Press Release

Illinois Humanities’ Visions of Justice series to premiere in seven communities around the state

CHICAGO, SEPT 9, 2021— Video and conversation series invites communities to explore the questions: “What does a truly just society look like? How do we get there?”

This fall, Illinois Humanities presents eight Visions of Justice video screenings and community conversations examining the local impacts of mass incarceration. Foregrounding perspectives from 35 Illinoisans working to envision and advance justice in seven communities, each event will premiere a video highlighting a particular place in Illinois followed by a facilitated conversation with local residents. Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice Fellow, Meredith Nnoka, will moderate the program series, which is designed to highlight the connections among communities both large and small throughout the state.

The Illinois State Capital Building, with graphic yellow stripes, and text reading "What does a truly just society look like, and how do we get there? Illinois Humanities presents Visions of Justice."

The Visions of Justice video series, produced in partnership with VAM STUDIO, features interviews with artists, organizers, and system-impacted individuals who interrogate the criminal legal system, explore its impacts on their communities, and propose what would need to change to create a society that is just and restorative for all.

Visions of Justice asks people who have first-hand experience with the carceral system, ‘What does a truly just society look like? How does it feel? How do we get there?’ Their answers illuminate deep inequities, complexities, and connections. Pairing the videos with local conversations gives us a much needed chance to hear—and learn from—each other throughout the state,” said Gabrielle Lyon, Illinois Humanities’ Executive Director.

The interactive online events launch September 24, 2021 with a conversation focused on Decatur, IL; other featured communities include Bloomington-Normal, Carbondale, Chicago, East St. Louis, Galesburg, and Urbana-Champaign. The series culminates with a statewide Visions of Justice: Illinois screening and conversation on November 18, 2021.

Visions of Justice shows us that every day, in any corner of our state, Illinoisans from all walks of life are having difficult conversations about how mass incarceration harms their communities and what they can do to stop it,” said Nnoka. “This series supports and celebrates those conversations wherever they happen.”

Visions of Justice Screening and Conversation Schedule:

Friday, September 24: Visions of Justice: Decatur, co-hosted by Shakespeare Corrected
Featuring Dana Anderson, Antonio Burton, Courtney Carson, Bibiana Enriquez, Evelyn Hood, Alison Jim, Alex Miller, and Lonnie Williams

Tuesday, October 5: Visions of Justice: Bloomington-Normal, co-hosted by Black Lives Matter Blo-No in partnership with the YWCA of McLean County and the Bloomington-Normal NAACP
Featuring Ky Ajayi, Olivia Butts, Heather Canuel, Jenn Carrillo, Allen Chambers, Gabe Cripe, Sonny Garcia, and Vera Traver

Thursday, October 7: Visions of Justice: Chicago
Featuring Eric Blackmon, Denzel Burke, Monica Cosby, Alice Kim, Pablo Mendoza, Beth Richie, and Akeem Soyan

Tuesday, October 12: Visions of Justice: Carbondale, co-hosted by A Gift of Love Charity
Featuring Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, Richard Neal Bey, Michael Coleman, LaGina Crim, Quianya Enge, Kimberly Henry, Chastity Mays, and Nick Smaligo

Tuesday, October 19: Visions of Justice: Galesburg, co-hosted by the Galesburg Civic Art Center
Featuring Monty Cole, Kelvin Davis, Rashaad Hall, Omar Johnson, Jamal “Cincere” Jones, Tony Santiago, Brian Ward, and Brandon Wyatt

Friday, October 22: Visions of Justice: East St. Louis
Featuring TraVonn Jones, Tiara Moore, Edna Patterson-Petty, Sandra Pfeifer, Treasure Shields Redmond, and Andrew Theising

Wednesday, October 27: Visions of Justice: Urbana-Champaign, co-hosted by WIN Recovery and FirstFollowers
Featuring Brian Dolinar, Molly Galloway, Rebecca Ginsburg, James Kilgore, Bethany Little, and Marlon Mitchell

Thursday, November 18: Visions of Justice: Illinois
More information forthcoming

For more information on Visions of Justice, visit:



Illinois Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds. Learn more about Illinois Humanities at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ILHumanities.