Sen. Elgie Simms Jr., D-Chicago, center, speaks during the Survivors Speaker Illinois rally in the state Capitol rotunda Thursday, April 20, 2023. Thomas J. Turney/State Journal-Register

Crime Victims Call for Expanded Protections, Rights at Capitol Rally

Anti-criminal violence advocates rallied in the state Capitol on Thursday, pushing a slate of bills they say will better serve survivors and victims in Illinois.

Aswad Thomas, national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, was on his way to play basketball professionally in Europe when he was shot, thus ending his career. No support services were given to Thomas following the incident, a story he says is too common throughout the state.

“Here today, many survivors across the state of Illinois haven’t had the resources and services that we need to heal and recover from violence,” he told the rotunda crowd Thursday afternoon. “Communities most harmed by violence are the least supported by the justice system.”