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Archive for June 12th, 2012

Quinn signs RICO measure to combat gang violence

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Quinn signs RICO measure to combat gang violence

Springfield, IL – While municipalities across the state continue to fight street gang activities, law enforcement officials are continuously at a disadvantage because state law does not allow state’s attorneys to treat street gangs as one criminal enterprise, shielding top gang leaders from prosecution.  State’s attorneys will now have another tool to fight street gangs. 

Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure into law that will assist the State’s Attorney’s Office in prosecuting criminal gang activity. The measure is an initiative of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.   Alvarez said the law is similar to the federal RICO statute often used to bring down mob figures.

“By passing this legislation, we are giving the State’s Attorney’s Office the ability to go after people who are using others to carry out illegal activities,” said Senator Munoz, a member of the Senate Executive Committee.  “This measure closes a loophole in the law that currently does not allow for the prosecution of a person who dictates violence.

I want to thank the Governor for taking swift action on this bill.  This bill took almost two years to pass.  We’re finally aligned with 31 other states that already have this law.  We’ll also be able to go after drug trafficking, and the guns that plague our city.”

The Street Gang Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations law, or RICO, gives prosecutors a tool to target criminal enterprises and specifically target the organizers and gang leaders by proving that these individuals have engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, making gang leaders accountable for their actions instead of underlings.

According to police figures, 75-80 percent of the murders in Chicago can be attributed to the activities of some 69 gangs in 600 factions that periodically fall out with one another and resort to violence to settle their differences.

Greater Chicago has the largest gang population in the United States with approximately 100,000 members, according to the report.  A recent report says that the Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Sureño 13 and Vice Lords are the city’s most dangerous gangs.

From Jan. 1 through May 27 of this year, 203 murders and 852 street shootouts were reported.

“From my years on the force, I can tell you firsthand how common it is for gang leaders to shield themselves by seeking out younger recruits to carry out their illegal schemes.  The expectation is that these at-risk youth will avoid harsher penalties that are applicable to adults, especially those with criminal records,” said Alfonza Wysinger, a First Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.

The bill is House Bill 1907.

Pfleger calls weekend shootings a “national emergency”

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Pfleger calls weekend shootings a “national emergency”

Seeks end to ‘genocide,’ wants NATO to return to South Side


By Chinta Strausberg


CHICAGO, IL – With nine people lying on the front yard of Saint Sabina representing those who were killed over the weekend and scores of others wearing mock blood stained T-shirts indicating the wounded, Father Michael L. Pfleger Monday called the shootings a national emergency and begged shooters to lay down their guns.

When Father Pfleger sent out the call earlier today for supporters to meet him at Saint Sabina, more than 170 showed up including Anthony Sarpy an Afghanistan and Iraq Army veteran who left his Riverdale home at 4:30 p.m. and arrived in time for the 5 p.m. press conference.

Referring to this bloody weekend, Pfleger said it was “full of violence in Chicago. The Wild, Wild West is coming to the Midwest. Chicago is becoming another place, a poster boy for violence around this country,” he told a bevy of reporters.

Condemning the escalation of violence, Pfleger said, “We saw people gather downtown last week about the violence in Samaria. This is not Samaria. This is Chicago. This is not a Third World Country. This is the United States of America, and we’re here to condemn the violence and to express our outrage to it,” he bellowed.

Pointing to the nine people feigning death who laid on the grass and others standing wearing mocked blood-stained T-shirts representing people who were wounded over the weekend, Pfleger said, “We’re wearing these today because we want to represent the people who were shot and these nine people are those killed this weekend….

“This is a national emergency. This is an epidemic. There is genocide going on in the United States of America and in Chicago. These are not just statistics. These are human beings…. They are United States citizens who deserve to be protected, and they are citizens of Chicago who deserve to live.

“I am tired of hearing about children terrorized. They can’t go on their front porch. They can’t go in their yards. Can’t go on their playgrounds to play.”

Referring to the recently held NATO summit held in Chicago and was he upset over the resulting Red zone, Pfleger said he wants a return of NATO. “I just wish it would go all the way to 87th Street. Control the whole city and have no violence. I’m all for that.”

