WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media hosts second News, Brews & Beatz event on breaking the cycle of trauma and gun violence in Champaign-Urbana


Illinois Public Media has launched a new quarterly series called News, Brews & Beatz—a space for diverse voices to engage in breakthrough conversations regarding pressing community issues and allow for realistic solutions to be identified. These events are intended to be engaging, informative, and entertaining while also tackling difficult topics and situations in a head on and direct way.

Each News, Brews & Beatz event will focus on a different aspect of the gun violence crisis going on in our community—and communities across the country—and share what individuals and community groups are doing to combat it. These events are co-hosted by Emmy Award winning journalist and Illinois Public Media News and Public Affairs Director, Reginald Hardwick, and Facilitator of the Champaign County Community Coalition, Tracy Parsons.

The next installment of “It Takes a Village: What C-U is Doing to Combat Gun Violence”, is taking place Monday, December 13 at 6 pm at Pour Bros. Craft Taproom in downtown Champaign. Participants include Rev. Willie Comer, who is the Executive Director for Youth for Christ of East Central Illinois and runs a midnight basketball program, and Dr. William Patterson, University of Illinois Associate Professor in the College of Engineering who runs the Hip-Hop Express Double Dutch Boom Bus.

“I'm really excited for our second News Brews and Beatz event. Dr. Patterson and Rev. Comer will be great guests that bring unique perspective on community engagement strategies, effective methods to reach youth, and scholarly expertise,” said Parsons.

For example, the Hip-Hop Express Double Dutch Boom Bus engages young people with stem, hip-hop music, and Black history. Both Rev. Willie Comer and Dr. William Patterson are going to share candid insights from what young people say they need to stop the violence during Monday’s News, Brew & Beatz conversation.

“This will be a very dynamic discussion,” continued Parsons.

News, Brews & Beatz will also feature local artists and musicians, including supreme talents and performances by spoken word artist Missy Richland and Dj-I.c.Dre’ (Andre' Gray) of TableFunk Muzik Group LLC. And Dj-I.c.Dre’ will be spinning an exclusively curated soundtrack of socially conscious music, that will also be available on Illinois Public Media’s Spotify page. This event will also be offered virtually through Facebook LIVE on Illinois Public Media’s Facebook page.

The Illinois Mask Mandate will be in effect.