Exciting Month in Parent Advocacy and Leadership

Wow, what a month! POWER-PAC Illinois members’ schedules were action packed in July, particularly on the policy front. Several POWER-PACers were invited to several high profile appearances alongside state and federal elected officials throughout the month:

Stepping Out of Poverty (STOP) Campaign Co-Chair Delia Perez spoke at a press event on July 6th with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Representatives Robin Kelly and Marie Newman about expanding the Child Tax Credit, and was featured on ABC and WGN.

On July 13, Early Learning Campaign Co-Chairs Yolanda Williams and Susana Salgado spoke at the #CareIsEssential rally in Downtown Chicago, and were joined by parent leaders from the South Side Branch (Valerie Carroll, Elicia Randle, and Regina Simms). Yolanda and Susana gave their speech in Spanish and English and spoke about the childcare crisis: “Childcare should be accessible and should open doors for children, but the cost of childcare and the eligibility limits end up closing these doors.” Here’s a video we made about the event!

Later that same week, Susana stepped up once again! On July 16, the day after Child Tax Credit payments started landing in families’ accounts for the first time, COFI was thrilled to host a press conference announcing and celebrating the rollout with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and Susana gave her testimony. The following week, we learned that Susana’s words made an immense impact on Senator Durbin – he shared parts of her story on the U.S. Senate floor this week. Incredible!

To round out a very exciting month, Governor Pritzker signed COFI-led bill SB265 into law on July 29! State Representative Barbara Hernandez and Senator Michael Hastings were the chief sponsors in the Illinois legislature. The law will expand access to and improve the Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP), making utility bills more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Illinois families. Parent leader Donna Carpenter, who gave a powerful speech at the signing, has been fighting for utilities affordability for years alongside others in the STOP Campaign. This is a wonderful victory that deserves to be celebrated!