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Archive for September 11th, 2012

Mental Health Movement expresses support for the Chicago Teachers Union, will hold press conference today outlining the need for more social workers, psychologists and other clinicians in Chicago Public Schools

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Mental Health Movement expresses support for the Chicago Teachers Union, will hold press conference today outlining the need for more social workers, psychologists and other clinicians in Chicago Public Schools
Mental Health Movement and CTU Clinicians’ Committee Tell Rahm: If you cared about Chicago’s youth you would add more school social workers and city mental health clinics!
CHICAGO, IL — The Mental Health Movement, which has fought Mayor Rahm Emanuel over his closing of half the city’s public mental health clinics, will publicly express its support for the Chicago Teachers Union’s struggle and highlight one of the key issues at stake in that struggle, during a press conference today, September 11, at 12 Noon, 5th Floor of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle.
The press conference is being held by the Mental Health Movement, Chicago Teachers Union Clinicians Steering Committee, and Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY).
“This Mayor says teachers don’t care about kids, but it is exactly because they care that they’re on strike. How dare he talk about caring about kids when he refuses to hire more school social workers? When he shut down half of the city’s public mental health clinics that many CPS students’ families rely on?” says N’Dana Carter of the Mental Health Movement.
This will be a joint press conference with the CTU Clinicians Steering Committee, whose members will speak about their large caseloads, the need for more social workers, and the importance of their work. They will also explain how difficult their jobs are when families’ mental health needs are going unmet due to the Mayor’s is closing of community mental health clinics.
“If this Mayor really cared about the violence in our communities, he would be hiring more school social workers and creating more public mental health clinics to help kids and families deal with trauma, instead of giving out millions of dollars in TIF funds to subsidize profitable corporations,” says Veronica Morris-Moore of Fearless Leading by the Youth.
With violence on the rise in Chicago, more than ever school social workers and community mental health clinics are essential to help people cope with trauma, connect with services and create the stability necessary for students to concentrate and learn in school. 
  • There are currently less than 370 social workers for over 400,000 CPS students. That’s less than one social worker for every 1,000 students, when the School Social Work Association of America’s recommended level is at least one masters-level social worker for every 400 students.
  • Mayor Emanuel just closed six of the city’s 12 public mental health clinics. Social workers work with students and families to provide and refer services. Amongst the services they refer to are community mental health clinics. 
  • To meet National Association of School Psychologists guidelines, CPS would need to more than double its current number of school psychologists to at least 585.
  • With the closing of community-based mental health clinics and the inadequate availability of mental health and other social work resources at schools, many students are getting no support for trauma related to violence, family issues, and mental health issues. This makes it nearly impossible to concentrate and learn in school.
Press conference speakers will include:
  • David Temkin – School social worker at Near North Elementary
  • Benita Shanklin – CPS social worker at Goodlow and Carter Elementary
  • N’Dana Carter – organizer with Mental Health Movement and Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), client of Greater Grand Mental Health Clinic
  • Veronica Morris-Moore – Fearless Leading by the Youth and recent CPS graduate
  • Jesus Campuzano – Mental Health Movement / former CPS special education student

Rev. Al Sharpton, NYC get out the Vote Benefit Basketball Games

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Rev. Al Sharpton, NYC get out the Vote Benefit Basketball Games

GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Benefit Basketball Game to be held in Harlem on September 22, 2012

Rev Al. Sharpton will be a guest speaker

Harlem, NY (BlackNews.com) — In September 2012, the basketball community will join civil rights organizations to “Defend the Vote”.

In the months leading up to the November elections, the basketball communities in New York, Philadelphia and North Carolina will join branches and chapters of National Action Network, Urban league ( New York Young Professionals) and the NAACP, NYCHA branch to host a number of basketball games to support the Get Out The Vote campaign. These games will feature some of the top high players on the east coast. There will also be a game featuring entertainers, promoters, former basketball professionals and coaches.

The mission of these games are to ensure that eligible voters can participate in the democratic process via the vote. Their goals are to raise funds to support anti-voter suppression efforts, register voters, educate former felons of their voting rights, and raise awareness of the importance of this year’s election.

The games will be launched on September 22, 2012 from 11am – 5pm at the Riverbank State Park at 679 Riverside Drive in Harlem, New York.

Rev Al. Sharpton will be a guest speaker, and there will be a half-time show by T.E.V. & Creative Boys Culture.

For tickets and/or for more information, call (347) 323-3844

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West kick off “The Poverty Tour 2.0”, hits the road in four battleground states

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Tavis Smiley and Cornel West kick off “The Poverty Tour 2.0”, hits the road in four battleground states

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West kick off the tour in Ohio, September 12, coinciding with the release of a new U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to announce this Wednesday, September 12, that America’s poverty rate is the worst in 50 years. In light of the bureau’s latest findings, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, kick off “The Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience” in Cleveland, OH.

