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Archive for August 27th, 2012

More religious leaders uniting to end violence in Chicago; will hold Breakfast Meeting and Press Conference August 28th

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on More religious leaders uniting to end violence in Chicago; will hold Breakfast Meeting and Press Conference August 28th


Minister’s son shot on way to college, Rabbi says ‘no reason to own assault weapon’


CHICAGO, IL – Rev.  Clarence Smith, pastor of New Life Ministries, knows about violence first-hand. His 17-year-old son, Archie Harris, a freshman at Kishwaukee College, was shot at 1:30 a.m. Friday, August 24th in the 3500 block of West Crenshaw Street while saying goodbye to his friends.

Smith is yet another minister who vowed to attend Tuesday’s, 9:30 a.m., August 28, 2012, breakfast meeting at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington, in support of the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and passage of the HB 5831 legislation calling for the registration of all guns.

 “We were getting ready to take our son to Kishwaukee College where he plans to major in business administration,” said Rev. Smith. “My son was standing outside of his friend’s house when three guys suddenly came out from the alley and started shooting. My son was shot in his left leg.

“The bullet went in one side and out the other,” his father said. “This violence has really hit home. This has gone to another level. At Mount Sinai Hospital where they took my son, officials told me they see four to five shotgun victims a night. I feel irate about this because we hear about things like this, but now it has hit home. This time, it was my son,” said Rev. Smith.

“I have done many funerals but to hear those numbers of nightly gunshot victims literally upsets me. I understand what Pastor Acree and Father Pfleger are doing, but I’m calling for all hands on deck because we’re losing so many kids,” said Smith.

Last night the tables were turned,” Smith said. “What if this were somebody else’s kid shot in the head. All pastors, all denominations, everybody should come together. All hands on deck” are needed, Smith said, referring to Tuesday’s, August 28th, 9:30 a.m. breakfast meeting and 11 a.m. press conference at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington.

 “I will be there,” said Smith who is waiting for his son to be discharged from the hospital. “We’re going to still take him to school,” he said.

Other ministers also spoke out over the escalation of violence in Chicago like Rev. Jackie Lynn from the St. James Cathedral Church. “I know that people of faith are working together across the city and the suburbs. We can get sensible gun laws passed in Illinois.”

Rabbi Michael Balinsky, executive vice president, Chicago Board of Rabbis, said, “I cannot understand any moral reason for someone not a member of law enforcement to own an assault weapon. Too many people have been murdered already. I support the immediate need to stop the violence, to get rid of guns…. I pledge m continued involvement.”

Pastor Dwayne L. Grant from the United Methodist Church, said, “How does a kid on my block end up with the same guns they use in Iraq? You don’t need an AK47 to go hunting and you don’t need a Glock to protect your family. We have to get assault weapons off our streets,”

“Gun lobbyists suggest that reviving the ban on assault weapons will not cease potential violence, especially if a person is committed to performing the act. Let’s revive the ban and test their theory,” said Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes, pastor of West Point Missionary Baptist Church.

Understanding racism & retention: The crisis in black male high school & college drop-out

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on Understanding racism & retention: The crisis in black male high school & college drop-out

By Dr. Umar Johnson, Psy.D., NCSP, M.Ed.

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — It’s that time of year again; Black boys and young men are preparing for their first days of high school and college life. They begin with optimistic vigor and good intentions, proud that they can now call themselves freshman. However, these next four years of high school or college, statistically, are likely to provide these young Black males with some formidable obstacles that will make graduating in four years quite difficult, if they graduate at all. You can call it an epidemic, a crisis, or a societal illness; regardless of what label you use to describe this war against Black males, you cannot call it normal. Still further, you had better not be one of those growing numbers of people in this society who are increasingly choosing to blame young black men for problems that are not of their making.

I have been working with African-American & Hispanic Male high school and college students for at least 15 years, and I am proud to say that I have never “lost” a young man in any program that I have developed. Still serving as a “minority male” retention expert on the high school and collegiate level, conducting staff trainings, parent symposiums, and student conferences/workshops for high schools, community based organizations, and colleges around the world, I have uncovered 7 core factors that either create or help maintain this crisis in underachievement amongst African-American male high school and college students. Obviously, there are much more than 7 factors, but this is an article, not a book.

Before you read further, let me say that these causes and maintainers are not exclusively based on institutional factors, nor are they purely based on individual personality traits. Since all problems are multi-factorial, and will require a diverse range of strategic points of intervention, responsibility lies with everyone, from parents to academic personnel, towards eradicating what I call “The Psycho-Academic Holocaust Against Young Black Males” which threatens to make Black & Hispanic Men a permanent underclass in this society. With private prison corporations demanding 90% criminal occupancy, the mis-education of Black males creates a feeder pattern that leads from high school and undergraduate classrooms directly to the jailhouse.

