Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has been tapped to help lead efforts to improve the lives of black males in Illinois.
According to a city of Aurora news release, state officials this week announced Irvin’s appointment to the inaugural Commission on the Social Status of Black Males, a statewide initiative led by state Rep. LaShawn K. Ford.
Ford sponsored HR390, which created the commission to study the social conditions of black males in Illinois, develop strategies to remedy or assist in remedying severe adversities, and make recommendations to improve their educational, social, economic, and employment opportunities.
“While we proposed and passed HR390 before the current focus of racial reckoning in America, it is unfolding at an appropriate time,” Ford said. “We have assembled a team of leaders and advocates with proven experience who will work together to develop a framework which can be used throughout the state as we strive to improve the lives of black males in Illinois.”
The commission is comprised of 14 members throughout the state who have worked in their respective communities on issues of equity and parity, particularly with black males. Commissioners include state and municipal elected officials, community advocates, and youth representatives.
During the commission’s inaugural meeting, members selected Irvin to serve as its chief commissioner.
“As a black male raised by a single mother in public housing who now has the privilege of serving as mayor of my hometown, I know firsthand what is possible,” Irvin said. “Together, our team will lead the efforts of identifying and breaking down barriers, implementing strategies to increase opportunities, and focusing on having a multi-generational impact on our communities.”
Co-chairs of the commission are Ford, state Reps. Nicholas Smith, Michael Marron, and Lindsay Parkhurst.
Commissioners include Irvin, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer, Revin Fellows, Hubert Harrington, Dr. Stanley Howard, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Aaron Mallory, Dawson Pickens, Isaiah Shelton, Calumet City Alderman Anthony Smith.
The commission began meeting virtually this month, with plans for an upcoming press conference to unveil long-term goals and immediate plans for the future.
Irvin’s involvement on the commission marks his second statewide appointment this year.
Gov. JB Pritzker asked him to serve on the Illinois Renew, Reinvest and Renew (R3) Board. The R3 Board allocates 25% of Illinois cannabis tax revenue to fund grants that provide services to repair the harm caused by economic disinvestment, violence, and the war on drugs in impacted areas of the state.
SOURCE: city of Aurora news release