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Archive for July 17th, 2012

Congressman Rush, community get victory in Metra accord

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Congressman Rush, community get victory in Metra accord

Blacks to get up to $23 million for Englewood Flyover


By Chinta Strausberg


The Metra board’s approving of the $93 million contract needed to build a South Side railroad bridge paved the way for the president of IHC Construction Co. to sign an historic agreement Monday at the Kennedy King College that will allocate up to $23 million for the Englewood Flyover project and open doors to hiring blacks—an act Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) said will stem the violence.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was the culmination of nearly two-months of protesting led by Rush who demanded equity in the letting of an $86 million Englewood Flyover contract where only one African American received a $112,000 security guard contract.

Rush, Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-7th), Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-2nd), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Father Michael L. Pfleger, activist Eddie Read and hundreds of others marched on Metra’s headquarters demanding that the Engelwood Flyover contract be re-bid.

Monday, their protestations came to a victorious halt when IHC Construction President David Rock, who was the lowest bidder for the job, signed the Memorandum of Accord. Rock said, “Getting the contract awarded is a positive thing and it creates work for everybody.”

Earlier Monday, it was Metra Chairman, Larry Huggins, who confirmed that an agreement had been struck between the IHC Construction and the three congressmen. The accord, Rep. Rush said, “completely empowers and enables black contractors to be a part of the work performance here up to at least 21 percent of the total jobs.”

Referring to the Metra Board of Directors approving IHC Construction as the prime contractor for the job, Rush said the Metra Englewood Flyover project “is now on the right track. The voices of the people have finally been heard.”

Rush said Rock has agreed “to an historic level of African American Community Outreach, partnering and mentoring in order to identify subcontracting and job opportunities.”

According to Rush, local qualified African American construction companies will received the support they need to bid on up to 21 percent of the total construction cost. “That’s more than $19 million worth of work and that’s just to start,” he said. Rush said the contract is up to $23 million.

“We expect to see companies from this community building bridge drainage systems, doing site demolition, wall construction, landscaping, asphalt paving, excavation, pavement marking and more,” Rush said during the public forum.

He said a community liaison would be appointed to work with all the parties “to insure that the opportunities for jobs and contracts are real.” Rush said a contractor summit would be held in mid August where technical questions will be addressed.

Rush said that would eliminate any misunderstanding about contracting requirements and the qualifications. “For this to work, commitments made on both sides by all parties must be kept,” said Rush who explained this process began in his D.C. office in October of 2009 when he met with Metra officials and let them know that black contractors “could not be looked over” in building the Englewood Flyover.

“We know that the best stop the violence initiative is a get a job initiative,” stated Rush. “Our young people are smart and talented and hard working but they need a chance. They need a shot at not getting shot.”

The process used to hammer out an accord for the Englewood Flyover project is aimed at building capacity among African American contractors. Rush said the resulting Memorandum of Agreement “is a protocol…a framework for community inclusion that can be used in the future by contractors not only in Chicago but throughout this state and nation.”

Rush thanked Judge Michael Stuttley, Hal Baskin, and Henry English “for their expertise and dedication.” He also thanked Aldermen Sawyer (6th), Howard Brookins (21st), Willie Cochran (20th), Father Michael L. Pfleger, the staff of Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) and Mattie Hunter (D-3rd) for their “street heat” in protesting for fairness. Rush also thanked Rock for working with the community. “He chose to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

Rep. Davis said his participation entailed marching and demonstrating. “It was a comprehensive approach and all of the things came together to produce the Memorandum of Understanding. What ever anybody did, if they marched one block, they were a part of making it happen. If they called up one person to get them to come to a meeting, they were a part of making it happen.

“Individuals don’t make public decisions,” said Davis. “It takes groups of working together cooperatively and anytime you get enough of them, something’s gotta give.”

Henry English, president of the Black United Fund of Illinois who was on the panel, said, “Since I was part of the participation, I feel good about it. I think this is how we have to protect construction projects into the future to make sure that the African American community is involved in it and that they benefit from some of the tax dollars that are spent for all of these projects that will come down the line.”

English said the final agreement “is not perfect, but it’s a giant step” and said “it will take us across this country.”

Senator Collins said, “I commend Congressman Rush for his leadership, in conjunction with Congressmen Davis and Jackson, in challenging the lack of African American participation in the Englewood Flyover Project.

“The memorandum of agreement signed today ensures that the citizens of Englewood will have access to jobs and economic opportunity,” she stated.

Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger, was not present at the forum but thanked publicly by Rush, said, “I thank Congressman Rush for taking the initiative on this and for demanding fairness and equity.

“Unfortunately, that is what has to happen if we are going to change what business has done. I thank him for picking up the banner and working for this,” said Pfleger. “I support this. I believe this now has to be the precedent on every project and not just on the South Side.

“This was a no-brainer in the middle of the community,” Pfleger said referring to the building of the Englewood Flyover in the heart of the black community. “It should be on every project,” Pfleger stated.

