March , 2019

  SPRINGFIELD, IL – As the new Vice-Chair of the House Business Incentives for Local Communities ...
CHICAGO, IL – On Friday afternoon, Governor Rauner announced his appointment of James Dimas ...
New America Media By Paul Kleyman Whichever way the Supreme Court wind blows for or against ...
  Chicago, IL – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wants consumers to celebrate ...
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an ...
OAKLAND, CA (BlackNews.com) -- More than 150 African American young men from throughout the San ...
The book provides a framework for pooling resources on a large scale to foster black ...
CHICAGO, IL - Looking to earn easy or much needed cash, consumers are ...
Comptroller urges General Assembly to deliver balanced budget CHICAGO, IL - Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on ...
CHICAGO, IL - Chicago State University, a predominantly Black institution located on the south side ...

Archive for September 21st, 2012

U.S. Senators Kirk, Levin, Durbin, Casey lead effort to restore Great Lakes

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on U.S. Senators Kirk, Levin, Durbin, Casey lead effort to restore Great Lakes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Great Lakes Task Force co-chairs U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), along with Task Force members Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.), today introduced the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act, a bill to address the most significant challenges in the Great Lakes ecosystem.  The legislation targets invasive species, nonpoint source and nutrient pollution, and will help remediate and restore toxic hot spots throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
“The Great Lakes are a unique and vital ecosystem as well as an important economic engine throughout the region, and we must protect this precious natural resource,” said Kirk. “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am fully committed to working with my Senate colleagues to ensure that future generations can enjoy safe, clean drinking water. The Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act will help improve the integrity of the entire Great Lakes Basin, and continue the effort to tackle the threat of invasive species, reduce pollution and keep our lakes clean. I am proud to cosponsor this bill to help to ensure the long-term health of the Great Lakes region and preserve this environmental treasure.”
“The bipartisan bill we’re introducing today would authorize and reauthorize key Great Lakes programs that lead to real, measurable results in restoring and protecting the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth,” said Levin.  “This legislation demonstrates our continued commitment to investing in the Great Lakes, and backs our nation’s commitment with Canada to make real progress in cleaning up contaminated sediments, reducing pollution that causes algal blooms, and preventing invasive species from harming the Great Lakes.”
“We are faced with many challenges when trying to protect the health and safety of the Great Lakes – from invasive species to air pollution around Lake Michigan,” said Durbin.  “ While I have been working for decades with my colleagues in the House and Senate to tackle these challenges, the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act provides us with a comprehensive approach.  One that I hope will help ensure that the Great Lakes will be around for generations, providing drinking water, recreation and commerce for Illinois and the other surrounding states.”
“The Great Lakes provide vital natural resources and promote economic activity in communities all along their coasts,” said Senator Casey. “We cannot let the threat of invasive species and pollution dim the lakes’ potential to support jobs in the region, so for communities like Erie, Pennsylvania, this legislation marks a commitment to working toward preservation and prosperity.”   
The legislation includes the following provisions:
  •  Ensures implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada
  • Authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to target the most significant problems facing the basin
  • Reauthorizes the Great Lakes National Program Office within the Environmental Protection Agency to facilitate policy and administrative tasks relating to the Great Lakes
  • Reauthorizes the Great Lakes Legacy Act to remove contaminated sediment from Areas of Concern across the Great Lakes
  • Establishes a Great Lakes Advisory Board to advise on matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection
  • Authorizes a Federal Interagency Task Force to coordinate restoration initiatives among the federal agencies
Text of the legislation introduced can be found here.
Other cosponsors of the legislation include Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Senators Kirk and Levin are co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, of which Senators Durbin and Casey are members. This bipartisan Task Force includes Great Lakes State senators who advocate for actions to strengthen the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes.

