The 21st Show

Gun Suicides In Rural Areas; The Chinese Exclusion Act Documentary; IL Spelling Bee Contestants


Illinois Newsroom

On The 21st: We talk to the filmmakers behind a new one out about the Chinese Exclusion Act which will be shown on PBS tonight. Plus, the National Spelling Bee is underway- we caught up with a few Illinois contestants before they left for DC to see how they’re feeling ahead of the big competition. But first, from 2012 to 2016, more than eighty percent of gun-related deaths in rural Illinois were suicides, which is higher than the rest of the country. We catch up with Illinois Newsroom Reporter Madelyn Beck to learn more about gun suicides in rural areas. 

It’s the end of the Memorial Day weekend holiday. Which means in cities like Chicago we are hearing this morning about the toll gun violence has taken - 7 were killed, 32 people wounded in shootings in Chicago this weekend. And certainly we’ve heard about how guns have been fatal to some kids in school. But, today - we wanted to talk about how people use guns to hurt themselves. And that’s because here in Illinois, the majority of gun deaths -- outside of Chicago -- are suicides.

From 2012 to 2016, more than eighty percent of gun-related deaths in rural Illinois were suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that’s about twenty percent higher than the rest of the country.

Madelyn Beck has been reporting on this for the Illinois newsroom as part of their gun violence series, and she joined us on the line from Galesburg.   

As part of her reporting Madelyn also spoke to Doreen Marshall, Vice President of Programs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Rob Larew, Vice President of Public Policy and Communication at the National Farmers Union. They also joined us. 


More than 130 years ago in American politics there were calls to build an immigration wall - to block out Chinese immigrants.

And on May 6th, 1882 - President Chester A. Arthur listened. He signed the Chinese Exclusion Act. It was the first significant piece of American immigration law - and it banned an entire race of people from entering the United States.

That’s historian Mae Ngai speaking in a new documentary which explores the history of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

It lasted for 60 years. And that time period includes stories as remarkable as the legal challenges that led to birthright citizenship and horrific details like - one of the largest recorded mass lynchings in U.S. history - in Los Angeles, of Chinese immigrants.

It’s all in The Chinese Exclusion Act documentary. And its directors - Li-Shin Yu and Ric Burns - joined us on the line.


Does your child have what it takes to be a fierce competitor - to have the stamina and courage to take down the rest of the playing field? Of course we're talking about the National Spelling Bee!

Not many do have what it takes, but here in Illinois there are a few local champions who are going on to the finals in Washington DC this week. The Scripps event starts today with the preliminaries and will end Thursday with finals. And we were joined by 3 competitors from Illinois. Aastha Patel was in studio with us in Urbana. Ethan Smith spoke with us from Peoria Public Radio.  And Mera Moucharrafie was on the line from her home in Belvidere, which is outside Rockford.

Story source: WILL