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Archive for September 25th, 2012

New Studies find race plays a role in Judicial Decisions

Posted by Admin On September - 25 - 2012 Comments Off on New Studies find race plays a role in Judicial Decisions

Race & Justice News

A Reprint from The Sentencing Project)


Two recent studies, one based on adults in Cook County, Illinois, and the other based on juveniles in Pennsylvania, find evidence confirming that race plays a role in defendants being sentenced to incarceration. A study by David Abrams and colleagues found that 51 percent of black defendants versus 38 percent of whites were sentenced to prison. Race played a role in whether judges sent defendants to prison, but the degree to which race influenced such decisions varied widely among  judges. Their study is based on decades of data on felony sentencing in Cook County, Illinois.

A second study by George Higgins and others examined over 40,000 cases in the juvenile court system in Pennsylvania. After accounting for legal factors (e.g., judicial hearing, public attorney, and type of offense), extralegal factors (school attendance, family status, living arrangements, gender) and community factors (concentrated disadvantage, percent black, percent residential mobility, percent unemployment) the study found that blacks were 1.28 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to incarceration.

Size of African American population influences incarceration rates in surprising way 

Andres Rengifo and Don Stemen examined the relationship over time between the size of states’ African American populations, incarceration rates, and the abolition of discretionary parole.  They found, generally, that incarceration rates increase as the size of states’ African American populations increase, but that this relationship has weakened over time. They theorize that this is because new categories of offenders (e.g., sex offenders, parole violators) are emerging as the “dangerous populations.” According to Rengifo and Stemen, this does not discount the role of race in triggering more punitive policies such as taking away discretion in releasing people from prison. However, they found a paradoxical relationship between punitive policies and incarceration rates. Specifically, they found that in states with small African American populations, removing parole discretion was associated with higher rates of incarceration (i.e., punitive policies raise the level of incarceration for everyone). When the African American population is high, however, incarceration rates are lower in states that have abolished discretionary release than in states that allow discretion in releasing people from prison. Rengifo and Stemen hypothesize that in states with proportionately more African Americans, limiting discretion in the parole decision benefits African Americans.

U.S. Congressmen Davis and Rush speak on Tamms closure

Posted by Admin On September - 25 - 2012 Comments Off on U.S. Congressmen Davis and Rush speak on Tamms closure
 Supermax was human rights catastrophe, irresponsible reentry policy and drain on budget


Mental Health Advocates say Illinois should not damage men in its custody


A Press conference to show support for the closure of Tamms, and reiterate the need for mental health treatment instead of extended isolation and segregation will be held Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 3 p.m.,  in the Blue Room, 15th floor, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph Street, Chicago.

Participants will thank Governor Pat Quinn “for his pragmatic and principled decision to close Tamms and respond to AFSCME’s claims.”

U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis, 7th Congressional District of Illinois, U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, 1st Congressional District of Illinois, 5th District Democratic State Senate Candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, Mental health advocates in Illinois, and Mary Fabri, clinical psychologist and the recently retired Director of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture will attend the press conference.

• Tamms was designed for isolation and sensory deprivation, conditions that induce mental breakdowns. A federal judge found that Tamms inflicts lasting mental harm. These men are returned to our communities damaged by their time in state custody.

• Every employee affected by prison closures will receive a job in another prison. Transferring the staff to where they are needed will stabilize those prisons and save millions in overtime costs.

• Transferring less than 400 men will not affect prison overcrowding in a system of 29,000 prisoners. (In fact Pontiac, where most of the men from the supermax will go, is at 96% capacity.)

• Other states have recently closed or greatly altered their supermax prisons, including Mississippi and Maine, in favor of treatment and programming. They saved money, and all measures of violence plummeted.

• Human rights monitors have condemned the prison because it flouts international standards for humane treatment. 


Family members holding signs:




I AM A MOM (after the signs from the civil rights movement)




Ed Gardner sticks cane in fresh cement, shuts down work site

Posted by Admin On September - 25 - 2012 Comments Off on Ed Gardner sticks cane in fresh cement, shuts down work site

Vows to return today with black men ready to work

By Chinta Strausberg


Making good his promise to return and shut down several construction sites void of black workers, humanitarian and retired businessman Ed Gardner Monday stuck his cane in wet cement at an Evergreen Park work site to protest the lack of African American workers.

The 87-year-old Gardner will be back today with an even larger group including one led by Bob Israel, President of the “Save Our Community Coalition,” along with Omar Shareef, founder of African American Contractors Association, Eddie Read, chairman of the Chicago Black United Communities (CBUC), Mark Allen, chairman of the National Black Wall Street Chicago, and other groups who are supporting Gardner’s demand that blacks be placed on all public works projects.