Saying he’s been in this community for 52-years, Hal Baskin, executive director of the People Educated Against Crime in Englewood, said, “This Memorandum of Understanding is just a first step. It ain’t all what we wanted to get in it, but you have to make some compromises but coming out from less than 1/10th of 1 percent up to 21 percent is a good thing. “

“If you give individuals an opportunity, they can change this concept and this concept will be a paradigm throughout this country if not the world,” said Baskin who along with Judge Stuttley and English helped to hammer out the accord.

Referring to the contract meetings, Baskin said, “It was like pulling teeth. This negotiation wasn’t easy,” he said saying it took nearly two-months to reach an agreement. “But, there has been some pull and take on both sides….”

He’s also glad that there will be some transparency in the contract letting and believes this agreement “will be a roadmap” for future projects no matter what agency is letting contracts. Baskin said, “We’re going to hold their feet to fire” and make sure they hire blacks from the community. “Our mission was accomplished…. The whole country was looking at this piece….”

Rush said, “We are going to build a bridge that is not just a gigantic block of cement. We are building a bridge to the equal opportunity that this nation promises. We are building a bridge to African American inclusion in future construction work and professional services across this city and nation. We are building relationships that we believe will go beyond Englewood…beyond this one project. I believe this Flyover can help our people to cross over the barricades that have blocked progress in the building trades for decades. I believe the Englewood Flyover will truly be a bridge to the future,” said Rush.

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.

Atty. Robert Clifford calls for NTSB investigation into Union Pacific derailment in Glenview

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Atty. Robert Clifford calls for NTSB investigation into Union Pacific derailment in Glenview

Robert A. Clifford, lead attorney for the Lindner family in the civil action against Union Pacific,  has called for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the cause of the July 4 derailment that killed a Glenview couple.

Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, today (Monday, July 16, 2012) wrote NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, asking for the agency to exercise its “authority to investigate and establish the facts, circumstances and conditions surrounding this incident, and subsequently determine the probable cause of the derailment that resulted in the deaths of both Burton and Zorine Lindner.”

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRC) currently are heading the investigation which Clifford said in his letter had “at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety if not an outright conflict of interest.”  Clifford went on to say, “The FRA admittedly has limited investigative resources.  The UPRC is obviously biased and has already demonstrated a lack of transparency in the derailment facts that have been released to the public.”  He noted that discovering the cause of the tragedy in Glenview required the “independent, unbiased investigative resources of the NTSB” which could result in “significant nationwide safety information.”  He concluded by saying that “the NTSB is the appropriate governmental agency to independently and objectively investigate this preventable disaster.  There are lessons to be learned from this incident that can help assure that there is not an additional senseless loss of life in the future, and the NTSB is in the best position to assure those lessons are learned and acted upon.”

Clifford will be in attendance at the public hearing at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook tonight on behalf of the Lindner family.  Clifford Law Offices was brought on by the family a week ago to head the litigation.

For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 or 847-251-4877 or 312-899-9090.



Attorney General Madigan announces $3 million in funding for Foreclosure Mediation Programs

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Attorney General Madigan announces $3 million in funding for Foreclosure Mediation Programs

CHICAGO. IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that up to $3 million in funding from the national foreclosure settlement reached this year will be used to fund new mortgage foreclosure mediation programs in Illinois counties where such programs currently do not exist. 

The funding stems from Madigan’s role in securing a $25 billion national settlement in February with the nation’s five largest bank mortgage servicers – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, formerly GMAC. The settlement addressed allegations of widespread “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners.

“Effective mediation programs are proven to give homeowners a fighting chance to save their homes,” Madigan said. “Borrowers who’ve gone through foreclosure mediation have significantly better chances at receiving a loan modification and reaching a positive outcome.”

The funding announced today is available for multi-year grants to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations that can demonstrate a capacity to run effective mortgage foreclosure mediation programs. Eligible organizations must have a solid plan for starting a mortgage foreclosure mediation program that incorporates meaningful access to housing counseling and pro bono legal representation for eligible borrowers, and a sustainability plan that includes a long-term funding plan either through a dedicated filing-fee add-on or another identifiable source. Projects must also include the training of judges, key court personnel and volunteers on mortgage foreclosure mediation.

Proposals should include a brief summary of the proposed services, a budget, and background about the organization’s expertise and capabilities to provide the services. Applications are due electronically by August 15, 2012, to Deborah Hagan, dhagan@atg.state.il.us, and Tracy Celleti, tcelleti@atg.state.il.us. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.

In addition to the foreclosure mediation funding commitment, Madigan has also announced $20 million in grants for legal assistance programs. The remainder of the settlement funds received by the Attorney General’s office will be dedicated to programs and initiatives that will help to counteract the historic levels of foreclosure in Illinois through outreach to borrowers, housing policy development and community revitalization.

