The headline a year ago as municipal leaders begged for federal aid: “It’s dire.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker had a 30-minute sit-down with President Joe Biden to put a list of issues on the White House’s radar, including child care, early childhood education — two longtime priorities for the philanthropist-turned-governor — unemployment, and the rise in gun violence.

In an interview with Crain’s Greg Hinz, “Pritzker did not indicate that he’d received any definitive promises from Biden other than to fully consider any Illinois requests. But he said the session went ‘very well’ and described Biden as ‘gracious.’”

Regarding the issue of gun violence, Pritzker told the Tribune: “It’s obviously a national problem, but we see it in places like Rockford and other cities in Illinois, so I wanted to make sure that he was aware that we need assistance across the state wherever we might ask for it.”

Domestic Policy Council director Susan Rice was also part of the discussion, according to the Tribune.

The private meeting with Biden followed the splashy gathering with the president, VP Kamala Harris, two other governors and five mayors to talk about the administration’s bipartisan infrastructure package.

Biden’s message: “There are no Democratic roads or Republican bridges.”

Pritzker reiterated the point, telling reporters after the meeting, “Everybody has infrastructure, whatever their district and whatever their state.” NBC/5’s Mary Ann Ahern has more

Karen Yarbrough couldn’t bring herself to watch the killing of George Floyd until last month and when she finally did, she says, “I cried.”

It brought a lot of emotions the Cook County clerk has about race in America to the surfaceand how often people communicate without realizing they use racist, coded or offensive language, she told your Playbook host in an interview in her office.

The former state legislator isn’t one who seeks the microphone to talk about political culture or her personal life, but this week she had something to say.

The Sun-Times ultimately wrote an editorial that read “Do we really need Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough to throw a monkey wrench into the delivery of property bills that normally would be due Aug. 1?”

Yarbrough says she was sickened to see the word “monkey” used in the same sentence as her name. She said she received phone calls from people who also took offense.

“It’s careless and I think the media should be held to a higher standard,” she said, and she told the Sun-Times’ editors the same.

The Sun-Times responded with an editor’s note that reads, in part, “The Editorial Board did not see or intend any such racial connotation, but we have deleted the word from this editorial.”

Yarbrough’s glad for the tweak but wants to see a deeper discussion.

She compares it to when now-Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Florida voters to protect the state’s economy and not “monkey this up” by electing his Black gubernatorial opponent, Andrew Gillum, in 2018.

“It was a dog-whistle,” says Yarbrough.

“Every day of my Black life and every day for my grandsons’, Black men, we have to walk in a room and be on guard. We have to figure out ‘What will our response be?’”

In the past, Yarbrough says she’s ignored the waitress who looks past her to talk to a white friend. And she bit her tongue when a Springfield lobbyist once referred to “those people” in a discussion about affordable housing residents. It all piles up. “I’m a professional. I have to choose my words carefully,” Yarbrough says, “or I’m seen as an angry Black woman.”

Now, though, she wants to speak up. “I want to say ‘Hey, wake up. This isn’t going to be tolerated.’”

Reflecting on how the world has shifted since Floyd’s death, Yarbrough said, “We’re living in a new world in an old world. Some people haven’t let it go. They say, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Well, it is a big deal.”