Roundup: May 19, 2023

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It’s official: Mayor Brandon Johnson

There’s new leadership in Chicago, and JCUA was there for all the festivities! On Monday morning, we packed the UIC arena to witness the inauguration of Mayor Brandon Johnson, City Clerk Anna Valencia, Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, and all 50 alderpeople.

During the ceremony, we heard a powerful blessing bestowed by Rabbi Shoshanah Conover of Temple Sholom, a stirring rendition of “The Impossible Dream” by gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard, and an inaugural address by Mayor Johnson.

In his speech, Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to addressing Chicago’s homelessness crisis through Bring Chicago Home and reimagining our approach to public safety through Treatment Not Trauma. Let us take on this opportunity to pass transformative legislation!

Chicago school closings, ten years later

In 2013, the Rahm Emanuel administration shuttered 50 public schools in mostly Black communities that had low enrollment, low performance, and poor-building conditions. Ten years later, WBEZ and Sun-Times are investigating the effects on students and their wider communities.

Findings show that neighborhoods around closed schools have experienced accelerated population loss. Some of the buildings have been repurposed, yet over half still sit empty, and students forced to switch schools have not seen any significant improvement in graduation rates or test scores.

Illinois assault weapon ban still in place

The U.S. Supreme Court will not issue an injunction against the Illinois assault weapons ban, meaning the law will stay in effect while the Chicago appeals court considers the case. Final rulings will take time, but the law, which bans the sale of assault weapons and caps magazine purchases, has widespread support, including from Governor J.B. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul.

Illinois has the 9th highest rate of gun homicides in the country, and an average of 1,363 people die from gun violence in our state each year.

Join Kol Or for the Juneteenth Havdalah

The Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus invites you to our annual Juneteenth Havdalah, taking place Saturday, June 17 at 6:00 pm at KAM Isaiah Israel.

The Juneteenth Havdalah is Kol Or’s biggest event of the year. More than 100 members of the JCUA community and beyond come together to commemorate Juneteenth, observe Shabbat, and celebrate our multi-ethnic, multiracial Jewish community. This year, our theme is Liberation: Can You Feel It? We will bring that feeling of freedom to our hearts and minds through celebration. Register here.

Study Torah on Shavuot with JCUA members

Shavuot — the Jewish holiday that commemorates the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai — begins next Thursday, May 25 at sundown.

One of the traditional ways to observe Shavuot is to stay up all night learning, and we’re excited that JCUA members will be leading sessions in Evanston and Lakeview. Join JCUA Housing & Economic Justice Fellow Sam Rose and Rabbi Suzanne Griffel for a conversation about class at Evanston Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Join Dalya Lessem Elnecave to learn about the death penalty at Anshe Emet, and Max Davis to learn teaching about housing, shelter, and Bring Chicago Home, also at Anshe Emet.

Celebrate with some ice cream and some new knowledge!