Sisters In Peace: Women of Different Religions Unite

BY CARMEN SIERING In October 2015, a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was attacked outside Sofra Café on South Walnut. The incident sparked an outpouring of concern from members of the Bloomington community, says Anna Maidi, who handles much of the correspondence for the Islamic Center of Bloomington. “After the attack, a lot of people were reaching out and they didn’t really know what to do,” Maidi says. “We got letters from people who just wanted to express that they appreciated our presence in Bloomington.” Maidi says that while the incident at the café is an extreme, it’s not the only time a member of Bloomington’s Muslim community has felt threatened. “So to have the community respond in that way […]

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B-town Has Sister Cities In Nicaragua and Cuba

BY JEREMY SHERE From IU’s diverse faculty and student body to East 4th Street’s bevy of ethnic restaurants, Bloomington has a strong multicultural flavor. Just as significant, but less well known, is Bloomington’s longstanding relationship with its sister cities, Posoltega, Nicaragua, and Santa Clara, Cuba. (A third sister city connection, with LuChou Province in Taiwan, has been largely inactive for the past several years.) Bloomington’s history with Posoltega, a small municipality in western Nicaragua, began in 1988 and intensified a decade later when Hurricane Mitch badly damaged the town. A Bloomington delegation took medical supplies, food, and other types of aid to its sister city. Since then a local committee has continued to develop the relationship by organizing trips to […]

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Growing Up Black in Bloomington

AS TOLD TO ELISABETH ANDREWS, PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHANNON ZAHNLE The history of African Americans in Bloomington is as old as the city itself. In 1818, the year the city was established, African American residents William Cooley and Aaron Wallace bought parcels of land together, only the second land purchase on record. Bloomington went on to become a stop on the Underground Railroad and later served as the birthplace of the nation’s first college fraternity for African Americans, Kappa Alpha Psi. In the meantime and since then, a great many African American families have lived, worked, and thrived in our small city. Their lives and contributions are inextricably intertwined with the arc of Bloomington history, from the growth of limestone mills […]

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Gladys DeVane Receives Two Honors in Two Weeks

BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS Gladys DeVane’s contributions to Bloomington could fill volumes. Educator, community activist, storyteller, and actress are just a few of the roles she has played during her nearly 50 years here. On February 25, DeVane was honored as the 2012 City of Bloomington Black History Month Living Legend. An equally prestigious award was bestowed upon her on March 12, when the Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women presented her with the 2012 Lifetime Contribution Award during Women’s History Month. DeVane arrived in Bloomington in 1963 to pursue a master’s degree in speech and hearing sciences at Indiana University. “I was offered a job upon completion of my degree and somehow I just never left. I love […]

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How You Can Join the Fight Against Graffiti

BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO Businesses should not feel alone in fighting the graffiti problem that has been plaguing Bloomington. Since spring 2009, the city has stepped up efforts to fight graffiti through the use of a Safe and Civil City Hotline (355-7777), a Report Graffiti form found online, and an increase in police patrols. According to Beverly Calender-Anderson, the director of the Safe and Civil City Program, the city has been able to monitor trends in graffiti by tracking where and how often such vandalism occurs. Patrols have been increased in these areas, and vandals caught in the act have been turned over to the prosecutor. “I think our ability to respond has gotten better,” says Calender-Anderson. “I don’t know […]

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