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Archive for October 4th, 2012

Former Businessman Ed Gardner spurs up activists to deal with racism in the construction industry

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

“…Gardner’s leadership in the construction saga is a continuation in the struggle to bring sanity to an insane matter in the Chicago area. His efforts to shed light on what is happening at the Beverly site are now highlighted throughout these United States and will prayerfully open the eyes of those who thought these injustices would not be exposed” – Rev. Harold E. Bailey, President of the Probation Challenge PCC Broadcast Network  

 

Gardner was a powerful force in electing the first black mayor of Chicago

 

By Juanita Bratcher

It was awesome! So many familiar faces at a construction site protest rally in Beverly at 95th & Western, called by former Businessman Edward Gardner.

The protest rally was reminiscent of the “Harold” days – as Chicago Blacks refer to it – that’s when many in the black community mobilized efforts to elect a black mayor of Chicago. Long before the 1983 Mayoral Election, they were readying themselves to retire the sitting Mayor Jane Byrne. They were fired up, fed up with the shenanigans of Chicago’s power structure, specifically Byrne, whom they had placed at the top of their list. There was a strong, overwhelming desire and sentiment to oust her from the City Hall post due to her administration’s policies, her appointments to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Chicago Board of Education, and prior to, had boycotted her annual ChicagoFest. In the end they prevailed; Harold Washington was elected Mayor of Chicago and Byrne was on her way into oblivion.

               

Juanita Bratcher gives a thorough assessment of grassroots’ efforts

 to elect a Black mayor of Chicago in her book, “Harold: The Making

of a Big City Mayor”, Copyright (R) 1993.

 

So it was somewhat de je vu, when Gardner, an 87-year-old Icon, a few days ago raised the eyebrows of the black community once again, asking 10,000 people to join  him at the construction site to protest the absence of black contractors working there.

The protest started after Gardner was outraged when on Friday, September 22, he saw concrete being laid and other construction going on at 2210 West 95th Street, and not a single Black worker in sight.

“Every worker was either Caucasian or Hispanic,” said Gardner, “except the foreman, he was (East) Indian.”  

Gardner stepped out of his car with the intention of “wallowing in the wet concrete” in spite of the foreman’s warnings. This quickly got the attention of the foreman, and before Gardner could make good his threat, two squad cars arrived. Shortly afterwards, Alderman Howard Brookins was at the scene. There were also four police officers. They begged Gardner not to do this. Finally, Gardner retreated, but not before promising to return Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. to stage a one-man protest by walking through the wet concrete.

When next he visited the construction site, Gardner stuck his cane in wet cement to protest the lack of African American workers.

But on Sunday, Gardner again was leading the pack.  Once again, he had fired up a somewhat dying Movement since the Harold days. It appeared that activists had hung up their activism caps and gone into oblivion.

 Gardner had beckoned them back to the cause and they resoundingly responded. Thousands rocked the area with picket signs in tow. Activists walked the construction area with great pride as in the Harold days when hundreds of volunteers gave freely of their time to the Movement to get Harold elected. And ironically enough, they were here this time to help Gardner in his efforts to get more black tradesmen employed at the Beverly site.

Gardner and thousands of participants called for jobs for black journeymen in the various trades. CopyLine Magazine interviewed some of those tradesmen and the renowned Attorney Sam Adam, one of the attorneys that represented former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagoevich in his first trial for trying to sell the Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama. In the end, a federal jury convicted Blagoevich on one of 24 counts – lying to federal agents, but was deadlocked on 23 others.

All interviews are posted on Youtube.com. The interview with Attorney Sam Adam is also posted on the Cover Page of CopyLine Magazine’s web site, www.copylinemagazine.com.

Rev. Harold E. Bailey, President of the Probation Challenge PCC Broadcast Network and once served as Chairman for Gardner’s Black on Black Love “No Crime Day” in Washington Park, called Gardner a “Father figure” to thousands.

