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Civil Rights

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will consider a new public comment policy to replace one the Illinois Attorney General has called illegal.

The Town currently prevents members of the public from addressing the council more than once every 45 days.

The Public Access Counselor for the Attorney General's Office said that violates the Open Meetings Act.

Keeping Up The Momentum Of Women's Activisim

Mar 8, 2017
Wikipedia/Google Images

You might have noticed your female colleagues wearing red clothing today. Or perhaps they didn't show up at the office at all.

It's all part of the International Women's Day celebration, held each year on March 8. The day has special significance this year as women across the world try to maintain the momentum unleashed during the women's marches on Washington and other cities across the globe last January.

Illinois State University

We're currently in a time of tumult, anger, and fear over immigration in this country.

This figured prominently during the presidential campaign and continues with the deportation enforcement policy of the Trump administration.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University is fielding a lot of questions from international students concerned about the Trump Administration executive orders on immigration and visa enforcement.

About ten ISU students come from the seven countries specifically banned in the Executive order. Others from those nations have also been accepted for admission to ISU in the fall.

Staff / WGLT

The Not In Our Town movement in Bloomington Normal is objecting to the Muslim ban and borders the Trump administration has closed for people from seven nations.

Mike Matejka of Not in Our Town said there will be a solidarity rally Wednesday.

Scott Vogel / Bloomington Central Catholic High School

The last eight years have been difficult for people who oppose abortion. The Obama administration was not receptive to that message.

But, Bloomington Central Catholic High School students headed to Washington for the annual national March For Life feel excited this year because of the change in administration.

Alexis Shpall Wolstein

In  what may be a new era of so called "alternative facts" and much talked about fake news, a librarian at Illinois State University is working to document involvement by Bloomington Normal residents at women's marches across the country.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Television personality Dr. Marc Lamont Hill spent time answering questions from a group of Illinois State University students before speaking at the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Dinner Friday night.

Hill is a distinguished professor of African American studies at Morehouse College and host of BET News and VH1 Live.

Staff / WGLT

People in the Twin Cities may notice more signs popping up, but they aren't promoting political candidates.

The welcome signs are printed in three languages with the same message: No matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor. 

State Farm / Twitter

A lot of couples become engaged around the holidays.

State Farm Insurance saw an opportunity to boost its business by reminding people to use #ProtectTheBling...as in don't forget to insure the engagement ring.

They used a stock photo of an interracial couple during a proposal displaying a ring.

Cue the intolerance. Lots of it. 

Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner agreed to a few changes requested during a standing-room-only, Black Lives Matter forum aimed at holding police accountable for strategies it says have unfairly targeted blacks and left some residents fearful to even drive the city streets. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Black Lives Matter activists say the idea they weren't consulted about a potential west side police substation is not the only problem with the plan.

Group member Ky Ajayi, who lives on the east side of town near the airport, said following the Bloomington City Council meeting that the model of community policing articulated to the council by police and Mid Central Community Action is 'nice,' but not enough.

Emma Shores/WGLT

In the last decade, the Bloomington Police Department has seized more than one point-one-million-dollars in property through asset forfeiture laws. The city has kept more than half of that money.

The Town of Normal has seized more than 800-thousand dollars in property.

Staff / WGLT

Elections are always polarizing. Elections are always bruising.

But, a Normal Community High School Teacher said this is the most extreme he has seen and one that has had a pronounced effect on students.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Chanting "black lives matter" for more than an hour, hundreds of protestors gathered in the ISU Quad in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory.

Student Gene Hoard said they were not happy with President Larry Dietz's appeal for calm in the face of injustice.

LBJ Library / Creative Commons

Tom Hayden, the famed 1960s anti-war activist who moved beyond his notoriety as a Chicago 7 defendant to become a California legislator, author and lecturer, has died. He was 76.

Hayden made headlines in the 1960s with his radical activism, his marriage to actress Jane Fonda and his trips to North Vietnam during the Vietnam war.

Staff / WGLT

Proponents of a health care clinic in central Illinois designed to meet the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex population say such a facility could help limit discrimination against those individuals.

Creative Commons

LGBTQ advocates indicate there is a big need for a clinic to serve transgender people in central Illinois.

