Bloomington, Ill.—Each year students gather at the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher
St., Bloomington) on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 21, from 1-4 p.m.,
and discuss a social justice theme. This year the theme is “Prison Reform and Human
Rights.” The teach-in, which is open to the public, consists of three separate hour-long
The 1 p.m. panel on Prison Reform in Illinois will feature a keynote address by John
Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association of Illinois. Bob Sutherland
of the Central Illinois chapter of the ACLU and member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating
Council (CJCC) of McLean County will also speak. The CJCC has worked over the past
twelve years to improve conditions at the McLean County jail and to relieve overcrowding
with initiatives like the Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Attendees will have
time following these presentations to consider discussion questions at their tables
and will report back to the whole.
The 2 p.m. panel is being organized by the IWU Peace Fellows, who will present information
they have collected over the last two years while advocating for political prisoners
across the globe. Last year the group worked on the Chen Guangcheng case, and this
year they are working on the case of two Russian physicists. Discussion questions
will be provided.
The 3 p.m. panel will feature a discussion of a shared text: Andrew Clapham's Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). The assembled will first discuss the text at their tables and then
with the whole. This title was distributed to 70 students who participated in the
fall semester cluster of courses focusing on Making Human Rights Real (MHRR).
For additional information, contact the Action Research Center at (309) 825-6006 or