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Archive for January 18th, 2012

Illinois students selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Delegates to travel to D.C. and receive $5,000 scholarship

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL  – The Illinois State Board of Education joins U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin and Mark Kirk in congratulating the two Illinois high school students selected as delegates to the 50th Anniversary U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. in March. Robert Chun of Oak Brook and Patrick McGlasson of Eldred were selected from applicants across the state to represent Illinois.

“We congratulate our two Illinois delegates, their teachers and their families,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch.  “These students and their peers across the country will enjoy a rich and unique opportunity to experience the democratic process up close as other student leaders have done for 50 years now.”

The U.S. Senate sponsors the USSYP, created in 1962, and The Hearst Foundations funds the program. The program aims to instill a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

Each year the competitive, merit-based program brings 104 outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long study of the federal government. The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship and encourages them to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

While in Washington March 3-10, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with senators and Congressional staff, the President, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and members of the national media.

Robert Chun attends Hinsdale Central High School and serves as student representative for Republican State Representative Chris Nybo of Elmhurst. In addition, Robert writes a political column for the school newspaper, serves as president of Citizen Club and is running for precinct captain. He is involved in mock trial, Ladder-Up Financial Liberation and National Honor Society. Robert hopes to attend Georgetown University and to someday work in Washington, D.C.

Patrick McGlasson attends Carrollton High School and serves as Student Body president. Patrick has served as head page for the U.S. Senate and credits the experience with changing his outlook on life. He also served as a U.S. House page. He is a member of National Honor Society, and as a volunteer in the State’s Attorney’s Office. He is currently working on a Congressional campaign. Patrick hopes to attend the University of Illinois to study history and political science.

Emily Andre, a resident of Antioch, who attends Antioch Community High School and Tyler Hixson, a resident of Monticello, who attends Monticello High School, were chosen as alternates.

Chief education officers in each state select the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, this year’s students rank academically in the top 1 percent of their states.

Among the many distinguished former program delegates are U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the first program delegate elected to the Senate; U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the first former delegate elected to the House; New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt; and former presidential Advisers Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove.

Coalition Against the NATO / G8 War & Poverty Agenda protest organizers say latest versions of Mayor's anti-protester ordinances totally unacceptable

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(From the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda)

 

Mayor has made minor concessions, leaving huge civil liberties problems

 

CHICAGO, IL  – In response to a firestorm of protest, the Emanuel administration has dropped some of the more widely-publicized repressive measures of its proposed anti-protester ordinances, but has vastly misrepresented the magnitude of its concessions, say protest organizers.  Here’s why:
 
1.     While the administration has made much of its dropping of increased penalties for resisting arrest, left unaddressed was Chicago’s unique interpretation of “resisting” which makes many forms of non-violent civil disobedience subject to punishment under the statute.  This would be in addition to more conventional charges, like trespassing, that one would be likely to get for such non-violent protest.
 
2.     The minimum fine for violation of the City’s parade permit ordinance would jump four-fold, from $50 to $200.  A “concession” rolled out yesterday by the administration would keep the maximum penalty at “only” $1000 and/or 10 days in jail.  However, given that the new version of the ordinance offers so many new ways to violate it, this “victory” for protesters may be illusory.
 
3.     In advance of a demonstration, organizers still would be required to provide the City with a list of all signs, banners, sound equipment or “attention-getting devices” that require more than one person to carry them.  It is unclear whether such information would be required on the permit application (i.e., months in advance), or at some later time in advance of the demonstration.  Either way, the proposal is totally unworkable and a license for the city to “ding” organizers with absurd repeated fines.
 
Yesterday, City representatives made a great deal over a minor concession regarding this provision. Its earlier proposal demanded that all signs, banners, etc. be registered.  This is now replaced by a require-ment that “only” those signs, banners, etc. that require two or more people to carry them be registered.  Speaking at the Special Events committee meeting, Michelle T. Boom, the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural affairs and Special Events tried to soft-pedal this provision by implying that there would be no penalty for violation of it. But if that’s so, why include the provision in the ordinance at all?
 
4.     The no-bid contracts provision for G8 / NATO activities, an invitation to rampant graft and contract favoritism, remains intact.
 
5.     The provision allowing deputizing of “law enforcement” by the Chicago Police Department remains intact.  After listing a bunch of different bodies that would be subject to deputizing, like the DEA, the FBI and the Illinois State Police, Emanuel’s latest proposal also includes “and other law enforcement agencies as determined by the superintendent of police to be necessary for the fulfillment of law enforcement functions.”  In other words, anyone he wants.  For a city that has had great problems keeping its directly sworn officers in check, this looser authority is an even greater license for abuse.
 
and,
 
6.     The proposed, huge financial burdens for virtually all downtown street demonstrations would remain in the latest version of the ordinance proposals. Virtually all downtown protest marches would require that organizers get $1 million insurance coverage, “indemnify the city against any additional or uncovered third party claims against the city arising out of or caused by the parade,” and “agree to reimburse the city for any damage to the public way or city property arising out of or caused by the parade.” 
 
In other words, someone not at all associated with you or your organization could decide to disrupt an event by causing damage to city property, and then the City could insist that organizers of the event pick up the tab for the damage.  While the financial requirements can be waived by the Commissioner of Transportation, this decision would be up to his/her discretion.
 
