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Archive for April 21st, 2011

Troy Davis’ last chance for life: “Innocent until proven guilty”

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP

 

Save Troy Davis Innocent until proven guilty.

 

These four words helped establish our criminal justice system. But in a nation that prides itself on our belief in liberty and justice for all, why is Troy Davis — with an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to his innocence — facing execution?

Twenty years ago, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a white police officer. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses recanted their statements, new witnesses have come forward identifying another man as the murderer, and the alleged murder weapon has still not been found.

Despite these new developments, the state of Georgia is putting Davis on track to be executed — perhaps as early as next month.

You can help save Troy Davis’ life today by standing up, adding your voice to our “name wall” and asking the Georgia Parole Board to commute his sentence:

http://action.naacp.org/Save-Troy-Davis

When the Supreme Court heard the evidence, they understood that there were many more questions to be answered. But instead of granting Troy Davis a trial where his peers could decide his fate, he was forced to face a single federal judge where the burden was on Troy to prove his innocence — the exact opposite presumption of a jury trial.

In hopes of exonerating Troy after 10 years of imprisonment, his lawyer submitted each piece of evidence at the hearing. And each piece of evidence was rejected by the judge. Despite noting that the case against Troy was not “ironclad,” he nevertheless refused to grant a new trial.

A jury trial would have made this issue moot. Reasonable doubt would have freed Troy Davis.

Now it’s up to you to put a stop to Troy Davis’ execution. You are his last hope, and time is running out. Tell the Georgia Parole Board not to execute a man with such an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to his innocence:

http://action.naacp.org/Save-Troy-Davis

As an American, I have faith in our justice system. But as President of the NAACP, I have seen how our justice system can fail. Sometimes even when it comes to life and death. It is up to us to right this wrong.

This is his last chance. Stand by Troy and stand up for liberty and justice for all.

GOP blows it with official’s animal depiction of Obama

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

 

Commentary 

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

 

Orange County, Calif. GOP Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport’s email blast depicting President Obama and his family as monkeys was sick, vile, and disgusting. But that was not the worst part of it. Even her witless defense of the photo as just a “joke,” was not the worst part of her slur. The worst part was the reaction of GOP officials.

The local party chair, Scott Baugh, appropriately blasted the email, saying it “drips with racism,” and said Davenport should resign. He claimed that the bylaws prevented him from expelling Davenport. But he did not call for a change in the bylaws to make expulsion possible, or even indicate when or if he would move to censure Davenport. To their credit, some former GOP state officials did call for her expulsion. But no action of any kind has been taken against Davenport.

The non-action paled in comparison to the reaction of other GOP officials who either downplayed it as “much ado about nothing,” as Davenport branded it, or defended her. Davenport is not some raving Tea Party haranguer. She’s a member in good standing of the powerful and well-connected Orange County GOP party machine. In Democrat-leaning California, this is not insignificant. Orange County is one of the reddest counties in Southern California, and a traditional bastion of GOP conservatism. The Orange County Republican Party can still muster tens of thousands of votes for local, state, congressional and presidential candidates. Republican presidential candidates have beat a steady path to the county for decades to secure votes and money.

Davenport, for her part, has adamantly said she won’t resign. She wouldn’t have dug her heels in on staying at her party post if she wasn’t confident that she had the backing of more than a few party members.

Those GOP Davenport cheerleaders aren’t just in Orange County. Other party officials essentially blew off the controversy as a non-issue. This speaks to the GOP’s continual denial and subtle or flat-out stoke of the racial fires.

Davenport underlined her despicable depiction of President Obama with the caption, “Now you know why there’s no birth certificate.” This is just the crude version of what would-be GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been parroting with his crusade to bait President Obama on his birth certificate.

It’s worked because polls consistently show that a significant minority, possibly a majority, of the GOP rank-and-file cling to the false belief that Obama is a fake American citizen. Trump would not have gotten to first base with his birth certificate ploy if these millions didn’t give credence to it. The controversy has had enough juice to draw Obama himself into it. In a recent interview, Obama made more than a veiled reference to it when he said, “We’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or birth certificates.”