He told of a conversation he had with teenager who saw a news report about a veterans returning from Afghanistan who was met and honored with a big parade. “That’s good and they should, but the teenager said to me, ‘I feel there should be a parade every time I make it home from school.’

“What kind of craziness is that?” asked Pfleger. “There is a war here in America, and there is a war here in our streets of Chicago. These are citizens who deserve to be protected. I want NATO to come back, but let them come back to the South Side of Chicago and let’s protect our communities here.”

Sarpy, 28, echoed similar sentiments. He just retuned from four tours from both Iraq and Afghanistan for a total of nine-years in the military. On the violence, Sarpy said, “It’s outrageous. The self-hatred that is going on among black people has to be corrected. A lot of the violence is unwarranted and uncalled for.

“Everybody can talk about it, protest about it, but nothing gets done without action,” Sarpy said. “If you get other strong black male positive figures such as myself and other brothers that I know personally to come out here and talk to these children…, you can see the decrease in crime and violence.

“But, you also have to realize that a lot of these gangs ain’t got nothing to do. There is no opportunity, no hope, and when you are deprived of an opportunity, you choose other opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t do,” said Sarpy. “We got to go back to the grassroots level and make a change for yourself.”

He said people must have a greater presence in the community and like in Afghanistan “when you build schools and community centers, people don’t want to do violence or hurt others….”

When told that some people feel rebels and not gangs are committing the violence, Sarpy disagrees saying it’s more like a family structure. “You got kids basically raising kids. Mothers becoming mothers at 14, 15, 16. They’re still not grown. They are still adolescents. There’s a lot of anger and frustration. You got a lot of these kids growing up without fathers, without resources, without an opportunity.

“It’s less of a gang because most people who join gangs join them out of a sense of that fatherless….” Saying he was born on the West Side and grew up in the Roseland area, Sarpy said, “It’s not the fact that these kids are rebels. They don’t have nothing to do. They don’t have that figure around them to mold them….” Asked how can the community reduce violence, Sarpy said, “One person at a time.”

Referring to the increase of police on the street by 1,000 officers, Pfleger said, yet, crime is up 50 percent in murders. Police are not going to solve this thing alone. What we want is for people to break the code of silence.

“We want to beg every person in Chicago (to) lay down the guns. Guns are not the way to solve problems, arguments, and outrage in our community. Lay down the guns. Man up and woman up and talk with your mouth and use your minds. Punks use guns,” said Pfleger. “We’re begging people to lay down your guns, and we’re begging people to be outraged.”

Referring to the two men who were attacked by a mob of young people on North Michigan Avenue, better known as the ‘Magnificent Mile,’ and media attention on the protest over the killings in Syria held at the James R. Thompson Center, Pfleger said, “I want Chicagoans to be outraged about 9 people killed and 46 or 50 who got shot.

“This is not a South Side problem. This is not a West Side problem. This is not a North Side Problem. This is not a South suburb problem. This is a Chicago problem,” he said. Pfleger said those who were shot over the weekend “are our family…. We are begging Chicago to get bad, get outraged, rise up and decide you’re not going to tolerate this genocide going on in Chicago. It’s unacceptable.”

Looking again at the 9 bodies laying down, Pfleger said, “They are real people…. Don’t get immune to it. This is sickness in America,” asking a woman to sing, “We Need Thee.”

When asked by reporters what should people do, Pfleger said, “They should stop being silent. Get rid of the guns. Legislators, where are you? Why are legislators in Springfield scared? They can cut money from poor people, but they can’t stop guns from killing. To the statehouse and the state senate, get some backbone.

“Register guns in the state of Illinois like we asked them to do,” he said. “Get rid of guns that are illegal on the streets and people come out of your houses.”

Referring to critics to claim if one person stands up he or she becomes a target to more violence, Pfleger said, “If 20 people stand up, there is no target. We want everybody on every block. You pay rent there. You pay mortgage there. Own your block.”

“I am not looking for the police. I’m looking for residents, neighbors. I’m looking for young people. This is murder,” and for those who remain silent, he warned, “It’s coming to your door, and when you come here crying because your child was shot, my first question is where were you when the other children were shot”?

