The Independent

Xiadany Ayala and Anthony Pacheco as Predator and Dark Jedi.

NEIU ‘Halloween Hangout’ fosters community building

November 6, 2018

The Angelina Pedroso Center transformed into a scene with skeletons, mummies and bats on Oct. 25 during the “Halloween Hangout.” O...

Puerto Rico needs more than prayers

Puerto Rico needs more than prayers

September 27, 2017

Less than three weeks ago I rode out Hurricane Irma in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, the oldest city in...

Mossadegh Initiative to fund scholarships

Mossadegh Initiative to fund scholarships

September 27, 2017

If you have ever been in the College of Business and Management at NEIU, you probably come across the Mo...

Adam Cifarelli reads his work,

From SEEDS to Trees: The New Edition of SEEDS Journal

March 10, 2015

Experienced writers and aspiring story-tellers, members of SEEDS, faculty and students, stimulated the...

(Left to right) Alice Gayraud, María José Segura, Max van Genderen, Christian Groen, Karol Dubrawski, Wojciech Wloch, Beatriz Achaques Paniagua, Agata Zaczkowska, Justyna Borow- iec, Claudia Ramos and Asia Fidecka.

The Exchange Experience

September 23, 2014

  “You have to venture outside your world in order to find yourself. It is good for a person to leave the comfort zone and explore different cu...

embers of Omega Delta Phi salute: (left to right) Jeraun Pearson, Victor H. Gonzales, Seth Amofa, Jairo Arellanes and Giovanni Baez.

Go Greek or Go Home

September 9, 2014

  Though there is no Greek row and extravagant sorority houses, students involved in Greek life at NEIU share common values and ideal...

Senator William Delgado Visits Campus

Sean Dotson, Staff Writer

September 19, 2012

  State Senator and NEIU alumni William Delgado will return to campus to deliver a keynote address and speak with students on Sept. 20, 2012. In an event sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Senator Delgado will deliver his address and engage in a question-and-answer session in the Recital Hall from 1 to 3 P.M. Senator Delgado represents Illinois State Senate District 2, including the communities of Belmont Cragin, Logan Square, Hermosa and parts of Austin, Dunning, Humboldt Park, Montclare and Portage Park. Before he walked the halls of the Illinois Capitol Building, though, he walked the halls of NEIU. Senator Delgado graduated with a B.A. in Criminal Justice in 1982. “I think he’s very dynamic, I think he’s very personable, and I think he’s very real -he’s always had an open door policy with students,” said Toni Scott of the English department, who was instrumental in getting the Senator to revisit his alma mater. “I want him to talk about his struggles and what it was like for him growing up,” Scott said of her hopes for the address. “Most importantly, I want students to have access to him.” Senator Delgado was appointed to the Senate in 2006 after serving in the House of Representatives since 1999. The Democratic Senator has worked for progressive causes during his time in office, citing healthcare and education as being among his priorities. Every year, Senator Delgado sponsors the All Kids and Family Health Fair, an event that is open to the public and includes screenings and immunizations. Senator Delgado’s visit will allow students the chance to learn more about the role state government plays in their lives before they go to the polls this November. For Amir Bastanipour, junior justice studies and sociology major, the economy is first on his list of concerns. “What are they doing to help keep people in their jobs and homes?” he asked. Beyond that, Bastanipour expresses concern for a number of marginalized communities. He cites “food deserts in high poverty areas,” and marriage equality as being among issues he cares about. To reach other students, Senator Delgado will have to combat the stereotype of the elected official as opportunistic political animal. When Katie Galmiche, junior English/secondary education major was asked if she had any questions about education she would like to hear addressed, she responded, “I’m sick of hearing about what politicians and special interest groups have to say about education, because they’re not educators.” If the opportunity to interact with a lawmaker in this crucial election year is not enough of a draw, perhaps the food will be - there will be a reception after the event with food from Nellie’s Restaurant, one of Senator Delgado’s favorites. The Senator’s visit was borne of a lobbying trip AFSCME took to Springfield, the state capital. “He was one of the few to open his door to us and say, ‘come on in, ask me questions,’” said Scott. “I think that’s really indicative of who he is and how he leads.” Scott described Senator Delgado as “very excited to come.” She compared the Senator’s attitude toward students, and his own success, to the speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention. “You don’t close the door behind you.  You leave it open for someone else to come through. And that’s exactly what he’s done all along.” Look for flyers around campus to register for the event....

