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Since July 1st 2011, hundreds of prisoners in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU), joined by thousands more in over a third of California’s state prisons and in other prisons across the country, have been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding an end to the horrendous conditions they face languishing for years (some for decades) in isolation and sensory deprivation - conditions that violate international standards against torture. These courageous brothers have joined together to demand an end to the widespread, systematic policies of torture and human rights abuses that affect prisoners not just in Pelican Bay or California but are integral to the functioning of the world’s largest system of mass incarceration.
Stop in to the Makerspace this July for a series of summer DIY workshops!
Every Saturday in July, Makerspace Urbana will be running two workshops. Find something you're fascinated by and come ready to hack!
July 2: Intro to Linux 10am - 12pm
Basic Electronics (throwy++ workshop) 2 - 4pm
July 9: Intro to HTML 10 -12
eagleCAD Workshop 2 - 4
July 16: Intro to Linux 2 10 - 12
Pewter Casting (please email to register, $15 materials fee) 2 - 4
July 23: Home Router Hacks 10 - 12
Micro-controller 2 - 4
July 30: MAKE-ATION PARTY 4 - 6
Organizing Against Abuse of Power Locally and Globally:
Thai media activist to speak with local civil rights group
Saturday, July 9, 2011
at the Independent Media Center
4-6 pm discussion
6 pm potluck
Applications now being accepted until Thursday, July 14, 2011 for three full time, and two part-time; one year AmeriCorps positions at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center and partner organizations.
The UC-IMC AmeriCorps program works to support social and economic justice in Champaign County by placing members to serve the programs of the UC-IMC and its partners.
On June 22, 2011, former Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Burr was charged with a second count of obstructing justice related to a DUI he received last summer. Burr was fired after his involvement in a three-car accident on a country road outside of Sadorus, a small town south of Urbana-Champaign. This latest charge appears to be a sign that the State’s Attorney is taking this case seriously after many delay tactics by Burr’s attorneys.
State police arrived at the scene of an accident on August 14, 2010 that occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m. According to police reports obtained by the Public i, Burr had rear ended a white van that stopped in front of him and his friend Timothy Griffin subsequently rear ended Burr’s car. Police performed a breath alcohol test on Burr who blew a 0.192 (state minimum is 0.08). Griffin had a breath alcohol content of 0.176 and pleaded guilty to DUI in October 2010.
National Anti-Vivisection Alliance
Monday 13th June 2011
For Immediate Release
British pressure group, the National Anti-Vivisection Alliance (NAVA), have condemned the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for testing on animals in a report released today, “It's A Dog's Life”.
Experiments on dogs are exposed from a number of establishments across the USA, including three from UoI, for what NAVA describe as “A pointless waste of animal's lives and scientific resources”.
The experiments conducted were to research pet foods and fruit sugars, with all dogs involved being killed at the termination date.
NAVA Spokesperson, Luke Steele, commented: “The University of Illinois have conducted these barbaric experiments, involving the killing of many dogs, without any scientific gain.”
“UoI [University of Illinois] should come clean about what they are doing and rehome all dogs involved in experiments immediately”
Two months after Jimmy John's fired six workers for blowing the whistle on a company practice of forcing sandwich-makers to work while sick, the IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union has released Minnesota Department of Health documents today revealing eight outbreaks of foodborne illness at franchises across the Twin Cities area in the past five years, seven of which were due to employees working while sick at the chain. The release of the documents seriously erodes the credibility of Minneapolis franchise owner Mike Mulligan who had previously claimed to reporters and employees that, "the company has made more than 6 million sandwiches during its nearly 10 years in business—and no one’s ever gotten sick from eating one." Two of the outbreaks, both caused by sick employees, were at the Mulligans' stores.
Pam Dempsey (of CU Citizen Access) and I have been spending time with K-12 kids in an afterschool program at Joann Dorsey Homes every week doing digital story-telling classes since February and talking to residents about what's ahead. Dorsey Homes in Champaign, along with Dunbar Court in Urbana, is slated for demolition this year. Most of the residents are single mothers without steady incomes. All the residents there will get Section 8 vouchers to go find homes outside of government housing. The Housing Authority assumes that the vouchers will be a step to self-sufficiency and independence for the residents, most of whom are unemployed. You can hear my interview with seven residents on my show called "To Have a Home" on the Big Boom blog. The women I interviewed can't wait to move. Their homes now - which were built in 1952 - have no modern showers or central air. While the women live in communities that provide social networks of support, they're also living in a "project," where they get hassled by the police, and frustrated by the lack of opportunities available to their kids.