At one point during yesterday afternoon’s committee meeting, a member of the public raised concerns about the permit requirements for public assemblies (i.e., rallies, pickets, and sidewalk marches that do not require street closings).  Boom responded that the language for the new public assembly ordinance, 10-8-334, is taken directly from public assembly provisions of the current 10-8-330 permit ordinance, and that thus no one should be alarmed about it because “they [the police] don’t enforce a lot of it.”
 
But that just highlights a major reason why the current permit ordinance is deficient, say protest organizers, and why the mayor’s new proposals make it much worse.  While “they don’t enforce a lot of it” against very disruptive events like the St. Patrick’s Day parade and other events that have City Hall’s favor, “they” – the Chicago Police — very much enforce it against anti-war protesters and others with 1st Amendment messages with which they disagree.  Selective enforcement of the current ordinance already gives police officers plenty of arbitrary authority to take out their personal animus on messages and individuals they loathe, and the additional requirements of Emanuel’s new ordinances give them even more license for abuse.
 
During yesterday afternoon’s meeting of the Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation, mayoral spokespeople occasionally cited as a major reason for their ordinance revisions a decision (http://www.intheiropinion.com/uploads/file/vodak.pdf) by Federal Judge Richard Posner condemning the City for its handling of a mass anti-war march on the start of the Iraq War (Vodak v. City of Chicago, et al).   But the City’s citing of the Posner decision was entirely disingenuous, and their “solution” – the new ordinances – is not what Posner said should be done.
 
“The indifference of the superintendent and his subordinates to the danger to public safety and convenience of a mass antiwar demonstration cannot be attributed to the ordinance, defective as it undoubtedly is,” wrote Posner [emphasis ours].  The defectiveness in the ordinance, Posner implies, is due to its convoluted nature.  To add even more requirements, then, would be to go in the direction opposite to that which Posner suggests.
 
“The City may disagree with Judge Posner,” said Andy Thayer of the Coalition Against the NATO / G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8).  “That is their right.  But they cannot cite him in their defense of an even worse ordinance, which ironically, they want to impose just weeks before this major class action suit against the City for alleged wholesale police abuse of protesters goes to trial.”
 

Tuskegee community honors America's heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, as movie "Red Tails" premieres

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

TUSKEGEE, AL (BlackNews.com) — They are America’s true heroes. The Tuskegee Airmen, whose legacy is recognized internationally for their heroism during World War II, will be honored during a proclamation ceremony by Governor Robert Bentley as the premiere of the movie, “Red Tails”, a George Lucas Film debuts nationally on January 20.

Friends of Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Inc. (FTANHS) has initiated a celebration, along with the National Park Service, City of Tuskegee, County of Macon, Macon County Chamber, Tuskegee University, Macon County School System, area churches and residents to salute the Tuskegee Airmen by “going red” on January 20 with red ribbons displayed throughout the community and everyone wearing red.

“Our very proud Tuskegee community will be wearing red in a show of solidarity and support for our Tuskegee Airmen,” says FTANHS, Inc. Board Chairman and Tuskegee native COL (Retired) Palmer Sullins, Jr. “As the national movie debuts we salute our heroes for they are true American history.”

Lucas Films will debut the national movie “Red Tails”, starring Hollywood award-winning actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard. The movie showcases the heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 15,000 missions and 700 bomber escort missions while withstanding minimal losses to enemy fighters – a record unmatched by any other fighter group. The Tuskegee Airmen have a distinguished war record earning them over 1,000 individual awards and decorations as well as a Congressional gold medal.

The Tuskegee community plans a city-wide parade that day with marching bands, floats and a commemorative balloon release as part of the movie debut.

“As a Tuskegee native, I can honestly say many of us grew up with and have known the Airmen and their families all our lives. It is a distinct pleasure to join hands as a Tuskegee family to salute the contributions the Tuskegee Airmen made to win World War II,” says Col. Sullins.

“These are true American heroes. It is important that America preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and their support personnel, as well as their flight instructor and my mentor C. Alfred ‘Chief’ Anderson. I encourage support of the legacy by becoming a member of the FTANHS, signing up to purchase a Friends of Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Inc. specialty license plate and volunteering to assist the Nation Park Service at the site,” says Sullins.

On November 6, 1998, Congress recognized the important contributions of these men and women by establishing the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Field – the only primary flight training facility for African-American pilot candidates during World War II – as a unit of the National Park System. FTANHS, Inc., works together with the National Park Service to support the Site through mutually agreed upon projects, programs and activities including fundraising, and volunteer and community outreach activities.

Tuskegee natives Mr. William Childs, Tuskegee Airman Aircraft mechanic; Col. Herbert E. Carter, Tuskegee Airmen 99th Pursuit Squadron Fighter Pilot; and Mr. Booker Conley, Civilian Pilot Training Program trainee and Buffalo Soldier are the genesis for the organization.

For more information about FTANHS, Inc., visit www.friendsoftuskegeeairmennhs.com or call 251-494-8382.

Illinois Lt. Governor Simon unveils citizen members of Military Base Committee

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Volunteers advocate for military families, stronger economic ties

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon appointed seven citizen members to a state committee that advocates for the retention and reuse of military bases.  This group of volunteer appointees will join the committee for the first time on Wednesday at the committee’s quarterly meeting.

The citizen members of the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC) are unpaid and will help the committee work to preserve the state’s military installations and foster a strong economic connection between the installations and their local economies.

 “Each of the citizen members brings experience and new ideas to the committee, and I look forward to working as a team as we advocate for our state’s military communities,” said Simon, who chairs the IMBSEDC.

