BenefitsNavSPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans across the state are struggling to make ends meet, including university students. To help students find assistance programs, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a measure to require universities to designate a Benefits Navigator.

“There are so many assistance programs available that are underutilized,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Ensuring students are aware of their options to get support is important, especially for individuals struggling to make ends meet while in college.”

House Bill 4201 requires the each public university and community college in Illinois to designate a Benefits Navigator to assist students in identifying and applying for benefit programs and campus-wide and community assistance programs.

Additionally, the Benefits Navigator will participate in a statewide consortium with navigators from other universities and colleges to develop best practices and coordinate information.

“This legislation will ensure someone on campus is available to help students get the support they need to succeed,” Pacione-Zayas said. “From assisting students apply for child care funding to finding scholarship opportunities, the Benefits Navigator will be there to help.”

HB 4201 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday and goes to the Senate floor for full consideration.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – As the state and country loosen COVID-19 restrictions, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) issued a statement regarding the health concerns associated with the pandemic for children and people who are immunocompromised:

VaccineClinic1“This past winter, the Omicron surge was responsible for 20% of all child deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. This statistic instigates the need for continued action as the pandemic continues.

“Because children under five are still unable to get vaccinated, they are at a much higher risk for infection and acute illness, warranting the need for continued masking for them as well as immunocompromised people.VaccineClinic23

“Schools throughout the district I represent face low vaccination rates, with many not yet hitting 50% of eligible students being vaccinated. As new variants emerge, I am calling on schools and communities to continue to encourage vaccines for those who can get it, as higher vaccination rates are vital to protecting the community at large. Additionally, I encourage people to continue to mask up as an extra layer of protection for themselves and those around them.”

Pacione-Zayas urges students and parents to attend her district office’s last March vaccine clinic at 3140 W. Montrose Ave. on Tuesday, March 22 from 12-5 p.m. These clinics have provided approximately 2,000 vaccines to community members since last year. Find other vaccination opportunities in Chicago using the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.

 

 

Category: Press Releases

ChildrenInSportsCHICAGO – To highlight the importance of equitable access to school sports programs, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) participated in a virtual panel with Laureus USA alongside athletes and other community leaders.

“Sports can be an enriching outlet for students when it comes to both their physical and mental health,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Unfortunately, students from financially insecure households, LGBTQ youth and girls are more likely to drop out before age 13. Removing barriers for these kids to stick with sports is an important goal.”

Sports not only help children keep fit – they also allow young people to make better social connections and develop stronger social-emotional skills. However, according to Laureus USA, 70% of young people drop out of sports by age 13, with many children saying they stopped having fun or their family could no longer afford fees and equipment.  

During Friday’s panel, Pacione-Zayas joined State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago); Luol Deng, a Chicago Bulls Alumni; Michael Johnson, an Olympic champion; and Merary Flores and Amy Mummery from America SCORES Chicago to address the challenges young people face when accessing sports programs.

“Addressing the barriers kids face to access sports will require a two-pronged approach,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Making sure children have well-trained coaches who can help them in their development and helping families afford to stay involve through grant programs will be imperative.”

Learn more about initiatives to keep children in sports through the America SCORES Chicago program here. Watch a recording of Friday’s panel here.

Category: Press Releases

TribePressConferenceSPRINGFIELD – In a Wednesday press conference, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) joined members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to introduce a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to recognize the illegal selling of the Shab-eh-nay reservation in 1849.

“As U.S. inhabitants, it’s important to recognize the indigenous communities who called this land home before us and continue to call it home,” Pacione-Zayas said. “The land of Chief Shab-eh-nay and his band was illegally sold, and recognition of this act of injustice by the federal government will begin to repair the harm and ensure that the land is recognized as reserved for the Potawatomi people in northern Illinois.”

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe that occupied lands in southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. They signed the 1829 Treaty of Prairie du Chien, which reserved two sections of land near Paw Paw Grove, Illinois for Potawatomi Chief Shab-en-nay and his band.

The Potawatomi people were forcefully removed from their land in the 1830s, and in 1849, while Chief Shab-eh-nay was away visiting family in Kansas, the U.S. General Land Office illegally sold the land and passed the title to non-natives.

“We're grateful to Senator Pacione-Zayas for her support as we work to reclaim the land that was taken from us in the most community-focused, least disruptive way possible," said Chairman Joseph Rupnick. "We're rooted in the northern Illinois community and after 170 years, we just want this issue resolved."

The U.S. Department of the Interior recognizes over 1,000 acres in northern Illinois as the Shab-eh-nay Reservation, and a bill in the U.S. Senate would secure this land for the Potawatomi people.

Pacione-Zayas’ Senate Resolution 896 urges the U.S. Senate to pass the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Shab-eh-nay Band Reservation Act of 2021 to help right the wrongs of the past.

SR 896 awaits assignment to a committee.

Category: Press Releases

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
 
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020