March and rally to demand justice for victims of police murder – Stephon Watts & Prince Akbar – Saturday 22, 2012

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on March and rally to demand justice for victims of police murder – Stephon Watts & Prince Akbar – Saturday 22, 2012

Community members to gather at Watts’ home and march to Calumet City police station


(From The Illinois Campaign to end the New Jim Crow)


CALUMET CITY, IL – This Saturday, September 22, Calumet City community members will rally to demand justice for two men murdered by police. Supporters will then march on the Calumet City police station, at 1200 Pulaski Road, to hold “killer cops” accountable for their actions.

On February 1, Calumet City police officers Robert Hynek and William Coffey shot and killed Stephen Watts, an autistic youth, in his home after his family called a non-emergency line while he was having a mental health episode. He was holding a butter knife at the time. On January 10, 2010, Calumet City police tased, shot and killed the unarmed Prince Akbar.  He was shot multiple times while suffering a bipolar episode.

Family member Danelene Watts says “We need to stand up. This is about human rights.”

The Illinois Campaign to end the New Jim Crow is a coalition of community members dedicated to challenging the system of racism, repression and retribution that sustains mass incarceration. The Coalition seeks to remove the structural injustices inherent in the criminal justice system, to end the reign of police terror, and seek human rights for all members of society.

Saturday, September 22 – Calumet City

Rally and March for Stolen Lives will take place Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 3 p.m., at 541 Forsythe, and will march to 1200 Pulaski Rd. in Calumet City, IL.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/283366958435268/

Black congregations finding ‘common ground’ by connecting faith to African roots

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Black congregations finding ‘common ground’ by connecting faith to African roots


AfricanAncestry.com helps Black Clergy deepen member bonds and foster healthy faith identities through genetic ancestry tracing


 Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — African Ancestry, Inc. (AfricanAncestry.com), the pioneers of DNA-based ancestry tracing for people of African descent, is helping African-American churches discover who they are in the spiritual confines of their faith-based communities as part of its new African Ancestry Church Program. While delivering transformative programming that seamlessly integrates with church-based health initiatives, AfricanAncestry.com underscores its commitment to promote healthy identities among African Americans and positive, community-wide connections with Africa.

“This initiative makes it easy for faith communities to provide important cultural connections and attract new members through innovative programming,” said Gina Paige of African Ancestry. “At its core, the program strengthens families, builds a stronger sense of community within the congregation and promotes overall wellness through the soul-satisfying transformation associated with knowing ones roots.”


By working directly alongside church leadership, the first-of-its-kind program takes participants through a progressively enlightened journey that leads to a life-enhancing crescendo that positively transform the way they see themselves, their families and their faith communities. The African Ancestry Church Program is easily adaptable to various church ministries and is typically woven into existing church activities over multiple days such as Anniversaries, Health projects, Women’s/Men’s Days, etc., but can also be implemented independently. The multi-part program includes:

1. Church Leadership Reveals: Ceremonial Ancestral Reveals of church pastor and their family members.

2. ‘Where Are You From?’ Workshop: Participants learn more about how to trace their roots using DNA.

3. ‘The Journey Begins’ Testing Day: Participants work with African Ancestry experts to do the easy, do-it-yourself swabbing with other worshippers.

4. ‘Celebrate Your Roots’ Fellowship Ceremony: Results are revealed in a fellowship ceremony at the church that connects participants with others that share their ancestries and learn more about how their new found enlightenment can be optimized in life and through their faith communities.


Since its launch, the African Ancestry Church Program has continued to attract participants with overwhelming success and excitement. Families from churches across the country have participated, with many others scheduled for later this year. Pastor Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Maryland — one of the program’s inaugural churches and biggest supporters – witnessed hundreds in his congregation discover their true African roots simultaneously during a one-day affair that will further frame their identities and bolster esteem for a lifetime.

“This initiative is truly a one-of-a-kind evangelistic tool that empowers Christians to connect their faith to their heritage,” said Pastor Coates. “It’s also non-denominational so all church families can benefit regardless of doctrinal differences and it’s redeeming for individuals and society.”

