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Archive for July 16th, 2012

Street Dedication for the Gardners: Ed & Betty Gardner hailed as “national treasurers”

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Spencer Leak, Sr. to resurrect “No Crime Day”


By Chinta Strausberg


Hundreds attended a street naming ceremony, hosted by Black on Black Love and the City of Chicago, under the theme “Celebrating the Gardner Legacy” that honored and named a street after Ed and Betty Gardner – called a “national treasurer” in American – with Rev. Spencer Leak, Sr. vowing to resurrect “No Crime Day.”

The powerhouse couple who began their hair care business in their basement later moving it into a sprawling building at 8830 S. Dobson which is now the home of WVON, were lifted up as an excellent role model for generations to come.

Included among the guests were Mistress of Ceremony Merri Dee, Masters of Ceremony, Reginald Mitchell, Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th), former Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd), WVON President/CEO Melody Spann-Cooper, Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, Professor/author Timuel Black, Father Michael L. Pfleger, Rev. Spencer Leak, Sr., former U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris and his wife, Dr. Berlean Burris, Peggy Montes, founder of the Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Frances Wright and the Gardner children, Gary, Terri, Guy and Tracy and seven grandchildren.

Hailed not only for their business prowess in raising the bar in the ethnic hair care industry, the Gardner’s were also praised for their community-mindedness and philanthropy including their huge financial support of then Congressman Harold Washington that led to the election of Chicago’s first black mayor but also for launching the historic Black on Black Love (BOBL) campaign in January of 1983.

Looking at the Gardners whose hands were clasped tightly together, Pfleger said, “I come to honor and celebrate your success, your entrepreneurship. You’re a role model. You are a national treasurer in this country. You are an icon in this country. You are my hero and I thank you. I thank you that you used your success not as an escape like so many do, but you used your success as a platform to make transformative change in America.

“Whether it was the election of Harold Washington, whether it was the community restoration like the Regal Theater, but I especially want to thank you that before violence was a genocide that it is now, before violence was a national epidemic now, before violence was the business that it is right now that America and those in power had listened to the Gardner’s we would not have had the murder on our streets we have right now had they listened to your voice,” Pfleger said.

“You not only told us not to hurt and harm each other but to love each other. You were doing what churches weren’t doing. You were doing what the mosque and the synagogue weren’t doing. You were trying to pastor us and nobody was ready to hear it,” he said.

“I thank you for your movement, and I pray that we’re still listening to you while you can see it. Thank you for staying in the community because you could have left at anytime….” Pfleger thanked the Gardners for making a difference in the community.

Quoting from the bible, Pfleger said, “We shall be known by our fruit. Thank you for all of us and so many across this country whose dining room tables are better because they’ve eaten the fruit of Betty and Ed Gardner. God bless you. I love you,” Pfleger told the couple.

Also celebrating the life of the Gardners, was Rev. Leak, who is chairman of the board of Black On Black Love, who said he’s trying to walk in the footsteps of Mr. Gardner now the grandfather of seven children.

 “I think Black on Black Love emanated out of outrage,” bellowed Leak. “Where, Father Pfleger, is the outrage in the city of Chicago”? Referring to his role as president/CEO of the Leak and Son’s Funeral Home, Leak said every week he alone sees two mothers who have lost their children to gun violence.

“Where is the outrage”? Leak said Mr. Gardner, who proudly wore two buttons, the blue and white 1983 Washington for mayor and the Black on Black Love button, was outraged over the crime committed against one of his employees.

Looking out over the audience, Leak credited Mr. Gardner for being pro-active and combating crime then issued a challenge “get out there on that road and be an Ed Gardner” who launched the Black on Black Love campaign in January of 1983.

Frances Wright, president/CEO of BOBL, said the initiate was born after one of Soft Sheen’s employees was shot.

While the worker didn’t die, Gardner was furious and launched the BOBL campaign to replace the black on black crime he said was destroying the community. Taking out full-page ads, Gardner made a personal appeal to the black community to end the “senseless” violence and learn to love one another. Wright became the director of the BOBL campaign.

When asked if it isn’t time to resurrect the Black on Black Love campaign, Wright said Rev. Leak wants to do a “No Crime Day” because “it’s needed.” “The community needs to hear from a strong voice on stage that we can make a difference. If people don’t know that things can get better, then they don’t work to make it better. No Crime Day will give us that platform…,” said Wright.

Judge Evans, who once worked at the original Regal Theater on 47th Street, said, “This is truly holy ground” and that the street naming of the Gardner’s “symbolizes the compassion that they stand for. They practice what they preach. They talk about the value of peace, integrity and fairness and love and they practiced it.

