More than five decades ago President Lyndon B. Johnson's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders was charged with answering three questions to understand the origins of civil unrest in cities across the country: 1)What happened?; 2)Why did it happen?; and 3)What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again? The Commission's final report ("Kerner Report") berated federal and state governments for failed housing, education and social services policies and famously concluded that "Our nation is moving toward two societies one black, one white-separate and unequal." It stated that one of the main causes of urban violence was white racism. Thirty years after the Kerner Report the Eisenhower Foundation commissioned a series of reports studying the progress that had been made in the intervening years. In one of those studies, The Millennium Breach, it was revealed that progress had been made during the first decade that followed the Kerner Report, however, it had stalled and in some ways reversed after that due to a series of economic and governmental actions and failures.
Since The Millennium Breach report the social conditions of black and brown people in general and in their communities more specifically have stagnated. Poverty levels for black and brown persons remain disproportionately high, the black and brown middle class has shrunk, and their communities have been ravaged by mass incarceration ("The New Jim Crow"). The current economic collapse, the worst since the Great Depression with staggering unemployment rates and economic uncertainty is likely to make the situation even worst. The global pandemic has also devastated black and brown communities which have been hardest hit. The racial injustices that black and brown communities have long had to experience from the police and individual citizens are now exposed and broadcasted to members of those communities and the world because of the new age of capturing those injustices with mobile devices and publishing them instantly on various social media platforms.. These conditions combined with the recent publications of the vigilante murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have generated a new wave of civil unrest in cities across the country against the continuing racial injustice in America.
The Independent Voters of Illinois- Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) has been in existence in various forms for more than 75 years. Our mission has been to promote social justice and good governments by increasing voter participation and knowledge. It has led IVI-IPO to identifying and its members to helping to elect numerous progressive government officials such as Mayor Harold Washington, Congressman Jesus Garcia and President Barack Obama. During this time of pain and suffering in black and brown communities we think the most responsible and effective way of accomplishing greater social justice in Illinois and beyond is to identify progressive political candidates and turn out in force in the upcoming election in support of those candidates and government officials who we believe will overturn the regressive and unjust policies and practices which have led to black and brown suffering. As Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother, stated at a recent Minneapolis memorial: "Let's do this another way.Let's stop thinking that our voice don't matter and vote. And that's how we going to hit them, because it's a lot of us."
State Board Chair--IVI-IPO
June 2, 2020