Category Archives: African American

Debt Peonage in the 21st Century: The Shamar Betts Case Continues

On August 19, Shamar Betts was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison (minus 12 for time served) for authoring a Facebook post. The sentencing also made Betts personally responsible for repaying $1.5 million for damage committed by others at … Continue reading

 230 total views,  2 views today

Posted in African American, Justice, Police | Comments Off on Debt Peonage in the 21st Century: The Shamar Betts Case Continues

Ubuntu, Hope, and Respect: Socially Conscious Music from the African Continent, the Indian Ocean, and North America

Music is often a reflection of struggles for social change, and a source for joy and hope for the future. This can be heard in the songs noted in my first music review article in the February 2021 issue of … Continue reading

 252 total views

Posted in Africa, African American, African American women, Arts, International, Music | Comments Off on Ubuntu, Hope, and Respect: Socially Conscious Music from the African Continent, the Indian Ocean, and North America

Slightly Out of Focus: A Review of One Night in Miami and Judas and the Black Messiah

For more than 70 years and over a century, respectively, television and cinema have presented demeaning images of Black people. And for equally as long, African Americans have responded with boycotts, pickets and alternative visions that “depict[ed] our men and … Continue reading

 184 total views

Posted in 1968 Revolt, African American, African Americans, Arts, cinema, film, Politics, Racism, Voices, Voices of Color | Comments Off on Slightly Out of Focus: A Review of One Night in Miami and Judas and the Black Messiah

Supporting Women, Girls and Families: An Interview with Stephanie Cockrell

Women are praised for being pillars of strength in their families and communities, but this same strength might lead them to be overlooked when designing services to meet the needs of a community. Women also need therapeutic activities that help … Continue reading

Posted in African American, African American Women in Champaign-Urbana, African Americans, Community, Voices of Color, Women | Comments Off on Supporting Women, Girls and Families: An Interview with Stephanie Cockrell

Shamar Betts: Caught in a Legal Drama that Started Before He was Born

No one wants to be the poster child for a Supreme Court challenge. However, finding his case before the Supreme Court could not only help Urbana resident Shamar Betts resolve his own situation, but it could redraw the legal lines … Continue reading

Posted in African American, BLM, Champaign County, civil rights, Court System, Justice, News, Racism, Women | Comments Off on Shamar Betts: Caught in a Legal Drama that Started Before He was Born

Countering Disinformationhttp://publici.ucimc.org/wp-admin/edit.php to Build a Just Society

We have heard a lot about disinformation during this past year, but learning more about how information is manipulated, distorted and deployed to shape social debates can help you recognize when you are being targeted in a disinformation campaign. It … Continue reading

Posted in African American, Media, Racism, Trump, Women, Youth | Comments Off on Countering Disinformationhttp://publici.ucimc.org/wp-admin/edit.php to Build a Just Society

What Educational Values and Beliefs Underpin a Decision to have Armed School Resource Officers?

This article was previously published in Smile Politely,  On December 17, 2019, the Urbana Board of Education (BOE) signed an intergovernmental agreement to approve funding of two full-time armed police officers (called School Resource Officers, or SROs)—one at the middle … Continue reading

Posted in African American, Education, Education, Police, Policing, Urbana, Voices of Color | Comments Off on What Educational Values and Beliefs Underpin a Decision to have Armed School Resource Officers?

Black Lives Matter in the Middle East

George Floyd’s murder horrified people of the Middle East just as it did many in the US and, just as in America, the outrage that followed exposed cultural fault lines, forced uncomfortable introspection, and was sometimes exploited for political purposes. … Continue reading

Posted in African American, BLM, International, Middle East | Tagged | Comments Off on Black Lives Matter in the Middle East

African American Cultural Center Gets a New Building

After 50 years of political struggle, the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois has a new building. In 1969, the Black Student Association (BSA) and Black Champaign-Urbana activists, with support from white students, presented 41 demands to … Continue reading

Posted in African American, University of Illinois | Comments Off on African American Cultural Center Gets a New Building

Remembering Willeta Donaldson

Urbana has lost one of its most distinguished citizens, Willeta Mae Hassell Donaldson. She passed away on February 2. Willeta, who worked at the University of Illinois in the Office of Admissions and the School of Social Work, also served … Continue reading

Posted in African American, Urbana school desegregation | Comments Off on Remembering Willeta Donaldson

Celebrating Albert R. Lee: An Early Beacon for Civil Rights in Champaign County

The African American community in Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois community gathered this fall on several occasions to celebrate the life and contributions of an outstanding African American man: Albert R. Lee (1874-1948). Lee was the son of a slave, … Continue reading

Posted in African American, civil rights | Comments Off on Celebrating Albert R. Lee: An Early Beacon for Civil Rights in Champaign County

Hidden African American Films

The popular film “Hidden Figures” tells a great story based on real figures, three important Black American women who work for NASA in key positions, as mathematicians and engineers, during the segregated 1960s. Contemporary audiences are celebrating this film that … Continue reading

Posted in African American, cinema | Comments Off on Hidden African American Films

The Extremes of Struggle at the Monster’s Heart: The Black Working Class and Socioeconomic Realities under Obama’s Neoliberalism

“International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S…We are on the inside. We are the only ones who can get at the monster’s heart…”  — George L. … Continue reading

Posted in African American, African Americans, Labor/Economics | Comments Off on The Extremes of Struggle at the Monster’s Heart: The Black Working Class and Socioeconomic Realities under Obama’s Neoliberalism

Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliance

By James Kilgore Yusef Shakur is a Detroit community organizer who spent several years in Michigan state prisons. “The prison-industrial complex has found the right person to feed it,” he said in response to the election results. “Trump is of … Continue reading

Posted in African American, Justice, Policing, Prisoners, Trump | Comments Off on Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliance