Central Illinois PRIDE Health Center

Review Board Push Triumph of Collaboration

The campaign to create a new civilian police review board demonstrated not only the power of public engagement but also the strength local groups were able to exert working together, according to Not In Our Town: Bloomington-Normal participants in the process

Photo by Lewis Merien, The Pantagraph

Photo by Lewis Merien, The Pantagraph

The city of Bloomington is looking for people who want to serve on the new Public Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB). Bloomington aldermen approved board creation Monday. Mayoral appointees will advise the police chief and help settle disputes over complaints against Bloomington officers.

NIOTBN was one of several diverse community groups convened by McLean County YWCA that worked with Black Lives Matter Bloomington-Normal to help make the PSCRB a reality. Other alliance partners included ACLU of Central Illinois, Bloomington Normal Branch of NAACP, Central Illinois Pride Health Center, Illinois People’s Action, McLean County League of Women Voters, and Prairie Pride Coalition.

"I think we're off to a good start," said NIOTBN member Dontae Latson, director of the McLean County YWCA. Latson maintained "we are not allowing ourselves to fall victim to the national narrative" of Black Lives Matter and other community interests taking an anti-police stance -- "It's just not true."

The alliance' next step is to "assure that the process doesn't get watered down," lose its central focus, or become "stacked" with members of a single viewpoint, he suggested.

Camille Taylor, who helped represent NIOTBN in the alliance, noted the challenges in alliance members working together amid varying philosophies and approaches. "In theory, working with other groups is a great idea," Taylor mused, but maintaining an individual group's focus can be difficult "when not every group at the table has the same mission."

"You have to keep your eye on the prize, and recognize that every group at the table has its own identity," she urged.

Mary Aplington, who serves as co-chairman of NIOTBN's Education Subcommittee with Taylor, saw the tenor of Monday's council meeting itself as evidence of the success of community communication and collaboration. While the meeting drew a large citizen gathering, Aplington noted the Bloomington Police officers working crowd control "did a wonderful job of being respectful and sensitive."

NIOTBN Steering Committee member Mary Aplington,

Those interested in applying for the PSCRB should submit an application by Aug. 11. Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner will share the full list of applicants with aldermen, who will be asked to share their top three recommendations with him, Renner said. Two-thirds of aldermen must vote to approve Renner’s final seven picks.

Here’s how the board will be structured:

  • Members shall serve for a three-year term; however, at the inception of the board, two members shall be appointed for a one-year term, two members for a two-year term, and three members for a three-year term, so that terms are staggered.
  • The chair and a vice-chair of the board shall be selected amongst the members of the PSCRB.
  • No person with a criminal felony conviction shall be eligible to serve on the PSCRB.
  • No city employee may be appointed to the Board, nor shall any member be a current employee of, contracted by or have any official affiliation, whether current or former, with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency.

Center Addressing Concerns About Physician Sensitivity


Proponents of a health care clinic in central Illinois designed to meet the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex population say such a facility could help limit discrimination against those individuals.

 Speaking during Sound Ideas, Len Meyer, director of the Central Illinois Pride Health Center, said it's often difficult for those not out to maintain a degree of privacy. 

 "It could be explaining they have a same sex partner or they identify masculine, but they still haven't changed their birth, legal name to reflect their identity," said Meyer. 

 Meyer says physicians often discriminate seemingly without realizing it.

 "An example is a lesbian going in to see her doctor and say 'what form of birth control are you on?' You have a same-sex partner," said Meyer.  Meyer said it makes one wonder if the doctor is just checking off the boxes and not really listening to the patient. 

Organizers, including Central Illinois Pride Health Center Board President Jan Lancaster, are in the process of raising funds to establish non-profit status for the clinic, which could open within a year. They're also reaching out to the medical community and currently offering some services.

"Len's reached out to everyone you can think of  as a board.  I think we're all reaching out to our community. We already offer a youth group which is growing every week and we offer a parents group. These things are in the initial stages," said Lancaster. 

"The goal is to have our medical director in place and then bring in advance practice nurses and nurse practitioners and they can see the patients," said Meyer. "Those doctors who want to get involved, we'll add them as they come. Our goal is to try to make sure the clinic is able function and not cost a lot of money to do it. Using advance practice nurses and nurse practitioners the cost is a little less than having a doctor."

Len estimates a full service clinic would cost $3-4 million. A recent fundraiser brought $3,000 in the door. Lancaster says she hopes she sees the clinic established in her lifetime.    

Central Illinois PRIDE Sponsoring LGBTQ Parents/Children Meeting

Central Illinois PRIDE Health Center's first LGBTQ+ parents with children and parents with LGBTQ+ children (12 years and younger) meeting is Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The combined pool party and potluck meal (please, bring a dish to share with others), offers an opportunity for parents and children to have "a safe, supportive space to be themselves and support one another."

RSVP for meeting location and allergy concerns by calling 309-840-0464.