IMC Co-founder Danielle Chynoweth Wins McKinley Social Justice Award!

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By Public i editors

Danielle Chynoweth, IMC co-founder and current Cunningham Township Supervisor, won a 2018 Social Justice Award from the McKinley Foundation. She donated the $500 award to the Public i. We extend our deepest gratitude to Danielle for supporting the Public i! At the awards dinner on April 7, she accepted the award and gave the below one-minute speech. Congratulations Danielle on all your amazing work to make CU a better community!

I only have one minute, but
she sleeps just down the street, in a storage unit,
and she calls one day to tell me how lonely she is.

I only have one minute, but
there are two kids with round faces
who worked making tacos, but never got paid,
so now they are sleeping in Carle Park
with their dog to keep them warm.

I only have one minute, but
Dos hermanos visited our office.
First ICE took their mother,
and just now, their father,
right out of Urbana,
so they are trying to get to school every day,
while looking for a place to live.

I only have one minute, but
she worked her whole life as a secretary,
and when her mom died, she lost their home.
So for the past seven months she has been sleeping in her car,
her legs swollen up like two balloons.

I only have a minute, but
she has been asking for seven years for a place to live to get away from him,
pulled a knife on her a hundred times,
she tells us, with staples in her stomach,
as we gather her things from his apartment.
“Every time I was told the wait lists were full.”

Someone threw his sleeping bag in the garbage in the Urbana parking deck.
Someone destroyed the “pallet palace” where they took refuge under the railroad.
Someone pushed the tent city off the Catholic Worker land.
Someone made it illegal to ask for money, but only if you’re homeless.

I only have one minute, but
I wanted to say
to you
That we should not accept
unacceptable problems
just because we inherited them.

I only have …. 5 4 3 2 1.

I am honored to receive this award and to have a minute of your time to speak with you. THANK YOU!


Why Danielle donated to the Public i, “a beacon of light and hope”:

Media change is at the root of social and political change. Unfortunately, the right wing figured that out—and grew a huge network of fake and hateful news—while the left struggled to hold onto its relatively small community media infrastructure.

It is no coincidence that the year Trump was pushed to victory through intensive media propaganda, left-wing media crumbled, with the loss of numerous community radio stations and signature programs like Free Speech Radio News. And one of the first initiatives of the Trump administration was to gut net neutrality and prison phone justice.

The Public i is the longest-operating independent newspaper in CU. It has reported on every social justice movement, connecting local to national and international issues. It is a beacon of light and hope at a time of great nihilism and greed.

Sometimes when picking a location for our donations we choose the newest, sexy endeavor. But we should remember the foundation builders like the Public i, which reports on and supports all our work.

I am hopeful this $500 from the McKinley Foundation can help grow a better digital and social media presence for the paper—and inspire others to become sustaining funders.

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