“My introduction to Mr. Ed Gardner extends back to his relationship with the late Justice R. Eugene Pincham with whom I worked as his personal Probation officer,” Bailey recalled. “These two men were giants that had so much to offer – not only to the African American community, but to the world.

“Mr. Gardner brought the first ‘No Crime Day’ to Chicago’s Washington Park which informed thousands of crime prevention…he led the prevention charge with dignity, but carried a big stick of justice. He, along with his Black on Black Love organization’s Executive Director, Frances Gutter-Wright, decided that I become the Chairman of the historical event. And everything was done under the guidelines of Mr. Gardner.

“And even today, Gardner’s leadership in the construction saga is a continuation in the struggle to bring sanity to an insane matter in the Chicago area. His efforts to shed light on what is happening at the Beverly site are now highlighted throughout these United States and will prayerfully open the eyes of those who thought these injustices would not be exposed.”

As reported in the Harold Book, authored by Juanita Bratcher, Edward Gardner, former owner and President of Soft Sheen Products, played a pivotal role in getting Harold elected mayor of the City of Chicago.

 “Gardner pumped thousands of dollars into a citywide voter registration drive – one of the most successful endeavors in voter registration history in the city of Chicago.

“At a V.O.T.E. Community Breakfast at Soft Sheen Products Corporate Office, 1000 East 87th St., Gardner emphasized the need to register new voters,” in 1983 when efforts were under way to elect a black mayor.

“The problems in Chicago are very, very deep,” Gardner said in the book, published in 1993. “But they are problems that can be resolved. You can have no effect on the way this city is run if you don’t vote.”

Gardner pledged support and financial backing of voter registration efforts. A V.O.T.E. committee member said $78,000 of the $80,000 spent toward the media campaign to register new voters in Phase I was contributed by Gardner.

Gardner, at the time, emphasized that Soft Sheen was involved in voter registration because “we’re interested in improving the quality of life for Black Americans, but specifically Black Chicagoans.”   

In the words of the Late Mayor Harold Washington discussing his 1983 primary election win:

 

              “People can speak when they want to speak, and they speak loudly and clearly.

              In doing what has to be done – after a hard fought battle – the people won this

              campaign.”

Gardner is still speaking loudly – with back-up from thousands of admiring supporters – to bring justice to black journeymen that for years have been fighting discriminatory practices in the trades all across the country.

Juanita Bratcher is the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com, the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 35 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.

Photo Caption: By Clarence McMillan

Web Site Developer: Pamela McMillan 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois GOP Chairman: “Gov. Romney made a compelling case for a new direction in America – a case that resonates in a high-unemployment, high-taxation state like Illinois”

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady released the following statement regarding the presidential debate:

“Without a doubt, Gov. Romney handily won tonight’s debate.  Where Barack Obama offered talking points and platitudes, Mitt Romney offered details and facts.

“Tonight, Gov. Romney made a compelling case for a new direction in America – a case that resonates in a high-unemployment, high-taxation state like Illinois.  Here in Illinois, we know what it means when Gov. Romney says middle class families are being crushed.  We know what it means when Gov. Romney says small businesses need help.  And we know what it means when Gov. Romney says government is devastating our coal industry. 

“We need to end the ‘Obama-economy tax’ on the middle class.  We need a new direction in America – and a new President.”

 

Attorney General Madigan, U.S. Department of Justice join Wells Fargo in announcing CityLIFTSM, program offering $8.2 million to support Chicago’s housing recovery

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) joined Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) in announcing CityLIFTSM, a program designed to support the city’s housing market recovery by offering down payment assistance grants totaling $8.2 million and other resources to prospective Chicago-area homebuyers.

CityLIFTSM is the result of a $175 million fair lending settlement between the DOJ, Attorney General Madigan’s office and Wells Fargo that included $50 million earmarked for community improvement programs that, in part, help consumers buy homes in housing markets hit hard by the nation’s foreclosure crisis.  The Chicago program’s $8.2 million in down payment assistance grants is being offered to prospective homebuyers in Chicago and 30 suburbs in Cook County.  Prospective homebuyers must first pre-qualify for mortgage financing to apply for grants of $15,000 that can go toward the down payment on the purchase of a Chicago-area home.

