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Archive for January 9th, 2012

Topinka to Bond Holders: Illinois in no danger of missing payments

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Comptroller responds to Moody’s announcement


Springfield, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released the following statement in response to Moody’s lowering of the state’s bond rating:

“Despite today’s (January 6) disappointing announcement by Moody’s, I want to make clear that there is no fear of the state missing a bond payment. In fact, as the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer I can reassure the bond community that the first payment we make each month is to our bond holders.

“Still, this is yet another cautionary note that cannot be ignored. While it would be premature to say how much, if at all, this will increase the state’s borrowing costs, Illinois leaders have a responsibility to hear the message being sent. Moody’s made clear that it would view further borrowing to pay current obligations as a negative act that could cause another downgrade. So once again, I must stress my opposition to proposed borrowing to pay down our bill backlog. The only way out of this mess is to keep cutting spending, provide for a better business climate and, for once, let growth outpace spending.”

Ida B. Wells’ great-grandson carries on her social justice work

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Dan Duster ‘I’m led by the spirit of my ancestors’


By Chinta Strausberg


Known as “The Influence Man,” Dan Duster, who is the great grandson of the late journalist/civil rights leader Ida B. Wells, has been appointed to the prestigious Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) Board of Directors—an appointment he says is led by the spirit of his ancestors.

In an effort to carry on the legacy of Ida B. Wells, Duster, 43, a Chicago native who grew up in Chatham and now heads the 3D Development Group a company he founded more than a decade ago, said being elected to the ICA Board “is an honor, privilege and a responsibility.”

The legacy of his great-grandmother serves as a catalyst for his social justice work. In 1941, CHA built the South Side Ida B. Wells Homes named after the civil rights activist who besides being a writer documented the lynching of black men in the United States. He spends much of his time teaching others about her history that precedes the modern day Civil Rights movement.

Duster said in 1884, 71-years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, Wells defied a train attendant’s order to move to the “Colored Only” section on a train resulting in her suing the railroad company.

Wells, who was also very active in the Suffrage movement, was an educator who had a low tolerance for racism especially death by hanging, and she documented those hangings much to the chagrin of the white media.

Referring to his great-grandmother, Duster said, “I am privileged to know that she was well respected” no matter where he went.”  On the razing of the CHA’s Ida B. Wells Homes, Duster said, “It is an honor, privilege and responsibility to have had such a comprehensive structure named after her is an honor.”

Duster is the nephew of the late attorney Benjamin Duster, the husband of Dr. Muriel Higgins who is the daughter of 101-year-old Ora Higgins, the first black personnel director for Spiegel’s Company and a Chicago teacher. While not related, Duster said he considers Mrs. Ora Higgins as his grandmother.

“Her values and her presence are awesome. Being around her as a young person, she acted and carried herself” with dignity and was clearly the matriarch of the family, he said. “She definitely had an influence on me.”

Duster, whose own mother, Maxine Duster who held many positions including being a teacher, praised Higgins for maintaining her Ora Higgins Youth Foundation where she continues to send scores of African American students to college. “Her value of education has made a difference and absolutely has an impact on me. Her love, value and impact on her family” also had a huge influence on his life.

Duster remembers many stories he heard about the impact on the community by Ora Higgins and his grandmother, Alfreda

Duster also a social activist. He said people respected both women but admitted, “Today, it’s difficult to see that now days… I hold myself to that standard,” he said.

Asked how is he carrying her legacy today, Duster said he travels across the nation telling the story about Ida B. Wells’ struggles and her achievements. He tells about how the civil rights movement began long before the 1960’s and said it’s still going on today.

He also holds his parents, Maxine and Donald Duster, in high esteem. Mr. Duster is a retired state worker who also held several other positions. They have been a consistent and stable force in his life having been married for more than 50-years. Both parents are retired.

That leaves young Duster to help carry on the legacy of his great-grandmother. He gives workshops including one entitled

“Stand Up For Justice.” “There is a need for people to stand up for justice like James Kayland who was the only lynching survivor in 1930. He was literally all but killed in 1930 but because one person had the courage to stand up and say he was innocent his life was spared.

“While we don’t see lynching’s any longer, we just see injustices whether it is bullying or racism or disrespect of teachers…, if we were as individuals stand up and say this is wrong and it shouldn’t happen, we would have a lot more justice in our neighborhoods, our communities, our corporations, America and the world.”

He gave some advice on standing up to justice: “Be wise with the choices, excellent with your actions, live with integrity and lead with courage.”

On violence, Duster said there are a lack of fundamental values and a lack of community monitoring. When he was a child, Duster said literally the village looked after the children. “I joke around and said I wanted to be bad, but I couldn’t because I had so many neighbors watching me. I was Mr. and Mrs. Duster’s child and if I acted irresponsibly or disrespectfully not only would I have heard from my neighbor but several people.”

