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Archive for July 2nd, 2012

Tear gas, billy clubs, water hoses, attack dogs and voter registration: We will not go back to that shameful history, that dark era of yesteryear through voter purges and Voter Id laws cropping up in states across the country

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

“We cannot and will not go back to the dark era of yesteryear when certain citizens could not vote in this country. We must fight tooth and nail, every step of the way, to extinguish efforts by some who would try to disenfranchise voters’ constitutional right to the ballot box” – Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine

By Juanita Bratcher

I never thought that I would be writing an article in the Year 2012 on efforts by some legislators across this country whose ultimate goal is to pass legislation in the form of Voter ID laws that are expected to suppress the voting rights of minorities, the elderly, poor, handicapped and young voters – those most likely to vote for President Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election.

Currently, in many State Legislatures across this country, there are elected officials who’re doing just that – passing Voter ID laws they claim will eliminate fraud in elections, but what they’re really aiming at is taking us back to the shameful era of the past through Voter ID laws that are certain to disenfranchise literally hundreds of thousands of voters in the upcoming 2012 elections, specifically the Presidential Election. And it appears to be a planned strategy hammered out to do just that.

But wait just a minute, here. If such legislation becomes law in any state, the state should be responsible for making sure that those affected are provided with a free ID instead of having to pay for one. Obviously, some registered voters or some wanting to become registered voters will not be able to afford one – financially – on their own. So it will certainly keep them away from the polls on Election Day.

In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., he stated, “We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Certainly, there are echoing words in my mind from Theodore G. Bilbo who served two terms as Governor of Mississippi (1916-1920 and 1928-1932); and two terms as United States Senator from Mississippi (1935 to 1947). Bilbo’s words were in stark contrast to King’s remarks. Bilbo’s declaration made many years ago as to the possibility of blacks voting, declared: “Do not let a single Nigger register and vote. If you let a few register and vote this year, next year there will be twice as many, and the next thing you know the whole thing will be out of hand.”

Out of hand, eh? Maybe that’s what some of today’s elected officials are thinking: keep the vote down, specifically on those who would possibly vote for President Barack Obama and deny him a second term in the White House.

Can you imagine that? Think about what Bilbo said …“will be out of hand.” Out of hand how? That too many Blacks would be going to the polls to exercise their right to vote on any given Election Day?

Most of us know the history of this country when it comes to voting rights. And for those who don’t know or have forgotten the details of what happened during that time, here is a brief scenario:

There was a time in the United States of America when African-Americans and women could not vote in our country. The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, granted voting rights to African-American males, and the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, granted all women the right to vote.

When African Americans were denied the right to vote in this country, they had no political power or political influence. “Negroes” as they were then called, didn’t have the right to vote for anything. They made no decisions as to how government was run, notwithstanding decisions as to whether they would be a free man/woman in this country, and at the time, were recognized as three-fifths of a person.

Reportedly, according to documented history, during voter registration drives in Alabama, when African-Americans showed up at the Registrar’s Office to register, registrars would conduct slowdown days to frustrate or delay their efforts.

In their efforts to register to vote, Blacks encountered various barriers. They faced hostile law enforcement officials that were indifferent to their being there to register in the first place. They were faced with literacy tests designed to make it difficult and deny them the right to register to vote. It was established by the U.S. Justice Department that in many counties the tests were administered unfairly. And at that time, voting was mostly under state control.

The poll tax was used as a barrier in many southern states where blacks were excluded from the voting booth. Poll taxes were a suffrage pre-requisite by eleven ex-confederate states; and blacks were the intended victims.

The family of Rev. George Lee felt the sharp emotional pains of his courageous actions to register Black voters in 1954, which ultimately cost him his life.

Lee, a businessman, and the first Black person to register to vote in Humphreys County since Reconstruction, printed and passed out leaflets urging Blacks to pay their poll tax so they could register to vote. Reportedly, incensed Whites responded by putting the names of all Blacks eligible to vote on a hit list, circulating it to white businessmen who retaliated by firing them from their jobs, denying them credit and raising their rent.

Lee knew his days were numbered, but he ignored the pleas of his wife, Rose, to back off. On Saturday before Mother’s Day in 1955, Lee was driving home when gunfire from a passing car blew half his face off. He was shot to death on a neighborhood street May 7, 1955. Reportedly, Lee had been offered protection by white officials on the condition he would end his voter registration efforts. Notwithstanding the evidence and the fact that everybody in town knew who did it, the sheriff concluded that Lee died of unknown causes.

Medgar Evers, a civil rights leader and head of the NAACP’s Mississippi branch, was murdered June 12, 1963, by a sniper’s bullet because of his efforts to register Black voters in Mississippi. After arriving home after midnight, he was ambushed by a sniper hiding in a clump of sweet gum trees. He was shot through the back with a .30-06 military rifle. The weapon was found in a thicket nearby. Byron De La Beckwith’s fingerprints were found on the weapon. He was charged with murder. But two all-Whites, all male juries, deadlocked and failed to reach verdicts.

