Roundup: May 12, 2023

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New era of City Council independence? Not so fast.

You may remember that in late March, the City Council passed legislation that would claw back powers from the next Mayor. In a non-binding resolution, alders voted to expand the number of committees from 19 to 28 and preemptively name committee chairs for the next term.

Well, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has other ideas. Following weeks of negotiations among Johnson’s team and City Council, many of the changes alders introduced have been swept aside for a more familiar arrangement.

The number of committees has been reduced back to 20, with the sole addition of a committee focused on police and fire chaired by Ald. Chris Taliaferro — the former head of the Public Safety Committee. Downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins will now chair the Public Safety Committee, whose mandate is a bit unclear given the new committee on policing.

Additionally, the new arrangement secures important committee chairmanships for some of Johnson’s closest allies. Ald. Pat Dowell will take over the Finance Committee from Ald. Scott WaguespackAld. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa will lead the Zoning Committee (and serve as Floor Leader), instead of Ald. Gil Villegas. Many of the Vallas supporters in City Hall who were previously given a chairmanship — including Alds. Burnett, Tabares, Napolitano, Quinn, Reilly, and Nugent — are now without a committee to lead. To the victor belongs the spoils.

Inauguration for Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson and the new City Council is this Monday. Alders will vote on the new rules in its first full meeting on May 24.

Support newly arrived immigrant families

Outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in response to the continued arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in Chicago.

The executive order will open up the use of emergency funds and the potential support of the Illinois National Guard. City Council has also approved $51 million in emergency funding, which will last through the end of June. The city plans to open additional shelters for migrants at the Brands Fieldhouse in Avondale and South Shore High School.

With Title 42 ending this week, another increase in arrivals is expected, and our support is needed now more than ever.

Take Action: You can help welcome recently arrived immigrant families by contributing to the mutual aid fund organized by our partner Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD). OCAD has also compiled a list of needed material donations — medicine, hygiene products, food, and education materials — which you can drop off across the city.

JCUA members return to Springfield

As we support newly arrived immigrant families in Chicago, JCUA is continuing to organize statewide for our 2023 Everybody In Platform.

This week, sixteen members travelled to Springfield to talk to state representatives alongside our partners in the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). We called for increasing funding for immigrant services, expanding access to healthcare, providing undocumented immigrants with regular drivers licenses, and reducing medical debt for uninsured patients.

And just yesterday, we got to celebrate our coalition’s powerful organizing, as our Medical Debt bill passed the Senate and is headed to Gov. Pritzker’s desk!

There is less than one week left in the legislative session. To help with the final push for our platform, please call governor Pritzker’s office today at 217-782-6830, ext #7 and ask him to meet with the Healthy Illinois Coalition to further expand access to healthcare for immigrants.

Meet Nia Crosley, JCUA’s new Board member!

We’re thrilled to share that Nia Crosley has joined the JCUA Board of Directors! Nia is currently a law student at Northwestern University and a Jewish educator. She’s been involved with JCUA since moving to Chicago two years ago, when she became active in the Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus.

From Nia: “I am excited to join the Board of JCUA because I love being around people who ‘get it’ — those who are proud to use their Jewishness to solve complex issues.” Learn more about Nia!

Last chance to register for Organizing 101! 

Next Sunday, May 21, join JCUA to learn the foundational skills and concepts of community organizing in our annual Organizing 101 training. We’ll dive into power analysis; values and self-interest; 1 on 1s; and our connections as Jews.

This training is a great opportunity to learn and practice core skills, meet other JCUA members, and gain a better understanding of our methods of social change. Registration closes this Monday, and we hope to see you there!