As I’ve always argued, mis-education is the mother of all crime/violence, with economic castration (i.e., the failure to employ) being the father of all crime/violence. Criminals are not born, they are “made.” Made by societies who deliberately fail to provide adequate opportunities for all of its citizens, not just the privileged few. If a man cannot read/write and cannot find work a painful inferiority complex is initiated which sooner or later transforms into a rage against the society and community that failed to protect his basic rights; hence the explosive rates of Black-on-Black homicide in communities of color. Remember this, Black men who have a reason to live, aren’t interested in dying. Black men who have responsibilities that they can fulfill, aren’t likely to end up in jail. Happy people don’t kill others, but unhappy people couldn’t care less about whose life they take.

1. Failure of Superintendents/Local School Boards to Take The Lead: Every school district in the United States of America, and there are thousands, should have an office of “Black & Hispanic Male Retention & Success.” It makes absolutely no sense for top public school officials, on the local and state levels, to be so apathetic and disengaged about this problem to the point where you find almost no serious meaningful programs directed at eradicating the core causes of Black & Hispanic male failure. Furthermore, this office should not just be ceremonial and symbolic (i.e., exists on paper but not in principal) but should have enforcement power to ensure that principals and classroom teachers are following its mandates. Simply throwing money at problems (i.e., hiring White and bourgeois Black “experts” whose academic training isn’t the least bit effective in addressing the needs of the target population) through the offering of lucrative contracts to outside vendors has been a dismal failure of epic proportions. Even in school districts where I consult, my recommendations have been offered and suggested, but never required.

2. Black Parent Apathy & Disinterest: As a child therapist one of the most important findings of my career is that Black boys suffer equally from poor parental involvement regardless of whether their parents are on welfare or CEOs of a fortune 500 company. Poor Black parents are so busy working to make ends meet that they don’t scheduled effectively to participate in their child’s emotional or academic lives. At the other end of the spectrum are well-educated and financially elite Black parents whose pursuit of personal and professional status (i.e., tenure, political office, advanced degrees, etc.) find them equally guilty of emotional and academic neglect of their offspring. Racism cannot be blamed for Black parents who are putting their own agendas ahead of their children’s lives. Hence the rapid rise in ADHD diagnoses/brain drug prescriptions for children who can’t sit still because they need constant attention in school since they are not getting it at home. This is why I often re-define “Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” as a misnomer with “Absence of Daddy from the Home Disorder” as the more correct terminology in most cases involving African-American boys.

3. Lack of Culturally-Competent Black Male Teachers/College Professors: Let’s face the facts, 93% of all teachers/professors in America (Public, Private, Parochial, Charter) are middle-class European-Americans; and on the public school level we are looking almost exclusively at a White Female teaching core. The failure of Black boys has to be viewed from the perspective of a serious culturally-based disconnect between the teacher and the student. The schoolhouse represents not only a clash of races, cultures & classes but also an autocratic dictatorship where the cultural opinions of the teacher are considered superior to those of all 20-30 of his/her students. This type of classroom-based “Jim Crowism” feeds Black male uncomfortability in a school where 90% of all the employees already don’t look like him. The rumor that not enough Black males are interested in education and school psychology is utter nonsense. The truth of the matter is that not a single district/college (except Historically Black Colleges & Universities) in this country has EVER undertaken a serious and impactful Black male teacher recruitment drive. There are several national teacher recruitment programs (NTRPs) that award emergency certifications and classroom employment to bachelor-degree-holding professionals with no experience, but a desire, to teach. Not one of these national models places emphasis on recruiting Black male professionals whose presence is much more needed in the classroom than their European counterparts. In fact these NTRPs further increase disparities in the teaching corps by giving instructional positions to underprepared non-Black professionals when well-experienced, credentialed and committed Black teachers are unable to find employment. Why hasn’t president Obama sought to do just that? Because the two largest public school teacher unions in this country wield considerable financial and voter influence on election day; upsetting the racial & gender dominance that have ruled public school since the beginning of this country could be detrimental to his political future.

4. Special Education Mis-Use & Abuse: In 1975, Congress passed the nation’s first special education law, PL-94-142, the “Education for All-Handicapped Children Act.” In its short 37-year-old career, this program has sent more African-American children to “learning disabled,” “educably mentally retarded,” and “emotionally-behaviorally-disturbed” classrooms than any other racial group in this country. Special education has become, for most large urban districts, a highway to drop-out, prison, and functional illiteracy. It has become a trash can where “undesirable” Black boys are sentenced when staff/faculty don’t want to be bothered. I recently consulted on a special education lawsuit, where a school district placed a YBM in special education without parental consent or notification! In fact, I would argue that special education is one of the primary reasons why so few Black males gain entry to college, or fail to finish, as it awards high school diplomas to young men and women who have been ill-prepared for collegiate level academic responsibilities. The special education learning disability is a weapon of mass destruction that has destroyed more lives and diminished the academic ambitions of more Black youth than any other institution except prison itself. In fact, special education and juvenile incarceration should be viewed as two sides of the same coin: two institutions that have caused way more harm than good in the lives of Black boys/young men.