Asked if it’s time for a summit, Pfleger said, “I’m for a summit if there is an action after a summit. If there is not an action after a summit, no, I’m not for a summit. We need action. We protected the world downtown. Let’s protect folks out here.”

Pfleger had activist Camiella D. Williams to read the names of those who were killed over the weekend. As Williams called the death roll, Pfleger’s eyes turned to the 9 people lying on the grass. “Rashaun Stephany, 22, Kenneth Jones, 21, Derrick Wilkerson, 21, Joseph Briggs, 16, Donnell Smith, 50, Johnathan Duncan, 22, Shondell Adams, 21 and Dante Kyles, 21.” Pfleger whispered, ‘Babies.”

Looking at the children present at the press conference, Pfleger said, “They deserve to live….” He walked over to the 9 people who were pretending to be shot. “They represent nine real people murdered on one weekend.” Pfleger said these bodies represent the pain of the families of the deceased.

Asked if people have gotten to complacent about this violence, Pfleger said, “I don’t know how people could be complacent about murder….”

“Stop the violence. Stop the silence. Stop the shooting…, Break the code of silence. Silence kills. No more funerals…,” the crowd chanted. Pfleger said, “The communities have to stand up.”

Pfleger told his supporters to be the voice on their block to make sure they are safe. “I’m tired of these statistics every weekend. I think we are used to it, and I don’t want to get used to it. I am going out every Friday night,” Pfleger said vowing to keep the heat up about the increased violence in Chicago.

Asked about the Governor signing a new lat that allows prosecutors to treat street gangs like federal officials took on the mafia, Pfleger said, “Sometimes there is some order…and there is a whole lot that right now is not about gang control or gang leadership. It’s about rising up and taking control. Who’s the baddest guy this week? It’s about a freelance shooting or who has the baddest reputation on the street.

“I’ve talked to some gang leaders about some stuff going on…. They are doing this on their own.” Pfleger said one youth told him, “We don’t have any recognition from society so our recognition is on the block. So, I like to be control of my block….’”

“I think if it (the new law) helps with the gang when the gang orders direction, fine. It’s sad we had to come to this, but I also think we are going to find out a whole lot of it is not directed from some leader. It’s someone mad on the block. Somebody bumped somebody on the block or somebody who decides that day who wants to be king of that block and that is what is so scary as hell to me right now that guns are the first line of offense of anger, of hating somebody, of who is stronger. Guns have now become the way we get back at one another and it’s frightening,” said Pfleger.

David Atwood, who wore a bloodstained T-shirt, strongly supported Father Pfleger’s labeling the weekend shootings a national emergency. “We need to work together. We need to build community….” He blamed the violence on “a lack of access to education, to health care.

“I grew up going to school in Lindblom High School in Englewood. I’ve seen what has happened to that neighborhood and while it is turning around somewhat, but they don’t have the same access to services,” said Atwood.

“The city closed mental health clinics. I’ve got a problem with that. I don’t think that is the right thing to do. I don’t think that is the right way to treat people. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of veterans who are coming home from Afghanistan and where are their services going to be? They’re going to be stuck,” said Atwood.

Andrew Holmes, director of No Guns, No Violence, said, “These are humans. We’re not statistics. The code of silence must end on the streets and in the homes. There are a lot of fathers who are quiet. They are not talking about gun violence. They are not trying to stop it, and a lot of kids don’t have fathers at home…..

“If some of the fathers would come back home and reach out to their kids and talk about this gun violence, that would help too because children are finding fathers on the streets who are not their fathers and they are looking at these guns as being their fathers…,” said Holmes.

Pfleger said he heard someone on the radio saying the shootings will hurt tourism in Chicago. “I don’t give a damn about tourism. I care about people living. Our kids are hostages in the summer time.” Pfleger said two of his members told their children not to come home from college but rather stay in school or get a job. “We have more guns in this neighborhood than we have computers. Something is wrong with that,” said Pfleger.

Referring to the gun-turn in which is being held Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Saint Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Place, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pfleger said, “There is never a more important time to turn in guns right now. Get them off the street. Get them out of your house…out of your basements….”

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.

