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Archive for September 17th, 2012

CTU: Day 6 — No Class for CPS Monday; Mayor Emanuel seeks court injunction to end strike

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on CTU: Day 6 — No Class for CPS Monday; Mayor Emanuel seeks court injunction to end strike

Trust, closing of 200 schools huge problem

By Chinta Strausberg


With trust and the “big elephant in the room” – the closing of 200 schools– being the two stumbling blocks, Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU)  President Karen Lewis Sunday evening announced the House of Delegates will reconvene on Tuesday and that students may return to the classroom on Wednesday at the earliest.

However, hours later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered his lawyers to haul the CTU into court in an effort to get the students back into the classroom. Chicago School Board President David Vitale said, “Just as we said this is a strike of choice. It’s now a strike by delay.” The dueling media press conferences will now change venues to a legal war of words inside of a courtroom.

In a live television press conference, Lewis said the House of Delegates wants more time to pour over the contract before the delegates vote up or down on Wednesday.

However, with Rosh Hashanah beginning tonight, this pay pose a problem with some House of Delegate members who may celebrate the High Holy Days.

Saying the tentative agreement is not completed in terms of language, Lewis said her members would reconvene on Tuesday.  However, the members said they would like to go back to their schools “to their members, have discussions with them” and reconvene on Tuesday out of respect for those observing Rosh Hashanah.

Come Tuesday, Lewis said they would be back at the table to determine if they will suspend the strike. “At this moment, they don’t feel that way,” she told reporters.

Lewis said, “This is the deal we got. This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination” but they did get some things they got in terms of the recall procedures.

Explaining about the three huge initiatives they were faced with, Lewis said teachers have a longer school day, an evaluation system and a common core curriculum. “By not having language on Friday was hard for them because it was not written.”

Asked if her members are satisfied with the tentative agreement, Lewis candidly said, “They are not happy with it. They would have liked it to be actually a lot better for us than it is. Clearly, a contract is always a sum of negotiations. No sides are ever completely happy, but are members are not happy and they want to have the opportunity to talk to their members. They still want to know if there is anything more they can get,” she explained. “When you have expectations of democracy, that is what happens.”

Specifically, Lewis said her members are not happy with the evaluations, the recall and “they don’t like the idea about peoples’ recall benefits are basically cut in half.”

“The big elephant in the room is the closing of 200 schools,” said Lewis. “That’s where they are. They are concerned about this city’s decision on some level to close schools. They are extraordinarily concerned about it. It undergirds just about everything we’ve talked about.”

The second problem the CTU members have with the Chicago School Board is trust. “There is no trust for our members of the board.” “The trust level is just not there. You have a population of people who are frighten of never being able to work through no fault of their own. They just don’t have the trust.”

She said what her members want is to discuss this tentative agreement to give all the opportunity to be a part of the talks “then come back and decide whether or not we have time to work this out…. This contract may not be approved until November.” However, her members rejected that timeline but emphasized they just want time to talk with their members.

Lewis made it clear that “this is not a personal thing for me. This is the deal we got…. The whole process is listening to our members…. I do what they tell me to do. I am their spokesperson….” Lewis said her members don’t want to be rushed.

While they have the language, which is incomplete, Lewis said they have been guaranteed that the final language may be finished by Tuesday and she will provide it to all of her members.

Saying the CTU and the Board have different worldviews about education, she said, “They have a political spin machine….”

While the CTU could not get the Board to budge on negotiating class size, Lewis said they were able to get a class size panel that will monitor class size and will have a parent on that panel.

Asked if the House of Delegates could vote down the tentative contract, Lewis said, “They could say that, but they need the opportunity to have the time to make those decisions….”

Saying one contract won’t solve all of the school problems, Lewis said, “Putting our members together with community and with parents starts moving towards the fighting those issues. We’ve had school closing fights before. We feel they will be even larger and grander now.”


