Richard TrumkaCHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today:

“My heart is heavy with the loss of Richard Trumka. Millions of working people across the nation are grieving, as we have lost a pillar of the labor movement.

“Richard Trumka was a devoted fighter for working people who knew that when we stand together, we can make life better for ourselves and each other. His passing will be felt deeply by those in the AFL-CIO and all our brothers and sisters in labor.”

Category: Press Releases

Senators Villivalam and KoehlerCHICAGO – In an effort to protect families from increased gun violence, a comprehensive gun safety and licensure modernization package sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) was signed into law today.

“This critical legislation will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people through implementing universal background checks, empowering partners in law enforcement to act before the next tragedy can occur, and dedicating life-saving mental health funding to communities most impacted by gun violence,” said Senator Villivalam.

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Category: Press Releases

TVDLCHICAGO – To keep immigrant drivers moving during bureaucratic delays, legislation introduced by State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) that would allow the secretary of state to extend temporary driver’s licenses was signed into law today.

“Driver’s licenses, temporary or permanent, are licenses to work,” Villivalam said. “Working people in immigrant communities need to have reliable access to a driver’s license to continue providing for their families.”

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Category: Press Releases

Originally published on Bloomberg on July 21, 2021.

Illinois State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz attended public schools in Oak Park, a liberal town near Chicago, yet it wasn’t until law school that she learned anything about Asian American history, including how her Chinese immigrant grandparents fought deportation from Portland, Oregon. 

That won’t be the case for the current generation of students in Illinois, which this month became the first U.S. state to require public schools teach Asian American history starting in the 2022-2023 school year. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act into law on July 9, calling it a new standard “that helps us understand one another.” The landmark law broadly mandates that Illinois public elementary and high schools teach a unit of Asian American history.

“We are ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to learn about Asian Americans’ contributions and experiences without attending law school or taking Asian American studies in college,” said Gong-Gershowitz, co-sponsor of the bill. “After all, Asian American history is American history.”

Support for the legislation gained momentum in the past year as racism and violence against Asians in the U.S. surged during the pandemic. Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 major U.S. cities rose 164% in first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. Non-profit coalition Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 6,600 incidents of anti-Asian bias from March 2020 to March 2021.

“The unfortunate rise in anti-Asian hate made it even more urgent,” said Ram Villivalam, Illinois’s first and only Indian American state senator and another co-sponsor of the bill

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Category: In The News

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