- About Us
- Get Involved
- Our Projects
- Support Us
- Our Building
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?”
Check out what's happening at the IMC in the first two weeks of April!
Andrea Rosales was brought to the United States at the age of 5. She is currently a 22 year old college senior and will be receiving her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Latino Studies this May. With graduation soon approaching, Andrea finds herself unable to use her degree to give back to the community that nurtured her. She is currently organizing for the empowerment of undocumented youth with the Immigrant Youth Justice League in Illinois. Tired of waiting for politicians to act, she believes the time has come to take action.
Andreas is among seven undocumented youth were arrested at Georgia State University! All seven are being taken to the Atlanta Detention Center. Please use the links below to help raise awareness, petition, and give $ to get them out on bail ASAP.
Just to make sure you all know how to help:
1. The first petition is here: http://action.dreamactivist.org/georgiaban/ - There will be more soon
Tonight, WRFU has passed the biggest legislative hurdle to date. In a unanimous 7-0 vote, the City of Urbana voted in favor of granting the IMC a Special Use building permit to construct WRFU's new 100' tower. This is a tremenous moment for the IMC and WRFU, five years in the making. Special thanks must be given to the volunteers who have worked so hard on creating a fantastic proposal -and- for their unwavering support to stay motivated for months and years. To the overwhelming show of supporters who attended the Urbana City Council meeting, the Historic Preservation and Planning Commission meetings:
So what's next?
We need to send our amendments to the IL Historic Preservation. As the IMC is a historically registered building, we need to run any exterior structural changes by them before we can break ground. There might be a survey or two. And then, the building can begin! That tower will be up in no time.
Join WRFU and other IMC supporters tonight, Monday April 4th, at 7pm at the City Chambers just across Vine St. from Lincoln Square (click for a map). We will present our case to get a new, higher radio tower. It'll be 100 feet tall, stand in the alley next to the building (instead of on top of the building) and reach further into Urbana and Champaign. Come to talk about how the radio station has made an impact in your life and in the lives of people in the community, or just be there to show that you care. This is the last meeting in front of the city. This evening, we will hopefully get the OK from the City to put up the new tower.
-Tatyana Safronova, WRFU Volunteer
For Immediate Release 4-3-11
Workers and supporters picketing at UIUC, give notice of intent to strike
Building and Food Service workers at UIUC will picket again Monday and Tuesday morning with local allies among students, faculty, and community members, in hopes of demonstrating their seriousness about striking the university if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement cannot be reached in ongoing negotiations. On Friday the service workers' union, Local 73 of SEIU, gave legal notice of the workers' intent to strike a if a new agreement cannot be reached within 14 calendar days.
Both pickets will begin at 7:30am in front of the Florida Avenue Residence Hall (F.A.R.), 1001 College Court just off Lincoln Avenue near Florida in Urbana.
Not surprisingly the News-Gazette has endorsed one of their own, incumbent Kristine Chalifoux, to serve on Champaign's Unit 4 School Board for a second term. The Unit 4 Candidate has made a substantial profit from School District funds over the four years she has held her position.
If voters compare her views before she announced her candidacy back in 2005,
and in 2006,