2003 contract

2007 contract

2012 contract

Length of Day Students gain 7 minutes per day. No change from 5 ¾ hours per day. Elementary students gain 1 ¼ hours to create a 7 hour school day. High school students gain ½ hour to create a 7 ½ hour school day.
Length of Year Students lose 7 days, falling from 177 to 170 instructional days. No change from 170 days. Students gain 10 full instructional days. 
Academic Calendar Multiple calendars with different start and end dates for students. Maintains multiple calendar system. A unified calendar is created so all public school children attend school on the same days. A joint Board-Union Committee created to work on specifics.
Teacher Evaluation Maintains the 1967 evaluation system. Maintains the 1967 evaluation system. Student growth is part of evaluation for first time, accounting for 25% of evaluation in years 1 and 2; 30% in year 3; 35% year 4; and potentially 40% in year 5 if Joint Committee approves. A student survey will be piloted in Year 2, with implementation in Year 3 at 10% of total, subject to Joint Committee. Tenured teachers will continue to be evaluated on biennial cycle if receiving a Proficient or Excellent rating.  Unsatisfactory and Developing teachers will face layoff in Year 1. Remediation and dismissal may occur immediately post-rating (which tenured teachers receive in Year 2 of implementation).
Contract Duration 4 years 5 years 3 years with the option of 4th year based on trigger.
Recall and Layoff Principals maintain authority to hire whichever teacher they deem best. Layoffs done by seniority only,
without consideration of performance.
Principals maintain authority to hire whichever teacher they deem best. Layoffs done by seniority only,
without consideration of performance.
Principals maintain full authority to hire whichever teacher they deem best. When schools are consolidated, closed or phased-out, highly-rated teachers will have the opportunity to follow their students to the consolidated school. Order of layoff is by performance: Unsatisfactory teachers first, then by class (probationary/tenured), then by Developing (formerly Needs Improvement – in two groups, those rated lower in this category then those rated higher), and then Proficient/Excellent.
Quality Teacher Initiative No system. No system. For the first time, CPS will have hiring standards for teachers that have earned credentials beyond a certification to teach.  Initiative will create hiring standards to ensure all candidates meet minimum hiring requirements to raise the bar on the quality of our teachers and to ensure that all teachers across the city meet these minimum expectations. The Initiative also creates guaranteed interviews for tenured highly-rated teachers who are laid off because of closings, consolidations, phase-outs, enrollment drops and academic reasons. CPS will aim to fill 50% of vacancies with Proficient and Excellent displaced tenured teachers. Principals will not be restrained by this goal and will continue to have the ability to hire the highest quality candidates of their choosing.
Cost of Living Increase 4% per year 4% per year First year 3%, followed by 2% in Year 2 and 2% in Year 3.  If accepting a 4th year, will receive 3%.
Steps Unchanged from past contract. Adds steps 14 – 16.  Reformed to incent retention of more senior teachers and to result in short term and long-term savings over current system. 
Lanes Unchanged from past contract. Unchanged from past contract. Unchanged from past contract.
Career Ladders, Lanes and Differentiated Compensation None. None. Joint Board-Union pay committee to be formed to study lane movement, differentiated compensation and career ladders.  Teacher credentials or roles to be considered may include: Teacher Leader, Professional Development Teacher, Mentor Teacher, Peer Observer, Department Chair, and more.  Credentials will further highlight exceptional teachers, help teachers develop professionally, and will assist principals in identifying top talent for their schools.
Health Contributions remain the same. Contributions remain the same, and LMCC created. Contribution rates remain frozen, with LMCC authority revised to permit changes to defray increases in healthcare costs. Introduces a comprehensive wellness program at no cost to employee but with opt-out premium differential.
Sick Leave Sick days continued to be paid out. Unused sick leave banks increased. Employees can accumulate up to 325 days for payout and pension service credit after 20 years of service. Eliminate sick leave payout going forward without penalizing existing banks. Permit banking of up to 40 days for use as sick days, FMLA leaves, and pension service credit, but not for payout purposes. Adds short-term disability policy that provides for paid maternity leave, other illness leaves, and may add paternity leave policy of 2 to 3 weeks.
Personal Days Unused personal days are paid out to employees. Unused personal days are paid out to employees. Unused personal days are no longer compensated.
Class Size Remains the same. Remains the same. Maintains current class size policy. 
School Choice     CPS maintains complete freedom to offer quality school options, including STEM schools, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, charter schools and selective enrollment.
Enhanced Pension Program $124M in increased pension liability. $114M in increased pension liability. Program eliminated.
Contract Cost $534 million over four years, or $133 million per year. $645 million over five years, or $129 million per year. $295 million over four years, or $74 million per year. Includes reduced cost from COLA reduction, step and lane compensation, and savings in layoff benefits, sick day compensation, and a new wellness program.
Impact •   Students lose 7 days.•   Students gain 7 minutes per day.   •   Instructional time remains the same.•   No reforms to teacher evaluation. •   Elementary students gain 1 ¼ hours and high school students gain a ½ hour. All students gain two additional weeks.•   Principals retain authority to hire teachers of their choice.•   For the first time, layoff decisions will be based on performance.•   Groundbreaking evaluation system that accounts for student growth and supports teacher development.