In addition to the funds directed to Madigan’s office, Illinois borrowers also will receive an estimated $1 billion in direct relief as a result of the national settlement. The direct borrower funds will assist those who have lost their homes, are underwater or at imminent risk of defaulting on their mortgages. The settlement also calls for completely overhauling mortgage servicing standards to prevent future abuses by lenders that many consumers have faced while trying to save their homes and during the foreclosure process.

Consumers seeking more information on the national settlement can contact Madigan’s Homeowner’s Helpline at (866) 544-7151, or visit her website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/bankforeclosuresettlement.html. Borrowers also can visit www.NationalForeclosureSettlement.com.

Simon welcomes nation’s lieutenant governors to Illinois

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Simon welcomes nation’s lieutenant governors to Illinois

Conference to promote Illinois tourism, spotlight education and veterans issues


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will host the nation’s lieutenant governors in Chicago this week as the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) convenes its 50th annual conference in Illinois.

Expected to generate over $600,000 in hotel, transportation, restaurant and tourism revenue, 30 lieutenant governors and their staffs will meet at the Drake Hotel on Wednesday through Friday to identify policies that can improve college completion rates, link veterans to employment, increase access to locally grown food and combat domestic violence, among other issues.

Simon, the NLGA’s Midwest Region Chair, and Governor Pat Quinn will conduct the conference’s opening ceremonies Wednesday morning.

“I value this opportunity to showcase Chicago and share innovative strategies to grow our state and nation,” Lt. Governor Simon said.

Following Wednesday’s opening remarks, Simon will introduce the conference’s opening session on higher education. Jeff Mays, executive director of the Illinois Business Roundtable, and Dewayne Matthews, vice president of policy and strategy at the Lumina Foundation, will discuss higher education policies that can improve college certificate and degree completion rates and connect graduates to good-paying jobs.

Simon recently advocated for passage of legislation that aims to reduce remedial needs at colleges and universities by implementing the state’s first math curricula for middle and high schools. The models should lead to more high school seniors enrolling in math courses that prepare them for college and careers. Building on this success, Simon is asking the NLGA to pass a resolution in support of state-specific solutions that will boost high school graduation and college readiness.

“America’s lieutenant governors are making a difference and as we welcome them to Illinois, this is a wonderful opportunity to share best practices and develop solutions,” Governor Quinn said. “We are grateful for our own Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, who is leading the way on education as she pushes to reach our goal of 60 percent graduates by the year 2025.”

On Friday, Simon will moderate a discussion on the role states should play domestic violence prevention, and be joined by the Acting Director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, Bea Hanson. The Violence Against Women Act, which enhances the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, is up for reauthorization before Congress.

Simon’s office is piloting a program that connects domestic violence survivors in underserved areas with family law attorneys for free via Skype. The Virtual Legal Clinic currently operates out of shelters in Peoria and Jacksonville at no new cost to taxpayers and is expected to expand later this year.

The NLGA is a bipartisan, nonprofit, professional organization for elected officials who are first in line of succession to the governors in the United States and five territorial jurisdictions. Since 2000, at least 20 lieutenant governors have succeeded governors, including former Lt. Governor and current Governor Pat Quinn. The NLGA last held a conference in Chicago 50 years ago.

MWRD Biosolids Manager Dan Collins provides insight to Vancouver, BC, Canada sewage agency

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on MWRD Biosolids Manager Dan Collins provides insight to Vancouver, BC, Canada sewage agency
For the second time this year, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD) Biosolids program manager and supervising civil engineer, Dan Collins, has been recognized for his expertise in management of biosolids, and this time, the request came from outside of the United States. Last winter, Collins was selected by the National Biosolids Management Program to mentor the city of Houston, Tex., wastewater agency’s implementation of a biosolids program. This summer he traveled to Vancouver, Canada, where officials are developing a Biosolids Management Program (BMP). Collins was invited to provide practical advice and insight and to share his experience in developing an award-winning biosolids program. Vancouver paid all travel expenses.
Collins has worked with the MWRD for 25 years and has worked with the Biosolids program since 1991. He was instrumental in obtaining certification from the National Biosolids Partnership in 2008 and advancing to Tier 4 Platinum Level Certification in 2009. For the past three years, Collins has served as the Illinois Water Environment Association Biosolids Chairperson and is on the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Biosolids Committee based in Washington, DC.
Biosolids are nutrient-rich, highly organic material developed through extensive treatment and are a superior, yet less expensive alternative to chemical fertilizer. Biosolids can be used in landscaping, for turf at parks and athletic fields and for agricultural crops. Biosolids are a better source of nutrients than chemical fertilizer and they also improve soil quality. MWRD’s biosolids are of exceptional quality based on federal standards and, as a service to municipal and commercial users, the MWRD offers and delivers biosolids at no cost.
“We are proud of our program and appreciate the opportunity to educate other wastewater treatment agencies on how they can use the material produced through their processes,” said Collins. “Many area golf courses, park districts and communities in the Chicago area are using biosolids to improve the quality of their turf, and farmers in the nearby counties like the benefits of higher yields they receive by using biosolids.”
Roz Kempe, Metro Vancouver Biosolids Project Coordinator, explained how she met Collins. “I met Dan at the National Biosolids Partnership workshop in Virginia in May at which he gave an impressive presentation on Chicago’s Environmental Management System (EMS) story that immediately inspired me to invite him to give a similar presentation to our management,” said Kempe.
On June 27 and 28, Collins presented an overview of the MWRD’s processes and procedures to the Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage Utility Coordination Committee and its BMP Advisory Team. He also provided guidance and shared best management practices during a trial field audit while touring one of the organization’s five wastewater treatment plants.
“Dan’s efforts in assisting us with our BMP were extremely valuable and much appreciated among staff and managers,” said Chantal Babensee, Waste-to-Energy and Utility Residuals Division Manager, Metro Vancouver. “Dan’s guidance in preparing us for our Internal Audit and insights into improving our whole program were well received. Dan’s presentations to our Division Managers and wastewater treatment plant superintendents were successful in creating awareness of what an EMS entails for a similarly large corporation. The progress achieved has accelerated our BMP towards the next level of certification.”
MWRD Commissioner Frank Avila said that the agency strives for excellence in all of its programs, including in its management of biosolids. “We aim to go above and beyond regulatory requirements,” said Commissioner Avila. “It is a sign of success and a credit to our hard-working staff when you have other organizations across the continent asking for our insight. Our biosolids program has developed into a strong, well-managed process that takes treated waste and converts it into a superior, usable product.”
Additional information about the MWRD’s biosolids program can be found at www.mwrd.org, and additional information about the Canadian agency can be found at www.metrovancouver.org.