But in 1994 – 30 years later, after an eight-day trial, justice was served in the same courtroom where the two deadlocked verdicts were announced. A racially mixed jury, consisting of eight Blacks and four Whites, found Beckwith guilty, and the 73-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison.

Two white civil rights activists, Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal divinity student from Cambridge, Massachusetts, died in Lowndes County, Alabama, and Father Richard Morrisroe, a Roman Catholic priest from Chicago, was seriously wounded during voter registration drives in Selma, Alabama.

Three civil rights volunteers – Andrew Goodman, White, 23 years old; Michael Schwerner, White, 24 years old, and James Chaney, Black, 21 years old, were victims of a Ku Klux Klan conspiracy. They were murdered in Mississippi while on a mission to help register black voters there. They disappeared in a small town in Mississippi, and subsequently were found dead in an earthen dam.

Violence erupted in Alabama when Alabama officials brutally attacked hundreds of marchers who were also subjected to police violence in their quest to emphasize the need for a voting rights bill stalled in the Congress. The march was held in Selma, Alabama, where hundreds walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King was the driving force behind the march and was credited for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, employment and education, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which permitted federal examiners to supersede local officials and register black voters in certain circumstances, giving broader participation of Blacks in the political and electoral processes. By 1967, more than half of eligible Blacks were registered in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina, enabling more black candidates than ever before to be elected to public office. There was also the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and in 1982, the Voting Rights Act was strengthened and extended for 25 years.

The poll tax, according to a member of the 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention’s Franchise Committee, was “the most effective instrumentality of Negro disenfranchisement.” One woman talked about her father paying a $45 poll tax and having to eat a little less because of it, while others chose to eat rather than vote.

In Selma, Alabama, a fierce and bloody battleground in Black’s quest to register to vote, there were mounting problems with slow registrars, and a limited number of days and hours that the Registrar’s Office would be open. Out of 15,000 blacks eligible to vote in Selma and surrounding Dallas County during the time of the Selma march (March 1965), less than 350 were registered.

But no matter the severity of the task to bring about change, no matter the abuse and violence they faced, no matter the racial hatred they encountered, Blacks refused to take their eyes off the prize. They wanted the right to vote as any other citizen and they kept up their fight under undesirable circumstances.

They fought every step of the way, valiant and forthright in their efforts to overthrow bigotry and racism, and open up the ballot box to blacks. And they never thought about surrendering to those injustices being heaped upon them.

There was a dire need for political reform. And even though the desire was there on the part of black citizens to transform the political process, many of them could not read and write. That set up roadblocks for them. And because of this, they were systematically being barred from the ballot box. Their voting rights were either denied or abridged. Yet, when it seemed to be creeping along somewhat toward the road to victory, literacy tests were used as roadblocks on the part of the establishment to further stop their efforts.

In his contributing introduction to my book, “Lest We Never Forget: The Power of the Ballot ©,” some of which is a part of this article, prominent Justice R. Eugene Pincham (now deceased), declared: “It is glaringly apparent why the oppressive power structure, throughout the years in America, has gone to the extent that it has gone to prevent black participation in government and to deny the ballot to blacks – physical violence and even death, intimidation, the poll tax, the literacy test, the Grandfather Clause, and other devious schemes.”

It appears that Pincham’s words are a definitive description of the so-called Voter ID laws that are now permeating in many state legislatures around the country. That’s why we must fight back these atrocious legislations of injustice! And our efforts must be penetrating and remain intact.

Reportedly, about 34 states have legislation passed or pending that would require a picture photo to vote. Other ways voters are being disenfranchised are through the abandonment of same-day voter registration, reduction of early voting periods (early voting prior to elections), proof of citizenship (birth certificate, etc.) and other voter suppression efforts. Many of these suppressive efforts are detailed in reports by the Brennan Center, New York University’s School of Law. The most recent one is titled, “Voting Law Changes in 2012”.

According to Wikipedia, the Voter ID laws in the United States are laws requiring identification to vote at the polls. The voter identification is required to vote in many of the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories. The first Voter ID laws were passed in 2003, and as of September 2011, 30 U.S. states require some form of photo or non-photo identification. The identification required to submit a ballot differs by state law, and may differ by de facto voting procedures.

The following is a Timeline from Wikipedia on Voter ID law activity in the United States:

  • 2003, Voter ID laws passed in Alabama, [32][33] Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.[34]
  • 2005: New voter ID laws were passed in Indiana, New Mexico and Washington; Georgia tightened an existing voter ID law to require photo ID
  • 2006: New voter ID law passed in Ohio; Georgia passed a law providing for the issuance of voter ID cards at no cost to registered voters who do not have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card; Missouri tightened an existing voter ID law to require photo ID
  • 2008: New Mexico relaxed an existing voter ID law, and now allows a voter to satisfy the ID requirement by stating his/her name, address as registered, and year of birth
  • 2009: New voter ID law passed in Utah
  • 2010: New voter ID law passed in Idaho; Oklahoma voters approved a voter ID proposal placed on the ballot by the Legislature
  • 2011: New voter ID laws passed in Kansas, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas tightened existing voter ID laws to require photo ID.[35] Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s law as placing an undue burden disproportionately on minority voters.[36]
  • 2012: Two state circuit judges in Dane County, Wisconsin block the ID requirement provisions of that state’s law, with the first judge issuing a temporary injunction, followed by the second judge a week later ruling the requirement in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution.[37] The fate of the law is uncertain, as the Republican-led State Department of Justice fights the ruling in court.[38]
  • 2012: New voter ID law passed in Pennsylvania.[39] Justice Department rejected the Texas law as placing an undue burden disproportionately on minority voters.[40]