Last Friday, Gardner drove by a group of black men selling drugs just blocks away from a construction site at 2210 W. 95th where there were no African American workers. He kept his promise and returned Monday where he confronted the workers and stopped the pouring of concrete. “If these young black men had a job, perhaps they wouldn’t be forced to sell drugs,” Gardner said.

Gardner left the 2210 W. 95th site feeling comfortable that he had shut down that site, but he later learned it was a temporary victory since those workers returned after he left. Gardner went over to another construction site at 92nd and Western site that is much larger and again has virtually no black workers.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters the prime contractor at the 95th and Western site that stretches back to 92nd is Asian American and vowed to crack down on subcontractors who are not following the law, Gardner said the mayor doesn’t understand that “this is not about the law but about economic justice and parity for African Americans.”

At the 92nd and Western site, an African American truck driver kept pouring the cement though Gardner and his supporters told him to stop. Read and others lifted Mr. Gardner up to where they were pouring the concrete. Gardner walked over to the pit and stuck his cane into the freshly poured cement demanding that the man stop pouring the cement. When the driver began to continue pouring the cement, a white man came over and told him to stop and to leave the area.

Allen took a piece of plastic and cleaned Gardner’s cane but another activist took a piece of concrete where Gardner’s shoe had touched and saved it as a souvenir. Gardner is revered as a hero to the black and progressive communities having heavily financed the successful mayoral campaign for the then Congressman Harold Washington who became Chicago’s first black mayor in 1983 and re-elected in 1987.

After he takes his ailing wife to the doctor, Gardner vowed to return today around noon with an even larger group of protesters including one led by Bob Israel, President of the “Save Our Community Coalition,” who along with Omar Shareef, founder of African American Contractors Association, Eddie Read, chairman of the Chicago Black United Communities (CBUC) and other groups who are supporting his demand that blacks be placed on all public works projects.

Israel, who will have his men at the 92nd and Western site at 6:30 a.m. dressed for work, called Gardner a man who is “angel sent.” “I’m being told that they (black elected officials) are being paid off by these contractors,” Israel charged. “Mr. Gardner has his own money, and he is not looking for a check or a pay off.”

Israel said he and his group will soon exposed the D-2 (campaign forms) of black elected officials he alleges “are being bought off” with campaign contributions from construction companies allegedly in exchange for their silence on the lack of black workers at these construction sites across the city.

Israel said it is hard for a black man to get hired on these construction sites. “They tell us we are supposed to have union cards, but some of those Europeans have green cards. They aren’t supposed to be working in the country, and some of them don’t even speak English. I don’t know how they filled out an application,” said Israel who has been monitoring the 92nd and Western site since last May.

Referring to the black man who drove the cement truck at 92nd and Western, Israel said he doesn’t work on that site and is only there for a few minutes a day. He’s going back to this site at 6:30 a.m. today with several black men ready to work.

Read agreed that Gardner “is a gift from God” and praised his “incredible commitment to this community. We are so glad to have him lift his voice, but it is also very sad that at the age of 87 he has to come out in the community to take a stand like this just to get people to be serious” about addressing the problem of blacks and unemployment at these public works sites.

Referring to when he earlier helped Mr. Gardner up to where a black man was pouring concrete at 92nd and Western, Read said, “We urged this brother not to do it, but he did and when Mr. Gardner took his cane, this 87-year-old black man who stuck it into the concrete, told the man ‘you will not pour any more concrete at this site.’ I put his arms around him.”

“There was something very spiritual and surreal watching Mr. Gardner do that,” said Read afterwards. Reacting to the black cement driver, Read said, “All through our history, there are always those among us who either do not understand or respect the work that we try to do…. Mr. Gardner…I…we took a stand…” and the man pulled away.

WE CAN, INC. President Florence Cox was elated at Gardner’s bold stand for economic justice. “I think it is admirable for him to take this on especially at his advanced years. I think it is unfortunate that other men in the neighborhood have not taken it upon themselves to step up the way Mr. Gardner has. I hope that the community would stand with him. I commend the people who stepped up with him,” said Cox.

 Allen, who joined Gardner at both sites, said “We had already scared a lot of the worker’s off the job when we arrived at the 2210 site. Allen and other activists stood by the cement truck and told the driver “you are not going to pour anything else.” The truck left and Allen said at least he saw two black men working there who were not present last Friday.

Well, it turned out that Gardner and his supporters only temporarily shutdown the 2210 W. 95th Street site. There were two black men at this site one holding up a “STOP” sign, the other held a “SLOW” sign. All the others were Latinos who were pouring cement. The truck had returned after Gardner, who was accompanied by Francis Wright from the Black-on-Black Love program, left. Gardner said he’s going back there Tuesday to see if blacks are on the job.

