiracial team of staff and leaders, is designed for white Jews and Jews of Color looking to strengthen their skills to combat racism and white supremacy within themselves, their work with JCUA, and throughout their lives.

This training is open to all JCUA members. Become a member and join us on July 9!

Introducing our summer interns!

Each year, it is a pleasure and privilege to welcome JCUA youth organizers as summer interns who support our grassroots organizing campaigns, community-building, and more.

We’re excited to introduce you to five teens who are helping to build JCUA’s power in the coming months: Megan O’Connor,Ronen Ousley, Aviva Rappaport, Dalya Lessem Elnecave, and Leela Wittenberg Trubowitz.

Read more about them here!