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.

Faces of Color at RNC? Mostly at the Lectern

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Faces of Color at RNC? Mostly at the Lectern

Maynard Media Critique 


By Nadra Kareem Nittle



Are mainstream media doing enough to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican Party with regard to people of color and issues they care about?


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis were among the long list of minority politicians featured at the 2012 Republican National Convention in August. While those who spoke there were markedly diverse, RNC delegates were overwhelmingly white.


Some media outlets such as The Washington Post reported on this racial disconnect, noting that just 2 percent of Republican delegates were African-American. Overall, the Republican Party is 87 percent white and the Democratic Party 61 percent white, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The 2010 U.S. Census recorded the nation’s non-Hispanic white population at 64 percent.


Advocates for communities of color express concern about the GOP’s array of minority speakers even as some policies that conservatives tout are widely regarded as detrimental to people of color, including strident anti-illegal immigration measures, cuts in social service programs and anti-Muslim legislation. The issue is compounded because mainstream media rarely cited these contradictions.


Political experts say news coverage should have noted that Republicans of color featured at the convention don’t generally represent political views of American minority groups. Also missing in the coverage, they say, is whether minorities have influential positions in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.


Viviana Hurtado, the nonpartisan political writer behind The Wise Latina Club blog, covered both conventions. Her take on seeing Latino Republicans such as Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas speak is that the “face doesn’t match the base.”


“There in Tampa, I didn’t see Latino representation or really minority representation,” Hurtado says. Latino Republicans have won gubernatorial and congressional offices, and the GOP did discuss how Romney’s economic platform would benefit Latinos. But Hurtado says the GOP failed to address the “elefante (elephant) in the room – immigration.


“There has been an avoidance of the immigration issue,” Hurtado says. “Latinos have been told Gov. Romney will deal with immigration once he’s elected. That’s a promise Latinos are very, very wary of.”


Hurtado says Latinos are reluctant to trust the GOP on immigration given that prominent Republican Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, helped to devise controversial legislation to crack down on unauthorized immigration in Arizona and Alabama.


Opponents of such legislation argue that it will result in racial profiling and harassment of Latinos. Romney hasn’t taken a clear stance on immigration reform and during Republican primaries, urged undocumented immigrants to “self-deport.”


The mainstream media haven’t pressured Romney to spell out his plan on immigration and didn’t stress his failure to do so during coverage of the convention. If more Latinos held positions of power in mainstream media, coverage may have highlighted that fact, Hurtado says.


Hurtado also takes issue with how Democrats engaged Latinos at their convention and says Democrats must focus on issues beyond immigration. While reporting on the DNC, she attended two panels about voter suppression and the economy and says she was shocked to discover that no Hispanics were on either.


Republican political consultant Raynard Jackson also criticizes both parties. He says the GOP is unlikely to attract voters of color by featuring a diverse lineup of convention speakers. “It was a stupid strategy,” he says. “It’s not going to provide any dividends. It’s insulting.”


