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Archive for August 8th, 2012

Illinois, Iowa Senators Call on China to investigate Counterfeit ID Companies

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
 
Templates found in production for 20 different states
 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) yesterday wrote to the Ambassador to the United States of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Yesui, requesting the Chinese government take swift action to investigate Chinese companies producing counterfeit American identification documents. A USA Today article highlighted the proliferation of the practice, reporting the increasing sophistication of fake IDs and their widespread availability on the Internet.  
 
“Identification authentication plays an integral role in our homeland security,” the Senators wrote. “Every year, millions of passengers present a driver’s license to a transportation security officer at a security checkpoint with their boarding pass. We remain concerned that high-quality counterfeit identification documents will get into the hands of terrorists that can use them to circumvent our security infrastructure in their plot to harm our country.”
 
False identification documents can be used for identity theft to open bank accounts, obtain official United States Passports and verify employment. Companies such as China-based ID Chief, one of the leading producers of forged state identification documents, produce and sell these identification materials, such as state driver’s licenses. Chinese companies similar to ID Chief have also been found falsifying official U.S. Government documents.
 
In 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois seized over 1,700 counterfeit driver’s licenses. A PDF copy of the letter can be found here. 
 
The full text of the letter can be found below.
 
August 6, 2012
 
Dear Ambassador Zhang:
 
We are writing with grave concern regarding recent reports detailing how individuals can obtain high quality counterfeit driver’s licenses from companies based in China, as relayed in a June 10, 2012, USA Today article. Counterfeit identification documents violate our nation’s laws and undermine the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to keep our communities safe.  Given the obvious public safety and national security risks, we write to request that the Chinese government take immediate action against these companies.
 
A state identification document, including driver’s licenses, is one of the most important pieces of identification in the United States.  Driver’s licenses are used for a whole host of purposes, including opening a bank account, obtaining a United States Passport, boarding an airplane and verifying identity for employment.  Much of our daily life depends on the validity of these documents and they serve an important purpose in authenticating a person’s identity.  In 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL seized over 1,700 counterfeit driver’s licenses.
 
Unfortunately, some companies allow an individual the opportunity to electronically insert a digital photo and false biographic information into any state identification document template.  For a few hundred American dollars, whole identities can be falsely created for the purpose of receiving a state identification document.  These companies contain templates for the driver’s licenses of more than 20 states – many of which will be the standard for years to come.  One company, ID Chief, stands out as one of the largest producers of counterfeit U.S. driver’s licenses. The companies understand the harm in their behavior, which is why they mail the identification documents to their customers concealed in puzzles or clothing.  To make matters worse, recent reports have indicated that the companies use this transaction to harvest sensitive personal data to sell to identity thieves. The Illinois driver’s license is one of the most counterfeited licenses. The following is a link to the ID Chief web site and a video of the actual production of a counterfeit Illinois driver’s license, http://www.idchief.ph/videos-of-ids/.
 
Identification authentication plays an integral role in our homeland security.  For example, safe facilitation of air travel relies heavily on driver’s licenses.  Every year, millions of passengers present a driver’s license to a transportation security officer at a security checkpoint with their boarding pass.  The name on the boarding pass is matched to the name on the driver’s license presented.  We remain concerned that high-quality counterfeit identification documents will get into the hands of terrorists that can use them to circumvent our security infrastructure in their plot to harm our country.
 
In addition to inciting identity theft, counterfeit identification documents present obvious risks to our public safety and national security.  These companies are profiting from the facilitation of crimes committed in the United States, and provide no legitimate service.  We ask the Chinese government to take a strong stance and work to put an end to these companies. 
 
We appreciate your attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson endorsed by Florida SCLC Leadership

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
PENSACOLA, FL — The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) National headquarters — a 501 (c) (4) organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — and the Florida SCLC State Unit Chair held a conference call concerning the Florida U.S. Senate race. The result of the conference call had 100% of all Florida SCLC constituents voting to endorse US Senator Bill Nelson.

