Illinois House Members Twice Condemn 'Racist' Activities, Depictions

Aug 17, 2017

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives twice expressed unanimous opposition Wednesday to expressions of racial animus.

In an official 105-0 vote, the House adopted a resolution -- sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills -- which vilifies white supremacists. The proclamation specifically “repudiates and condemns'' neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others that “espouse hate.''

The vote was a response to incidents in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, where a woman was killed and 19 injured when a man plowed his car into a group of counterdemonstrators at a rally of white supremacists protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

The House resolution is similar to one the Senate adopted Sunday sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, that also urges police to recognize “white nationalist'' groups as terrorist organizations.

The entire Illinois House of Representatives also stood to show they didn't approve of the way the Chicago Public School system was depicted in a political cartoon. CPS long has been at the center of the debate over school funding in Illinois.

The cartoon, published by the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, was meant to illustrate one of the reasons Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed much of Democrats' school funding plan: He believes Chicago is hiding property wealth in Tax Increment Financing Districts, thereby forcing the state to pay for schools. But Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, asked colleagues to join him in denouncing the racial stereotypes perpetrated in the cartoon.

"This is unacceptable that the Illinois Policy Institute would say white people are bailing out black kids!" he said. 

Representatives from both parties rose to their feet, and some called for the Institute to issue a public apology. In a statement, IPI said the cartoon was not racist, but it was removed from their website because it was a distraction.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Dusty Rhodes and the Associated Press contributed to this report.