MB Financial Park at Rosemont brings summer entertainment to Northwest Suburbs with “Movies Under The Stars”, July 20 and “Live Band Karaoke”, July 27

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on MB Financial Park at Rosemont brings summer entertainment to Northwest Suburbs with “Movies Under The Stars”, July 20 and “Live Band Karaoke”, July 27

MB Financial Park at Rosemont to Host FREE Movie Screenings with
 “Movies Under the Stars” Friday, July 20


Guests Can Be a Star for a Day and Sing Karaoke with a Live Band
Friday, July 27



ROSEMONT, IL – MB Financial Park at Rosemont, a new dining and entertainment district, located at 5501 Park Place, is closing out the month of July with exciting summer entertainment. Events include “Movies Under the Stars” Friday July 20 at 9 p.m. and “Live Band Karaoke” Friday, July 27 from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. on the lawn in the heart of MB Financial Park at Rosemont.


Friday, July 20 at 9 p.m. – “Movies Under the Stars,” a free movie series, will show new hits and classic favorites on a projector screen in the great lawn at the center of MB Financial Park at Rosemont. Please check the MB Financial Park at Rosemont website http://www.rosemont.com/the_park_at_rosemont.php or Facebook page www.facebook.com/TheParkatRosemont/info for upcoming events.


Friday, July 27 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.- Guests have the opportunity to be star for a day and fulfill their rock roll fantasies by singing with “Rock Band Karaoke,” a live karaoke band.


“MB Financial Park at Rosemont is proud to host programs that will engage the entire family,” said Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. “We are thrilled to start new summer traditions and are confident that our events will be a must-do in the greater Chicago area.”

Bring a blanket or chair and come spend the weekend at MB Financial Park at Rosemont. Admission is free. Food and drinks will be available from restaurants within the complex including Five Roses Pub, Kings Lanes, Lounge & Sports and Adobe Gila’s. Patrons are not permitted to bring pets, coolers, food or beverage into the park.

About The Village of Rosemont, Illinois:


Rosemont, Illinois, Chicagoland’s business and entertainment suburb, is conveniently located five minutes from O’Hare Airport and twenty minutes from Chicago’s downtown. Rosemont is home to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, a wide variety of hotel and dining options, the Allstate Arena, the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, and a host of entertainment and retail venues. Rosemont continues to grow and evolve based on the new vision of Mayor Bradley A. Stephens. MB Financial Park at Rosemont features an array of great dining and entertainment options. For more information visit www.rosemont.com.


About The MB Financial Park at Rosemont:


MB Financial Park at Rosemont is a 200,000 square-foot entertainment and dining complex that, when complete, will house eight venues offering upscale international cuisine, live music and comedy, state-of-the-art film, bowling and more. Conveniently located near O’Hare International Airport, the MB Financial Park at Rosemont is easily accessible from Chicago as well as the suburbs. The address is 5501 Park Place, a new looping street situated west of River Road between Bryn Mawr and Balmoral Avenues. A 20-minute drive from Chicago’s Loop, MB Financial Park at Rosemont is walking distance from the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, the CTA Blue Line Rosemont station and the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont and convenient parking is available.

