Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 28, 2012

Israeli, Palestinian Students Show Solidarity with Vigil

by Emily Siner

Supporters of both Israel and Palestine are uniting for the common goal of peace during a candlelight vigil Wednesday night on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus.

The event, which is co-sponsored by several student organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Israel Illini, comes in response to recent violence between Israel and Palestine.

Israel Illini Vice-President Elaad Applebaum said the vigil will show that people on both sides of the aisle can work together.

"We all support peace, regardless of which side we may or may not support or what beliefs we hold. We all want peace," Applebaum said. "It's not about politics; it';s about solidarity with the victims of violence on both sides."

The vigil could unite community members with conflicting perspectives and agendas, according to Tariq Shihadah, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine.

"The purpose of tonight's vigil is to bring together a diverse group of people, to understand the underlying humanity of both sides, and to honor the lives of those who were lost, and to realize how similar we are," Shihadah said.

The vigil begins at 8pm at Alma Mater Plaza on the corner of Green and Wright Streets in Urbana, and it will include readings of Palestinian and Israeli poems. 

Event organizers ask participants not to bring any banners, signs or flags.

Categories: Community, Politics


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 14, 2012

Communities Prepare for Holiday Festivities

"Communities across east central Illinois are gearing up for the holiday season.

Work has begun on Champaign's Christmas tree. The tree will be lit at the Parade of Lights on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m.

"We turned it in to make sure it's kind of the kickoff to the holiday season, and the response has been great. The crowds were tremendous last year, even with the rain, and so we're looking for another great showing this year," said TJ Blakeman, executive director of Champaign City Partnership,

Blakeman said First Street is the next part of the city to be officially decorated.

"We're putting lights on the light poles this Saturday from 11 to 3 o'clock," he said. "We're looking for volunteers to come out and help with that."

Volunteers can help put up lights in Champaign at 34 Main Street, on the corner of Walnut and Main. Also, next Saturday, Nov. 24 marks the first day of Shop Local Saturday, a day of promotions in Champaign small businesses every Saturday until Christmas.

Meanwhile, Danville is kicking off the holiday season on Thursday, Nov. 14 with its annual "Night of Lights" holiday parade. Festivities kick off with a chili dinner at 3 p.m., followed by live music and family reading night on the lawn of the Danville Public Library.

"It's actually pretty amazing how many people will come down for the parade because it's usually pretty cold, and they'll be sitting in their cars lined along the parade route, as well as lined along the sidewalks, down all the way through downtown with all the kids bundled up," said Dana Schaumburg, the executive director of Downtown Danville Inc. "It's just a fun, frosty atmosphere."

There will also be a Christmas Parade in Decatur this Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5:30 p.m., and in Rantoul on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.

Urbana's Lincoln Square Mall is hosting a holiday market of local vendors every Saturday through Dec. 15.

Categories: Community
Tags: holidays

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - November 06, 2012

Illinois, Indiana Voters Head to the Polls

By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from The Associated Press

There are long lines at polling places across the country, and voter turnout has been steady in Champaign County, where about 20 percent of registered voters voted early.

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