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Peoria Defender

The night before New Year’s

'Twas the night before New Year’s in Illinois, and all through the state, Those waiting for Pretrial fairness were robbed of their fate.

The Grinch Judge Cunnington's orders spread far and wide,

The Supreme Court holding implementation until they decide.

The reformers were shaken, but not quite thwarted,

For they knew that their cause, though delayed, was not defeated.

They had gathered data, done the studies, made the calls,

And fought a disinformation campaign, standing tall.

They voted and kept those in office who supported their rights,

And despite the setbacks, they knew they would win the fight.

The governor and attorney general were on their side,

And even State's Attorneys across Illinois, too, did abide.

But some were not, and so they must go through the motions,

While continuing to educate and reach out to all the oceans.

For they knew that in the end, their cause would prevail,

And the Pretrial Fairness Act would be the state's holy grail.

I was shook… I knew it could happen, expected it even. But it was still such a blow… knowing that everyone in the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice had spent so much time and energy, even though I am new to working with Change Peoria and the direct effort of the Pretrial Fairness Act and ending money bond in Illinois, it is a cause that I have supported since at least early in my high school years. If not, even earlier as I became aware of police abuse of their powers. We did everything right, gathered data, did the studies, and made the concessions. We brought people to Springfield so the legislators could see them, and we wrote letters and made phone calls to representatives across the state. We fought a disinformation campaign, the likes of which have rarely been seen in recent history, with propaganda reaching all the way to fake newspapers printed and distributed on people's doors. We voted and kept those in office that supported our rights. We won.

We did win.

That is the thing though, this is all still just part of the process. Highlighted recently on a national level by the incompetent standstill and series of 15 votes needed to simply select a Speaker of the House with no actual hope for an alternative outcome. The back-and-forth game of politics in our two-party system is simply that. But the governor is on our side, the Attorney General is on our side. Those are two things I never thought I would get to say. Many State’s Attorneys across Illinois are also shockingly on our side on the issue. But some are not, and so we must go through the process and motions while they utilize stall tactics and raise their commotion.

Meanwhile we will continue to educate and continue outreach to ensure all our communities know what their rights are, what they deserve, and what we will achieve. Even if it means almost starting over and bringing the issue to a direct vote statewide.

We will win!


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