I am a resident of Hyde Park, a former student at the University of Chicago, and a member of Sunrise Chicago, a local hub of the national youth-led Sunrise Movement. I am writing in response to your recent article about Illinois State Senator Robert Peters’ calls for criminal justice reform ahead of the state’s Fall legislative session.
The article notes that Senator Peters is leading the charge on a number of much-needed reforms in our state, including ending cash bail and pretrial detention, as well as caring for the mental health of the incarcerated. But these reforms aren’t just about “criminal justice” — as Senator Peters himself states in the article. They’re about building a “safe, just, and dignified community.” Senator Peters recognizes that punitive policing and incarceration are grossly ineffective as tools of public safety, and that true public safety comes when we fight to get our friends, loved ones, and neighbors the resources they need to live with dignity.
I had the immense pleasure of canvassing for Senator Peters during his primary fight earlier this year. At every door I knocked on, I found myself excited to talk to other residents of our district about him and his record, about how much passion and energy he has already brought to the job. Not only is Senator Peters a champion of public safety, but he has also shown himself to be a passionate defender of my generation’s future through his efforts to pass ambitious climate legislation for our state like the Clean Energy Jobs Act currently winding its way through Springfield. In a moment where so many people my age feel disillusioned with our political system, I feel unbelievably lucky to have a State Senator I can count on. I’m thrilled that Sunrise Chicago has endorsed him, and feel that he’s someone that other young people in the district can be proud of voting for.