IH Newsletter

Enews June 2022

June Illinois Humanities News and Updates

June 25, 2022

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned fifty years of precedent by removing the federal legal right to an abortion.

This is an extremely emotional moment for many of us. Our feelings about this issue are rooted in our personal experiences and stories we have heard from friends, family, loved ones. The decision in the case (and the long anticipation about this Supreme Court decision) has spurred fraught conversation, concern, and consternation in large part because it touches on things that are fundamental to our humanity: Ethics. Morality. Philosophy. Faith.

Regardless of one’s political or moral views, the restriction of abortion rights creates equity and healthcare disparities. As an organization committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism, we know this decision will have a disproportionate impact on Black, Brown, Latinx and Indigenous people, people impacted by poverty, and people who have limited access to healthcare services and transportation.

Today might seem impossible to imagine how our society will be able to breach the divides that brought us to this moment, yet the humanities makes space for people to come together when it seems none can be found. Tomorrow’s program, “Remaking the Exceptional,” is one example of how the humanities enable us to come together to discuss difficult and painful subjects.

Gathering can be healing, galvanizing, cathartic, and transformative. And gathering will be required for us to be able to move our society forward in ways that enable our communities to be healthy and just.

Gabrielle Lyon, Executive Director



Illinois State Budget Includes Increased Funding for Humanities in Illinois —

We are delighted to have learned that House Bill 990 has passed, granting Illinois Humanities $600,000 in state funding — an increase of over $180,000 of our original appropriation of the General Revenue Fund (GRF). This increased investment speaks to the vital role of the humanities in building community and strengthening civic engagement. Funds will help support our continued grantmaking and free humanities programing throughout the state.



Governor Pritzker Signs America 250 Commission into Law —

We commend Governor JB Pritzker for recently signing into law House Bill 5015, which will create the Illinois America 250 Commission. In 2026, the United States of America will reach the 250th year since its founding. The Illinois America 250 Commission will ensure our state’s important historical milestones will be nationally recognized in celebrating America’s 250th Birthday. Illinois Humanities advocated for this important piece of legislation alongside the Illinois State Museum and Landmarks Illinois. We also thank State Representative Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (Chicago) and State Senator Doris Turner (Springfield) for acting as chief sponsors of this legislation.

Commemorating the rich history of our state on a national scale will be a massive undertaking, but we are so excited for the coming weeks and months ahead to share updates and outcomes through the commission.




Foreground Rural Initiative

Announcing the Foreground Rural Initiative —

Illinois Humanities is excited to announce its new Foreground Rural Initiative! This three-year project seeks to strengthen the civic fabric of our state by amplifying the voices and experiences of rural communities through the arts and humanities. Applicants must be rural, tax-exempt organizations or individuals based in Illinois. Eligible groups include rural humanities, cultural, and/or arts nonprofits, as well as public libraries, public high schools, chambers of commerce, civic groups, and groups working in economic development that are harnessing cultural work as a core part of their programming. The application deadline is Monday, August 1, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

To access the individual or organizational application or learn more about grant offerings, visit ilhumanities.org/Foreground.




Now Offering - General Operating Grants

Illinois Humanities is Now Accepting Applications for General Operating Grants —

Illinois Humanities is pleased to announce that we will permanently be offering General Operating Grants as part of our Community Grants Initiative. General Operating Grant cycles will alternate with Project-Based grants. The first cycle deadline is September 15, 5:00 p.m. CST. These $5,000 unrestricted grants are available to non-profit humanities organizations in Illinois that have an operating budget of $500,000 or less.

Learn more and apply now at: ilhumanities.org/GenOps.




Congratulations, Odyssey Project Graduations!

Congratulations to the 2022 Odyssey Project Graduates —

Last month we celebrated the Odyssey Project Class of ‘22 with an outdoor, in-person graduation ceremony at Galleria Marchetti. Our 32 graduates are a mix of English and Spanish speakers who completed a variety of college credit-earning courses in the humanities. We also presented two Odyssey Project alumni with awards celebrating their commitment to the humanities and the pursuit of education. The EJ Hendricks Award was given to Mayra Ortiz, and the inaugural Sophie Razo Alumni Award, named after an important and beloved member of our community who passed away in 2021, went to Magdalena Portillo.

Learn the names of the 32 members of the Class of ‘22 at ilhumanities.org/odyssey.




Apply Now to Become a 2023-24 Illinois Road Scholar —

Illinois Road Scholars now celebrates its 25th Anniversary! Our Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster features speakers hailing from many different communities across Illinois who offer presentations on topics in history, archaeology, philosophy, literature, theater, film, music, politics, and other subjects that are thought-provoking and engaging. We are now accepting applications from speakers with public speaking or teaching experience who bring expertise and passion to their chosen subject matter. to join the 2023-2023 roster. Applications are due by August 31, 11:59 p.m. CST.

Learn more and apply now at: ilhumanities.org/roadscholars.





Celebrating Pride —

Illinois Humanities celebrates Pride Month this June. The humanities have a rich history of writers, artists, performers, academics, and historians who ensure the vibrancy of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t diminished, and that their lives and experiences — past and present — can live on freely, loud, and proud. We recognize just some of our grantee partners who embody this work, including Black Alphabet, About Face, Black and Pink Chicago, Lorde, Rustin and Bates, and Uniting Pride of Champaign County.




Commemorating Juneteenth —

Illinois Humanities celebrates Juneteenth by honoring the efforts that have gone towards ensuring the historical anniversary is recognized as a National Holiday, and the many fights still happening today to protect civil rights, safety, and liberty for Black Americans. Our work through programs such as Envisioning Justice shines a light on the injustices that continue to disproportionately face Black communities while using the humanities to imagine a truly just society. We continue to invite our grantee partners and supporters to envision this future alongside us and to lift up work that recounts and reimagines the histories, struggles, and joys of movements for liberation.




Upcoming Events —

The International Struggle for Reparations: Remaking the Exceptional Podcast Launch Celebration
June 26, 1:00 p.m. CT
Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Amazon.

Road Scholars: Wild Boar to Baconfest: Pigs in History and Popular Culture
July 16, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CT
Geneseo Public Library District, 805 N Chicago St, Geneseo, IL 61254

Road Scholars: Down in the Mine: American Coal Miners and Their Songs, 1890-1960
July 23, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CT
Jefferson County Historical Society Museum, 1411 N 27th St, Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Road Scholars: Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair
July 24, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CT
Marshall Public Library, 612 Archer Ave, Marshall, IL 62441

Road Scholars: From Obscurity to Greatness: Illinois and Lincoln, 1830 to 1861
July 30, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. CT
Glen Carbon Heritage Museum, 151 N Main St, Glen Carbon, IL 62034

DEADLINE: Foreground Rural Initiative Grants
August 1, 5:00 p.m. CT




Help Support This Work – Donate Now!

This is a special time to give: all new donations will count towards the generous challenge grant made by the Art for Justice Fund, doubling the impact of your gift.

Make your gift today at https://www.ilhumanities.org/donate.

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Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide 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.

Learn more at ilhumanities.org

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