New film reveals masterpieces of Islamic Art

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on New film reveals masterpieces of Islamic Art

Documentary to Air on PBS July 6th

Narrated by Susan Sarandon 


SILVER SPRING, MD – Perceptions and ideas around Muslim identity and culture vary widely and too few are aware of the significant works of art and architecture that make up a large part of Islamic civilization’s legacy. Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, is a new documentary from award-winning Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) that brings to life this legacy and will be broadcast nationally on PBS July 6th at 9:00 p.m. EST. 

Narrated by actor, Susan Sarandon, this 90-minute film takes audiences on a global journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years ofhistory to present the stories behind the masterworks of Islamic art and architecture.

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World is the ninth film by Executive Producers Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer and UPF (Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, Prince Among Slaves). The film was produced to nurture a greater appreciation for the exquisite works of art that Islamic culture has contributed to humanity. “I believe all viewers, Muslim and non-Muslims alike, will bepleasantly surprised with what our film uncovers,” states Alex Kronemer. “As a window into an often misunderstood culture, this film has the ability to be a real catalyst for understanding and perhaps offer a new perspective on Islam’s values, culture and lasting legacy,” continues Kronemer.

The film will air on PBS as part of the new PBS Arts Summer Festival, a multi-part weekly series that will take viewers across the country and around the world.

Viewers of Islamic Art are presented with a kaleidoscope of exquisite works of art – from the opulent Taj Mahal of Agra, India, to the written word in the form of Arabic calligraphy with master calligraphers such as MohamedZakariya. A common theme linking each of the showcased works is the way each piece of art is so different from the next – exemplifying not only the beauty, but the diversity within Islamic cultures. Each masterpiece is a contribution to the larger narrative of just how much Muslims have contributed and still contribute to society.

Michael Wolfe says, “Never before have viewers had the opportunity to explore such richness of Islamic art and history with commentary from some of the world’s most renowned experts who have the ability to explain just why these works are so important.”  “We hope watching the film will result in Muslims feeling a source of pride, aswell as celebration in their heritage,” continues Kronemer.

After its national television debut July 6th, Islamic Art will be available on DVD for $19.95 through www.upf.tv.

Islamic Art has already caught the attention of thought leaders who are calling the film an important contribution to documentary filmmaking about Islamic cultures.


“UPF’s Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World is a stunning achievement in documentary filmmaking. Itopens a window onto a sight of Islam so often neglected in the west. The aesthetic, beauty, and culture offer an opening for us all to start a dialogue on the values that we share and hold in common.”  – Karen Armstrong, Award-Winning author of religion


“This film will open the eyes and the imagination of American Muslims, reminding us all of our rich artistic heritage. I highly recommend that all American Muslims watch this documentary and share it with their neighbors!” – Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America  


Join them on Twitter at @islamicartfilm the evening of the premiere, July 6th, for a tweet chat using the hashtag #IslamicArt.

About Unity Productions Foundation

The mission of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is to create peace through the media. A nonprofit organization founded in 1999, UPF produces documentary films for both television broadcast, online viewing, and theatrical release, and implements long-term educational campaigns aimed at increasing understanding between people of different faiths and cultures, especially between Muslims and other faiths.

For more information, visit www.upf.tv.

Hunger striker is taken to the hospital

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Hunger striker is taken to the hospital
Strikers continue the hunger strike but are clearly showing health issues caused by the strike

CHICAGO IL – Immigrants in hunger strike demanding medical care for their relatives who are in need of an organ transplant, enter their 9th day of hunger strike.

Early dawn hours of today, Monday June 11, one of the immigrant’s hunger strikers was taken to a nearest hospital due to consequences of the hunger strike. 

Catalina Arroyo (53) aunt of Elfego and Lorenzo Arroyo, who are in need of urgent medical care and of an organ transplant, became very ill and show signs of health complication. Catalina Arroyo was taken to the nearest hospital by an ambulance for urgent medical attention. 

The other hunger strikers remain situated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission located in the Little Village neighborhood (3442 W. 26th St.) and continue with the hunger strike even though they too are beginning to show complications in their health, like dizziness and struggling to stay coherent. 

Hunger strikers are calling for a press conference and community support.

