Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

More than 100 campus community members gathered in Northern Illinois University's MLK commons for the annual three-block march.

Speakers emphasized the need for unity amid changes to immigration law and recent hate crimes nationwide.

David Becker is with “Welcoming Western Counties.” The coalition promotes solidarity and sanctuary in northern Illinois.

Becker said more people need to get involved in the discussion of promoting unity.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The Winnebago County Coroner says there have been 23 documented deaths by suicide so far this year. It's among the top 10 leading causes of death in the nation.  

Groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of northern Illinois are not staying silent on the issue during Suicide Awareness Prevention Month. The coalition recently organized an event at Stepping Stones in Rockford. The diverse group included community activists, veterans, and students.

"AMZNbox_" by Flickr User Elvis Fool / (CC X 2.0)

Seattle-based online retailer Amazon has announced it is building a second headquarters for 50,000 employees. Cities all over the country -- including Chicago -- are bidding for the chance to get the headquarters.

Rauner says he’s involved in the Chicago bid, but also in the Saint Louis effort.

“Chicago is clearly the more important,” Rauner said, “but we've got to make sure that we’re positioned to benefit Illinois if St. Louis ends up being very competitive.”

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

New numbers show that the poverty rate in Illinois is still worse than the national average.  

The poverty rate is lower, both nationally and in Illinois, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers for 2016. But there’s a caveat.

“Unfortunately, we are still above where we were pre-recession,” said Amy Rynell, head of the research unit of the Heartland Alliance that studies poverty. “While, as a nation, we have caught up with where we were pre-recession, as a state, we have not.”

Travis Stansel/Illinois Public Media

Illinois is preparing to launch a pilot program to test out tax credits for donors to private school scholarships. The five-year, $75 million program served as a bargaining chip drawing Republican support to the education funding reform bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed last month. But less has been said about how it will actually work.

One person interested in how the private school tax credits will work is Mike Chitty, superintendent of Judah Christian School a 500-student pre-school-through high school in Champaign.