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Clara Jean Ester was a college student at Memphis State College in Tennessee when she bore witness to a series of pivotal moments in civil rights history.

As a junior, Ester joined the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968, alongside African American sanitation workers who were calling to demand better working conditions and higher wages.

This weekend, you can see actor Wendell Pierce star in a new production that is streaming for free online. "The thing I love about the play is: not often do you see Black men just love each other and work through the difficulties of that love," Pierce says.

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When schools shut down in the spring, that raised immediate worries about the nearly 30 million children who depend on school food. Those worries were essentially borne out, with researchers reporting a large rise in child hunger.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

On Wednesday, Kamala Harris will become the first woman, and the first woman of color, to serve as vice president of the United States.

Twelve years ago, hundreds of thousands of people filled the National Mall to watch Barack Obama make history as the nation's first Black president.

But when Harris takes the oath, the mall will very likely be nearly empty.

On Thursday night, the federal government executed a drug trafficker responsible for seven murders in 1992, despite his attorneys having claimed moving forward with the execution would be "cruel and usual punishment" because of his recent COVID-19 infection.

Corey Johnson, 52, was executed at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana and pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. He is the 12th person to be executed by the government since July, after the Trump administration restarted federal executions following a 17 year hiatus.

Update Friday, Jan 15: Twelve hours after this story was published, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he is revising Tier I mitigations to allow for indoor dining. However, no regions currently meet Tier I metrics. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and avoid confusion.

Update Saturday, Jan. 16: Region 5 became Illinois' first region to qualify for Tier I mitigations on Saturday. Additional information has been added to the post.

Governor JB Pritzker on Friday will unfreeze all of Illinois’ 11 regions from the so-called Tier III Coronavirus mitigations he implemented statewide in November as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

We are so excited to be joined by John Saccheri! His Disney content on YouTube has kept us from feeling the Disney Parks blues for so many years! We speak to John about how he got into vlogging, what he has been up to the past year and what he’s looking forward to in 2021 in the parks. The crew also discusses what they are looking forward to the most this upcoming year.

The news hit like an earthquake in state government this week.  Michael Madigan, who was first elected Illinois House Speaker in 1983, stepped aside when it became clear he couldn't obtain the needed votes from his own Democratic members.  We look back at what happened and reflect on Madigan's career.

Remote learning has been a bumpy experiment for many teachers, students and parents.  We detail some of the problems it has exposed and some lighter moments from online schooling.

And, now that it's legal to grow, is hemp closer to becoming the cash crop many have touted?  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

The news hit like an earthquake in state government this week.  Michael Madigan, who was first elected Illinois House Speaker in 1983, stepped aside when it became clear he couldn't obtain the needed votes from his own Democratic members.  We look back at what happened and reflect on Madigan's career.

Remote learning has been a bumpy experiment for many teachers, students and parents.  We detail some of the problems it has exposed and some lighter moments from online schooling.

And, now that it's legal to grow, is hemp closer to becoming the cash crop many have touted?  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office Thursday announced criminal charges for eight former state officials, including the state's former Gov. Rick Snyder, along with one current official, for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.

Together the group face 42 counts related to the drinking water catastrophe roughly seven years ago. The crimes range from perjury to misconduct in office to involuntary manslaughter.

Pandemic Fuels Record Overdose Deaths

Jan 14, 2021

After their son died, Jackie and Robert Watson found a stack of popsicle sticks in his Milwaukee apartment. He'd written an affirmation on each one.

"I am a fighter." "Don't sweat the small stuff." "My kids love me."

Brandon Cullins, 31, had been working with a drug counselor, who advised him to write the messages to himself.

Picking up the popsicle sticks, the Watsons were able to see how hard their son wanted to kick his battle with cocaine. But they also wondered why he hadn't asked them for help.

For the first time, a medication regime has been found effective for some patients with meth addiction in a large, placebo-controlled trial.

It's welcome news for those working with the growing number of people struggling with meth addiction.

"It's progress and it's quite significant," says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Addiction, which funded the two-year clinical trial involving roughly 400 patients.

The next wave of COVID-19 vaccinations is slated to begin in the Peoria area next week--and it's a big one.

Early voting for next month’s consolidated primary elections began Thursday, and Peoria County Election Commission Executive Director Tom Bride believes turnout may be higher than usual this year.

It's 8:45 a.m. on a weekday in Washington, D.C., and if anyone needs a reminder why the coronavirus vaccine is important, there's one arriving at the Takoma Metro stop: an almost empty train pulling up to an almost empty subway platform at the height of rush hour.

In Los Angeles, COVID-19 cases continue to soar at an astonishing rate. In the first seven days of the year, for instance, roughly seven people died each hour.

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

Updated Sunday at 9:40 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Jaime Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee, elevating the South Carolina Democrat who emerged as a party star during his unsuccessful attempt at unseating Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020.

"Together, we'll organize everywhere, invest in state parties, expand the map, and elect Democrats who will be champions for the working people of this country," Harrison tweeted shortly after Biden's transition team announced his selection on Thursday.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the Peoria area dipped below 100 in the latest figures released Thursday by Tri-County health department officials.

What Does It Mean To Call The Capitol Rioters 'Terrorists'?

Jan 14, 2021

What do you call the people who violently stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6? Rioters? Insurrectionists? Terrorists? Since the attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has used all three labels.

Linda Sarsour, a Muslim, Palestinian American activist with a huge social media following, tweeted, "This is domestic terrorism. Period," and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace from South Carolina also used the label "domestic terrorist" in a tweet.

Terrorist.

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Isolation from the pandemic has led some struggling with addiction to relapse. It has kept others from getting help. And overdose deaths last year are expected to be a record-breaking 81,000. Corrinne Hess with Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

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The Second Impeachment Of Donald Trump

Jan 14, 2021

At a rally, President Donald Trump charged a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol Building where Congress was certifying electoral votes from the 2020 election in which he was defeated. Hundreds of them did.

Homelessness in America had already reached crisis levels before the pandemic began.

Israel's health minister announced Thursday the country would vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against COVID-19, after Israel's president said withholding vaccines was against Israel's Jewish and democratic values.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the prisoners would be vaccinated early next week, on Monday or Tuesday. The minister informed NPR of the decision before making a public announcement.

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