Category Archives: Voices of Color

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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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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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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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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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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The Ubuntu Project and the Need for a Progressive Shift in Policing

Ubuntu is a term that originated with the Zulu people and roughly translates to “humanity” in English. The term emerged as a political concept following apartheid’s disintegration in South Africa. Now a collective of local community members, scholars, clergy, 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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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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“It’s Scary Having a Fifteen-Year-Old Son”: Community Voices on Gun Violence in C-U

In the midst of the global pandemic, Champaign-Urbana has its own local epidemic: gun violence. As of July 20, police had received 95 reports in 2020 of shooting incidents in Champaign alone. This is more than double the total for … Continue reading

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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

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History Matters: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Fight for Economic Justice

By Stephanie Fortado Dr. Stephanie Seawell Fortado is a Lecturer at the University of Illinois Labor Education Program, providing workshops and extension programming for unions and the general public on the Champaign-Urbana campus and throughout Illinois. Before joining the University, … Continue reading

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Is Chancellor Jones in the ‘Sunken Place’?

by Kurtis ‘Sunny’ Ture Kurtis ‘Sunny’ Ture is a music producer, organizer, and graduate student at UIUC. As a founding member of Black Students for Revolution and the Speak Truth Collective, Sunny seeks to raise political consciousness, celebrate Black culture, … Continue reading

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The Water Project: Examining our relationship with our most precious resource

Nancy Dietrich is a resident of Urbana who became an environmentalist because she likes to breathe clean air and drink clean water. “Destruction of water resources and of forest catchments and aquifers is a form of terrorism. Denying poor people … Continue reading

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Full Transcript of Evelyn Reynolds’s CU Women’s March Speech

I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak here today. None of today’s speakers can fully represent the array of magnificent women in our community. Many of which don’t hold public positions of influence or prestigious titles. Many of whom are … Continue reading

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Police Terror To Increase Under Trump

In less than two months since the election of Donald Trump there has been a surge in violent islamophobic and xenophobic attacks in this country. While the rhetoric, actions and entire campaign of Trump has prompted conversations amongst scholars, activists … Continue reading

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The Recolonization of Standing Rock

By Desmond Powers After a thirty-five hour drive from New Orleans, I rolled into Standing Rock’s Oceti Sakowin camp in a VW hatchback plastered with Bernie stickers with two fellow New Orleanians and a trunk full of herbal medicine and … Continue reading

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Small Victories Matter

By Jacquelyn Potter Jacquelyn Potter is on the Executive Committee of the local Sierra Club, where she is involved in activism regarding DAPL and other pipeline issues. A celebration of joy erupted in the cold, snowy and wet camp at … Continue reading

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