New Memoir by a New Yorker living in Japan engages racism in a refreshing new way

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on New Memoir by a New Yorker living in Japan engages racism in a refreshing new way

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Here’s a book unlike any other written on the subject of racism by a self-identified black racist. The author, Baye McNeil, is an African American living in Japan for the past decade. His sensational new memoir entitled: Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist, has caught the attention of readers worldwide and has been causing an uproar in Japan since its release in January 2012.

The commotion has not been one of outrage, however. To the contrary, this passionate memoir has been called by readers, “one of the most honest, passionate, engaging and best written books about life in modern Japan for non-Japanese of any race,” and has garnered rave reviews from readers worldwide.

McNeil was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York where some of his earliest encounters with racism were as a child of the Pan-African / Black Power Movement. As a elementary student at a Progressive Pro-Black Family School in the 70s, between Swahili studies and Black History courses, his school’s hands-on approach to “social studies” often placed him and his classmates, placards in hand, on the frontlines of protest marches, boycotts and demonstrations against everything from police brutality and shootings of unarmed black children in New York to apartheid in South Africa and corporate-sponsored civil war in Angola.

In the early 80s, while Disco was on its deathbed and Hip-Hop was a Rug-Rat in diapers, the author was a teen member of a notorious urban cult which touted black superiority in a volatile community fraught with racial tension, and whose membership rolls held such illustrious names as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Poor Righteous Teachers. The author takes readers on a scintillating and informative journey through the heart and soul of America as a US Army soldier, which he characterized as “a propaganda pressure cooker” yet “a brilliant way to address racial ignorance,” and then back to NY for a bout with corporate bigotry as a University student in Brooklyn. It was at University that he experiences something so surprising and soul-rocking that it will racially alter the course of his life forever. At least, he thought so…then came Japan.

Prompted by his mind-altering experiences in the land of the rising sun, McNeil uses anecdotes and insights from both his youth and his years in Asia to highlight the insidious nature of racism, and the dangers of responding to it with apathy. In what the author describes as “an impassioned call to arms,” he urges readers to reconsider how they view racism. He warns that “if racism continues to be demonized as a dark aberration that only ‘evil’ people, ignorant fools, or people lacking common decency are subject to, then it will remain at large, hiding in plain sight, in our schools, offices, carpools, living rooms and sometimes even in the mirror.”

Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist is currently available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and at many other online outlets where books are sold, in both trade paperback and E-book versions.

For more details, contact Hunterfly Road Publishing at loco@himynameisloco.com or visit www.himynameisloco.com

Photo Caption: Book Cover

Father Pfleger leads entire church to murder site for prayer

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Father Pfleger leads entire church to murder site for prayer

Tells activist to “Leave my family alone”


By Chinta Strausberg


After preaching on the topic “Coming to Our Senses,” Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday led the entire church to 79th and Throop to the scene of a recent murder where they stood where a man was gunned down and prayed for an end to violence especially in the Auburn-Gresham community.

Violence will end with the transformation of the mind and a willingness to clean up their spiritual temple. Pfleger said people have the power to make a change and to end co-dependency relationships that take them down the wrong road in life. The power for positive change, he said, is literally in their minds.

While standing outside of the Throop Food Mart at 79th and Throop where 27-year-old Andrew Jackson was fatally shot late Saturday night and a 41-year-old man was wounded, Father Pfleger, flanked by hundreds of church members, said, “We want to bind up the spirit of violence, the shooting and the spirit of retaliation.”

Pointing to a pole where Jackson lay dead he says for three-hours in front of the Throop Food Mart, 1259 W. 79th St., Pfleger said, “We want to bind up the retaliation spirit.” Ironically, three-weeks ago the owner of this store signed an agreement with Pfleger vowing to hire a black from the community and promised not to break any consumer laws.

Asking the crowd to face different directions, Pfleger said, “The bible says we have the power to bind up what we bound on earth is bound in heaven. What we loose on earth is loosed in heaven. How many believe we have that power? How many know it is stupid to have that power and not use it?”

On the count of three, Pfleger asked the men to kneel down and touch the ground near the site of the murder “and bind up the spirit of violence and retaliation.” He asked the crowd to face each direction to do the same. Pfleger, who gave the sign of the cross saying “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, lead a chorus of prayers that included pleas of “in the name of Jesus.”

As church members prayed, the grocery store clerk quietly came out and with head bowed placed two cases of water on the ground for the prayer warriors.

Referring to Genesis 4:9 when the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother”? Pfleger said, “Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground. Please, I beg you, don’t get immune, don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t get used to it…. Don’t let it consume you. Let it rise up in your righteous indignation. We can stop this.

“I believe with all my heart and soul that as Moses and Joshua were called to get away from Pharaoh,” he believes “just as they overcame that Pharaoh, I know we can overcome this Pharaoh. Don’t get weary…,” he said dismissing the church at the site of the murder scene.

Earlier in church, Pfleger announced the fatal shootings outside of the Throop Food Mart. He said because Saint Sabina has been so aggressive in marching against violence “the devil must be angry because we have drawn the line in the sand. We’re not going to tolerate it.”