We should make certain that in the U.S.A., democracy is provided to every American citizen/voter, that they have a right to the ballot box without quick fixes put in place for political reasons to deny them that right and disenfranchise thousands of voters in the process.

President Obama will deliver opening address at the National Urban League’s 2012 Conference

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The National Urban League Wire


NEW YORK – The opening address at the National Urban League’s 2012 Conference will be delivered by President Barack Obama.
The President will address the Conference on Wednesday, July 25, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“We’re thrilled and proud to welcome the President to our Annual Conference for the third time,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “It has become a tradition for Presidents and major-party candidates to address the conference, not only to share their agenda for the nation, but also to hear ours.”
National Urban League Annual Conference occupies a singular echelon in America’s cultural and political discourse, Morial said. The nation’s largest civil rights and social justice conference attracts thousands of the nation’s most influential community leaders, together with top policy-makers, academicians, business leaders and artists for three days of dynamic dialogue, intellectual exchange and community service.
The Conference has been the only event of its kind to feature both major-party presidential nominees during each of the last several elections and attracted a majority of primary contenders in 2008, including Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Mike Huckabee.  In 2004, both George H. W. Bush and John Kerry addressed the Conference.  Additionally, leading elected officials and cabinet secretaries have chosen to break major announcements at the conference.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan, for example, unveiled the administration’s Equity Agenda during the 2010 Conference.
This year’s conference theme, “Occupy the Vote: Employment and Education Empower the Nation,” represents an unprecedented mobilization to influence public policy through grassroots political action.  Workshops, panel discussions and policy sessions are built around the Urban League Movement’s agenda to address the twin crises of unemployment and educational inequity.

For more information, contact: Teresa Candori at  (212) 558-5433/ (646) 319-0891

If the U.S. House wants to know the real truth about the ‘Fast and Furious’ program, call Bush to testify

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Program began under the Bush administration


By Chinta Strausberg


 “Operation Fast and Furious” is a by-product of President George Bush’s 2006 “Project Gunrunner that operated under the authority of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT).

The goal was to authorize the distribution of guns to Mexican drug dealers as a means of tracing the cartel’s massive drug operation.

Whatever the goal was, something went terribly wrong when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by the Mexican drug cartel whose guns were traced back to the “Fast and Furious” operation.

On June 28, 2012, the House voted 255-67 in favor of both civil and one criminal contempt charges against Holder that included 17 Democrats voting in favor and two Republicans voting against it. The civil charge passed 258-95, but the drama of the day was when 108 Democrats including Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), the Black, Latino and Asian Caucuses walked out without voting. (See photo and story http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index.ssf/2012/06/house_votes_to_hold_ag_holder.html

As a result of the House voting to hold Holder both civilly and criminally in contempt of Congress, the family of Terry released a statement denouncing those who voted against holding Holder in contempt of Congress.

Robert Heyer, who is chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation and who is Terry’s cousin, released a statement.

“The Terry family takes no pleasure in the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a vote should not have been necessary,” the statement reads.

“The Justice Department should have released the documents related to Fast and Furious months ago. Eric Holder’s refusal to do so and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege have stood in the way of justice and the answers we seek into the death of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

“Given the Obama administration’s steadfast refusal to level with the American people, Congress was left with no choice but to vote Mr. Holder in contempt.”

But, my question is why didn’t Congress ask President Bush and/or his Attorney Generals…like Alberto Gonzales, or Peter Keisler or Michael Mukasey to testify about this program? Why now and why target Eric Holder, the first African American Attorney General who has cooperated with Congress unlike some others including Karl Rove, Bush’s political “guru”? (See http://articles.cnn.com/2008-07-10/politics/rove.subpoena_1_robert-d-luskin-subpoena-longtime-political-guru?_s=PM:POLITICS). Check out a similar incident (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20020412.html),

If the House, in its quest to bring down Eric Holder and taint President Obama in the process, files a civil contempt suit in federal court to get a judge to compel Holder to present the “Fast and Furious” documents, then it should go all the way back to Bush’s gun program and former President Bush should also be called to testify; that is if the House really is interested in knowing the FULL truth about the infamous “Fast and Furious” program. Why was the House so silent then on this operation?

Could the answer be simply politics as in Tuesday, November 6, 2012?

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.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation announces 42nd Annual Legislative Conference

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Conference to be held September 19-22 in Washington, D.C.                                                       

Work of CBC Foundation to be Highlighted during Four-Day Session                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) will host its 42nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) from September 19-22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year’s conference theme is “Inspiring Leaders| Building Generations.” U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Andre Carson of Indiana are serving as honorary co-chairs of the conference.  


