Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF) have partnered to create a focused speaker series. The goal is to educate the citizens of Illinois on critical societal issues resulting from social determinant factors impacting historically marginalized populations.

The first event is at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, via Zoom. The topic will be “Reform: Restoration, Revitalization, and Representation.” The session will provide historical context for the Caucus’s policy pillars, demonstrate their connections to one another and tie past practices to present-day outcomes. It will also address why these pillars are central to creating a more equal and just society.

The event will begin with a welcome from Paul Williams, board chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, and Karen Whitney, UIS interim chancellor.

Next, a fireside chat with state Sen. Kimberly Lightford will take place. She is the first Black woman to serve as Illinois’ Senate Majority Leader. Tiffany Hightower, executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, will moderate the chat.

Finally, expert panelists on the historical context and research supporting the reform and policy shift will speak. Panelists include Tiffani Saunders, UIS lecturer of sociology/anthropology and African American studies; Ty Dooley, UIS associate professor of public administration; and Dalitso Sulamoyo, CEO of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission. Hightower will moderate.

Registration for the Zoom webinar is required. Register at to receive the Zoom link.

The first-of-its-kind speaker series will embody principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and promote social change with a concentration on the reform pillars of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Those four pillars include: criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability; education and workforce development; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.

For more information, contact Blake Wood, UIS assistant director of public relations, at 217-206-8404 or