La Shawn is a national leader in social justice and civil rights issues. He believes in preserving communities, helping ex-offenders re-enter society and enshrining the sacred right to vote.
Throughout his entire legislative career, La Shawn has introduced and passed legislation with social justice as the guiding principle. He created a commission to confront economic problems that still plague Black communities, as well as the Distressed Counties and Communities Task Force, which finds innovative ways to help people who receive state social services and serves as a national model for a successful anti-poverty agenda. La Shawn also introduced legislation that gives the Department of Human Rights the power to coordinate with state (in addition to federal and local) agencies in conformity with the Illinois Human Rights Act.
La Shawn was the chief House co-sponsor of legislation creating the Racial and Ethnic Impact Research Task Force to determine a practical method for the standardized collection and analysis of data on the racial and ethnic identity of arrestees by state and local law enforcement agencies. He was the chief House sponsor of legislation of the Criminal Identification Act that requires ethnic and racial data be gathered at many points when a person encounters the criminal justice system.
During the tumultuous Trump years, La Shawn introduced and passed a resolution that requested the Trump administration to commission a study to detail the economic impact of the slave trade and how Emancipation did not guarantee equality in education, employment, housing, and access to quality affordable health care. He also introduced legislation that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees by paying Black employees lower wages. La Shawn also introduced legislation that prohibits public bodies from displaying the Confederate flag and symbols.
La Shawn is a staunch supporter of voting rights. He has passed resolutions urging Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to make all its provisions permanent and recognizing the Selma to Montgomery marches that occurred during the 1965 Voting Rights Movement.
La Shawn was the chief co-sponsor of a House joint resolution that amends the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Constitution and provides that no person shall be denied the right to register to vote or cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, sex, sexual orientation, income, national origin or religion.
La Shawn is a leader in addressing issues affecting ex-offenders and has introduced numerous bills aimed at helping ex-offenders re-enter society. He introduced the State Employment Application Act (Ban the Box) stipulating that an application for state employment may not ask if the applicant had been convicted of a non-violent criminal offense. He also passed legislation that gives returning citizens and ex-offenders the opportunity to seal criminal records for certain non-violent offenses to provide expanded job opportunities for these individuals.
La Shawn introduced and passed a resolution that directs the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission to review the current practice of restorative justice in the juvenile justice system and was the chief House sponsor of legislation that provides educational grants at public community colleges or universities to people who are exonerated of their charged crimes.
As a vocal advocate for ex-offenders, La Shawn has held many summits and events to support returning citizens as they look to rebuild their lives.