WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media launches new quarterly series on breaking the cycle of trauma and gun violence in Champaign-Urbana


Illinois Public Media is launching 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 quarter, News, Brews & Beatz 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 will be 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.

“Illinois Public Media journalists are proud to be part of this community. It’s clear what’s needed now, more than ever, is calm, informative conversation. I’m looking forward to working with Tracy Parsons to facilitate dialogue and most importantly, listen to solutions from our panelists,” said Hardwick.

Hardwick and Parsons will be joined by notable community leaders and higher education experts for subjects ranging from helping today’s youth navigate through the emotional impact and influence of social media, to showcasing several successful area youth programs—such as the HipHop Express Bus that teaches recording skills and the Midnight Basketball Program—News, Brews & Beatz will also feature local artists and musicians.

The first of these events, “It Takes a Village: What C-U is Doing to Combat Gun Violence”, is taking place Monday, November 15 at 6 pm at Pour Bros. Craft Taproom in downtown Champaign. Participants include Karen Crawford Simms, founder of Trauma & Resilience Initiative, Inc, and Nathan Stephens, professor in School of Social Work at Illinois State University, along with supreme talents and performances by spoken word artist Missy Richland and Dj-I.c.Dre’ (Andre' Gray) of TableFunk Muzik Group LLC.

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.