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Archive for March, 2011

America’s most segregated cities likely to stay that way

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

 

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

 

 
The recent report that America’s most segregated cities are just as — if not more — segregated than they were a couple of decades ago is hardly a revelation. The report focused on the top 10 most segregated cities. But this could easily be expanded to find vast and unbroken pockets of racial segregation in many of the nation’s smaller and mid-size cities as well. A casual drive through any of the major urban neighborhoods in America, a walk through the neighborhood schools, hospitals, and clinics reveal the stark pattern of the two Americas. In fact, even three or four urban Americas: an America that is poor, black and Latino; an America that is black and middle class; an America that is white, working class and middle class; and one that’s white and wealthy.

But whichever urban America one travels through, the line dividing the neighborhoods is as deep as the Grand Canyon. There are the usual suspects to blame for the rigid segregation. Poverty, crime, lender redlining, a decaying industrial and manufacturing inner city, white and middle-class black and Hispanic flight, crumbling inner-city schools, the refusal of major business and financial institutions to locate in minority neighborhoods, and cash-strapped city governments that have thrown in the towel on providing street repairs and basic services.

This tells a big part of the story of the chronic segregation, but it’s only part of the story. The painful truth three years after the election of America’s first black president is that there are far too many policy makers, political leaders, and many whites that still think that segregation is too much a longstanding, even immutable, way of life in America to ever change. The entire history of Northern urban segregation is damning proof of that.

In the decades before the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the great migration of blacks from the South before and after both World Wars, and the flight of whites from urban neighborhoods to the suburbs locked in place the economic, social, and political mindset that racial segregation was a fact of life in the North and would stay that way. Redlining, zoning laws, and the federal government’s deliberate policy of bolstering residential segregation insured that. Even as the Jim Crow barriers tumbled in the South and blacks and whites mingled in schools, public facilities, and more and more neighborhoods, residential segregation in the North remained America’s idée fixe.

Every census report in the post-Civil Rights era and the countless Urban League’s State of Black America reports showed that the inner cities continued to get blacker and browner and poorer, while the suburbs got whiter and more well to do. That trend isn’t likely to change.

With President Obama and Congressional leaders trying to figure out where to cut every penny they can from education, health care and employment programs, there is absolutely no chance of any new spending or initiatives to be put on the legislative table to deal with the continuing decay of urban neighborhoods. Some experts have pointed to the increasing gentrification by young whites and non-blacks of some urban neighborhoods as a hopeful sign that residential segregation could in time pass away. That’s not likely. In fact, studies have shown that gentrification has not altered the neighborhood racial segregation patterns as much as is popularly presented. Many of the old homes that have been renovated as chic, pricey, apartments and townhouses, have been gobbled up, not by whites and non-blacks, but by upwardly-mobile black professionals. They are upscale, but they are still black, and so are the freshly gentrified neighborhoods they live in.

Urban racial segregation, then, may not be the permanent lot of American society, but if past decades and current policies are any sign, America’s most segregated cities will stay that way for more census counts to come.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington, D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on blogtalkradio.com and wfax.com and Internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com

Why Palin Mania Continues

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The latest polls show that Sarah Palin has no chance at winning the presidency. That’s if she even makes a bid for it. Yet, this hasn’t stopped the media and a large chunk of the public from still chattering on endlessly about her. It’s been that way for the better part of two years. The media and the public have reveled in the litany of Palin inanities, bumbles and foot-in-the-mouth gaffes.

Palin continues to have shelf life, despite her plummet from popularity, for the same reason that she was foisted on the public in the first place: She is a virtual Hollywood casting-call prop for a media that routinely pawns off fluff for substance, and a public that grabs at it. Palin had plenty of the required fluff and that makes her even more of a serviceable attraction. She is Hollywood Stars, Jeopardy, American Idol and the Big Spin all rolled into one. She is crass entertainment and provides prurient relief from the traditional, staid, scripted way politicians say and do things. Her inanities have the faint ring of truth and light to them, and for many represent a frontal challenge to the established order. Being a “she,” with a pretty face, and a folksy, home-schooling mom demeanor made her a sure thing for a media starved for ratings, viewership and ad dollars. When she spoke, it was lights, camera and action. Palin, in short, was a media cash cow.

For a time, she even had some value for the GOP. She could say what GOP mainstream political leaders couldn’t, and say it in a way that would get the hoots and whistles from the millions that wanted the GOP to get down-and-dirty and call Obama out. A too- loose cannon running around, whipping up the mob frenzy against Obama, though, posed the danger that some of that frenzy might turn against GOP politicians for not being tough enough in standing up to Obama. The GOP walked a fine line with Palin.

This isn’t the case with the media. The more outrageous Palin is, the better copy she makes. Her words are headlined, and endlessly picked apart by policy experts in a vain effort to draw some real or imagined meaning and implication from them. Palin quickly figured all of this out. If the media pumped her into the next “star is born” attraction, why not parlay that into endless photo-ops, cover stories, a gig as a political commentator, and a queen’s ransom bank account. With the right staging, handling, and orchestration, it worked to a tee for her for a time.

That time is seemingly up. Now that Palin is suddenly everyone’s favorite punching bag, the new question will be: Can the fallen idol make a comeback? There will be more speculation about her political future, if there is a political future, and, in a few more months, the public may answer, “Sarah who?” when her name is mentioned.

This will suit the GOP mainstream, which will have absolutely no problem with a Palin disappearing act. GOP mainstream leaders always privately groaned and shuddered that Palin was Obama’s trump card for re-election, if by some miracle she became a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. But while Palin-mania was at its peak, the leadership did not dare utter a criticism of her for fear of incurring the wrath of the Tea Party multitudes. Palin was coy and crafty enough to keep them guessing whether she would make a serious run for the nomination and the White House. This would have taken much of the sheen off of the media and public’s fascination with her. Then she’d actually have to talk at length and in depth about policy issues and lay out a clear vision of what a Palin administration would mean for America and the world: an impossibility.

Even if the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords hadn’t happened, and much of the public hadn’t blamed her for it, Palin would have eventually taken a tumble. After all, a pretty face plus political silliness can only be milked so long for ratings, magazine covers and ad dollars. This doesn’t absolve the media and the big PR machine for creating Palin-mania. It just points out the hypocrisy that indulged that mania. The proof of this is that despite her pitiable ratings, watch and see if a day goes by that she doesn’t grab a headline somewhere.

Time with no crime: The wrongful conviction of Pastor Onslow

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Georgia Pastor Onslow Ross maintains innocence; pleas public support for appeal and ultimate exoneration

 

Macon, GA (BlackNews.com) – It is very difficult to believe that in 2011, with a culturally diverse U.S. president, and all of the strides that have been made by our forefathers, that a man can be denied a fair trial in the criminal justice system. However, in the case of Onslow Ross, senior pastor of Reaching Souls Cathedral of Praise, he seeks to expose a miscarriage of justice where he believes race played a leading role in his wrongful March 2008 conviction and now embarks upon appealing for his release.

Serving his third year on a ten-year sentence, Ross was convicted in his hometown of Macon, GA on several counts of bank fraud and money laundering based from alleged misuse of money releases from the church’s insurance company. The money was released to the church when their building collapsed in 2005, and was immediately sought after by CB&T Bank of Macon (BOM) upon notification of its existence. Ross and his congregation contend that CB&T BOM was the lien holder on another church property, and had no rights to the monies disseminated to the church for the collapse, since they owned the building free and clear. Unfortunately, due to mortgage and insurance experts not called to testify on behalf of the defense, a past that Ross thought he had left behind for greater work and what he feels was civil injustice against him as an African-American man, he was convicted of a crime that he not only affirms he is not guilty of, but his congregation unanimously supports his innocence as well.

“The stress of this wrongful conviction has dismantled my family, disgraced my ministry, demolished my reputation, credibility and business relationships, and I am missing the most important times in my children’s lives,” asserts Ross.

Ross filed an appeal in 2008, which was denied without a published opinion. As a matter of public record, his first defense attorney admits to not providing a proper defense on his behalf, and he is now represented by Attorney Marcia Shein of Decatur, GA. Rev. Al Sharpton was present in Macon during the trial process and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN), has committed their continued support for the release of Ross.

Assisting as spokesperson during Ross’ incarceration is Attorney Bradford Cohen, most recognized from season three of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.” Cohen has written a series of short papers on the racial disparities in white collar crimes as it relates to the convictions of Caucasians versus African-Americans. Among Cohen’s findings, he cites the case of Mark Drier and Pastor Rodney McGill. Both were sentenced to 20-year sentences when most Caucasians were given 3-6 years for equivalent crimes.

With lack of evidence and prosecutor misconduct among the many factors that worked against his defense and led to his wrongful conviction, Ross hopes to garner the support of the public in bringing awareness to this injustice and exploring his claims of innocence in a crime he did not commit.

“I would like for the judicial system to simply honor the law. It is impossible for a man to receive a fair trial when all of the evidence is not presented in the case,” appeals Ross. “Upon my release, I am seeking to restore my family and return to servitude in my community. This has not been a journey; it has been a race from the time I was convicted until now, fighting for my freedom.”

The congregation of Reaching Souls is asking people to support the release of Pastor Ross by sending letters to the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, visiting the web site, and joining the movement on social media sites. A documentary on the case is forthcoming.

For more information, and to find out how you may get involved, please visit www.TimewithNOCRIME.com.

Violence in Ivory Coast strikes fear among Liberians here

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

By Anthony Advincula

 

NEW YORK — As intensifying violence in Ivory Coast threatens to spill into neighboring Liberia, many Liberian immigrants here are fearful that they may be forced to go back to their crisis-ridden country when their temporary protected status (TPS) in the United States expires this September.

Ellen Margrethe Loj, special representative for the United Nations Secretary General in Liberia, told reporters here Wednesday, that since the post-election unrest erupted in the neighboring Cote d’lvoire, tens of thousands of Ivorian refugees have been flooding across the border into Liberia.

This increased influx of refugees makes it easier for mercenaries from Ivory Coast to smuggle weapons into Liberia, which is still recovering from a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003. The Liberian presidential election in October compounds the delicate situation.

“I’m very worried,” Loj added. “There are rumors now that new [mercenary] recruiting is also taking place. We have to be very careful in monitoring potential consequences.”

“The U.S. government has been quite strict about accepting refugees,” Loj said in an exclusive interview after the press briefing. “I don’t know what will happen to Liberians who are already here.”

Since last December, more than 50,000 Ivorian refugees have streamed across the Liberian border, straining the water and food supply in host Liberian villages. With prolonged political unrest in Ivory Coast, the number of refugees crossing into Liberia is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

In Minneapolis, news of potential violence spilling over into Liberia has been chilling for Liberian immigrants whose extended TPS are about to expire.

According to Mshale, an English-language Kenyan weekly, some 10,000 Liberian immigrants are under temporary protected status in the United States. An estimated 25,000 Liberians live in Minnesota.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants TPS to foreign nationals who are already in the U.S. but may not able to return to their country due to an on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster, or in certain circumstances, if the country is unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals.

In 2007, four years after the civil war in Liberia, Pres. George W. Bush gave certain Liberians an extension of their TPS for 18 months. Then, in March 2009, Pres. Barack Obama gave them an additional 12 months.

Several advocacy groups and supporters appealed, asking the Obama administration to give full refugee rights to the Liberians so that they could stay, but no legislation has been passed. In March 2010, however, Obama gave Liberians an additional 18 months, which will expire on Sept. 30, 2011.

“I can’t sleep anymore. I feel like I’m going to get crazy. This pressure is too much to bear,” says E. Brown, a Liberian woman in her early 50s, who requests that her full name not be disclosed.

With the current unstable political and economic situation in Liberia, Brown says it would be devastating for her and thousands of Liberian immigrant families with TPS if they are forced to return to their home country.

“We’ve already built our lives here,” Brown explains. “Some of our children were born and grew up in the United States. I can’t imagine myself to be separated from them.”

A 42-year-old Liberian cab driver in Chicago, who requested anonymity, says that he and others with temporary protected status “are treated like robots that have no feelings and freedom.”

“I’m very grateful to be here, to be alive,” he says, “but the [U.S.] government can just say, ‘Time is up. Pack your things and leave.’ That makes me very scared.”

Most Liberian immigrants with TPS have already bought a house, a car, and other properties, the cab driver says, and some have already established their own businesses.

“If you were in our position, would you want to go back? Would you want to experience violence again in your life?” he asks.

Julia Nekessa Opoti, publisher of Kenyaimagine.com and a reporter for Twin Cities Daily Planet who covers Liberian issues, says that many Liberian immigrants have deliberately failed to renew their temporary protected status and now are undocumented.

“They think that if they renew their TPS, they will be in the system, which will be easy to track where they are,” Opoti explains. “Others didn’t renew their employment authorization document (EAD) because they could not simply afford the application fees.”

While the Liberian community is robust and vital to the local economy, especially in Minnesota, Opoti says that Liberian leaders are not aggressive enough to mobilize themselves and push for legislation that will solve the problem.

“Liberian community leaders will only act when the extension of TPS is about to expire,” Opoti says. “But even if the TPS gets another extension, it remains temporary.”

A 2008 Concordia University study, “Ethnic Capital and Minnesota’s Future: People of Liberian Origin in Minnesota,” found that nationally, Liberians pay an estimated $441 million in personal taxes, almost equal to the GDP of Liberia.

In Minnesota alone, the study found, Liberian immigrant workers, who are concentrated in the health care sector, raised the state’s earnings by $492 million. And, if more than 3,000 Liberian workers were to leave the local economy, this would result in more than $300 million in lost state revenue.

“It’s clear that Liberia is still struggling from the war—and it’s not helpful for Liberians with TPS to return,” Douglas Johnson, executive director of the Center for Victims of Torture. “We feel that the Liberian government is not politically and economically capable yet to take these Liberians back. It will create more instability.”

Johnson, who works with immigrants who have experienced severe violence and trauma, believes that “the fears and re-traumatization of Liberians who were able to escape the war but now may have to return is unimaginable.”

“With TPS, it’s like having a stage-four cancer,” says the cab driver. “You know that you have only 18 months to live. You survive only when someone finds a cure. I hope Obama will find that cure for us.”

That may seem a long shot, with today’s divisive U.S. politics, but Brown hopes Obama will give her and fellow Liberians with TPS full rights as refugees and displaced individuals, so they can apply for permanent residency after a year.

“We’re good people,” Brown says. “We work hard.”

Better Business Bureau advice for Tax Return Filers

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From the Better Business Bureau)                                                       

  

 

CHICAGO, IL – While the deadline to file and/or pay your taxes has been extended to April 18 this year, many Americans are looking forward to receiving a tax refund check from the government.  During this tax season, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicago and Northern Illinois advises taxpayers to use caution when filing returns to avoid making common mistakes and to use caution when selecting tax preparation help to avoid headaches and mounting fines or fees if the return isn’t correct or filed late.

 

With consumers coming to the BBB for advice on tax preparation services they can trust, this referral organization has experienced a 38-percent increase in the number of individuals who have researched Tax Return Preparation and looked for BBB Accredited Businesses; that’s 3,964 inquiries in 2010-2011 compared to 2,869 in 2009-2010.

 

“In a difficult economy, a tax refund can provide much-needed aid for families enduring financial hardship,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Your BBB advises the public to fill out their tax return forms carefully to help ensure they don’t make mistakes at a time when they can least afford it.”

 

The BBB offers the following tips for individuals still working on their returns:

 

·         Research tax preparers you can trust for free at www.bbb.org

·         Check for missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security Numbers which can delay a tax refund.

·         Taxpayers must sign and date returns. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even with one income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign.

·         File electronically instead of using paper tax forms to receive your refund more rapidly; by choosing direct deposit, consumers may also receive their refunds in as few as 10 days.

·         Make any check out to “United States Treasury” and enclose it with, but don’t attach it to, your return or Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher. Include your Social Security number, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.

·         Get an extension for your return. By April 18, you should have either filed a return or requested an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. 

·         Be sure to keep all receipts and other documents and forms that were used in preparing your tax return. The IRS has three years to audit a return. They can audit you without limitation if you do not file, file a false return, or purposely avoid paying taxes.

·         If you notice a mistake on your prepared federal tax return, you can make changes by filing a 1040X. You have three years after filing to correct your return with this form.

 

 

For more advice on finding professionals you can trust, visit www.bbb.org  

Attorney General Madigan, nine states crack down on national auto marketing firm over false ads

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

Chicago, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently joined nine other states in reaching a settlement against a Georgia advertising corporation over its false car sales promotions around the country, in violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

The actions were filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court against Action Integrated Marketing Inc. and its owner Jay D. Murphree, of Georgia.

The states found AIM falsely advertised to consumers that its sales events included repossessed or governmental surplus vehicles when in reality the cars sold at these events originated from a dealership’s existing inventory. AIM advertised its promotions on television and radio or in newspapers and on the Internet.

“The defendants’ advertisements clearly misrepresented the terms of their sales events to consumers,” Attorney General Madigan said. “An automobile purchase is a major financial commitment and entering into this transaction, consumers deserve facts not fabrications.”

One of AIM’s tactics involved so-called “Repo Joe” sales, where the company claimed consumers would be able to purchase repossessed vehicles at a discount. The sales, in fact, were just a marketing pitch to sell off a dealership’s existing inventory.

AIM also advertised credit terms for buyers without disclosing that the availability of the credit terms was dependent on the creditworthiness of the purchaser, the down payment, the term of the contract or the rate of financing.

The states’ settlement prohibits the defendants from these false advertising claims and bars Murphree and AIM from selling auto advertising promotions that include credit terms that do not disclose term limits. Illinois will receive from AIM $13,000 of the $150,000 settlement.

The nine other states included in the settlement are Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.

Assistant Attorneys General Cassandra Karimi and Greg Grzeskiewicz are handling this case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

 

Chicago Human Rhythm Project celebrates Nat’L Tap Dance Day at New Venue

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Windy City Rhythms Honors First Ladies of Tap May 15 at DuSable Museum

 

Chicago, IL — The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), the world’s first year-round presenter of American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts, debuts at the esteemed DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place in Chicago, May 15 at 5 p.m. for Windy City Rhythms, its annual performance celebrating National Tap Dance Day.

About JUBA! honorees and performers

This year, CHRP will present the First Lady of American Tap—Dianne “Lady Di” Walker—and honor the first ladies of Chicago tap with the JUBA! Award:

  • Julie Cartier—director, choreographer and teacher, artistic director of Especially Tap Chicago, founder and director of the Cartier Collective
  • Idella Reed Davis—founder and director of Rhythm Iss…, studied and now teaches at Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre, internationally renowned teacher and performer
  • Shelley Hoselton—director of Talent Forum dance studio in Libertyville, one of the creators of Footprints Tap Ensemble and Forum Jazz Dance Theatre
  • Peggy Sutton—owner and director of Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1957 by her father, tap master Tommy Sutton

“These women have kept the tap fires burning in Chicago, committed themselves to the art of tap dance and  made seminal contributions as educators, mentors, dancers, choreographers, directors, visionaries and pioneers,” commented CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander.

Walker will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies and performers will include CHRP’s resident performance and education ensemble BAM!, the Cartier Collective, Chicago Tap Theatre, Jus’ Listen, youth tap ensembles and other guests in this community-based celebration of American tap in all its diversity.

Lecture demonstrations with BAM!

The DuSable Museum will also present CHRP’s acclaimed lecture demonstration “We All Got Rhythm” on May 24 and 25.  CHRP’s resident ensemble BAM! will perform “Four Shades of Brown” recreating works by Buster Brown, Harriet Brown and Eddie Brown with an homage to James Brown. Other community artists performing as a part of these programs include Jimmy Payne, Jr., Jus’ Listen and Doris Humphries with Fabulous 50 Plus!

About Chicago Human Rhythm Project

CHRP’s 2011 season is supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Target, The Boeing Company, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation for Arts & Culture at Prince, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The Saints, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Jeanette & Jerome Cohen Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Family Foundation, L&L Hardwood Flooring, The Service Club of Chicago, Arts Work Fund, Leo’s Dancewear, The Seneca Hotel and Suites and generous individual donors.

Founded in 1990, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) builds community by presenting American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts in world-class and innovative performance, education and community outreach programs. The organization’s vision is to establish the first global center for American tap and percussive arts (The American Rhythm Center), which will create a complete ecosystem of education, performance, creation and community in a state-of-the-art facility uniting generations of diverse artists and the general public.

Ticket information

Windy City Rhythms takes place Sunday, May 15 at 5 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. General admission tickets are $25, $20 for students and seniors, $15 for children 12 and younger, and are available by calling 773-281-1825 or visiting chicagotap.org. Schools interested in booking seats at the lecture demonstrations on May 24 and 25 should contact Antoinette Simmons at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 773-947-0600 ext. 225. All programming is subject to change.

Elma and Company to produce “Red Carpet Easter Jam”, a special taping, on Easter Sunday

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Keeping her dream alive and celebrating her 20th Year Anniversary on CAN-TV, Elma Lucas, Executive Producer of Elma and Company, will produce a Red Carpet Easter Jam special taping as part of her Can-TV Television Show Series on Cable Channel-19 on Easter Sunday.

The taping will take place n Easter Sunday, April 24, at St. Elizabeth Hall, 41st & S. Wabash, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

According to a press statement, Elma Lucas is sponsoring the event to keep her dream alive. Lucas started her Dance Studio in the basement of the Cabrini Green Building where she lived with a few children. She and her Dance Studio was profiled on CAN-TV, and since then she has produced many TV shows that focused on the creative talents of hundreds of young people to audiences of over two-million viewers per week. 

Elma and Company is a non-profit organization all donations are tax deductible.

The Red Carpet Easter Jam Celebration is geared towards youth – to give them the opportunity to bask in the celebrity spotlight, a safe place to go and to show their creative talents to the world.

Ecumenical, Multi-Racial Ministers ask the Cardinal to make an exception for an exceptional Pastor

Posted by Admin On March - 29 - 2011 3 COMMENTS

thurstonOn Pastor Pfleger, Apostle White to Cardinal: ‘Let the Spirit speak to your heart about this decision’

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

Showing their love and support for Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger, an ecumenical coalition of ministers called on Cardinal Francis George to make an exception to the parish tenure rule and allow an exceptional pastor to remain at his church with one clergy asking him to “Let the Spirit speak to your heart” before making a final decision.

To do otherwise, they warned, would destroy layers of fragile, delicate and emotionally-dependent relationships Pfleger has with many of his members and the community that he counsels, guides, marches and battles for social justice, against crime, and seeks resolutions for ongoing marriage and counseling on personal domestic issues literally from life to death.

However, Cardinal George continues to remain silent on this issue with his spokesperson saying the Cardinal does not discuss private conversations.

“We are standing today to show our support for Father Michael Pfleger. He has stood with the community and we as pastors and community leaders are standing with him today,” said Pastor Tyrone Crider, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, during a press conference held at the Josephine’s Restaurant, 436 E. 79th Street.

While Father Pfleger was present at the press conference, he did not speak in honor of his confidential talks with the Cardinal. However, last week during his service, Pfleger said his desire is to remain at Saint Sabina, and Friday a group of ministers made a plea to the Cardinal to allow Pfleger to remain at his church and continue his work that so many people across the city depend on.

Joined by more than two-dozen inter-denominational ministers from both the city and the suburbs, Crider said in honoring Pfleger’s desire and goal to remain at Saint Sabina they are asking the Cardinal and the Archdiocese “to allow Father Michael Pfleger to remain as pastor at Saint Sabina Catholic Church.”

Rev. Rodney Reinhart, pastor of the St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Harvey and the St. Joseph and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Blue Island, said, “All of us have worked with Father Pfleger over the years, and we all know that he is a profound Christian witness, an effective pastor, a beautiful and deeply faithful priest of the church, a man who has spoken up for peace, a man who has spoken up for justice, a man who has spoken up for the gospel of Jesus Christ, a man who represents the Catholic church in powerful and vital in life-giving ways.

“He has spoken up for our young people and he said we must protect our children from violence and from crime, and from drugs and from all the terrible things that can touch the lives of young people today,” said Reinhart.

“His witness, his voice, his power, his presence, his ministry in our community in Chicago and in all of Illinois, in all of America is so vital and so important, and so effective that we as pastors of the churches…we stand together to say please, Cardinal George, give us the chance to continue to have Father Pfleger in our midst working such a powerfully vital and important church leader and voice of the gospel,” said Reinhart.

Apostle Carl White, Jr., pastor of Victory Christian International Ministries that includes 50 churches, said Pfleger “not only touches Chicago. He touches the world especially in the south suburb. He has come there for us…” in their hour of need. “Here is a man who has done a mighty great work and to move him from his congregation we do not feel…people move people from time-to-time but there are exceptions to rules” he said that should in this case be considered.

“We stand with our beloved brother, Father Michael Pfleger, for all of the great work and challenges. We’ve seen 79th Street changed…. We lift up a standard with Father Mike,” said White-urging Pfleger “to continue to do great work. “

And to the Cardinal and the Archdiocese, White added, “They should reconsider and look again at the community and what the people are saying in the spirit. Let the spirit speak to your heart about this decision…,” he said standing in support of Pfleger.

Representing the Lutheran church was Pastor Booker Vance from St. Stephen Lutheran Church, said while he understands church politics, “we are not going to let nobody turn us around. We need to stand up clearly and understand the importance of this fine pastor.., our pastor, because he has always stood up, and he always stands for the right.

“He’s cleaned up the 79th Street corridor, the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood has been impacted and not only that the ecumenical understands clearly the importance of this fine ministry and this fine minister. We stand this day with Saint Sabina and our pastor, Michael Pfleger,” said Vance.

“I proudly tell you that I am an old Catholic school boy, and when I made it to the Lutheran Church, one of the first ones to reach their hands out to me was Father Michael Pfleger,” said Rev. Yehiel Curry, pastor of the Shekinah Chapel in Riverdale, Illinois.

“The city of Chicago and the Archdiocese may never know how up and coming pastors depend on this man for leadership and guidance,” said Curry. “He met me in Riverdale at Chuck’s Gun Shop when nobody else wanted to help us deal with commonsense gun laws. He met me there and with a bunch of young folks. We marched from Riverdale to Chuck’s Gun Shop, and we said, ‘enough is enough,’ and today we stand with Father Michael Pfleger.

Rev. Otis Moss, III, head of Trinity United Church of Christ, said Pfleger is more than a pastor. He is also a “community pastor.” He praised Pfleger for transforming the 79th Street area but “because of his work and his witness, he has brought a prophetic word and a model ministry across the United States.”

Referring to the ecumenical coalition of ministers supporting Pfleger, Moss said, “We stand together to show love for our brother and the work that he continues to do and we speak to the Cardinal to let him know that you have a group of ecumenical ministers who support the work of Father Mike and the Saint Sabina community. Let his works speak for himself.”

Representing the 34th Ward Ministers Alliance and the Pastor’s United for Change, Pastor Leonardo Gilbert, pastor of the Sheldon Heights Christian Church, said, “We support him (Pfleger) because he supported us because he has been there consistently when it has been popular and unpopular. We want the Cardinal to know. We want to send a strong message that as he has stood with us, we stand with him.”

Rev. Dr. Attorney Janette Wilson, associate pastor at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church, told reporters, “I remember the parish concept that the Catholic Church is built upon. He has implemented the parish concept in the city of Chicago. It is a model for social justice and social change…. He fought the drug lords along 79th Street. He has purchased billboards to deal with the sale of crack materials in our neighborhoods and grocery stores.

“He has marched and put his life on the line to protect our children against violence in the street. He has continued to lift up the history of African Americans not just in February’s Black History Month, but he has brought some of the most profound and prolific preachers and leaders in the African American tradition to the community of Saint Sabina and to the city of Chicago,” said Wilson.

To the Cardinal, Wilson said, “Just as many of us prayed with you when you were in this city wrestling with the abuse in the Catholic and we supported you then, we’re asking that you support us by allowing Father Michael Pfleger to remain in the parish that he loves and that loves him and to allow him to continue to serve this city and this community from Saint Sabina Catholic Church.”

Father James E. Flynn from Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church has known Pfleger since he was in the seminary “and from that time to this day, I’ve found him to be a consistent faithful minister of the gospel. It is the hope of the ministers and priests of this area that pastoral, positive solution can be found that Father Mike, the Cardinal, the people of Saint Sabina and the whole community can celebrate.”

Representing churches around America, Rev. Stephen Thurston, pastor, New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) and president of the National Baptist Convention of America, said, “Father Mike has given his life not only to God, not only to the Archdiocese, but he has given his life to the people at Saint Sabina.” He said Pfleger “has allowed himself to be a servant to the people of God.”

“The relationship that Father Mike has to the people at Saint Sabina cannot be broken in this most critical period,” said Thurston pointing to the relationships with wives who have lost their husbands to drug abuse, those single mothers who are raising their children, and the relationships with people who lost their homes to foreclosures “who had nobody else but their pastor to go to and be embraced. That is the story of Father Mike and Saint Sabina.

“We pray that God will touch the heart of the Cardinal and God will speak on his behalf even as we know God will hear his prayer and embrace his passion to continue to pastor at Saint Sabina,” Thurston said praying for a resolution to this stalemate. “We transcend denominations” on this issue. “We thank you for the legacy that you have allowed him to demonstrate even now…,” prayed Thurston.

“We asked that you would become the director, that you would speak even in a moral voice as he speaks against the demons of drugs that are killing our community, as he speaks against the demons of violence that are taking the lives of our children, as he speaks against everything that would tear us apart. We pray right now that you build a fence of protection all around him and that you would touch the Cardinal and lead him in the way he should go…,” prayed Thurston.