He said his parents; his grandmother and Ida B. Wells held people accountable for their actions. “That is one of the biggest things missing in our community values and accountabilities for their actions,” said Duster.

Duster said the character and history of both women remain a catalyst for his social justice actions and his passion for being a motivational facilitator and trainer for businesses, community groups and schools.

On being the great-grandson of Wells, Duster said, “It’s always been an honor and a responsibility to respect her legacy, to carry it on and move it forward, to enlighten people about the things that not only she has done but other African Americans and their contributions.”

Still a resident of Chatham, Duster said, “It’s all about community.”

As a member of the ICA board of directors, Duster said the prestigious organization serves as facilitators and trainers “who focus on improving the world.” He wants to bring more people into ICA as trainers and facilitators “and to expand their footprint in Chicago to do training within the organization and to expose people to the fantastic things that the organization does while impacting the community at the same time.”

Duster wants to expose neighborhood communities within Chicago to the programs offered by the ICA and in doing so he continues the social justice work of his very courageous and committed great-grandmother.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Presidential Library’s popular “Boys in Blue” Civil War exhibit features all new images and artifacts

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Original battle flag, U.S. Colored Troop regiments and units raised from 1862 onward are part of the new exhibit that opens January 10 


Springfield, IL – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s popular “Illinois Answers the Call:  Boys in Blue” Civil War 150th anniversary exhibit will re-open on Tuesday, January 10 with all new images and artifacts, including an original Civil War battle flag and items pertaining to Illinois African American soldiers and Illinois units raised from 1862.   

The all-new “Boys in Blue” exhibit builds upon the success of the original “Boys in Blue” exhibit which ran for most of 2011 and was viewed by more than 40,000 people, a record for the Presidential Library.  It may be viewed weekdays free of charge, and features an original flag from the Battle of Corinth, one of the key western theater actions of the Civil War in which large numbers of Illinois soldiers fought.  It will also feature the faces, letters, sketches and songs of the men who fought in Illinois regiments during the Civil War, including U.S. Colored Troop regiments and those from Illinois regiments formed starting in 1862.

Original materials from the Presidential Library’s vast Civil War collections cover select members from Illinois units and include original albumen prints, lithographs, tintypes, cabinet cards, and cartes-de-visite.  Original letters, sheet music, artifacts, diaries and sketches created by the soldiers themselves are also displayed.  The exhibits present an individual, human side to the conflict that forever changed the course of United States history.

During the Civil War, African Americans served in significant numbers in the United States armed forces.  The 1860 census counted 7,600 African Americans in Illinois , and during the war years more then 1,800 enlisted in the U.S. military.  African Americans exclusively comprised the rosters of enlisted men in their units.  Beginning in November 1863 the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry, the regiment with the largest number of Illinois African Americans, began enrolling men at Quincy , Illinois .  Its most noteworthy action was at the Battle of the Crater near Petersburg , Virginia on July 30, 1864.  This unit was mustered out of service on November 6, 1865 at Brownsville , Texas .

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, the home to nearly 13 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history, has one of the nation’s largest and richest Civil War collections.  The facility is open free of charge on weekdays for anyone interested in researching the state’s history.  The adjacent Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which requires paid admission, brings to life Abraham Lincoln ’s story through immersive exhibits and displays of original artifacts.  Its upcoming exhibit, “To Kill and to Heal:  Weapons and Medicine of the Civil War” opens in April, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh.  The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit www.presidentlincoln.org for more information about programs and exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Successful Pro Basketball Team Exec shares "Three questions to ask yourself before you make one more New Year's Resolution"

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2012 1 COMMENT


Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) — As millions of people are making New Year’s resolutions, just as many are wondering if they have what it takes to keep them in 2012. NBA Member Team executive Eve Wright Taylor successfully put an end to her pattern of breaking New Year’s resolutions. How did the Vice President and Associate General Counsel of the Miami HEAT do it? She reconciled answers to three questions that helped her to get serious about, and even modify, her resolutions.

What was the result? She confronted pre-diabetic health markers and is now contending as an accomplished fitness competitor. She also followed her dream of entering the sports industry and earned a top spot as a female executive in arguably the hottest professional sports franchise in the world.

Now, a renowned motivational speaker and mentor, Taylor shares these questions to help others set themselves up for success in keeping their resolutions in 2012.

