Originally aired March 11, 2021.Research and events of the past year have demonstrated the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to the quality of life of everyone in central Illinois. As a balancing of the scales occurs and the benefits of a more just culture are understood, most organizations are prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion – or DEI work. Parts of the process can be difficult or uncomfortable but are necessary and as a bonus, a more robust culture and stronger economy result. The UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership and the Citizens Club of Springfield’s latest Public Policy Forum discusses these affects in today’s Community Voices -- Equity and Inclusion in Workforce and Economic Development.

https://www.corporatekin.com/ / Corporate KIN

Raychel McBride is the Diversity Inclusion & Affirmative Action Manager at Growmark Inc. She is also the founder of Corporate KIN, a business she started to help non-profits, start-ups, and other businesses implement diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. Raychel also is the host of a podcast called Freedom & Champagne and a member of the NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board. She talks about this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner and Randy Eccles.

Black And Brown Teachers Have A Request: Listen

Oct 10, 2019
Golden Apple

In Illinois, students of color comprise more than half of the school population, but their teachers are overwhelmingly white. And even when schools recruit and hire teachers of color, those educators tend to leave the profession much faster than their white colleagues. A recent report took a look at what schools can do to encourage Black and Latinx teachers to stay.

Among Flagships, Illinois Lags In Racial Equity

Nov 16, 2018
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

A recent study by the Institute for Higher Education Policy shows that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stands out among similar schools for its low percentage of minority students.

Ceremony For Black Grads 'Steeped In Our Tradition'

May 15, 2017
Dashawn Julion (center) poses with his mother, Leisha Julion, and his 13-year-old brother Larry at the Black Congratulatory ceremony.
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Commencement ceremonies took place on many college campuses this past weekend, including the University of Illinois. Our Education Desk reporter takes us inside one that's different from all the others — the Black Congratulatory ceremony at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

I Voted sticker roll

Illinois voters go to the polls on November 8, but they won't official cast the votes for the next President. Both state parties have decided the handful of people who will have that privilege.

Amanda Vinicky

The GOP has been talking for years about the need to do more minority outreach: Illinois leaders like former Governor Jim Edgar said at the Republican National Convention in 2008 that it should be a goal,and the Republican National Committee's autopsy of the 2012 election prescribed a dedicated campaign to cultivate black, Hispanics and Asian support. Here's a diversity check, through the prism of Illinois' 2016 delegation to the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland.

Amanda Vinicky

A budget impasse lingers, but hasn't interrupted politicians' big rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Democrats will have their chance tomorrow but today was Republicans' chance.

Republicans are still relishing capturing the governor's office for the first time in a dozen years.

"Are you guys ready? I don't see you guys standing! We need to be lit for this," Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said, as she introduced Gov. Bruce Rauner, prompting the crowd to rise to their feet.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

  A lawsuit seeking to keep two citizen's initiatives from ever coming before voters has been filed. Although the case makes no mention of how it will affect minority voters' rights, sources say organizers took pains to reach out to ethnic groups.

Two potential constitutional changes are at issue: one limiting how long legislators can be in office, the other stripping them of the power to draw their own districts.

The suit challenging them was filed by Mike Kasper, an attorney closely aligned with House Speaker Mike Madigan; the powerful Democrat is against both plans.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The idea that a judicial candidate whose background is counter to the white male majority would bring a different perspective to the bench became a prevalent topic of discussion during the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. But the concept that public servants with different backgrounds strengthen discourse is not new, or without merit. While the nation and the state of Illinois have made great strides in choosing female candidates for positions of power, the statistics are still dismal.

Dana Heupel
NPR Illinois


Did you ever walk into a gathering — at a restaurant, maybe, or a party or a nightclub — where nobody there looked like you? Maybe their skin was a different hue. Maybe they were of the opposite gender. Perhaps they were much younger — or older.

Chances are, you became uncomfortable. You might even have left.

But if at least some faces in the crowd looked like yours, chances are you walked right in. And if they were participating in a mutual activity, you probably joined in.