5. Mega-Churches Missing in Action: I have no problem with religion, which is a neutral institution that could be used for good as well as for bad. However, I must take serious issue with all these churches, temples, masjids, and spiritual centers who are doing little to absolutely nothing to stem the rising tide of Black male failure on the high school and collegiate levels. Churches (used plurally to include all religions and their denominations) are filled with educators but where are the free tutoring and mentorship programs that our young men so desperately need. It is so ironic that institutions that teach collective responsibility and duty to God are robbing the Black community with “blind faith” and giving them back nothing for their years of loyalty. We complain about ethnic minorities, with their “Stop & Go” markets selling cigarettes and alcohol to our underaged youth, running off with the wealth of the Black community, but rarely do we recognize that the Black church is doing the exact same thing. It may be time for another sit-in movement & another freedom rides initiative, only this time we need to boycott all Black churches/masjids/temples who are doing absolutely nothing to help save our sons. Black people collectively and nationally give the Black church at least $3 Million every weekend; that’s $156 Million every year, and what do they have to show for it?

6. Over-Valuation of Athletic & Entertainment Careers: The worship of pop culture in the Black community feeds the lack of commitment that YBMs (Young Black Males) have towards their academics. Unfortunately, this mentally has infested the Black high schools and even predominately White universities where Black athletes are heavily recruited but cannot be found on graduation day. In fact, Black athletes who are not drafted into the NBA/NBL/NFL, and who attempt to complete their degrees after four year of eligibility, are told by their former coaches that they cannot give money to non-athletes, regardless of the millions of dollars these athletes have brought to their schools. On the high school level, I receive regular emails from teachers, Black & White, who often complain to me that student-athletes who should be failing are made to pass, by the school principal, who is under pressure from coaches, the media, recruiters and the local neighborhood to ensure that their star athletes are ready to play on game day regardless of the fact that many of them are functionally illiterate. Only 1% of all high school athletes will ever turn professional; most of them will have to earn a living in something other than sports. Black men (fathers, coaches, principals, community at large) need to check ourselves and stop promoting this idiotic athleticism which is breeding poor academic outcomes on the high school and collegiate levels. Second only to athletics in the singing/rapper ambitions of so many of our youth, who often skip school, and forego studying, to spend endless hours writing and recording music with hopes of breaking into a career with odds even lower than those in professional sports. When do we recognize the role that that Black community is playing in the “Psycho-Academic Holocaust Against Young Black Males?”

7. Elimination of Trade Skill/Blue Collar Training Programs from High School/College: Beginning in the 1970s, as part of America’s War Against Black Men (now disguised as a War Against Drugs), and in preparation for the chemical warfare to come (i.e., the 1980s Cocaine to Incarceration War Against Black Male Youth) inner city high schools, many but not all, were stripped of the trade skill training programs (TSTPs). Until 1980, many YBMs could not only learn auto repair, carpentry, electrical repair, masonry, heating/air conditioning, auto body, wood working, plumbing, etc., but could take their state licensure/certification exams and graduate high school and enter the world of work, with a liveable wage income, the very next day. However, the Black community has since fallen for a bourgeois approach to success, that diminishes working with your hands, and replaces it with a mentality that sends all Black high schoolers to college with most of them destined to return home with enormous amounts of loan debt, and unable to find a job to help pay it all back. We have to reassess the messages that we send to our youth. The elimination of TSTPs from inner city high schools puts the future of the Black community on the shoulders of college-educated youth who have minds filled with academic ideas and theories but very little practical skill that will ensure they are able to feed their families after gradutation. There is an excess of unemployed college-educated Black youth who cannot find work. The building trades offer a lucrative alternative to a life of high post-collegiate debt and underemployment. A man who can work with his hands is much more employable that one who can only regurgitate fancy postulates and academic ideologies. This is not a push against college, as we need our professional class (doctors, lawyers, engineers, psychologists, etc), it is simply a warning against sending children there who we know have no interest in finishing. This mindset is also feeding high school dropout rates, as many YBMs who feel that since the only option for life success after high school is college, then why bother going to high school at all? Similarly, too many YBMs are enrolled in four-year colleges when a two-year building trade program would have been much more enjoyable, useful and efficient.

Dr. Umar Johnson is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Certified School Principal, Political Scientist, Freelance Writer, Motivational/Informational Speaker and Mentor. He provides workshops/trainings/conferences centered on Black Male Retention in High School & College. He provides trainings to educators/parents on multiple topics including eliminating disruptive behavior without Medication & special education/learning disability issues. A blood relative of Frederick Douglass, the late 19th century abolitionist & orator, & founder of the National Movement to Save Black Boys (NMSBB), Dr. Umar, as he is known to friends and family, speaks regularly around the world. He is currently searching for a temporary one or two-year visiting professorship/principalship at one of America’s colleges or middle schools. He can be reached for radio/television interview and/or lecture scheduling at www.DrUmarJohnson.com or directly at drumarjohnson@yahoo.com or (215) 989-9858.

Two dead, 1 shot on West 79th Street in broad daylight

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on Two dead, 1 shot on West 79th Street in broad daylight

CeaseFire: ‘Thug Life is Over,  Drugs are a Set-up’

WE CAN INC.:  ‘Community has to step up’


By Chinta Strausberg


CHICAGO, IL – The normal bustling along West 79th Street came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon when witnesses claimed two young men allegedly armed with Tech 9’s “sprayed” the area leaving two dead and a teenage girl wounded in the Chatham community—an act that Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire blames on easy access to guns and Florence Cox, president of the WE CAN INC. Committee, saying the community must solve this problem.

