Visions of Justice: Illinois

What does a truly just society look like? How does it feel? How do we get there?


Nov 18, 2021


Zoom Event


Open to the public

Illinois Humanities presents the statewide finale in the Visions of Justice video series, examining the far-reaching impacts of mass incarceration in our local communities. The virtual screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with local contributors.

The Visions of Justice video series foregrounds the perspectives of artists, organizers, scholars, and local residents in the communities of Bloomington-Normal, Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, East St. Louis, Galesburg, and Urbana-Champaign. Visions of Justice: Illinois brings these local perspectives together in one event to highlight the connections among communities both large and small across the state.

The event will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. CST. This online event is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Register to attend below.


Aisha Edwards
Garien Gatewood
Renaldo Hudson
Jobi Cates
James Kilgore

And more to be announced!

Moderator: Meredith Nnoka

More information about the event and our panel of speakers coming soon!


This event will include closed captioning in English. If you require other accommodations, please contact Meredith Nnoka at at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled event.


Visions of Justice is an eight-part video and discussion series co-produced by Illinois Humanities and VAM STUDIO and features an array of Illinois organizers, artists, community members, and others working to confront the impacts of the criminal legal system and advance justice where they live. Learn more

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About the Panelists

Aisha Edwards is a Senior Program Officer at the MacArthur Foundation, where she supports the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative to reduce racial disparities and jail incarceration. Aisha is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago Law School, where she teaches a Criminal Law Practicum and co-leads a workshop that prepares law students to recognize bias and systemic injustices in the legal field. Aisha has been a defender, supervising the Criminal Defense program at Cabrini Green Legal Aid; and a prosecutor for Cook County. She has conducted hundreds of trials and hearings, and has argued in front of both the Illinois Appellate and Illinois Supreme Courts. Aisha received her law degree and advocacy certificate from the Loyola University School of Law.

Garien Gatewood joined the Illinois Justice Project in April 2019. Previously, he was the Director of Policy Advocacy at the Juvenile Justice Initiative, where his work focused on legislation and policy reform for youth in Illinois. While at the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Gatewood worked on legislation on both local and state levels with a focus on the rights of children, detention reform, eliminating youth homelessness, juvenile expungement, and reentry. Gatewood earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi. He currently sits on Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center Advisory Board, the National Juvenile Justice Network’s Membership Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors for Restore Justice Illinois.

Renaldo Hudson is an educator and community organizer whose work focuses on ending perpetual punishment in Illinois. After being sentenced to death row, he worked for 37 years while incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections to change the mindset of incarcerated people, as well as staff, regarding what rehabilitation should look like and how to focus attention on true rehabilitation. Renaldo is responsible for founding the groundbreaking Building Block Program, a transformational program run by incarcerated people within the Illinois Department of Corrections. Renaldo’s work has been in Beecher and media outlets throughout the state, and the subject of the documentary Stateville Calling.

James Kilgore is a Media Fellow at MediaJustice and the Advocacy & Outreach Director at FirstFollowers in Champaign, Illinois. A formerly incarcerated activist, he is the author of Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time and Understanding E-Incarceration: Electronic Monitoring, the Surveillance State, and the Future of Mass Incarceration.

About Vam Studio

VAM STUDIO is an award-winning production company and film collective behind some of the most disruptive narratives, commercials, and branded content in culture today. VAM is an unapologetic, diverse team of filmmakers working from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and disciplines while standing out on a global scale.

The VAM STUDIO team includes filmmakers and writers Sam Bailey, Fatimah Asghar, Jordan Phelps and founder Vincent Martell.

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About the Moderator

Meredith Nnoka, the Envisioning Justice Fellow at Illinois Humanities, is a Chicago-based writer, educator, and social justice advocate originally from Southern Maryland. She studied the intersecting histories of Black expressive arts and social movements at Smith College for her BA and later the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her MA, where she first considered the questions now central to her work: What is the power in bearing witness, and how can controlling our own narratives be used toward liberation?

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