Top GOP possible presidential contenders have either been mum on the issue, sent mixed messages, or, as in the case of Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin, given tacit credence to it. Despite the media ridicule, Trump hasn’t backed away one inch from the issue. In a pep rally speech to a swooning Tea Party throng in Boca Raton, Fla., he again questioned Obama’s citizenship. Trump’s slur didn’t dampen the applause or enthusiasm of the crowd. Nor has it dampened the enthusiasm for him from millions of others. In the latest national poll of the names of the potential GOP presidential candidates, Trump obliterated the field. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was a distant second, garnering 10 percent less of the straw vote than Trump.

At this stage of the presidential derby, the straw poll tells nothing about who the GOP voters, party regulars, and party money backers will ultimately decide on. It won’t be Trump. But that’s hardly the point. The fact that a political non-entity can work up the kind of mania and media attention that he has on the strength of virtually one issue, namely Obama’s birth, tells much about the crazed state of millions of GOP voters.

Davenport’s slanderous email depiction of Obama and family, her refusal to see anything wrong with it, and the foot-drag by GOP local and state officials in California and nationally to say or do anything about it, speaks volumes for GOP leaders. Trump, Davenport, and the Orange County GOP top brass are not bizarre aberrations. They publicly echo the sentiment of a wide swath of Americans about President Obama, and that sentiment has nothing to do with any political criticism of his policies. Davenport’s racial belligerence on Obama, and the Republican Party’s official inaction about it, just prove that the GOP blows every chance it gets to show that it’s Obama’s policies, and not his race, that is their only concern.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is associate editor of New America Media. 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.

Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

Black legislators on Frontline against AZ-Style Immigration Bills

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

 

By Marcelo Ballvé

 

New York - As immigrant advocates battle hardline immigration bills in state capitols across the country, they’re receiving crucial support from caucuses of black legislators.

Black politicians have come out in defense of immigrants, questioning the morality and wisdom of tough immigration legislation in states from Nebraska to Georgia, where “copycat bills” are being modeled on Arizona’s immigration enforcement legislation, SB 1070. That bill ignited a national debate last year on whether states should take immigration matters into their own hands. The fact that federal courts have blocked many parts of Arizona’s law from being implemented has not deterred the copycats.

Nineteen state legislatures have considered Arizona-style proposals this year, according to Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Project Coordinator at Progressive States Network, a New York City-based nonprofit. Ten of these proposals have been defeated, but they remain alive in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.

Black legislators have been vocal in warning that, if approved, these bills could have unintended consequences, including damage to local economies, racial profiling, and diluting the federal government’s constitutionally-granted authority over immigration matters.

In the face of an ongoing backlash against immigrants, this deepening alliance between pro-immigrant lobbyists and black lawmakers has begun to transform state-level politics around immigration.

In Mississippi, the black legislative caucus was instrumental in sinking a get-tough immigration measure that had seemingly unstoppable momentum and bipartisan support. The bill would have required Mississippi law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of people detained in any “stop, arrest, or detention” and created a state offense for failure to carry “an alien registration document.”

“There wasn’t any wavering from the black caucus” in our opposition to the immigration bill, Mississippi Rep. Jim Evans said in a phone interview this week from Jackson. “More importantly, there wasn’t any moral wavering.”

Evans, along with other members of Mississippi’s legislative black caucus— such as Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr.— were instrumental in organizing the delaying tactics that held up the bill, which finally failed in conference, after versions passed both the House and Senate, when legislators could not agree on a final version.

Evans also said Mississippi’s black caucus also helped defeat 22 other immigration-related bills in Mississippi this year, which proposed, among other things, that Mississippi public agencies offer services and materials in English only and that license plates be offered only to drivers with proof of citizenship.

Evans characterized the proposals as “more venom and more hatred.”

“Immigration is a federal policy issue between the United States government and other countries, not Nebraska and other countries,” read a resolution introduced to the Nebraska Legislature by Sen. Brenda Council, an African-American labor lawyer who represents a 70 percent black and four percent Latino Omaha district.

The resolution also asked the federal government to act on immigration reform so that states wouldn’t be pushed into considering counterproductive policies.

Though Council’s resolution did not make it out of committee, neither did LB 48, a proposal that echoed many of the Mississippi bill’s provisions, which Sen. Council vocally opposed in a March 2 committee hearing: “Let me make the record clear so there’s no doubt in your mind or anyone else’s mind, I’m one of those who believes that LB 48 promotes racial profiling.”

Across the country, black legislators — nearly all Democrats— have framed immigration in the language of civil rights and have sought to restrain lawmakers from taking too-hasty or draconian action on immigration.