Shortly after the shooting, an empty CTA bus blocked the streets at 79th and Rhodes and police quickly rolled out the yellow and black police tape marking several blocks a crime scene including the Chatham shopping center at 79th and St. Lawrence where several witnesses said the body of a man was still lying on the ground. A fire truck was at the scene along side of a waiting ambulance. Witnesses said the body of a dead man was still lying on the sidewalk of the shopping center.

Allegedly, after the shooting several witnesses said they saw  two young men, who were allegedly just over five-feet tall, running and that they jumped into a black car.

Dead is 20-year-old Christopher Spraggins of the 300 block of East 76th Street. A 17-year-old girl was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center and is listed in serious condition.

A number of people gathered at 79th and St. Lawrence where the shooting took place. One woman, who asked not to be named, said she heard the shooting. “We were coming from the store when me and my granddaughter and youngest grandson come through. We got in the house, up on the back porch and all of a sudden you hear gunshots. It happened so quick,” she said. “There were about six shots.”

One man said he saw “two young guys running. They sprayed, then they ran and I turned and ran. They were on foot. They said they got into a car. After I saw two guys spraying (shooting), I ran back this way,” he said pointing West on 79th Street. “They were young guys. They were small about five-feet tall, little boys,” he said shaking his head.

Andrew Holmes, community activist and director of  “No Guns, No Violence,” said, “People told them to get off the streets because there was going to be some shooting and as soon as they said that, that is when the shooting started.

“From what I understand, they had some high-powered tech, automatic guns. I am hoping that some of these video surveillance cameras caught them or some of the people give them their license plate number,” said Holmes.

But, Hardiman said, “What’s going on in Chicago lately with the young guys out here is very different than previous years. It appears somebody is giving guns to these young guns because never before have you had these 13, 14, 15 and 16-year-olds with these high-powered weapons. These guys are getting a hold of Tech 9’s, guns with silencers on them, machine guns, AK-47’s. This is rare especially for the younger population.”

Referring to the 79th Street shooting, Hardiman said, “It is a symbol of what has been happening all across Chicagoland. Gangsters are a dying breed. That’s the reality because nobody is winning. These young guys end up shooting each other on these blocks thinking they are going to gain something and all they gain in reality is a heavy jail sentence or an early grave. Nobody wins.

“African American youth have to get the message that we are one. As long as we think we are a divided people, we will continue to have shootings and killings snatching the lives of young people all across Chicagoland,” said Hardiman.

“Homicides are at an epidemic among African American people,” he said explaining that 85 percent of the homicides are black-on-black. “There is a more systemic issue, chronic problem with black youth and the only way you’re going to fix it is that young people have to know where they come from and the history of how they got divided,” Hardiman said.

“If you unlock the mystery of what happened from the 1970’s to 2012, you will see why it is so violent in the city of Chicago right now,” Hardiman said.

When asked what is the answer, Hardiman said, “The answer right now is overall unity amongst African American people in the city of Chicago and across the nation so we can begin to see each other as one culture, one race again so we can begin to organize on a political front and organize on an economic front to help these brothers and sisters to identify another purpose to fight for as opposed to killing each other for nothing.

“We are Americans who live this country and we plan to stay here. When I say organize on a political and economic front, I’m not saying that we need to become anti-system. I’m saying we will always be within America, but we need to carve out an America for ourselves where we can live in peace and unity in all these cities across America and become part of the overall fabric of America,” Hardiman said.

“Right now, a lot of these young brothers are living their own lives in these ghettoes and they’ve been ostracized by the overall society so they’ve made their own society and in the young brother’s society they have created it’s all about their rules so killing somebody is just another day in the ghetto. Hurting somebody is business as usual. Selling narcotics, buying guns, shooting dice the overall criminal lifestyle is just a way of life in the ghetto,” said Hardiman.

“Our young brothers and sisters have to start thinking a different way,” he said like the ancestors of African Americans who worked to free them from slavery. Hardiman said blacks must know their history including the birth of the NAACP, the Black Panther Party and other civil rights organizations to “champion the cause for the underdog.

“But, right now the underdog is the African American youth out here thinking that the enemy is their brother and while they are killing one another, everybody else is taking vacations to the Bahamas, carving out big time business deals on Wall Street and these brothers are stuck on the block because they haven’t been made to think beyond the block,” Hardiman pointed out.

Hardiman said there is no one answer to stopping the violence but it includes addressing domestic violence, inter-personal violence, drugs, gangs, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, everything. It’s all a ball of confusion. You stir that pot up and when the pot boils over, anybody can get burnt because the violence is all over the place. That’s why you can’t just identify one symptom of the violence as the cure.