The co-hosts of the nationally syndicated public radio program Smiley & West, from Public Radio International (PRI), hit the road September 12-15 to host six town hall events that are FREE and open to the public.

“The Poverty Tour 2.0,” sponsored in part by AARP Foundation and HuffPost Live, will visit the key battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. In addition, one town hall event will be held in the state of Delaware. Smiley and West intend to push the moderators of the upcoming presidential debates to ask the candidates about America’s poverty problem, and to urge legislators to support public policy and implement programs that will alleviate poverty.

“These new Census numbers will underscore what we’ve been saying for a long time – poverty is the new American norm,” said Smiley. “The time is now to force poverty on the agenda; our leaders can’t simply continue to be quiet on this issue.”

The six town halls – which will be broadcast LIVE to radio stations across the country via the Pacifica Network and Native Voice One, and which will also be streamed on HuffPost Live and USTREAM – will feature national and local leaders, activists organizing on the ground, and Americans struggling with poverty, sharing their personal stories and solutions. Audio of all six town halls will be available as podcasts, and highlights will be featured on Smiley & West over the next two weeks.

Confirmed guests include: Peter Edelman, former member of the Clinton administration and co-founder of the Children’s Defense Fund; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and former presidential candidate; Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH); Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA); Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); and Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president. All presidential and vice presidential candidates have been invited to participate.

“We’re putting the spotlight on our precious fellow citizens who don’t have access to a decent job, decent housing, and decent healthcare,” said West. “We want to hear solutions that can be duplicated and adapted in communities across the country.”

The tour schedule is: 10am-1pm, Wednesday, September 12, Westfield Insurance Studio Theater at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH; 5-7pm, Wednesday, September 12, Cuyahoga Community College, Highland Hills, OH; 10am-1pm, Thursday, September 13, T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA; 8-10pm, September 13, Delaware State University, Dover, DE; 10am-1pm, Friday, September 14, Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA; and 12-3pm, Saturday, September 15, Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School, West Palm Beach, FL.

“We are pleased to be teaming with ‘The Poverty Tour 2.0′ to help put the spotlight on the national disgrace of having over 46 million Americans living in poverty,” said Roy Sekoff, president and co-creator of HuffPost Live. “This is an issue that HuffPost Live is committed to covering, and we are happy to support Tavis Smiley and Dr. West’s efforts to make it an integral part of the national conversation.”

To follow “The Poverty Tour 2.0” or register to attend one of the four events, please visit: http://povertytour.smileyandwest.com and http://live.huffingtonpost.com. The official hashtag is: #ThePovertyTour.

About SMILEY & WEST, from Public Radio International (PRI)
The weekly program from PRI, Smiley & West, is co-hosted by two of America’s most influential public figures, noted broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Union Theological Seminary Professor Cornel West. The one-hour program features thought-provoking, intelligent, and stimulating conversations. Listen, engage, and discuss on smileyandwest.com or follow them on Twitter at @tavissmiley and @cornelwest.

About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. The Foundation is dedicated to serving vulnerable people 50+ by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. AARP Foundation focuses on hunger, housing, income, and isolation as its key mission areas. The Foundation envisions “a country free of poverty where no older person feels vulnerable.” Foundation programs are funded by grants, tax-deductible contributions, and AARP. For more information about AARP Foundation, please visit www.aarp.org/foundation.

About HuffPost Live
HuffPost Live offers viewers new ways to engage before, during and after programs, through a groundbreaking social video platform. HuffPost Live was co-created and developed by HuffPost’s founding editor Roy Sekoff, who serves as President of HuffPost Live. HuffPost Live streams 12 hours of original live programming, five days a week, available online, on mobile and on-demand. HuffPost Live’s studios are in NYC and LA with a Washington DC bureau. Watch HuffPost Live now at Live.HuffingtonPost.com.


Teacher X: Why I’m striking, JCB by Xiang Barrett

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Teacher X: Why I’m striking, JCB by Xiang Barrett
(Letters to Editors)

CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is on record saying both that CTU leadership is deciding whether or not to strike, and that “everyone knows that a strike would only hurt our kids.”

I just wanted to educate my boss a little on the history of Chicago, as he is relatively new to the area. Chicago is founded on the hard daily struggle of working people. It is the birth of the labor movement—not a movement just for wages and benefits, but a movement that stopped child labor so that each of the kids in CPS schools could attend school instead of working. It was a movement that stopped the practice of working conditions so unsafe that consumers were eating the actual workers who fell into the mix while they were making hot dogs. It was a movement that fought so that workers could have some tiny measure of time with our families rather than spending all waking hours working for the enrichment of their bosses.

But even more importantly, I wanted to educate Mr. Brizard about what it means to “help or hurt our kids”.