State of Florida SCLC Chair Art Rocker of Pensacola, FL, State of FL SCLC President Rev. R. L. Gundy of Jacksonville, FL, National SCLC Board member and Compliance Chairman Commissioner Charles Smith of Palmetto, FL and State of Florida Vice Chair Willie Battle of Fort Myers, FL unanimously voted to notify the over one hundred churches affiliated with their SCLC group to vote for Bill Nelson to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Art Rocker, who is also Chairman of Operation People for Peace, says: “Bill Nelson has fought diligently for the RESTORE Act for Gulf Coast residents and the State of Florida when many Republicans came slowly to the table to endorse it.”

Operation People for Peace represents over 15,000 minorities, including Asian American hotel owners and Latinos who are underrepresented claimants affected by the BP Oil Spill, as well as the over 400 small businesses and churches in the Gulf Coast region.

The churches in Florida represent over 20,000 parishioners who actively and passionately vote.

Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Garbage Wall” re-created for EXPO CHICAGO

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Gordon Matta-Clark’s Celebrated Garbage Wall to highlight Chicago River at EXPO CHICAGO

 

 Acclaimed Art Installation to Address Pollution Problems in the Midwest

 

CHICAGO, IL – Garbage sourced directly from the Chicago, Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers will be used to create a high-profile installation for the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary/ Modern Art and Design, taking place at Navy Pier, September 20 – 23, 2012. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and gallerist Rhona Hoffman have worked to bring the late Gordon Matta-Clark’s Garbage Wall to Chicago to highlight water pollution issues in the Midwest.

The original Garbage Wall, constructed on the first Earth Day in April of 1970 at a public event in New York City, was deeply emblematic of the focus Matta-Clark placed on art, architecture, activism, and citizen engagement. For its Chicago reincarnation, the wall will highlight the Midwest’s troubling water pollution issues and reinforce the interconnectedness of North America’s great water ecosystems, the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes via the Chicago River. The installation will inspire increased awareness and community action to change this devastating environmental reality.

“This installation at Navy Pier sits right next to the Chicago Lock—the exact point where the Chicago River connects the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system, which makes the piece all the more meaningful,” said Henry Henderson, Midwest Program Director and the first Commissioner of the Environment for the City of Chicago. “Artists and architects play a critical role in heightening public interest and awareness of environmental problems. This version of Garbage Wall dovetails with the central work NRDC has been doing to protect our region’s fresh water resources. It will encourage people to rethink their relationship with our waterways, and the shared realities of pollution locally and globally.”

“Gordon was one of the most influential and provocative figures in 1970s art and architecture,” said Rhona Hoffman, owner and Director of the renowned Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago’s West Loop. “In the past forty years, Garbage Wall has only grown in significance, as the environmental problems we’re grappling with are far more complicated and widespread.”

Tony Karman, President and Director of the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO, continues, “Matta-Clark’s legacy continues to exemplify the power of architecture and design to effect real environmental change. We can see this commitment throughout Chicago, with architects like Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, whose designs continually challenge the perceived boundaries of aesthetics and sustainability.” Studio Gang Architects has designed the innovative interior environment of Festival Hall at Navy Pier for the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO.

The construction of Garbage Wall will take place during the week of August 20-24 at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery and will be supervised by Matta-Clark’s widow and the director of his estate, Jane Crawford. This event is open to the press, but registration through NRDC is required.

To learn more about EXPO CHICAGO, including the complete list of participating galleries, please visit www.expochicago.com. Find art images, including Garbage Wall, here. 

 The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing.

Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Kenneth Braswell of Fathers Incorporated presents Ties Never Broken(TM) Fatherhood Ministries Blue Bowtie Campaign at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ 2012 Manpower Conference

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Braswell Will Moderate “Realtalk: Rebuilding Men Rebuilding Their Lives And Overcoming Adversity” Panel

 

Panelists include Kirk Franklin, Kwame Kilpatrick and Wess Morgan


New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Championing the mission of responsible fatherhood, Kenneth Braswell, executive director of Fathers Incorporated (www.fathersincorporated.com) and Ties Never Broken(TM) Fatherhood Ministries, has been added to the lineup of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ annual ManPower Conference (www.manpowerconference.org). More than seven thousand men from all over the world are expected to attend this exhilarating three-day event designed to help all men discover their God-given gifts and talents, as well as gain essential tools to enhance their spiritual journeys. The conference will take place at The Potter’s House in Dallas, TX on Thursday, August 9 – Saturday, August 11, 2012.

