This month marks the 58th anniversary of an event that transformed our nation: the Supreme Court decision on Brown vs. Board of Education. Before the court decision, schools across America were unjustly segregated. In Topeka, Kansas, black children were forced to attend one of the four blacks-only schools a mile or more from their home every day.  In 1951, for every $150 spent on white children at the “white schools,” there was only $50 spent for every black child at their schools which led to limited and outdated resources.   

Under the circumstances of segregated schools, the parents believed that their children were being taught to think themselves inferior to whites. Thirteen parents, including Oliver Brown, tried to enroll their children in white-only schools in the Topeka School District in 1951.  Oliver’s daughter, Linda, was forced to travel miles, each way, to attend her black school, when a white school was only six blocks from her home.  Her daily trek involved walking through a dangerous railroad switching station.  


The children were denied admittance to the “whites only” schools and so the parents decided to sue.  A Kansas state court ruled in favor of the Board of Education citing a previous court case that allowed for the segregation of schools across America. 


The court also stated that they believed the children would be better accustomed to the harsher segregation they will face as adults if they stayed in their black schools.  The court had now confirmed the parents’ belief that their children would always be taught to deem themselves inferior to whites. 


The case was then brought before the Supreme Court.  After three years of testimony and deliberation, the Supreme Court unanimously overruled the state court’s decision.  Schools across America would now be desegregated and children of all races would have access to the same education.

In 2004, I co-chaired the Illinois Commission on the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. Through this commission, data was compiled into a reference website created by Chicago State University. The Commission created a reenactment of the court decision by building a set mimicking the Supreme Court and the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court acted as the judges who made this historic decision in 1954.  Comcast broadcasted this event live to every class room in the state allowing the children to interact by submitting questions through the internet for us to answer. To see visit the website and to see a recording of the live reenactment, please visit

Category: Front Page

Many of you have probably heard of the new diet craze around gluten-free food products. These items are increasingly more accessible in local grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants. What many do not know is that gluten-free products are not meant for weight loss but actually to combat an autoimmune disease that strikes at least three million people in America. Celiac disease is caused by an allergic reaction to a protein commonly found in wheat and grains called gluten.

Celiac disease damages the small intestine and leads the body to start fighting itself. Because the disease has over 300 symptoms that mimic other diseases, it is hard to diagnose and can take up to four years to be diagnosed. A gluten-free diet is the most effective treatment, and without this lifestyle change, celiac disease can lead to can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and sometimes cancer.


The disease affects one in every 236 African-, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans and is often undiagnosed. It is very important to learn the symptoms of celiac disease and to talk to your doctor about the process of diagnosis. To learn more about celiac disease and its symptoms, please visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness at

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D – Chicago) is calling on the House of Representatives today to pass a measure that will assist minority and female-owned disadvantaged small businesses in receiving contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Hunter’s pressure for passage of the measure comes in the wake of Metra’s announcement to delay awarding a contract to an Elgin-based contractor to build the Englewood Flyover rail bridge. Earlier this month, Metra officials said they would postpone awarding the contract to their June 15 meeting after Congressmen Danny K. Davis, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Bobby Rush disputed the original winning contract.

“The Englewood community has one of the highest unemployment and crime rates not just in Illinois, but in the country. It has the unfortunate history of being passed over when it comes to government assistance and bidding contracts,” Hunter said. “Metra’s original decision to seek contractors outside of the community in which this project is planned is exactly the reason why this measure needs to become law.  With a little under two weeks left of session this year, the House needs to take action on this legislation immediately.”

Senate Bill 2491 establishes the Working Capital Loan Repayment Fund which will aid struggling Illinois’ minority and female owned construction businesses in winning procurement contracts with IDOT.  The Fund will be able to provide the companies with loans up to $3 million a year over the next 10 years starting to help them with their current liabilities and expenses associated with these projects. 

Category: Front Page

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Senate voted today to eliminate state subsidies for retirees’ health insurance premiums. The measure, Senate Bill 1313, passed both chambers and now heads to Governor Pat Quinn for his signature.  Senate Majority Caucus Whip Mattie Hunter issued the following statement in regard to her opposition to the Senate vote on Senate Bill 1313:

“I have been advocating for responsible solutions to our state’s budget deficit, but I cannot support doing so on the backs of the people. We have said over and over that we must fix this fiscal problem through shared sacrifice but we cannot do that by breaking promises. I think this was the wrong approach and I am very disappointed by today’s vote.”

Category: Front Page

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