“People are thinking violently for what ever reason because it has been passed down from generation-to-generation,” said Hardiman. “The brothers in the 1970’s misled the brothers in the 1980’s. The brothers in the 1980’s misled the brothers in the 1990’s. The brothers in the 1990’s misled the brothers in 2012, and the beat goes on because people in the ghetto have to make a way out of no way.

“They begin to design and create these false organizations that make them feel they are part of something so now they feel they are a part of something, they are willing to die for something they feel they are a part of,” he explained.

Hardiman said they carve out two or three blocks and believe “these are my blocks. I am willing to live and die for these blocks because this is where I’m at. They learned that from other brothers who controlled the same blocks a decade ago and now they are trying to hold up and fight for something that is over. The game is over. Thug life is pretty much over.

“You have more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in prison. A lot of non-violent offenders are doing hard time because they believe in the game. Everybody wants to make some money, but it’s a big deception. The drug game is a set-up. These young brothers are losing their very lives and their freedom because they want what they really can’t have.

“They’ve been led to believe that a capitalistic mindset is the only way to go and that is why it is so easy to see these young brothers killing one another because their belief system has been placed in the wrong direction. What they believe in is not the right belief system. It boils down to ‘I’m going to do what every I have to get mine.’ It if means they will have to step on little Leroy or step on little John John, I will remove them from the face of the earth in order for me to progress not realizing they can organize little John John and little Leroy and everybody can benefit from organizing in a progress way instead of killing people over little petty issues.

“The majority of the killers in the black community are cowardly killers,” said Hardiman. “You got guys shooting unarmed people. Anybody can shoot somebody that cannot shoot back, someone unarmed….

“You got a lot of cowardly killings taking place all over the black community and the guys that are involved in the cowardly killing need to be dealt with because you cannot continue to kill your people expect to think you are going to keep getting away with it,” said Hardiman.

Saying the killing of teenagers is unacceptable, Hardiman said, “The brothers need help. The killings come as a result of brothers needing help and not getting the help they need to avoid putting themselves in a situation to kill somebody.”

On the violence, Cox said, “It’s a very sad thing. As I was walking down the street, I heard people say including young black women say this is out of control and that parents need to take control of their children. Others were saying somebody saw this. It was (done) in broad open daylight. People need to cut the code of silence in the community as it relates to the violence. People need to speak up.

“People need to go to the homes of where they know these young people and start dealing it from that point,” said Cox. “Parents need to be made responsible for the behavior and actions of their children. Some have said call in the militia, but the militia can’t do this. The police can’t do it.”

Referring to former Chicago police sergeant Edward Howard, Jr. who in 2010 was caught on tape slapping a teenager who allegedly was going to spit at him and was convicted, Cox said she is outraged that Howard lost his job and pension because he slapped a kid. “I would rather that my child be slapped than to have to go to the morgue and have to identify my child’s body,” said Cox.

“The black community has to speak up, man up, woman up and stopped this. The police can’t do it. The militia can’t do it. It’s our problem. We need to solve our problem otherwise we are not going to have a future because our future is leaving us on a daily basis,” Cox said.

She called for the resurrection of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), established in 1933-1942 for men and created jobs for those who were not married but whose families were on welfare. “They need to bring back the old CCC camp where young men went in, learned a trade, learned discipline and learned respect, and when they came through that they helped to build and re-build America.”

If this Act is still on the books but unfunded, Cox, who is the former president of the Chicago Board of Education, said, “They need to fund it. How can we continue to lose our future because the mandate has been un-funded. What is more costly, the funding of something like the CCC camp or continuing to lose your future,” Cox said.

Looking at the police yellow and black tape, Martinez Williams was visibly upset not just because of Saturday’s shooting but because his 23-year-old nephew had gotten shot more than a year ago. “How many killers have they caught in this community since this violence has been going on? How many cameras have caught the killers? I know what’s going to happen, nothing,” he said as he began arguing with police.

Ironically, Tuesday, August 28, 2012, a 9:30 a.m. breakfast meeting will be held at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington, involving more than 100 diverse religious leaders who are calling for the reinstatement of the assault weapon ban and to support passage of HB 5831 which calls for the registration of all guns due to the escalation of violence. There will be an 11 a.m. press conference following the breakfast.

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 inventor creates unique headrest pillow with bluetooth technology for IPOD/IPAD wireless connection

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on Black inventor creates unique headrest pillow with bluetooth technology for IPOD/IPAD wireless connection

The Smart Pillo(TM) has built-in HD speakers and allows users to easily lay down and wirelessly listen to music, audio books, movies, video games, and even talk on the phone

Charlotte, NC (BlackNews.com) — Shelton McCoy, a former protection agent, has just added innovator to an already impressive resume. McCoy’s resume includes being a platinum recording artist in his teen years (with his group Divine Sounds “What People Do For Money”), and also producer for major recording artist. After closing the door to that chapter of his journey Shelton McCoy took a leap of faith and moved from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA, landed a job with American Idol for 3 years and was appointed head of security for Carrie Underwood for 2 years.