Pfleger said he was at a retirement party for one of the Saint Sabina members when he received a text about the shooting. He rushed to the site “and saw a young man lying on the ground dead and another on his way to the hospital at a store we’ve been fighting….”

“I want the devil to understand that does not deter me. That pushes me. I’m determined, and we will stop it.” When asked by the media if this discouraged him, Pfleger responded, “It hurts me, but it’s impossible for the devil to discourage me. God is still God. If you’re a child of God, you are a prisoner of hope. The only way I will give up hope is that God tells me he ain’t God no more. That’s the only way I’ll give up hope.”

Saturday night, Pfleger said there was tremendous anger after the shootings and when several fights broke out, Pfleger said, “We want to let them know that retaliation is not acceptable. If you use a sword, you will perish by a sword and we are not going to accept retaliation. We want to send a message to them that retaliation is not acceptable.”

Preaching on Luke: 15:17-20 and the topic “Coming to Our Senses,” Pfleger said, “If we are ever going to live in the victory that we are called to God to live in and if we’re going to walk as the over-comers God has called us and destined us and made a way for us to be, then we’re going to have to think differently.

“Until we think differently, we are never going to act differently,” he said. “Until we change our thinking, we will never change our acting.”

Pfleger said every now and then you have to “step off this merry-go-round we call life and have a coming to our senses moment.” “It’s easy in a crazy world to think crazy and if you think crazy it’s only a matter of time before you start to act crazy.”

“Crazy is not just some conscious decision rather crazy is something that creeps in little by little, creeps in your thinking…your acting. If you’re honest, when it seeps in you a little bit, you ask yourself where did that come from”?

Pfleger said a woman once came to him and asked him to take a demon out of her. “I said, ‘Excuse me. If you brought up a demon in here, I need you to get out of here, now.’” He asked her if she was saved and told her “Can’t no demon be in you if God is already in you; so all you’ve accepted is some demon to come in and have some power of influence over you.” He said she can send that demon out of her but that she had allowed “some demon to set up house” within her.

“Too often we allow crazy to set up house inside of us,” said Pfleger. Referring to storms people go through and the challenges of living every day, Pfleger said, “when all that comes knocking at your door, the line between right thinking and wrong thinking gets real fuzzy, real unclear…. It’s important every now and then to stop and ask yourself how do I think about stuff…including yourself. What’s in your mind gets followed by your actions and becomes your behavior. “Behavior starts right up here,” he said pointing to his brain.

He said people must ask themselves how to deal with the crazy things in life. “Some of ya’ll ain’t that far from being locked up. You know how I know it because I’m not far from being locked up. There is stuff everybody is going through but the question is how do you face and get through it. Do I see myself and do I see my stuff in my life the way everybody else sees it or do I see it like God sees it”? “Who is sitting in the control room of your life and determine how you respond”?

Pfleger told of a so-called black activist, Queen Sister, who has infuriated hundreds of Pfleger supporters by attacking him on Facebook including making disparaging remarks about his dead sons, Jarvis Franklin and Beronti. “She’s been trying to get me upset. She’s been doing this for years. Usually I ignore her because she’s crazy…. She’s ban from public schools. Ald. (Carrie) Austin has a court case” coming up this week.

“But she (Queen Sister) went there…talking about my son and raising the question if I contributed to their deaths and got some insurance money from my sons. You crossed the line, now. My sons never had a paycheck let alone insurance…. Talk about me. Hate on me. Call me what ever you want, but leave my family alone. You cross the line when you start talking about my family.”

Pfleger said he was at the point where “Bobo” was coming out. “I told you there’s a Bobo in each of us. Don’t let Bobo away because you never know when you may need Bobo, and she brought Bobo out…. I was ready.” Pfleger said his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright text him quoting the late Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham saying “She has nothing to lose and you have everything to lose. Don’t go there.”

“It brought me back. When the devil pushes your buttons, you have to understand that devil has nothing to lose. He’s already a loser, but you have everything to lose; so watch who is on the control panel of your life.”

Paul, Pfleger said, “Do not be conformed by the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It’s time to come to our senses. Your mind is what will mess you up. Your mind will get confused and get crazy and your mind affects your behavior and can get you into a lot of stuff. It’s not the water around the boat that brings the boat down. It’s the water in the boat that makes it sink…. Get the water out of your boat,” he bellowed.

“You and I cannot allow stuff to get in our mind and control us,” he said. “Stop allowing your condition to control you. Condition is something you go through. It’s not who you are. Stop letting what you’re going through define who you are. You have to stand up in the boardroom of your life and say that is not who I am. I am better than this. I go through a valley. I don’t live in a valley.”

“Stop letting your history and your past control your present and your future,” he told the church. “Stop letting that history take root in your mind and try to mess with you telling you that’s who you are. That’s what you can do. No. That is what I was. That is not who I am. Don’t spend more time looking in your rear view mirror than you do your windshield. It’s just a little piece of yesterday. There is a whole windshield of the future waiting in front of me. Pay attention to your future. Don’t get stuck on your past.”

