Karen Yarbrough is a third generation entrepreneur. her family has been involved with the real estate and insurance industries for several decades, providing real estate appraisal, sales and management services. For over 30 years she has been the founder and CEO of Hathaway Insurance Agency, an independent agency serving the Chicago metropolitan area. Yarbrough earned a B.A. in business administration from Chicago State University and an M.A. in inner city studies from Northeastern Illinois University. During her graduate studies, she had the opportunity to go to Brazil where she studied strategies to employ community development in an emerging nation. That experience gave her "a profound appreciation for the challenges faced by disadvantaged communities in our own country. My Brazilian experience gave me an abiding desire to develop strategies to address social challenges here in America and to empower people to help themselves."
Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice
In September 2006, the Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice organized the second annual Chicago Area Peace Fair with Music, Public Art, Booths and children's activities. Featured speaker was State Rep. Karen Yarbrough, author of the "Impeachment of George W. Bush" bill.
Communist front honor
On April 18 2009 the Chicago branch of National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a front first for the Communist Party USA, latterly for the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, awarded several local activists its highest honour.
- Human Rights awards were granted to honorees at the event whose work includes ending the death penalty, overturning wrongful convictions, the fight against racism and efforts to help victims of the prison industrial complex.
The honorees included;
Patricia Hill, executive director of the African American Police League; Jane Raley, senior staff attorney with the Northwestern Law School; Judith Stuart, an anti-prison activist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, retired Pastor with the Trinity United Church of Christ; and Karen Yarbrough, Illinois state representative.
Dr. Barbara Ransby, a professor in the African American Studies Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, emceed the award ceremony.
Karen Yarbrough is a Barack Obama supporter who "shares the philosophy" of Obama and Congressman Danny Davis-who is a member of Democratic Socialists of America, with close ties to the Communist Party USA.
Anti death penalty campaigner
In 2009, Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7) sponsored House Bill 262 to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. In 2010, Senator Willie Delgado (D-2) did the same in the Illinois Senate (SB 3569).
As of March 2009, the additional cosponsors were Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25), Arthur L. Turner (D-9), Harry Osterman (D-14), LaShawn Ford (D-8), Deborah Mell (D-40), Esther Golar (D-6), Julie Hamos (D-18), Constance A. Howard (D-34), Al Riley (D-38), Deborah L. Graham (D-78), Jehan A. Gordan (D-92), Annazette Collins (D-10), Mary E. Flowers (D-31), Cynthia Soto (D-28) and Robert Rita (D-28).,
On Thursday, January 6th, 2011, the Illinois House voted to terminate our State's death penalty. Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7), was the bill's sponsor.
2010 ICADP AGM
The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Annual Meeting took place on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010, at 6 pm at the Illinois State Bar Association Offices, 20 S. Clark St., Suite 900, Chicago.
ICADP honored author and attorney Scott Turow for his "outstanding work toward abolition". ICADP also be honored the "Illinois State legislators who are currently co-sponsoring our abolition bills, including Rep. Karen Yarbrough, Rep. Angelo Saviano, Sen. William Delgado, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and Sen. Pamela J. Althoff. Chicago Democratic Socialists of America is an organizational member of the ICADP."
Coalition to Save Community Banking
The Coalition to Save Community Banking is a group of several dozen metro Chicago organizations and individuals, including Chicago Democratic Socialists of America member Peg Strobel, that came together after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized the assets of a local community bank, Park National Bank (PNB) with two branches in Oak Park, Illinois, on October 30, 2009. PNB and eight sister banks (including several in California) were all owned by First Bank of Oak Park, Inc. (FBOP), which the FDIC then sold to US Bancorp, also known as US Bank. This seizure happened in the afternoon; that same morning, the Treasury Department awarded FBOP/PNB Initiatives (an affiliate of PNB) $50 million in federal "New Market Tax Credit" allocations to continue PNB's long-standing investment in under-resourced and minority communities. 
Accomplishments of the organization included;
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (chair of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit) held a Congressional hearing January 21 on the issue of FPOB/PNB and community banks. We sent more than 60 people to Washington.
- We gained the support of Rep. Danny Davis; Rep. Bobby Rush; State Sen. Don Harmon; David Pope, President of the Village Board, Oak Park; and State Rep. LaShawn Ford.
- Sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, Senate Joint Resolution 81 has passed the Illinois Senate and moves to the Illinois House, where it is cosponsored by Karen Yarbrough, Angelo Saviano, Deborah L. Graham, LaShawn Ford, and Marlow H. Colvin. The resolution "urges the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to continue hearings to investigate the FDIC's seizure of Park National Bank."
- December 16, 2009, the Chicago City Council joined with our coalition in demanding a Congressional hearing to investigate the seizure and sale of First Bank of Oak Park/Park National Bank and the repercussions for other community banks reinvesting in our communities. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago aldermen condemned as "absurd, bordering on criminal" the federal government's decision to seize Park National Bank."
- Within a month of the seizure, community groups that comprise the Coalition delivered petitions with over 1,000 signatures to the D.C. office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Endorsed CAIR, 2016
- official state rep bio (accessed August 4, 2011)
- Oak Park Coalition for Truth & Justice website, history page
- New ground No 129, March/April 2010
- New Ground 123, March/April 2009
- New Ground, 134, Jan./Feb. 2011
- New ground, May/June 2010
- New Ground 129, May/June 2010
- New Ground 129, May/June 2010