NEIU Student Spotlight: Laura Nieves

Gary Soriano, Arts & Life Editor

September 6, 2012

  Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) student and Northeastern Programming Board’s (NPB) Arts and Entertainment Chair, Laura Nieves keeps her plate full. As a senior majoring in Studio Art, her knowledge and passion for the arts is extensive and her long list of achievements precedes her. Some students at university may find it hard to find their own niche, Nieves is no different. “I’ve been to four different colleges and Northeastern is the one that has allowed me to blossom as a student,” Nieves said. She dances, sculpts, performs poetry, has conducted workshops teaching poetry, and hosted a number of events at NEIU since 2010. As NPB’s Arts and Entertainment Chair, Nieves and the rest of the team are promoting several events for this month. One in particular is in collaboration with the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Constitution Day, taking place on Sept. 25 in Alumni Hall. As part of SGA’s Constitution event, NPB will host! Live [email protected]! from 7-10 p.m. featuring three performances: Award-winning and globally recognized Mexican Folklore Dance Co. will perform traditional Mexican dances in corresponding attire, all-female musical ensemble Las Bompleneras and the Vida Bella Ensemble performs award-winning off-Broadway play The Brown Girls. Nieves is also part of the Northeastern Hip Hop Organization (NH2O) where she has hosted events, most recently the 1st Annual Nest Fest that took place in May and conducted workshops (U.N.I.T.Y. Culture Event, Nov. 2011). NH2O, in collaboration with the Southwest Youth Collaborative, more popularly known as the University of Hip Hop, will host a break dancing battle on Sept. 29 at NEIU that also features live performances, live art and a special guest DJ. Even with all of her involvement on campus, and homework, Nieves still finds time to nourish her passions. She finds time to paint, write poetry and is a monthly contributor at Subterannean where she break dances with her team at an event titled “I used to love h.e.r.” The event, the title of which takes its name from a song by Chicago hip hop artist Common, features live acts by female hip hop artists from throughout the city. Nieves is well-connected to her roots as she dances Puerto Rican folk dances, Bomba and Plena. She describes these dances as being cultural and having an influence from the African, Spanish and indigenous presence in Puerto Rico. Her roots expand past her Latina identity into the realm of hip hop, using it to inspire her poetry and break dances. “It’s always been part of who I am,” Nieves said. She hopes to graduate in 2014 and will continue expressing herself and her passions in the arts....