Added Attorney General Lisa Madigan, “No single program can reverse the effects of the worst housing downturn in our lifetime, but through this settlement, families in our hardest hit communities will gain a new-found opportunity to realize the dream of owning their own home.”

The DOJ, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Wells Fargo each pointed to the opportunities the recent settlement agreement offered homebuyers in Chicago and in other markets hit hard by the nation’s foreclosure crisis.

“Under the settlement reached with the Justice Department in July, Wells Fargo is required to develop CityLIFTSM to provide assistance to homebuyers in metropolitan areas around the country, including in Chicago,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. “I applaud Wells Fargo for taking the necessary steps to create CityLIFTSM. Partnerships like this one are fundamental to ensuring equal opportunity for all.”

“This program offers an opportunity for down payment-challenged homebuyers to benefit from the low interest rates and affordable home values that are helping to set the stage for a recovery in Chicago’s housing markets,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This type of assistance will help new homebuyers afford homes in neighborhoods recovering from the foreclosure crisis.”

Jon Campbell, Wells Fargo’s executive vice president and head of Community and Government Relations, said, “As America’s largest home lender, Wells Fargo is committed to using programs, such as CityLIFTSM, to work constructively with local, state and federal partners as we help communities overcome the effects of the worst housing downturn in a generation and turn vacant houses into homes again.”

The CityLIFTSM program is modeled after Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFTTM program, which to date has made $88 million in down payment assistance grants and homebuyer support programs available to prospective homebuyers in 10 markets and has made free homebuyer education resources accessible to 8,520 consumers.  Under the terms of the settlement, Wells Fargo plans to offer CityLIFTSM events in eight markets over the next 24 months, partnering with NeighborWorks America as it makes the dream of homeownership more accessible to homebuyers facing down payment challenges.   

Chicago residents will have their first opportunity to apply for CityLIFTSM down payment assistance grants at a free homebuyer workshop on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at McCormick Place, from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.   Prospective homebuyers have until Wednesday, Oct. 24, to register in advance for the event at www.wellsfargo.com/citylift.  (To learn more about the Chicago CityLIFTSM program, consumers should call 1-866-802-0456. Pre-registration is encouraged, although walk-ins are welcome.) 

At the McCormick Place event, potential homebuyers who obtain mortgage financing from any qualified lender will be able to apply to reserve down payment assistance grants of $15,000 that can then be used over the next 60 days toward down payments on home purchases within Chicago and 30 other suburbs in Cook County. 

In addition, prospective homebuyers at McCormick Place will have an opportunity to visit the on-site Wells Fargo Affordable Home TourSM viewing center, where homes available for sale in Chicago neighborhoods can be previewed.  Free bus tours from noon to 5 p.m. each day also will be offered to view homes.  (Self-directed tours are also encouraged.)

The CityLIFTSM  program is available for the following locations: Bedford Park, Bellwood, Berwyn, Blue Island, Calumet City, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Cicero, Country Club Hills, Dolton, Glenwood, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Markham, Matteson, Maywood, Oak Lawn, Park Forest, Richton Park, Riverdale, South Holland, Clearing, Forest View, Stickney, Ford Heights, Lynwood, South Chicago Heights, and Sauk Village, IL.

To qualify for down payment assistance, applicants must meet certain criteria including annual income not exceeding 120 percent of the median income for the area (income maximums vary depending on family size); an eight-hour homebuyer education session with a HUD-approved counselor such as NeighborWorks America affiliates; and a commitment to stay in the home for five years and qualification for a first mortgage on the property. 

The CityLIFTSM program is designed to provide down payment assistance and homebuyer education programs in areas most impacted by the financial crisis. The CityLIFTSM program was developed in connection with the 2012 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and is a collaboration between Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and NeighborWorks America.