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

When you close and turnaround schools disrupting thousands of kids’ lives and educations and often plunging them into violence and have no data to support your practice, that hurts our kids.

When you leave thousands of kids in classrooms with no teacher for weeks and months on end due to central office bureaucracy trumping basic needs of students, that not only hurts our kids, it basically ruins the whole idea of why we have a district at all.

When you, rather than bargain on any of this stuff set up fake school centers staffed by positively motived Central Office staff, many of whom are terribly pissed to be pressed into veritable scabitude when they know you are wrong, and you equip them with a manual that tells them things like, “communicate with words”, that not only hurts our kids, but it suggests you have no idea how to run a system with their welfare in mind.

When you do enough of this, it makes me wonder if you really see our students as “our kids” or “other people’s children”.

And at that moment, I am willing to sacrifice an awful lot to protect the students I serve every day. I am not hurting our kids by striking, I’m striking to restore some semblance of reasonable care for students to this system. I’m doing to tell you, “No, YOU are the one hurting our children, and you need to STOP because what you are doing is wrong, and you are robbing students of their educational opportunities.

I ask anyone who does remotely care about the kids we teach and learn from and triumph and cheer and cry and grow with., to stand with us and fight for a better future for our kids.

See you on the picket line, my friend.

The Legendary Rockettes to teach local dance studio students a Rockettes dance class at MB Financial Park at Rosemont Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on The Legendary Rockettes to teach local dance studio students a Rockettes dance class at MB Financial Park at Rosemont Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

The Rockettes will teach students from area dance studios the precision technique and Signature Rockettes Choreography from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular


The Radio City Christmas Spectacular coming to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont December 14-30, 2012



CHICAGO, IL –  In celebration of an all new production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular coming to Chicago this holiday season, the iconic Rockettes will make a Chicago area appearance to teach aspiring young dancers from Chicago-area dance studios the choreography from some of their newest numbers from Christmas Spectacular. The appearance will take place on Saturday, September 15 on the lawn of MB Financial Park at Rosemont, located at 5501 Park Place.


Dancers from six area dance schools will have the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to learn the precision technique, choreography and iconic kickline from the legendary New York dance company. One local dancer will be selected as an “Honorary Rockette” by two of the Rockettes themselves. Additionally, the Rockettes will share with the students their passion for dance and how they achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a Rockette through hard work, determination, dedication and dreaming big!

The Rockettes will be available to sign autographs in MB Financial Park at Rosemont from 1- 2 p.m. and the public dance class will immediately follow from 2-3 p.m. In addition, the first 100 people in attendance will receive a free collectable Rockettes t-shirt.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be returning to the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont from December 14- 30, 2012 with an all new production. In this multi-faceted production, the Rockettes will dance their way through an awe-inspiring journey with new scenes, an array of glamorous new costumes, dramatic lighting effects, and a 50-foot LED screen that will enhance the show with breathtaking new imagery. Tickets are now on sale.


The Rockettes have a long-standing relationship with the Rosemont Theatre with the debut of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in 1997. This year marks the 11th season the Christmas Spectacular will perform at the Rosemont Theatre, the last production being in 2008. For many Chicago area families, seeing the Rockettes perform in the beloved holiday show has become a family tradition and this year audiences can experience the magic of the holidays with an all new production.


In the Christmas Spectacular’s 18-year combined history outside of New York, as well as the production at Radio City Music Hall, the show has played to more than 72 million people. The Christmas Spectacular continues to create memories that audiences have come to treasure, and this year will mark an all new Spectacular experience for Chicago.


Ticket Information
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, presented by Chase, plays at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont during the 2012 holiday season for 34 dazzling performances, December 14-30, 2012. A limited number of Premium seats are available for $79.00 – $89.00 and single ticket prices range from $30.00 – $75.50. Tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are on sale to the public at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. 



About MSG Entertainment
MSG Entertainment (MSGE), the live entertainment arm of The Madison Square Garden Company (Nasdaq: MSG), is a worldwide entertainment company recognized for its signature combination of event production and entertainment marketing. In addition to the nearly 900 entertainment concerts and events that take place each year at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, The Chicago Theatre, and the Forum arena in Inglewood, California, MSGE has an exclusive co-booking agreement with Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center/ Wang Theatre. MSG Entertainment’s live events include the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which has played to more than 70 million people in 88 different cities across North America. More than five million people attend MSG Entertainment branded events annually including concerts, special events, and family attractions.