Encouraged by many Hollywood friends to follow his passion of creating innovative technology, McCoy said goodbye to an amazing carnival ride with C U and says hello to Charlotte, NC, his final destination after spending a year at NDSU Incubator Technology Park, in Fargo, ND, where he honed and developed his technological inventions. (www.wday.com/event/article/id/27884/)

Today, he introduces The S1Pillo, a patent pending, state-of-the-art pillow, which offers the ultimate in audio and hands-free phone experiences. An idea that was sparked after McCoy saw a news report on CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper 360,’ which featured Dr. Sanjay Gupta about radiation from cell phones and the possibility of it causing Cancer (according to the World Health Organization).

“I thought about all the late-night calls to my friends and family where I had my phone pressed against my ear for about 3-to-4 hours every night. I also noticed that my 16-year-old daughter would lay her head on her pillow multitasking, using her head wrap to hold the phone in place to her ear so she could talk hands-free while working on her laptop. So, being a protector by nature, I saw the need, and began to envision the solution for the problem. All of this while thinking of what ‘pill’ would Dr. Sanjay Gupta would prescribe for this seemingly brain-frying nightmare… And the remedy would not come in the form of something to swallow, but in the form of a S1Pillo,” stated the SmartPillo Company, LLC’s CEO, Shelton McCoy. A company that lives by the motto; “We make simple things smart.”

Guaranteed to be a life-changer, some of the features of this ‘Godsend’ technological designer pillow include:

* Embedded latest Bluetooth Technology that connects you wirelessly directly to your iPod, iPad, iPhone and Android cell phones

* Headrest-like feature perfect for relaxing, gaming, sound meditation, audio reading and listening to movies in surround sound

* Support for the hearing impaired through “club effect” – a switch that activates heavy sound vibrations throughout the pillow

* Unbelievable sounding HD audio speakers

* Blue illuminated LED touch button, indicating active standby mode for answering incoming calls

* Control center feature: headphone/Aux jack, master volume control, USB and power button

About the S1Pillo innovative design:
The S1Pillo is made of high quality synthetic materials that look as good as leather or better. It has soft quilted side panels on top and smooth underneath with leather piping stitched around the pillow. The inner core has eco-friendly soft micro beads, which allows for flexibility to move and reshape quickly for customized support. It’s a unique design, which allows for better sound circulation, vibration and comfort at the same time, The S1Pillo is made with 100% flame retardant inner materials… Launching the S1Pillo Shelton McCoy has managed to build a small team of “smart” and “creative” people, to ensure the success of the S1Pillo.

The SmartPillo Company, LLC is currently seeking crowd funding through www.indiegogo.com/S1Pillo – a site that allows individuals to contribute in the vision of the company as well as having the opportunity to be the first with this innovative technology before it hits the market. This funding will help with USA manufacturing and ensuring the success of a nationwide product launch in late 2012 or early 2013.

For more information about the S1Pillo, visit www.smartpillo.com.

Photo Caption: Shelton McCoy, inventor of The S1Pillo

“DAVIDsTEA” makes Chicago debut

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on “DAVIDsTEA” makes Chicago debut


Inspired, modern tea shop brings fun tea approach to Chicago locations



CHICAGO, IL – As the crisp autumn temperatures fill the air, a new “hot spot” will give Chicagoans a delicious new way to warm up. Chicago will soon be home to a contemporary tea shop, with more than 150 varieties, including several never-before-seen flavors. Canadian loose leaf tea retailer DAVIDsTEA offers teas sold loose by the ounce and to-go by the cup (hot or iced), in a friendly environment, by well-informed, passionate staff. The company, which last year opened two successful locations in New York City and this month is opening locations in San Francisco, continues its growth with plans to open stores in Chicago this fall. DAVIDsTEA will open stores in Chicago beginning with the inaugural at 1645 North Damen (in Bucktown), followed by openings at 3530 North Southport (in Southport), and 922 West Armitage (in Lincoln Park).

This unique tea establishment will be a new destination for Chicago’s food, drink, health, and wellness lovers. Says DAVIDsTEA CEO Jevin Eagle, “Chicago is one of the nation’s best cities for food and drink, so naturally we are thrilled to introduce our unique approach to tea to the Chicago area.” DAVIDsTEA co-founder David Segal, who personally selected the locations, adds “Since the creation of the company, becoming a part of the fabric of a community is of utmost importance to us. We wanted to come to Chicago because of the city’s strong support of culture and pride in the neighborhoods.”

Before even entering the store, customers are greeted by the welcoming and engaging staff and offered a free tea sample. Inside, the atmosphere is airy, modern and colorful. Behind the counter is the tea wall, a vibrant display of color-coded canisters that house the company’s massive tea collection, including white, green, oolong, black, pu’erh, yerba maté, rooibos, and herbal blends. Store visitors are encouraged to smell the different teas from the specifically designed tins before making their selections.


Since its first shop opened in 2008 on Toronto’s Queen Street, DAVIDsTEA has developed an enthusiastic following, growing to more than 75 shops across Canada. In 2011, the two Manhattan shops – on gourmet Bleecker Street and on the fashionable Upper East Side – brought this unique take on tea to the U.S.’s attention, with NBC’s Today Show hailing “teas that take a twist on traditional” and Food & Wine giving a shout-out to DAVIDsTEA’s North African Mint, flavored with fennel and black pepper, as “1 of 50 ways to get stronger, smarter and healthier.”