This year’s ManPower Conference theme, “Where Men Talk,” will feature eminent speakers, such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and other renowned guests as Pastor Marvin Sapp, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, Bishop Michael Pitts and Pastor Donnie McClurkin to name a few, who will share a plethora of inspirational messages to equip and encourage men to be their best selves. On Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 8:30 – 10am, Mr. Braswell will moderate the conference’s culminating panel, REALTALK: REBUILDING Men Rebuilding Their Lives and Overcoming Adversity – Real conversations from men who have struggled, succumbed and faced adversity head on; but through their faith and love of God, have weathered the storms and challenges to become better men, fathers and husbands. Panelists will include: Multi-Grammy winning, multi-platinum Gospel and Contemporary music Performer, Director and Author, Kirk Franklin; Author, Educator and Public Speaker, Kwame Kilpatrick; and Award-winning Gospel vocal powerhouse and world-renowned Playwright, Wess Morgan.

“We understand that men are not without the critical need to heal,” states Mr. Braswell. “ManPower extends a powerful opportunity to restore healthy families and affords us the ability to bridge the gap in providing responsible fatherhood services to men of faith. If we are to build healthy families, working with men must also be a priority.”

In addition to the panel, Mr. Braswell and Bishop Jakes will officiate the Ties Never Broken(TM) Blue Bowtie pinning ceremony, a rite of passage signifying the bond between fathers never loosing ties with their children.

About The Potter’s House:

Located in Dallas, The Potter’s House is a 30,000-member non-denominational, multicultural church and humanitarian organization led by Bishop T. D. Jakes, twice featured on the cover of Time magazine as “America’s Best Preacher” and as one of the nation’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals.” The Potter’s House has five locations, The Potter’s House of Dallas, The Potter’s House of Fort Worth, The Potter’s House of North Dallas, and The Potter’s House of Denver and a Spanish language church, Casa de Fe. For more info, visit www.thepottershouse.org

About Fathers Incorporated:

Established in 2004, Fathers Incorporated (FI), a national not-for-profit organization based in New York is committed to eliminating fatherlessness and increasing the commitment of men to become mentors. Over the last several months, the campaign has garnered international attention and is supported by The White House and several major urban cities. Currently FI is the contractor for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For additional information, visit www.fathersincorporated.com, like on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FathersIncorporated); and follow on Twitter @Fathersincorp.

Photo Caption: Kenneth Braswell, executive director of Fathers Incorporated

New column offers relief from scams and awful customer service

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Nationally syndicated feature created just for consumers

 

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Consumers who feel no one is listening to them – especially the big companies they deal with every day – have a new place to turn. On Aug. 1, a weekly column began its distribution to local newspapers and popular blogs, penned by longtime consumer advocate, author and nationally-syndicated columnist Christopher Elliott.

In his debut columns, Elliott tracks down a lost e-gift card for a Target customer; persuades AT&T to honor a discount from a phone consultation; and negotiates a replacement computer for a Best Buy visitor.

Audiences won’t just appreciate Elliott’s helpful strategies for finding better service; they’ll also become fans of his feature’s irreverent attitude and wholly interactive format, which includes online polls and heavy social media engagement. Editors are sure to like the way the column attracts and retains audiences, both online and offline.

Elliott, who wrote the acclaimed book Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals, promises to go beyond offering tips in his column. Each week, he’ll find a just resolution to a seemingly intractable dispute between company and customer – be it a refund, repair, product replacement, apology, or putting the company out of business.

“Consumers want more than advice, which they can get from their friends,” Elliott explains. “They want action. My book was a manifesto for customer empowerment and the new column, written with the consumer in mind, will demonstrate the way to get the service everyone deserves.”

The concept: elevate reader engagement online and instigate a vibrant discussion about the frustration of customer service, which is no longer an oxymoron in the U.S. Elliott’s blogs are among the favorites of shoppers everywhere because they’re designed to get what is deserved from a heretofore numb corporate American culture.