About The Akoo Theatre at Rosemont
Opened in 1995, the 4,400-seat theater is known as one of the Chicago areas best venues for music and theatrical performances and special events. Located at 5400 N. River Road in the Rosemont region, the venue has one of the largest stages in the area, with a superior sound and lighting system, sizable backstage and roomy dressing rooms. Audiences appreciate the theater’s unobstructed sightlines, comfortable seating and extra-wide aisles. Additional amenities include a multi-level grand lobby featuring a beautifully paneled mahogany staircase and glittering French crystal chandelier, ample concessions areas, a multi-level VIP Suite and parking lots and sheltered garages adjacent to the theatre. The theater is easily accessible by car or public transit and is within easy walking distance of numerous hotels, restaurants and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. www.akootheatre.com


Music Institute holds Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Music Institute holds Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest

Submission deadline: October 15, 2012  

In conjunction with its October 26–28 Billy Strayhorn Festival, the Music Institute of Chicago Jazz Studies Program is holding a Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest for high school students in Cook, Lake and DuPage Counties. The submission deadline is Monday, October 15 at 11:59 p.m.

Judging the submissions are Music Institute of Chicago President and CEO Mark George, Jazz Studies Director Audrey Morrison and Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. President Alyce Claerbaut. The panel will award nearly $1,000 in Music Institute scholarships to first, second and third place winners, each of whom also will receive two free passes to all events during the Billy Strayhorn Festival.
The Billy Strayhorn Festival, which honors the work and legacy of one of the great jazz composers and collaborators, is presented in partnership with Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc., a family corporation of the Strayhorn heirs. The Festival includes two star-studded concerts featuring trumpet great Terell Stafford and a screening of the award-winning film Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life followed by a panel discussion. All events take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

Billy Strayhorn (1915–67) is acknowledged as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. As Duke Ellington’s primary collaborative partner for 28 years, Strayhorn created a compelling musical language that transcended Ellington. His innumerable contributions to the jazz canon built a formidable legacy for musicians from all genres. Strayhorn’s deep knowledge of both classical and popular music manifested itself in a unique approach to songwriting. Elements of his harmonic sophistication and voicing techniques have become emblematic of excellence in the jazz repertoire. In addition to his musical achievements, Strayhorn has become identified with the struggle for civil rights. Throughout his career, he overcame several stigmas, not the least of which was being an African-American artist in a society dominated by whites and a gay man in a culture that considered homosexuality a crime. In 1963, Strayhorn came to Chicago to serve as music director of  Ellington’s My People, a work composed on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and performed as part of “A Century of Negro Progress Exposition” at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. In tribute to Strayhorn and the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Music Institute is proud to present the Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest.

Music Institute of Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. As one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute offers musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services. Founded in 1931 and one of the oldest community music schools in Illinois, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, the Music Institute’s world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education, reaching more than 10,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 102 years of age, at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove and through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute also offers lessons and programs at the Steinway of Chicago store in Northbrook and early childhood and community engagement programs throughout the Chicago area and the North Shore. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs through four distinct areas: Community School, The Academy, Creative Arts Therapy (Institute for Therapy through the Arts), and Nichols Concert Hall. 

The submission deadline for the Billy Strayhorn Songwriting Contest is Monday, October 15 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, contact Audrey Morrison, 847-905-1500 ext. 576 or billystrayhorn@musicinst.org; for information about or tickets for the Billy Strayhorn Festival, visit musicinst.org/jazz-festival.

portoluz presents Dada Maheshvarananda in a talk entitled: If Global Capitalism Doesn’t Work for Everyone – What’s the Alternative?

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on portoluz presents Dada Maheshvarananda in a talk entitled: If Global Capitalism Doesn’t Work for Everyone – What’s the Alternative?
Monk on tour in support of After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action; a valuable contribution to the public debate about practical ways to improve our economy and the quality of life for everyone, will take place on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., at The Heartland Café ,7000 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago. Admission is free.


The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela is evolving to find an appropriate Socialism for the 21st Century. For the last six years, Dada Maheshvarananda, a monk, activist, and writer, has been director of the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela, which promotes “progressive socialism” or Prout, the Progressive Utilization Theory. He is launching his new book, After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action. He explains how social crises are interlinked with personal consciousness, suggesting that finding inner peace is crucial to the struggle for peace and justice. His practical ideas are grounded in a new socio-economic model based on local, sustainable economies, social justice and environmental protection.

Dada Maheshvarananda is a yogic monk, activist and writer. In 1978 he began to study the Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout) under its founder, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, by whom he was inspired to dedicate his life to the service of humanity. He has given hundreds of seminars and workshops around the world about social issues, spiritual values and cooperative games. In 2007 he founded the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela in Caracas, where he currently serves as director.


Today a powerful few control most of the world’s wealth, while most people work harder than ever, earn less, are forced from job to job, and fall into debt. In contrast, emerging independent local economies of small businesses, cooperatives and public utilities are building careers and meaningful futures for individuals and communities.