Jackson says the media should have examined how many people of color have influential positions in Romney’s campaign, and he notes that Romney has no people of color controlling his campaign budget or exercising authority over others. Jackson says he doesn’t consider that Tara Wall, a senior communications adviser to the campaign who serves primarily to help with African-American outreach, is such a figure.


Jackson criticizes both parties for not granting more interviews to the black press.


Last week, on TheLoop21.com, the black interest website, political blogger Aaron Morrison wrote an op-ed headlined “GOP Leaders Won’t Acknowledge Party Racism Because They Don’t Have To.” He says the sheer whiteness of the Republican Party has made race an issue that conservatives don’t even have to engage. But he says media should point out that Republicans have backed photo-ID laws and cuts to social services, moves that could hurt communities of color.


Moreover, Morrison says Rubio and two other minority speakers at the convention – former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mia Love, a Utah congressional candidate – don’t appear to believe that institutional racism is a major problem, a viewpoint that largely contrasts with feelings of civil rights groups.


Rice, for example, is “a woman who is proud to black,” Morrison says. “She transcended and overcome a lot of racial discrimination. Her story is racism still exists but blacks can achieve and go really far in life.”


While that statement is true, Morrison notes that not everyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps.


During the GOP convention, Republicans also featured people from different religious faiths. A Sikh was invited to deliver a prayer, a seeming show of solidarity after Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran with white supremacist ties, shot and killed six Sikhs at a Wisconsin temple in August. Page’s motive remains unclear, but reports have speculated that he mistook the Sikhs for Muslims.


Corey Saylor, legislative director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, says Republicans must be held accountable for anti-Muslim legislation and rhetoric.


In July, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., and four other conservative Republicans in Congress accused Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an international political group linked to terrorist acts.


“What we see is rhetoric that essentially defines Muslims as a threat to frighten voters,” Saylor says. “It’s an unfortunate trend we see in the Republican Party.”


Saylor says the media must do more than simply repeat politicians’ wild accusations about Muslims, noting that former presidential contenders Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have also spoken negatively about them. Repeating such claims without analysis fuels misperceptions about Muslims, Saylor says.


Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the charges against Abedin “sinister accusations” with “no logic, no basis and no merit,” and House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “. . . I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.” GOP conservatives haven’t been as quick to counter Islamophobic rhetoric.


John Bolton, a Romney foreign policy adviser and former George W. Bush administration official, said he was “mystified” by criticism of Bachmann.


Thinkprogress.org, an alternative news site, reported that Romney refused to tell reporters at an event in Reno, Nev., whether Bachmann’s comments about Abedin crossed the line, saying, “I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about. Those are not things that are part of my campaign.”


Bolton has also been criticized for agreeing to speak at a 9/11 event organized by conservative activist Pamela Geller, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. . . . relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam . . . .


Saylor describes Geller as “the mouthpiece of the anti-Muslim movement,” and says, “Government officials will not appear with anti-Semites and white supremacists, so equally they should not appear with Muslim haters.”


In 2000, the media highlighted then-presidential candidate George W. Bush’s appearance at Bob Jones University, a Christian school in Greenville, S.C., that at that time banned interracial dating. Under political pressure because of news coverage, Bush expressed regret for not criticizing the policy, and the ban was eventually dropped. Media exposure can play a similar role today, especially when people of color are represented in newsrooms.


“We need journalists of color at the highest levels, not just out front anchoring and reporting but also at the management level,” Hurtado says. “When you don’t have journalists of color, what’s going to be absent is context.”


Nadra Kareem Nittle writes media critiques for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Her stories and other media critiques are available at www.mije.org/mmcsi and can be republished free of charge. For more information, please contact Elisabeth Pinio at epinio@mije.org or 510-891-9202.


