For almost two years, the state of Illinois hasn’t had a budget. In that time, the state has made de facto cuts to funding for things like public higher education, childcare, healthcare, and other social services that people depend on to survive. People have been turned away from domestic violence shelters. Homeless shelters have been shut down. Gun violence prevention programs have disappeared. These cuts have had devastating effects on the people of Illinois – and on poor and vulnerable communities in particular.
Here at St. Luke’s we’ve been hearing how the budget crisis affects you. Many of you work for organizations that receive state funding in order to provide important services. Others worry about the future of higher education because of personal struggles with the weight of student debt. Some of you are insured by Medicaid, and are finding it more and more difficult to find a healthcare provider who will accept your insurance. How else have you seen the budget cuts hurting you, your community, or an issue you care about?
The budget crisis affects everyone.
In response to this crisis, Fair Economy Illinois is organizing a March to Springfield for a People and Planet First Budget – an aspirational budget that envisions deep investment in the well-being of Illinois. Community leaders and people of faith will march over 200 miles from Chicago to Springfield from May 15-30, arriving at the Capitol before the legislative session ends. Along the way, we will be building relationships across lines of difference, listening to people from all around the state about how the current state of the budget – with its worship of scarcity, deep structures of inequality, and competition for resources – affects all of us: people in urban and rural areas, people that have historically voted Republican or Democrat, people of all ages, races, genders, sexualities, and abilities.
Because of St. Luke’s ongoing commitment to social justice and public action, based in our faith in God and our commitment to enact God’s love, we have an opportunity to play an important role in the March. There are many ways to get involved, from attending direct actions, to marching one or more days along the route to Springfield, to making phone calls to arrange March logistics, to donating money, and more.
We have an opportunity to play an important role in the March to Springfield.
To learn more and to get involved, please mark your calendars for a Teach-In on the March to Springfield at St. Luke’s on Sunday, April 30th from 12:30-1:30 p.m. (lunch included).
Contact: Pastoral Intern Erin Coleman Branchaud (firstname.lastname@example.org)