Champaign

WRFU Birthday Extravaganza Nov. 13 & 14

You are invited!

Friday, Nov. 13th & Saturday, Nov. 14th

at the Independent Media Center

WRFU BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA

Celebrating the 4th anniversary of Radio Free Urbana

Community radio by and for the people

Friday
The Show                    10pm-12am
Watch the making of a live episode of The Show with Ray Morales*

Saturday

Audio Skill Shares      11am-2pm
Learn how to make great radio!  All ages, all skill levels

Potluck Dinner            6pm-8pm
Meet-and-greet for radio lovers & past and current members, unveiling of photo gallery, audio scrapbook listening party, and group history of WRFU

birthday flyer small.jpg

Crime, Bias and Statistics

by Charles M. Blow

Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

Let's Interupt the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline by Empowering Our Nation's Youth

By supporting the The Youth PROMISE Act and other programs that save lives, we can give every young person the chance to reach their full potential

by Matthew Albracht
 

Were you aware that in the United States, homicide frequently ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for youths aged 15 to 24 years old?  Sadly, good case could be made that many of our own neighborhoods are effectively war zones.

In fact, research has shown that many youth in these communities struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder at similar levels to what’s experienced by returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans . It’s one of the great and too-often ignored tragedies of our time—and it’s happening in our own neighborhoods. 

A New Vision to Fix the Tragedy No One Ever Thinks About

New York and other cities confront the fact that 4500 Americans are killed crossing the street each year

by Jay Walljasper
 

More than 4500 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America--more than those who died in the horror of 9/11.  

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition studying ten years of data found that 16 times more people were killed crossing the street than in natural disasters over the that same period. Another 68,000 walkers on average are injured every year. The victims are disproportionately children, seniors and people of color, according to the report.

 

To Terrify and Occupy

How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents

by Matthew Harwood
 

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Who Gets to Decide What a City Can Do with Broadband Internet?

While our local municipal boradband was sold off under questionable circumstances with hardly a whimper, the decision was made in part because of the weak hand local governments hold in bringing efficient, low cost services to residents. It was a decision we will come to regret.

Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans and some states want to control local affairs

by Jay Walljasper

“(W)ithout power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can have no active citizens.”  That was the conclusion of Alexis de Tocqueville after touring a youthful American Republic in the early 1830s, as recorded in his classic Democracy in America. Today we are engaged in a renewed debate about the authority of governments closest to the people.

On July 16, by a vote of 223-200 the House of Representatives voted to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the authority to allow communities the right to determine their broadband futures.  Republicans voted 221-4 in favor.

How to Inspire Millions More People to Bike

by Jay Walljasper

You can see big changes happening across North America as communities from Fairbanks to St. Petersburg transform their streets into appealing places for people, not just cars and trucks.

“Over the past five years we’re seeing an infrastructure revolution, a rethinking of our streets to accommodate more users—busways, public plazas, space for pedestrians and, of course, bike lanes,” says David Vega-Barachowitz of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “More protected bike lanes is one of the most important parts of this.”

Protected bike lanes separate people on bikes from rushing traffic with concrete curbs, plastic bollards or other means— and sometimes offer additional safety measures such as special bike traffic lights and painted crossings at intersections.  Protected bike lanes help riders feel less exposed to danger, and are also appreciated by drivers and pedestrians, who know where to expect bicycles. Streets work better when everyone has a clearly defined space. 

Report: Militarization of Police Turning Communities into 'War Zones'

SWAT raids disproportionately affecting people of color

- Lauren McCauley, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/06/24-4

The city of Manchester, NH parading around their special armored SWAT vehicle. (Photo: Manchester City Library/ CC/ Flickr)

The rapid militarization of American police forces is turning our communities into "war zones" with tactics of war used disproportionately against people of color, charged a new report by the ACLU on Tuesday. 

Neutrality Begins At Home: What U.S. Mayors Can Do Right Now to Support a Neutral Internet

by April Glaser and Corynne McSherry

Photo: Free Press/ cc/ Flickr

This weekend at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Dallas, some mayors will take a strong stand in support of net neutrality. According to an op-ed by Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Ed Murray of Seattle, the city leaders are unveiling a resolution calling on the FCC to preserve an open Internet.

Study released on handling of minor marijuana cases in Illinois

Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.

by ICDP/Roosevelt University

Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.

An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.

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