Why the memorial was removed: Normal

By: Diane Benjamin

The memorial tribute of Jelani Day was taken down because the Town of Normal is authoritarian.

You can’t talk at a Council meeting until the end, whenever that happens to be, if what you want to say doesn’t pertain to the agenda. You could wait hours to get 3 minutes of their “valuable” time.

Park a vehicle on your grass, even if only for a short time, somebody will ticket you.

If you are buddies with management you can rent a place on Pine St for $120 a year after you get the Town to buy it from you and payoff your debt.

If you are buddies with management you can store trailers on Town property, store one behind your house and get a ticket.

The list of perks for friends is endless, so is the assault on the freedoms of the people paying the bills.

Chris Koos was quoted in the Pantagraph saying he called Kathleen Lorenz, Scott Preston, Kevin McCarthy, and Chemberly Cummings about the painting. Does Karyn understand she isn’t “in” with Koos? Of course Stan Nord wasn’t called. Koos claimed he knew it would create backlash, he and “staff” decided it needed to go.

I FOIA’d all communication pertaining to the Jelani Day painting. The only reason the memorial was removed is because someone had the audacity to mount it on THEIR building. It has nothing to do with race, people just aren’t allowed to violate Town Code even if the Town does it themselves. See the latest example if you missed it: https://blnnews.com/2021/10/07/is-this-incompetence-or-corruption-normal/

In the FOIA were text messages, wouldn’t you like to know what they cut off?

Pam is or course Pam Reece, Cathy Oloffson is the Communications person, Mark is Mark Clinch – DIR OF FAC/ENERGY MGT.

Moving it will create what? Havoc, charges of racism, good feelings in the community? What did you cut off Normal?

This email proves why it was taken down, Oloffson is parroting what she was told:

Pam Reece makes it clear ISU is responsible, not the Town of Normal:

Two more pics:

This is the original notice they were going to place where the picture was:

This is what was eventually posted:

The artist posted on Facebook it was not meant to be permanent. The Town walked into problems they created themselves. Compassion was never part of the discussions.

13 thoughts on “Why the memorial was removed: Normal

  1. For the people, by the people, of the people does not exist in Normal.
    Jelani Day meant something to people in Normal. Jelani Day meant something to his family and friends. Jelani Day meant enough to inspire an anonymous artist to create and share a temporary memorial with the community.

    Normal’s staff, Mayor and council are regularity quoted as saying “plan the work, then work the plan.”

    The premature and swift removal of Jelani’s temporary public memorial highlights that to those involved in this decision, the “town plan” means more than the people who form the community of Normal.

    Jelani Day did not mean enough for Pam Reece and company to let his memorial persist until at least his funeral.

    Will anyone demand the person who gave the order to remove Jelani’s memory be held accountable for their decision? Don’t hold your breath. The “Professional Staff” are never held accountable for their bad decisions. They hide behind a cloak of secrecy they call “The Town.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me see if I have this right, you only matter in the TON if you donate to Koos’s campaign, buy a bike from him or “rub elbows” with Pam Reece? Everyone else are expected to shut the “f” up, pay you taxes and don’t dare be a bother to the TON when you die!

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  3. My immediate reaction when I first heard of that painting being taken down was you have to be shitting me. What a beautiful memorial to recognize the tragic death of a young man and the city took it down. I am a conservative Republican but I have enough sense to understand what this painting meant to those that knew this young man. I mention my background because it was liberal Democrats that took this down. For all you liberal idiots that voted for the current administration in normal this is what you get. Remember this in the next election.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Could it be that the memorial was deteriorating along with code violations?

    From the Pantagraph: “The poster, which was printed on paper and pasted to a sheet of particle board on the building, was removed by workers who cut the board from the building to avoid destroying the piece of art. A notice was later placed over where the painting had been. The poster is being stored at the Normal Facility Management building, with plans being worked out to display it at ISU, officials said.”

    So the work was painted on paper. How long during winter would that last? A couple of heavy rain showers and snow The painting was not destroyed but is being stored.

    Please inform me of the controversy. Someone painted a memorial which was on paper, the town took it down and didn’t throw it out. They are working with the School were Day went to to display the memorial there.

    You seem to be making this a controversy where there is none.

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    1. BIRD ONE obviously lacks the same basic human compassion as the people who took it down. I BIRD ONE voted for Koos. I am surprised how much I align with Black Lives Matter on this issue.

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  5. BLM endorsed Koos and Cummings in the last election. They thanked them by ordering the removal of Jenalis’s memorial. At the council meeting one BLM speaker told Koos to f-off. I wonder if BLM is going to publicly be hold their endorsees accountable by removing their endorsement, or if Koos and Cummings get a pass just because they are Democrats?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why am I not surprised the city meant to preserve the painting typical response by those that believe that normal leaders and staff are perfect in every way. It was pure ignorance what they did and if you watch the last council meeting those that were sharing their disgust with the city speaks volumes. Any person with just a hint of intelligence would have said keep your hands off that painting but again you are dealing with the town of normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d be interested in seeing if there were emails between Normal’s gov’t and ISU. Given that ISU parents’ weekend was coming right up and uptown would be swamped with the visiting parents of students, it could be that ISU didn’t want the memorial placed where it might raise community safety questions among that important economic demographic (thus leading to Normal’s rushed and clumsy reaction).

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