State’s Attorney Alvarez highlights new Alternative Prosecution Program

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on State’s Attorney Alvarez highlights new Alternative Prosecution Program

A highly successful and unique alternative prosecution program created by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for first time felony offenders will now be used as a model for such programs by prosecutors across the State of Illinois, according to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. 

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a new state law that will enable prosecutors throughout Illinois to develop their own alternative programs based on the Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s Deferred Prosecution Program.   

The program offers non-violent, first-time felony offenders the opportunity to voluntarily enroll in the year-long diversion program instead of facing possible incarceration or traditional probation.  The offender must meet specific requirements such as making restitution for their crime, holding a job or performing community service, attending educational classes to receive a GED or vocational training and, when appropriate, receiving substance abuse treatment.

“I think that prosecutors can play an important role in implementing new alternative sentencing measures like this that not only bring just results, but also provide non-violent offenders with a second chance,” said Alvarez. “We have been extremely pleased with the results of our Deferred Prosecution Program and we are very proud that the governor and the Illinois Legislature have seen fit to use it as a model for prosecutorial-based diversion programming across the state.”

If the offender successfully completes the intensive program, the State’s Attorney can request a dismissal of the charges and the offender can pursue expungement of the charge and avoid the enormous burden of having a felony conviction on his or her record.

Since it was launched in Cook County in 2011, 645 individuals have participated in the program with 257 successfully completing it. County officials estimate that nearly $1.1 million in taxpayer funds have been saved due to reduced court and incarceration costs.

SB 3349 gives all Illinois state’s attorneys the authority to launch their own deferred prosecutions program as well as granting them the ability to tailor it to the needs of their own jurisdictions. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kimberly du Buclet (D-Chicago) and was signed by Governor Quinn this past August.

Quinn and Alvarez were joined by several of the law’s sponsors and supporters including Rep. Kimberly du Buclet, Sen. Mattie Hunter, Rep. Monique Davis, Rep. Mary Flowers, Rep. Arthur Turner, Jr., Justice Marcus Salone, and John Fairman, president of the Cook County Bar Association.



Sec’y of State Jesse White to hold Illinois’ Constitution and Citizenship Day Celebration

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Sec’y of State Jesse White to hold Illinois’ Constitution and Citizenship Day Celebration

Marks the 225th Signing of the Constitution; 100 People from 32 Countries will be Sworn-In as Citizens


Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will hold Illinois’ fourth official U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day.  One hundred people from 32 countries will be sworn-in as citizens by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan.

The event will be held today, September 17, 2012 at the Richard J. Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., outside on the plaza, at Noon. 

The purpose of the celebration is to observe and celebrate the many freedoms the Constitution guarantees and honors the bond shared with those becoming citizens of the United States of America.

700,000 young people could lose their vote

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on 700,000 young people could lose their vote
A Reprint from ReMARCs
By Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League
As many as 700,000 young people of color could be deprived of their voting rights this year because of regressive new laws aimed at suppressing turnout, according to a study released this week by the University of Chicago.
At least 17 states have some kind of voter ID law already in place or about to go into effect.
This is not about having ID, simply to prove you are who you say you are. This is about having a specific type of ID. You can’t show up with your Sam’s Club card and vote.
The states that require or will require a photo ID are:
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
An earlier analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school found that 11 percent of Americans lack the specific type of ID required by the new laws. While 9 percent of whites lack ID, 25 percent of blacks and 16 percent of Hispanics do not have them and may be denied the opportunity to vote.
We at the National Urban League are fighting back. Through our Occupy The Vote initiative, we’re reaching out to citizens of all ages encouraging them to register, to make sure they have the proper ID, and – most importantly – to vote.
We’re also encouraging state legislators and governors across the nation to reject these regressive and discrimatory laws. Find out more, and join the fight, by calling 1-866-MY-VOTE-1 or visiting www.occupythevote12.org.
Photo: Marc Morial

Non-Profit organization, educating young minds, nominated for $250,000 Chase Giving Contest

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Non-Profit organization, educating young minds, nominated for $250,000 Chase Giving Contest

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Educating Young Minds began 25 years ago with two students in a tiny apartment. That was the beginning of Angeles Echols-Brown’s dream, Educating Young Minds (EYM).