Visit www.africanancestry.com/faith for a complete listing of participating congregations and find out how your faith community can partner with the African Ancestry Church Program.

Founded in 2003, African Ancestry Inc. (AfricanAncestry.com) pioneered African lineage matching in the United States utilizing its proprietary DNA-database to more accurately assess present-day countries of origin for people of African descent. African Ancestry’s reveals have impacted the lives of more than 100,000 African Americans including icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Isaiah Washington, Common, Condoleezza Rice, Cory Booker, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Jealous and Andrew Young. African Ancestry also marked an historic milestone by uncovering the ancestral roots of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Marcus Garvey posthumously using the DNA of their descendants. AfricanAncestry.com has been featured on CNN’s Black in America series, NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, Essence Magazine and the ground-breaking PBS special “African American Lives 1 & 2” with Henry Louis Gates. African Ancestry’s products include the MatriClan(TM) and PatriClan(TM) test kits as well as Ancestry memorabilia and country-of-origin customized resources. African Ancestry is African-American-owned and headquartered in Washington, DC. Visit them at www.africanancestry.com and join them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AfricanAncestry. For general press inquiries, contact ntaylor@africanancestry.com.

Photo Caption: Rev. Grainger Browning of Maryland’s Ebenezer AME Church Learns True African Roots with Gina Paige of AfricanAncestry.com

Lt. Gov. Simon celebrates Constitution Week with civics lesson

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Lt. Gov. Simon celebrates Constitution Week with civics lesson

‘Courtroom in the Classroom’ program illustrates government impact on students 


CARBONDALE, IL – As Constitution Week comes to a close in Illinois, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon brought a civics lesson to students at Carbondale Community High School. The “Courtroom in the Classroom” presentation in Carbondale is one of 225 like presentations that the Illinois Judges Association is sponsoring at Illinois high schools throughout the month.

“Each branch of our government has a very real impact on students throughout the state,” said Simon, a former Jackson County prosecutor. “The Courtroom in the Classroom program helps to vividly make that connection and engage students in our democracy.”

Judge Carolyn Smoot, Judge Christy Solverson and Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier joined Simon in leading a discussion on the U.S. Supreme Court case New Jersey v T.L.O.

The 1985 case involved a female student caught smoking in the school bathroom. The principal searched her purse and found marijuana, paraphernalia and money, implicating the student in drug dealing. The student claimed the search violated her 4th Amendment rights, but the court held that the search was reasonable.

“Not only have students found these presentations to be engaging and educational, but they have been fun,” Solverson said. “I’m glad I have had the opportunity to share my work with these students, and I look forward to continuing to spread this message across the state.”

Governor Pat Quinn declared September 17-23 as Constitution Week in Illinois in honor of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The declaration encourages Illinois residents to recognize the importance of the Constitution in our enduring tradition of democracy, and “reaffirm our commitment to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”

The proclamation was presented to the Illinois Judges Association during a ceremony at the State Supreme Court on September 12.

Black professor rejects college as a means to wealth

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Black professor rejects college as a means to wealth

ATLANTA, GA (BlackNews.com) — Business & Economics professor, Devin Robinson, transitioned from the U.S. Army in 1998 after serving 6 years. He entered into corporate America where he spent another 6 years before resigning to save a co-workers job. He worked at WorldCom, a telecommunications company that was involved in the largest corporate scandal in U.S. history, at the time in 2002, brought on by the hands of its founder and CEO Bernard Ebbers. Robinson transitioned into entrepreneurship after resigning from WorldCom, something he dabbled in part-time ever since he was in the military. He admits to struggling with the life of an entrepreneur immediately after venturing into it full-time but within 18 months was able to learn techniques that led to sizeable success.

