Friday Check Friday - 07/31/2020

Did you know that career politician Minority Whip Dick Durbin has a dreadful record on social justice, equity, and diversity?  Sen. Durbin has been in Congress for 37 years and has had one African American in a senior position. Ms. Jasmine Hunt was appointed his Legislative Director in 2019.  In 2015, the Joint Center issued a report entitled: Racial Diversity Among Top Senate Staff and found that African Americans accounted for 13 percent of the population, but less than 1 percent of top Senate staffers. (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies)

Majority Whip Durbins Record on Social Justice & Equity Diversity

  • Durbin has been the Democrat Whip since 2005, he has had several Democrat Governors (Blagojevich, Quinn, Pritzker) and Presidents (Clinton, Obama) during his tenure in the U.S. Senate.  Yet he has failed to deliver funding for a third airport in the South Suburbs.  He has consistently supported expansion at O’Hare, Midway and Rockford at the request of former Mayor Daley (Chicago Tribune)

  • A third airport at Peotone would have generated more than 200,000 new jobs, and $10 billion to the local economy (Chicago Tribune)

  • Durbin stood in opposition to the seating of former Senator Roland Burris, in fact told him that he should resign (Reuters and New York Times)

  • Durbin has not done enough in 37 years to deal with racial disparities in government contracting.  Every year the federal government spends $500 billion on government contracts.  Black businesses have received an inadequate share of government resources for decades (NPR)

  • Durbin was silent when former Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 schools in predominately African American communities

  • Durbin was silent when the State of Illinois selected no African Americans for marijuana licenses. He voted for the Crime Bill to lock up Blacks for selling drugs but did nothing to ensure that they could own a marijuana license

  • Durbin voted for the 1994 Crime Bill that instituted three strikes and you are out provision that increased the number of people serving life sentences;

  • The 1994 Crime Bill disproportionately locked up people of color and destroyed lives and families (The Sentencing Project)

  • Today, almost a million African Americans are behind bars.  African Americans account for 13 percent of the population, but make up 40 percent of the prison population (Foreign Policy Magazine)

  • Durbin acknowledges the criminal justice system is fraught with racial disparities, yet he voted for the 1994 Crime Bill that made things worse for Black and Brown Americans (Durbin Statement June 2, 2020)

  • Durbin says, “Most importantly, it will require those of us with privilege and power to step back and listen to Black America as they tell us about what a life facing pervasive systemic racism is like.”  Durbin is out of touch, he has been in Congress for 37 years and does not know the answers to the statement he made (Durbin Statement June 2, 2020)

  • Durbin voted against the motion to proceed with debate on The Justice Act, a police reform bill labeling it a “Token” effort by the only Black Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott (USA Today)

Senator Durbin has been in office for 37 years straight.  The issues of race, social justice, and equity did not just begin with George Floyd, they have been simmering for decades.  Since 2010, more than 20,000 people have been shot in Chicago and over 80 percent of those shot have been African Americans.  Where has Durbin been while children have been killed in the streets of Chicago?  The wealth gap has exploded during Durbin’s tenure in congress.  He is the number two Democrat in the Senate.  His vote for the 1994 Crime Bill has destroyed the lives of thousands of people and their families.  He wants another six years.  Illinois’ Black and Brown communities cannot afford another six years of Senator Durbin.

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