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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
The Show 10pm-12am
Watch the making of a live episode of The Show with Ray Morales*
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
by Harry Belafonte
There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for the last 20 years, but still we have a massive and unsustainable prison population, particularly targeting the poor and powerless. We're not strengthening communities, we're using our criminal justice system to throw away certain people's lives – disproportionately the lives of Black and brown men, women, and children. This has decimated communities around the nation and it's gone on for far too long.
- An estimated 400 million acres of farmland in the United States will likely change hands over the coming two decades as older farmers retire, even as new evidence indicates this land is being strongly pursued by private equity investors.
By James Kilgore, Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice
When we began our campaign to stop jail construction in Champaign County in early 2012, I thought we were doomed. The grand plan to spend $20 million on this project seemed like a done deaI. The Sheriff was driving the initiative; the leading lights in the County Board seemed to think jail construction was the only prudent course. Yet, nearly two years later we have a very different scenario. The 2014 budget for Champaign County doesn’t include a single cent for jail construction. In fact, the county has allocated more than $200,000 in new money for social programs aimed at keeping people out of jail. In a county of slightly more than 200,000 residents, this is an important start.
How did this happen? The answer is simple- a campaign of ordinary people, led by a core from the Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice (CUCPJ), turned the situation around. This campaign is proof that action by people at the grassroots level can make a difference.
by Chris Arnade
A week after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I walked into my old hometown bar in central Florida to hear, "Well if a nigger can be president, then I can have another drink. Give me a whiskey straight up."
Only one day in the town and I thought, "Damn the south."
I had returned home to bury my father, who had spent much of the 1950s and '60s fighting for civil rights in the south. Consequently, my childhood was defined by race. It was why our car was shot at, why threats were made to burn our house down, why some neighbors forbid me to play on their lawn, why I was taunted at school as a "nigger lover".
It was nothing compared to what the blacks in town had to endure. I was just residing in the seam of something much uglier.
by Andrew O'Hehir
American conservatives love to attack anyone who raises the issue of worsening economic inequality for waging “class war.” Their compulsion to keep repeating that phrase is revealing in itself; it’s like the serial killer in a movie who can’t help returning to the scene of the crime. Because the only class war being waged in 21st-century America is the relentless, all-fronts struggle conducted by the rich against the poor.
by Stephanie Storm
ALTON, Iowa — The puny, yellow corn stalks stand like weary sentries on one boundary of Dennis Von Arb’s field here.
On a windy day this spring, his neighbor sprayed glyphosate on his fields, and some of the herbicide blew onto Mr. Von Arb’s conventionally grown corn, killing the first few rows.
He’s more concerned, though, about the soil. During heavy rains in the summer, the runoff from his neighbor’s farm soaked his fields with glyphosate-laden water.
“Anything you put on the land affects the chemistry and biology of the land, and that’s a powerful pesticide,” Mr. Von Arb said.
But 20 miles down the road, Brad Vermeer brushes aside such concerns.
He grows “traited,” or biotech, corn and soy on some 1,500 acres and estimates that his yield would fall by 20 percent if he switched to conventional crops and stopped using glyphosate, known by brand names like Roundup and Buccaneer.
by Matthew Cagle
Darrell Cannon, survivor of police torture, wrongful conviction, and 24 years in prison spoke to large crowds at the Independent Media Center and University YMCA today. Mr. Cannon was tortured by Chicago police in 1983 and then again though nine years of solitary confinement in Tamms prison. He fought continuously for his innocence, finally succeeding in 2008. His civil suit against the City of Chicago is still pending.
Mr. Cannon shared the horrific details of his torture, pausing to tap his cheek for strength and comfort. He was captured by three Chicago police detectives who cracked his front teeth with the barrel of a shotgun - they shoved it in his mouth and pretended to fire. They hung him by handcuffs, wrenching his shoulders. After each of these events he refused to confess to the murder they accused him of. Then they shocked his genitals with a taser electroshock stun gun. He finally confessed. It was this forced confession, without proof or witnesses, that was used to put him away for life.