The 21st Show

‘Hit The Wall’ Play Tackles Stonewall Riots; Asian American Politics; Pet Obesity


Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

On the 21st: The Stonewall Inn is home to one of the most important moments in LGBT history. The 1969 riots are the subject of a play at the Krannert Center For Performing Arts called Hit The Wall. Plus, is your pet stuck at home in this bitter cold? Just like humans, pets are vulnerable to weight gain and obesity. What can you do to keep your animals healthy, and what can we learn about our own health from our pets? And, the label “Asian-American” has only been around since the late sixties when it started being used by civil rights activists. So today, where do Asian-Americans stand in our country’s ideas about race and identity?

You’ve probably heard of Stonewall Inn. The six days of rioting and disturbances in the summer of 1969 in and around Stonewall are commonly thought of the beginnings of the LGBT civil rights movements. President Obama designated the Stonewall Inn and surrounding areas in New York’s Greenwich Village as the first-ever monument to the LGBT movement. But how much do we actually know about what happened? Those events have been dramatized in a play that opens January 31 and then runs through February 10 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Robert Gerard Anderson is the play’s director. He’s also an associate professor at the University of Illinois’ Department of Theatre. Madeline Whitesell is the play’s dramaturg and a master’s student in that same department. We speak with both of them on the show. 

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Late last week, the director of a grad studies program at Duke University emailed her master’s students with a warning. She said two faculty colleagues complained to her about Chinese students speaking their native language “very loudly in the student lounge and study areas.” She went on to say that while she respected how hard it was to go to school in a new country, she encouraged Chinese students to commit to speaking English 100 percent of the time. That email went viral. In China, the topic was viewed more than 130 million times on the social media platform Weibo. That professor has since resigned from her director position.

At the University of Illinois, almost one of every five students on the Urbana campus are of Asian descent. So what does this story, and other news around issues like affirmative action, show about where Asians fit in America? OiYan Poon has spent a lot of time thinking and working on some of these questions. She’s an assistant professor at Colorado State University and the director of the Center for Race and Intersectional Studies For Educational Equity. 

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With this bitter cold, it can be difficult, and even dangerous, to get up and out of the house. For many of us, that also means our pets are stuck inside too. Similarlyto humans, pets are vulnerable to weight gain if they don’t get the proper exercise. Although it’s tempting to feed our pets those extra table scraps, and while it can be cute to see them put on a few extra pounds, obesity can come with serious health effects for pets. What you may not realize is that when your pet is unhealthy, that can indicate health consequences for the owner too. Scientists have been studying those links.

Joining us on the show we had Dr. Jack Herrmann. He’s a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s also an affiliated with UIC’s School of Public Health.

Story source: WILL