Cook County State’s Attorney applauds Governor Quinn’s signing of new “Street Gang Rico” Bill

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Cook County State’s Attorney applauds Governor Quinn’s signing of new “Street Gang Rico” Bill

New law becomes first-of-its-kind to target organized gang activity  


Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez joined Governor Pat Quinn Monday for the signing of the “Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law” (Street Gang Rico), which was written by her office and for the first time will enable local prosecutors to investigate and indict gang cases applying the tools of “Rico” a charge typically utilized in federal prosecutions.

“For the first time in the history of our state, this new law will give local prosecutors the tools to identify and address patterns in multiple gang-related offenses and join different organized crime offenses and different offenders into a single court proceeding,” Alvarez said. 

“Prior to the signing of this bill, state prosecutors were typically only able to charge individual gang crimes and rarely, if ever, were able to prosecute and hold gang leaders accountable for the organized activities of the street gang and its rank-and-file members,” Alvarez said. 

The “Street Gang Rico” law will target gang organizations engaged in a pattern of crimes involving violence such as illegal weapons, sex-offenses, terrorism, and drug trafficking.  In this way, different organized crime offenses and offenders may be joined into a single proceeding, and prosecutors can target the structure of the criminal organization itself and allow judges and juries to hear and see a complete picture of the overall criminal activity of the gang and its leadership.

With passage of the new law, Alvarez also said she will create a new “Racketeering Unit” within her office that will include specially trained Assistant State’s Attorneys who will be made available to train other prosecutors from State’s Attorney’s offices around the state.  The prosecutors in the State’s Attorney’s Racketeering Unit will undergo intensive training on the best practices and principles of Racketeering and Rico prosecutions and they will build and handle cases prosecuted by the office under the new law. 

Alvarez thanked Governor Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, State Senator Tony Munoz and State Representative Michael Zalewski for their support in getting the new law enacted. 

“This new law will require fundamental changes in the way that state prosecutors approach gang crimes because the crime of racketeering has not existed under Illinois law in any meaningful shape or form,” Alvarez said.

The Safe Web Inc. will offer its Secure Web Browser that protects children from bullying and cyberbullying free of charge to pre-teens

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on The Safe Web Inc. will offer its Secure Web Browser that protects children from bullying and cyberbullying free of charge to pre-teens

On June 12, 2012 The Safe Web Inc. will offer its Secure Web Browser that protects children from bullying and cyberbullying free of charge to pre-teens  
C. Ray Spires III · 202.422.8422 · CRS@tswintl.org   


Oxon Hill, MD  – C. Ray Spires III, Founder of The Safe Web Inc.,  announced that The Safe Web Inc. has teamed with Wutsgood.com to prevent children from being bullied.   

The Safe Web is removing all cost associated pre-teen usage for its services. “A recent Wall Street Journal article reporting that, Facebook is considering allowing access to the social media network to individuals under the age of 13 prompted this immediate action. The Safe Web is actively providing a sanctuary for children wishing to remain safe online” said C. Ray Spires III, Founder of The Safe Web.

The Safe Web and the O’Malley administration (Maryland Governor) encourage all parents to take an active role in their children’s lives by joining efforts to prevent bullying. “Martin and I encourage everyone to stand up to bullying in their schools and communities, said First Lady Katie O’Malley. “As parents, we know firsthand that with the Internet, social networks and cell phones, the face of bullying has changed. The abuse no longer stops at the school yard, but bullies now have access to their victims 24 hours a day and the results can last a lifetime. We must do all we can to stand up against bullying. It starts with each of us.”

“Students, teachers, principals, and parents tell me that bullying is a big problem that hasn’t gone away,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard Sadusky in October 2012. “School should be an oasis for learning and discovery. We need to curb this type of behavior in our schools, and with the help of stronger parental involvement and a project like this, we are taking a step in the right direction.”

In 2005, Maryland passed the Safe Schools Reporting Act, which requires the development of a form to be used by students, parents, and close family members to report incidents of bullying, harassment, or intimidation to school administrators. In the most recent legislative session, the General Assembly passed legislation requiring nonpublic schools that accept State funds to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, and intimidation; additionally, the Task Force to Study the Creation of a Maryland Center for School Safety was established with an emphasis on school safety and violence.