DAVIDsTEA is known for its exclusive signature blends, like Read My Lips, a black tea with chocolate, vanilla, mint and red candy lips, and Goji Pop, a bright red fruit infusion packed with goji berries. Customers can look for blends with exotic, non-traditional tea ingredients like mulberry leaves, hot chilies, pomegranate seeds, kombucha powder and caramel pieces, and cheeky names like Kiwi’s Big Adventure and Simply the Zest. DAVIDsTEA also carries a wide selection of premium traditional estate teas, like wood-fired Sencha Ashikubo and Nepal Black, a DAVIDsTEA exclusive. And for a true feel-good cup, all proceeds of the Haitian-inspired KANPE Tea (a blend of hibiscus, mango, cinnamon, papaya, banana, coconut and stevia) go towards the KANPE organization, dedicated to long-term relief in Haiti.


In-store shelves display a wide assortment of gifts, tea samplers and accessories designed in-house. With limited-edition seasonal collections and a new tea introduced every month, DAVIDsTEA keeps the experience fresh and exciting. Among popular items introduced by the company: the Perfect Mug, a sleek tea-mug fitted with a fine, stainless steel infuser and handy lid, to keep tea perfectly steeped and comfortably hot. From organic agave to a state-of-the-art steeper and insulated travel mugs, DAVIDsTEA’s accessories allow quaffers to enjoy their favorite blends at home, at work, and on-the-go. Colors, designs and materials are updated seasonally.


DAVIDsTEA’s loose leaf teas and tea accessories are also available online at www.davidstea.com. Shipping to any U.S. address is set at a flat fixed rate of $5 for orders under $50. For orders over $50, shipping is free.




Great tea, friendly stores and above-and-beyond customer service. It seemed like a simple idea, but young entrepreneur David Segal and his cousin, retail pioneer Herschel Segal, couldn’t find anyone else that was doing it. So they decided to take matters into their own hands. Today DAVIDsTEA has over 75 stores across Canada and the US, and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon. You can choose from over 150 types of tea, including exclusive blends, limited edition seasonal collections, traditional straight teas and exotic infusions from around the world. With colourful, modern packaging, sleek in-house designed tea accessories and friendly, welcoming attitude, DAVIDsTEA offers a tea experience that is fun, fresh and unintimidating. To keep up with the latest products and offers, follow them at facebook.com/davidstea or twitter.com/davidstea.


River North Dance Chicago announces 2012 – 2013 Season and celebrates Artistic Director Frank Chaves’ 20th Anniversary

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on River North Dance Chicago announces 2012 – 2013 Season and celebrates Artistic Director Frank Chaves’ 20th Anniversary


RNDC Proudly Welcomes Four New Dancers as the Company Prepares for Fall Harris Theater Engagement, Nov. 16 – 17


CHICAGO, IL — The critically acclaimed River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) embarks on an electrifying 2012 – 2013 Season as they celebrate Artistic Director Frank Chaves’s 20th Anniversary with the company. RNDC will introduce new work to Chicago audiences at three home engagements including their Fall Performance at the Harris Theatre (November 16 – 17), a spring performance at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (March 14 & 16) and a combined performance with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic at the Auditorium Theater (April 13). Known for their thrilling and fearless dancers who also possess the ability to deliver highly theatrical and captivating choreography, RNDC welcomes four new dancers to the company.

To kick off the 2012-2013 Season, the company will perform a Fall Engagement at The Harris Theatre (205 E Randolph St) November 16 – 17 introducing new work to their repertoire by innovative, emerging choreographers Adam Barruch and Nejla Yatkin. Other pieces will include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle’s “Three,” Daniel Ezralow’s “SUPER STRAIGHT is coming down…” and Chaves’s own “Forbidden Boundaries. Four new dancers adding to River North’s contemporary and athletic aesthetic include Levizadik Buckins (New Haven, CT), Taeler Cyrus (Los Angeles, CA), Olivia Rehrman (Dallas, TX) and Nunzio Perricone (Rome, Italy) who makes his American debut with RNDC after becoming a finalist on Italy’s popular talent competition Amici.*For full dancer bios, please visit http://tinyurl.com/RNDCPressKit1213.
Tickets are on-sale now at www.harristheaterchicago.org or by calling 312.334.7777.

RNDC’s annual gala will be held in conjunction with the Fall Engagement on Thursday, November 15 at the Harris Theater. The evening will begin with a selected showcase featuring Chaves’ own pieces as well as other favorites from the company. Guests will then be treated to dinner and dancing at the Fairmont Chicago (200 N. Columbus Dr.) to celebrate Chaves’s twenty inspiring years with the company.

For tickets and more information please call Paula Petrini-Lynch at 312.944.2888.

