Unprecedented Sit-In Protest on Floor of U.S. House of Representatives Over Gun Control

An unprecedented sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives led by Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., over failure to call a vote on gun controls was met by House Republicans calling for adjournment and shutting off CSPAN.

Gun control is a public policy issue that Community Word and Peoria NAACP discussed at a free public screening of “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA” on May 26. Just 18 days after this documentary was screened in Peoria, there was a mass shooting in Orlando leaving 49 dead and 53 injured.

There have been 15 mass shootings so far in Florida this year. Illinois has had 11 mass shootings so far this year.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos joined the sit-in. Here is a release from her office:


Bustos Joins Sit-In Protest on the Floor of the House to Demand a Vote on Legislation to Reduce Gun Violence

Bustos interviews Members of Congress on her Snapchat account since the GOP Majority turned off CSPAN cameras
Jun 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos joined her colleagues to protest the Republican Majority’s inaction on legislation that would reduce gun violence. At issue are several common sense bills that would help protect Americans against terrorism, mass shootings and everyday instances of gun violence on our streets. One of the bills, H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, or the “No Fly / No Buy” bill, would prevent anyone on the no fly list from purchasing a deadly weapon. Another key piece of legislation is H.R. 1217, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act which would require criminal background checks on all gun sales to prevent violent offenders from getting deadly weapons.

Because the Republican Majority put the House in recess to turn off CSPAN’s cameras during the sit-in protest, as a former journalist, Bustos took it upon herself to start interviewing members of Congress on her Snapchat account.

You can watch those videos at repcheri on SnapChat.

“Too many mothers and fathers have lost their children to gun violence and they deserve more than thoughts and prayers, they deserve action,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “That’s why I’m participating in the sit-in protest to demand Congress hold a vote to close loophole that allows suspected terrorists to buy guns, and a vote expanding criminal background checks to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of violent offenders. Americans are sick of inaction from Republicans in Washington and they deserve a vote on common sense proposals to protect our families.



METEC: Financial Empowerment Week


June has been designated as National Homeownership Month.  The goal of this important initiative is to provide programs that  help  individuals  achieve the dream of homeownership. METEC’s homebuying programs and services are the tools that make that dream happen.  Financial Empowerment Week is a one stop shop where participants can get information about the homebuying process, credit building products, employment and job training, in addition to other community resources.
June 18, 2016-June 23, 2016
METEC Resource Center
2605 W Krause Ave
Peoria, IL 61605
Call (309) 676-3832 to register!
June 18, 2016
Free Tax Preparation for Late filers
By Appointment Only- Call (309) 676-3832
(2015 Taxes Only)
June 20, 2016
TABE Test (Testing of Adult Basic Education)
10:00am – 1:00pm
Applying for  that special job training, technical school, or college,  TABE testing  helps prepare you for basic math and reading.
June 21, 2016
Home Maintenance class
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Learn how to install a back splash, fix holes in dry wall, and change locks on doors.
June 23, 2016
Employment Soft Skills Training
 10am – 12pm
Learn 10 basic personal qualities you must display on every job.

Benefit concert for Friends of Riverfront Park June 23


Friends of Riverfront Park presents a Save Riverfront Park Benefit Concert, from 6 pm to 8 pm on Thursday June 23 in the park at the foot of Morton Street in Peoria, IL. near Constitution Gardens.

The event stars Barry Cloyd (http://www.barrycloyd.com/) and Freedom Street with special guest Robin Crowe (http://robincrowe.com/).

The event is free. Donations will be gratefully accepted to support expenses to preserve the park.

People should bring lawn chairs and blankets. Picnics are appropriate and food will be available for purchase. No alcohol is permitted in the park.

Parking is available at the Riverplex, or at the Morton Street parking lot for the mobility challenged.

Friends of Riverfront Park aims to save the park, a unique urban open space, from being ruined by four 4-story luxury apartments and a road. Details about the efforts to save the park also will be announced at the event.

Rain location is the GAR Hall, 416 Hamilton Boulevard, Peoria. Check the Facebook page for the latest information.

The concert is dedicated to Dorothy and Henry Sinclair. Peoria City Council member Dorothy Sinclair was a founder of Riverfront Park, and a memorial to her is in the park. Henry Sinclair spoke out to the City Council against the apartments shortly before his death.


An Illinois not for profit corporation

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/riverfrontparkfriends

Email: peoriaforp@yahoo.com

FOIA government for access to information

Greater Peoria League of Women Voters Program on

How Citizens Can Get Information From Their Government

“How Citizens Can Get Information from Their Government” is the topic of discussion for Drinks & Dialogue, a program hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria. The public is invited to participate in the dialogue, at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at the Lariat Steakhouse, 2232 W. Glen, Peoria, 61614. Social hour begins at 5 p.m.