Elliott is unafraid to name the executives who manage (or mismanage) customer service divisions and will go so far as to give emails and phone number for those getting the runaround.

Elliott writes the nationally syndicated Travel Troubleshooter column for Tribune Media Services. He’s a weekly columnist in the Washington Post and is editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler. His hard-hitting consumer stories have also run in Newsweek, the Huffington Post and Mint.com.

Publications Interested In Running the Column:

Newspapers, magazines, and blogs interested in running the 600-word column can do so for a free one-month trial by visiting http://bit.ly/MOIPxZ

For more information about Elliott, visit www.elliott.org/about/christopher-elliott-biography/ or email him at chris@elliott.org.

State Senator Collins announces new “Red Ribbon Cash” Ticket

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Proceeds will benefit organizations fighting HIV/AIDS among high-risk groups

 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) stood Tuesday with Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones, Department of Public Health representatives and a diverse group of individuals engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS to announce the launch of a newly redesigned “Red Ribbon Cash” lottery ticket that will fund HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness and support services.

“As a legislator, I consider HIV/AIDS to be one of the most morally compelling issues of our time,” said Sen. Collins, who in 2007 sponsored legislation creating the HIV/AIDS lottery program and this year led the effort to reauthorize the game – the only one of its kind in the nation – for another five years. “The devastating effect this disease has had in our communities – particularly among poor and minority populations – cannot be ignored. Silence is suicide.”

Sales of “Red Ribbon Cash” tickets have already raised $4 million in the past four years for organizations like Project Vida, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Emmaus Ministries and the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. Recipient groups are located not only in Chicago but throughout the state and focus on reaching at-risk populations with services such as free and anonymous testing, educational materials, counseling, medical services and housing.

The new instant-win scratch-off tickets launched today cost $3 each and give players a chance to win prizes up to $40,000. The game is expected to raise an additional $1 million for the cause, with 100 percent of the profits going to grant recipients chosen by the Illinois Department of Public Health. At today’s press conference, Sen. Collins thanked her colleague in the House, Representative Karen Yarbrough, for partnering with her to keep “Red Ribbon Cash” alive and also recognized advocates Ben Montgomery, Michael O’Connor and Mar Loveless.

“With every budget, we see funding for human services – including the fight against AIDS – slashed, so it is essential to design and support innovative ways to keep the resources flowing to those on the front lines of this battle,” Sen. Collins said. “African-Americans make up 14.5 percent of Illinois’ population but in 2009 constituted 53.4 percent of new AIDS diagnoses. We absolutely must get a handle on this disease, giving as many people as possible the knowledge to prevent its spread and the tools to live long and fulfilling lives even after learning they are HIV-positive.”

With Inquiries up over 300% the Better Business Bureau warns about Iraqi Dinar Scams

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, ILThe Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is fielding an increasing number of complaints about investment scams involving purchasing Iraqi Dinars.

 

In Dinar exchange scams, potential investors exchange U.S. currency for Dinar – on the premise that buying the Dinars could be a great investment if the value of the Iraqi money were to increase. It appears that in some cases these companies are not providing the Dinars nor are they returning the money back to the customers.

 

The BBB has had 2,206 inquiries for this type of business for this 12 month period, compared to 529 for the previous 12 months; an increase of 317%. There were also 12 complaints for this 12 month period, compared to 5 for the previous 12 months; an increase of 140%.

 

“It is extremely important to look into the company that you are investing your money into,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “This is true with any investment you make. Take the time to find out information on the company and make sure they follow ethical practices and provide the services they advertise.”

 

The BBB offers the following tips to help to avoid investing in a potential Dinar scam:

  • Make sure the company has authentic currency. It is important when working with Dinar to make sure that you are receiving legitimate currency. It is necessary to do some background research on the currency and understand what you should be receiving. It is also important for the company to provide a money-back guarantee in case something happens and you never receive the Dinars.
  • Make sure the company has a long history. When investing in a company it is important to be able to look at the company history and see that it has established itself over time. By having a long history of business, it shows that this is not a business that will disappear over night or take the money and run.
  • Make sure the company is transparent. Transparency is extremely important in a business, especially one in foreign currency. It is important to know who is running the company and where else the company is connected. It is also very important for the business to be up front about the worth of the money and give basic estimates about growth opportunity in the future.

