PolishSPRINGFIELD – To center and support the power of the Polish community in Chicago, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a measure to designate Milwaukee Avenue from Sangamon Street in Chicago to Greenwood Road in Niles as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

“Polish communities have always had a large impact on the Chicago area, even far beyond their unique and recognizable cultural touchstones like food and the arts. Their local businesses have historically anchored neighborhoods and sustained local social and economic development,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I remain firmly committed that stronger communities means a stronger Illinois. We in Springfield will continue to innovate and construct public policy to that end.”

Under House Bill 5581, a section of Milwaukee Avenue will be recognized under the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

Last year, Sen. Pacione-Zayas, along with House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) passed a law that allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to designate cultural districts to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois. HB 5581 provides a stepping stone for this community to be designated in this way.

“My hope is that this is only the first step in showing up for the Polish community through concrete designation,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I hope to work with Polish communities and institutions in my district, like the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, to further recognize and empower these communities.”

HB 5581 passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.

Category: Press Releases


From the story: 

Illinois Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, a Chicago Democrat, recently spearheaded the Too Young to Test Act, which would prohibit standardized tests for Illinois’ youngest students, except for the case of diagnostic tests including determining eligibility for special education services, bilingual services, dyslexia interventions, observational tools like the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey and the federally mandated English Learner assessments.

“We’ve already taken significant time and resources away from student learning by having students jump right back into testing last spring, in the thick of the pandemic, and the results were what we predicted,” said Pacione-Zayas, a mother of two children...

“Who won here? The testing companies,” Pacione-Zayas said, adding that instead of spending taxpayer dollars on multimillion-dollar contracts with testing companies, the state should use part of the $7 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding allocated to Illinois schools to improve resources in the classroom for students, and provide professional development for teachers.

“We need a radical transformation in our educational system, because what has been done in the past is not working,” Pacione-Zayas said.

Read the full story here

Category: In the News

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

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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