This dialogue about citizens getting information from their government will open with comments from Peoria City Clerk Beth Ball and City of Peoria Deputy Corporation Counsel Sonni Williams, and be facilitated by League members.  Both Clerk Ball and Ms. Williams have extensive experience and knowledge of the most common tool for citizens wanting information – FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).

Regarding this topic, the LWVUS’ position is:  The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government. The League further believes that governmental bodies must protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.

Drinks & Dialogue provides an opportunity for people to share opinions and ideas, ask questions and become more aware of local, state and national issues and the options for making change. There’s no cost to participate, and refreshments are available to buy. It is offered monthly, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, for one hour starting at 5:30 p.m. on local, state and national topics.

The League is a non-partisan, issues oriented, volunteer, member-directed organization committed to open, responsive and effective government brought about by informed, involved citizens with membership open to both men and women in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties. For more information, go to www.lwvgp.org.

Documentary screening on guns drew mixed audience



“Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA” drew an audience of about 50 people Thursday evening at a free public screening at Peoria Public Library North Branch. In the audience were both gun advocates and gun safety advocates. The documentary seeks common ground between those two groups.

The free public screening was co-sponsored by Community Word and Peoria NAACP.

The film looks at gun violence tragedies and how the NRA and gun manufacturers make billions of dollars in profit from maintaining the current culture of guns.

Following the film, a panel answered questions from the audience.

On the panel:

Deputy Police Chief Chris Ahart, Peoria Heights

Marcella Teplitz, former Peoria Police Detective; Private Investigator

Sharon Williams, Peoria County Board

Karen Wilson, Peoria NAACP

Addressing the panel, one audience member stated there was no gun violence in the film, only violence by people. In response to that, Teplitz said as a former police officer she saw far too many children killed by guns in Peoria not to take issue with that characterization of the film.

Chief Ahart stated that reasonable gun regulation does reduce gun violence.

Wilson noted that she was the only person of color at the screening. The film noted that African American men are 10 times more likely that white men to be killed by guns.

Williams said she and her husband are responsible gun owners and compromise does not mean taking guns away from law-abiding people.

At one point, attorney Jack Teplitz explained the evolution of the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment regarding gun ownership by a militia and by private citizens.

The film presents important statistics to understand the crisis and help further the role of reasonable background checks and waiting periods.

Statistics in the film:

  • 48 percent fewer on-duty police are shot to death in states with background checks.
  • Chicago police seize an illegal gun every 72 minutes.
  • More Americans died of gun violence in Chicago between 2001 and 2010 than died in the war in Afghanistan.
  • 74 percent of NRA members support universal background checks yet 40 percent of gun owners did not go through background checks.

“Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA” is a Robert Greenwald film by Brave New Films. For more information on the documentary go to: www.MakingAKilling.com.

Coverage of the event:

WMBD TV: http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/locals-discuss-gun-debate-try-to-understand-opposite-perspectives


WEEK TV: This link is not yet posted; it will be added when available.


Caterpillar Inc. CEO talks about the importance of diversity

In his remarks at a recent Peace for Peoria event at the Civic Center, Caterpillar Inc. CEO Doug Oberhelman said his company is successful not just due to its products but also due to its diverse workforce.

“It’s because we welcome employees, customers, dealers, suppliers and contractors without regard to race, religion, national origin, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age or disability,” he said.

Read his complete remarks here:



Mika’s Bistro chef demonstrates “quick & easy” recipes with early spring produce



Ruth Moser, chef and manager at Mika’s Bistro, 112 S. Main St., Eureka, cooks using produce raised without chemicals by Henry Brockman on his nearby farm.

Moser, a graduate of the culinary school at Joliet Junior College, has cooked in hotels around the country and in Switzerland. The former pastry chef is now back in her hometown of Eureka running the daily operations at Mika’s Bistro where the menu changes seasonally and includes a selection of chef-prepared items in a take-out cooler.

At the May 11 cooking demonstration, Moser used early spring produce including rhubarb, chives, sorrel, choy, beet greens, lamb’s quarters and green garlic in “quick and easy recipes.”

Brockman has farmed following organic practices on his rich, chemical-free bottomland between Congerville and Eureka for 23 years. He is taking applications for his CSA. For more information visit his website at http://www.brockmanfamilyfarming.com/henrys-farm.

For more information on Mika’s, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MikasBistro/