“They told us how beautify they are as they embraced Soft Sheen,” said Evans. They told us how capable we are as they helped people like me and Harold Washington…and they told us if we were not careful we would be killing each other….” “Every time we look up at the street named for you, we will remember the compassion you shared with us and some day even in this city we will practice love for one another because of the Gardner’s. Thank you for all you’ve done for us,” said Evans.

Thanking the Gardner’s for their leadership and entrepreneuralship, Ald. Harris thanked the couple for their leadership and for being great entrepreneurs and for spending their personal money and time to develop the Regal Theater. “I say thank you to them for their great leadership and achievements and commitments to our community,” said Harris.

Professor Black, who is 93, said the Gardners are “ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things.” Black said when the late activist Lou Palmer said, ‘We shall see in 1983,’ “there was almost nobody who believe that electing an African American mayor would be possible.”  

After Renault Robinson, who chaired the African American Patrolman’s League, went to the Gardners and they donated a huge amount, Washington supporters put 263,000 new voters on the book but that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Gardner who reached out to his business friends and raised $1 million. Washington was elected Chicago’s first black mayor on April 12, 1983. The Gardners, Black said, “are the kind of people that can make this a better world.”

Thanking the mayor of Chicago, who was not present, the volunteers, community leaders and his children, Mr. Gardner said, “When you talk about crime…, you really talk about yourself…. That child is you; a reflection of you and all that God put you here to do to the continuation of you….

“Our purpose in life was to do all we possibly can …to make life better for all human beings,” he told a cheering crowd. He thanked the beauticians who helped him perfect his Soft Sheen Product that was named by his wife.

Gardners children, Gary, Terri, who said she’s being paying Social Security since she was 8-years-old, Guy and Tracy Gardner who spoke loving about their father who thanked former Soft Sheen workers and beauticians that were in the audience. Terri Gardner said they all worked hard. “This is the stuff we need to keep in mind. We have to hold that vision in our minds and hearts that we can make it better. We can’t give up… Let there be love, She said.”

Following in his grandfather’s and his father’s footsteps is Kyle Gardner, 27, the youngest son of Gary Gardner who owns the Namaste Laboratories similar to the Soft Sheen Company. “I want to try opening my own business some day like my dad and my grandfather and then also to give back as much as I can. Let God guide me and whatever he has in store for me,” Kyle Gardner said.

While the Gardner’s children were pivotal in the success of the Soft Sheen business, not all of them will join their siblings in the beauty/hair care industry. Brandon Gardner, 28, the oldest son of Gary Gardner, is a third-year medical student at the University of Chicago. “I want to serve the community as a doctor just like my grandfather did but in a different capacity.” He wants to specialize as a pediatrician or a cardiologist.

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.


Schools promote healthy eating habits through Expanded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Schools statewide receive a total of $4.9 million to increase fruit and vegetable offerings; More students have access to healthy eating choices


SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 267 schools in Illinois will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2012-13  school year. The schools, both public and private that already participate in the National School Lunch Program, will share equally in more than $4.9 million, up from last year’s grant amount of $4.7 million that served 215 schools.

“This is a valuable federal program that improves access to great fruits and vegetables,” said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “This program helps children from low-income families feed their minds and bodies with good nutrition and promotes healthy habits for life.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program requires participating schools to allocate between $50 to $75 per enrolled student, with the majority of those funds being spent on fresh produce. Program funding runs through June 30, 2013.

FFVP provides all students in participating schools access to a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables at least twice a week. It allows schools to make available the additional produce anytime during the regular school day, except during breakfast and lunch.

The goal is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. For example, schools can incorporate nutrition education into numerous daily classroom activities such as math, health, geography and science, by developing lesson plans involving fruits and vegetables. Some schools have initiated a “Vegetable of the Day” to entice students to try produce they might otherwise not have access to and increase nutrition education efforts.

Marquardt School District 15, based in Glendale Heights, first participated in the program in 2008 and has since received grants for three of its four elementary schools where students are exposed to everyday fruits and vegetables as well as more exotic treats such as kiwi, starfruit and jicama. Fruits and vegetables are delivered to classroom three times a week, along with detailed nutritional information, and the district also organizes monthly fruit and vegetable bars and special events such as Farmer’s Markets.

“The program has been wonderful,” said Dr. Loren May, District 15 Superintendent. “We’ve seen excitement over fruits and vegetables. We’ve also seen evidence of increased fruit and vegetable consumption in our regular lunch program which is evidence to us that the program is working.”

The USDA first piloted the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in 2002 and it was expanded to include all states for the 2008-09 school year. More than 400 schools statewide applied for the 2012-13 grant. Each school will be reimbursed on a monthly basis for allowable expenses up to the school’s total awarded amount. The fresh produce purchased under this program cannot be used to replace fruits or vegetables already being served to students at breakfast or lunch.

The complete list of 267 schools in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program as well as a map of the selected schools is online at: http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/htmls/ffv_program_awards1213.htm)

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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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