As a college professor, he teaches business and economics to students interested in endeavoring in business, some even entrepreneurship, but insists on teaching them ownership strategies. When asked of his techniques, he says, “I have worked for government, a corporation, and run my own businesses. My college studies have significantly impacted my success in business but had little influence on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and build wealth.”

Robinson released his latest book last month called, Power M.O.V.E.: How to Transition from Employee to Employer. The book is broken down into four parts that addresses specifically how a desirous entrepreneur can transition safely from the life of an employee into the life of an employer . It covers four elements: Mindset, Order, Vacating, and Execution.

He goes on to say, “Transitioning can be very stressful and worrysome, especially from soldier to civilian. This book carefully and methodically explains where hidden opportunities are and how to navigate the unseen pitfalls in the transition. Simple oversights are the inability to forecast income, the response to unsupportive relatives or friends, getting your product on the shelves, floating carrying costs, unreliable workers and selling to strangers who have no clue who you are… We get comfortable with employment and become ignorant to the things that make for successful business endeavors.”

This is Robinson’s 8th self-help book. His was brought to the national stage with his 4th book, How to Become a Successful Beauty Supply Store Owner and went on to develop Beauty Supply Institute. The book can be found at www.PowerMoveBook.com.

To learn more about Professor Devin Robinson, visit www.DevinRobinson.com. For media interviews, contact Kianna Dhanraj at 404-551-4398 or pr@devinrobinson.com.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Chicago International Film Festival takes “Flight” with closing night film, October 25

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Chicago International Film Festival takes “Flight” with closing night film, October 25

The 48th Chicago International Film Festival brings down the curtain on another year of fantastic films with Robert Zemeckis’ latest film


Acclaimed Director to attend closing night festivities


CHICAGO, IL – The 48th Chicago International Film Festival announces the selection of Flight, Chicagoan Robert Zemeckis’ return to live action movies, as the Festival’s Closing Night Film. Flight will screen on October 25 at 7 p.m. at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.). Zemeckis will walk the red carpet at this Chicago Premiere.

“This year’s Festival is particularly robust with the work of talented Chicagoans, and I can think of no better way to conclude this year’s Festival than with Robert Zemeckis’ latest film,” said Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival. “Mr. Zemeckis is one of American cinema’s master storytellers and in Flight he has assembled an impressive cast led by an Oscar®-worthy performance from Denzel Washington.”

In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award®-winner Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane. Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo and John Goodman also star.

ROBERT ZEMECKIS won an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe and a Director’s Guild of American Award for Best Director for the hugely successful Forrest Gump. Earlier in his career, Zemeckis co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed Back to the Future, which was the top-grossing release of 1985, and for which Zemeckis shared Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He then went on to helm Back to the Future, Parts II and III, completing one of the most successful film franchises ever. He also wrote and directed the box office smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, cleverly blending live action and animation. In 2004, Zemeckis produced and directed the motion capture film The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks, followed by his second motion capture project Beowulf in 2007 and A Christmas Carol in 2009.

The 48th Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 11-25, 2012.

Festival Passes, Ticket and Theater Info:

Film only tickets for Closing Night are $25; for film and reception, $75 and can be purchased at the Festival Store: www.chicagofilmfestival.com/catalog/.

A variety of Festival Passes are on sale now. Pass options include:

Moviegoer (10 regular admissions): $95 for Cinema/Chicago members, $125 for non-members.
Passport (20 regular admissions): $180 for Cinema/Chicago members, $240 for non-members

Passes can be obtained by visiting www.chicagofilmfestival.com or by calling 312.683.0121. Moviegoer and Passport Passes are not valid for Special Presentations, Gala Presentations, Tributes, Opening Night, Centerpiece, and Closing Night. Passes must be picked up and redeemed in person at a Festival box office.

Tickets for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale starting September 24th and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com/chicagofilmfestival; by phone at 312-332-FILM (3456); or by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.).

