The 21st Show

Illinois Democrats On Green New Deal; Homeless Shelter Closures; Graduation At Stateville Prison


Illinois Senator Dick Durbin speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 25, 2015. Andrew Harnik/AP

Senator Dick Durbin said a few months ago that he doesn’t support the Green New Deal. Has he changed his mind? And how do the rest of Illinois Democrats feel about it? And, as one homeless shelter in Southern Illinois closes, we talk about the challenges facing shelters across Illinois. Plus, it’s college graduation season and seven men from Stateville Correctional Center just received their degrees at a ceremony that included a performance from Chance the Rapper.

When the Green New Deal was first introduced just after the New Year, it was met with both cheers and jeers.

But there were also plenty of other reactions: Why weren’t we consulted? And what will it even do?

A few months have passed though, and the environment, particularly climate change, continues to be an important issue for voters. So where are the Illinois Democrats now when it comes to the Green New Deal?

Patrick O’Connell has been covering this for the Chicago Tribune, and he joined us today.


Most of us don’t want to have to imagine a day when we’d have to use a homeless shelter. But, like with many emergency and social services, you like knowing that it’s there, just in case.

And usually that is the case. There are shelters all over the state to provide beds and support no matter the weather or the economy. But even they are vulnerable when times are tough.

Molly Parker of the Southern Illinoisan recently wrote about one shelter that did have to close its doors in Herrin's Williamson County.

It got us thinking about the challenges that shelters face all over the state, what we need to know about how these centers and organizations serve the community and in some instances, how they’re trying to stay afloat.  

Erica Smith was with us as well from Helping Hands in Springfield. Betty Bogg is the Executive Director of Connections for the Homeless in Evanston. Bob Palmer is the Policy Director at Housing Action Illinois.


It’s that time of year again. Hundreds of thousands of college students across the country are walking the stage and receiving their diplomas.

Last week, seven incarcerated men at Stateville Correctional Center sported cap and gown and received their bachelor degrees through a free program at the prison. Stateville’s first graduation ceremony in more than two decades included a performance by Chicagoan Chance the Rapper as well as speeches from Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and activist Angela Davis.

Tim Barnett is co-director of higher education for the Prison and Neighborhood Arts and Education Project. He’s also an associate professor at Northeastern Illinois University. Charles Preston is the audience engagement manager for Injustice Watch, an investigative reporting nonprofit based in Chicago. He was in the crowd at the graduation ceremony last week. Natalie Moore is a reporter who wrote about this for WBEZ.

Story source: WILL