Joe Mitchell

Due For Special Recognition

Feb 19, 2018

Nationally since 1976, February has been Black History Month. While it’s commendable to set aside time to celebrate African-Americans’ contributions to this country, every month is Black History Month.

Truth be told, the wealth of this nation was built on the backs of African slaves, so a month is not enough. The celebration of Black History Month is a necessary corrective to the exclusive and misrepresentation of blacks in American history. It also serves as affirmation of a bold and beautiful culture passed down from one generation to the next.

Keeping The Dream Alive

Jan 15, 2018

Today we honor and reflect on the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a young, charismatic leader during the Civil Rights Movement.

The brilliance of his speeches, sermons, letters, and civil engagement was rooted in the prophetic witness of the Black church -- started as a respite from the inhumane conditions of American Chattel Slavery. It was an institution that subscribed to a Christian theology of liberation versus the so-called Christian theology of oppression of the slave owners.

The More Things Change ...

Dec 11, 2017

I was humbled when Dr. Laura Vazquez of Northern Illinois University invited me to work with her on a documentary about the history of racism and exclusion in DeKalb.

My interest in this topic was piqued several years ago when I learned Sycamore was a stop on the Underground Railroad but DeKalb was not.

While it was an unwritten ordinance, DeKalb was a “sundown town” until roughly 50 years ago -- meaning African-Americans should not be in town once the sun goes down. Many African-American NIU students had to live in Sycamore.

Isolated Cases Don't Define Everyone

Nov 6, 2017

There has been a rash of shooting incidents in DeKalb the last few weeks. On Halloween night, a woman was shot in the leg while driving in front of University Village. These acts of senseless violence are disturbing and angering at the same time. Thankfully the injuries are concerned non-life-threatening and the victim should recover.

Because of the proximity of the shootings and ethnicity of some of the perpetrators, it’s become common to blame Section 8 and all African-American residents for these acts of violence on social media.

A Real Protest Of A Real Problem

Oct 2, 2017

For the last 14 months this nation has been involved in a heated dialogue about protesting and the First Amendment. This stems from now ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem at the beginning of games.

From the beginning he, and other NFL players who have joined him have been clear about their actions. This is not about our military, our nation, or our flag. This is about injustice and inequality systematically perpetrated against people of color in this country.