ALC provides an outlet to highlight the mission of CBCF – to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public. It also provides dozens of forums to address the critical challenges facing the African-American community. The Foundation will offer numerous session tracks to present high level, thought-provoking, engaging and useful information. The town hall discussion will center around conversations about voting rights and voter suppression. The third installation of the research report Breaking Barriers 3 will be released during ALC and further define academic success for school-aged African-American males. CBCF Fellows will return to present their popular Alumni Series and the popular Black Party networking affair will return.  


In addition, scholarship recipients in the performing arts will be recognized during the Celebration of Leadership, and CBC members and spouses will join together for a community outreach project. The conference will culminate with its awards/fundraising dinner. Proceeds from ALC are used to fund educational opportunities and program outreach.


“The Annual Legislative Conference brings together policy-makers, educators, business and industry leaders, celebrities, media, emerging leaders and everyday Americans to discuss and solve issues that are important to all Americans,” said Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “The conference is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-American leaders in the nation. In addition, attendees recognize the importance of what CBCF accomplishes in the community and have supported our efforts to provide scholarships, internships and fellowships, and to improve economic parity and reduce health disparities.” 


General and Media Registration Now Open. To register, visit www.cbcfinc.org or call 877-585-6018.  The general early registration discount ends July 20. 

Lt. Governor Simon launches virtual legal clinic for domestic violence survivors

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Success in Peoria paves way for Jacksonville, statewide expansion


PEORIA, IL – During a visit to a Peoria women’s shelter, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced a new pilot program that is connecting survivors of domestic violence with free legal experts using webcams and a high speed Internet connection.

Simon designed the Virtual Legal Clinic to link domestic violence survivors in underserved areas with attorneys across Illinois that specialize in family law. The survivors receive a single, free consultation via webcam using internet technology at a local shelter and learn about legal options and remedies to keep their families safe.

The Virtual Legal Clinic began at The Center for Prevention of Abuse in December and is expanding to the Crisis Center Foundation in Jacksonville this month. After the pilot program is complete with additional expansions elsewhere in the state, Simon will provide the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) with a packaged program it can use at agencies statewide.

Simon’s pilot project comes at a time when funding for human services is being cut, but the Lieutenant Governor said the resource was developed in-house with materials funded by ICADV, and participating attorneys can receive free continuing education credits developed by Simon’s legal staff.

“The Virtual Legal Clinic is a free, safe and ethical way to help victims of domestic violence become survivors of domestic violence,” said Simon, a longtime legal advocate for domestic violence survivors. “The legal system can be overwhelming, and this service will help people take the next step toward safety and stability.”

Sandra Quello Chiz is an attorney who consults with the Peoria clinic via webcam from her Manteno office. She immediately saw the benefit of the Virtual Legal Clinic in her first consultation.

“At the time of the consultation, my first client was involved in a legal battle and was fearful because she didn’t understand what was happening,” said Quello Chiz. “Not only did I explain to my client what was happening legally, but I was able to point her in the direction of other resources, too. The Virtual Legal Clinic is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time and I wish we could expand it faster.”

Martha Herm, the executive director at The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, said her agency is averaging two to three consultations per month, primarily women who are new to the shelter and need legal guidance after obtaining an order of protection. The center serves 3,500 domestic violence survivors each year in Peoria, Tazwell and Woodford counties.

“Survivors often face many legal challenges and they don’t know where to turn,” Herm said. “If we can offer survivors a starting point – a free and confidential legal consultation – they’ll know their options before making any other decisions.”

The project’s second site in Jacksonville serves between 350 and 400 clients in Morgan, Scott, Cass and Greene counties each year, said executive director Dona Leanard.

“Domestic violence survivors are already facing a great deal of stress and pressure, before adding in legal issues,” Leanard said. “These attorneys are trained to handle domestic violence situations and can be incredibly helpful to clients that can’t find help anywhere else.”

Nationally, one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, and in Illinois, nearly 40 percent of women will experience domestic violence by an intimate partner.

The Virtual Legal Clinic turnkey program should be available to ICADV member agencies (all outside of Chicago) by 2014 to fill a gap in services, Simon said. Ideal agencies are those that serve rural or underserved communities, and likely users are survivors who cannot afford a legal consultation but do not qualify for legal aid, or survivors whose alleged abusers are represented by legal aid. Legal topics for consultation include child custody and visitation, marriage and divorce, elder abuse, immigration and property issues.

This is not Simon’s first foray into legal representation of domestic violence survivors. She prosecuted battery cases as a Jackson County prosecutor and founded Southern Illinois University School of Law’s domestic violence legal clinic, which now has a second location at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Don’t get ripped off by your own burglary alarm system

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


(News from the Better Business Bureau)



CHICAGO, IL. – Burglaries increase dramatically in summer. Residents and neighbors are more likely to be gone and not around to observe suspicious activity. People often leave doors and windows open in the summer months. And plants in full bloom often provide cover for break-ins. These and other issues make summer the ideal time for a home break-in. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) is advising homeowners, who are looking to install a home security system, to do research first.


