Browse Exhibits (17 total)

The History and Organization of the IMC


In 1999 the WTO protests in Seattle, also known as the "Battle of Seattle", sparked Indymedia as a new method to report the news.  One year later in 2000 the Independent Media Center (IMC) was founded in Urbana-Champaign as a way to democratize access to the news and arts.  The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) had many internal working groups which helped the IMC stay organized and spread its outreach to the community such as the WRFU 104.5 fm radio station.

The UCIMC is involved with many other organizations nationally and globally, the UCIMC even sponsored projects in Iraq such as protests against the war.  The UCIMC is the center of Indymedia in the united states, connecting with othe IMCs across the nation including New York City Indymedia, Michigan Indymedia, and Global Indymedia Network.  Although the UCIMC is in the center, the structure of the IMC was never formal.  Within the UCIMC there are many working groups led by the Steering Group, these groups are responsible for organizing and creating projects to help the community.

The LGBT Resource Center


Formed in 1993, the LGBT Resource Center has been an asset to the LGBT community at the UIUC campus. With origins for its creation spreading all the way from the 1970s the LGBT Resource Center path to creation was quite arduous. Having to fight for their very right to have a space was a long and difficult journey. In 1987 the Chancellor of the University of Illinois when confronted with the direct asking for a resource center through a report that had info on why LGBT  people needed a center it was blatantly ignored. It was not until six years later  that funding was actually given for a center. With the opening of the center, work also began to create an ally network so that those who used the center would have a more supportive campus as well. Soon after there was training for cultural houses and even Greek ally training. With the mission to offer students a place where they could feel safe and connect with other students within the LGBT community, the resource center has provided countless students with a support system.

The McKinley Presbyterian Church and the LGBTQ+ Community


The McKinley Presbyterian Church has a long history of being one of the first groups to support the local LGBTQ+ community in Champaign-Urbana when others were reluctant. In the early 1980s, the church began to host community events out of their building, providing a much needed space for gay men who did not want to go to the bars. They began this relationship by hosting a “Gay Drop-In Center,” which quickly multiplied to other events ranging from coffeehouses for both gay men and lesbian women to counselling over the phone for anyone who needed either advice or counselling.

The Champaign-Urbana Men’s Chorus, also known as the Gay Men’s Choir, had an especially warm welcome in the church. This local chorus provided a creative outlet the community desperately needed at that time. Examining the flyers, programs, and an oral history in this exhibit reveals the relationship between McKinley Presbyterian Church and the Champaign-Urbana Men’s Chorus. The Church not only provided physical space for the LGBTQ+ community, but provided a home for those without one.

UC-IMC Community Engagement

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The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center was founded in 2000 with the goal of creating a space where artists and community members could meet to discuss problems within the community and potential solutions. The IMC was first located on Main St. in Urbana, but grew quickly and needed a larger working space for groups. The office was then moved to the historic post office building in Urbana, where it remains. The IMC was able to offer space more easily to groups, as well as financially support groups like the Champaign County Bailout Coalition, HV Neighborhood Transformation, and POC4NVC/All Voices Fun. 

Efforts to improve and build the community are limitless, with space utilized to teach girls STEM, maintain independent media sources, fix bicycles, and so much more. This shared space will be explored virtually through this exhibit, with flyers and brochures to show groups using IMC space and funds as they would be seen in the community.

Uniting Pride Contributions

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Uniting Pride (also known as The UP Center of Champaign County), founded in 2009, is a local organization that promotes advocacy, awareness, and resources for the LGBTQ+ community in Champaign-Urbana. Nathan Alexander, the previous vice president and current principal officer for Uniting Pride, says the organization’s primary goal is to “work as a community center” and foster, build, and celebrate an often undocumented history of the marginalized community. Uniting Pride meets this goal by providing access to support groups, holding drives for homeless youth, and hosting events such as drag shows and pride parades. The following exhibit showcases artifacts from Uniting Pride that document the history of their organization in Champaign County.

Urban Change in Champaign-Urbana

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Urban development has changed the way we view our city centers throughout the country. Champaign-Urbana is no exception. One can see this development of both downtown centers in this exhibit. This exhibit highlights these changes by comparing The Game of Urbana, a board game inspired by Monopoly, with interviews of local community members who have remarked on the urban development that they have witnessed first-hand. First, The Game of Urbana was produced in 1980 and reflects the expansion of buildings and businesses at that time in the area. To compare these changes to the community members, there are interviews with both Julie Green and John Randolph. Julie Green studied at the University of Illinois and lived in Urbana in the 1980s and recently visited Champaign-Urbana again. In her oral history, she remarks on the spatial changes and how Urbana has developed over the past 30 years. Furthermore, John Randolph has been a professor at the University of Illinois for years, and in his oral history he remarks on the many changes he has observed. Using these sources, we can compare and contrast today's urban environmental growth throughout the years.