cast of To Kill A Mockingbird on stage
Devyn Tammons/WILL
February 19, 2015

Central High Adds Twist To ‘Mockingbird’

If you've read the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, you know it's a story that centers largely on issues of race and justice. Those are themes that continue to resonate today. So, when Champaign's Central High School decided to stage a performance of Harper Lee's novel, they added a modern twist. This weekend, students will perform two versions of the play; one with a traditional cast, the other with the races of the major characters reversed.


Students protest before the "die-in" on the UIUC campus Monday.
Hannah Meisel/WILL
December 08, 2014

Students Stage Die-In On U of I Campus

Students protest before the die-in on the UIUC campus MondayStudents on the University of Illinois campus dropped to the ground in unison today for a "die-in" rally. The demonstration was held in solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, who are mourning the non-indictments of the white police officers who killed unarmed black men this summer.

Despite the cold and damp, 200 or so protestors lay on the ground, some staying as long as 4 and a half hours -- as long as Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown's body lay in the street after he'd been shot and killed by a white police officer in August. 

The silence was in stark contrast to earlier shouts of "Black Lives Matter" and other chants. 

But then the singing began...

Led by a female student in a bright headscarf, protestors on the ground and with arms linked on the outside of the group sang, "Mama, mama can't you see what these people out here are doing to me? They killed my brother, won't let me be, someone take me out of this misery."

Brittany Darling, a senior at the U of I, says demonstrating helps her feel less ignored.

"It hurts me to see the country that I believe in really not care whether or not black children are dying," she said.

Darling's arm was linked with Marvin Johnson's, another senior at U of I. He says protesting is a first step in changing laws surrounding racial profiling.

"Because this killing, it has to stop," he said. "It has to stop."

Organizers say they have more solidarity rallies planned this month. 


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