minority

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.

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.

At East Alton-Wood River High School, as well in schools across the state, the measurement of academic improvement is based on a single test given over two days once a year. “It’s silly to measure a school’s performance by that,” says the Superintendent.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The makeup of Illinois schools is changing. If you moved every desk, from every Illinois school, into one giant classroom, more than half of the kids in those seats would be students of color.

That's on par with national figures; last year the U.S. Department of Education signaled that minorities would outnumber whites at the nation's public schools.

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 headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A recent federal settlement on discriminatory lending practices was the biggest of its kind to date and speaks to a larger issue within the foreclosure crisis: the targeting of minority communities for risky subprime loans.