Statement in Support of Funding the Illinois Non-Profit Security Grant Program

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Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Statement in Support of Funding the Illinois Non-Profit Security Grant Program

“The Jewish Caucus recommends the allocation of at minimum $8 million in the FY23 budget to fund the Illinois Non-Profit Security Grant Program. The rise in antisemitism and other forms of hate and bigotry in recent years has led to a surge in attacks on houses of worship and other cultural and communal institutions. Illinois’ Non-Profit Security Grant Program was signed into law in 2017 and has yet to be funded. With this appropriation, non-profits can boost their security by purchasing cameras, walls, bulletproof glass, reinforced doors, and bollards; offer enhanced safety training and planning for staff; and, under certain circumstances, hire or contract security professionals. Additionally, this allocation will provide IEMA with sufficient additional funds to implement the grant program.”

“The reported examples of hate and extremism are far too numerous and growing. On January 15th during Shabbat services, an armed gunman held hostage the Rabbi and members of Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas for 11 harrowing hours. In November 2021, a synagogue in Highland Park, IL was vandalized with antisemitic and racist graffiti. Illinois has seen several similar attacks: in February 2017, Chicago’s Loop Synagogue was vandalized and tagged with Nazi imagery; in May 2021, Skokie’s Persian Hebrew Congregation was vandalized by anti-Israel agitators, who blamed American Jews for the actions of the Israeli government during the May 2021 Middle East conflict initiated by Hamas against Israel; and outside of Illinois white supremacists murdered Jews in deadly attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh, PA (2018) and Poway, CA (2019), as well as vandalism against synagogues in Kenosha, WI (2020) and Los Angeles, CA (2021). Nationally, Jewish Americans face more than 53 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes. However, other religious, cultural and ethnic groups also face increasing threats from domestic terrorists. Nationally, reported attacks against Black Americans nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020. For example, three African American churches in Opelousas, LA, were burned in anti-Christian arson attacks in April 2019. Additionally, one in five Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced a hate incident within the last year, according to the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition.”

“According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Illinois is home to 19 active hate groups as of last year. The City of Chicago saw 79 reported hate crimes in 2020 (however, most law enforcement experts believe hate crimes are dramatically underreported). Nationally, in 2020, the FBI tabulated the highest number of reported hate crime incidents since 2008.”

“The State of Illinois must act to help secure our vulnerable communities. In FY21, non-profits from across Illinois received $8.6 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency Non-Profit Security Grant funding, including 44 organizations in Chicago and 29 non-profits located throughout the rest of Illinois. However, the federal Non-Profit Security Grant program is nationally oversubscribed – by $220 million in FY21, and FEMA had to deny 42% of Illinois non-profits seeking security-related funding. The State of Illinois must play a role in covering security expenses that the federal government cannot. The federal program is highly competitive, and even with recent increases to the federal budget, some of which are one-time only, it will remain dramatically oversubscribed.”

“Funding the Illinois Non-Profit Security Grant Program will save lives and protect institutions our diverse communities rely on for social services, healthcare, pastoral care, education, communal and cultural engagement, etc., amidst the disturbing uptick in hate many of our most vulnerable have experienced.”

Illinois State Representative Jonathan Carroll
Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy
Illinois State Representative Margaret Croke
Illinois State Representative Daniel Didech
Illinois State Senator Sara Feigenholtz
Illinois State Senator Laura Fine
Illinois State Representative Robyn Gabel
Illinois State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
Illinois State Representative Will Guzzardi
Illinois State Representative Anna Moeller
Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan
Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison
Illinois State Representative Denyse Wang Stoneback
Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam
Illinois State Representative Sam Yingling