Originally publish in The Daily Line on April 5, 2021.

Mass transit became an immediate casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, as nationwide stay-at-home orders and crowding concerns drove Americans away from trains and buses.

The drop-off did not spare Chicago-area transit networks, which saw a freefall in ridership in April and May 2020, according to a March 25 report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. Even as the region began to partially reopen in June, CTA buses saw a 50 percent decline in trips compared to 2019, while CTA trains suffered a loss of 77 percent and Metra lost 89 percent of its riders.

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Category: In The News

Originally published in CBS News on March 26, 2021.

CHICAGO (CBS)– A bill to stop illegal gun ownership in Illinois could be closer to becoming law.

Just a few hours ago, its sponsor explained the bill does four important things.

“It insures we do background checks, it ensure we obtain finger prints, it ensures were are giving the Illinois State Police the ability to take the guns of folks that shouldn’t have them and it makes sure that we’re getting funding, life-saving mental health funding, to the communities that have been most impacted by gun violence ,” Sen. Ram Villivalam said. “The time to act is now.”

The senator says he has 25 co-sponsors in the state Senate and needs five more to sign on.

Category: In The News

Originally published in India Post on March 25, 2021.

CHICAGO: The Illinois Asian American Legislative Caucus is deeply saddened by the recent shooting of eight people, of which were six Asian American women, at a Georgia-based massage parlor. The Caucus released the following statements:

“This tragic incident is a reflection of a steadily growing sentiment against the Asian American community within the last year. My deepest condolences to all the families of the victims, who will now unjustly be reminded of the grave consequences of racism and hate every time they remember their loved ones,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam, Senate co-chair, (D-Chicago).

“The Asian American community is one that includes over 48 countries and all the diverse cultures, languages and traditions within those countries. We stand together in solidarity to keep sharing our story and urge Illinois’ residents to join us in taking an active stance to support their local AAPI community organizations,” said State Representative, Theresa Mah, House co-chair, (D-Chicago).

“Not only are we at a time where our community as a whole is becoming increasingly vulnerable to these violent attacks, but our female and elderly community members are especially being targeted more frequently. As a caucus, we will continue to stand up for all members of our community and speak out against hateful rhetoric that manifests into senseless, tragic incidents. Please visit our Caucus page at asianamericancaucus.org to see our joint statement,” Villivalam said.

Category: In The News

Originally published in Daily Herald on March 22, 2021.

 

SPRINGFIELD -- Less than a week after a deadly attack on Asian Americans in Atlanta, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and members of the General Assembly's Asian American Caucus spoke out against the murders and against discrimination generally toward the Asian American community.

"I do not pretend to know the pain of this moment, for those who look at the Atlanta victims and see their own mothers, daughters and sisters, or themselves," Pritzker said at a news conference Monday in the Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago. "But I want the (Asian American Pacific Islander) community in Illinois to know that I see you, and I see the fear and anxiety that these events have forced into your lives and the lives of your loved ones, and I want you to know that Illinois is your home. You are our friends and our neighbors and our family members, and I will do everything in my power as governor to protect you and to welcome you."

Pritzker was accompanied by members of the Asian American Caucus, including Democratic Reps. Theresa Mah of Chicago, Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville, Denyse Wang Stoneback of Skokie, and Sen. Ram Villivalam, a Democrat from Chicago. Pritzker was also joined by representatives from Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.

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Category: In The News

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