 The members – which include retired military personnel and economic development officials – will bring more public input to the committee, which includes four members of the General Assembly and representatives from various state agencies. The citizen members will draw upon experiences from an array of career fields, including economic development, education, government and the military.

As chair of the committee, Simon makes recommendations to local, state and federal policymakers on retention, realignment, and reuse efforts at Illinois military installations and advocates for military families and defense communities. The committee will meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday via videoconference in the Lt. Governor’s Chicago and Springfield offices.  

 

CITIZEN MEMBERS

 Col. Gene Blade of Springfield. Retired Army Col. Blade was the United States Property and Fiscal Officer of Illinois from 1980-1994. In that position, Col. Blade was responsible for overseeing all federal funds for the National Guard, and more than $1 billion of property and equipment in possession of the U.S. Army and Air National Guard.

Joel Himsl of Moline. Himsl is currently the Garrison Manager at the Rock Island Arsenal where he oversees a workforce of more than 500 civilian employees and contractors. Himsl also led the successful 2005 Base Realignment and Closure effort to relocate five major organizations at the arsenal, including the First U.S. Army Command. Himsl is a veteran of the Iraq War and has served in a multitude of capacities for the U.S. Army.

Gary Gray of Granite City. Gray is the executive director at the Foundation Office at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC), which raised approximately $834,000 in 2010 for grants and scholarships for SWIC students. Gray also served as Provost at SWIC for 12 years and was executive director of the Lincoln Land Community College/Eastern Regional Education Center.   

Frank Miles of Edwardsville. Miles is currently the Business Development Manager for America’s Central Port, part of which used to serve as the Charles Melvin Price Army Support Center. Miles worked on the conversion of the former Melvin Price Support Center from a U.S. Army installation to the Tri-City Regional Port District along with issues facing Scott Air Force Base.

Jimmy C. Morgan of Rock Island. Morgan is currently the Program Director for the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group, which is performing business development work on Rock Island Arsenal. Previously, he worked for the U.S. Army for 32 years, retiring in December 2002.  Morgan received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Morgan is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Association of Defense Communities and the Association of U.S. Army. He is on the Board of Directors of the Quad City Manufacturing Laboratory.

Brigadier General Frank Rezac of Peoria. Gen. Rezak retired in 2003 after a lifetime of service in the Air National Guard, which began in 1967. For the final eight years of his career, Rezac served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard. Rezac played a key role in making sure the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria was kept in-tact during the last round of Base Realignment and Closure.

Lawrence M. Walsh of Elwood. Walsh, a former state senator from Joliet, has served as a Will County Executive since 2004. In both capacities, Walsh has advocated for the economic growth and stability of the Will County region, including the Joliet Arsenal. Redevelopment of the Arsenal has created more than 3,000 jobs and $1 billion in private investment. Walsh graduated from Joliet Junior College and is an Executive Board Member for the Will County Center for Economic Development.

 

Better Business Bureau Survey: Shoppers pick 'Customer Service' as most important consideration when buying

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, IL – While price and product selection were factors in the recent Holiday shopping season, customer service showed itself to be the most important element for shoppers according to a post-Christmas poll by the Better Business Bureau.

 

In the 10 days following the holiday, More than half (51%) of visitors to the BBB website picked customer service over price (33%), product selection (11%) and location (5%) as the key concern in making purchasing decisions.

 

“These results show that consumers continue to place a very high value on customer service,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and northern Illinois.”Price and product selection were significantly lower in consumers’ interest than how the business relates to its customers.” 

 

The BBB president noted that while price usually is usually highlighted in advertising and promotions, stores may be missing what is truly important to the consumer if they do not make the buying experience pleasing to the customer. 

 

“Most store owners will admit that while price may pull customers into the store initially, it is the customer service and experience in the store that makes them into a repeat customer,” Bernas explained.”And repeat customers are what every business wants.”  

 

For more consumer advice, visit www.bbb.org   

 

Black Opera performance in Oakland, CA: Opera Noir presents the West Coast Premier of "Then Sings My Soul"

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Oakland, CA (BlackNews.com) — J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark, nationally recognized and highly acclaimed Classical Soprano, will grace the stage on February 3, 2012 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, Oakland, California in a staged concert performance of “Then Sings My Soul”. This riveting “site-specific” concert performance explores the role of faith and music in the African American Journey towards Social Justice. Joining Ms. Smith-Clark in this much anticipated evening of song and Oratorio, is award winning Actor of Stage and Screen, Hawthorne “Big Red” James.

Ms. Smith-Clark has been lauded for her full and rich, lyric soprano voice with simmering high notes and a lovely floating pianissimo that delights audiences. In addition to being blessed with a beautiful voice, Ms. Smith-Clark possesses an elegant and commanding stage presence. Hawthorne James, while possibly best known for his menacing performance as the villainous Manager, “Big Red” in the Robert Townsend movie, “The Five Heartbeats”, is a classically trained actor with numerous stage and screen credits. Both Actor and Soprano will be under the capable stage Director of critically acclaimed and award winning Director Zadi Ife.

The performance, much like the evolution of the African American worship experience, combines the haunting melodies of Negro Spirituals, the simplistic beauty of Traditional European Hymns and Anthems, the provocative and soul stirring strains of Gospel Music, as well as movements from Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concert”. Powerful Oratorio works in the performance include excerpts from James Weldon Johnson’s “God Trombones”, excerpts of speeches of great African American pioneers and leaders, and reenactments of scriptural passages that mirror and inform the African American Experience. Produced with passion and enthusiasm by Kosmond Russell, writer and producer of “The Visit” starring Billy Dee Williams and Hill Harper, “Then Sings My Soul” promises to be a landmark production in the lexicon of both concert and theater, celebrating the contributions of African American Artists and Visionaries.