In the last 12 months, the BBB serving Chicago and northern Illinois received more than 3,400 inquiries about burglar alarm systems. This is a 34 percent increase over the 2,425 inquiries for the previous 12 months.


“It is very important to investigate a home security system with the same care you would any major purchase,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “There are differences in systems. Plus, there are too many door-to-door salespeople selling home security systems that don’t always have your best interests at heart.”


Bernas noted that while no security system makes your home completely burglar-proof, a home security system may reduce your chances of being broken into and provide peace of mind.  


The BBB advises consumers to do the following when looking to invest in a home security system:

  • Choose a professional installer. Deal only with reputable firms and check out the company’s Business Review with your BBB first at www.bbb.org The best home security system will accommodate your lifestyle and the specific valuables you want protected. Carefully consider your security requirements and budget. You may also get recommendation from the insurance company that covers your home.
  • Contact at least three companies before selecting an installer. Find out if they are properly licensed in Illinois and if they screen employees before hiring. Make sure to check with the Electronic Security Association website for a list of member companies throughout the United States who have agreed to abide by the National Code of Ethics. Free bids from Accredited Businesses are available with the BBB’s Request a Quote feature available on www.bbb.org
  • Ask about all charges up front. Prices for home security systems will vary, based on the level of protection and type of technology used, so be sure to compare bids on similar systems. Do not forget to factor in the initial installation charge, as well as monthly monitoring charges. Talk to your insurance agent; some systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s premiums.
  • Know the ins and outs of your contract. If your alarm system will be monitored, either by your installing company or by a third-party monitoring center, find out the length of the contract. Typically, monitoring contracts are between two to five years in length. What is your recourse if you are not satisfied with the services provided? Can you cancel the contract? What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company? These are the types of questions you need to consider before you obligate yourself to a long-term contract.
  • Insist that the installer “walk” you through your system until you fully understand how it works. This will prevent the most common problem: false alarms. False alarms are an indicator of the quality of the alarm installation and user education. Ask for a complete inspection of your property and an itemized written estimate. Review the sales contract closely to ensure you understand exactly what equipment and protection you will be provided.

For more information on finding businesses and consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org


Father Pfleger declares victory in getting an accord from two area stores

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

With close to 150 supporters by his side including 17-year-old gunshot survivor Ondelee Perteet and mothers whose children were killed, Father Michael L. Pfleger late Friday night declared a victory after two area grocery store owners, accused of selling loose cigarettes to minors, agreed to sign the Faith Community of Saint Sabina’s new “Community Agreement Form” that ensures an African American will be hired from the community.

Armed with a stack of these forms, Pfleger, who continues to hold Friday, 6:30 p.m. marches throughout the Auburn-Gresham community calling for peace and an end to violence, focused on three “trouble” stores. Pfleger is meeting with a third storeowner today who yesterday threatened to sue him. The two are now talking peace.

However, while Pfleger quickly securedt two agreements from storeowners who throughout the week had refused to return his calls, he ran into a lot of drama at the M&M Food Mart, 1642 W. 79th Street. He accused the store of selling loose cigarettes to minors and after the store clerk refused to sign the agreement, Pfleger called the police.

After a flurry of calls by the clerk, the owner ultimately arrived accusing Pfleger of being anti-Arab and claiming more than 1,000 Arab merchants are up-in-arms over his demand that they hire a black from the community or he would shut their stores down. When Pfleger told him he has been in touch with Arab leaders and they are not happy with these stores, the owner denied that and threatened to sue the priest.

When Pfleger, who had vowed not to leave until the agreement was signed, asked the clerk asked the clerk o to call the owner on his cell phone, that conversation became very heated.

In talking to the owner of the M&M Food Mart, Pfleger let him know they were waiting for the police because twice a minor purchased loose cigarettes Friday and Thursday. “I’m going to press charges,” Pfleger told the owner reminding him that neither is legal.

Still talking to the owner, Pfleger said, “What do you mean harassing you? I am not harassing your business. You’re harassing my neighborhood. I live here. Where do you live? Chicago is a big city,” said Pfleger when the owner told him he lives in Chicago. “I live here in this neighborhood,” said Pfleger.

“Oh, you’re going to bring me trouble because I’m bringing you trouble,” Pfleger told the owner in response to his threats. “ Pfleger gave his employee the Community Agreement Form and told the owner, “You can be as angry or as threatening to me as you want. You said you’re going to make trouble for me. I am not making trouble with you. I just want a good store. I’m not trying to run you away. I am not anti-Arab. I’m not anti-anything. I’m anti-wrong,” Pfleger told the owner.

“I’m harassing Arabs and Middle Eastern businesses”? asked Pfleger in response to the owner’s accusation. “But, you’re selling loose cigarettes to minors in the neighborhood I live in. Oh, the Arab store owners are talking about what I’m doing. Tel them to do the right thing, then,” Pfleger said. He told the owner he has spoken to Arab leaders who told him he was tired of “some of these stores that are disrespecting the community.”

