Visions of Justice: East St. Louis

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


Oct 19, 2021


Zoom Event


Open to the public

Join co-hosts Illinois Humanities and I Am ESTL for a screening of the East St. Louis edition of the Visions of Justice video series followed by a panel discussion with local contributors. A Q&A with the panelists will be held after the discussion.

The event will take place on Friday, October 22, 2021 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. during a live Zoom webinar. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Register to attend below.


Marie Franklin
Jeffrey Collier
Maurchè Belk

Moderator: Antwoinette Ayers

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 in partnership with 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 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.

Black owned.

About the Moderator

Antwoinette “Netta” Ayers is a millennial of influence and a proud product of East St. Louis, Illinois, where she was born and raised. She is a film producer, speaker, visionary coach, community activist, published author, and the Director of EStL Juneteenth—all while mothering her son, Jordyn B. She invests in growing economic development and educating herself to continuously build her skill assets. She uses her passion for filmmaking as one way to change the narrative of East St. Louis. Her role as the first Communications Director of I Am East St. Louis: The Magazine, is another part of that mission. For more information on how to connect with Antwoinette, click here.

About the Panelists

Marie Franklin is an organizer for the United Congregations of the Metro East, the coordinator for the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, and the president of the Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12. A lifelong resident of East Louis, she has a B.S. in Administration of Criminal Justice from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She is also a former Illinois state police officer, where she worked patrol in Districts 3 and 11 for 12 years, and was the first Black female to work patrol in District 11. She takes great pride in organizing to dismantle systems that breed social injustice.

Attorney Maurchè H. Belk began her legal career as a 711 Clerk for the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in the Serious Felony Division. After returning home to St. Clair County, IL, she briefly opened her own law firm before taking a job as an Assistant Public Defender with the St. Clair County Public Defender’s Office. There she handled all juvenile and misdemeanor cases for the office, as well as several types of felony cases. She began her journey at Sandifer & Associates in January 2019. Attorney Belk graduated from Jackson State University in 2012 and attained her Juris Doctor from DePaul University.

Jeffrey Collier has over 10 years of experience as a union leader, political labor activist, community activist, and service provider. In 1999 he began his affiliation with his labor union, Local 881 UFCW, where he currently serves as a Business Agent. Jeffrey also has over 15 years of experience lobbying in the state of Illinois, serving as a member of the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council, the St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee, and the Belleville Democratic Club. In 2018, he was awarded Labor Man of the Year in affiliation with the Illinois AFL-CIO. Organized labor and fighting for working families are more than a slogan for him—it is his calling.

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