Better Business Bureau says be a smart shopper on Father’s Day

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Better Business Bureau says be a smart shopper on Father’s Day

(From the Better Business Bureau)                                                                                                                



CHICAGO, IL – According to the US Census Bureau there are 70.1 million fathers across the nation, that means there will many people out searching for Father’s Day gifts. As families look to celebrate this special day, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) reminds consumers it’s important to shop smart for the perfect gift for Dad.


“Whether you’re looking to get something traditional like a watch, or something flashier like the latest electronic gadget, check out the business first,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Always make sure to get information on refund, exchange and warranties in writing. Don’t hesitate to ask if there is a return time limit, and get a gift receipt to enclose with your gift in case Dad needs to take it back.”


The BBB offers the following shopping tips for Father’s Day gifts:


Gift Cards and Certificates: Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase to ensure that the expiration date and conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for Internet shopping and not just for in-store use. Make certain on a gift card that the security number hasn’t been revealed prior to purchase.  


Electronics: Whether you plan to give Dad a camera, GPS system, or other electronic device, be sure that you don’t remove it from its box before wrapping it up. Many electronics stores require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges.  


Recreational Rentals: If you’re interested in renting ATVs, campers, canoes, or other recreational equipment this Father’s Day, be sure that you get a written contract that includes details such as the base rental cost, daily fees, insurance and time restrictions. Also, take the time to visually inspect the rental and get written proof of any existing damage before renting.


Guides, Tours and Classes: Fishing, sightseeing, skydiving and golf lessons are a fun way to celebrate and spend time with Dad. However, it’s important to get details about these classes and adventures in writing and in advance of the trip. Be sure to clarify all of the factors listed below:

  • Are reservations required and if so, by when?
  • What are the total costs and features?
  • What services and equipment are included?
  • Are taxes or any other charges added?
  • Are there any restrictions or special time requirements?
  • Are there any cancellation or refund penalties or policies?

For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org and for more information on safe shopping visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BBBChicago


Physics Scholar says “Black Dollars are the new Black Power”

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Physics Scholar says “Black Dollars are the new Black Power”

Corvallis, OR (BlackNews.com) — Blacks represent 13.6% of the U.S. population with a purchasing power of nearly 1 trillion, according to the recent State of the African-American Consumer Report gathered by information and analytics company Nielsen. However, less than three cents of every dollar return to Black-owned businesses. And at 16%, the national unemployment rate among African Americans is disproportionately high.

“A majority of our resources are spent outside of our own community, while the goods and services we offer are rarely extended to the international market. Because of that, the economic disparity is self-inflicted,” says Michael Mansell, a physics student at Oregon State University, pictured left in striped among his colleagues.

According to Mansell, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in the United States are predominantly non-Black, and other groups are profiting from the African American consumer market. When this happens, the wealth gets drained from the Black community and invested in businesses, organizations, institutions, and programs that benefit other communities, where those dollars tend to remain. When the immense spending power of African Americans gets funneled into Black owned entities, those dollars return to the community, recycle, and reappear in the form of jobs, programs, and resources that ultimately benefit the Black consumer.

In response to this, Mansell, himself, has launched MDM International Enterprises, an online superstore that sells thousands of unique products. This is a for profit company, however community reinvestment remains the primary focus of this business model. Mansell hopes MDM International Enterprises will one day join the ranks of Walmart, Best Buy, and other such retailers.

Mansell is currently working on his PhD and has developed a sound solution to the economic disparity of the Black community. Drawn from studies of quantum physics, sociology, economics and other areas, his theory is called Nuclear Economics. Our economy is a physical system with definite properties. When certain sectors of that system are stimulated in controlled increments, the outcome can be predicted and the results, measured. Using algorithms Mansell creates what are called “stable pseudo jobs.”

Mansell has determined that introducing a controlled amount of “perturbations” into the correct part of the economic system would boost the whole economy in a relatively short period of time. Introducing the right amount of “perturbations” would yield a chain reaction of perpetual growth, hence the name “Nuclear Economics.” That exact amount of “perturbations” is also calculated using Mansell’s algorithms. What he is looking to do now, with the help of others, is put his theories into practice. He is launching Let’s Evolve, a nonprofit that will serve to institute these initiatives.

