Commits to meaningful investments to close racial disparities in kidney health


CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has been appointed co-chair of the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force, a new panel charged with raising public awareness and presenting solutions to reduce the prevalence of kidney disease and racial disparities in diagnoses and outcomes.

“Especially in the African-American community, a largely preventable disease is claiming the lives of our neighbors simply due to lack of awareness and access to treatment,” Hunter said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the leading professionals on the task force to reduce the burden of kidney disease and eradicate the racial inequities in kidney health. It’s time for meaningful investments in outreach, research, and health coverage to close this disparity.”

The task force will work with leading educational institutions in Illinois to create health education programs to increase awareness of and examine chronic kidney disease, early detection, transplants and kidney donations, and the greater rates of diagnosis in minority groups. This will include a public outreach campaign consisting of health education workshops, seminars, preventative screening events, and social media, TV, and radio outreach.

African-Americans are four times as likely to develop kidney failure as Caucasians, while Hispanics are twice as likely. Almost half of the people waiting for a kidney in Illinois identify as African American, but, in 2017, less than 10% of them received a kidney.

Hunter is a long-time advocate against racial health inequality. In recent months, Hunter has bolstered her calls for accelerated investments and policy solutions following the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

“Closing the vast health disparities can no longer be an afterthought. It must be an urgent and primary priority for leaders at every level,” Hunter said.

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. If chronic kidney disease is detected early and managed correctly, swift treatment can slow and even stop kidney deterioration.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Roughly one in four adults with diabetes has kidney disease. An estimated 31 million Americans, including 1.12 million Illinois residents, are living with chronic kidney disease.

The task force will consist of legislators, doctors, non-profit leaders, and officials from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. It is required to submit a report to the General Assembly on or before December 31, 2020, and then be dissolved.

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CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is urging eligible small business owners to apply for the new Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program launched by the City of Chicago this week.

“Family-owned microbusinesses are the foundation of Chicago’s beauty, culture, and neighborhood commerce,” Hunter said. “While they don’t qualify for many federal small business relief opportunities, they are equipped with far less cash reserves than many businesses that do, making them more prone to permanent closure due to COVID-19.”

Chosen via lottery, the program will award 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees a one-time grant of $5,000. The grant money, funded entirely by private donations, must be used as working capital for expenses such as payroll, rent, insurance or taxes.

The relief program is aimed at providing relief to businesses primarily owned by minorities and immigrants, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters.

“I appreciate the city taking action to help make sure small businesses in my community don’t slip through the cracks,” Hunter said. “I encourage every microbusiness owner in need to apply for assistance.”

According to city officials, microbusinesses make up roughly half of Chicago businesses and a significant portion are minority- and immigrant-owned.

To be eligible for a grant, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • Four or fewer employees
  • Less than $250,000 annual revenue
  • In business for at least one year
  • 25% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19
  • Located in a low- or moderate-income community area 

A map of eligible community areas can be found here.

Applications are available in English and Spanish on the City of Chicago’s website and are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Applicants must provide a valid ID and completed W-9 form. CityKey is an accepted form of ID. Recipients will be chosen on May 11 and issued their grant within two business days.

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CHICAGO — State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is emphasizing the importance of safe sleep for infants during a time when many parents are experiencing heightened stress levels and alternative daily routines, which could include new caregivers for their children.

Parents should remember the ABC’s of sleep safety. A child should be alone and never sleeping with someone else, placed on their back and not on their sides or stomach, and in a crib rather than on a bed or couch.

“Some families, especially those of essential workers, are developing new daily routines during this unprecedented time, which could include new child care providers or caregivers,” Hunter said. “I would encourage every parent to have a conversation with any alternative caregiver about the ABC’s of sleep and other rules for a safe sleep environment.”

Sleep suffocation is the leading cause of reported child deaths in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Last year, between January 1 and June 30, 53 infants in Illinois under the age of 1 died as a result of being put to sleep unsafely. Being placed in a location to sleep other than a crib, bassinet or pack and play; lying in positions that weren’t on their back; or co-sleeping lead to the deaths.

Babies are safest when they are alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly-fitted sheets. The crib should not have any pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Additionally, a baby should never be put to sleep on an adult bed or couch.

“These are simple and vital steps every parent and caregiver should keep in mind when saying goodnight to a little one,” Hunter said. “There are many products on the market that promise to reduce the risk of accidental suffocation or SIDS, but parents should know that practicing the ABC’s of sleep is the safest measure we can take to ensure safe and healthy sleep for babies and infants.”

Parents having difficulty getting their baby to sleep should contact their pediatrician or the Fussy Baby Network at 1-888-431-BABY (2229) for professional guidance.

Parents can also visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Crib Safety Information Center for sleep safety tips and a list of recalled products.

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Mattie Hunter

CHICAGO – Illinois motorists would no longer suffer hefty fines by municipalities through the use of red-light cameras under legislation proposed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 2902 prohibits any unit of government from using automated traffic law enforcement systems at intersections for the purpose of recording a driver's failure to stop and yield at a red light.

“It’s clear that the red-light camera program has been sustained and expanded by corruption,” Hunter said. “Traffic laws should be driven by safety, not bribery, shakedowns or the need to boost revenue. An industry that benefited from foul-play shouldn’t be able to continue to siphon money from the pockets of motorists.”

Red-light cameras have been a source of frustration for Illinois motorists since they were first legalized in 2006.

According to reports in the press, red light cameras have generated over $1 billion in revenue for local governments in Illinois over the past decade. Reports indicate that red-light camera revenue increased by roughly 111% between 2008 and 2018, from $53.5 million to $113.2 million.

SB 2902 limits the ability of units of government to use automated traffic enforcement systems except for the following:

  • school safety zone violations
  • failure to yield for a stopped school bus
  • railroad crossing violations
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