- About Us
- Get Involved
- Our Projects
- Support Us
- Our Building
In a surprise visit, Indiana Democratic Representative Clyde Kersey gave a talk in Latzer Hall at the University YMCA on Wednesday, February 24, 2011. He and the entire Democratic caucus have fled the state. About 35 of them have taken refuge in Urbana where they are holding out on two bills which would destroy public education and undermine unions in Indiana.
“How long will we be out?” Rep. Kersey said. “As long as it takes.”
The Indiana Democrats are opposing two bills, HB 1468, the so-called “right to work” bill, a union-busting piece of legislation. According to Kersey, in 22 states where similar bills have been passed, salaries have gone down an average of $5,500.
What has received less media coverage is the “voucher bill,” HB 1479, which will dismantle the public school system and eliminate teacher bargaining units.
“It’s an attack on teachers. It’s an attack on working men and women,” Kersey said.
The February issue of The Public i is out now! There are articles on: Coretta Scott King by Courtney Suzanne Pierre; Chicago artist Margaret Burroughs by Brian Dolinar; the legal battle of Timothy Kendrick; racial microaggressions by UIUC profs; an eBlack update by Noah Lenstra; UC2B by Laura Allured; SOLHOT article by Porshe Garner; and a visit to Guinea by Isak Griffiths.
There is a complete archive of essays from the MLK essay contest on our new web site.
Also, read about the effort to erect a new tower for WRFU, 104.5.
The people of Madison and the rest of Wisconsin are not alone in protesting their government. Others are standing up for labor rights all across the Midwest in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Indiana, and showing support from across the nation and beyond. Today, at noon, ralliers met and spoke at the Alma Mater on the University of Illinois campus. They shouted support for the people of Wisconsin and spoke about their own issues in organizing here. The Service Employees International Union, for example, hasn't had a raise in years while the University president got an extra $170,000 and improvements on his residence.
Join the effort; go to the University YMCA, where groups like the Campus Faculty Association and the Graduate Employee Organization will hold down camp until the bill in Wisconsin gets defeated. Watch movies, come study, host your own events, come and learn.
Check out what's coming up at the IMC this week!
Check out the February 2011 edition of the Public I to read about my first-person experience in Washington DC.
Songs in the podcast:
"Nowhere Man" by The Beatles
"Wedding Cake" by Cataldo
"Home" by Explosions in the Sky
"Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues" from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack
"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
Check out what's going on at the Independent Media Center this week!
A Texas man's two-and-a-half year old drug case in Champaign County finally came to an end on February 9, 2011 in Judge Tom Difanis' courtroom after State’s Attorney Dan Clifton suddenly dropped the case. The alternative was for Judge Difanis to rule on an 8-page Motion to Dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. Had the State not dropped the case and the judge not granted the Motion to Dismiss, then the trial would have commenced.
Timothy Kendrick was arrested on Sept. 4, 2008 when coming from Houston, Texas to pick up his brother in Champaign and go to see their mother in a Chicago hospital. The apartment where Kendrick went to pick up his brother was raided within that half hour by the Drug Enforcement unit of the Champaign police with a search warrant. Kendrick claims that of the five adults who were present on the scene, or brought in from the parking lot, one of them was let go and Kendrick’s fingerprints were the only ones taken. He says his photo id was taken from his pocket while he was handcuffed and a crime scene photo was taken with his ID propped up in a kitchen cabinet, above a drawer where drugs were found.
Check out what events and shows are coming up at the IMC!
Check out what's coming up at the IMC in early February!
On Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, a solidarity rally for Egypt took place at the Champaign County Courthouse in downtown Urbana.
More than 100 people stood in the bitter cold to show their support for the ouster of Egypt's President Mubarak and called on the US to get out of the Middle East.
One woman reported that her sister who is in Cairo told her that there were F-16s doing flyovers above the city, planes which the United States had sold to Mubarak.
Check out what's coming up at the IMC!
