A Road Scholar Program by Antwoinette Ayers
25,000 is the number of cousins, mothers, fathers, children, friends, and relatives that are surrounding a place called “Southern Western Illinois Correctional Facility,” which is the mother of “The Juvenile Detention Center” located 5 minutes down the road. East St. Louis is the 152nd largest city in Illinois, and 97% of its population are Black or African American. In 1959, East St. Louis was named the All-American City. That same media now deems it as one of the most dangerous places in America. This, however, is the place that Antwoinette calls home—the place where she hails from, nicknamed “City of Champions.” Burdened by social unrest, low economic development, and food shortage, people often ask her how she stays prideful and rich in spirit in a city that is deprived of all its natural and thriving resources.
By asking important questions about what has oppressed the community and doomed its population to failure, and what it means to be humane, to have equality, and to be loved and accepted, Antwoinette’s presentation will:
- Shed light on present day East St. Louis, its history, its current challenges and the beauty that is embedded in it and in its community.
- Discuss the effects of systemic racism and mass incarceration on an Illinois city that was once an All-American City.
- Describe how some community members are changing the negative and false narrative and are fighting for social justice, equity and better opportunities.
This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Khadijah Henry at email@example.com.