 

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

“Worrying about my Black Boy’s future in America”: Former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
Trice Edney Communications
 

 

By Allison R. Brown

America’s Wire Writers Group

 

My husband and I fuss and fret over our black boy.

 

Like other parents, we worry about a lot. We want him to use his smarts for good. Do we coddle him too much? We want him to be tough and kind, but assertive and gentle, and not mean. His boundaries of independent exploration are radiating outward, concentric circles growing farther and farther from us.

 

We wring our hands and pretend to look away in acknowledgment that he’s ready to claim his freedom, even as we cast furtive glances his way. We’re beginners in the worry department. He’s only 9 years old.

 

Our angst certainly isn’t unique among parents of black boys. What’s unique for us and for other such parents is that when we peek inside the matrix, we panic. Agents out there are bearing down on our son – bloodthirsty for his dignity, his humanity – as if he were the one. We feel outnumbered, but we hunker down for battle.

 

This is not a paranoid conspiracy rant. Recent data from the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education reveals that black boys are the most likely group of students to be suspended or expelled from school. Black men and boys are more likely than any demographic group to be targeted – hunted, really – and arrested by police.

 

Meanwhile, the number of black males taking advanced courses in elementary, middle and high schools and entering college remains disproportionately low. Suicide among black boys is increasing. Media imagery and indifference have locked black boys in their sights. Prisons have become corporate behemoths with insatiable appetites for black and brown boys and men.

 

My husband and I rightfully agonize about our boy. We agonize alongside many who are working to help, including the federal government. I know firsthand the work that the federal government has done and is doing to improve circumstances for black boys. This includes internal memos and meetings, interagency planning sessions, public conferences, community meetings and listening sessions, and now a White House initiative.

 

I also know that the federal government is accountable to numerous constituencies that sometimes have conflicting needs. Federal government workers must walk a fine line among varying public interests, which occasionally has meant unintended consequences for black boys.

 

For instance, in 1994, the federal priority of “zero tolerance” for anyone bringing a weapon to school was signed into law as the Gun-Free Schools Act. That priority reached fever pitch after the Columbine school massacre in 1999 and subsequent copycat slayings and attempts to kill. Federal requirements were overshadowed by local authorities and school administrators who stretched the parameters of “zero tolerance” in schools beyond logical measure to include, for instance, spoons as weapons and Tylenol as an illegal drug, and to suspend and expel students as a result.

 

“Zero tolerance” has entered the realm of the ridiculous. Many schools have removed teacher and administrator discretion and meted out harsh punishment for school uniform violations, schoolyard fights without injury and various undefined and indefinable categories of offense such as “defiance” and “disrespect.”

 

Students are suspended, expelled and even arrested for such conduct without investigation or inquiry. There is no evidence to support use of exclusionary discipline practices as tools for prevention, and they have no educational benefit. The brunt of this insanity has fallen on black boys.

 

Recent federal priorities have targeted harassment and bullying in school to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from peer-on-peer discrimination dismissed by, and in many cases encouraged by, school administration. Again, understandable.

 

The goal is praiseworthy – to protect, finally, a population of students and segment of society that has long been a whipping post for every political party, ignored in political discussions except to condemn. While my husband and I have ardently supported federal protections for LGBT students, practically speaking, we continue to lose sleep over our black boy.

 

Another peek inside the matrix tells me that the fever pitch around this latest federal agenda item will mean a significant cost to black boys when new categories of offense are created, new ways to characterize them as criminals unworthy of participating in mainstream education or society.

 

It’s one thing for educators to guide student conduct and educate students about how to care for and respect one another, which is a primary focus of the federal move against harassment and bullying. It’s quite another to change mindsets of adults who run the system, too many of whom believe and speak negatively about black boys and what they cannot accomplish or should not do.

 

To speak and think affirmatively, to affirm behavior and black boys as people, is to relish the silly jokes they tell within their context, to compliment them on their haircuts or groomed and styled dreadlocks and cornrows, to adopt lingo they create and add it to classroom repertoire, and to invite their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins to participate in the educational experience.