Qwantrell Ayers was brought into a courtroom Friday morning, Jan. 21, 2011, in a wheelchair. He claims that the previous Friday, Jan. 14, he was kicked in the back, his groin, and had his leg injured by Sgt. Johnson in the Champaign County jail. He has been in and out of Carle Hospital three times since the alleged beating due to internal bleeding described as “excessive.” A colostomy bag was attached during surgery after he was having difficulty urinating. His leg is also swollen making it difficult to walk.
He was in court for a ruling on his fitness to stand trial for criminal charges against him. After a report filed by Champaign psychiatrist Dr. Jeckel, Qwantrell was ruled to be unfit by Judge Heidi Ladd and will receive treatment at the McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield. Also in the courtroom was Qwantrell’s mother, who I spoke with in order to get her son’s account of what happened.
Check out what's coming up at the IMC!
A look at upcoming events at the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center for the week of January 10 and beyond!
Check out what's going on at the IMC!
Dec 2010/Jan 2011 issue of the Public i is out and available around Urbana and Champaign this week. Look for copies around campus, downtown Urbana, downtown and North Champaign, and here at your friendly neighborhood independent media center.
Of course, you can also download a copy here, too!
Topics covered this month include:
Historic Passage of the Local Community Radio Act (pictured left) by Danielle Chynoweth
Sheriffs Deputy Fired for DUI by Brian Dolinar
Volunteers Bring Open WiFi Network to Detroit by Brian Duggan
The Long Fight for a Wind Turbine Comes to a Head by Amy Allen
A Great Literacy Campaign for African America in the 21st Century by Amira Davis
Responses to Illinois civil unions by Paul Nolan, Phillip Reese, and students from Urbana High School
Everybody Wins, a poem by Kumar Salehi
Clear Bad Baggage, a poem by Durrell Callier, Suzanne Hassler & Kristina Williams
A video documentary on issues facing African American youth has been released by VEYA (Visionaries Education Youth and Adults). It features interviews from 2005 with local black youth. On December 28, 2010, the video debuted on UPTV. More screenings on UPTV and in the community are being scheduled.
Despite being public bodies serving a public good, most police departments operate as secret societies. The push for police accountability includes making their practices more transparent. I recently obtained all disciplinary actions taken against Champaign police officers since 2006. Contrary to what I expected, only a small percentage of the disciplinary actions were the result of citizen complaints. The most common reason was for damage to a squad car. Yet there were still several instances of misconduct that threatened both citizens and officers.
Happy Holidays everyone!
A look at upcoming IMC events
According to the NAACP web site http://naacpcc.org/ election results have come in for the President of the Champaign County Branch.
After a run-off vote, Rev. Troy A. Burks has been elected to take the President position on Jan. 1, 2011.
Congratulations to Rev. Burks!
The sixth annual state report on Illinois Traffic Stop Statistics was recently released by the Center for Research in Law and Justice of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The statistics provide a window into local traffic stop data that helps local communities answer a fundamental question: “Are the number of traffic stops and searches involving motor vehicles operated by members of a racial minority disproportionate to the number of traffic stops involving motor vehicles operated by persons who are not members of a racial minority?”
What does the data tell us about traffic stop behavior of the Champaign, Urbana, and University of Illinois police departments?
It has been confirmed that Travis Burr was dismissed from his position as investigator with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. Burr was charged with a DUI after being involved in a three-car accident, details about which have yet to become publicly available.
On August 14, 2010, Burr was driving east from Sadorus when he was involved in the accident. After Sheriff’s deputies showed up on the scene and discovered that Burr was a colleague, the state police were called in to investigate. As stated in court documents, “Subject had a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and slightly slurred speech. Subject had bloodshot eyes and admitted drinking 6-8 beers since noon. Subject failed SFST’s [Standardized Field Sobriety Tests].” Unfortunately, due to a policy enforced beginning in 2007 by State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, police reports describing the incident in more detail are not available to the public until after the court case is resolved.