Concerned by the lack of performing opportunities for classical artists of color, J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark founded Opera Noir to “promote cultural diversity in the classical arts”. Ms. Smith-Clark is passionate about giving back to the youth in every community she touches and as a result of that commitment, she will offer a FREE Master Class to 200 youth during the West Coast tour stop in Oakland, CA. During the Master Class, students from various arts schools will have the opportunity to perform before the stars and Director of “Then Sings My Soul” and receive feedback on their performance techniques that include commanding the stage, character development, and professional etiquette.

The concert performance of “Then Sings My Soul” on February 3, 2012, begins at 7:00 PM at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, located at 3900 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.operanoir.org. For sponsorship, publicity and further information contact Glass House Communications at 510-691-8687 or yanad_burrell@glasshousepr.com.

Photo Caption: J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark, nationally recognized and highly acclaimed Classical Soprano

Vashawn Mitchell tops winners list at 27th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Rising Gospel Superstar Vashawn Mitchell Earns Six Awards, Including Artist of the Year; Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Smokie Norful Also Score Multiple Wins

Two-Hour Special from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House Airs in Syndication from January 21 to February 26 in over 130 Markets; Primetime Premiere on GMC February 11

Nashville, TN (BlackNews.com) -– Rising Gospel music superstar Vashawn Mitchell topped the list of winners during the 27TH ANNUAL STELLAR GOSPEL MUSIC AWARDS announced Saturday night during the show’s taping at Nashville’s iconic Grand Ole Opry House Theater. Mitchell took home six awards, including Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Contemporary Male of the Year and Praise and Worship CD of the Year for his 2011 album, “Triumphant.”

“I am grateful to stand here,” a gracious Mitchell said, also acknowledging other artists in the category, his family, label and social media fans. “I’ve been coming to the Stellar Awards a long time and I’m glad I waited my turn.”

Hosted by the legendary Dorinda Clark Cole and Marvin Sapp, ten awards were presented over the course of the two-hour Stellar Awards show, with 28 additional awards announced during pre-show ceremonies on Friday and Saturday. Winners were selected by online voters.

From the start, the evening was catapulted to a heart-pumping level of praise as Kirk Franklin took the stage. In a production-packed opening number, Franklin performed a combination of his latest hits, including “Smile,” which was awarded Song of the Year during the show. Franklin also took home three additional honors, including CD of the Year, Producer of the Year and Contemporary CD of the Year. Franklin dedicated his awards to his team, pulling them up on stage to share the moment during his acceptance for CD of the Year and later stunned the crowd when he shared his award for Song of the Year with fellow nominee Darius Polk who penned Vashawn Mitchell’s “Nobody Greater.”

“Because God has been so kind to me… He’s given me more than I deserve or could ever earn,” said Franklin. “I want to be a good Christian and I know to do that, I have to encourage others. That song “Nobody Greater” has ministered to me so deeply. If you don’t mind, I would be honored to share this award with [Darius Polk] because that song is incredible.”

Other top winners of the evening included Mary Mary, Kim Burrell, Smokie Norful and The Rance Allen Group who were honored with two trophies each. The New Artist of the Year award was presented to Y’anna Crawley who graciously thanked God for the opportunity to perform and use her gifts for his glory, as well as the fans for listening to her music.

The show was filled with stirring performances, including a collaborative medley of “Sweeter” by Kim Burrell; Jessica Reedy brought the audience to their feet with a rendition of “Put It on the Altar;” Le’Andria Johnson masterfully sang “Jesus;” and Martha Munizzi delighted the crowd with the spirited praise song, “Excellent.” Other big performers included William McDowell, whose rendition of “I Give Myself Away” transformed the Grand Old Opry House into a spirit-filled sanctuary, with the visibly moved crowd joined together in worship. A high-energy Hip Hop collaboration by Canton Jones, LeCrae and Da’T.R.U.T.H. culminated in a soulful rendition of “Awesome God.” Fred Hammond, Earnest Pugh, Richard Smallwood & Vision, James Fortune & Fiya, Ricky Dillard & New G all delivered powerhouse performances to the delight of the full-to-capacity crowd.

The show also recognized the great accomplishments of some of Gospel’s brightest stars. John P. Kee received the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments over a career that spans three decades and was serenaded by Isaac Carree, Sheila Lakin, Lowell Pye and Zacardi Cortez. Dorothy Norwood, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Gospel Story Teller,” received the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award, presented by the veteran show host. Vy Higgensen, the first woman to host a morning show on New York radio as well as produce a faith-based musical on Broadway, received the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award for her work with the “Gospel for Teens” program.

The annual praise-raising celebration began with star-studded red carpet arrivals featuring luminaries from Gospel, television, film and politics, such as Tina Campbell (from Mary Mary), Teddy Campbell, Ernest Pugh, James Fortune, Vashawn Mitchell, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Isaac Caree, James Fortune, Shirley Murdock, Dr. Bobby Jones, Dorothy Norwood, Kurt Carr, Richard Smallwood, Dottie Peoples, Kim Fields, Regina Bell, Martha Munizzi, Trin-I-Tee 5:7, Wess Morgan, LeCrae, Canton Jones, Jessica Reedy, Le’Andria and others.

