Category Archives: Section

The Assault on the Pretrial Fairness Act

Last month, News-Gazette columnist Jim Dey headlined “hysteria” over the provisions of the 2021 Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA), which will go into effect in January, including the end to cash bail. Predictably, but illogically, Dey located the hysteria on the side … Continue reading

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Take Action to Keep Champaign County from Losing Another Nursing Home!

Champaign County residents are about to lose another nursing home. But we can stop this from happening, if we work together! The Rothners, who are the current owners of the former Champaign County Nursing Home, which they bought in 2018, … Continue reading

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The Inflation Reduction Act: Historic Climate Legislation with a Lifeline to Fossil Fuels

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August, many environmental advocates and others concerned about rapidly rising global temperatures breathed a collective sigh of relief. The US finally is taking historic action to address the climate crisis. … Continue reading

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Drag Shows in Champaign-Urbana: Interview with Amy Myers

“Drag is an art. It is a culture.” As a cis, straight woman, I did not fully understand the cultural importance of drag shows until 2019, when I was managing a community center that has a wonderful zine collection and … Continue reading

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In Guatemala, Ethnic Cleansing Moves from the Village to the Courtroom

If you want to see what ethnic cleansing looks like in the 21st century, take a trip to Guatemala. Don’t just stay at the charming eco-lodge by the lake under the volcanoes, however, because you might fly home with a … Continue reading

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Two Academic Freedom Cases at the U of I Revisited

Late last year, the University of Illinois Press published Dangerous Ideas on Campus by Matthew Ehrlich. It is an excellent book on two professors at the U of I, one of whom was fired, while the other was not. The … Continue reading

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The Move toward Socialism in the United States

People on the Left are understandably preoccupied with the growing strength of fascism, white supremacist and antisemitic rhetoric and violence, and the growth of extreme right-wing groups. There is no doubt that these developments represent an obstacle to badly needed … Continue reading

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Links

The Public i is partnering with the Education Justice Project (EJP) to share writing completed by incarcerated students at the Danville Correctional Center. The EJP is a comprehensive college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Through its educational … Continue reading

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Donald Trump v. Shamar Betts

I, Shamar Betts, incited a riot through a Facebook post encouraging my people to join alongside the rest of the world in an attempt to express our feelings on the tragic death of George Floyd in May of 2020. Although … Continue reading

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A Time of Monsters: The New Nadir and the Crisis of the Black Worker

We currently reside in what Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci called “A Time of Monsters.” Exacerbated by the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic, the Black working classes continue to struggle under what Black Studies scholar Sundiata Cha-Jua has dubbed “the New Nadir.” For … Continue reading

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Juneteenth Freedom Day

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with … Continue reading

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Champaign Can End its Housing Discrimination

As previously reported in the Public i, housing discrimination in Champaign is a chronic issue. Following on the “tough on crime era,” since 1994 Champaign has allowed landlords to reject tenant lease applications based on their conviction record—in excess of … Continue reading

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West Virginia v. EPA: SCOTUS Decision Not Necessarily a Blow to Climate Action

Supreme Court rulings, once announced, sometimes take on curious lives. Understood in one way when released, they can, as precedent, shape the law in other, unexpected ways. The Supreme Court’s opinion in West Virginia v. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), … Continue reading

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The Future of Actual Malice

Justice Clarence Thomas poked the media industry this past June when he dissented from the Supreme Court decision not to hear an appeal of a libel case. The plaintiff, Coral Ridge Ministries, had sought a review of a lower-court decision … Continue reading

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Juneteenth 2022 at Randolph Street Garden

Seitu Ken Jones, a multidisciplinary artist who believes in the power of public art to link the past and present, spent 2020–21 as a visiting artist at the UIUC Center for Advanced Study. He returned this past June to work … Continue reading

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The Public i: Countering Hegemonic Mass Media Narratives

I have always wondered how the Public i, which operates under one of the few Independent Media Centers (IMCs) that still exist in the United States—the UCIMC—has been sustainable for two decades despite the growing dissolutions of Indymedia centers worldwide. … Continue reading

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A Win for the Whole Community: New Funds Will Improve Immigrant Access to Mental Health Services in Champaign County

All who work with newly arrived individuals and families in the Champaign-Urbana community are aware of the challenges in trying to connect immigrants with mental health support. Teachers, school counselors, public health workers, legal aid societies, and others who are … Continue reading

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The Anti-Democratic Movement Against Public Schools

“The path to saving the nation is very simple—it’s going to go through the school boards.” – Steve Bannon The workingmen’s parties of the nineteenth century pushed hard, very hard for public schools and were key to their creation. Yes, … Continue reading

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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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Feminism, the Environment and Stolen Land: Socially Conscious Music from Africa and the South Pacific

Readers may remember my two previous world music reviews, in the February 2021 and Summer 2021 issues of the Public i. All of the music described here was reviewed in the great magazine Songlines. The music is available on Apple … Continue reading

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