Festival Sponsors:

Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s sponsors include: Official Airline – American Airlines; Producing Partners: AMC Theaters, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Major Partner: Intersites; Supporting Partners: DePaul University School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Stella Artois, Chris Pagano – Realtor, Land Rover, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 AND 105.9FM,, ShutterBox Photobooth, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: iN Demand, EC Charro, Brugal Rum, Creative America, Gibsons Restaurant Group, Second City Computers, Optimus; and the Festival’s Headquarters Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago.

About Cinema/Chicago

Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is part of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include the International Screenings Program (May-September), the Chicago International Television Competition (April), CineYouth Festival (May), Intercom Competition (October) and year-round Education Outreach and Member Screenings Program.

African Americans in Chicago celebrate history and a new book, The Black Chicago Renaissance, on Oct. 3 at Roosevelt University

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on African Americans in Chicago celebrate history and a new book, The Black Chicago Renaissance, on Oct. 3 at Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University’s St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies will commemorate  the life and work of the late Roosevelt Professor St. Clair Drake, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3 with the launch of a new book, The Black Chicago Renaissance.

Drake, the author of the groundbreaking book, Black Metropolis, taught at Roosevelt from 1945-67, and was one of the nation’s leading black intellectuals during a period of Chicago history known as the Black Chicago Renaissance, in which African American culture, business and arts flourished in the city’s South Side neighborhoods..

Roosevelt University alumna Darlene Clark Hine, a professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University and editor of The Black Chicago Renaissance, will lead a short discussion on the new book, whose authors and contents have significant ties to Roosevelt University.

“St. Clair Drake was an important intellectual, political and cultural figure of the Black Chicago Renaissance and it’s no coincidence that he and four of the authors of the essays in the edited collection taught at Roosevelt,” said Erik Gellman, associate professor of history and associate director of Roosevelt’s St. Clair Drake Center and a contributor to The Black Chicago  Renaissance.

Other contributors to the new book include: Christopher Reed, a Roosevelt alumnus and professor emeritus of history at the University, and the late Murry DePillars, also a Roosevelt alumnus and former leader of Chicago’s black arts movement.

“We will be celebrating the life of a man who had a tremendous impact on our University and the way we conduct research on African-American issues,” said Al Bennett, the Harold Washington Professor of Public Policy and Professor Education at Roosevelt.

Signed copies of The Black Chicago Renaissance will be available for donations of $50 or more during the event, which is being held in the University’s 10th floor library, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.  Former Roosevelt students who knew Professor Drake also will be on hand to discuss their experiences. The event also will include a short discussion led by Bennett on the future vision for the Drake Center at Roosevelt University.  All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Drake Center.

For more information, contact Andrea Adams at 312-341-2252 or aadams@roosevelt.edu.