The 27th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards will air in nationwide syndication from January 21, 2012 to February 26, 2012 and premiere on GMC Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 8 p.m. EST.

Don Jackson, CEO and Executive Producer of the show said, “Our 27th special was by far our most diverse program to date, with performances that spanned the entire spectrum of Gospel music including Hip Hop, Rap, Contemporary, Praise & Worship, and Traditional. I never thought we could top our previous 25th Anniversary show, but we did. Our 27th Annual Show was in fact, our best ever from start to finish.”

The Stellar Awards’ official title sponsor is AT&T;. American Airlines… is the official airline of the Stellar Awards.

The 2012 Award Winners are:

AT&T ARTIST OF THE YEAR
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

SONG OF THE YEAR
– KIRK FRANKLIN, I SMILE – HELLO FEAR, VERITY GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

ALBERTINA WALKER FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
– KIM BURRELL, THE LOVE ALBUM, SHANACHIE ENTERTAINMENT

GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
– MARY MARY, SOMETHING BIG, COLUMBIA RECORDS/MY BLOCK RECORDS

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
– Y’ANNA CRAWLEY, THE PROMISE, ID MUSIC GROUP/UNIVERSAL/FONTANA DISTRIBUTION

CD OF THE YEAR
– KIRK FRANKLIN, HELLO FEAR, VERITY GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP

CHOIR OF THE YEAR
– RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, KEEP LIVING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
– KIRK FRANKLIN, HELLO FEAR, VERITY GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP

CONTEMPORARY GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
– MARY MARY, SOMETHING BIG, COLUMBIA RECORDS/MY BLOCK RECORDS

TRADITIONAL GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
– THE RANCE ALLEN GROUP, THE LIVE EXPERIENCE II, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

CONTEMPORARY MALE OF THE YEAR
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

TRADITIONAL MALE OF THE YEAR
– SMOKIE NORFUL, HOW I GOT OVER: SONGS THAT CARRIED US, TREMYLES MUSIC/EMI GOSPEL

CONTEMPORARY FEMALE OF THE YEAR
– KIM BURRELL, THE LOVE ALBUM, SHANACHIE ENTERTAINMENT

TRADITIONAL FEMALE OF THE YEAR
– BEVERLY CRAWFORD, LIVE FROM LOS ANGELES – VOL. 2, JDI RECORDS

CONTEMPORARY CD OF THE YEAR
– KIRK FRANKLIN, HELLO FEAR, VERITY GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP

TRADITIONAL CD OF THE YEAR
– SMOKIE NORFUL, HOW I GOT OVER: SONGS THAT CARRIED US, TREMYLES MUSIC/EMI GOSPEL

URBAN/INSPIRATIONAL SINGLE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, NOBODY GREATER – TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR – SHORT FORMAT
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, NOBODY GREATER – TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR – LONG FORMAT
– DEITRICK HADDON, CHURCH ON THE MOON, VERITY GOSPEL MUSIC GROUP

TRADITIONAL CHOIR OF THE YEAR
– MISSISSIPPI MASS CHOIR, …THEN SINGS MY SOUL, MALACO

CONTEMPORARY CHOIR OF THE YEAR
– SHEKINAH GLORY MINISTRY, REFRESHED BY FIRE, KINGDOM RECORDS, INC.

INSTRUMENTAL GOSPEL CD OF THE YEAR
– MOSES TYSON, JR., MUSIC REMASTERED & SACRED ORGAN, TYMO RECORDS

SPECIAL EVENT CD OF THE YEAR
– BISHOP PAUL S. MORTON, BISHOP MORTON CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF MUSIC, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE

RAP HIP HOP GOSPEL CD OF THE YEAR
– LECRAE, REHAB: THE OVERDOSE, REACH RECORDS

CHILDRENS PROJECT OF THE YEAR
– PURE N HEART, TEEN PURE IN HEART LIVE, MUSIC2CHANGEU

QUARTET OF THE YEAR
– THE RANCE ALLEN GROUP, THE LIVE EXPERIENCE II, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

RECORDED MUSIC PACKAGING OF THE YEAR
– MARTHA MUNIZZI, MAKE IT LOUD!, EPIC MUSIC

PRAISE AND WORSHIP CD OF THE YEAR
– VASHAWN MITCHELL, TRIUMPHANT, EMI GOSPEL

SPOKEN WORD CD RECORDING OF THE YEAR
– SELAH, LOOK AT YOU LOVING ME, PAUSE AND THINK MINISTRIES
GOSPEL RADIO OF THE YEAR

MAJOR MARKET (3 M AND ABOVE)
– KJLH – 102.3 FM, LOS ANGELES, CA

LARGE MARKET (1 M – 3 M)
– WHAL-95.7 FM/1460 AM, MEMPHIS, TN

MEDIUM MARKET (500,000 – 1 M)
– WLOU – 1350 AM, LOUISVILLE, KY

SMALL MARKET (UNDER 500,000)
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Father Pfleger gets surprise Presidential/MLK Lifetime awards from 4 pols

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Teary-eyed priest says: ‘What I do is for the children’

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

To the total surprise to Father Michael L. Pfleger, four state lawmakers Sunday awarded him with the “President’s Life Time Service” award and a resolution thanking him for following the non-violent principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and for his consistent and uncompromised record of fighting for and teaching others to become “drum majors for social justice.”

Just as Father Pfleger ended his sermon and was getting ready to make his announcements, Michael Drayton, the Minister of Music, began playing an instrumental song. That was the key for Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) who is also a member of Saint Sabina, to begin reading her tribute to Pfleger.

