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WEATHER ALERT: Hurricane Beryl’s to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to Illinois

A Dialogue with Chancellor Jones, Shamar Betts, NPR’s Ayesha Roscoe, and Decatur ISD Board Member Alana Banks

Top row: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones, NPR's Ayesha Roscoe. Bottom row: Decatur Public Schools board member Alana Banks, and Shamar Betts.

In our inaugural edition of Dialogue:

Chancellor Robert Jones explains the challenges of attracting Black students to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, his reaction to the US Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action at universities, the relationship between the university and Champaign-Urbana’s Black community, and his top R&B artists.

Shamar Betts is a young man who had a difficult upbringing. He witnessed horrific violence as a child. Years later, he spent time in prison for inciting a riot in Champaign in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Today, Shamar is 23 and lives in Urbana. And he told Madison Holcomb of the Illinois Student Newsroom that he’s committed to turning his life around. Click here to hear the story.

Brian Mackey, host of The 21st Show, talks with Patricia Sykes, prevention supervisor with Alternatives, a behavioral health center in Chicago about ways to avoid addiction. Click here to hear the entire segment.

NPR’s Ayesha Roscoe discusses her book HBCU Made – A Celebration of the Black College Experience.

Alana Banks made history two years ago, becoming the first Black and transgender woman elected to a school board in the country. Banks also helped appoint a new superintendent for Decatur Public Schools and negotiate a contract that raised wages for assistant teachers. As she tells IPM Education Reporter Emily Hays, balancing the demands of the communities she represents hasn’t been easy. Click here to hear the entire story.

Today’s show was hosted and produced by Reginald Hardwick, News and Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media.

The theme was composed by Lamont Holden, Clinical Assistant Professor of Audio & Recording Technologies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media. He oversees daily newscasts and online stories. He also manages The 21st Show, a live, weekday talk show that airs on 7 NPR stations throughout Illinois. He is the executive producer of IPM's annual environmental TV special "State of Change." And he is the co-creator of Illinois Soul, IPM's Black-focused audio service that launched in February 2024. Before arriving at IPM in 2019, he served as News Director at WKAR in East Lansing and spent 17 years as a TV news producer and manager at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth. Reginald is the recipient of three Edward R. Murrow regional awards, seven regional Emmy awards, and multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Vietnam, Reginald grew up in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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