After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action describes a grassroots movement for economic democracy based on cooperatives and local economies which is quickly growing throughout the planet. Inspired by P.R. Sarkar’s Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout), After Capitalism offers a compelling vision of an equitable, sustainable model which economically empowers individuals and communities. Filled with successful examples from six continents as well as many resources, activities and tools for activists, After Capitalism will fill you with hope and the conviction that a new, democratic economy is indeed possible.  

portoluz is producing these events as part of its year-long multi-disciplinary instigation: WPA 2.0, a brand new deal.


ABOUT portoluz


portoluz – meaning “harbor of light” – is a Chicago-based non-profit organization currently under development as a cultural center, restaurant, artist’s residence, think-tank, and community gardens. portoluz was formed to provide sustainable environments for innovative artistic exploration, community development, and a wide range of cultural discourse.


In the interim, while developing a permanent site for its programs, portoluz partners with a range of individual artists, grassroots social justice activist organizations, academics, and lay volunteers to produce high caliber events to diverse populations in the Chicago metropolitan region.


portoluz developed this instigation as a kinetic and contemporary ‘take’ on a meme by utilizing a variety of cultural production to explore the Great Depression of 1929, the WPA and role of the “cultural worker”, and the current recession. By riffing on history, re-mixing archival ephemera, commissioning and curating a wide range of voices, portoluz seeks primarily to emphasize and inspire solutions that respond to today’s worldwide economic and social crisis.

For more information, call (773) 465-8005




Father Pfleger calls for a more kinder and gentler rhetoric during school strike

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on Father Pfleger calls for a more kinder and gentler rhetoric during school strike

Pfleger Prays for peace and a quick end to stalemate


By Chinta Strausberg

Saying people ought to watch what comes out of their mouth because it can cause blood to be spilled out unto the streets of Chicago, Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday called for more gentler kinder and gentler rhetoric including the mayor of Chicago and a student-centered agenda for the Chicago Teacher’s Union and the Chicago Board of Education.

Referring to the school strike, Pfleger blamed on “two self-serving sides.” “I think the union and the board have both lost track of who it is we are supposed to be serving. We’ve got great teachers and we got some great people on the board. I love J.C. Brizard,” Pfleger said referring to CPS/CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “I don’t like the board,” he told the church. “I like J.C. Brizard. I am baptizing his son” after Sunday’s service.

“I have never heard the board or the teachers say we’re going to fight all this because we want better schools, say we’re not going to open any schools until we get the text books we need and the infrastructure we need and all the rest we need for our children and the classroom,” said Pfleger. “There are a lot of problems out here.

“The violence is rising in our streets, 30 percent increase in homicides. I am so tired of hearing that overall crime is down. Overall crime is down but homicides are up 32 percent. Really? I am tired of hearing things like ‘well, it’s contained in certain neighborhoods,’” Pfleger said referring to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent remarks on violence.

“Excuse me; so are you sending a message to just stay out of those neighborhoods and you are alright and in those neighborhoods, well, let them kill each other. I don’t know how to interpret that,” Pfleger who took issue with the mayor’s remarks.

And, he got a chance to vent last Saturday when Mayor Emanuel attended the 7th annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival. Pfleger told Emanuel, “Let me tell you something. Don’t say that again. It’s insulting to us who live in Auburn Gresham and Englewood. It’s insulting. I don’t want to hear that again, and he looked at me like he looks…. I don’t work for the city or the church. I work for God. I don’t have to worry about what people think.”

Saying people need something more than Democrats or Republicans, Pfleger said America needs a healing and voiced outrage at the ongoing streets wars that are going on after Interscope Records-backed 17-year-old rapper Chief Keef mocked the death of old Lil JoJo, 18, who was recently slain.

Referring to headline stories about these rappers, Pfleger said, “now threatening on rapping is now turning into blood on the streets…. Lil JoJo gets killed the other day and Chief Keef, 17-years-old and he threatens someone like Lupe Fiasco who has the substance and credibility and you, little punk, threaten a guy like Lupe. Oh no.”

Pfleger said the mother of Lil JoJo called him to give the eulogy at her son’s funeral. However, Pfleger turned down that request saying, “In all due respect, while I mourn the loss of your son, but I don’t think I’m the one because I am not going to sit there and say he was a victim of this. Because when you deal in that death mentality on the street, you set yourself vulnerable.

“Nobody should die. Death, murder and shooting are unacceptable, but when you step into that circle, you become a victim and a target. You could either be a victim or a perpetrator when you walk up in that and that is not acceptable. Ain’t nobody innocent here. It’s wrong and should be condemned, but this garbage cannot go on…,” said Pfleger.

Pfleger once again accused Interscope of allegedly giving a $1 million contract to Chief Keef. Pfleger said that money allegedly helped to fuel the deadly dispute between Chief Keef and Lil JoJo.

Pfleger said it was the same agency that put the money behind 2Pac (Tupac) Shakur who was shot four times on September 7, 1996 and died six-days later.) to keep it going between him and Biggie (Biggie Smalls who was killed in a drive-by shooting in L.A. on March 9, 1997.)

