CHICAGO – Thanks to the advocacy of Senator Mike Simmons and the Research in Illinois to Spur Economic Recovery (RISE) program, the Rogers Park Business Alliance will see $99,000 in grant funding to finance economic recovery efforts sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RISE program reimburses the costs local governments and economic development organizations incur while expanding local economic recovery efforts. These costs include salaries, research, outreach, and expenses related to administering recovery efforts.

“The efforts of Rogers Park Business Alliance to soften the economic impacts of the pandemic are a key part of the overall work being led by the community and small business owners to ensure existing businesses succeed, and new businesses are positioned for success,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “As the son of a long-time Rogers Park salon owner, I know firsthand how beautifully diverse Rogers Park businesses are and what they do for the block and larger community. I know this economic recovery grant will help ensure those businesses can thrive and hold on during this tough economic climate and do so in a way that preserves the character of these commercial corridors without gentrification and displacement.”

RISE empowers local governments to create meaningful plans with a focus on specific initiatives and investments that support recovery from the pandemic. The grants funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will help improve the quality of life for community members by taking a comprehensive approach to economic development through supporting the local workforce, improving affordable housing options and more.

“We are grateful for the grant in the amount of $99K which will allow RPBA and the City of Evanston to work together to facilitate a highly inclusive planning process,” said Sandi Price, Executive Director of Rogers Park Business Alliance. “The outcome of the plan will showcase an equitable shared vision that will chart a future course and assure the long-term resiliency of the Howard Street commercial corridor and communities on both sides of Howard Street.”

“Rogers Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, and Howard Street exemplifies that from Lake Michigan to Western Avenue in its storefronts,” said Simmons. “It will take intentionality in economic planning to ensure economic recovery efforts are done for existing businesses on the Howard Street corridor, many of whom are Black, African, Latinx, and Caribbean-owned.”

For more information about the RISE program or its allocation to Rogers Park Business Alliance, please visit the DCEO website.

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Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – State Senator Mike Simmons will be joined by local elected officials for a shred event in the 40th Ward this Saturday, Aug. 27.

“Securely discarding vulnerable documents is a strong effort to protect yourself and your family from identity fraud,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “I urge the community to take advantage of this opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted papers containing personal information.”

The shred event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at Community Justice Center North Chicago, located at 5333 N. Western Ave. in Chicago.

“Shredding companies often recycle shredded material and transform it into new merchandise such as paper towels and paper plates,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This not only helps the environment by reducing the need to cut down trees, but also reduces the amount of garbage in landfills and the amount of toxic chemicals in the atmosphere. Overall, shred events are beneficial for environments inside and outside of the house.”

Participants are limited to a maximum of two boxes. Simmons will also be joined by a number of other elected state and local officials to provide vital information about resources available to residents.

If residents have questions about the event, Simmons urges them to contact his office at (773) 769-1717.

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Category: Press Releases

Simmons Pride ConferenceCHICAGO –State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) along with other elected officials, community activists, business leaders and nonprofit executives held a press conference today in Rogers Park to reflect on the value of Pride Month and offer their thoughts on the state of LGBTQ+ progress in the wake of the Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade

“The LGBTQ community is resplendent and beautiful in its diversity. As the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in the Illinois Senate, I took great pride in convening so many people from across our large community to reflect on Pride and offer their own unique thoughts on the moment we’re living in,” Simmons said. “It was a healing space for so many. It was humbling for me to be in community with so many leaders I respect deeply.” 

"This Pride Month has been a veritable roller coaster of emotions. The highs of parades and parties and reconnecting with friends were often overwhelmed by the lows of historic attacks on our rights,” State Rep. Kelly Cassidy said. “Coming together in community yesterday was a lovely way to acknowledge the complexities of our present and a reminder that there is joy in fighting for liberation."

“It is incredibly important for the community to gather and reflect on why we celebrate pride. Sharing stories and experiences only promotes understanding and compassion,” Paul Ruffino of Rattleback Records in Andersonville said. “It was an honor to participate in Senator Simmons Pride Month Reflection today and I thank him for organizing it.”

Held at Gerber/Hart Library & Archives in Rogers Park, the press conference featured over a dozen LGBTQ+ leaders, activists, and artists as they shared their thoughts, highlights and concerns about the road ahead in the LGBTQ+ community. Coming together in this space alongside Senator Simmons, community figures reflected on the necessity for joy and happiness in political action even in the face of major grief and opposition. 

“Pride Month invites us to celebrate our unique culture, assess our progress toward LGBTQ+ liberation, and recommit ourselves to a just, peaceful, and inclusive world,” David Ernesto Munar, president and CEO of Howard Brown Health said. “We won't get there without a fight -- one as inspirational and determined as the Stonewall riots of 1969 that mobilized the movement." 

“Protest must be rooted in joy. Social movements are always driven by the people and rooted in joy and struggle. The LGBTQ community has given the world so much in the way of joyful protest,” Simmons said. “As we continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, I will be thinking of the LGBTQ teenagers out there who deserve a better, more affirming society and I will do this work with joy.” 

While many speakers talked about celebration as a part of Pride, several speakers also reflected on the recent Supreme Court case which overturned Roe v. Wade and the subsequent opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas, which signaled the court’s intention to review and possibly roll back critical LGBTQ rights. Everyone spoke to the necessity of fighting proactively to keep hard won rights. 

“With the Supreme Court planning to roll back LGBTQ rights and state legislatures across our country taking aim at Trans students, it’s never been more important for allies to show up,” 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin said. “That means listening to the lived experiences of our LGBTQ siblings, acknowledging that our country is falling backwards in multiple ways, and fighting alongside queer organizers. I’m committed to doing just that in the 47th Ward and beyond.”

"LGBTQ people, especially trans people, are under more focused and vicious attack right now than any time in recent memory," says Stephanie Skora, COO of Brave Space Alliance, the South Side LGBTQ Center. "But that doesn't mean that we're giving up, or running from the fight. As a Jewish woman, from a family that came to Chicago in the 1880s fleeing pogroms in the Pale of Settlement, I know that in the struggle for human rights, dignity, and liberation, we often find roots to our history, paths to our future, and connections to our community. And community is what makes us strong." 

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court decision to overturn the right to an abortion protected under Roe v. Wade. 

“I am furious at this colossal injustice that has just been handed down by the nation’s top court. A generation of reproductive rights are being taken away by an oppressive patriarchal, fundamentalist court that is grievously out of touch with the country. The reproductive rights and health care of millions of people – women of all backgrounds, transgender people, and nonbinary people – are under attack. Today is a shameful day in our country’s history.

“We in Illinois are ready, willing, and able to help those who are seeking abortions receive the necessary and often lifesaving health care that they need. I will fight to ensure Illinois has the resources to provide reproductive health care for the countless medical refugees who will no doubt need to come to our state to receive it. I call on the community, advocacy organizations allied with the reproductive justice movement, and other elected officials to raise your voice and resist. I call on my counterparts in the more than 30 states, where a right to an abortion may be severely curtailed or disappear within weeks, to agitate, protest, and fight tooth and nail in the weeks ahead to hold on to these rights for the millions of people and their families who need access to abortion. We must demonstrate, we must take to the streets, and we must make it clear that we will not allow the Supreme Court to undo hard-won generational rights.

Category: Press Releases

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District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1717

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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