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Press inquiries contact Kristi Sanford, 773-456-4024 or

Click here to view recent press coverage of work by The People’s Lobby and The People’s Lobby Education Institute (formerly known as IIRON).

New Bond Policy Could Cut Jail Population by Half

Monday, September 18, 2017, Contact Kristi Sanford, 773-456-4024 or

On Day One of Cook County’s New Bail Order and Pretrial Division,
Anti-Mass Incarceration Activists Rally to Demand Effective Implementation

At 12:00 pm on Monday, September 18, at the Cook County Courthouse (2600 S. California) activists will hold a rally to demand effective implementation of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ new general order that aims to significantly reduce the number of people incarcerated while awaiting trial. General Order 18.8A instructs judges to set monetary bonds only in amounts that people can pay, potentially eliminating incarceration due solely from inability to pay bond. Right now, more than 4,000 of the 7,500 people in Cook County Jail have been ordered released but remain in custody only because they lack access to the money needed to pay their bonds. Today, Judge Evans announced the names of judges that will serve in his new “Pretrial Division,” replacing all former bond court judges.

“We applaud Judge Evans’ order, but the devil is in the details of implementation and compliance by judges,” said Rev. Charles Straight, a leader with The People’ Lobby. “We will be watching to make sure judges in bond court follow the intended process and set money bonds only in amounts that people can actually afford to pay.”

“Crime and violence are real problems in many neighborhoods and suburbs, especially poor areas where residents are living with high unemployment and decades of disinvestment, but incarceration is not the solution. Jailing people before trial destroys lives and harms communities,” said John Powe, a leader with The People’ Lobby. “Instead, state and local government should invest in these communities, creating social services, good jobs and high-quality schools.”
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Cook County’s $13 Minimum Wage a Huge Victory for Working People

Press Release — October 26, 2016

Contact: Kristi Sanford, 773-456-4024, or Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, 312-316-3973,

Cook County’s $13 Minimum Wage a Huge Victory –

Strong Step in the Long Journey Toward Income Equality

When fully enacted, the wage increase will put $10,000 more a year in workers’ pockets

CHICAGO – The movement to give minimum wage workers a raise continues gaining momentum across the country, with Cook County Commissioners in Illinois Wednesday voting decisively 13-3 in favor of a $13 minimum wage. Cook County is the second most populous county in the U.S. after Los Angeles County, California.

The minimum wage in Cook County is currently $8.25. The first increase — to $10 per hour — goes into effect on July1, 2017. Suburban workers will get another dollar per hour raise each July 1, culminating in a $13 minimum wage in 2020.

The Wednesday victory comes after more than a year of effort by The People’s Lobby, an affiliate of People’s Action Institute, pushing the Cook County Board of Commissioners to improve wages for workers. Research released yesterday by People’s Action Institute calculates the living wage in Cook County as $18.82 per hour – the wage a single worker needs to make ends meet.

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Community Organizations Mount Unprecedented Voter Outreach Campaign to Elect Kim Foxx

For Immediate Release – March 15, 2016

Cook County Contact: Kristi Sanford, 773-456-4020 or

National Contact: Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, 312-316-3973 or

Community Organizations Mount Unprecedented Voter Outreach Campaign to Elect Kim Foxx

Chicago, IL – Community organizations and a nurses union have waged an unprecedented field campaign in the Illinois Democratic Primary to elect Kim Foxx to be the next Cook County State’s Attorney.  Two grassroots organizations, The People’s Lobby and National People’s Action Campaign, knocked on doors and made phone calls to 110,000 voters in Chicago’s key south suburban region. In a separate partnership called Reclaim Chicago, The People’s Lobby and National People’s Action Campaign joined forces with National Nurses United to knock the doors and call the phones of an additional 90,000 voters from Arlington Heights to Chicago’s far south side to organize support for Foxx.

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