To Expose Injustice: An Interview with David Protess

Joanna H. Socha, Staff Writer

May 29, 2012

  “Man, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his daughter was freed thanks to the evidence done by my students. I was there, when he walked back to the arms of his wife and family and I saw the power of investigative reporting – not just to expose injustice, but also to restore a family.” – David Protess, the President of the Chicago Innocence Project talks with “Independent” about the power of investigating reporting and the importance of journalism nowadays. Independent: Before becoming the President of the Chicago Innocence Project, you ran the Medill Innocence Project, thanks to which five innocent prisoners on death row in Illinois were freed. Could you tell us more about that project and what inspired you to do that? David Protess: I started out doing investigative reporting about wrongful convictions with Chicago Lawyer Magazine, and after five years working for that magazine, while I was also teaching at Medill Journalism School, I thought about involving my students in that kind of work. I got them involved in a high-profile murder case of David Dowaliby in 1991. Man, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his daughter was freed thanks to the evidence done by students. I was there when he walked back to the arms of his wife and family and I saw the power of investigative reporting – not just to expose injustice, to write a wrong, but also to restore a family. After that case we made this work part of the investigative reporting class I was teaching, so I involved students in several cases, and other people were freed – for example Anthony Porter in 1999. He came out 50 hours away from execution. After the case of Anthony Porter I was able to raise money to establish the Medill Innocence Project in 1999. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love to cooperate with young people on issues that matter and it allows us, together, to free innocent people and change the law. I: You made this part of the investigative reporting class, how did you prepared students for that kind of work? DP: They began by reading every legal document of the case, the interviewed the people knowledgeable of the crime, lawyers, community residents, family of the prisoners, prisoners, witnesses. Sometimes witnesses were changing the story, sometimes there were alternative suspects, sometimes the police was trying to make them confess untrue. So it was very long, methodical process, sometimes it takes years. I: You mentioned one of the innocent prisoners - Anthony Porter. How the process of discovering the true looked like? Did you know from the beginning that Anthony Porter was innocent? DP: No, we didn’t know anything in the beginning. In fact our lawyers were convinced he was guilty. He said he was innocent and we wanted to hear the story. We interviewed him in the Cook County Jail. He told us, who, as he believed, was responsible for that crime. He actually knew, and no one ever investigated that. So we began looking into what Anthony Porter had said and we found the relatives of the actual killer, who said – “Yes, my uncle committed the crime”, “Yes, my husband committed the crime” and we found the actual killer. My students took the documents they read about the case, went to the park and reconstructed the crime. Some people stood where the witnesses stood, some people stood where the Porter was supposedly stood, other people stood where the victims stood and it turned out that the victims couldn’t see Anthony Porter or anyone else. The students then confronted the witnesses with the evidence and it came out, that it was police, what had forced witnesses to implicate Anthony Porter before. So Anthony Porter left the prison 50 hours before execution and you know - he lifted me up… (Laugh) I: Do moments like these recharge your batteries after very difficult investigations? DP: That is a good way of putting it. Because most of the work that we do is challenging, difficult, frustrating. People often times don’t want to talk to us, they are afraid of the truth. But when you push through all of that and you see, that the man, who was scheduled to die, goes free, it recharges the batteries and gets you set to do the next case. But to do this work you have to love the process, you have to enjoy talking to people, to persuade them to open up and tell you the truth. Because when you only wait to have this moment to breathe, well – 12 times sounds like a lot, but it’s actually 12 days in the period of several years, that will not sustain. What is sustaining is belief in investigative reporting to change public minds, in changing public policy. Those are the things that keep the batteries constantly recharged and continue to make that work. I: Such prisoners have problems after leaving the prison… DP: They have multiple problems - with finding jobs, getting training, problems financially, problems with their families which are often broken up, they get divorced, the family members move, the community changes, their friends are gone, they have psychological problems because all of the rage they experienced, they have no place to go, post dramatic stress syndrome, the problems are just enormous. I: In an article on Huffington Post, you claim that innocent prisoners do not receive enough compensation from the United States. What would be appropriate compensation in your opinion? DP: I cannot put it in amount. But what the State of Illinois is giving them now is a ridiculously low - average of ten thousand dollars a year. And 27 states, as I pointed out, don’t give anything. I think that is horribly unjust. What’s the right amount? In my opinion, at least the one for them to live, to find the job. The state owes them at least the money they can restore their lives. I think on Federal Law it would be between 25 and 50 thousand dollars a year. But I don’t think it’s going to happen. I:Have you ever broken down, when you really wanted to be done with investigative reporting once and for all? DP: Yes, a lot of times. Sometimes I was very frustrated about the cases that were going for so many years - it’s one of the reasons that not many people do this work. You are burned out, you drink, you smoke...But you have to realize, that it’s not a solution to a problem. I: Did the American justice let you down after the execution of Troy Davis in 2011? DP: My position on that is that he never really had the chance. I: That was the headline of one of your articles. DP: Yes, Anthony Porter was convicted of an interracial crime: white kills black. The victim was police officer, if the victim had been black, and wasn’t police officer and that happened in Illinois, he might not even be convicted. So the system is racist, classist it is regional system of justice, basically in South. Troy Davis didn’t receive the chance. I: Many journalism students are inspired by your work. What advice would you like to give them? DP: Follow your dreams. Don’t let the people tell you that you can’t accomplish whatever you want in the profession of journalism. You are told again and again by your parents, professors, classmates, that you can’t make journalism nowadays.I just don’t believe that. Young people are capable of accomplishing almost anything by following their dreams. I had people in my class who didn’t believe they can accomplish anything and they freed innocent people. If my 21-year old students could do that, anyone can do. Don’t listen to people, who tell you that you only grain of sand on a large beach, that you can’t make a difference in the world, you can. Journalism is professions, where you can educate the public, write wrongs and correct injustice, you can make a difference in the world.   Joanna H. Socha, is an exchange student at Northeastern Illinois University where she majors in media and communication. “David Protess - President of the Chicago Innocence Project, a new nonprofit investigative reporting group that exposes wrongful convictions and other problems of the criminal justice system. He previously served for twelve years as director of the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University, where his students developed evidence that freed twelve innocent prisoners, five of whom had been on death row in Illinois.”- Huffington Post    ...