“I am not over doing it, sir,” Pfleger said. “You’re over doing it. I don’t care if all the Arab storeowners are mad at me. You think that bothers me? This is not an Arab thing. This is a right thing. Right, not white,” Pfleger said reminding the owner he was waiting for the police reminding him that he will not tolerate his selling loose cigarettes to minors. “You don’t seem to understand that you may not care, but we care…. If that is a problem to you, if I’m a problem to you, I live at 78th and Throop. I’m not going nowhere.”

The owner called back and allegedly told Pfleger he gives a church across the street $500. Pfleger said, “You give who $500 every month”?

By then, the owner arrived at his store and again accused Pfleger of being anti-Arab. “I’m not anti-Arab. I’m anti-wrong,” Pfleger told the owner. Pfleger called the store a “menace” and that he gets numerous complaints about the M&M store.

The store license is registered to Lailafsalah-Safi. A gangbanger came up and talked to Pfleger about his concern over Pfleger’s marches.

After accusing Pfleger of  being anti-Arab, the owner said the had of the Arab Mosque is very upset with PPfleger. “I promise you. I will shut this (store down). I have seven kids. How do you feel in shutting my business down”? he asked Pfleger who said, “and I care about your kids and I care about our kids.”

The owner told Pfleger “Father, do you know that on every corner in Chicago they are selling weed. I do a lot for the community….” Pfleger told him, “What ever you are selling if it’s illegal I’m against it.” When the owner told Pfleger, he is trying to get himself a name, the supporters laughed. “How are you, sir,”? asked Pfleger. The owner said he is 35. “I’m 63. Do you think I care about a name.”

The two went back and forth with Pfleger reminding him he had people come to his store buying cigarettes every day. They were minors. Pfleger said he will not ignore it.

Later, the store owner shook hands with Pfleger and said he wants to meet with him Monday morning. He took a copy of the Community Agreement Form.

Pfleger’s supporters began singing, “Peace today is mine.” After the police arrived, and it took a long time for them to come to the store, the officers checked the store’s licenses and after taking the clerk and the owner in the back of the store out of view of the public, emerged and said, “The owner wants you to leave his store and don’t come back.”

A stunned Pfleger told the officer, one who wore a white shirt, this is a public store and the owner can’t keep people from coming there, the officer repeated the owner’s demand that they leave and stood in the entrance blocking any entry into the store.

While police did issue a citation to the owner who has to appear in court on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 10:30 a.m. at 400 W. Superior in Room 102, there was a lot of drama going on between Pfleger and a store employee who refused to sign the agreement which lists the store name, address, phone, owner’s name, store manager’s name, years in business, the number of employees including how many African Americans are working there.

Pfleger is demanding that these stores hire an African American from the community or he will shut them down. The agreement calls for the owners to sign and agree to hire an African American to work at their store, to not participate in any illegal activities at their place of business, agree not to operate a dirty, unclean business or allow people to gather outside their stores.

Earlier, Pfleger stopped at the Throop Food Mart, 1259 W. 79th Street where after the clerk called the owner, the he signed the agreement.  Pfleger explained he is not trying to shutdown the store but wants merchants to respect the community.

Pfleger and his supporters went to the Phillips 66 Gas Station at 79th and Ashland where Pfleger pointed to a man with a white shirt and red hat he says is selling loose cigarettes to minors. When one man denied the allegation, Pfleger said, “Ultimately, if he sells them on your property, you’re the one who is going to get arrested.”

The man said he has filed a complaint against that man. “If you go in the store and ask for a cigarette and you tell them see the guy outside, that’s not good. That means you’re with it.” When the man denied it, Pfleger told him someone he sent there was told to see the guy outside. The gas station owner later signed the form and had it delivered to Pfleger before the march ended.

The march ended at the steps of Saint Sabina’s rectory where Pfleger said, “When we first did this at the gas station, they (the police) put him in their squad car and make an example of him, we are not getting that kind of cooperation now. Obviously, the tone afterwards was the police were more protective of them than us and that is unfortunate because we are trying to work them. This is not about anti anything.”

Referring to the years he took on the stores for selling drug paraphernalia which led to a state law banning these drug equipments and the lessons he learned back then, Pfleger said, “You got to make an example of these stores…. People who come in communities and open these stores be they black, white, brown, they don’t care. They are just here to make money; so we got to make them do right. No one is just going to do right. You got to make them do right.”

Pfleger is asking his supporters to call the City Hall Consumer Service Department by dialing 311. “Grandma told me the squeaky wheel gets the oil. We’re going to become a squeaky wheel,” said Pfleger.

In declaring a victory, Pfleger said, “We stopped business from going on (at the M&M store), and they know we are serious.”

When asked about the Express Food Mart located at 77th Street where Pfleger and his supporters found outdated food and Pfleger got the store manager to admit he sold loose cigarettes to minors and was selling drug paraphernalia, Pfleger said the store has allegedly hired a black who says he is retired and is satisfied with making $5.00 an hour. That isn’t good enough for Pfleger who said, “That’s not acceptable. That’s slave labor. We want minimum wage. We want a legitimate job.”