“Don’t let folk around you begin to define you,” Pfleger said. “The only person who has a right to define you is the one that made you.”

When he talks to “brothers in the street,” he asked them what else can he do? Pfleger has hired 500 young people for the summer yet there are more shootings in the community. He said one young man told him, “You don’t understand. Nobody told says we’re valuable to the world. The world has told me I don’t mean nothing. I am not worth nothing so I find my value out here in the street.”

Pfleger said, “Some of the shooting out here is not about gangs. It’s not about gang turf. It’s about who is the baddest this week. Some people are just shooting to have a name on the street on a corner you don’t own…to say that you’re somebody.”

Saturday night, Pfleger, who announced that three gangs have reportedly threatened his life though he’s trying to unify them. The shooting last Saturday night, he said, was one gang shooting one of its own members. The gangs, Pfleger said are “fragmented and broken up with one another because it’s not so much about drug dealing or tourism but who has the name on the street.

“I told this brother, ‘Sir. That does not get any value of who you are. You should have wake up value. You should get out of body knowing you are somebody. You don’t have to prove you to nobody certainly by taking a life. Who do you think you are when you’re sitting in a prison cell? You ain’t bad. You ain’t nobody if you got a gun. You’re a punk because you have a gun.”

“I’d rather be broke on a park bench and hold onto my character and to my integrity than to be up some place on a pedestal and not be respected by nobody,” said Pfleger. “Some folk find their identity by what they have… or whose on their arm” but when they lose that job or person “they crash.” “OK. Clean your house…. Isn’t that what the Prodigal son did?”

Pfleger explained as people serve “that stuff or person in your life,” that person becomes an idol…some person to complete your life…that person or job is your idol and when it’s gone your life collapse and falls on the ground because what you put all of your dependency on left you.”

He told of how the Prodigal Son “came to his senses” having once been wealthy but now living in a pigpen and eating pig food. “It’s about coming to your true self, not the perpetrated self, not the front we put on…. I feel so sad for people on these jobs or in relationships where they have to respond by saying what would my boss or spouse want me to say. You spend so much time trying to be what they want you to be you lose you altogether. We all have to come to ourselves to our true self. “

That is what the Prodigal Son realized…that he was a “broke ass dude,” said Pfleger apologizing for using the word ass.  “He was a broke dude with nothing sitting in a pig pen and all of a sudden he said, ‘hold up.’ Every now and then you have to look in the mirror and say ‘hold up a minute. This is not me. This is not who I am. This is not where birth me to be.’”

“Stop lowering the bar on who you accept yourself to be because God says I’m still up here. God says I called you to be famous and wonderfully made. I called you to be the apple of your eye.” God, he said, didn’t lower his standards on who you are so why did you lower your opinions of yourself.  Do not lower the bar on your life. You need to be who God called you to be. “Every now and think you have to say ‘hold up…and check ourselves.”

“It is sad when we get to a place in our lives where we become so arrogant in our actions we no longer check ourselves,” Pfleger said. Recalling the days when people not only checked themselves but each other. “We live in a day when we don’t check each other. We don’t even check ourselves.”

“Some of us our living in this Wizard of Oz age…. If you are waiting for the Wizard of Oz or you’re waiting for somebody to come riding in your life on a white horse and save you, you’re a fool. Ain’t nobody coming in and saving your life and place you in the big house; so if you’re waiting on the Wizard of Oz might as well give up now because it ain’t happening.

“You have to understand that the power to change yourself is inside of yourself,” said Pfleger. Saying he has learned the hard way, Pfleger said, “I cannot change how somebody perceives me, but I have control over how I perceive myself. You can’t change how anybody thinks about you, but you can control about how you think about yourself. Stop giving other people power over you,” he bellowed.

“Stop giving people power to name you, define you and control you because when you give somebody power over you, over your emotions, over your actions, over your thinking, you have become their slave,” Pfleger said. “Stop giving people power over you.” To those who say they didn’t give anyone power over them they just took it, Pfleger said that is not true.

“No. Can’t nobody make you do nothing…that you don’t decide to do.” When Pfleger talks to residents, he tells them, “can’t nothing happen on this block that you do not allow.”

And for those who say they are afraid to speak out about the violence, Pfleger answered, “then you’ve allowed fear to become your idol. When you lock yourself in your house, behind your blinds, behind your door, and you become afraid and you become into this fear that roams and rules over you, you have thrown faith out the window, let fear take throne of your life and now you live as a tool of the devil. “

Pfleger asked the church to repeat: “Can’t nobody control me unless I let them. I refuse to let anybody make me a slave to them. I refuse to become another human being’s slave; so I am taking back control of my life….. This is my life….