1. Why am I doing this? Taylor says the key to keeping a resolution lies in your motive and your resolve. For her, the motive to lose weight and get in shape was a matter of life and quality of life. Like many others, she included “losing weight” on her resolution list every year. But when Taylor came to grips with the black and white, life or death, do or die implications associated with her failure to do so, her resolve to achieve that goal completely changed. Whether it’s losing weight, changing careers, getting married or starting a business, Taylor recommends that you start by figuring out why you want to do it. It doesn’t have to be a literal matter of life or death but your motivation should be something that you feel strongly about (as opposed to what other people feel strongly about) or something that will positively impact the quality of your life. And, as Taylor puts it, “if you don’t have any skin in the game or any carrot to help you stay committed, then you may want to rethink if you should focus your time and energy on that particular resolution at all.”

2. What am I afraid of? Coming to grips with her fear was a second essential step for Taylor. She learned from the many broken resolutions of years past that all change includes an element of fear. Sometimes people discover they are actually afraid of some part of the success they seek. By facing those fears, and having a plan to deal with them early on, Taylor creates a framework for success. It’s easy to stay committed when challenges are few and far in between. But it’s the setbacks and plateaus that start to wreak havoc on your confidence and resolve; that’s when acknowledging the fear and remembering the motives fuels resolve to push past the fear. It is that type of success framework that bolsters her motivation to take one more step toward her goals – even when it doesn’t seem possible.

3. Is it worth it? Prior to developing a game plan – a list of strategies and corresponding action steps that will make achieving the goal possible, Taylor assesses whether the resolution is worth “it.” This usually comes down to an old fashioned pros and cons checklist. She uses the checklist to assess risk versus reward, real or perceived obstacles, and other variables that impact her strategies and action steps. For certain resolutions, she realized the answer to the “is it worth it” question was ‘no;’ they called for action steps and compromises that she knew she couldn’t make… not realistically. So, she made adjustments to find the solution that worked best for her – she came up with a method and a means of accomplishing her resolutions that were worth it.

Taylor says “before the ink dries on your resolutions list, take a moment to flesh out what you want and how to get there the same way you would prepare for a big presentation at work or a strategy to snag all the “almost free” stuff when the doors swing open at a Black Friday sale!”

Answering these questions gave Taylor the resolve she needed to follow through on her resolutions. Since then, her track record of success has ranged from the corporate law firm setting to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and, now, a Member Team of the National Basketball Association (NBA). She has been profiled and featured in various publications, including the Atlanta Post, Atlanta Tribune, Black Enterprise Magazine, Success Magazine and The Golf Channel television network. And, she has received several awards, among, them The Thurgood Marshall Fund Distinguished Young Leader Award and the National Bar Association’s 40 Under 40 Nations Best Advocates.

Photo Caption: Eve Wright Taylor, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Miami HEAT

Turning fifty, African American, and laid off for the 4th time – Author, Career Coach, and now job seeker shares critical tips for moving forward in 2012

Posted by Admin On January - 9 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Bear, DE (BlackNews.com) — Yusuf Wilson, 20 year financial services executive, author, and career coach shares advice about overcoming downsizing, lay-offs and economic set-backs in this tough economy. He is part of the growing group of African Americans – particularly professional African American males – that were disproportionately impacted as a result of the “Great Recession.”

He tells his personal and revealing story in the article, “Laid Off Again But Determined… a Job Seekers Private Journey.” The article can be found at www.yusufwilson.com/blog.

Wilson, former Fortune 500 business executive, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and family man provides sound, relevant, strategic advice and instruction to those who have been impacted by the shock and awe of being laid off in this challenging job market environment. Currently experiencing the 4th lay-off of a more than twenty year executive career, Wilson discusses his sudden job disruption and provides tactics and strategies to move forward. His message is simple and straightforward, but one that can help many going through the mental and financial hardship of suddenly losing their job.

Wilson notes, “Now the teacher becomes the pupil. My advice for others, must now become my road map for moving forward.”

Wilson is the author of two best-selling books, Time to Get Hired and The Art of Networking and speaker at career fairs across the country. In addition, he has helped thousands with his career coaching practice, college workshops, and radio and TV media appearances.

To help fellow job seekers, Wilson is offering free job hunting advice on his website at www.yusufwilson.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/YusufWilson, and Twitter at www.twitter.com/#!/YusufWilson. You can also follow him during his job search odyssey at his blog.
About Yusuf Wilson
Yusuf Wilson is President and Senior Consultant of Wilson Consulting and Training Systems, LLC. And author of the national hot selling books, “Time to Get Hired!” and “The Art of Networking.” He has been interviewed on ABC, CBS, Fox and over 300 radio stations across the country. He’s been a Corporate Executive for over 20 years and has been laid off three times in his career. After every job disruption, he’s gotten a higher paying job with greater managerial responsibility. For more information about his books, seminars, or to bring him as a speaker visit www.yusufwilson.com

Photo Caption: Yusuf Wilson

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