Originally published on Journal-Topics on Jan. 24, 2022.

Niles-Maine District Library trustees imposed a hiring freeze in May and have seen a steady attrition of library employees since then. The library’s reduced staffing has also caught the attention of local state senators, state representatives, and a county commissioner, who called on trustees to end the freeze.

State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-8th) read a letter during public comment at the library’s Wednesday, Jan. 18 board of trustees meeting, also signed by State Sen. Robert Martwick (D-10th), State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-55th), State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe (D-19th), Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th) and Niles Township Democratic Committeeperson Josina Morita.

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Category: In The News

Originally published on Daily Line on Nov. 16, 2021.

As Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot were in Washington D.C. Monday to celebrate the signing of Democrats' long-awaited Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, elected officials from across Illinois were already making plans for the $17 billion that will come to Illinois.

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Category: In The News

SEIU Local 73 logoChicago, IL – “Our union applauds Governor Pritzker for protecting workers’ rights by sighing HB2521,” said Dian Palmer, president of SEIU Local 73. “We especially thank Senator Ram Villivalam (D-8) and Representative Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (D-21) for championing this bill. Our thanks also go to the Illinois AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 31, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers for working with us to pass this important legislation.”

"Protecting the right to strike is essential to the survival of the labor movement," said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). "Our plan will protect our brothers and sisters from retaliation in the workplace as they advocate for a living wage, decent benefits and better working conditions. I am proud to have championed this vital legislation."

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Category: In The News

Originally published on Bloomberg on July 21, 2021.

Illinois State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz attended public schools in Oak Park, a liberal town near Chicago, yet it wasn’t until law school that she learned anything about Asian American history, including how her Chinese immigrant grandparents fought deportation from Portland, Oregon. 

That won’t be the case for the current generation of students in Illinois, which this month became the first U.S. state to require public schools teach Asian American history starting in the 2022-2023 school year. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act into law on July 9, calling it a new standard “that helps us understand one another.” The landmark law broadly mandates that Illinois public elementary and high schools teach a unit of Asian American history.

“We are ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to learn about Asian Americans’ contributions and experiences without attending law school or taking Asian American studies in college,” said Gong-Gershowitz, co-sponsor of the bill. “After all, Asian American history is American history.”

Support for the legislation gained momentum in the past year as racism and violence against Asians in the U.S. surged during the pandemic. Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 major U.S. cities rose 164% in first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. Non-profit coalition Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 6,600 incidents of anti-Asian bias from March 2020 to March 2021.

“The unfortunate rise in anti-Asian hate made it even more urgent,” said Ram Villivalam, Illinois’s first and only Indian American state senator and another co-sponsor of the bill

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Category: In The News

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District Office
3851 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(872) 208-5188

Springfield Office
127 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5500

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