An internationally recognized choreographer, teacher, mentor and industry leader, Chaves has dedicated his life to the creation and advancement of contemporary jazz dance. His body of work and artistic vision has catapulted RNDC into one the country’s most esteemed dance companies, thrilling audiences with its technical precision, emotive dancers, commanding choreography and versatile repertoire. In his 20 years, Frank has created 25 works for the company; curated a diverse repertoire with the world’s most well-known and respected choreographers; began national and international touring for local companies all while mentoring generations of new dancers.

After touring to Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma and Wyoming, RNDC comes home to perform at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts with a Street Beat Lecture Demonstration on March 14, 2013 and an evening repertoire performance on March 16, 2013. Full Programming TBD.

RNDC concludes the 2012-2013 Season at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU) when combine forces with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP) for “The Cuban Project” on April 13, 2013. Fulfilling a long-time dream, Chaves will premiere a major new work that explores the origins and evolution of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean music. CJP Founder and Artistic Director Orbert Davis creates an original score that will marry Chaves’s lyrical, contemporary aesthetic with the CJP’s rich, multi-cultural musicality that bridge gaps in jazz and classical genres. This commissioned co-production between RNDC, CJP and ATRU will have its world-premiere on the Auditorium Stage for one-night only.

West Cary group invests in Richmond’s future with donation to Communities in Schools

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on West Cary group invests in Richmond’s future with donation to Communities in Schools

Richmond, VA (BlackNews.com) — West Cary Group, an award-winning marketing communications and advertising agency headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, has donated $1,000 to Communities in Schools (CIS) of Richmond. The organization is dedicated to helping Richmond’s students succeed in school and in life by connecting them to a community of support.

“Continuous improvement, both professionally and personally, is a quality that is deeply rooted in West Cary Group’s culture,” says Moses Foster, President and CEO of West Cary Group and 2011 Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council Entrepreneur of the Year. “Encouraging this value in local kids is a natural fit for us. We are also firm believers in thinking about our actions in the long term – that the positive steps we take today, small or large, can make a significant impact on the community of tomorrow.”

CIS of Richmond has been in operation since 1996. It differs from similar stay-in-school organizations in that it doesn’t wait until children are on the brink of dropping out to help – nor does it have a “one-size-fits-all” mentality. Help is specialized. Each K-12 student is matched with the neighborhood services, local businesses, service agencies, health care providers and volunteer organizations to best fit his or her individual needs.

“CIS is successful because of the model and the leadership,” says James Ukrop, founding Chairman of the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation and CIS Sustainer. “Almost 80% of our school children are on free or reduced-cost lunch. Many start school not knowing their colors or numbers. They’re behind when they get there. CIS puts an advocate in the school to deal with the barriers preventing students from focusing on learning. A coordinator works side by side with the principal and connects the kids to the services.”

It’s a model that’s driving powerful results. Out of the students who participated in this program in 2011, 73% improved their school attendance, 82% improved their behavior in school and 100% of eligible seniors graduated from high school. For West Cary Group, these are more than just statistics. They represent an investment in the future of our community.

“West Cary Group was inspired by CIS,” continues Foster. “When you see the faces of the Richmond kids whose lives are being improved because of it, you can’t help but be moved. West Cary Group is honored to be in a position to give back to this worthwhile organization.”

About West Cary Group

West Cary Group is a full-service, minority-owned advertising and marketing communications agency founded in 2007 by Moses Foster. The firm specializes in digital media, brand marketing, diversity communications, direct response marketing and employee communications.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ 2012 – 2013 Season opens with fall concert

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2012 Comments Off on Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ 2012 – 2013 Season opens with fall concert

Concert features works by renowned French Composers at Orchestra Hall Sunday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.  



Calendar Listing



Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) opens its 2012-2013 season with a concert by the organization’s 123-member Symphony Orchestra at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (220 S. Michigan Ave.), Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Under the baton of Music Director Allen Tinkham, the orchestra will perform works by renowned French composers Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen and Claude Debussy. CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra will be joined by Roosevelt University’s CCPA Conservatory Chorus and Chorale for Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Fauré’s “Les Djinns.” Tickets are $20-$40. Boxes are also available. Tickets go on sale at a later date to be announced.


For more information visit www.cyso.org or call (312) 939-2207 x31.


CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra has earned an international reputation as a premier orchestral ensemble featuring extraordinary young musicians from the Chicago area. Allen Tinkham was appointed Music Director of CYSO in 2001. Under his direction, CYSO has performed at Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park, Ravinia, Carnegie Hall and several international locales as well. During his tenure, CYSO has won eight of its eleven ASCAP National Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, as well as four Illinois Council of Orchestras awards (two Programming of the Year Awards and two Youth Orchestra of the Year Awards).


Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) has provided music education through orchestral programs and performance opportunities of the highest caliber since 1946. CYSO currently serves nearly 450 Chicago area musicians ages 7-18 through five core orchestras, chamber music, music theory and composition. It also reaches 2,500 Chicago Public School students and educators each year through its Music Pathways program, which features presentations and concerts by CYSO musicians and training for CPS teachers on how to incorporate music into their classroom curriculum. CYSO is investing in the future of music and the next generation of leaders. Visit www.cyso.org to learn how you can become involved.

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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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