Again, Pfleger sharply criticized Interscope for allegedly taking out insurance policies of these rappers making themselves the beneficiary but at the same time financing controversial disputes like Chief Keef’s Internet attack against Lil Jojo after his death. Pfleger said Interscope makes more money if the rapper is dead. “The only way they are going to make money is that you go to jail because in the contract it says if you go to jail the contract is null and void.

“So they make money even in death, if you do die and they just stay up here in their Wall Street and LaSalle Street offices and play kids one against another…. Lil JoJo goes down. Somebody else rises up. Chief Keef goes down. Somebody rises up. It just keeps rising up. They’ll pay somebody else to do this garbage. Stop being pimped by these companies that are out there using our young people,” Pfleger told an applauding congregation.

“We need healing in this land,” Pfleger who gave the racial incident in Tinley Park as an example. Pfleger was referring to the arrest of Joseph Berndt, 47, who allegedly attacked 51-year old black man who was hired by a bank for the upkeep of a neighbor’s foreclosed home. He was attacked by Berndt while working on that house Berndt is free on a $25,000 bail having been charged with a felony hate crime.

Referring to Berndt, Pfleger said, “He goes after him (the victim) and calls him the ‘n’ word and tells him to get out of his neighborhood and then goes to swinging on him with a pipe and then jumps him and starts chocking him to try to kill him.

“You see Trayvon Martin isn’t some isolate incident down in Florida. It’s a reality all around this country,” Pfleger said. “We need a healing.” “God is able. This is not about him, God’s ability but about us to make the necessary adjustments and alignments and alignments in our life in order for God to move in the way God’s wants to move. God wants to bless us, but we have to be in the position for him to bless us.”

Saying he believes we are in a “divine, Kairos moment,” Pfleger said “I believe we are in a spot where a miracle is headed our way, to our homes, to our blocks, to our city. I believe that God is getting ready to make a move. God wants to come in. He’s just telling us ya’ll got to get it ready, get it together. I’m waiting to bless you. God ain’t holding back a blessing like he’s trying to run us through something….

“God says I want to bless you but I need you to get into position and get ready because when all is in right alignment with God, we will see the manifestation we keep crying and praying about. It will come,” he said.

“We have to reconnect. We have to get a new commitment to God.” Quoting the bible, he said, “If my people…. It is implying an intimate relationship, a personal relationship. God is not after some kind of superficial encounter. God is not just pleased that we come here and give him some praise. It’s easy to praise God in here. Some of ya’ll still don’t do it in here, but it’s real hard when you go out and hell is breaking out in your life.

“It’s real hard when you go into your workplace and there is somebody there you really want to throw out a window but you got to love her because God called you to love her or love him. Some of ya’ll come right here at this church and try to avoid certain people so you don’t lose your religions before you leave service. I bind up that nasty spirit in the name of Jesus,” he said.

“God is not interested in a one-night stand. He’s not going to be your mistress. He’s not going to be your other person. He is not going to get into some casual on again, off again relationship depending upon how you feel.” Pfleger gave as an example some people who say ‘I ain’t going to church today because you don’t know what I’m going through.’ Give me a break, fool. Look down your pew. You really don’t want people to start telling you what they are going through. “When people tell him they didn’t come to church because they are “really going through.”

Pfleger said, “So you’d rather be at home going through with your pity party with the devil than to be in church and have us pray with you and pray for you. I understand. That’s makes a whole lot of sense, stupid.” “God says I don’t want you to bless me because of how you feel. I call you to bless me in season and out of season, when you’re bound and when you are lacking.”

Pfleger said God wants to know if your relationship with him “is so secure and so tight that it really make no difference, that you are like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and say whether you get me out of this fire or not I will still bless your name. I will still give you glory. I know who you are and if you let me come out this, fine, if you don’t still blessed be the name of Jesus.”

“God makes it clear where he stands with us. Nothing shall separate us from his love, but God says I am looking for some people who declared that for themselves…. Nothing is going to separate me from Jesus” no matter what is going on in their personal lives.

“Our relationship with God gets so fickle,” Pfleger said. While in church, he said people get so excited about Jesus but then they “go home and hide behind your blinds, at the job come in with an attitude.”

He gave the example of people who talk on their cell phones and all of a sudden it cuts off. Pfleger said that’s when you enter into a dead zone because there isn’t a way to connect. “Some of us are unable to hear from God and to lift our hearts to God because our lives have entered into some sort of dead zone.  We walk in a place away from God; got into some pig’s pen…and we wonder why we can’t hear from God. Well, get out of where you’re at. Keep walking. Keep driving. That pity place that is a dead zone. You need to come out. You need to come out from where you’re at so we can reconnect again.”

