Civil Rights | WGLT

Civil Rights

Stand Up For Social Justice
Facebook / Stand Up For Social Justice

A progressive group that's been staging vigils in Bloomington every month for the last three years plans to continue its demonstrations because organizers feel their efforts are making a difference.

man smiles at camera
Grant Halverson

America has a long history of torture. From enhanced interrogation during the Iraq War all the way back to the Salem Witch Trials, torture has featured prominently in the story of the country.

The question of why it happened is a question of power and fear.

Housing Action Illinois

Editor's note: This is part of a five-story series reported at the Housing Action Illinois conference in Bloomington on Oct. 24-25. The stories ran Wednesday, Oct. 30, on WGLT's Sound Ideas.

Merlin Kennedy
Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home

One of Bloomington-Normal most notable civil rights leaders, Merlin Kennedy, has died.

Miltonette Craig speaks
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Town of Normal is in the middle of its first annual Daring Diversity: A Racial Equity Summit. Day 1 of the conference included speakers who defined and traced the roots of racism.

Racial equity conference
Eric Stock / WGLT

Community planners used U.S. Census data to shed light on racial and ethnic disparities in McLean County during the Town of Normal's Daring Diversity racial equity conference.

Staff

An Illinois free speech advocate spoke in Normal on Wednesday and compared President Donald Trump's characterization of journalists as "scum" and "dirt" to tactics used by tyrannical dictators of the past. 

McLean County Museum of History

Last year, “Green Book” hit the big screen and shocked the world with an accurate depiction of what life was like for African Americans in the U.S. before the Civil Rights Act.

Laura and her son with a sign
Joe Deacon / WGLT

Laura Tepen of Bloomington has seen first-hand the conditions facing refugees along the southern U.S. border. In February, her family of five volunteered at a respite center in McAllen, Texas, where they helped feed and give clothes to people released from detention centers.

Dr. Eugene Covington
McLean County Museum of History

Dr. Eugene Covington was the first and only African American physician in McLean County in the early 20th century.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

An LGBTQI+ poet and scholar looks to indigenous people in North America for broader gender definitions that can help modern society as the current culture struggles over accepting multiple identities.

A crod of people with students hugging
Cindy Le / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal and Illinois State University communities gathered Thursday evening to mourn and rededicate themselves to good in the wake of the temple shootings in Pittsburgh.

A head photo of Mary Meg McCarthy
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Federal administration immigration policies will soon start to hurt the agriculture sector in a big way, according to the head of the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Award-winning cartoonist Keith Knight's focus on racial profiling, police brutality, and race relations have many pegging him as a social activist.

Speakers hold signs and stand in front of Bloomington City Hall
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the proposed ordinance has been released. You can read it here.

The Normal Town Council will take up a Welcoming City ordinance at its meeting on Monday.

Mayor Chris Koos said there might be some last-minute tweaks to the proposal, but the measure leans on the language in the town's Comprehensive Plan and Visioning Report.

Associated Press

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader’s legacy continues to loom large through such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as well as affirmative action hiring and educational practices.

Books To Benefit

A local nonprofit organization has found a new home for a rare, historical text from the 19th century.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Two potential draft Welcoming City ordinances are now available for the city of Bloomington. Mayor Tari Renner said he sees no problem with having both of them go to the City Council.

Cindy Le / WGLT

The head of the ACLU of Illinois says racially imbalanced police enforcement is a problem statewide.

Allsdare Hickson / Flickr

An Egyptian Muslim and former exchange student at Heartland Community College said he is disillusioned by mixed messages he's receiving from the United States.

Mathew Fillipowicz / Flickr

The Trump administration is not just changing the civil liberties landscape in well publicized ways such as the Muslim ban and efforts to deport so-called bad hombres.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Anti-immigration voices are growing stronger around the U.S., and an advocate for tolerance and education said the best way to combat that kind of speech is by introducing immigrants to their neighbors.

SPLC

The revival of a decades dormant campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment is drawing an opposition campaign from what some call a hate group.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A Blue Lives Matter rally outside Bloomington City Hall on Monday evening drew about 15 people.

Tari Renner gestures
Staff / WGLT

The final draft of a police citizen review board may leave advocates on both sides of the issue feeling like they have lost something.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Another special meeting Monday on a proposed Bloomington police citizen review board drew more than 100 people who gave, at times, heated input to aldermen.

Five Bloomington City Council members delayed a scheduled vote on Monday to hear more from Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

Karen Schmidt
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council may vote on a civilian review board at their July 10 meeting, but action could also be delayed, according to a Bloomington Alderman.

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the largest denominations in the country, voted recently to denounce white supremacy and the alt-right movement, but not without controversy.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A solid majority on the Bloomington City Council favors creating a citizen review board for police complaints.

There's less certainty about one provision community groups are pushing. Alderman Joni Painter said during a council work session it is an absolute no go for her.

Two men in formal wear with one holding a plaque.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart joked as he received the McLean County History Museum's History Makers Award, "We all at some time in our life hope that at our funeral somebody will have something nice to say.  So, I appreciate the fact that I am here tonight ."[to hear nice comments.]

Each year the McLean County Museum of History Board selects the History Makers who are recognized for outstanding, lifelong contributions of time and talents that have helped make McLean County a better place to live.

This year's History Makers include:

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