Illinois celebrated Earth Day this year with a rally and lobby day in Springfield.
The Sierra Club partnered with community leaders, climate activists, unions, and many other allies to bring over 350 people to the state’s capital to push for the passage of urgent environmental legislation.
On the top on the agenda was the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, a bill to ramp up renewable energy like wind and solar to 35 percent by 2030, cut energy use through efficiency by 20 percent by 2025, and limit dangerous carbon pollution. Activists also rallied and lobbied to begin a stakeholder process on state implementation of the Clean Power Plan, to protect clean energy funds from budget sweeps, and to ensure environmental justice participation in Clean Power Plan implementation.
The day started bright and early for many participants who boarded buses from their communities to the capitol:
Supporters gathered around the Lincoln Statue to hear from legislative champions and grassroots leaders. Of special note, we had a number of speakers from local Sierra Club teams and coalitions:
Dulce Ortiz from Clean Power Lake County spoke of the need to create a just transition for Waukegan’s lakefront. Props to Celeste Flores—our new Waukegan Beyond Coal organizer for inviting Dulce to speak, and for recruiting a full bus!
Eden Vitoff, a high school student with Green Lyfe who has partnered closely with Metro Green Alliance, spoke about the need to protect the climate for future generations. Props to Elizabeth Scrafford for recruiting Eden to her campaign and getting 31 folks from Alton to join for the day!
JC Kibbey, a researcher with Unite Here Local 1 and member of Chicago Sierra Club’s Executive Committee, spoke about the importance of the partnership between labor and the environmental community.
After the rally, participants dropped off postcards at the Governor’s office, calling on him to pass the Clean Jobs Bill and begin a Clean Power Plan stakeholder process in Illinois. Many participants lobbied their legislators on top environmental bills.
Pastor Norma Prays with Sen. Haine that make the right decision to support the Clean Jobs Bill.
Big thank yous to: Illinois Climate Table—especially partners Faith in Place, People for Community Recovery, Illinois Environmental Council, Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois, and Moms Clean Air Force; Press Pro: Emily Rosenwasser; Email hack: Debra Cohen; Legislative wizards: Christine Nannicelli, Terri Treacy, & Jack Darin; Organizing gurus: Kady McFadden, Allison Fisher; Sierra Club volunteer teams who rocked the turnout and the Captial: Woods & Wetlands/Clean Power Lake County, Heart of Illinois/Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, Piasa Palisades/Metro East Green Alliance, Illinois Statewide Clean Power Team; bus and carpool captain extraordinaires: Tim Milburn, Pastor Vance, Hari Lambda, Doris Davenport, Julian Chavez, Melinda Elliott, Celeste Flores, Erin Crilly, + Elizabeth Scrafford; Pastor Norma Patterson who brought her fiery spirit to speak at the Alton rally and make metro east legislators squirm as she prayed over them that they would do the right thing and co-sponsor the Clean Jobs Bill.
WHBF Quad Cities
Preview from the RiverBender (Alton)
WBGZ Radio (Alton)
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