Referring to WVON’s Mark Wallace, who was also present, Pfleger said he is putting out the message for 50 churches to each go out into the community to call for peace and an end to violence. Pfleger is urging everyone to join him next Friday, July 6, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. “We have to keep the pressure up,” he said.

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.

This Sept., EXPO CHICAGO transforms Navy Pier into major art and design Hub

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Art lovers, artists, gallery owners, cultural journalist and more will convene in Chicago this September when EXPO CHICAGO transforms Chicago’s Navy Pier into a mecca of modern and contemporary art.


The inaugural presentation of EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary/Modern Art and Design will feature 100 top galleries, and close to 20 “younger,” even more adventurous galleries. The event is a destination where guests will enjoy works by all the leading names in 20th and 21st Century art. The “buzz” seems to be EXPO CHICAGO is going to be one of the leading art fairs in the world – and the first fair has yet to happen!


Some of better know galleries committed to date include: Alexander and Bonin (New York); David Zwirner (New York); Matthew Marks Gallery (New York, Los Angeles); Galerie Karsten Greve (Cologne, Paris and St. Moritz); Galerie Hans Mayer (Düsseldorf); Annely Juda Fine Art (London); Kavi Gupta (Chicago, Berlin); Barbara Mathes Gallery (New York); The Mayor Gallery (London); Luhring Augustine (New York); Sean Kelly Gallery (New York); Yvon Lambert (Paris); Leo Koenig, Inc.(New York); Galerie Buchholz (Berlin); Galerie Lelong (New York, Paris, Zurich) D’Amelio Terras (New York); Anthony Meier Fine Arts (San Francisco); The Pace Gallery (New York); and Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago).


The fair itself will be a site to behold, designed by Studio Gang Architects, headed by MacArthur “genius” Jeanne Gang. She and her team will take full advantage of Navy Pier’s generous Festival Hall, and will also be the subject of a major Art Institute of Chicago show that opens during EXPO CHICAGO.


World renowned Chicago Chef Michael Kornick (of MK) will be choosing some of Chicago’s best chefs to create signature dishes on-site at Navy Pier during the days of the fair in a chef-a-day initiative that highlights Chicago’s culinary scene to visitors of EXPO CHICAGO. Specific names will be confirmed by mid-July.


We also will have a series of exciting large-scale presentations. For example
• Gordon Matta Clark’s legendary Garbage Wall (1970) will be recreated using trash from the Chicago River.
• Dawoud Bey is curating a show of five acclaimed artists who, in turn, will choose a piece by another artist that works in dialogue with their own.
• A special Tony Tasset exhibition will be created on-site.
• There will be an Allen Ruppersberg satellite exhibition at the fair, happening in conjunction with the artist’s show opening the same weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago.


EXPO CHICAGO will be kicked off with the return of Vernissage, a exclusive opening night preview celebration that for many years was a highlight of the city’s social and cultural calendar. Set for Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, proceeds benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

TimeLine Theatre Company announces the addition of three new company members and casting for much of its 2012-13 season

Posted by Admin On July - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
Mildred Marie LangfordClick

Mechelle MoeClick Maren RobinsonClick

TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®, is thrilled to announce that Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe and Maren Robinson have been named Company Members at the theater, effective immediately.

TimeLine also announces that casting is nearly complete for the plays in its 2012-13 season. Chicago actors who will be a part of the season include Kareem Bandealy, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Jessie Fisher, Steve Haggard, Terry Hamilton, Timothy Edward Kane, David Parkes, Rebecca Spence and Craig Spidle, among others.

Complete casting details are listed below.


TimeLine Theatre’s Company Members are the artistic leaders of the company, working collaboratively together to shape the artistic vision and choose the programming for the organization. Langford, Moe and Robinson join current Company Members Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, David Parkes, PJ Powers and Ben Thiem.

“These three artists already have exemplified tremendous thought leadership at TimeLine, representing our mission, vision and values through their work on productions and the Living History Education Program,” TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers said. “We look forward to their contributions as we keep elevating the work on our stage and in classrooms, and explore opportunities for engaging audiences in dialogue about our mission and the themes and issues of TimeLine productions.””

Powers continued: “By adding them to the Company we also further the commitment that TimeLine’s founders had — to build a collective of artists with varied skills, backgrounds, points of view and aesthetics who work as a team to help shape seasons that are diverse, unique and mission-centric.”

Biographies for Langford, Moe and Robinson are below.


