Friday, January 25, 2013

Press Release: “Nuns on the Bus" on Campus to Stand with People in Need for Economic Justice

For immediate release: January 25th, 2013
What: The University YMCA announces that the Spring 2013 Friday Forum lecture series, “Faith in Action,” will kickoff with a talk by Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour, highlighting the work Catholic Sisters do to meet the needs of people at the economic margins and revealing how federal budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and passed by the House of Representatives will hurt struggling families here in Illinois.
When: February 8, 2013, 12 Noon
Where: Latzer Hall, University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois 
Details: Inspired by the national “Nuns on the Bus” tour organized by NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Sister Mary Ellen-Lacy will call attention to local needs and illustrate how faith-based social service agencies that serve people who will be further harmed by proposed budget cuts.  Local Church and political officials and the media are invited to meet with Sister Mary Ellen Lacy.
Background: Catholic Sisters stand with the Catholic Bishops in criticizing the Ryan budget and are committed to staying faithful to their mission to serve those in need. Because of their work, Sisters see the suffering of people in poverty on a daily basis. As a result, they recognize the harm that the Ryan budget will cause, including:
  •  Undermining the food stamp program (SNAP) at a time when millions need it to feed their families
  • Giving large tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of protections for struggling families
  •  Drastically cutting funding for health insurance programs for low-income people, causing millions to lose access to healthcare
  • Increasing Pentagon spending while cutting programs that serve people in need -- despite the Pentagon saying there are military programs that should be cut.
  • Beginning to shift Medicare to a voucher program, thus driving more seniors into poverty
The “Nuns on the Bus” tour was meant to focus attention on the enormous moral choices facing our country.  Do we choose to be a nation of individualism and fear where the rich get richer at the expense of those in need? Or do we reclaim the principles of our founders and work together for all the people to form a more perfect union?

“Nuns on the Bus” is a part of the Friday Forum Spring 2013 lecture series, “Faith in Action.”  The series will feature speakers from across the spectrum of faith traditions who are compelled by their faith to engage in bold and creative forms of action.  From the frontlines of interfaith activism, the series brings to life faith as a bridge of cooperation, rather than a barrier of division.  Speakers in the series schedule include Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Soulforce, Eboo Patel, member of President Obama’s Advisory Council and author of Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the promise of America and others. 

Sponsored by: University YMCA, Channing-Murray Foundation, The Chapel of Saint John the Divine Episcopal Church and Foundation, Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, Wesley United Methodist Church, Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois, UIUC Hillel/Cohen Center, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, Interfaith in Action (RSO), LGBT Resource Center, Paid for by SORF.

Friday Forum is a weekly lecture series held during the fall and spring semesters that strives to raise awareness about national and international trends.  Lunch is available at the Y eatery for $6.50/3.00 student.  The Y Eatery now accepts credit cards.   For more information, including a complete list of sponsors, visit:

Additional Information: The views expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect the views of the University YMCA, co-sponsors, or the Friday Forum committee.  A sign language interpreter is available within a 72 hour notice (contact Carol Nunn at 217-337-1500).  All forums are radio broadcast at 6:00pm on WEFT 90.1 the Monday following the lecture. 

Contact: Ann Rasmus, Program Director
Spring 2013 Friday Forum Schedule

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Press Release: Art @ the Y hosts exhibition featuring local artists on the environment

Ann Rasmus, Program Director 
Office: 217-337-1514 

Art @ the Y hosts exhibition featuring local artists on the environment 

Please publicize exhibition period from January 24 – February 23, 2013. 

On Thursday, January 24th, Art @ the Y will host the opening reception of 'Artists on the Environment,' Paintings by Molly Briggs, Glen Davies, and Viktoria Ford.  A viewing of the exhibition will begin in Murphy Gallery on the first floor of the Y at 6:30pm.  Artist talk is at 7pm. 

In 'Artists on the Environment,' three local artists each offer a unique vision that invites the viewer to explore their own relationship to the world around them and the ecological challenges of the day.  These artists have been featured in numerous galleries such as Art Institute of Chicago, Krannert Art Museum, and the Zg Gallery, and in press such as New CityArt In America, Chicago Tribune, and the News-Gazette.  Molly's work has been described as 'East Asian landscapes, still life compositions, and underwater ecosystems,' Viktoria's 'rivers, trees, blood vessels, and lungs,' and Glen's 'a vast visual dictionary of images and icons.'  These artists have branched in their own way, but keep their roots deep in the local art movement.  

Curated by Viktoria Ford, 'Artists on the Environment' will be on view weekdays from 9am to 9pm, through February 23rd. 

Some of the most profound insight, critique, and creative thinking around issues which comprise the mission of the Y happen in and around the arts.  Art @ the Y seeks to engage issues of social justice, international understanding, environmental activism, faith and cultural understanding through quality arts programming.  

For more information on each artist, please review the following links. 

Molly Briggs 

'Clearing 9' by Molly Briggs 

Glen Davies  

'The End of Time' by Glen Davies

Viktoria Ford  

 'Amazon Swan Song' by Viktoria Ford

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'Mission In Action: Arts and the Incarcerated'

Art at the Y's exhibit 'Beyond Lines: Limited Expressions from the Men Within Danville' was recently featured in the November issue of the Y USA Member News.  This means that every Y in the USA knows that we're a 'Mission In Action.' 

"At the University Y, we recognize that some of the most profound insight, critique, and creative thinking around issues which comprise the Y happen in and around the arts," says Program Director Ann Rasmus.  We stand out because we stand up for the arts as a powerful medium to engage issues of social justice, as well as cultural understanding and environmental activism.

We'd like to take this moment to sincerely thank the students of the University Education Justice Project and the men at Danville Prison for putting this exhibition together to challenge assumptions about 'prison art' and incarcerated people. We also extend our gratitude to the campus and broader community for their continued support.  We couldn't do what we do without you!   

Check out the article from  Y USA Member News

...and then keep on the look out for exciting things to come from Art @ the Y this Spring semester!