“We can’t keep running around telling people we’re Holy Ghost filled but we’re running from everybody and everything…. How are you going to say you’re Holy Ghost filled and you’re running from every two-legged devil that comes at them? The Holy Ghost ain’t afraid of nothing. If I’m Holy Ghost filled, who am I afraid of” The Lord has not given me a spirit of fear but of boldness and a sound mind. I ain’t afraid. I got a Holy Ghost inside of me,” he told the church.

“You have the power to change your circumstance…your situation. You have the power to come to your senses and come to yourself and change your life,” Pfleger said. “You don’t need Oprah to do it. You don’t need Dr. Phil to do it. You just need God to do it. Let God be God in your life.

“If you want to think with a sound mind and have right thinking, you need to stop your co-dependency behavior. Stop feeding co-dependency relationships. Stop doing and inviting what you say you don’t like.” Pfleger said grandma would say it this way: “If you stop putting out dog food, you’ll stop attracting dogs.

“What you’re setting out is what you are drawing, the attitude, your opinion, the way you present yourself, your presentation. What you are putting out and setting out is what you are drawing, and some stuff needs to be cleaned up so you stop drawing stuff you don’t want.”

Explaining further, Pfleger said one day he told his mother he found a roach in his room. His mother told him, “I told you to stop leaving food all around your room because if you have a dirty room, you will attract roaches. I told you to stop doing that.”

Pfleger told the church, “What you are leaving around…some of you all have a roach problem and it’s not in your physical house. It’s in your spiritual temple. Stop inviting stuff you say you don’t want. Clean up your room.”

“It is time for us to come to our senses. It’s time for us to come to our true self. It’s time for us to look at what’s around us and look what is sitting around us and look at where we are at now in our life,” said Pfleger. He’s hoping that you “have a hold up moment…and who is sitting at the control panel of your life.

“The control panel is not at your job. It’s not your family. The control of your life is between your two ears,” he said pointing to his brain. Referring to the book of Genesis, Pfleger said, “We are supposed to be rulers. You’re not supposed to be ruled. You’re supposed to be the rulers….” He said God put us here to “run it” and asked since that is the mission “why is it running you”?

Admitting he recently had a “come to my senses meeting,” Pfleger said given Queen Sister’s attacks on his dead sons and on him and the fact that he is still healing from their deaths, and while he’s trying to bring unity among three area gangs that have now targeted him for death…and he continues to get hate mail every day, he said “sometimes it weighs on you.”

To get away from the tension, the threats and the personal attacks against his family by Queen Sister, Pfleger said he went for a drive and ended up Michigan City in a forest preserve he says was not very smart. He cried and prayed.

There, he said God gave him “one of those ‘are you through’ moments. Pfleger said God told him “Well, number one. You’ve been trying to bring unity in the gangs and they all want to kill you. They are all together. You brought unity.”

Pfleger said then God asked, “Whose child are you”? “God drove a conviction in me that made me weep more than I wept about the problem. I said to God, ‘I repent. How dare me put them bigger than you. You are God who is sovereign and omnipotent. You are God who is almighty and can do all things. You are the he in me that is greater than the he in the world. That is when God said to me ‘Run it and stop running.’”

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.

Black jewelry designer debuts new fall line

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Black jewelry designer debuts new fall line

New York International Gift Fair debuts fall line from Sandy Baker Jewelry: Coral, sculptural influences define modern art aesthetic


New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Sandy Baker will exhibit her new collection at the upcoming New York International Gift Fair at Jacob Javits Convention Center starting August 19. The long-standing fine jewelry brand is known for handcrafted Art-to-wear jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and cufflinks with exclusive organic inlays.

The Fall collection introduces a new modernist twist enhanced with organic sponge coral. The unique ombre hue incorporates the season’s hottest color, a robust orange, with accents of cream and cola in each piece. No two are exactly the same.

Over the years Sandy Baker has redefined jewelry for a design-conscious audience. SBJ creates carefully crafted, dynamic, modern, clean-lined mini sculptures, many of which have kinetic movement.

Sandy Baker was one the first African-Americans to boldly enter the fine jewelry industry as designer and manufacturer. Her work can be seen in the following books – “500 EARRINGS-New Directions in Contemporary Jewelry”, “BRILLIANCE!-masterpieces of the American Jewelry Design Council” and “500 GEMSTONE JEWELS”.

“My customer wants engaging jewelry that makes a personal style statement and can be worn through the day and into the evening to fit her busy lifestyle, ” Baker says. Her busy female fanbase is always on the move, so pieces are specifically designed to be lightweight, easy to wear and comfortable.

Baker’s love of the natural world inspires her work. The rich variety of natural materials includes South Sea abalone, freshwater pearls, non-endangered sponge coral, marble, mother of pearl and horn, as well as the use of non-traditional combinations of materials.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Baker continues to do what she does like nobody else. The brand has fans and followers in all corners of the globe. Her work is available primarily better gift shops, galleries and museum stores.

For more details, visit www.sandybakerjewelry.com

Photo Caption: Handcrafted sterling silver with unique sponge coral

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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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