As Collins read, the ten children began marching down the aisle each carrying a read rose for a stunned Father Pfleger whose eyes quickly welled up with tears. He accepted the roses giving each child a hug. Pfleger told the children, “What ever I do, it is for you. I love you, and I will continue to fight on your behalf….”

Following the children were Reps. Mary Flowers (D-31st), who read the “President’s Service Award” letter from President Barack Obama, Monique D. Davis (D-27th), who presented Pfleger with the “President’s Service” pin, and Rep. Andre M. Thapedi (D-32nd) who gave Pfleger the “President’s Service” certificate.

Looking over at Pfleger, Collins said, “Today, as we celebrate what would have been Dr. King’s 83rd birthday. Pastor Pfleger, we want to celebrate your powerful ministry and your prophetic witness as a priest, a pastor and a preacher.

“Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger, you have truly been an advocate for social justice, non-violence and peace– in the tradition of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the King, and of our beloved brother, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” she said as Pfleger’s eyes quickly began to tear up as he hugged and kissed the children.

Quoting Dr. King, Collins said, “Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.  On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it safe?

Expediency asks the question, is it politic?

Vanity asks the question, is it popular?

But conscience asks the question, is it right?

“And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right,” said Collins quoting King.

“We thank you Pastor for being that type of transformational leader, a leader of courage, conviction and conscience, and one who continues to shine His light of truth on the darkness of discrimination, racism, militarism and poverty,” said the senator.

Flowers told Pfleger: “I am truly humbled and honored to be here today and to thank you for all the hard work you have done in the community and around the world.  I am truly humbled to stand in your presence and to be able to do this because you are such a great man,” said Flowers who then read the Presidential letter.

Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st) said, Rep. Mary Flowers told Pfleger: “I was truly humbled and honored to be here today and to be a part of this much deserved dedication of the Presidential Service Award on Dr. King birthday. It represents all the hard work you have done in the community and around the world,” said Flowers who read a copy of the Presidential letter. “I was truly humbled to stand in Father Pfleger’s presence and to be able to do this because he is such a great man,” Flowers later said.

Rep. Monique D. Davis (D-27th), who also praised Pfleger for his long and consistent social justice agenda that closely follows that of Dr. King’s non-violence principles, read a section from Dr. King’s famous April 16, 1963 Birmingham Jail letter.

“Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic,” Davis read. “Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world.

“But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom.

“Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches; have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. “

Davis said she felt these paragraphs of the Birmingham jail letter was appropriate for Sunday’s dedication to Pfleger because “he has withstood the barbs of the media, criticism from his superiors; yet he continues to fight for the betterment of his community…. He adopted children though he was told not to. He’s fought to get good schools for the children…fought the negative billboards and tobacco companies….

“His arms are stretched so wide to help, support, guide and to be a spiritual force in the black community,” said Davis. “Everybody is welcome at this church. He is the spiritual leader that Dr. King was looking for because it was Dr. King who said in order to overcome these spiritual attacks; we need leaders who are not afraid to not conform to the rest of the religious community.

“Ever since Father Pfleger has been at Saint Sabina, he has tried to make it better…. He is exactly what Dr. King was looking for and through it all Father Pfleger has remained steadfast. The truth is the majority spiritual leaders should be following Father Pfleger instead of condemning him. If they did that, look at how far ahead we would be,” said Davis with tears in her eyes.

In presenting Father Pfleger with the President’s Service Award, Thapedi told Pfleger that he has been a source of inspiration to him over the years especially his consistency and commitment in fighting crime, illegal guns and the increased violence in the community.

Tapedi said Pfleger’s passion and long-standing record in fighting the social ills of our society “is second to none and that is why he has been an inspiration to me in dealing with the weapons issue.”

As an example of the roadblocks he faces in Springfield, Thapedi said both the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Associations are very powerful lobby groups and that Pfleger “has consistently taken a position against their belief that weapons should just be spread out throughout the streets. That is where he has given me the strength” to continue opposing these gun groups.

The award, Thapedi said, is especially important not just because he has a connection to Dr. King himself being a Morehouse graduate but that Sunday was not only Dr. King’s 83rd birthday but more important King is one of the most famous alumnus of Morehouse College.

In presenting the President’s Service Award to Pfleger, Thapedi said, “It’s consistent in what you have been doing for years.”

Pfleger thanked the lawmakers for the awards and turned and faced the children saying, “What ever I do, it is always for you. I will continue to fight on your behalf. You are our future….”

Earlier during his sermon, Pfleger, who is a priest today because as a teen he witnessed his neighbors throwing rocks, cursing and spitting at Dr. King during the infamous Marquette Park march, asked the church, “Who occupies your mind”?

He challenged them to help those who are less fortunate and not walk by and ignore the homeless and others who are downtrodden. He asked them to be the first “in reaching out to somebody that everybody else has pushed aside…first to everybody out there who feels like they are lost….”

He also asked them to “give your all to your purpose…. If you don’t understand your purpose…if you don’t acknowledge and recognize and live in and walk in your purpose, then you risk being abused by people who don’t know who you are.”

To the women, he said, “When you walk in the dignity of who you are, somebody can’t treat you like a tramp. When a brother walks around with his pants up and his shoulders back and a book because he’s on his way to school, somebody can’t treat you as less than what you are because you know who you are.

“You demand respect by the way you walk, by the way you talk, by the way you act, but people will abuse you because you’re out of purpose. That’s what they did with Jesus. They didn’t know who he was and they abused him, killed him and that is why when he was on the cross he said, ‘Father forgive them they do not know what they’re doing.’