Give kids a chance: Stop violence in their neighborhoods

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Give kids a chance: Stop violence in their neighborhoods
By Rev. Marcenia J. Richards
Pastor of The Life Center
In a new book about improving education in high poverty communities, entitled How Children Succeed  written by Paul Tough, a New York Times journalist (see his story about poverty in Roseland in the NYT  Sunday Magazine on August 10, 2012), we recognize that children cannot learn with guns in their hands. They cannot learn with guns in their communities and on their blocks either. The stresses of poverty, the threats and trauma of gun violence is no doubt frightening for children in Chicago.
Tough takes us into the worlds of education administration, pediatric medicine and neurobiology to learn that poverty, stress, trauma and toxic environments impose enormous negative impacts on bodies and brains of young children. The impacts of violence cause some adolescents to be unable to control their impulses and negative feelings. Their brains become literally unable to manage the heavy load of changes associated with adolescence and the toxic stress in their communities.  Impacts of violence also cause long-term health consequences for children – as adults they are significantly more likely to have heart disease, addictions, depression, liver disease, diabetes and lung cancer.  The connections between adverse and traumatic experiences for children, and negative adult health outcomes are “stunning.”
At the end of the Chicago teacher’s strike this fall, we are reminded that education – even with top-notch teaching – cannot become our country’s solution to poverty and violence.  Children deserve a quality education – but they need and deserve much more from us. We need to ensure they do not grow up in abject poverty or in environments that expose them to everyday risks of violence and gun shots.  This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the brutal and unimaginable death of Derrion Albert on a street near Fenger High School in September 2009 – when adolescent boys assaulted and killed him using planks of wood as weapons.  
I am proposing that we use the anniversary of Derrion’s tragic death to renew our collective commitment to children to ensure they will have communities with less violence, less risk of harm, fewer murders and fewer guns in the hands of individuals who should not hold them. The Illinois House will have an opportunity to consider a Handgun Registration Act (HB5831) in the next few months, that requires gun owners to register their guns with the Illinois State Police and renew their registration every 5 years. Registration fees will be used to improve the State data base of information on individuals who cannot legally own a gun because they have a history of criminal activity or mental illness, that makes them highly likely to be dangerous.  Gun registration will reduce illegal trafficking in guns and reduce risks that guns will be sold to and reach the hands of people who cannot lawfully purchase a gun.
This bill, if it is enacted, does not put significant burdens on individual gun owners. It simply requires registration – as we already register cars.  This is a small burden – when we realize the extraordinary costs of gun violence.  A 2011 study supported by CeaseFire – a successful violence interruption initiative in Chicago – reports that medical costs to treat a shooting victim in Chicago average $45,000.  Criminal Justice costs for arrest, investigation, prosecution, and conviction for a homicide case is $183,000. Researchers tell us that indirect or intangible costs of violence can be 3 – 4 times the direct costs.  So each act of gun violence that results in a death will cost the victims, the city and its communities $625,000 to $912,000.  When the number of murders in Chicago increases by 50 additional deaths, we add grief and pain to victims and families and we add $31 million to $45.6 million to the costs of murder to our city.
A 2012 study by a Washington DC think tank estimates that Chicago experiences costs and economic losses of $5.3 billion a year from violent crime (see “The Economic Benefits of Reducing Violent Crime” Center for American Progress, June 2012). They estimate Chicago loses as much as $20 billion a year in decreasing property value caused by violent crime.  If we can prevent guns from being in the hands of many people who would be highly likely to use weapons to harm people, we could reduce these costs by 10%-25% and we could make streets, neighborhood blocks, and schools safer for children.
Chicago Clergy Coalition Against Violence includes more than 100 ministers, rabbis and priests. Rev. Richards is Chair of their Handgun Petition Campaign to obtain signatures of people who support an Illinois Handgun Registration Act (HB 5831). If you are interested in adding your signature to the Handgun Registration Petition please find it on-line at www.passthebill.us.  If you want to volunteer to work on the gun registration campaign please send a message to passthebill5831@gmail.com.

Saint Sabina’s historic peace basketball tournament ready to roll

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2012 Comments Off on Saint Sabina’s historic peace basketball tournament ready to roll

Pfleger: ‘Old ways ain’t working,’ Asa Powell: ‘It’s family time, now’

By Chinta Strausberg


Flanked by organizers of September 22nd “Peace” basketball tournament and representatives from four gangs in the Auburn Gresham community, Father Michael L. Pfleger Tuesday said the old ways of trying to end violence isn’t working so he and supporters are using old-fashion family tactics…love and offers of jobs as a new way of life.

Surrounded by Kobe Williams from the acclaimed documentary, “The Interrupters,” and Asa “Duce” Powell from his 5×2.org a marketing company, Pfleger told reporters it has been a violent summer including over the weekend where five people were killed and more than 20 shot and yesterday one killed and more than 10 shot.

Saturday’s historic basketball tournament, which begins at 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Saint Sabina ARK, 7800 S. Racine, is the first step in what Father Pfleger hopes will be the beginning of a peace truce for the Auburn Gresham community.