 

To support black boys is to celebrate their physical playfulness and the unique ways in which they may support and affirm one another. As with any other children, we must teach black boys through instruction and by example how to read and write, and how to conduct themselves without erasing their identity and attempting to substitute another. We must hone their instincts, whims and knowledge base so they can be empowered to exhibit all the good in themselves. We must be willing to show them our human frailties so they know how to get up and carry on after falling down. Yes, these things can benefit all children, but many children receive them by default. Black boys do not.

 

To love black boys is to refuse to be an agent of forces clamoring for their souls and instead to be their Morpheus, their god of dreams, to help them believe in their power to save all of us and to train them to step into their greatness. Those agents in the matrix are real. If everyone combines forces and uses common sense, we can declare victory for black boys and eventually all of us.

 

But without a change in mindset, federal initiatives, no matter their good intentions or the incredible talents that give them life, will continue to leave black boys by the wayside as collateral damage.

 

My husband and I will continue to fret, knowing the formidable challenges our son faces. We hope that if he has a son, that boy can be just a boy.

 

Brown is a former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section. She is president of Allison Brown Consulting, which works with educators, students, families and other key stakeholders to improve the quality of education, especially for black boys. America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com.

 

Chicago activists to re-launch boycott of anti-gay Chick-Fil-A today

Posted by Admin On August - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
(News from the Gay Liberation Network)
 
(Update to article posted on 8/6/2012)
 
 
Targeting the millions of dollars that fast food chain Chick-fil-A gives to promote discrimination against gays, equal rights activists in Chicago will re-launch a boycott of the corporation with an evening rush hour protest on Wednesday, August 8th. The protest will be at 4:30 PM at the chain’s only currently open outlet in Chicago, located at 30 E. Chicago Ave.
Over a year ago the Loyola University chapter of the National Lawyers Guild launched a boycott of the store, which is leased from the university, but the boycott was little-known off of campus.  With the controversy generated by recent statements against same-sex couples by Chick-fil-A corporate leaders, equal rights activists hope to put a larger dent in the firm’s bottom line.
 
“As our movement against Anita Bryant showed a generation ago, even very entrenched bigots can be defeated by smart and effective use of boycotts, demonstrations and other direct mobilizations of LGBTI’s and our allies,” said Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation, the group which initiated next Wednesday’s protest.   
 
As a 2007 Forbes article noted, “The parent company asks people who apply for an operator license to disclose marital status, number of dependents and involvement in “community, civic, social, church and/or professional organizations…. Chick-fil-A, the corporate parent, has been sued at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment discrimination, according to records in U.S. District Courts. Aziz Latif, a former Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston, sued the company in 2002 after Latif, a Muslim, says he was fired a day after he didn’t participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program in 2000. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.”
 
For those LGBTI people who do get employed by Chick-fil-A, the corporate culture could be interpreted as constituting a hostile working environment against them.  This may not be illegal in much of Chick-fil-A’s southern bastions, but is so in Illinois.
 
For more information about Wednesday’s protest, contact the Gay Liberation Network at 773.209.1187 or email LGBTliberation@aol.com 
 

 

Bryant was a former beauty queen and TV spokeswoman for Florida oranges and orange juice. Her anti-gay career was entitled the “Save Our Children” crusade. It led to huge spikes in anti-gay violence in city after city that it visited.  A huge proportion of our country’s early pro-gay legislation was repealed as a result of Anita Bryant’s movement.

“But she was defeated not by an expensive, slick ad campaign run by high-paid consultants,” said Thayer, “but by the mobilization of countless thousands of LGBTI’s and our allies in the streets of America.  The successful boycott of Florida oranges, and the rallies and marches that accompanied it, was our slick ad campaign.”

While many charges of censorship have been made against Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno (D-1st) for apparently wanting to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening a store in his ward, GLN contends that both Moreno and his critics miss an important point.  While it would be illegal censorship for the government to prevent a business from operating based solely on its leaders’ bigoted statements, there is evidence that Chick-fil-A may be in violation of bedrock civil rights principles that should prevent it from operating.

 

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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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