EYM is now a thriving, colorful 12,000 square-foot center with a state of the art computer lab and 30 teachers and administrative staff. EYM has served more than 3,700 children in Los Angeles with home school, after school tutorial, college scholarships, counseling and mentoring programs. EYM takes a holistic approach working to empower parents and to build each students’ self- esteem within each of these programs.

An EYM grad Taylor Onouye shares: “I remember having unsatisfactory grades and a negative attitude…Today I can proudly say that I am an eleventh grade honor roll student with a 3.8 GPA… I was once surly and sulky and now I can stand before an audience and give a speech with confidence… EYM is my second home, my school and my safe haven.”

Now EYM has an opportunity serve more students in the local community with The Chase Community Giving Contest. EYM has a chance to win up to $250,000. The contest is based on online votes on Facebook, Chasegiving.com for Chase customers or you can vote by going to www.educatingyoungminds.org.

This grant could mean increased sustainability for EYM and its students. Ms. Echols’ dream to increase the high school and college graduation rates could become a reality one graduate at a time.

EYM is asking that you vote now! The contest ends September 19th, 12am EST (9pm PST).

(Chase customers can also earn double votes at www.chasegiving.com.)

For more details, about the organization call (213) 487- 2310 or visit www.educatingyoungminds.org

Pulitzer Prize-Nominee Dael Orlandersmith returns to the Goodman with her latest work Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Pulitzer Prize-Nominee Dael Orlandersmith returns to the Goodman with her latest work Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men

Obie Award-Winner Chay Yew directs the Heartbreakingly Poetic Solo Piece September 29 – October 28, 2012 in the Owen Theatre


CHICAGO, IL - Goodman Theatre opens its 2012/2013 Season in the Owen Theatre with playwright, actor and poet Dael Orlandersmith’s Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, an “incisively written and masterfully performed” (San Francisco Chronicle) co-commission with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Directed by Chay Yew, Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men is Orlandersmith’s solo-performed examination of humanity’s capacity for hope and survival,

rendered through the eyes of five men ages 11 to 50. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men runs September 29 – October 28, 2012 (Opening Night is October 7) in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre. Tickets ($12 – $42; prices subject to change) are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Black-and-Blue-Boys, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). New work development at the Goodman was instituted by the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for Artistic Development, and is supported in part by generous grants from the D&R Fund and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The Davee Foundation is a Major Contributor to Research and Development for New Work; The Joyce Foundation is the Principal Supporter of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives. Prince Charitable Trusts is the leading contributor to the Goodman’s New Work Endowment Fund.

“Years ago, I worked as a social worker in a house for runaway kids. I would hear a lot from boys about them being molested and abused by women—not just by men,” said Dael Orlandersmith. “As a writer and actor, gender always comes up for me. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men takes away the stigma of gender, as abuse knows no sex. Ultimately, I hope the audience walks away asking what makes us function as humans. As theater goers, we are emotional and mental travelers—we must acquaint ourselves with the dark.”

Director Chay Yew, artistic director of Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, has worked with Orlandersmith to develop Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men since its 2010/2011 staged reading for New Stages, the Goodman’s new play development series.

“Dael is a wonderful poet and actor,” said director Chay Yew, “and every word she writes is a cut. Every word she utters is a kick, a punch. After you see Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, whether you’re in the Loop or on the CTA, you will give the person next to you a second look because they could potentially be a Flaco or Ian or Tenny…the complex characters that inhabit her new play. Dael has given a voice and a face to the invisible and

silent multitudes of male abuse victims. Black n Blue Boys reminds us why we keep going back to these moving, difficult and beautiful plays—because they remind us to be better human beings.”

In Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, Pulitzer Prize finalist (for Yellowman) Dael Orlandersmith seamlessly transforms into five unforgettable male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inescapable link: a traumatic past plagued by a cycle of violence and abuse. From Coney Island to Manchester, England—and back— Orlandersmith brings to life a series of harrowing stories that weave together each character’s friends, family, lovers and counselors into an explosive narrative that uncovers the darkest corners of humanity—and shatters the notions about predators and their victims.