But they were not successful in all states. In Georgia last week, the Republican-controlled state house passed an immigration measure that, among other tough provisions, encourages law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of suspects and allows officers to detain people in the country illegally.

Even if the Georgia legislators’ pleas for restraint were partly brushed aside, they had a demonstrably moderating impact on the legislation and a galvanizing effect on grassroots opposition to the bill.

Members of Georgia’s legislative black caucus played a leading role in spearheading amendments to water down the harshest parts of the bill, HB 87.

In rallies at the state capitol, African-American civil rights leaders like U.S. Rep. John Lewis joined black and Hispanic legislators in attacking the bill as an unwelcome reminder of a divisiveness Georgia should have kept in history’s dustbin. 

In one speech on the floor of the State Senate, Sen. Emanuel Jones asked legislators to remember that “it wasn’t that long ago when vigilante groups, militia groups … routinely rounded up citizens just to exact their own form of vigilante justice.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign the Georgia bill into law despite the lingering opposition of many immigrant, business, and religious groups.

Of course, not all black political leaders agree with the parallels between immigrant and civil rights, and some worry about immigrants competing with African-Americans for jobs and wages. In Georgia, Willie Talton, a black Republican, voted in favor of HB 87.

In Alabama, Democrat Barbara Boyd, a Democrat, voted in favor of a similar bill, though other black legislators such as Laura Hall have been noteworthy opponents and voted against it.

But even in states historically welcoming to immigrants, it is now African-American lawmakers who are beginning to take the initiative on immigration issues.

In New York, it was a black lawmaker from Harlem, not a Latino legislator, who introduced a bill last month that would allow undocumented immigrant students brought to the country illegally by their parents the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, in-state health benefits, and financial aid help while they study at state universities.

The bill is a scaled-down state version of the federal DREAM Act— offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant college students— which failed in the U.S. Senate last year.

Sen. Bill Perkins said he expects interethnic political alliances to become more frequent as African-American politicians explore the broad common ground uniting Latino and traditional black constituencies. 

“We’re a natural ally, and very often have the same issues,” he said in a phone interview.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon: State’s ethics form is “weak”

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Calls for new standards, requires staff to file financial info                  

 

Chicago, IL – A day after yet another Illinois governor went on trial for corruption charges, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon urged lawmakers to strengthen existing ethics laws, saying current economic disclosures are weak.

Lt. Governor Simon fulfilled her promises to make public her annual tax returns and provide groundbreaking financial information on her senior staff members. Releasing the information empowers taxpayers by revealing any potential conflicts of interest that Simon, or her staff, face in shaping and implementing public policies.

“Government works best in the sunlight, so we’re starting by shining the light on ourselves,” said Simon, who served on the Illinois Reform Commission. “The economic disclosures currently required by law are weak, reveal very little about any potential conflicts of interest and are practically meaningless to the people we serve. By taking this first step, I encourage other public servants to follow our lead and build a foundation for statewide reform.”

Simon plans to ask lawmakers to scrap the current Statements of Economic Interest (SEI) that constitutional officers, elected officials and high-ranking public employees are required to file on an annual basis. The forms are supposed to expose existing or potential conflicts of interest, but the documents use such vague and cumbersome language that the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has called them “woefully inadequate” and “a waste of paper.”

Simon and her staff’s financial disclosures, released shortly after tax day and available on the lieutenant governor’s website, cover some of the same information in the SEIs, but the Simon staff disclosures do so in plain language and in greater detail. Simon’s staff disclosures are modeled after forms used by federal executive officers and their high-ranking employees that are kept confidential.

“Lt. Governor Simon is reforming the system from within, and we hope her transparency is contagious,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “She is setting a new standard of accountability and ethical leadership in state government.”

More than 25,000 elected officials and public employees in Chicago and suburban Cook County file annually with Clerk David Orr’s office. Orr applauded Simon for tackling this inadequate method for reporting conflicts of interest. 

  “The SEI questions are virtually incomprehensible, so the vast majority of people return blank forms,” Orr said. “Revising the disclosure requirements will paint a more-detailed portrait of public officials’ true conflicts of interest.”

Simon’s 2011 tax returns, and a personal financial statement that she first released in January, show all of her sources of income, assets, liabilities and net worth. Her household reported income of approximately $110,000 last year, donated nearly $2,000 to charity and paid $14,000 in state and federal taxes.