Concluding the press conference was Crider who said while he understands the tenure issue stated by the Cardinal “there are exceptions to a rule, and we pray that an exception will be made for an exceptional pastor.”

Other ministers present at the press conference were: Rev. Anthony Richardson, New Covenant MBC, Pastor Gregory Macon, Rev. Marvin Hanson; Apostle John T. Abercrombie, Truth & Deliverance Ministries; Dean Wallace Tripplett; Rev. David Williams; Rev. Joseph Addison; Rev. Mark Kalema, Lady of Peace; Rev. Thaddo Ngimda, Holy Name of Mary; Father Thulani Magwaza, associate pastor, Saint Sabina; Dr. Kimberly Lymore, associate minister, Saint Sabina; Deacon David Williams, Rev. Joseph Addison; Rev. Mark Kalema, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church; Rev. Thadeo Ngimba, Holy Name of Mary Church; Rev. James Flynn, Holy Name of Mary; Rev. DeWitt Harris; Rev. Yehiel Curry, pastor of Shekinah Chapel in Riverdale,  Rev. Dr. Phalese Binion, president, Westside Coalition, Deacon Calvin Stewart, Mount Calvary Baptist Church; Rev. Davie Moore, Victory Christian International Ministries, Pastor Leonardo Gilbert, Sheldon Heights Christian Church; Rev. Joseph Harris, assistant to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.; Josephine Wade, manager of Josephine’s Restaurant, and others.

The religious leaders present at the press conference were: Pastor Tyrone Crider, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Rev. Stephen Thurston, Pastor, New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) and president of the National Baptist Convention of America and his son, Stephen J. Thurston, II, the co-pastor, Rev. Anthony Richardson, New Covenant MBC, Apostle Carl White, Jr., pastor of Victory Christian International Ministries, Rev. Dr. Janette Wilson, associate pastor, Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church; Rev. Rodney Reinhart, St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Harvey, IL and St. Joseph and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Blue Island; Rev. Booker Vance, St. Stephens Lutheran Church; Pastor Gregory Macon, Rev. Marvin Hanson; Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson Jr., Pastor, Greater Institutional A.M.E. Church who also represented the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Chicagoland & Vicinity, Dean Wallace Tripplett; Rev. David Williams; Rev. Joseph Addison; Rev. Mark Kalema, Lady of Peace; Rev. Thaddo Ngimda, Holy Name of Mary; Father Thulani Magwaza, associate pastor, Saint Sabina; Dr. Kimberly Lymore, associate minister, Saint Sabina; Deacon David Williams, Rev. Joseph Addison; Rev. Mark Kalema, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church; Rev. Thadeo Ngimba, Holy Name of Mary Church; Rev. James Flynn, Holy Name of Mary; Rev. DeWitt Harris; Rev. Yehiel Curry, pastor of Shekinah Chapel in Riverdale,  Rev. Dr. Phalese Binion, president, Westside Coalition, Deacon Calvin Stewart, Mount Calvary Baptist Church; Rev. Davie Moore, Victory Christian International Ministries, Pastor Leonardo Gilbert, Sheldon Heights Christian Church; Rev. Joseph Harris, assistant to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.; Josephine Wade, manager of Josephine’s Restaurant, and others.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.

Photo: Chinta Strausberg

State Sen. Willie Delgado supports the Smart Enforcement Act

Posted by Admin On March - 29 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Springfield, IL – Illinois State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) attended a press conference in Chicago today with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to discuss House Bill 1598, the Smart Enforcement Act.

“This legislation is a cost-saving immigration reform measure that is pro-law enforcement and pro-family,” stated Senator Delgado, Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee.  “This legislation will allow communities to opt out of the program and bar the use of state funds for
the deportation of immigrants who are not criminals.”

House Bill 1598 addresses flaws in the federal Secure Communities program.  In counties that participate in this program, fingerprints that police departments take when booking suspects get sent to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify immigrants who can
be deported.  The ICE has been advertising Secure Communities as a tool to catch serious criminals, “the worst of the worst.”  In Illinois, however, 46% of people whom ICE has arrested under Secure Communities have no criminal records.

“Hundreds of families are being separated everyday because of the senseless deportations caused by Secure Communities,” said Father Larry Dowling from the Priests for Justice for Immigrants. “We are supporting the Smart Enforcement bill which will protect innocent mothers, fathers and children from deportation and would allow local enforcement agencies to focus on protecting our communities from real criminals.”

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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