Trial is scheduled to begin for former Champaign police detective Lisa Staples on Tuesday, May 17 at 9 a.m. in courtroom K. Staples received her second DUI after she rear-ended a car while driving an estimated 80-90 miles per hour. Her attorney Tony Novak says his client is innocent of the charges.
On May 2, 2011, a hearing took place before judge Jeffrey Ford. A continuance requested by Novak was dismissed by the judge. Judge Ford said he had worked for six years in traffic court and had never seen a case take more than four months to reach a resolution. With the initial accident taking place December 19, 2010, it will be six months when the trial commences. Judge Ford is certainly making sure this case follows standard procedure as the courts received much public criticism after Staples was given a sweetheart deal for her first DUI.
Another case where Staples has been charged with four additional counts for lying on an application for a new driver’s license and Illinois state ID card is being dealt with separately.
Guests of Public i's Poetry Slam! are in for a special treat this Saturday night. Attendees will be excited to know participants from the documentary, Louder Than a Bomb, will be performing at Poetry Slam! Saturday night
Featured documentary at the 2011 Ebertfest, Louder Than a Bomb highlights the journey of Chicago area youth working together to produce, collaborate and present at the largest event of its kind, a youth poetry slam. From the Louder Than a Bomb website:
"Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure of Louder Than a Bomb demands that kids work collaboratively with their peers, presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment--in an academic context--is life-changing."
Join us this Saturday for a night of music, refreshment and open mic as we celebrate the special release of the April issue, featuring poets from the Champaign-Urbana community. Hosted by Aaron Ammons, MC of the widely successful S.P.E.A.K. Cafe. Bring some of your own poetry to share, or simple come out to support creative writing in your community. Free and open to all.
Visit http://newpublici.ucimc.org/poetry-for-the-people/ for more info.
via email: >From CCHCC's Executive Director, Claudia Lennhoff Dear Friends,
It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I write to tell you about the death of Robert G. Kirchner, a dear friend, and hero, to us at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC). Bob Kirchner, only 54 years old, died of a heart attack on the morning of Sunday, April 17. Bob was a local attorney who defended many who had no resources; he also helped and legally supported many local non-profits, including CCHCC, and he served on the County Board and the County Board of Health -- among many other activities. Bob was a true champion of justice for people, and for the organizations who fight for justice for the people.
Our deepest sympathies go to Bob's wife Gerri Kirchner, with whom he had a great and beautiful partnership and to whom he was utterly devoted. Our sympathies also go to Ruth Wyman, our dear friend and the young attorney with whom Bob worked for many years.
On Monday, April 18 at noon, SEIU held a victory rally on the quad after signing a contract with the University of Illinois administration. The building service workers and food service workers were ready to strike that morning if the administration had not agreed to negotiate. An agreement was reached the previous day that secured SEIU workers a one percent raise until the end of the fiscal year on July 1, and a 1.75 percent raise which will last until the end of their two-year contract. The contract also includes an agreement that no more than 15 percent of employees will be part-time workers. In 2012, both the SEIU and Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) will be set to renew their contracts.
On Thursday, April 14 at 5:50 PM, undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be taking action at the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence (PAR) dining hall to educate students on, and show support for, the Union of University Food and Building Service Workers’ (SEIU Local 73, Chapter 119) 8-month struggle to negotiate a fair contract. The action will momentarily disrupt dining hall service to demonstrate how the administration’s refusal to negotiate a fair contract with food and building service workers may soon result in a long-term disruption of dining hall service.
Earlier this year 98% of food service workers and 94% of building service workers authorized a strike. That strike is poised to begin Monday, April 18, should the university’s administration fail to negotiate a contract.
Join us for the inaugural Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, in downtown Urbana. Prices: $3 for adults; $1 for kids under 12.
Chief Leon Frazier, African American ex-police chief, will be speaking at a community forum on Friday night, April 15, at 5:30 pm on the topic of "Eliminating Police Abuse." The event, hosted by CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, will be at the Salem Baptist Church at 5th and Park Street.
On Thursday night, April 14, Chief Frazier held a discussion at the Independent Media Center attended by members of CUCPJ and the ACLU.
On Wednesday, April 13, a fundraiser for the Georgia Seven was held at Ikenberry Commons on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Seven undocumented students were arrested in an act of civil disobedience on April 5 in Atlanta. Among them was UIUC student Andrea Rosales who spoke at an event titled “Whose Side Are You On?” organized by the student group La Colectiva.
Andrea told the story of the weeks of planning leading up to the action, her experience of being arrested, and her 24 hours in jail. Andrea was brought to the United States when she was five years old. She is to graduate in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Latino Studies. At the fundraiser, Andrea talked about her decision to carry out a nonviolent demonstration. “How many other of my fellow students would I have to see disappear?” she said. “How many would I have to see drop out of college because they couldn’t afford it?”