Referring to his weekly Friday night anti-violence marches, Pfleger explained how several weeks ago they raised the issue of holding a one-day peace agreement where representatives from the four Auburn Gresham gangs would play in a basketball tournament with the likes of former NBA legend Isiah Thomas, Chicago Bears’ J’Marcus Webb and others. They agreed.

Once Thomas agreed, Pfleger said soon even more NBA stars came board like Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah and J’Marcus Webb,  Orlando’s Quentin Richardson, L.A. Clipper’s Bobby Simmons, Memphis Grizzlies Zach Randolph, Chicago’s Simeon’s Jabari Parker and the award-winning documentary star Kobe Williams. Pfleger’s dream of achieving peace in the community came one step closer to reality.

After the game, Pfleger said the youth will be taken to the basement where they will talk and “so we can come together as a family and see how we can build a relationship and put an end to some of the violence that is going on in the streets.”

For those who criticized Pfleger for hosting this peace basketball tournament, he told them, “You do what you’re doing, and we’re going to do what we are doing. We believe that this is a great thing. We believe it’s a positive thing, and we believe it will make a positive difference….

“The old ways ain’t working; so we got to try some new ways to build relationships and come together and I believe this is a new way,” said Pfleger.

Williams and Powell grew up in the Auburn Gresham community and both are concerned about the gangs blamed for a rash of shootings and killings in recent months. “We’re here to just bridge the gap and bring everybody together and let people understand just because you have disagreements you ain’t got to fight and shoot each other,” said Williams. “We want to make a big difference in this community and other communities.”

Saying it is important to reach the young people, Williams said one thing they won’t do is to be judgmental.  His goal is to work with them, educate them and “will not give up on this. We are not just going to have a tournament and that’s it. We’ll continue and continue” to work with them.

And, that is what Father Pfleger did with Powell, 43, a gangbanger since the age of 10 and who has served eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for a drug conspiracy case.  When Powell got out of prison 12-years ago, police were harassing him. He went to Father Pfleger fearing police would plant drugs on him, and Pfleger intervened.

Explaining, Pfleger said many times when a man gets out of prison “you can’t get a job. There’s a marker on them… That’s got to change. We got to call these businesses to open up and give brothers and sisters to give them an opportunity. You can keep telling someone don’t go back to prison and never give them a change,” Pfleger said.

“Stop turning away folks with a felony. Because you have a record, stop holding them captive for the rest of their lives. Give somebody a chance. Give them a job,” Pfleger said explaining he will be a lobbyist for this cause.

But, then there are some who get out of jail or prison “who want to hold on to their reputation.” Pfleger said some officers felt Powell would fall back into his old habits, but Pfleger told them to give him another chance. He told the police, “Don’t put anything on him. Don’t hound him. Don’t stop him. Don’t pull him over. Give him a break…. That story as great as it is could be a story about anybody here if you give them a chance.”

Father Pfleger, who saw potential in Powell, talked to the police and told them to leave him alone and to allow him achieve his goals. It worked and today, Powell is one of the biggest urban and celebrity party promoters in the Midwest.

Once a student at the Saint Sabina Academy, Powell said he’s a “product of the street” but with the help of Father Pfleger, his godfather, Nation of Islam Ibrahim A-S Muhammad, who first met him 27-years ago and became his surrogate father, and his mentor, Victor Woods, he was able to change his life around.

Today, Powell lives downtown. “If I can take ten of them to live with me downtown, their whole world is different, but if I have to live where they live every day, there are different things I face. My son goes to daycare on the Magnificent Mile but the same lady who owns that daycare center owns the one at 79th and Halsted.

“She just told me they teach my son in class downtown fire drills but they teach the daycare students at 79th and Halsted drive-by drills.” Powell said it is the environment that shapes their lives. “You have to be exceptional to dodge everything…”

Raised on 79th Street, Powell said the purpose of Saturday’s game “is to bring some camaraderie between different factions” of the youth. Powell said their agreement “is a great start” but that he doesn’t want to see it labeled as a “gang or violence tournament.”