Specifics:

  • CityLIFTSM program results from a recent fair lending settlement between Wells Fargo, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Illinois Attorney General’s office; program offers down payment assistance grants and free homebuyer education programs to prospective homebuyers in Chicago, 30 Cook County suburbs
  • Launches October 26-27 at McCormick Place; homebuyers who pre-qualify for mortgage financing will have an opportunity to qualify for grants of $15,000 that can go toward the down payment on a purchase of a Chicago-area home
  • Non-profit partners assisting in implementing CityLIFTSM include NeighborWorks America, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago  

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 full-time equivalent team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in United States.  Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2012 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Gardner to meet with Evergreen Park mayor and developers

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Spoke to Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday via phone

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

Despite the rumor mill, community leader and business icon Ed Gardner is not holding a march Thursday rather he is meeting with Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton and representatives from anchors of that massive 95th and Western construction site, Meijer’s and Menards.

Concerned about the misinformation that continues to fill the airwaves, Mayor Rahm Emanuel dispatched one of his top female aides to Mr. Gardner’s home slightly before 8 a.m. so that she would be there when he called Gardner. Keeping his word, the mayor did called Mr. Gardner at 8 a.m. and reportedly assured him he will improve the numbers of blacks on construction sites.

Asked about Mayor Rahm calling him, Gardner said, “The mayor had to go to a City Council meeting. He had a lot of things to do, but I told him that I did not think a phone call was the same as a meeting and that I want him to come to my home and meet me face-to-face.” “We talked for some time.” Yesterday, Gardner told this reporter he wants Mayor Emanuel to walk with him on several construction sites. “I want to see what progress has been made,” said Gardner.

He said the mayor promised to do a lot of things to improve the lot of blacks on these numerous work sites, but Gardner made it clear that he did not consider a phone call a meeting. “I told him I did not consider a telephone conversation a meeting,” Gardner told this reporter. “I asked him to come to my home for a face-to-face meeting.” His top aide said that would happen.

In the interim, Mr. Gardner has asked his supporters to be patient and to honor his request to follow his lead. Gardner, using his business finesse, is quietly working to try and rectify the absence of African American workers on these construction sites including meeting with Mayor Sexton who said he is working closely with Mr. Gardner.

Referring to Sexton, Gardner said, “He has been very cooperative and wants to see things change.” Gardner said Sexton understands the importance of the black dollar and the business they bring to Evergreen Park, and he wants to be fair about the inclusion of blacks on construction sites while sustaining the black buying power that has helped businesses flourish in Evergreen Park.

Gardner is meeting with Mayor Sexton Thursday afternoon.

On the overall contract process, Mr. Gardner said some of the reasons why there are so many whites and Hispanics on these sites are that white men allegedly have their wives secure contracts. By federal law, white women are considered to be minorities.

The increase in Hispanic construction workers, Mr. Gardner said, is because they are reportedly hired at lower salaries. Gardner said this is an opportunity for them to support their families even though they may be paid at much lower rates.

Saturday, Mr. Gardner is meeting with a prominent group from all sectors who will dissect the Chicago contract process to see where and why it has gone so wrong when it comes to slicing up the contractual pie for African Americans.

When this fact-finding team has completed its report, Mr. Gardner will have a major statement to make on the status of Chicago’s contract process and he and his team will offer a projected solution.

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.

 

Bearing caskets, South Side residents hold emergency anti-violence march

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Business owners, residents, organizing for peace in Park Manor neighborhood

 

Wednesday, local residents and business owners in Park Manor held a rally to demand an end to violence in their South Side neighborhood. The rally was held at Mr. D’s Towing & Auto Services on East 69th St. in Chicago.

Sparked by a spate of shootings and a high-profile murder of a young man wielding an semi-automatic assault rifle, this emergency march will take participants through some of the roughest streets in Chicago, calling on their neighbors to break with the fear that has kept many children and seniors from coming outside after sundown. To highlight the need for neighbors to call for an end to these shootings, participants will be carrying caskets that signify to what residents say are the killings that continue to occur if residents do not stand up and demand a change.

“I finally had to say ‘enough is enough’,” explained the 71-year old business owner William Delay. “If we don’t get out here to do something, nothing is going to change. We need to protect these babies.”

