Formation Of Racial Justice Task Force Up To County Board Chair

Members of the public attending a Champaign County Board meeting to talk about a proposed Racial Justice Task Force.

A video screenshot shows members of the public attending the Oct. 13, 2015 Champaign County Board Committee-of-the-Whole meeting in Urbana to talk about a proposal for a Racial Justice Task Force.

Video Screenshot/Champaign County Clerk

Champaign County Board Chair Pattsi Petrie says she hopes to have a Racial Justice Task Force holding meetings by January. The county board on Thursday assigned Petrie the task of forming the task force, to study ways to address racial disparities in the Champaign County Jail population and in the criminal justice system.

Petrie says the ultimate effectiveness of the task force depends on the people who campaigned for it.

"If these people who have come before the county board with this ask, to be set up by the county, have the positive intention for change, then it is my hope that there will be cooperation and collaboration to create a robust document that will indeed cause a paradigm shift in this community,", said Petrie.

Petrie says she envisions a 21-member task force with members from the community, the financial sector, local employers and the University of Illinois.

The idea for a Racial Justice Task Force was first raised by the Champaign County Board’s Community Justice Task Force two years ago. Supporters of the new advisory panel turned out in large numbers at the county board meeting Thursday night and at a county board committee-of-the-whole meeting on October 13th to argue their case.

Story source: WILL