“He tells us we swear his name. If you understand whose name you wear, you should never have an issue with low self-esteem…or self-confidence. If you know whose name you wear, you should not run around trying to get people to validate you,” said Pfleger.

“If you know whose name you wear, you should get up in the morning and say blessed be the name of the Lord. I’m a king’s kid. I am he apple of his eye. I’m a child of God. Do you know who I am? You ought to respect me. Be careful how you treat me. Do not touch the anointed of God. You might die on the spot if you mess with me. You don’t know whose kid I am.

“You’re worried about somebody telling you that you are OK. You don’t need somebody telling you that you are OK. You woke up with God telling you I love you.”

Referring to designer clothes and how some people purchase these clothes to make a statement, Pfleger took a “side bar for a minute and step out of pastor as man” and said First Lady Michelle “wore that dress” when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention where her husband accepted the Party’s presidential nomination. “I’m just saying. She was wearing that dress.”

“But, we go around trying to get all of these names to make us feel like somebody. Some designer doesn’t make you somebody. To the brothers out in the street…that doesn’t make you somebody. I woke up with a name on me. The name on me made the dead rise. The name on me made lame people walk. The name on me made the blind see and the deaf hear and the mute speak. You don’t understand. The name on me called the sun into being, called the day into being….

“You don’t understand whose name I got. I got a name that one day says every knee shall bow, every tongue confessed…Jesus…. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there is something about his” name, Jesus.

“When you walk in the room, Jesus walks in the room. You have what the Old Testament doesn’t have. They have visitation. He lives in you. You are the walking Tabernacle…. You should never have your head down…. You should lift your head up, throw your shoulders back and walk in every place you go because you’re blessed…. You don’t understand whose name I wear.”

“Why would you ever allow anyone to make you think little of yourself,” he said. “You are so precious. God said if there were nobody else alive but you, I die just for you…. He says if my people who are called by my name…. You don’t have to make a name. You don’t have to buy a name. You already got a name….

“If we are going to get God to bless us and deliver us and heal us, then we are going to have to learn about the power of dependency, not on somebody and not on yourself,” said Pfleger. “I know you think you are all that and a bag of chips, but you ain’t. You ain’t even a full bag of chips. I’m talking about the dependency on God. We are going to have to learn about the power of dependency because that’s hard because we live in this very arrogant time. We live in a proud time, proud world full of egos.

“I cringed when I heard Mitt Romney say if you want to do anything great in the world, you need an American,” Pfleger said asking “9/11 didn’t teach you nothing”? 

“I cringe when Barack Obama says repeatedly Osama bin Laden is dead and everybody applauds and screams. So we become a nation that still rests on our arrogance and ego and get excited about somebody getting killed and we call ourselves the moral compass of the world? Please.

“It bothers me when I hear about some crime taking place and you always find somebody in some neighborhood saying this doesn’t usually happen in our neighborhood. Just wait, baby. The chickens are coming home to roost, Pfleger warned.

“We have become such a prideful nation and it’s trickled down into the way we think in America. It’s trickled down in the church,” he said of some members boasting that they are the head of hospitality or the team leader of that. “So What. Don’t allow that prideful stuff to come unto the pews of the church. We are all filthy rags. God wants us to understand something. He wanted Israel to understand it. He wanted America to understand it, and he wants you and I to understand it.

“Don’t think you got where you are by yourself. Had it not been for me…. I am the one who blessed you…. I gave you water when you were thirsty…. I gave you healing. I gave you hope. I have you life. I gave you the breath you are breathing right now.” “Don’t you ever forget who kept you, who provided for you, who gave you breath today. It was God,” he said.

Saying what he has learned in life is that you can “either humble yourselves voluntarily or you can do it involuntarily. God can bring you to your knees…to remind you whose boss, who kept you.”

Speaking on the topic of “The Promise of Covenant,” Pfleger said God requires a reciprocal relationship…and he demands a two-way relationship. “We can’t expect of God and yet decide we are not going to obey him. We are not going to trust him, and we’re not going to love him.

“If you’re not going to trust, obey and love God, don’t expect God to just come and bless you. God is a God of covenant. He says if you do your part, I’ll do my part. You do what I called you to do and I got you. I got your back,” said Pfleger who said many need something to happen in both their personal and corporate lives.

“Life will bring you to some places where you will grab hold the horns of the altar…. Don’t ever become so arrogant that you think you can handle your life. I don’t care how slick you are, how many degrees you got, how charismatic you think you are and how much swagger you think you got because God will bring you to a place where none of that will help you, none of that will hold you.

“You can be the in control person in the world, but God will take you and make you weep, make you cry, get snot all over your face. You won’t care if your weave comes off, your eyelashes fall out. You won’t care about none that. You will cry out, God I need you,” said Pfleger.