He comments, “We need to change our spending habits. We need to tell our friends and family to support Black owned companies whenever possible, to purposely and eagerly seek out black businesses to patronize. We need to leverage our economic power so that we can get more money back into our own community.”

Mansell would like for Nuclear Economics to help the Black community progress to a point where Black owned companies claim a fair share of the international market and also produce a majority of the products purchased by Black consumers. He insists this is not about exclusion, as the economy as a whole would ultimately benefit. However, he still maintains that the economic empowerment of the African American Community must start from within.

“I’ve collected data over the years, while studying sociology, economics, business, math, and physics. Albeit, in my theories, all these principles are at work, but no one has to be a physicist to understand that buying from Black businesses means more jobs for Black people. That’s just plain common sense,” he says.
About Michael Mansell
Michael Mansell, engineer, entrepreneur, and scholar, first introduced his theory of Nuclear Economics in 2010. He developed the framework for his concepts while studying at California Polytech University in Pomona, where he worked as a teacher. His research in nanotechnology led to publication in Physics Letters A. Currently, Mansell is enrolled at Oregon State University’s Graduate School of Physics and he is also working as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) in that program.

For more information about MDM International Enterprises, visit www.mdmie.com. To learn more about Nuclear Economics, subscribe to the Let’s Evolve newsletter, visit www.letusevolve.org. There is a onetime fee of $20.00 for a lifetime subscription.

To make a donation to support Nuclear Economics research and initiatives, send a check or money order payable to Let’s Evolve, 1218 NW 23rd St. Unit #3, Corvallis OR 97330.

For more details, visit www.letusevolve.org

Photo Caption: Michael Mansell (front center) with members of his research group at Oregon State University

Tony Award-Winning Ensemble Members Tracy Letts and Anna D. Shapiro are at work together again with Steppenwolf’s Three Sisters

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 Comments Off on Tony Award-Winning Ensemble Members Tracy Letts and Anna D. Shapiro are at work together again with Steppenwolf’s Three Sisters

Anton Chekhov’s Classic closes the 2011/12 Season in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, June 28 – August 26, 2012


CHICAGO, IL – Steppenwolf Theatre Company closes the 2011/12 season with Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov’s humorous and affecting tale of longing for a better life, adapted by Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Tony Award-winning ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro. Letts and Shapiro continue their celebrated collaboration following their acclaimed world-premiere production of August: Osage County (2007), bringing fresh insight to this classic story of a privileged family’s changing fortunes. Three Sisters begins previews June 28 (Opening Night is July 8; Press Performances are July 7 at 3pm and July 10 at 7:30pm) and runs through August 26, 2012 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – $75) are on sale now (prices are subject to change). In Three Sisters, the Prozorov family chafes at the constraints of life in their small provincial town, once a bustling army garrison where their late father served as general. Attempts to shore up their crumbling social status lay bare the larger forces of unrest that will soon engulf them all.

“Chekhov’s play is one filled with nostalgia—the meaning and motives of which are very difficult to hold on to because at its heart is longing for something that never was, that can never be again,” comments Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

Adds director Anna D. Shapiro, “Three Sisters is a play about a certain kind of paralysis. It is about all of the things we construct in the future that keep us immobilized in the day. There are unhappy marriages, unrequited love, duels and really nasty in-laws. And everybody’s trying to get somewhere else. And it’s funny. Funny in the way that serious human folly can be funny.”

Regarding his adaptation of Chekhov’s play, Tracy Letts notes in a recent interview published in American Theatre magazine, “I don’t speak a word of Russian. So my first pass through the script was like math; it was some of the hardest stuff I’ve ever done, just trying to figure out what the sentences were. So my guiding principle going into was, I’m going to try to eliminate for the audience any further act of translation; they’re going to have direct communication with the ideas and the characters.”

Steppenwolf’s 2011/12 season, Dispatches from the Homefront, explores how everyday lives are touched by war. In each of the five plays, war exerts a pressure—sometimes centrally, sometimes obliquely—on the lives of the characters—and moves them to action. The plays are alive with the humor, the tenderness and the urgency of lives struggling to find home.

