Community Conversation Report on Police Accountability

On March 22, 2017, the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) released its Community Conversation Report after listening to the concerns of more than 1,650 Chicago residents about police misconduct and community relations.

GAPA is a broad-based coalition of community organizations committed to making neighborhoods safer, improving police practices and accountability and transforming the relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the city’s various communities. The organizations in GAPA touch more than 30 wards—including neighborhoods directly impacted by violence and police brutality.

GAPA came together in the summer of 2016, in direct response to the Police Accountability Task Force’s recommendation to develop a Community Safety Oversight Board, allowing the community to have a powerful platform and role in the police oversight system. “If the community board is to earn the legitimacy it requires and deserves, its precise powers and makeup should not be set by the task force, but should be developed with broad public input,” the report states.

The alliance’s focus is to make neighborhoods safer through improving the practices, accountability and community relationships of the CPD, as well as involving affected residents in shaping and advancing lasting solutions. GAPA is committed to engaging, educating, and empowering the communities we serve so community members can guide recommendations for a Community Oversight Board. Over the next weeks and months, the alliance also will be working with organizations, both locally and nationally, to exchange ideas, learn best practices, and craft how a community oversight board should look and operate.

Governor Rauner signs the Removing Invisible Bars Bill -Senate Bill 2282!

On Friday July 29th, 2016 Governor Rauner signed the Removing Invisible Bars Bill -Senate Bill 2282. This bill limits technical violations of parolees to serious conditions. With the signing into law of this bill, parolees can help make their communities stronger and safer through their service and participation with community-based and faith-based organizations, without living in fear of technically violating parole and being sent back to prison because they’re in proximity of another parolee.
This was an outdated law previously created to prevent parolees from returning to communities and colluding with others parolees with the intent of committing criminal acts. What it failed to consider is that some of the most powerful voices and advocates for change in the reentry community are the individuals this law penalized. In 2014 over 11,000 parolees were sent back to prison and 9250 were from technical violations! At UCCRO we are excited about the many voices that came together to rectify and undue the harm this law imposed.
United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations would like to thank all partners that worked to help pass this bill, with a special thanks and recognition to our member organization, the Inner City Muslim Action Network for drafting this bill and sharing the workload of this bill. Special thanks also to Senator Jackie Collins who sponsored this bill.

Success Overload

United Congress’ work has been, and will continue to be, grounded in the communities we represent and in the lives we touch. We are intentional about building relationships across community and religious sectors to ensure that the voices of those marginalized in our communities are lifted. We are excited to share with you what United Congress accomplished during the month of May.

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