Inspired by an R&B song called “P.L.E.A.S.E. (Peace Love Assist Support Everyone) by local Chicago singer Jay Adams, Delay called for the afternoon rally to address the violence that has wracked his neighborhood. Supported by other local residents, Delay has been going door-to-door to call for a change in his neighbor’s attitudes towards the shootings as well as the some of the police department’s policies regarding gun crimes. In particular, the rally’s organizers hope to show that if residents can walk the streets and call for change, police officers can get out of their cars and patrol the neighborhood on foot.

“We need to start getting to the root cause of all this violence – poverty,” offered local organizer Willie “J.R.” Fleming. “We need to start asking why there’s teenagers out here with machine guns like they’re child soldiers, when they’re homeless with no job, no education. How can you have a gun, but no place to sleep at night?”

The Park Manor neighborhood is one of the latest in which Chicago police officers have received assistance from federal agents from the F.B.I. and A.T.F. in an effort to combat violent crime. While supporting the increased attention to the needs of their neighborhood, law-abiding residents have also complained of being ‘stopped and frisked’ by federal agents who have only a passing knowledge of local crime problems. As part of their anti-violence message, residents will be calling for a return to foot patrols and community policing, as well as a diversion of their tax dollars towards addressing unemployment, homeless, and job readiness training for local residents.

Busy Bees help to create permanent jobs for prisoners, ex-offenders in Chicago

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Joshunda Sanders

America’s Wire

 

CHICAGO, IL – Some people see a bee and want to swat it. Brenda Palms-Barber sees a bee and thinks about products it helps to produce and jobs it creates.

Palms-Barber is executive director of the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) in Chicago. The nonprofit organization partners with about 100 agencies to help low-income people, primarily former offenders, find and keep jobs.

In 2004, she launched Sweet Beginnings, a company that makes honey locally and sells natural, honey-based beauty products in local stores and businesses. Assisted by grants from organizations such as the Illinois Department of Corrections and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Sweet Beginnings is creating jobs for the unemployed.

It has expanded from a single apiary facility with about 20 hives to four with 100 hives, including one with 50 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Sweet Beginnings also keeps 18 hives in the city at the Cook County jail, where the company works to teach incarcerated offenders the art of beekeeping.

“The growth of business is so important because it continues to prove that there can be a market-driven solution to a large social issue,” Palms-Barber says. “From here, look out world, right? If we can make this happen successfully in Chicago with one of the largest airports in the country, it helps to codify the model and makes it more reputable to take it to communities where there are fewer economic opportunities in employment for people who need second chances.”

When Palms-Barber moved to Chicago from Denver with her husband in 1999, she was concerned about the high employment rate for formerly incarcerated men and women. Several NLEN employment initiatives to help ex-offenders move into the workforce had failed. For years, the network had been operating U-Turn Permitted, a 90-day training program, for offenders but had difficulty finding employers willing to hire them.

“We needed to do something,” she says.

Unemployment in the North Lawndale community was three times higher than that in the city of Chicago. She needed to train and find jobs for dozens of men and women a year. But how could she keep them employed?

Palms-Barber put her business management degree from the University of Phoenix to work, seeking a sustainable business model. While she was brainstorming with her partners and board members about job creation, one member mentioned beekeeping.

“Beekeeping seems to be open and receptive to a person no matter what their past,” Palms-Barber says. “Bees don’t discriminate between what is a flower or a weed. They are seeking nectar. They draw the good out of whatever that plant source is and make it into honey.”

NLEN hires 30 to 40 men and women annually at a rate of nine or 10 a month. After transitional work experience, 25 percent of those who complete training are hired permanently with Sweet Beginnings.

Kelvin Greenwood, an assistant general manager with Sweet Beginnings, is one example of many success stories.

Greenwood was imprisoned for seven years before joining U-Turn Permitted, the transitional program, in 2008. His initial reaction to bees and beekeeping was the same as that of most novices. “At first, I wasn’t too pleased working with them,” he said in a phone interview. “At the time, I was ignorant to the fact of what they do, but as I got to working with them, my opinion opened up.”

