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News Around Illinois — Sept. 8

The latest news around the state for Sept. 8, 2020.

The Chicago Abortion Fund is funding billboards in Champaign, Peoria and the Chicago suburbs to remind the public that abortion is covered under Medicaid in Illinois. Two years ago, former Gov. Bruce Rauner overturned the Hyde Amendment, which bans most states from using Medicaid to pay for abortions. While neighboring states restrict border access, Illinois is seen as a haven that protects access. The number of abortions for out-of-state residents have nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. —Natalie Moore, WBEZ

ISU Professor On What Could Unlock Better Police–Community Relations

Illinois State University professor Miltonette Craig says in order to improve police–community relations, there has to be a concept of legitimacy in the eyes of the community that is being policed. She believes it is on the police to initiate outreach since they are the authority figures. In the area, Craig says, there are four different agencies — the Normal Police Department, the Bloomington Police Department, ISU Police Department and the McLean County sheriff’s office — working mostly independently of each other, which can lead to disjointed responses and law enforcement. Craig also says cultural competence and sensitivity training could be the first step to improving police-community relations. —Tiffani Jackson, WGLT

Northern Illinois Socialists Organize Labor Day Rally For Post Office

The Rockford Labor Day parade was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, but the northern Illinois chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) organized a special Labor Day rally. DSA members put together the rally to support the post office and postal workers in response to the sudden partisanship of the post office and operational changes that have contributed to longer wait times and delayed mail. —Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco, WNIJ 

Multicultural Leadership Program Seeks Focus On COVID, Racial Justice

The Multicultural Leadership Program in Bloomington-Normal will work with local nonprofits to address the impacts of COVID-19 and racial injustice. This year’s class of 25 will meet online in the nine-month intensive course. Matt Dratt, the new executive director for the program, says anxiety counseling will be part of the course, given the emotional turmoil the pandemic has caused. The program also partners with agencies that work on immigrant rights, fair housing and career counseling for women and people of color. —Eric Stock, WGLT

After low visitor numbers, Navy Pier closure begins Tuesday

Chicago’s Navy Pier will shut down on Tuesday until the spring. The tourist attraction has struggled bringing in visitors due to the pandemic. Officials say visitor numbers were between 15–20% of a typical summer season. A re-opening date has not yet been announced.  —Associated Press

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