Inclusivity Illinois?

U of I: #BlackLivesMatter

After the Decision on the Ferguson case, students at U of I Protest

By, Senait Gebregiorgis.

U of I students march on campus in honor of Michael Brown
U of I students march on campus in honor of Michael Brown

On November 24th, the grand jury voted to not indict officer Darren Wilson for the murder of African-American teen Michael Brown. Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson on August 9th of 2014 while visiting a corner store near a gas station.

Since then, the Ferguson case decision has caused uproar throughout the country, and most of all throughout many college and University campuses. Many people felt the murder was an example of racial profiling and other similar conflicts that relate to minorities such as African-Americans in America.

At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign the Central Black Student Union decided to organize a peaceful protest march in honor of Michael Brown. Besides this it was also another strategy to raise awareness holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter”. Many students on campus already feel certain other oppressions being an African-American on campus. Some of these include lack of guidance from advisors/counselors or lack of resources to African-Americans especially when attending a predominately white institution.

Along the way, President of CBSU Olabode Oladeinde, says they want to continue to raise awareness even in the future. In the audio package, he shared how the issue was more deeper than just a murder case – there were other ties and relations to it.

Speaking with Illinois students Jaylin Ellis and Lincy Pompilus, they feel like in the African-American community, there seems to be a culture of being reactive rather than proactive. They both shared how it is key to take action and stand up for what you believe in when it comes to issues similar to Ferguson.

The march continued down campus to Wright street and ended up at Florida Avenue Residence Hall for a debrief and discussion. Together, the community discussed how they can make a difference and better change by first starting on campus.

Protestor writing "Black Lives Matter"
Protester making a sign writing “Black Lives Matter”

 

Chief Illiniwek: 7 Years Later

Even after 7 years later, the Chief Illiniwek still Remains

By, Senait Gebregiorgis.

Former or still U of I's Mascot?
Former Illinois Mascot “ChiefIlliniwek”

Chief Illiniwek has been banned from the University of Illinois since 2007. However, despite its ban, the Chief is still visible around campus today. Several private owned apparel stores on campus still sell some of the chief gears and products as well as students wearing the symbol in school football and basketball games.

Even after seven years, the controversy still remains an issue. Many people choose to stray away from talking about it while others strongly express how supportive or against they are of it.

In 2010, the unofficial chief, Ivan Dozier, began to make appearances at Illinois football and basketball games. He would dress up in Chief mascot clothing and walk through the crowds of people. Dozier shared how he sees nothing wrong with the mascot. Instead of viewing it as offensive, he views it as a way of honoring the Native American culture. When asked how things have changed to better implement the Chief compared to the past, he shared how using outreach programs such as the RSO on campus Students for Chief Illiniwek, to help educate people about the history and origin of the Chief as well as the Native American culture.

President Nichole Cattron and Vice president Robert Riley of Students for Chief Illiniwek also feel the same way as Dozier. They shared how the RSO implements and promotes the possibility of bringing back the Chief — just in a different costume. When asked why it can’t be simple to just pick another mascot, they shared how the Chief is a tradition and is something that’s hard to just let go.

Director of the documentary “In Whose Honor” Jay Rosenstein shared how many people on campus are not listening to the full story of those who feel closely offended by the Chief. In the video he shared how the University is also not doing their best job because they are not using the actual power they have. Rosenstein shared how one of the reasons why the Chief is still very visible on campus is because the University and the Chancellor is not doing anything about it.

When asked what the future might be like for the Illinois campus or the Chief mascot, Rosenstein shared how he doesn’t think the mascot will ever go away, but if the University were to step up there can be a more improved change.