Black Lives Matter

WSIU Staff

Social Justice movements like Black Lives Matter have changed the way Americans think over the last several months. February is Black History Month, and we'll bring you opportunities to learn more about history and culture, as well as ways to get more involved in equity and diversity initiatives.

Commentary: The Black and White Dividing Line

Feb 26, 2021
Associated Press

As Black History Month winds to a close, WSIU contributor Pete Peterson takes a personal look at the black and white racial dividing line in America.

SIU School of Law

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Prof. John Brittain about his lecture, "Awakening, Reckoning, and Mindfulness in 2020."

Black Caucus Introduces Sweeping Police Legislation, Faces Opposition From Law Enforcement

Jan 8, 2021

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has introduced a sweeping criminal justice omnibus bill that aims to heavily alter the state of policing in Illinois.

Carbondale Policing Town Hall Set For July 9th

Jul 7, 2020

In light of protests around the country, the Carbondale NAACP and city officials will be holding a policing town hall on Thursday, July 9th.

The panel will include Fire and Police Commissioner Randy Burnside, Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Carr, social activist Michael Coleman, Chief of Police Max Grubbs, Carbondale NAACP member Nancy Maxwell, City Manager Gary Williams, and IL NAACP member Robert Moore.

Video Shows Carbondale Police Using Pepper Spray on Demonstrators

Jun 29, 2020
Carbondale Police

Editor's note: This story has been clarified to address the identity of the person arrested.

The Carbondale Police Department has issued a statement regarding Sunday's incident near Italian Village where officers appeared to struggle with a person they were trying to arrest.

Video from a witness shows fellow protesters asking why the person was in custody, and questioned tactics the police used. Officers in a witness video then appeared to push them back and pepper-sprayed them.

How Redlining, Racism Harm Black Americans' Health

Jun 26, 2020

Systemic racism has a huge impact on the health of Black Americans, and not just in the doctor’s office. In a Facebook Live event, Side Effects Public Media reporter Darian Benson spoke with three experts on topics ranging from generational mistrust to the impact of COVID-19. 

Nearly 150 students, faculty, and staff at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine in Springfield participated in a demonstration Wednesday night calling for an end to systemic racism in their field.

The school’s chapter of White Coats For Black Lives - a nationwide medical-student-led movement - planned the event.


Athletes of all races are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the United States.

Beyond that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently released a video where he said the league was wrong for not listening to players sooner.

US Capitol
Liam James Doyle / NPR

The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on policing as lawmakers work on legislation to combat police brutality. The hearing comes amid nationwide protests on the subject. Watch the proceedings live.

Does having more officers in a school automatically mean more safety? More and more school districts are questioning that premise after protests sparked from the killing of George Floyd.

WSIU/Kevin boucher

Dozens of, mostly young, sign-carrying demonstrators gathered at the Pinckneyville town square on Thursday to raise awareness of racism and police brutality.

Car Vigil For Victims Of Racial Injustice

Jun 11, 2020

There will be a symbolic funeral procession for George Floyd and all those lost to racial injustice in Carbondale on Friday.

Organizer Nancy Maxwell said the vigil is in response to people who said they would like to participate in other Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have been held recently, but haven’t felt comfortable due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.


In part 2 of our report on former Saluki hammer thrower Gwen Berry's involvement in bringing light to racial inequality and police brutality, WSIU's Brad Palmer reveals Berry's thoughts on the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations and her advice to her teenage son on how to stay safe.

As protests against police brutality continue throughout Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s working on police and criminal justice reform, and investment in communities of color with lawmakers.


In part 1 of 2, WSIU's Brad Palmer has the story of U.S. Olympic and former SIU hammer thrower Gwen Berry's personal racial inequality protest at the 2019 Pan Am Games and the impact it has had on her.

June 9, 2020: George Floyd's Funeral

Jun 9, 2020
George Floyd Memorial
Jim Urquhart / NPR

NPR will bring live coverage of the funeral for George Floyd, 46, who was killed by police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The service will be held at The Fountain of Praise in Houston.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Across the state, young people are bring the Black Lives Matter into small communities.

One of those is in Nashville, Illinois. 17-year-old Janisha Bailey is organizing the protest because she wants to draw attention to racism – something she said her family is all too familiar with.

“Me and my siblings all through high school and even some in middle school have experienced racism in various ways. To start out with, before my dad passed away, he received a letter from the KKK themselves,” Bailey said.

Southeast Missouri State University is establishing a scholarship in honor of George Floyd.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin met with faith and community leaders in Springfield over the weekend at Union Baptist Church to discuss legislation to address police conduct.

Durbin said the measure - set to be introduced this week - would include a ban on the use of chokeholds, outline acceptable use of force by officers, and make recommendations on recruitment and training. He’s joining Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both former Democratic presidential candidates, in sponsoring the Justice In Policing Act.

Demonstrations against racism and police brutality continue in southern Illinois, and across the nation.

On Monday, Allaijah Davis and her friends Nykeyla Henderson and Ariona Fairlee led an estimated 1,000 peaceful demonstrators down Capitol Avenue in Springfield.

Carbondale Rallies Against Police Brutality

Jun 5, 2020
A group of people with signs marching in the street.
Steph Whiteside/WSIU

Hundreds of people gathered in Carbondale for a demonstration against police brutality. The crowd included people of all ages and races, many carrying signs demanding justice for George Floyd, who was shot by police in Minneapolis, and the names of other victims of police shootings.

Organizers led the crowd singing hymns as well as singing happy birthday to Breonna Taylor, who would have turned 27 on Friday, June 5th. Taylor was shot in her bed in Louisville, KY when police raided her apartment earlier this year.

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

A peaceful Black Lives Matter protest demonstration has been scheduled for Saturday in Benton.

Anna Sees a Peaceful Demonstration

Jun 4, 2020
WSIU/Kevin boucher

Between 120 and 150 sign-carrying marchers demonstrated peacefully in Anna on Thursday.

George Floyd Memorial
Kerem Yucel | AFP | Getty Images / Getty Images

Hundreds of mourners are joining George Floyd's family for a memorial service at North Central University in Minneapolis. Floyd's death following police restraint last week has ignited protests around the world.

At least three Illinois House members say they want a special legislative session to strike on issues of law enforcement reform and accountability while police brutality has the nation’s focus.

Shay Miller

More than 150 people turned out for a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Carterville Wednesday evening.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been in power for a year now. “State of Trump” is our series discussing what’s changed in Illinois, and what might be ahead

As 2016 winds to a close, WSIU InFocus takes a look back at the people and stories that made headlines here.