Final casting forThree Sisters features ensemble members Alana Arenas (Natalia “Natasha” Ivanovna), Ora Jones (Olga Prozorova), and Yasen Peyankov (Kulygin) with Usman Ally (Solyony), Chance Bone (Fedotik), B. Diego Colón (Rodé), Carrie Coon (Maria “Masha” Prozorova), Maury Cooper (Ferapont), Mike Digirolamo (Ensemble), Jennifer Dymit (Ensemble), Luke Fattorusso (Ensemble), Derek Gaspar (Tusenbach), Brandon Holmes (Ensemble), Scott Jaeck (Chebutykin), John Judd (Vershinin), Garrett Lutz (Ensemble), Katie Mazzini (Ensemble), Tom McGrath (Ensemble), Bruce Moore (Ensemble), Caroline Neff (Irina Prozorova), Rakisha Pollard (Ensemble), Tommy Rivera-Vega (Ensemble), Mary Ann Thebus (Anfisa) and Dan Waller (Andrey Prozorova).

Director Anna D. Shapiro joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in 2005 and was awarded the 2008 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for August: Osage County (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Broadway, London). She was nominated in 2011 in the same category for The Motherf**ker with the Hat (The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company). Other directing credits at Steppenwolf Theatre Company include A Parallelogram, Up, The Crucible, The Unmentionables (also at Yale Repertory Theatre), The Pain and the Itch (also in New York), I Never Sang for My Father, Man from Nebraska, Purple Heart (also in Galway, Ireland), The Drawer Boy, Side Man (also in Ireland, Australia and Vail, Colorado), Three Days of Rain and The Infidel. Other credits include A Number (American Conservatory Theater); The Drawer Boy (Paper Mill Playhouse); Iron (Manhattan Theatre Club); and The Infidel (Philadelphia Theatre Company). She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Columbia College Chicago and is the recipient of the 1996 Princess Grace Award. She is a full professor in Northwestern University’s Department of Theatre and has served as the director of the MFA in Directing program since 2002.

Adaptor Tracy Letts has been a Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member since 2002 and is the author of Killer Joe, Bug, Man from Nebraska (Pulitzer Prize finalist), August: Osage County (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award for Best Play) and Superior Donuts.

The production team for Three Sisters includes: Todd Rosenthal (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Donald Holder (lighting design), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design) and David Singer (original music). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting), Cecilie O’Reilly (vocal coach), Dassia N. Posner (dramaturg), Laura D. Glenn (stage manager) and Deb Styer (assistant stage manager).  

Tickets to Three Sisters ($20 – $75) are currently on sale at Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available at Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online using promo code “SISTERS15”. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. For additional student discounts, visit steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups.

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.

Accessible Performances:

terpreted performance: August 5 at 7:30pm

Open captioned performance: August 11 at 3pm

Audio-described performance and touch tour: August 19 at 1:30pm (3pm performance)

Northern Trust is the Corporate Production Sponsor of Three Sisters. The production is made possible through the Artistic Development Fund, which is supported by The Davee Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. ComEd is the 2011/12 Season Lighting Sponsor. Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and three repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work, Garage Rep and Next Up. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and nine Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Currently on stage is the world premiere of The March, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, adapted for the stage and directed by ensemble member Frank Galati (through June 10, 2012) in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). The 2011/12 season also includes Next Up (June 5 – 24, 2012) in The Steppenwolf Garage, featuring Life and Limb by Keith Reddin, directed by Emily Campbell; South of Settling by Emily Schwend, directed by Adam Goldstein; and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, directed by Laley Lippard.

The 2012/13 Subscription Season includes Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman (September 13 – November 11, 2012) in the Downstairs Theatre; The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro (December 27, 2012 – March 3, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre; The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter, directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton (January 24 – May 19, 2013) in the Upstairs Theatre; Head of Passes by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau (April 4 – June 9, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre; and Belleville by Amy Herzog, directed by Anne Kauffmann (June 27 – August 25, 2013) in the Downstairs Theatre.

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