Former Urbana Mayor, community activist and longtime Champaign County ACLU chapter leader Hiram Paley passed away on Monday, the News Gazette reports. Under Hiram’s leadership as Mayor, Urbana became one of the first communities in the nation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Hiram was also a tireless advocate on behalf of freedom of expression, racial justice, and other civil liberties issues.

Because of his lifetime efforts in working for progressive causes, Professor Paley received the Roger Baldwin Award from the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union in 2005.

Professor Paley was engaged politically, most often in Democratic campaigns. He and his wife were regular hosts for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin events, but that did not mean he had a closed mind, Jean Paley said.

"I think he got along really well with people on both sides of the aisle," she said

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