Saul Williams: Up Close and Personal

Gary Soriano, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

April 28, 2012

  The 1st Annual Nest Fest at NEIU has secured its own legacy as one of the best creative arts exhibitions NEIU has to offer. Saul Williams, the festival’s headliner, did not fail to entertain, educate and illuminate the minds and hearts of those in attendance. Versatile enough to perform with a live band and dedicated enough to recite a capella pieces from his published works for more than 45 minutes, NEIU was blessed to see the most prominent slam/spoken word poet in the world in his best performance to date. Rather than stand on the stage and perform behind a microphone, Mr. Williams created a more intimate vibe by asking the audience to sit in a semi-circle as he recounted his written reflections on life and existence. Reciting works from memory, as well as from a recent personal journal (excerpts of which he claimed to not even had time to look over), he encouraged the audience to speak up at any time if they had any comments or questions to share. This unconventional approach gave listeners the opportunity to share their own stories about how Mr. Williams’ poetry positively influenced their lives as well as a chance to learn his formulaic processes and lyrical inspirations that inspired him to contrive such timeless works as “Coded Language” and “Ohm.” It was an unforgettable experience that enriched souls, soothed hearts and strengthened the humanity of all those in attendance.  ...

Sixth Annual Leadership Recognition Banquet

Jacklyn Nowotnik, Arts & Life Editor

April 27, 2012

      On April 18, 2012, NEIU held its annual Leadership Recognition Banquet in Alumni Hall from 5pm to 7pm. According to Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Frank Ross, this was a time to “celebrate the achievements of organizational leaders, staff and advisors.” The evening started out with a slide show of pictures from throughout the year of activities and events that students in various Student Leadership Development programs participated in. Afterwards, recognition was given to the Freshmen Leadership Institute, the Alternative Spring Break Trip leaders and to the Advancing Leadership Recognition Program. Following that, individual and group awards were given to the winners of each category. However, one statement made by SGA Vice President, Jessica Dominguez rang true, “ win or lose, you make this university what it is.” Recipients of the group and individual awards: Blue and Gold--Sociology Club Soaring Eagle-- Omega Delta Phi Fraternity NRichment-- SEEDS Literary Journal Trailblazer--URO Golden Eagle--Janean Watkins Legacy--Daphne Kozlowski Sheena L. Glover Service Award- -Ahriel Mullings Indelible Mark-- Sarator Whitehead Wilson Media Award—Emily Haddad  ...

People You Should Know – Dr. Bullard, Environmental Activist

April 17, 2012

By Dr. Bullard's biography provided by: Robert D. Bullard is the Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. He is often described as the father of environmental justice. Professor Bullard received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Professor Bullard was featured in the July 2007 CNN People You Should Know, Bullard: Green Issue is Black and White. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century. And that same year, Co-op America honored him with its Building Economic Alternatives Award (BEA). In 2010, The Grio named him one of the “100 Black History Makers in the Making” and Planet Harmony named him one of Ten African American Green Heroes. His book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality (Westview Press, 2000), is a standard text in the environmental justice field. His most recent books include Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity (South End Press, 2004), The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (Sierra Club Books, 2005), Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity (MIT Press, 2007), and The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Power, and the Politics of Place (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Dr. Bullard is co-author of In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster and Race After Katrina (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006) and Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987-2007 (United Church of Christ Witness & Justice Ministries, 2007). His latest books includes Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (Westview Press, 2009) and Environmental Health and Racial Equality in the United States: Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities (American Public Health Association Press, April, 2011). He is completing a new book project, The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (forthcoming 2012, New York University Press). Dr. Bullard's biography provided by:

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper
Campus Spotlight