Quoting the bible, he said from dust we came and from dust we shall return, Pfleger said the dust of the human body probably comes out to about $3.57. “So before you get all puffy about yourself, the next time you are coming up against some arrogant, egotistical person, just say, ‘What’s up, $3.57’ because that is what you want.

“You can come out of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and still be back living with mama. Be careful how you treat mama…,” warned Pfleger. “Be careful how you treat people because you might need them” one day.

Pfleger said there is one thing that will make you pray “when you recognize your inability and you recognize his divine ability. I can’t do it but he can do it.”

Pfleger said he will never forget his mother. He wanted to go away to college but his father was working three jobs and his mother worked one job. Often, he said, there were no lights in his home “and there was no power failure nowhere but at 8139. I would say but everybody else’s lights are on. That’s alright, baby. We’re going to have a real romantic evening at home and sometimes you light candles because it’s such a different atmosphere.”

Pfleger said his mother said there was no way they could send him to college but told him “I know God has something for you, and I know you’re going to college and when you come out of college you won’t owe one penny.” “I drove a cab, played downtown until 4 a.m., do whatever I had to do because I knew that God had promised….”  Pfleger said he graduated from Loyola not owing “one single penny” and at a time when his parents were struggling to save their home.

“I had a hookup with somebody who can do it…who can make things happen that don’t make sense….”

Asking people to “turn from their wickedness,” Father Pfleger made an altar call for those who wanted a healing. “When you do, he says I’ll hear from heaven and I’ll forgive you and I’ll heal you. If my people, who are called by my name, humble myself, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. Forgive your sins and heal the land, your land, the land from the East to the West, from the North to the South….

“Healing is available to us, to you in your life and me in my life. It’s available. It’s waiting. The vessel of healing is full and running over. God says I just need you to get into position. I just need America to get into position. I just need the world to get into position and I’ll hear your cries like I heard the cries of my children in Israel. I’ll forgive your sins. I’ll wipe it away and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness. And, then I’ll pour my healing upon you.”

Pfleger begged the church if they need healing and a blessing in their personal lives to come to the altar. “We can end the violence. We can end poverty. We can end racism…. This is the time to get it right so we will end it once and for all and pass it on to our children and our children’s children, a generation healed by the Lord,” he said as horns blasted.

“We need to seek the face of God. We need to put a demand on heaven. He said you have not because you have not,” Pfleger said asking the entire church to pray not only for themselves but also for the children.

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.

The United African Organization to hold Third Annual African Unity Gala and Awards

Posted by Admin On September - 11 - 2012 Comments Off on The United African Organization to hold Third Annual African Unity Gala and Awards
Third Annual African Unity Gala and Awards supports African Immigrants and Refugees in Illinois
CHICAGO, IL – The Third Annual African Unity Gala & Awards will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm at IIT Tower, 10 West 35th Street, Chicago. Proceeds from the event will benefit core programs at United African Organization (UAO), a nationally recognized leader in advocating, developing and empowering African immigrant and refugees.

Honorees at the event are Alice Cottingham, Almaz Yigizaw, Gregory Nimpson, and Akoto Berko Owusu (aka The Journalist). The Ubuntu Leadership Award will be presented to Alice Cottingham for a unwavering commitment to community development and empowerment; Almaz Yigizaw will receive the African Pillar of Excellence Award for her success as a trailblazer and ambassador of Ethiopian cuisine and culture in Chicago; Gregory Nimpson will receive the Kwame Nkrumah Visionary Award because of his service as a community leader; and the Community Hero Award will be presented to Akoto Berko Owusu of the African Spectrum publication for his commitment to raise public awareness of the African immigrant and refugee experience in Chicago.

The gala will feature world renowned Chicago-based Nigerian singer Ugochi. The event will be emceed by Angelique Westerfield, producer, WVON 1690AM Chicago’s African Diaspora Today.

Guests will have the opportunity to participate and win in the “Strength in Unity” Raffle.

Tickets may be purchased through the UAO website at www.uniteafricans.org. A number of sponsorship opportunities are also available. To purchase tickets, view or learn more about sponsorships, visit www.uniteafricans.org or call 312-949-9980. Money raised benefits core programs at UAO.

We acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors – Prudential Financial, Peoples Gas, Alice Cottingham & Associates, Acextic Consulting, and Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago as well as our community partners and donors, and food service providers.

United African Organization (UAO) is a dynamic coalition of African community-based associations that promotes social and economic justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois. UAO’s primary work consists of raising awareness about the experiences and contributions of the African immigrant and refugee community in Illinois, advocating for improved legislation on various rights and US-Africa policy issues, building capacity and fostering leadership development in member communities, and building bridges with the African American Community and other immigrant communities.  Our initiatives and programs include public policy advocacy, community leadership development, community organizing, public education, citizenship & civic engagement, African Youth Network, African Business Roundtable, Africans in Chicago oral history, health education, as well as family support programs.

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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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