Category Archives: Voices

Reckless Law, Shameless Order: Behind the Scenes

  One afternoon in April of 2021 Faranak Miraftab called me to ask if I was interested in holding an art workshop with formerly incarcerated artists in continuation of the “IDENSCITY,” a conceptual art space that I had been developing … Continue reading

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Two Stories from Statesville Prison

Saving Your Mind: Mental Health in the Age of Corona “This is some next-level shit. I thought I’d seen it all in my 20 years in prison,” said Murder (no real names used), my Quarantine Sanitation Specialist co-worker, as we … Continue reading

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SB 148 and the Assault On Teaching Black History

Florida’s SB 148 represents the surging wave of white supremacist fascism sweeping across the country. Entitled “An Act Relating to Individual Freedom,” it symbolizes the deceptive, authoritarian, and racist motivations that characterize the white nationalist Republican Party. By making the … Continue reading

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Ending Gun Violence Requires Long-Term Investments in People and Communities

Quansay L. Markham (17 years old), Jonathon McPherson (17), Jadeen Moore (19), Acarrie Ingram-Triner (19), and Jordan Atwater-Lewis (17) are among the people who were shot and killed in Champaign-Urbana in 2021. Are there things we could have done as … Continue reading

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What’s Understood Need Not Be Explained

I’m curious to know, as a reading eye and listening ear, what are you expecting to hear from me? That the feds were somehow wrong, and Shamar was right? Or that he was justified in putting out some call to … Continue reading

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The Congolese Community of Champaign County

We are the Congolese Community of Champaign County. The estimated number of Congolese living in Champaign County is more than 6,000 persons. Our mission is to support each other and help our children learn about the country, as well as … Continue reading

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Ubuntu Project Statement on Automated License Plate Readers

The Ubuntu Project Urbana-Champaign is disappointed to learn that the Champaign City Council is considering voting to purchase license plate readers. Considering the well-documented controversial reputation and questionable value of license plate readers, the Champaign people need more information on … Continue reading

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Texas isn’t the Only Place where a Woman’s Right to a Safe and Legal Abortion is Under Attack

  Right here in in Illinois, women’s lives and safety are being sacrificed for the election-minded politicians of the Land of Lincoln. In Illinois, young women and girls’ safety is at risk under the Parental Notice Act. The Parental Notice … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Urbana Poet Laureate Ashanti Files

The Public i recently talked to Urbana Poet Laureate Ashanti Files Please tell our readers a little about yourself. “I am a wife, mother, and registered nurse. I currently work in mental health and addiction services. I enjoy reading, writing … Continue reading

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How the Campus Becomes the Border

In August, 2020, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) opted for a hybrid in-person/online semester. The decision to partially reopen was made possible by the innovative SHIELD: Target, Test, Tell initiative. A crucial part of this program was … Continue reading

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The Nest Postpartum Support

Five years ago, my world turned upside down after the birth of our first son. What should have been the happiest day of our lives turned into one crisis after another, a transfer to a hospital two hours away, and … Continue reading

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Moving to End Anti-AAPI Hate

Despite May having been the month to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage, the preceding year saw the increase of violence and hate towards Asians and Asian Americans that ranged from attacks on Asian and Asian American elders … Continue reading

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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

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Palestinians Aren’t Safe Anywhere, Not Even in their Classrooms

In the past month, Palestinians have witnessed yet another escalation of Zionist violence inflicted onto our homeland without reservation. Israeli warplanes murdered over 250 Palestinians and displaced nearly 100,000 people from their homes during a two-week-long bombardment of the Gaza … Continue reading

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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

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Black Art Politicized: A Discussion with Leslie Smith

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Leslie Smith, a board member of the Urbana–Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) and the founder of Black Voices Theater Production. As someone who grew up in a household with a father who is … Continue reading

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Stop Asian Hate: A Local Perspective

The March 16, 2021 shootings in Atlanta, resulting in the tragic deaths of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, have raised awareness of anti-Asian violence, misogyny, and hatred in this country. In this unprecedented time when global viruses … Continue reading

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Bail Systems as Wealth-Based Incarceration, or “No Money, No Justice”

  The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits “excessive” bail, a prohibition that dates back to English common law, and is largely honored in the breach. In Champaign County Jail, on any given day this past winter, there were … Continue reading

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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

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The Haters Among Them

The number is thirty so far, thirty police officers charged with the act of participating in the Capitol insurrection last January. Many, many Americans felt shock, and media analysts expressed particular outrage, to find men in blue—perhaps even waving blue-line, … Continue reading

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