The staff disclosures note all forms of income greater than $200, investment portfolios and sweetheart loans, among other details.

“The current state financial disclosure document is flawed by asking questions in ways that fail to identify people’s true economic interests,” Simon said. “Our disclosures ask useful questions and generate useful answers that will allow us to identify and avoid conflicts to make sure we do what’s right for our constituents.”

 

2010 Senior Staff Financial Disclosures

 

At A Glance: Disclosures

 

 

Lt. Governor

Senior Staff

SEI

All sources of income Yes; list source and amount of income for filer and spouse Yes; list all sources of income over $200 for you and all sources of income over $1,000 for your spouse  No; form calls for disclosure of certain professions and services with thresholds of $1,200 or $5,000, based on interpretation of form.
Marketable securities Yes; list all assets and amount of investment Yes; list assets held for investment with a value greater than $1,000 or assets held for investment which produced more than $200  No; form calls for disclosure of “the name and instrument of ownership” in any entity or business that is: doing business in Illinois, either valued in excess of $5,000 or from which more than $1,200 was realized; and not including deposits at financial institutions or debt instruments.
Cash in banks Yes; list total amount of checking and savings accounts No No
Vested interest in retirement plans  Yes Yes No
All residences, real estate and vehicles Yes; list details and values No No; form calls for disclosure of “the name and instrument of ownership” in any entity or business that is: doing business in Illinois, either valued in excess of $5,000 or from which more than $1,200 was realized; and not including deposits at financial institutions or debt instruments. This may apply to certain real estate.
Liabilities Yes; list total accounts payable Yes, list liabilities over $10,000 (other than a loan from a financial institution or business entity granted on terms made available to the general public) and loans over $10,000 from an individual, such as a friend or a business associate  No
Net Worth Yes; list for you and spouse No No

 

 

Immigrant rights group to hold press conference to announce May Day March in Chicago

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
 
Chicago, IL – Despite the tide of anti-worker and anti-immigrant bills in Illinois and around the country, immigrant rights activists and supporting organizations are putting out the call to march on May Day in support of the rights of both documented and undocumented workers.
 
“We march because the classic union anthem of ‘Solidarity Forever’ refers to every worker – documented and undocumented, waged and unwaged, in the US and around the world,” stated Robin Hewlett, an artist and organizer for May Day.
 
What: Press Conference to invite Chicagoans to march on May 1st 2011 
When: Thursday, April 21st at 11:30 AM
Where: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Building, 101 West Congress Parkway
Who: Members and Supporters of the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC)
 
BACKGROUND:
 
May Day is celebrated around the world as the international day of solidarity among working people. This global celebration recognizes the historic importance of worker struggles in Chicago, as a city in which immigrant workers in the 1800s led the fight for the 8-hour work-day.
 
In 2006, Chicago’s immigrant communities marched in protest and defeated the harsh anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill; it was this struggle for immigrant rights that breathed new life into Mayday and re-ignited the fight for the rights of all working people. This legacy continues in 2011 as a grassroots coalition calls for a Mayday march in Chicago from Union Park to Pilsen, a Latino neighborhood of great international significance in the history of the struggles for worker rights.
 
Today the political and economic problems facing the nation are even more dramatic than in 2006. The attack on workers in Wisconsin, and the enormous nation-wide response of support, comes against the backdrop of copy-cat anti-worker bills around the Midwest. At the same time, deportations continue at historically high rates, and anti-immigrant legislation is being introduced around the country including proposed bill HB 1969 here in Illinois. As two sides of the same coin, these dual attacks highlight the importance of solidarity for workers regardless of their legal status.
 
Mayday is the largest show of worker solidarity in the world, in which teachers, workers, immigrants and students in Chicago will join their counterparts around the world to march for a fair and equal Chicago.
 
“We march because our communities are under attack” said Jose Herrera, a youth organizer of the march. “Politicians make false promises in order to mobilize the immigrant vote, while at the same time they enforce a system that oppresses and criminalizes immigrants. We march as a way to build political power and consciousness in our communities,” he concluded.
 
“We march because we are in a moment of emerging global consciousness among working people” stated Carmela Garcia. “The failure of the neoliberal system is clear, and there is an emerging globalized movement to build a better and more just world”.
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The demands of the march are as follows:
1. Stop all deportations NOW — we demand an immediate Moratorium on Deportations !
2. Legalization and full status without conditions for undocumented immigrants NOW !
3. An end to anti-immigrant legislation and the criminalization of immigrants
4. Labor rights, employment, and a living wage for all workers
5. Funding for health care, jobs and education, not for war and deportation!
 
