01132021CM0648SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford was sworn in Wednesday for a new term in the Illinois General Assembly, marking the beginning of her 23rd year in the legislature.

A steadfast advocate for education reform and working class Illinoisans, Lightford’s new term begins days after passing legislation to help ensure Black children receive the opportunity they need to build brighter futures, a measure Lightford negotiated during her recent tenure as chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. It makes comprehensive changes to support Black and low-income students from birth to adulthood, the latest in a long line of education reforms Lightford has championed.

“There are two huge influences in every child’s life – their family and their school,” Lightford said. “We require kids to go to school, and it’s our responsibility as a state to make sure that every child’s educational experience prepares them to be happy, contributing members of society when they grow up. That’s really what every education reform I’ve ever worked on has been about – giving every single child in Illinois the opportunity they deserve.

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01112021CM0060rSPRINGFIELD – Black children across Illinois are a step closer to being ensured a quality education under a plan led by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) that passed the Illinois Senate today. The legislation is part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ plan to rid Illinois of systemic racism.

The measure addresses education and workforce development from early childhood to adulthood. To help ensure school readiness, it strengthens early intervention services and sets a kindergarten readiness assessment in statute. Early intervention services, which help support the development of children with delays and disabilities, will now be available until the beginning of the school year after the child turns 3.

Rooted in equity, House Bill 2170 pivots away from teaching history from a Eurocentric perspective by reforming the state’s history curriculum through an Inclusive American History Commission that will make sure students learn about people from all backgrounds.

“For so long, we’ve taught American history in a way that ignores the contributions made by Black, Latino and LGBTQ people, and many others,” Lightford said. “We also ignore the horrible and inhumane way Black people were treated during slavery and how that history of mistreatment carries on today.”

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Lightford062920BROADVIEW – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is celebrating Illinois’ next minimum wage increase and reminding employees to double check their paychecks after Jan. 1. The minimum wage will increase to $11 an hour on New Year’s Day.

“Even before the pandemic, many working families were struggling,” said Lightford, chief sponsor of the 2019 law raising the minimum wage. “This increase won’t solve all of their problems, but it will surely help.”

The current state minimum wage is $10 an hour, up from $8.25 in 2019. Lightford is also responsible for the 2003 and 2006 laws that gradually increased the minimum wage from $5.15 to $8.25 per hour.

This increase is the third in a series of wage adjustments required by Public Act 101-1, which Lightford passed after years of hard work. The minimum wage will continue to increase by one dollar annually until it reaches $15 in 2025.

“Every year, the minimum wage goes up, and every year, employees need to check their paychecks after Jan. 1,” Lightford said. “Some employers may make honest mistakes, but don’t be afraid to report it if they don’t increase your pay.”

Employees who are not being paid at the proper rate can report their employers to the Illinois Department of Labor.

Cook County’s minimum wage is higher than the rest of the state’s at $13 for employers of four to 20 employees and $14 an hour for employers of 21 or more, a move that Lightford commends.

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foodgiveaway2rBROADVIEW – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) and Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson joined Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action and Black Men United for a food giveaway Monday.

“Food insecurity is at an all-time high, and we wanted to do our part to ensure our families are able to put a meal on their table this Thanksgiving,” Lightford said. “I am grateful to partner with Mayor Thompson, Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action and Black Men United for this important community event.”

Participants drove up to the parking lot of the Broadview Village Square Shopping Center where they received a box of food and information on veterans’ benefits, men’s health and energy assistance. One thousand boxes of food were distributed throughout the three hour event.

Additionally, as the holiday season quickly approaches, Lightford would like to remind people the importance of continuing to follow COVID-19 protocols.

“I continue to encourage everyone to stay home this Thanksgiving and find ways to celebrate with family virtually,” Lightford said. “I know people are getting restless, but we need to continue wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance to keep those we miss and love safe.”

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