“What is even worse than somebody abusing you because they do know your value and your worth…what is worse is you’re busing yourself…abusing your own gifts, talents and time? You are so awesome and so valuable; you don’t have time to waste time. I’m on my way somewhere…to dignity, to the purpose…. don’t have time to waste time because I have to use my time,” Pfleger said.

He gave the following principles for getting your life together: 

1.   Believe that God has a plan for you.

Stop being so frustrated. God has a plan for you

2.   God made you unique for a purpose.

Every child is unique…different….

3.   Look at your passion inside of you and embrace your passion…. Don’t try to do

what is not your passion. You can’t say you want to be a doctor but you throw up when you see blood…. You can’t say you want to be a teacher and hate kids.

4.   Look at your past history and your background…

the things you went through. God is going to use your background for something for his kingdom business. Nobody can best minister to somebody who has been in drugs but somebody who was in drugs and understands it….”

Pfleger looked out in the audience and spotted 17-year-old Ondelee Perteet who in 2009 was shot leaving him paralyzed. On January 8, 2012, Pfleger honored him with the “Blue Heart Award,” but last Sunday predicted that one day the wheelchair-bound youth will once again walk. He told him, “You are ministering to more people now in that wheelchair than you ever did as a high school student because now young people are listening to you.” Pfleger said God is using Perteet.

5.   Take time to understand the things and wrestle what’s in your heart what is important to you.

6.   Is there something that you always wanted to do but didn’t think you had time or money for? Do it, Pfleger said. “Don’t let your dreams dry up like a raisin in the sun…. Make time for it….”

7.   Take time to look at your wants and God’s calling and remember whose life it is. It’s about Him, not you.”

8.   If there is somebody doing what you’re drawn to, learn from them. Don’t hate on success, learn from it. Pfleger said when he first came to Saint Sabina, he called on successful pastors like Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and calls people like Cornel West, Wright, Harry Belafonte to teach him what they went through including the late Coretta Scott King.

    9.  Ask yourself the question, do you want to be successful

         or do you want to be significant? “Significant people leave

         imprints for generations to talk about” like

         Dr. King…Mother Theresa…. We’re still talking

         about Jesus.”

10. Learn the power of being content. “You have to come

to a point in your life where you say, ‘I’m cool with me.’” “Work what you got….”

Pfleger reflected on Dr. King’s birthday. He told of how King’s wife, Coretta told him the day when a committee asked him to lead the Montgomery Bus boycott. “He used the gifts God gave him..oratorical…organizational gifts. He did not try to fit into the traditional church.

“The traditional church hated him,” said Pfleger reminded the church when King came to Chicago the “ministers boycotted him” and how he was ostracized when he opposed the Vietnam War. “They turned on him after April 4, 1967 when he spoke at Riverside Church and condemned the Vietnam War and they said stay out of white people’s business.”

King, Pfleger said, could have had a mega church but instead “he had a mega impact.” Pfleger said his choice cost him a great deal of pain and in the end he paid the ultimate price, his life.

Pfleger said Dr. King was not a materialistic man rather he gave the money he made form his Nobel Peace Prize to the movement, and when he was killed on April 4, 1968, he said Mrs. King screamed “when they were letting his body down at the airport” not because of her grief.

“She told me, ‘Michael, my son, it was not the grief that was tearing me apart at that moment. I had grieved in Memphis. I knew I had to be strong for the movement and my family, but what made me crack was that I realized we didn’t have money to bury him. We had no insurance.”

Pfleger said that is why today he will stand up for Harry Belafonte blasting a Rev. Long for blocking the actor from speaking at Mrs. King’s funeral. “It was Harry Belafonte who paid for her funeral.”

While a band member played “Amazing Grace,” which was the last long Dr. King had asked musician Ben Branch to play moments before he was shot, Pfleger said, “Dr. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest prophets this nation has every known. At 39-years old, he was killed like Jesus who was hated by the government and by the church. Martin was hated by the government and by the church.

“Martin Luther King decided now that we’ve changed laws now what we got to do is to change the economic structure. Martin Luther King began the Occupy Movement before they called it an Occupy Movement. He occupied in 1963. He was getting ready to occupy Washington in 1968 with the march and the war against poverty….”

Last Friday, Pfleger was supposed to speak at a synagogue. “The Rabbi called me Friday morning and said, ‘Father Mike, I don’t know how to say this. Some of my congregants are concerned. Some folks are supposed to protest your being at the synagogue tonight.’ “I said, ‘Oh.’”

The Rabbi said, “I believe in you. I support you. I’m with you, and I waned to just stand up and say we’re going to have them but I did not want the emphasis to be more on you than on Dr. King and non-violence which is the real issue.” Pfleger said he wasn’t going to let the Rabbi off easy. He knew he was being disinvited just like Belafonte who was supposed to speak at Coretta Scott King’s funeral. The Rabbi disinvited him. “I said, OK, Rabbi. Shalom….”

Ironically, Pfleger’s other friend, Tavis Smiley, was also disinvited from being the speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Luncheon that was held on January 16, 2012 at the Peoria Civic Center. Michael Eric Dyson took his place. Dr. Barbara Penelton, a retired Bradley University professor and her book club, objected to Smiley, who has criticized Obama, saying they would rather give their money to President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Pfleger said Dr. Cornel West was also disinvited to an event. “It’s rough out here,” Pfleger said to the church. “My view on Israel and my friendship with Farrakhan was the issue. I’m just too radical. Wow”! “Challenge becomes an opportunity,” Pfleger said.