The itinerary for May Day Event is as follows:
2:00PM Reunion at Union Park, (Corners of Lake St and Ashland)
4:00PM March Ends and Rally Starts at Plaza Tenochtitlan, (Corners of 18th St/Blue Island/S. Loomis)
 
Endorsing organizations include:
 
Moratorium on Deportations, 3d Graphics Inc, 8th Day Center for Justice, AFSCME Local 2081, Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice, ANSWER Chicago, Biblioteca Popular, Centro Americano para la Cultura y las Artes, Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism (CCAWR), Chicago Jobs with Justice, Committee Against the Militarization of our Youth (CAMi), Gay Liberation Network, Iglesia Metodista Amor de Dios, Immigrant Solidarity Dupage, International Socialist Organization, Justice Mission, La Villita-Chicago Facebook Community, Labor Committee on Immigrant Worker Rights, M19 Anti War Coalition, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, Radios Populares, Red Migrante, Socialist Worker Party, Teachers for Social Justice-Chicago, Teamsters Local 743, The Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, The Coalition of Utah Progressives (CUP)
 
For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Jose Herrera at 773-632-9992 or Carmela Garcia 847-809-0611
 
 
 
From: Moratorium on Deportations
 
Contact:Jose Herrera (773) 632 9992    josefromchicago@aol.com, 
Rozalinda Borcila   (813)789-0123   rborcila@yahoo.com
 
To be presented at the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance City Council Hearing on April 21st 2011 10:00AM
 
Statement from the organizers of Chicago Mayday March 2011:  “Worker’s Struggle Beyond Borders”
 
Why we support the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance

As a coalition that brings together immigrant rights groups, anti-war organizations, neighborhood associations and rank and file workers, we understand that issues of environmental justice are intricately interwoven with issues of workplace justice and human rights. We support the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance because:
 
 
1.  Chicago offers a dramatic example of how environmental devastation disproportionately affects immigrant communities and people of color. Our communities experience a warzone with every breath, the kind of war that builds battlefields in our neighborhoods and inside the bodies of our children. The city has the authority, and the obligation, to stop this deadly attack on its residents.
 
2.  The air we breathe knows no borders. The toxic pollutants produced by the Fisk and Crawfold coal-fired plants (in Pilsen and Little Village respectively) affect people across the city and the region. We expect the city of Chicago to live up to its green image as more than an empty slogan.
 
3.   We believe that support for the rights and health of workers, like those that work at the Fisk and Crawfold coal-fired plants, is entirely compatible with the health and well-being of the primarily immigrant communities that suffer the deadly affects of the two unregulated coal plants.
 
 4. Working people are being forced to pay for economic and environmental crisis created by corporations that destabilize economies, devastate life-sustaining ecosystems, displace workers and pollute communities around the globe. Average working people cannot afford to bear these disproportionate costs while the top 1% profit.   
 
 
 
Who we are:
 
On May Day, as millions of people around the world celebrate workers’ rights, a coalition of grassroots immigrant rights activists, anti-war organizations, rank and file workers and community members are calling on Chicago to march! On Sunday, May 1st, we march in solidarity with all working people – documented and undocumented, waged and unwaged, in the US and around the world. Together we march for justice, fair wages, decent working conditions, basic dignity, healthy communities, and full legal status for all working people.
 
For more information see:  www.moratoriumondeportations.org

House Redistricting Hearings underway around state

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

(From the Illinois GOP Party)                                                                                                                            

 

A series of public hearings on the redrawing of Illinois House district boundaries are underway this week, including today in Aurora, East St. Louis and Elgin (see below  for a list of locations, dates and times).   The hearings will provide residents with a platform to provide testimony about the map’s impact on their community.   If you are unable to attend, Twitter and Facebook updates from the hearing will be available through the Illinois House Republican Twitter page at www.twitter.com/ilhousegop and the U-Map IL Facebook page.   

We are also making our mapmaking software, computer, census data and staff available for the public to draw their own maps.  Call 312-814-2053 to set up an appointment. 