“What they are bringing to the table is positive outreach “and love and we will not give up on you” including the celebrities who have confirmed their presence. “We want a positive vibe. We have over ten celebrities coming to this…it’s a great start,” said Powell.

“I’m a product of this community. I’ve been in trouble. I’ve been in the federal penitentiary. I had a lot of help along the way and for 12-years I’ve been doing productive things and giving back to the community. If I can come out of this community, a lot of them can. We just need a little love and a little friendship,” said Powell.

Williams said, “It’s all about the youth” and teaching them how to build a relationship with each other.

A youth who identified himself as Donnie, better known as “Smiley,” said, “It’s about a safer environment. Peace. Enjoy yourself and get something out of it. Stop the killing, man. It’s not working….”

“This is not a one-time thing, either,” said Pfleger explaining that he is offering the youth social services including GED and job readiness programs. “We are going to offer some jobs after the game.” Pfleger said Thomas, Richardson and Noah have committed themselves on a long-term basis.

Asked if this game could have been done without the celebrities, Williams said they could because of their relationship they have with the youth. Pfleger said Noah met with the youth last Sunday. “That has not been done. When was the last time you saw a NBA or NFL players come down in the middle of the neighborhood and say” they want to help. “That’s real key,” said Pfleger.

Powell, who grew up at 79th and Carpenter, said, “you’re environment and the block you grow up almost dictates that…. We don’t’ say the word gang too much….” Powell said they are working with youth from 59th Street to 87th Street from East to West.” “Everybody wants to do this and that’s a good thing.” “These kids love basketball and they love Hip Hop.” Powell said representatives from both professions would be present.

Williams said he and Powell were once a problem in the community but today they are a part of the solution. “It’s our job to make things right in the community and to help these guys get to the next level…. This is what they want to do…. It’s our job to make things right in the community,” Williams said.

Powell told reporters they know it won’t change things overnight. “The importance is after the game” when he, other celebrities talk to the youth. “That is what he did for me when I was on the street. I’m from here. I know his (Pfleger’s) heart. He wasn’t trying to put me in jail…. He was trying to save my life.” Powell said they will not give up “on the brothers” and that communications “go a long way.”

“A lot of folk, a lot of brothers are tired of what is going on out there, and sitting behind here is unbelievable potential, possibilities and dreams, and we just want to see what we can do to help them support them. We are not judging anybody. Those days are over. It’s time to say I’ll meet you where you’re at. Let’s love you, work with you and see how we can help you get back into GED…what ever we can do to help you reach your destiny,” said Pfleger.

 It has been along and sometimes dangerous mission Pfleger embarked upon, but he is driven by the number of shootings occurring in the Auburn Gresham community especially the number of children caught in the crossfire’s of gang violence. He is also driven by the memories of his own son, Jarvis Franklin, who was fatally shot on May 30, 1998 just blocks from Saint Sabina Church.

But, today, Pfleger is turning that pain into a new purpose—one of peace—and is offering youth a second chance on life. Some of the free programs he has include a new music studio, karate classes, a food pantry, GED, an employment center, dance and other social services like Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous programs that are accessible to everyone.

Saturday all of his outpouring of love and numerous meetings “with the brothers” will pay off when they the professional players will compete against Team 1 from 79th-85th Ashland, Paulina & Marshfield, Team 2 from 79th to 76th Carpenter, Morgan and Throop, Team 3, from 81st to 85th Racine & Throop and Team 4 from 79th to 76th Loomis, Ada, Bishop and Justine.

While the Joakim Noah Foundation is providing the Jersey’s for the four teams, the Nation of Islam has offered its Fruit of Islam for the security. Leona’s Restaurant is providing food.

Let the peace begin.

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.

Recent Comments

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

Recent Posts