Concurrent with the addition of these three new Company Members, TimeLine announces casting for the majority of roles in its 2012-13 season:

The cast for the Chicago premiere of 33 VARIATIONS by Moisés Kaufman, directed by Nick Bowling, features Janet Ulrich Brooks (Dr. Katherine Brandt), Ian Paul Custer (Mike Clark), Jessie Fisher (Clara Brandt), Terry Hamilton (Ludwig Van Beethoven), Juliet Hart (Dr. Gertrude Ladenburger), Michael Kingston (Anton Diabelli) and Matthew Krause (Anton Schindler). 33 VARIATIONS runs August 24 – October 21, 2012 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

The cast for the world premiere of WASTELAND by Susan Felder, directed by William Brown, features Nate Burger (Joe) and Steve Haggard (Riley). WASTELAND runs October 12 – December 30, 2012 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

The cast for the Chicago premiere of CONCERNING STRANGE DEVICES FROM THE DISTANT WEST by Naomi Iizuka, directed by Lisa Portes, features Kroydell Galima (Hiro, Ensemble), Michael McKeogh (Farsari, Dmitri Mendelssohn), Rebecca Spence (Isabel Hewlett), Craig Spidle (Edmund Hewlett) and Tiffany Villarin (Kiku, Ensemble). CONCERNING STRANGE DEVICES FROM THE DISTANT WEST runs January 15 – April 14, 2013 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

The cast for the Chicago premiere of BLOOD AND GIFTS by J.T. Rogers, directed by Nick Bowling, includes Kareem Bandealy (Abdullah Khan), Behzad Dabu (Saeed), Terry Hamilton (Dmitri Gromov), Anish Jethmalani (Colonel Afridi), Timothy Edward Kane (James Warnock) and David Parkes (Walter Barnes). Several roles are still to be cast. BLOOD AND GIFTS runs April 30 – July 28, 2013, at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.


Mildred Marie Langford has appeared on stage at TimeLine in MY KIND OF TOWN and IN DARFUR, and she has worked as a teaching artist for TimeLine’s Living History Education Program. Other Chicago credits include A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS (Northlight Theatre), THE CRUCIBLE (Steppenwolf Theatre), VENUS (Steppenwolf Garage/Next Up Series), WAR WITH THE NEWTS and THE OVERWHELMING (Next Theatre), ZULU FITS (MPAACT), AN ACTOR PREPARES (Logan Center for the Arts), THE GHOST IS HERE (Vitalist Theatre Chicago), FIVE FLIGHTS (Immediate Theatre), THE 13 CLOCKS (Lifeline Theatre), THE TWINS WOULD LIKE TO SAY (Dog & Pony Theatre, part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s Visiting Company Initiative), 12 OPHELIAS (Trap Door Theatre), and THE GHOST OF TREASURE ISLAND, THE BLUE HOUSE and SINBAD: THE UNTOLD TALE (Adventure Stage Chicago). Langford is a graduate of George Mason University and The School at Steppenwolf. She can be seen next in Phillip Dawkins’ new play FAILURE: A LOVE STORY at Victory Gardens.

Mechelle Moe has appeared on stage at TimeLine in MY KIND OF TOWN, THE FRONT PAGE, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR, PARADISE LOST, NOT ENOUGH AIR and MACHINAL. She also served as assistant director for WHEN SHE DANCED and has worked as a teaching artist for TimeLine’s Living History Education Program. Other Chicago theatre credits include THE BALD SOPRANO, ANGELS IN AMERICA, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and ARCADIA (The Hypocrites, a company she co-founded and served for many years as Managing Director), WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (Court Theatre) and STAGE DOOR and LETTERS HOME (Griffin Theatre). She also has worked with Lifeline, A Red Orchid, Steppenwolf and Writers’ theaters, among others. Moe received a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Actress in a Principal Role and an After Dark Award for her performance as the Young Woman in The Hypocrites’ production of Sophie Treadwell’s MACHINAL and Jeff Award nomination for Actress in a Principal Role for her performance in STAGE DOOR.

Maren Robinson has been a freelance dramaturg in Chicago for more than 10 years, working on more than 40 productions, including 11 new works and adaptations. For TimeLine Theatre she has served as dramaturg for 18 plays since 2004, most recently MY KIND OF TOWN, ENRON, THE PITMEN PAINTERS and A WALK IN THE WOODS. She has contributed to TimeLine’s educational programming both through in-class work with Living History and through numerous discussions, forums and the development of TimeLine’s Backstory, lobby displays and study guides. Maren holds an MA degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where she received the Catherine Ham Memorial Award for her play ANONYMOUS and accompanying thesis, which used the works of Peter Brook and Virginia Woolf to examine the issues of gender, writing, and absence in theatrical space. She has taught or guest lectured on dramaturgy and script analysis at DePaul and Loyola universities, the Newberry Library, Chicago Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Maren has worked with numerous other Chicago theaters including Lifeline, Camenae, Caffeine, Greasy Joan, Eclipse, Strawdog, The Plagiarists, Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum, and Steppenwolf. Maren has been published in The Center for Classic Theater Review and was recently on a dramaturgy panel at the Chicago Theater Conference at Columbia College. She is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.


TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®), Best Theatre in Chicago (Chicago magazine, 2011) and the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010), was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. Over 15 seasons, TimeLine has presented 51 productions, including eight world premieres and 16 Chicago premieres; launched the Living History Education Program, bringing the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools; and completed each season operating in the black. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 46 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production eight times.

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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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