“I applaud the committee for hosting these informational hearings,” said House GOP Remap Spokesperson Rep. Michael Fortner (R-West Chicago). “Through this process, it is imperative to gather local input from across our state so the map is drawn in a fair and equally representative manner.  I am disappointed there is no commitment, and we don’t yet have any hearings scheduled, to receive comments on a map we will vote on.”

Illinois’ remapping process occurs every ten years to reflect the results of population changes accounted for in the latest Census. The process is widely-viewed as politically charged as it is left up to the Illinois Senate President and the Illinois Speaker of the House to present a map, and the Governor to approve it. All of those positions are currently held by Chicago Democrats. The political party in charge of the remap seeks to gain legislative seats as well as protect incumbent lawmakers.

“The Democratic majority has promised that this will be the most open and transparent redistricting cycle in Illinois history,” said State Rep Jim Durkin (R-LaGrange). “It is important that they keep their word. I am advocating for proper, equal representation where communities are not carved into segments just to fulfill political interests.” 

Here is the hearing schedule: 

Monday, April 18, 2011 

Illinois Math and Science Academy, 1500 Sullivan Road, Aurora at 1:30 p.m.

East St. Louis Township Senior Center, Room 3, 6755 State Street, East St. Louis at 4 p.m.

Centre of Elgin Ballroom, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin at 4 p.m. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 

Waukegan City Hall Council Chambers, 100 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan at 1 p.m.

Zeke Giorgi State of Illinois Building, Lower Level, 200 S. Wyman, Rockford at 4 p.m.

South Suburban College Performing Arts Center, 15800 S. State Street, South Holland at 4 p.m. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 

Waukegan City Hall Council Chambers, 100 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan at 1 p.m.

Zeke Giorgi State of Illinois Building, Lower Level, 200 S. Wyman, Rockford at 4 p.m.

South Suburban College Performing Arts Center, 15800 S. State Street, South Holland at 4 p.m. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 

Rock Island City Hall Council Chambers, 1528 Third Avenue, Rock Island at 2 p.m.

Chicago State University Library Auditorium, 9501 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago at 4 p.m. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011 

Bilandic Building – C600, 1600 North LaSalle, Chicago at 10:30 a.m.

Joliet City Hall City Council Chambers, 150 West Jefferson Street, 2nd Floor, Joliet at 4 p.m.

Peoria County Courthouse County Board Room, 324 Main Street, Peoria at 4 p.m. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Illinois State Capitol Building, 2nd and Capitol, Room 114, Springfield at 3 p.m.

Contact information:

Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross

401 S. Second Street, Room 114

Springfield, IL 52706

Movie Release: Romantic family comedy, Jumping The Broom to Premiere Mother’s Day weekend

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The movie is produced by Our Stories Films and RLJ Company

 

Produced by Tracey E. Edmonds; Released by TriStar, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company


Tracey E. Edmonds, President & Chief Operating Officer, Our Stories Films

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Robert L. Johnson, chairman of The RLJ Companies, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), and founder and CEO of Our Stories Films, announced today the launch of their new film, Jumping the Broom, an inspirational and positive story of two very different families who meet for the first time at a weekend wedding in Martha’s Vineyard. Through multi-faceted storylines, the film explores the family dynamics of marriage and reminds us of the bonds that keep families strong.

“Tracey is the president and COO of Our Stories Films where she oversees the development and production of projects for urban audiences. She is very talented and has a strong creative vision,” says Robert L. Johnson. “I trust her direction in telling the memorable stories people want to see and know that audiences will truly enjoy this new film and will closely relate to the story,” he added. “We were also pleased to collaborate with Bishop T.D. Jakes who is very committed to supporting family oriented films,” Johnson concluded.

“We are excited to bring this romantic family comedy, featuring some of the top talent in the industry, to a nationwide audience,” says producer Tracey E. Edmonds. “The positive feedback on this very funny, emotional, and uplifting story has been exceptional. We are certain that the relationship and familial issues explored will resonate with all and hope that audiences everywhere will fall in love with this film as much as we did creating it,” Edmonds concluded.

Jumping the Broom stars Angela Bassett (Notorious, Meet The Browns), Paula Patton (Precious, Déjà Vu), Laz Alonso (Just Wright, Avatar), Loretta Devine (Death at a Funeral, First Sunday), Tasha Smith (Couples Retreat, Why Did I Get Married Too?), Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”), Romeo Miller (Honey), DeRay Davis (Old Dogs, Semi-Pro), Valarie Pettiford (Why Did I Get Married Too?, Stomp the Yard), Mike Epps (The Hangover, Resident Evil: Extinction), Pooch Hall (“The Game”) and Meagan Good (Stomp the Yard, Eve’s Bayou).