He told the youth of the church, “Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t speak…. Don’t let anybody put you down because of your youth…. Mary was a teenage pregnant woman…. You’re the future, the hope. You are getting ready to turn this world upside down in order to get it right side up….” He urged them to be fearless drum majors for justice.

Later Monday, January 16, 2012, Pfleger joined other civil rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. at an Occupy movement protest in the Loop.

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.

Cast of “Race” and Director Chuck Smith volunteer with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Posted by Admin On January - 18 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Together with City Year and One Good Deed Chicago, the artists painted at North Lawndale YMCA

CHICAGO, IL – Goodman Theatre’s cast of Race by David Mamet took a break from rehearsal yesterday morning to join more than 200 volunteers from City Year Chicago and One Good Deed Chicago in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Together with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, actors Geoffrey Owens and Tamberla Perry, along with Director Chuck Smith and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, painted a classroom at the North Lawndale YMCA (3449 W. Arthington). Race runs through February 19, 2012 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre (Opening Night is January 23). Tickets ($25 – $89) can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). Mayer Brown LLP is the Corporate Sponsor Partner and WBEZ 91.5 FM is the Media Partner.

“In the midst of working on a play like Race, which centers on the issues that divide us as Americans, it was wonderful to serve in honor of a man who worked so hard to bring us all together,” said actor Geoffrey Owens, who portrays law firm partner Henry Brown in the play.

Added actor Tamberla Perry, “It was an honor to be part of this service project and to partner with incredible organizations like City Year and One Good Deed Chicago. Dr. King stood and fought for so much; giving a little time was the least we could do to give back to the community.”

One Good Deed Chicago is a City-sponsored campaign promoting volunteerism and furthering civic engagement by residents. For opportunities to volunteer throughout the year, visit OneGoodDeedChicago.org, the City’s one-stop shop for Chicagoans that includes a volunteer-matching page and ideas to get and stay involved with the community.

City Year’s mission is to build democracy through citizen service, civic leadership and social entrepreneurship and is wholly focused on fighting the national dropout crisis. City Year has committed to leverage the talent, energy and idealism of corps members to serve as tutors, mentors and role models in schools to help students stay on track—and get back on track—to graduate. City Year’s In School & On Track initiative is designed to bring City Year corps members to 50% of all of the students falling off track in City Year’s 22 U.S. locations, which will require expanding the number of corps members to 6,000 and engaging school districts, the private sector and the federal government through AmeriCorps as partners.

Race begins as a crime mystery, as two high-profile lawyers—Henry (Geoffrey Owens) who is black, and Jack (Marc Grapey) who is white—are called to defend a wealthy white client Charles (Patrick Clear) who is charged with the rape of an African

American woman. The client admits that he was intimate with his accuser but vehemently denies the charges of rape, insisting that the sex was consensual and that he and the woman were in love. As the two lawyers mull over the potential pitfalls in accepting the case, they enlist the help of their new associate, Susan (Tamberla Perry), a young Ivy-League educated black attorney. In the lawyers’ struggle to find the truth, their own prejudices are exposed, and they quickly discover that present-day racial and gender politics are as complex as the case in front of them.

Join the Artist Encounter for Race, an intimate conversation with a diverse group of Chicago-based artists—Chuck Smith, Coya Paz, Mica Cole, Joe Foronda and Laura Washington—discussing the role that artists play in advancing dialogue on race in America. This interactive event takes place on Wednesday, January 18 from 6-7pm, preceding the 7:30pm performance of Race. Tickets are $5 and free to Subscribers, students with ID and Goodman donors; call 312.443.3800.

The 2011/2012 Season includes: The Convert by Danai Gurira, directed by Emily Mann and co-produced with McCarter Theatre Center (NJ) and Center Theatre Group (CA) (February 25 – March 25, 2012); Camino Real by Tennessee Williams, directed by Calixto Bieito (March 3 – April 15, 2012); Fish Men by Cándido Tirado, directed by Edward Torres, in partnership with Teatro Vista (April 7 – May 6, 2012); The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill, directed by Robert Falls (April 21 – June 10, 2012); and Crowns, written and directed by Regina Taylor (June 30 – August 5, 2012).

Goodman Theatre, “the leading regional theater in the nation’s most important theater city” (Time), is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago, generating nearly $300 million in economic impact over the past decade in its state-of-the-art two-theater complex on North Dearborn Street. Founded in 1925 and currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls, “Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit resident theater has welcomed nearly two million patrons to productions and events—including 10 festivals celebrating playwrights such as David Mamet, August Wilson and Horton Foote, as well as the biennial Latino Theatre Festival—and served legions of students through its Education and Community Engagement programs (including the FREE Student Subscription Series and other interactive programs). The Goodman has earned more than 90 awards for hundreds of productions, including the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined by Lynn Nottage—one of 25 new-work Goodman commissions in the last decade. Ruth Ann M. Gillis is the Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and Joan Clifford is President of the Women’s Board. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.

Visit the Goodman virtually: watch artist interviews at ExploreTheGoodman.org; catch the latest news and updates on theGoodman’s Blog, Goodman-Theatre.Blogspot.com/; like us on Facebook.com/GoodmanTheatre; follow us at Twitter.com/GoodmanTheatre; and peek behind the scenes at YouTube.com/TheGoodmanTheatre.

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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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