The bees are friendly midwesterners from Wisconsin, but honey produced in their hives wasn’t enough to create a sustainable and profitable business. The profit margin for honey was only about 13 percent.

Then the Employee Volunteer Council at The Boeing Company took an interest in Sweet Beginnings, attracted in part by how different beekeeping was from traditional volunteer work such as painting buildings or cleaning up lots.

For a year, Palms-Barber says, she worked with Boeing’s high-level and midlevel executives on a business plan including risk management and sales projections. With their help, Palms-Barber sharpened her plan to include honey-infused merchandise such as natural hair care products, lotion, lip balm and body cream. The profit margin for natural products was 80 percent to 85 percent.

“That was a game-changing decision, a real pivot,” Palms-Barber says. Sweet Beginnings continues to expand its reach by marketing products in local and national businesses.

The company developed the first apiary at an airport through its relationship with the Chicago Department of Aviation, which administers O’Hare and nearby Midway International. Sweet Beginnings skin care products are available at 18 Whole Foods stores nationwide and at Hudson News stores at O’Hare and Midway.

Although the business has grown, Palms-Barber says it still faces hurdles as a small brand in an unstable economy. “We don’t have brand recognition. We’re still young and very new. Trying to penetrate the market at a time when people are pulling back is very tough.”

With help from Whole Foods, Sweet Beginnings sales increased 45 percent in the last year. Palms-Barber attributes some of that to having a quality product with an inspiring social message. As nationwide awareness of the importance of local and organic products has increased, she says she and other Sweet Beginnings employees have backed into a health-conscious advocacy role in addition to providing jobs for people.

“We’ve had film showings in the neighborhood about bees and the role that bees play,” she says. “We give out samples of honey, and they begin to taste things that are made locally and in their neighborhood. It’s very exciting to talk to people about bees, people who say ‘I used to swat them or kill them.’ And now they say, ‘Usher that bee out the door, don’t kill it.’ ”

The biggest takeaway for Palms-Barber remains the image of drawing nectar and sweetness out of a bleak situation.

“On the West Side of Chicago, people will say, ‘Where are the bees even finding flowers?’ Bees don’t discern between what you and I see as a flower and what you and I see as a weed – like white clover, which is actually a weed.

“It makes the best honey, and there’s a lot of that on the West Side. It’s about drawing the good out of what looks like a bad plant.”

America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com. 

State Senator Jacqueline Collins represents Illinois in Brazil

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Promotes Illinois products in a large and growing market

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) joined Governor Pat Quinn, university and business leaders and other prominent Illinoisans as ambassadors for the state’s products on a trade mission to Brazil last week.

“I was deeply impressed by the dynamic diversity of this beautiful country, and I’m excited Illinois has forged new ties with Brazil in education, tourism, investment and exports,” Sen. Collins said. “Illinois, which already attracts more foreign investment than any other state in the Midwest, is ideally positioned for profitable partnerships with Brazil.”

During the six-day trip, the delegation visited Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Recife. They announced several new initiatives to bring Brazilian students to Illinois universities, facilitate joint research opportunities, promote mutual investment and position Illinois companies to provide goods and services to Brazil as it prepares for a nationwide, $150 billion infrastructure upgrade. Sen. Collins and her fellow travelers also spoke to Brazilians about opportunities for tourists in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

“It was an honor to help showcase not only Illinois products, but Illinois’ phenomenal workers, researchers, communities and institutions of higher learning,” Sen. Collins said. “Continued economic growth is vital to improving quality of life in Illinois, and I’m confident the bridges we’ve built on this visit will benefit both Illinois and Brazil for years to come.”

