Skip to main content

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

UCIMC's 20th Anniversary Events!


Celebrating 20 Years!

On September 24, 2000, a small group of people gathered in a living room near Carle Park and decided that Urbana-Champaign needed its own Independent Media Center. They began collectivizing equipment and passed-the-hat for an "endowment."

20 years later we own and manage a 30,000 sq ft community arts center (which we converted from an old post office building). We continue to publish a monthly newspaper (the Public i), house a low power radio station (WRFU Radio Free Urbana), and have long-term relationships with our other working groups: Books to Prisoners and Makerspace Urbana. Over the years, we have been the fiscal sponsor for over 41 organizations (the IMC is the nurturing ground where groups plant their ideas). 

Our building is a venue for emerging artists, community organizing space. And this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we started "Sounds like Community" a weekly showcase of artists and organizers.

We invite you to join our celebration of our 20th birthday! Due to the pandemic, we had to transform our major anniversary convergence into virtual events!

UCIMC's 20th Anniversary Panel #2:

Wednesday, October 28th, 7pm-8:30pm CST

"Abolition and Grassroots Organizing"
Carol Ammons, James Kilgore, and Malkia Devich-Cyril, moderated by Shaya Robinson

Wednesday, October 28th, 7pm-8:30pm CST via zoom: or tune your radio to WRFU 104.5 FM (if you live nearby)

More about the panelists:

State Representative Carol Ammons represents the 103rd District of Illinois and is a career activist fighting for equality and justice. Carol grew up in Joliet, IL, and has been a resident of Champaign-Urbana for about 18 years. She is the first African-American woman elected to the 103rd District and is now the voice and advocate of her constituents in Champaign-Urbana. While in office, Representative Ammons has dedicated her time and energy toward helping her district and the state through public service. As an activist turned lawmaker, Representative Ammons is laser-focused on cultivating the crucial relationship between community organizers and the state legislature. She knows that in order to achieve equality, lawmakers and activists must align their goals, policies, and actions. 

James Kilgore is a formerly incarcerated activist, researcher, and author based in Urbana, Illinois.He is the co-director of FirstFollowers Reentry Program and the author of five books, including “Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time.” He is also the director of the Challenging E-Carceration project of MediaJustice’s #NoDigitalPrisons campaign. 

Malkia Devich-Cyril is an activist, a writer, and a public speaker on issues of digital rights, narrative power, Black liberation, and collective grief. Devich-Cyril is the founding executive director of MediaJustice, and a Senior Fellow at the organization.

Shaya Robinson serves as an advocate for the underrepresented in a variety of ways. As an artist, she’s performed for a wide variety of charity events and she won an ACE (Arts Culture Education) award for fostering and maintaining a safe space for artists of all ages to weave social justice ideas and the arts to shine light on and uplift the most underserved communities. As an advocate for the arts, she runs a poetry and arts space called S.P.E.A.K Cafe (Song Poetry Expressions Art Knowledge) that focuses on social and political issues. Shaya is currently on the board for Urbana's Independent Media Center and 40North. She hopes to leave a legacy that shows her love for local raw art and the need for political and social change merging and making a difference. 

Event 1: Wednesday, September 30th, 2020; 7-8:30pm 
20th Anniversary Panel: "Independent Media: Where we've come from and why we need it more than ever!" with panelists Sarah Lazare, Tanya Parker, and Sascha Meinrath and Danielle Chynoweth (Moderator). Listen to the archive of this conversation on our facebook page.  


Event 2: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020; 7pm-8:30pm (Urbana Illinois time zone)
20th Anniversary Panel: "Abolition and Grassroots Organizing" Carol Ammons, James Kilgore, and Malkia Cyril. via zoom and on WRFU 104.5FM

Event 3: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020; 7pm-8:30pm (Urbana Illinois time zone)
"Stories from the IMC: A Video Project": Excerpts from interviews with the people who have been a part of the UC-IMC's cultural, political and social life. 
via zoom and on WRFU 104.5FM

More free events to come!

Plus a history harvest! -- a collaborative community project to collect, preserve, and share the UCIMC's history! // Note that the project is two-pronged. Dr. Kathryn Oberdeck's crew will also be collecting history around local LGBTQIA+.