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Public Act 094-0285


 

Public Act 0285 94TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY



 


 
Public Act 094-0285
 
HB0383 Enrolled LRB094 06620 RSP 36713 b

    AN ACT establishing the Amistad Commission.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 5. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Act is
amended by adding Section 22 as follows:
 
    (20 ILCS 3405/22 new)
    Sec. 22. Amistad Commission.
    (a) Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that
all people should know of and remember the human carnage and
dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the
African slave trade and slavery in America and of the vestiges
of slavery in this country; and it is in fact vital to educate
our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad
history of racism in this country, and the principles of human
rights and dignity in a civilized society.
    It is the policy of the State of Illinois that the history
of the African slave trade, slavery in America, the depth of
their impact in our society, and the triumphs of
African-Americans and their significant contributions to the
development of this country is the proper concern of all
people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of the
State of Illinois.
    It is therefore desirable to create a Commission that, as
an organized body and on a continuous basis, will survey,
design, encourage, and promote the implementation of education
and awareness programs in Illinois that are concerned with the
African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of
slavery in this country, and the contributions of
African-Americans in building our country; to develop
workshops, institutes, seminars, and other teacher training
activities designed to educate teachers on this subject matter;
and that will be responsible for the coordination of events on
a regular basis, throughout the State, that provide appropriate
memorialization of the events concerning the enslavement of
Africans and their descendants in America and their struggle
for freedom, liberty, and equality.
    (b) Amistad Commission. The Amistad Commission is created
within the Agency. The Commission is named to honor the group
of enslaved Africans transported in 1839 on a vessel named the
Amistad who overthrew their captors and created an
international incident that was eventually argued before the
Supreme Court and that shed a growing light on the evils of the
slave trade and galvanized a growing abolitionist movement
towards demanding the end of slavery in the United States.
    (c) Membership. The Commission shall consist of 15 members,
including 3 ex officio members: the State Superintendent of
Education or his or her designee, the Director of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity or his or her designee, and the Director
of Historic Sites and Preservation or his or her designee; and
12 public members. Public members shall be appointed as
follows:
        (i) 2 members appointed by the President of the Senate
    and one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the
    Senate;
        (ii) 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of
    Representatives and one member appointed by the Minority
    Leader of the House of Representatives; and
        (iii) 6 members, no more than 4 of whom shall be of the
    same political party, appointed by the Governor.
    The public members shall be residents of this State, chosen
with due regard to broad geographic representation and ethnic
diversity, who have served actively in organizations that
educate the public on the history of the African slave trade,
the contributions of African-Americans to our society, and
civil rights issues.
    Each public member of the Commission shall serve for a term
of 3 years, except that of the initial members so appointed:
one member appointed by the President of the Senate, one member
appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and 2
members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of one
year; the member appointed by the Minority Leader of the
Senate, one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and 2 members appointed by the Governor shall
serve for terms of 2 years; and one member appointed by the
President of the Senate, the member appointed by the Minority
Leader of the House of Representatives, and 2 members appointed
by the Governor shall serve for terms of 3 years. Public
members shall be eligible for reappointment. They shall serve
until their successors are appointed and qualified, and the
term of the successor of any incumbent shall be calculated from
the expiration of the term of that incumbent. A vacancy
occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled in
the same manner as the original appointment, but for the
unexpired term only.
    (d) Election of chairperson; meetings. At its first meeting
and annually thereafter, the Commission shall elect from among
its members a chairperson and other officers it considers
necessary or appropriate. After its first meeting, the
Commission shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently at
the call of the chairperson or if requested by 9 or more
members.
    (e) Quorum. A majority of the members of the Commission
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a
meeting of the Commission. A majority of the members present
and serving is required for official action of the Commission.
    (f) Public meeting. All business that the Commission is
authorized to perform shall be conducted at a public meeting of
the Commission, held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.
    (g) Freedom of Information. A writing prepared, owned,
used, in the possession of, or retained by the Commission in
the performance of an official function is subject to the
Freedom of Information Act.
    (h) Compensation. The members of the Commission shall serve
without compensation, but shall be entitled to reimbursement
for all necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their
official duties as members of the Commission from funds
appropriated for that purpose. Reimbursement for travel,
meals, and lodging shall be in accordance with the rules of the
Governor's Travel Control Board.
    (i) Duties. The Commission shall have the following
responsibilities and duties:
        (1) To provide, based upon the collective interest of
    the members and the knowledge and experience of the
    members, assistance and advice to schools within the State
    with respect to the implementation of education, awareness
    programs, textbooks, and educational materials concerned
    with the African slave trade, slavery in America, the
    vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions
    of African-Americans to our society.
        (2) To survey and catalog the extent and breadth of
    education concerning the African slave trade, slavery in
    America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the
    contributions of African-Americans to our society
    presently being incorporated into the curricula and
    textbooks and taught in the school systems of the State; to
    inventory those African slave trade, American slavery, or
    relevant African-American history memorials, exhibits, and
    resources that should be incorporated into courses of study
    at educational institutions, schools, and various other
    locations throughout the State; and to assist the State
    Board of Education and other State and educational agencies
    in the development and implementation of African slave
    trade, American slavery, and African-American history
    education programs.
        (3) To act as a liaison with textbook publishers,
    schools, public, private, and nonprofit resource
    organizations, and members of the United States Senate and
    House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate and House
    of Representatives in order to facilitate the inclusion of
    the history of African slavery and of African-Americans in
    this country in the curricula of public and nonpublic
    schools.
        (4) To compile a roster of individual volunteers who
    are willing to share their knowledge and experience in
    classrooms, seminars, and workshops with students and
    teachers on the subject of the African slave trade,
    American slavery, the impact of slavery on our society
    today, and the contributions of African-Americans to our
    country.
        (5) To coordinate events memorializing the African
    slave trade, American slavery, and the history of
    African-Americans in this country that reflect the
    contributions of African-Americans in overcoming the
    burdens of slavery and its vestiges, and to seek volunteers
    who are willing and able to participate in commemorative
    events that will enhance student awareness of the
    significance of the African slave trade, American slavery,
    its historical impact, and the struggle for freedom.
        (6) To prepare reports for the Governor and the General
    Assembly regarding its findings and recommendations on
    facilitating the inclusion of the African slave trade,
    American slavery studies, African-American history, and
    special programs in the educational system of the State.
        (7) To develop, in consultation with the State Board of
    Education, curriculum guidelines that will be made
    available to every school board for the teaching of
    information on the African slave trade, slavery in America,
    the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the
    contributions of African-Americans to our country.
        (8) To solicit, receive, and accept appropriations,
    gifts, and donations for Commission operations and
    programs authorized under this Section.
    (j) Commission requests for assistance. The Commission is
authorized to call upon any department, office, division, or
agency of the State, or of any county, municipality, or school
district of the State, to supply such data, program reports,
and other information, appropriate school personnel, and
assistance as it deems necessary to discharge its
responsibilities under this Act. These departments, offices,
divisions, and agencies shall, to the extent possible and not
inconsistent with any other law of this State, cooperate with
the Commission and shall furnish it with such information,
appropriate school personnel, and assistance as may be
necessary or helpful to accomplish the purposes of this Act.
    (k) State Board of Education assistance. The State Board of
Education shall:
        (1) Assist the Amistad Commission in marketing and
    distributing to educators, administrators, and school
    districts in the State educational information and other
    materials on the African slave trade, slavery in America,
    the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the
    contributions of African-Americans to our society.
        (2) Conduct at least one teacher workshop annually on
    the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges
    of slavery in this country, and the contributions of
    African-Americans to our society.
        (3) Assist the Amistad Commission in monitoring the
    inclusion of slavery materials and curricula in the State's
    educational system.
        (4) Consult with the Amistad Commission to determine
    ways it may survey, catalog, and extend slave trade and
    American slavery education presently being taught in the
    State's educational system.
    The State Board of Education may, subject to the
availability of appropriations, hire additional staff and
consultants to carry out the duties and responsibilities
provided within this subsection (k).
    (l) Report. The Commission shall report its activities and
findings, as required under subsection (i), to the Governor and
General Assembly on or before June 30, 2006, and biannually
thereafter.
 
    Section 10. The School Code is amended by changing Section
27-20.4 as follows:
 
    (105 ILCS 5/27-20.4)  (from Ch. 122, par. 27-20.4)
    Sec. 27-20.4. Black History Study. Every public elementary
school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit
of instruction studying the events of Black History, including
the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America, and
the vestiges of slavery in this country. These events shall
include not only the contributions made by individual
African-Americans in government and in the arts, humanities and
sciences to the economic, cultural and political development of
the United States and Africa, but also the socio-economic
struggle which African-Americans experienced collectively in
striving to achieve fair and equal treatment under the laws of
this nation. The studying of this material shall constitute an
affirmation by students of their commitment to respect the
dignity of all races and peoples and to forever eschew every
form of discrimination in their lives and careers.
    The State Superintendent of Education may prepare and make
available to all school boards instructional materials,
including those established by the Amistad Commission, which
may be used as guidelines for development of a unit of
instruction under this Section; provided, however, that each
school board shall itself determine the minimum amount of
instruction time which shall qualify as a unit of instruction
satisfying the requirements of this Section.
(Source: P.A. 86-1256.)
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 7/21/2005