 “I’m thrilled to welcome back Dael Orlandersmith, one of our country’s most courageous and commanding solo actors, to the Goodman. Her writing, raw and often violent but always beautiful, shines a light on the painful realities of being alive,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Her searing Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men was a stand-out in our 2010/2011 New Stages Series, and we are proud to produce it now, fully realized and directed by the talented and fearless Chay Yew, as our Owen Theatre season opener.”

Dael Orlandersmith previously collaborated with the Goodman on Stoop Stories during the 2009/2010 Season. Orlandersmith first performed Stoop Stories in 2008 at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and Apollo Theater’s Salon Series; Washington, D.C.’s Studio Theatre produced its world premiere in 2009. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men was developed as a co-commission between the Goodman and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it was staged in May, 2012. Her play Horsedreams was developed at New Dramatists and workshopped at New York Stage and Film Company in 2008, and was performed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2011. Bones was commissioned by Mark Taper Forum, where it premiered in 2010. Orlandersmith premiered The Blue Album, in collaboration with David Cale, at Long Wharf Theatre in 2007. Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at McCarter Theatre in a co-production with The Wilma Theater and Long Wharf Theatre. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman in 2002. The Gimmick, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered in their Second Stage OnStage series in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop; Orlandersmith won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick in 1999. Her play Monster premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in November 1996. Orlandersmith has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Yellowman and a collection of her earlier works have been published by Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service. Orlandersmith attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers and is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter.

 Chay Yew’s Chicago credits include Oedipus el Rey and Ameriville at Victory Gardens Theater and Po Boy Tango at Northlight Theatre. In New York, he directed Durango, Low and Ameriville at The Public Theater; A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick at Playwrights Horizons; The Architecture of Loss at New York Theatre Workshop; The House of Bernarda Alba at the National Asian American Theatre Company and Last of the Suns at Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Regionally, he has directed Strike-Slip, Low and Ameriville at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville; Citizen 13559: The Journal of Ben Uchida at The Kennedy Center; Sex Parasite and Rice Boy at Mark Taper Forum; Brainpeople at American Conservatory Theater; Boleros for the Disenchanted at the Huntington Theatre Company; Our Town at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Antebellum at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Strange Attractors, Frozen and The Laramie Project at The Empty Space Theatre; 36 Views at Portland Center Stage; A Beautiful Country at Cornerstone Theatre Company and M. Butterfly and Sisters Matsumoto at East West Players. His opera credits include world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov’s and David Henry Hwang’s Ainadamar (co-production with the Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Rob Zuidam’s Rage d’Amours at Tanglewood Music Center. Yew is an alumnus of New Dramatists, serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and is a recipient of the Obie Award for Best Direction. He is the artistic director of Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater.

The creative team for Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men includes Daniel Ostling (Set Designer), Ben Stanton (Lighting Designer), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer), Anita Yavich (Costume Designer), and Tanya Palmer (Dramaturg). Kimberly Osgood is the production stage manager.

Businesses should recognize kindness and customer service are critical for success

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on Businesses should recognize kindness and customer service are critical for success

CHICAGO, IL  – A warm smile and a kind gesture can brighten even the gloomiest of days. When working with customers, it is always important to recognize the integral part of quality service. September is National Courtesy Month and Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) is encouraging business owners to recognize the importance of proper business etiquette when dealing with customers.


The trust that is established between a customer and a business is not only the foundation for a successful business transaction, but makes for an overall healthy business relationship between the business and the customer. The customer needs to feel that they have been heard and that they have received the time and patience they deserve from the business.  


“By going above and beyond for your customers you are creating an environment of trust and a positive example for managers to follow,” stated Steve J. Bernas, President and CEO of the BBB. “It creates a cycle that grows the customer base by ensuring that first time customers will return.”


