In This Issue:
Attend Asian American Vigil at 1 pm Today
COVID-19 Vaccine Progress
Reopening Bridge to Phase 5
March 23 Environmental Town Hall
March Coffee & Conversation
Dear Friends, Tuesday evening saw an act of horrific proportions as a gunman shot and massacred eight people in the Atlanta area, six of whom were Asian women. These acts of violence come on top of a year of escalating episodes of hate committed against Asians and Asian Americans in this country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community -- your neighbors, family, friends, classmates, and colleagues -- is reeling from the xenophobic-fueled increase in anti-Asian attacks. My fellow members of the Asian American Caucus and I invite you to join the Asian American community for a statewide virtual vigil today at 1:00 pm to stand with us against hate and violence everywhere. Even amid these tragic events, we’re also beginning to see marked progress in other areas, such as accelerations in COVID-19 vaccine distributions and concrete movement toward Phase 5 of Reopen Illinois. The light at the end of tunnel grows brighter every day. As always, we deeply appreciate it when you provide feedback for how we can serve you and how you want to be represented in Springfield. Two ways you can do that this month are by joining an environmental town hall with my state representative colleagues and me on March 23. We’re also hosting our monthly Coffee and Conversation on March 27, where we chat about general community and legislative happenings. Sincerely, Janet
Attend Asian American Vigil at 1 pm Today In a year when we’ve all had to come to grips with a new reality marked by illness, isolation, and death, Asian Americans have simultaneously had to proceed even more cautiously and more fearfully. The increase in anti-Asian attacks has been fueled by xenophobic and racist misinformation. My fellow members of the Asian American Caucus and I are horrified by Tuesday's murders. We invite you to join the Asian American community for a statewide virtual vigil today from 1:00 to 1:30 pm. We stand together against hate and violence everywhere. Register here for Zoom link: bit.ly/aacvigil Preventing future tragedies starts with education and understanding. The day after Tuesday’s hate-fueled murders, we passed HB376, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History Act, out of the Illinois House’s School Curriculum Committee. The TEAACH Act requires Asian American history to be taught in our schools, which would give children across the state the opportunity to learn our history -- both the times of darkness and racism and the moments of joy and accomplishment. COVID-19 Vaccine Progress As of March 19, almost 30% of the Illinois population over age 18 has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Those numbers continue to steadily increase as federal supplies of vaccines have increased--at the beginning of the year, we averaged roughly 100,000 shots administered per week, and we’re now administering more than 100,000 per day. Despite this progress, we know that there are those in our community who have not been able to secure vaccine appointments. Please know that I and members of my staff continue to work and advocate on your behalf for better and more equitable access for our district. Illinois’ Statewide Vaccination Locations page shows vaccination locations available to all Illinois residents regardless of zip code. For those who don’t have online access or need help navigating online services, please call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284. This hotline is available everyday from 6 am to midnight. Reopening Bridge to Phase 5 My staff and I concentrate so much of our efforts on disseminating vaccine information and helping constituents navigate vaccine appointments largely because these are the metrics that drive our state’s reopening plans. Yesterday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a metrics-based, vaccination-informed framework for advancing to Phase 5 of our state’s Restore Illinois Plan, when all businesses can fully open and large events can take place. As we progress, capacity guidelines will also increase. For example, once 70% of Illinois residents 65 and older have been vaccinated, we will move to a statewide bridge phase of increased capacity for dining, health & fitness, and other services. Currently, 62% of people 65+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine. March 23 Environmental Town Hall Join the Sierra Club for an environmental town hall with me and my colleagues, State Representatives Terra Costa Howard, Deborah Conroy, Michelle Mussman, and Kathleen Willis. This discussion will feature questions from the Illinois Environmental Council, Faith in Place, and SCARCE about key environmental issues in Illinois, including the Clean Energy Jobs Act!
March Coffee & Conversation On the last Saturday of each month, we host the 41st District Coffee & Conversations. We’re getting closer to one day being able to meet in person! In the meantime, please join us for our Coffee & Conversation on March 27.