Brazil’s economy is the largest in Latin America and the sixth-largest in the world. The nation’s GDP growth surpassed expectations last year, indicating a strong recovery from the global recession. The total value of exports from Illinois to Brazil rose 24 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Powerhouse Line-Up at 15th Reel Sisters Film Festival

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Michelle Materre and Winsome Sinclair, “Soul Food Junkies” Brooklyn Premiere, Sam Pollard Editing Workshop, Blackside Tribute, Industry Chat & More

Brooklyn, NY (BlackNews.com) — The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival celebrates 15 years on October 13th and 14th with films by women of color from across the world. The best film bargain in NYC offers an awards ceremony, a professional workshop, a panel and the Brooklyn premiere of Soul Food Junkies. This year’s honorees are pioneering film distributor/curator Michelle Materre, founder of Creatively Speaking, actor/producer couple Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid, founders of New Millennium Studios and veteran casting director Winsome Sinclair, founder of Winsome Sinclair and Associates and co-founder of Legacy Media Group. Terrie M. Williams, founder of the Terrie Williams Agency, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the awards ceremony and singer Imani Uzuri will perform. The venue is the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, LIU Brooklyn campus, at Flatbush and Dekalb Aves. For schedule, descriptions and workshop registration, visit www.reelsisters.org / www.kumbletheater.org or call 718-488-1624 / 347-534-3304.

To cite just a few of the films screening this year, narratives include: Salay, in which a young woman desperate for an education may have to leave her father and village in Sierra Leone; White Sugar in a Black Pot, about a mother forced to make a difficult decision and The Last First Kiss, a romantic comedy about a woman who flirts with a man in the park on the eve of her wedding day. Among the docs are: The First Lady of Little Rock: Daisy Bates, about the controversial Black Civil Rights activist and feminist www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VKuXdaRtRk; Hubble Diverse Universe, profiling six Black and three Hispanic American astronomers and astrophysicists; The Cut, following a teen about to endure a rite of female circumcision in Kenya and a young woman raising her voice in protest, and Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, which introduces a community of little-known Black-doll enthusiasts and the significance of these cultural artifacts. (See the trailer at www.vimeo.com/44844071.)

Reel Sisters proudly presents a tribute to Blackside Inc., producers of Eyes on the Prize, Malcolm X: Make It Plain, I’ll Make Me a World and other powerhouse documentaries. A panel discussion featuring company veterans will be moderated by Emmy Award-winning producer and Columbia University professor June Cross.

This year’s Festival also offers two incredible professional opportunities: One is a master editing workshop for emerging filmmakers with Peabody Award-winning editor and Blackside producer Sam Pollard, (When the Levees Broke, Four Little Girls, Slavery By Any Other Name, Jungle Fever and Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads). It’s on Sunday, Oct 14th, 1-3pm, with registration at an affordable $35.

Every once in a while, Reel Sisters welcomes an important film not made by a woman of color. This year the Festival proudly presents Byron Hurt’s award-winning PBS documentary, Soul Food Junkies. Terrance McKnight, WQXR radio host, and Daphne Maxwell Reid will conduct a Q&A with Hurt following the screening on Oct. 13. In this film, Hurt, baffled by his dad’s unwillingness to change his traditional soul-food diet in the face of a health crisis, sets out to learn more about this rich culinary tradition and its relevance to Black cultural identity. He discovers that the love affair his dad and his community have with soul food is deep-rooted, complex, and in some tragic cases, deadly. (See www.vimeo.com/37075801.)

There’s something for everyone at this year’s Reel Sisters Film Festival and the price can’t be beat: A two-day pass is only $25, a one day pass, $15 and a section pass is $7. These rock-bottom rates are reduced even further for seniors, students and groups. Purchase tickets at the website(s) or by phone at one of the numbers above. Reel Sisters looks forward to celebrating 15 years with film lovers from across the tri-state area.

A Brooklyn-based film festival founded by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn Campus, Reel Sisters is dedicated to supporting women of color filmmakers. The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival is supported, in part, by Council Member Inez E. Dickens, 9th C.D., Councilmember Jumaane Williams, the New York City Council, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Brooklyn ALOFT, Akila Worksongs, WNYC Radio, Act Now Foundation, Rooftop Films and Brooklyn Arts Council.

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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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