The BBB offers these business tips:

  • Always greet your customer with a warm welcome. When a customer comes to your business, make sure to address them by name and with a friendly welcome. Customers pick up on your attitude and will quickly judge your business accordingly. A warm welcome invites the customer to stay a while and encourages them to do business with you.   
  • Go the extra mile. Thank you notes, birthday cards, and personalized coupons are a great way to show your appreciation to your customers. If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say yes.    
  • Give the customer the benefit of the doubt. Whether it’s online or in person, customers can and will complain at some point during your business’ lifetime. Make sure you know how to handle even the most disgruntled complaint. Give your employees guidelines on what to say and how to act. Respond consistently and timely if the complaint is online. Outsiders will see and appreciate your attempt to resolve, even if the disgruntled customer does not.   
  • Lead by example. Employees take their cue from management. Make sure that all senior staff are aware of how they treat their staff. Employees can become the face of the business and it is important that the positive interactions staff receives from management, reflect in their daily interactions with customers.   
  • Seek out feedback. Ask your customers and fellow employees, “How are we doing?” Make an honest effort to resolve and execute any suggestions. Keeping customers and employees happy is the key to success for any business. Feedback allows for a great pat on the back and time to reflect on what needs to be changed.  

For more consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org

CTA awards $220 million contract for Red Line South Reconstruction

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on CTA awards $220 million contract for Red Line South Reconstruction
$220 million contract for track work exceeds goals for DBE participation, includes local firms



The Chicago Transit Board approved the award of a contract for the Red Line South reconstruction, one of the largest reconstruction projects in the CTA’s history and a multimillion-dollar investment in both Chicago’s South Side and the backbone of the CTA rail system.


The project, which begins in spring 2013, will completely rebuild the 43-year-old Red Line South—including all track, ties, ballast and drainage systems—from Cermak/Chinatown to 95th Street.


Kiewit Infrastructure Corporation of Chicago submitted the lowest bid for the track work component of project at $220.1 million, and was found to be the most qualified.  The bid was below project estimates, and the next lowest bidder was 20 percent higher than Kiewit’s submission.


“This was the first step toward giving South Side customers the Red Line they deserve and I look forward to successfully completing this project on time and on budget,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.  “By the end of 2013, we will provide our customers a south Red Line that is faster, smoother and better than it has been in decades.”


Kiewit also slightly exceeded the CTA’s target of 28 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation—reaching 29.3 percent—by engaging the services of 23 DBE subcontractors, more than 50 percent of which are based in Chicago.


The total DBE contact dollar amount is $66.5 million, with 60.6 percent going to African-American firms, 23.8 percent to Hispanic firms, 3.5 percent to Asian firms, and 12.1 percent to women-owned firms.


Since announcing the project in June, the CTA has worked diligently to make sure DBE subcontractors were aware of the Red Line South project—hosting four meet-and-greet sessions pairing potential prime contractors with more than 160 companies to ensure that prime contractors engaged with DBE firms that may qualify for and be interested in the work.


“We have said since the beginning of this effort that we would do everything we could to encourage DBE participation and have never wavered in our effort to make that a reality,” said Board Chairman Terry Peterson. 


CTA is currently soliciting proposals for the station improvement portion of the project, which includes the renewal and improvement of the eight stations along the project footprint.  Improvements will include three new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th Street stations, painting and lighting, bus bridge improvements, and new roofs and canopies at some stations.  CTA has established a 40 percent DBE participation goal for station work.


The overall estimated budget for the project, including design, construction and additional CTA service, is $425 million.  The project is part of more than $1 billion in federal, state and local funds being invested in the Red Line, the system’s busiest.


Over the past three months CTA has hosted three meetings to gather community input and our DBE meet-and-greet sessions, and held two job fairs.  Another job fair was held Saturday, September 15, as part of CTA’s efforts to fill as many as 400 part-time bus operator jobs needed for the expanded bus service during the five-month construction period.

More information about the project is available at www.transitchicago.com/redsouth.

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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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