Central Illinois Pride Health Center Director Len Meyer said they are trying to qualify for non-profit status, because most go to Chicago to get hormone replacement therapy.

Creative Commons

For the last half century  the courts have moved to a jurisprudence of law and order instead of one of individual rights.

That's according to Michael Gizzi, an Illinois State University Professor of Criminal Justice Sciences, who spoke with GLT's Charlie Schlenker. Gizzi has co-authored a new book on the fourth amendment to the constitution, the portion of the bill of rights preventing unreasonable searches and seizures so people can be secure in their property and possessions.

Decatur police say a black man shot by a white officer was armed with a BB gun that resembled a real firearm. The 40-year-old Decatur man is listed in serious condition after being shot in the chest early Monday. The Associated Press is not yet identifying the man because he has not been charged with a crime.  
 
Officers responded to a report of a man with a gun around 1 a.m. Interim Police Chief James Getz said during a news conference that Officer Andrew Wittmer fired one round during the encounter that "ended the threat." 
 

Steve Petteway / Staff Photographer Supreme Court

The absence of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a big difference in the last session of the high court. That's according to ISU scholar Meghan Leonard. Leonard told Charlie Schlenker not only were the four to four cases a big deal, but some of the 5-3 decisions would have had different emphasis if Scalia were there.

The death of not only affected the decisions handed down in the just completed term of the court, it is shifting what will happen next year too. Leonard said the court has not picked chosen many, if any, blockbuster cases to hear next term.

Play Connects Slavery, Black Lives Matter Movement

Jun 28, 2016

On a trip to the west coast of Africa, Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, a music professor at Illinois State University, was haunted by her visits to dungeons built by slave traders to house captives before shipping them off to America.

At Home With Muslim And American Culture

Jun 23, 2016
Judith Valente

At 8:30 last Saturday evening, Zahra Abdulrehman and her sister Hibah were about to break the Ramadan fast. They hadn't taken any food during this holy season of fasting for Muslims since 3:30 that morning. Before them were plates of spicy chicken, rice, yogurt, mango, watermelon and dates.

Muslim Leader And Gay Activist Search For Common Ground

Jun 23, 2016
Judith Valente / WGLT

An unprecedented encounter took place in Bloomington last week in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub.

When St. John's Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil for those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub, about a dozen members of the local Islamic community came to pay their respects. For many of the Muslims, it was their first time in a Christian Church.

There to greet them was Dave Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Among the Muslim visitors was Sheheryar Muftee of the Islamic Center of Bloomington-Normal. 

Illinois Imam Reflects On Orlando Shooting

Jun 23, 2016

A prominent Illinois imam said young American Muslims who are attracted to radical groups might be motivated by a mentality of "two-fold inferiority."

Imam Rizwan Ali of the Islamic Center of Naperville said it is a mentality found in a variety of immigrant families.

"Immigrants from different backgrounds have a concept of something called two-fold inferiority. They are not assimilated with their current host country and their (former) country," the imam said.

YouTube

After the attack in Orlando, the focus should not be exclusively on whether the shooter is Muslim or an Islamist, according to the Chair of the Illinois State University Politics and Government.

Dr. Ali Riaz says there are other factors that should be examined.

Michael Hill / WGLT

People in the Twin Cities gathered for a candlelight vigil to show support for the victims of a shooting at an LGBTQ night club in Orlando that claimed 49 lives. 

Churches Have A Role To Play In Curbing Hate

Jun 13, 2016
Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons

The mass shooting in Orlando this weekend could end up adding to a culture of fear and exclusion that seems to be sweeping the country during  this election cycle, according to Rev. Kelley Becker of the First Christian Church of Bloomington.

Tim Evanson / Flickr

In the wake of the deadly terror attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando one leader in the gay community said he's feeling hopeful.

David Bentlin is the President of the Prairie Pride Coalition Board. The group is dedicated to the implementation of full civil rights protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Twenty years after the first Not In Our Town National Gathering took place in Bloomington to fight hate and intolerance, members say there is is an even greater need today for the organization's grass roots, community-building efforts.

NIOT member Mike Matejka said the recent presidential race and the rash of police killings of African Americans have created tensions within many communities.

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