Harold Jackson, 59, a Local 502 cement finisher, said, “I just saw one black brother holding a flag….” Unemployed, Jackson said, “We haven’t been able to get work and I am in a union for the past ten years and some for 25-years yet they can’t get work on these jobs,” he told this reporter.

“They say there is no work out here for us, but they are coming from Indiana” to get these jobs. “ Last year, Jackson had to go to Indiana to get a job. “A lot of (black) guys have been in the union for 20, 30-years but they can’t get a job. They don’t have anyone to speak up for them,” Jackson said. “If you drive all over this city, you can count on your fingers the number of blacks on these jobs.”

But Jackson had some advice for young black men. “Young black men have to be willing to do for themselves. They have to get this mindset out of their heads that they an go out here and sell drugs, that they don’t have to go to school. They want to think this fast life is what it is and when you get caught up in the system, they will hold that against you. People with an education are having a hard time finding a job,” he said.

Yvette Moyo, from Real Men Cook, said, “It’s about families being healthy and happy and you can’t be healthy and happy if you can’t work. When we pass by these construction sites every day and we have our sons, nephews and husbands who can’t find jobs because these jobs just digging in the ground are not available to us. It doesn’t make sense,” she said in support of Gardner’s vow to fight for a slice of the contractual pie for black men.

While Gardner honestly thought he had shut down the 2210 W. 95th St. site, the workers returned an hour later. One black man, David Scott, a laborer with Local 4, who held up a “STOP” sign, said, “They wanted to show some color on this site because there was a big complaint Friday; so they asked us to come from Jeffery over here.

Scott said the construction company called him last night to be at the 2210 site. Scott said, “I got here because I marched with the coalition. I’ve been in the union since 1996.  The union isn’t doing their job because how could all of these Hispanics be out here.”

Just then, the cement truck backed up to resume pouring cement, and the Hispanic workers began smoothing out the cement on the sidewalks. The Skokie, Illinois subcontractor could not be reached for comment.

Another black man, Yasir Zarif, a laborer who held up “SLOW” sign, said, “I’m going to meet with the boss man. They called me about 30-minutes ago.” Zarif said he isn’t “hating on nobody. They (the Hispanics) work hard. I work hard, too, but we need equal opportunity but they work hard so what can you say.”

But, Tom Harris called the quick hiring or placement of the two blacks at the 2210 W. 95th St. site “outrageous and intentional.” He added, “They are putting us all and our kids in the penitentiaries. That’s a save trade. They are working for major corporations at 10-cent, 15-cents an hour….

Harris, of Local 944, said his group, which has its own union, a training camp, a boot camp and the apprentice ship program. He said the Illinois Department of Transportation has allegedly refused to sign a project labor agreement so they can be represented in the workplace.

Harris said his group has gone to the City Council Black Caucus asking to help them to become signatures to any project labor agreements in Chicago. Harris said they are a legitimate union.

When asked the next step, Harris said, “We are going to do an informational picket against the governor, the city, country, everybody. We want to be protected. It’s our tax dollars and our neighborhoods and we should do the work because we ain’t no minority while we’re sleep and pay all the taxes. That’s our fight.

“We want the young guys on the street to come on and make the fight with us because they ain’t scared. They need a life and if we can’t give them a life, it’s over. They already put the dope on us already and they’ve destroyed two generations of kids and families and neighborhoods. You see abandoned buildings and vacant lots and everybody coming in developing but us and that is no good. They got to see us stand up and fight for them…,” said Harris.

Rev. Andre Smith, pastor of the First Baptist MBC, said, “There should be equal share and equal opportunity for all people. One race or one group should not just have the contracts throughout the city. That’s unjustified. We’ve been pushed aside for too long. Here we are in 2012 still fighting for our rights. It’s not fair at all.”

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.

Sec’y of State Jesse White Hosts “Preserving Their Memories”

Posted by Admin On September - 25 - 2012 Comments Off on Sec’y of State Jesse White Hosts “Preserving Their Memories”


A Celebration of the Illinois Veteran’s History Project


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White hosted a ceremony in Springfield commemorating the success of the Illinois Veterans’ History Project, an initiative begun by White to provide a permanent database of information on Illinois war veterans and civilians.

“In 2005, we created the Illinois Veterans’ History Project,” said White.  “Today, there are more than 6,000 names and stories from veterans and citizens who have submitted their stories to the project. The Illinois Veterans’ History Project provides a permanent home to honor our country and our veterans, and it also reminds us of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

White served as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, as a member of the Illinois National Guard and as a reservist.  Following the ceremony, he was interviewed and added his own memories to the Veterans’ History Project. 

The ceremony also recognized an ongoing partnership between the Veterans’ History Project, the Department of Illinois Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Illinois Court Reporters Association.  The DAV has arranged for veterans to be interviewed for the Project, and volunteer court reporters are recording and transcribing the interviews.

