May 7, 2018                                         May e-Newsletter
Civic Education: CAC & High School Students
Last month, Community Lawyer Ben Silver led a discussion on civic engagement at the Illinois Capitol Forum on America's Future, an annual event sponsored by Illinois Humanities. The day-long forum invites high school students to discuss important issues from gun violence to nuclear proliferation with guest experts. Students attending Ben's two sessions learned how they could be involved in community decision making as high school students and young adults.

Ben Silver served as a judge in the first ever Project CivicWorks government reform research competition state finals. Teams of up to three high school students proposed institutional reforms, which they presented on science fair-style display boards. The presentations included support for a specific reform, ideas about implementation, possible criticisms and refutations, and a works cited. Ideas presented by students ranged from ranked choice voting to term limits to criminal justice reform. The competition was created by Stevenson High School civics teachers Dan Larsen and Andrew Conneen, and sponsored by Mikva Challenge and the Jack Miller Center.
A Quick Legislative Update
Two weeks ago, Citizen Advocacy Center joined watchdogs across the state in opposing a surprise bill that would have restricted access to police reports under the Freedom of Information Act. The proposed change was offered as an amendment to a shell bill and would have exempted police reports from FOIA until any criminal prosecution was completed. Following a deluge of witness slips opposing the amendment, the committee failed to call it for a vote.

A redistricting reform referendum will have to wait for the 2020 ballot in Illinois after state lawmakers failed to call the proposed Fair Maps Amendment for a vote despite overwhelming bipartisan support. By the deadline for filing any constitutional referendum - May 6 - the senate resolution included 39 co-sponsors, well over the three-fifths majority required for passage. The house resolution tallied 28 co-sponsors. However, leadership in both houses refused to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote.

Your Help Needed

Seeking Event Planning Volunteers
In 2019, CAC will reach an important milestone: 25 years of making a difference in our communities. We will celebrate 25 years of impact through storytelling events and a gala next year. Volunteers are needed to help us plan the celebration. If you believe in the work and mission of CAC, will you consider offering just an hour or two a month to assist us? Your ideas and service to plan and execute some memorable events will be very valuable! 

 For more information or to volunteer, please contact: Susan Wakefield at
Seeking Lawyer Volunteers
Are you or someone you know an attorney who would be willing to assist CAC with working on some projects this summer? Please contact to speak to a community lawyer.
Empowering the Leader of Tomorrow 
This year for #ILGive, May 3, we decided to dedicate our campaign to the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow. You showed CAC that you too care about civic empowerment. Thank you for making the campaign a success! We have reached 40% of our goal of raising $3,000. 

If you would like to contribute, we will be accepting donations until Friday, May 11. please visit:

#ILGive is a 24-hour online fundraising event to celebrate work local nonprofits are doing to make Illinois a better place to live, work, play, and serve.
In Case You Missed It
CAC at The DuPage Human Race
The CAC team had a great time at the DuPage Human Race. It was CAC's first year participating in the race, which was full of energy with over 2,000 participants. Pictured above are some of the members of the CAC team. Thank you to everyone who chose to join CAC for a run or walk for building democracy! 
Candidate Boot Camp Event
CAC hosted a free educational event, with five co-sponsors, for anyone who is interesting in learning how to run for local office. Public officials shared in their experiences and advice. Community Lawyers Maryam Judar shared advice on how to get and stay on the ballot. Community Lawyer Ben Silver discussed all the information needed about campaign finance reform. This event will be repeated in the fall for everyone who could not attend in April. 
The work of CAC depends on the investment of people like YOU. Will you make a gift today to support building democracy in communities like yours?
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