The film is directed, and co-produced by Salim Akil (“The Game”) in his feature theatrical film debut. The screenplay is by Elizabeth Hunter (Fighting Temptations) and Arlene Gibbs (Traitor), from a story by Elizabeth Hunter. Tracey E. Edmonds (Soul Food and Good Luck Chuck), T.D. Jakes (Not Easily Broken), Glendon Palmer, Elizabeth Hunter and Curtis Wallace (Not Easily Broken) produced the project. Director of photography is Anastas N. Michos, ASC (After.life). Production designer is Doug McCullough (Ice Castles). Terilyn A. Shropshire, A.C.E. (The Secret Life of Bees) is editor. Original music is by Edward Schearmur (The Wolfman).

About The RLJ Companies:
Founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in hotel real estate investment; private equity; financial services; asset management; insurance services; automobile dealerships; sports and entertainment; and video lottery terminal gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For additional information please visit: www.rljcompanies.com.

About Our Stories Films, LLC:
Our Stories Films is the first African American owned film production studio that produces theatrical motion pictures that showcase the talents of African Americans on both sides of the camera and in the creative process. Founded in 2006, Our Stories Films is headquartered in Hollywood, CA, and targets underserved, urban audiences within the family and urban comedy genre with a production budget of $5M-$7M per film.

Blue Island man charged in murders of three young women

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

A Blue Island man was charged with the murders of three young women over the course of one year’s time between 2009 and 2010 and police and prosecutors believe the man may be a serial offender and are seeking the public’s help in providing information on other potential victims, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and law enforcement officials announced.

Bond was denied for Sonny Pierce, 27, who was charged with three ounts of First Degree Murder in the deaths of Kiara Windom, 18, of Harvey, and Kimika Coleman, 18, of Chicago, and a third victim. Windom and Coleman were both strangled to death and their bodies were discovered dumped in alleys in Chicago and Blue Island approximately three weeks apart in August of 2009.

In recent weeks evidence has been developed showing that Pierce killed a third victim in July of 2010 and he was also charged with the murder of Mariah Edwards, 17, also of Blue Island. In a gruesome discovery, police investigating the murder cases recovered a videotape made by Pierce that pictures him engaged in violent sexual relations with Edwards, who appears to be lifeless and possibly deceased at the time the video was taken on July 3, 2010. Edwards’ body has not been recovered by law enforcement but she was reported missing and has not been seen alive since July of 2010.

Members of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, the Blue Island Police Department and the State’s Attorney’s Cold Case Unit have been conducting a coordinated investigation of the murders. As a result of their efforts, police were able to link contact between Pierce and the victims through telephone records and other information developed during the course of the investigation. Pierce has also been linked to the murders of Windom and Coleman by DNA evidence recovered from the bodies of the women.

According to investigators, Pierce met victims Windom and Coleman on a telephone dating chat line or “party line” where he arranged meeting with them. It is believed that he lured the women to his Blue Island residence and had sexual relations with them before strangling them and dumping their bodies.

Gary Cops found guilty in savage beating of 60-year-old Veteran

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2011 60 COMMENTS

Percy Perry’s face left “unrecognizable” after cops beat him, forcing an eye out of its socket

 

Federal Jury Delivers $850,000 Verdict Against Gary Police

 

Gary, IN – Gary police officers Anthony Blood and Irving Givens were found guilty in Hammond Federal Court of severely beating 60-year-old Gary resident Percy Perry on June 24, 2007.  The federal jury ordered that Mr. Perry be awarded $750,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.

Perry was apprehended by the officers after he attempted to remove a window from an abandoned building.  After Perry had surrendered, Officer Blood struck him with a weapon, forcing Perry’s left eye out of its socket and knocking him unconscious.  During the first of several surgeries, physicians were forced to remove the eye.

Perry’s attorneys are Jon Loevy and Pier Petersen of Loevy & Loevy. They can be reached at  312.243.5900.

 Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law (www.Loevy.com) is the largest civil right firm in the Midwest, and over the past decade has won more in jury verdicts against law enforcement abuses than any other firm in Chicago.

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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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