Approximately 100 veterans and six court reporters attended the ceremony.  White thanked James McDermott, Commander of the Department of Illinois DAV and Nancy LaBella, President of the Illinois Court Reporters Association for their members’ contributions to the success of the Veterans’ History Project.

Also taking part in the ceremony were members of the Macon County Honor Guard and the Glenwood High School Titan Fever Show Choir from Chatham.

For more information about the Illinois Veterans’ History Project, log on to http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/public/veteransproject.html. Interviews and written stories are stored in the Illinois Digital Archives at www.idaillinois.org.

Grammy® Award-Winning Producer Steve Lawrence named new Executive Director of Faith Outreach and Content for Alright TV

Posted by Admin On September - 25 - 2012 Comments Off on Grammy® Award-Winning Producer Steve Lawrence named new Executive Director of Faith Outreach and Content for Alright TV

The Faith-friendly Channel Is a Digital Collaboration Between Our Stories Films, LLC and YouTube

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Tracey E. Edmonds, President and COO of Our Stories Films announced the appointment of GRAMMY® Award winner Steve Lawrence as the Executive Director of Faith Outreach and Content for the newly created ALRIGHT TV, a digital collaboration with YouTube.

In his new role, Lawrence will lead the channel’s outreach efforts to churches and faith-based groups nationwide, and will assist in the development of faith-friendly content for the channel. He will also be responsible for ALRIGHT’s national rollout of live and digital streaming service of church broadcasts from across the country.

“We are excited to bring Steve on board as ALRIGHT TV’s executive director of faith outreach and content,” said Edmonds. “He has an impressive career working for 11 years at The Potter’s House Church, led by Bishop T.D. Jakes in Dallas, Texas, and he has been the driving force behind so many of the major gospel productions that have captured our attention throughout the years,” she continued. “His roots in the faith community will help us bring the strongest possible faith-friendly content to audiences, and I am confident his solid relationships will have a positive impact on our upcoming projects.”

“I am honored to join ALRIGHT TV and look forward to helping to integrate faith-friendly messages into the programming that we will offer through the new channel,” said Lawrence. “There are so many creative ideas underway and working with Tracey E. Edmonds and her team will prove to be incredibly rewarding. As executive director, I will work to ensure that our audience receives the best faith-friendly programming available and that viewers from across the country have the opportunity to experience inspirational and aspirational messages like never before.”

Originally from Washington D.C., Lawrence is recognized nationally as one of the greatest producers, worship leaders and music teachers. He currently serves as the fulltime music consultant for several churches, including the Potters House Church of Denver, Colorado under the ministerial leadership of Pastor Christopher Hill.

Lawrence worked for 11 years for Bishop T.D. Jakes’ The Potter’s House Church in Dallas, Texas, and his impressive credits include: producer, 2007’s Grace Live In Kenya with T.D. Jakes & The Potters House Mass Choir, recorded live from Nairobi, Kenya; producer, 2003 GRAMMY® award winner for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for A Wing & A Prayer with T.D. Jakes & The Potters House Mass Choir, released through EMI Gospel; producer, 2001 GRAMMY® nominated, The Storm is Over, with T.D. Jakes & The Potters House Mass Choir, released through EMI Gospel; 2005 winner of the BMI Christian Music Awards for Song of the Year for One Thing; and as the vocal producer and arranger for Marvin Sapp’s 2003 Diary of A Psalmist, released through Verity Records.

For over 25 years, Lawrence has collaborated with music artists and talents such as Kirk Franklin, Tyler Perry, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Kurt Carr, Donald Lawrence, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kim Burrell, Tramaine Hawkins, Vickie Winans, Smokie Norful, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Byron Cage, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kirk Whalum, Bill & Gloria Gaither, Kelly Price, Aaron Neville, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mary Mary.
About The RLJ Companies:
The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust; private equity; financial services; asset management; insurance services; automobile dealerships; sports and entertainment; and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information visit: www.rljcompanies.com.
About Our Stories Films, LLC:
Our Stories Films is the first African American owned film production studio that produces theatrical motion pictures that showcase the talents of African Americans on both sides of the camera and in the creative process. Founded in 2006, Our Stories Films is headquartered in Hollywood, CA, and targets underserved, urban audiences within the family and urban comedy genre with a production budget of $5M–$7M per film. In May 2011, Our Stories Films in collaboration with TriStar, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, produced and released Jumping the Broom, which debuted as the number one comedy during the opening box office weekend. For additional information, please visit: www.ourstoriesfilms.com.

Photo Caption: Steve Lawrence, Alright TV’s New Executive Director of Faith Outreach and Content

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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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