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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2004

Gov. Blagojevich signs law creating the Illinois African-American Family Commission Act
Commission to improve education, employment and health among African American population

SPRINGFIELD, IL  - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 3208 establishing the African-American Family Commission Act.  The legislation expands the role of an already established 15-member commission that works with state agencies to improve educational, human services, and community development programs for African-Americans.
 
“African-Americans have made great strides over the last few decades, yet in terms of education, employment and overall health, African-Americans are still behind other racial groups,” Governor Blagojevich said.  “The African-American Family Commission Act expands the scope of the Commission to partner with more state agencies to support and strengthen African-American families in Illinois.” 
 
The African American Family Commission was first established by executive order in 1994.  At that time, the commission was directed to work with the Department of Children and Family Services to develop and implement programs for African-American Families. 
 
Under the new Act, the Commission will collaborate with the Department on Aging, Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Aid, Department of Public Health and other agencies.  
 
Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago) sponsored SB 3208. 
 
“The African-American Family Commission has made much progress in promoting family preservation.  I am pleased that Governor Blagojevich has signed this legislation because it builds on the successes over thepast ten years in terms of strengthening the African-American family,” Sen. Hunter said.
 
“This legislation brings together the resources of many state agencies to make a difference for African-American families,” said Rep. Art Turner who sponsored the House version.  “Stronger families will lead to higher graduation rates, better paying jobs and improved health outlooks for African-American families in Illinois.”   
 
Members of the commission are appointed by the Governor and serve 2-year terms.  The Commission is required to provide an annual progress report to the Governor and the General Assembly.
 
African-Americans represent 15 percent of the 12 million people in Illinois and 26 percent of the population in Chicago.
 


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