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Archive for October 10th, 2012

Why voting should be a Constitutional right

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Why voting should be a Constitutional right

New Constitutional Amendment needed to protect the right to vote, advocate claims

 New Constitutional Amendment Needed to Protect the Right to Vote, Advocate Claims

New America Media, Question & Answer

By Khalil Abdullah

Editor’s Note: The struggle over state-sponsored legislation limiting or redefining how and when citizens can vote has generated contentious debate. Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director of Advancement Project, a non-partisan organization dedicated to civil rights and racial justice, has been a vocal opponent of state photo-ID laws and other restrictive measures. In an interview with New America Media’s Khalil Abdullah, Browne Dianis explains why she has concluded a new amendment on the right to vote to the U.S. Constitution is necessary.

New America Media: Why do you feel a new Constitutional amendment on voting is needed, given there are a number of amendments that already guarantee voter protection?


Judith Browne Dianis: We don’t have explicit, affirmative language, as does the South African Constitution, for example, that every citizen who is over the age of 18 years old has the right to vote. Constitutions in most of the world’s democracies have that language; ours does not. The U.S. Constitution never explicitly or affirmatively ensures the right to vote, though it has many clauses and amendments detailing ways people cannot be denied the right to vote. For example, you cannot preclude voting rights on the basis of race or gender. Voting cannot be predicated on paying a poll tax. In other words, once having granted the right to vote, those amendments say governments may not take it away on the grounds of certain discriminatory criteria.

Why aren’t current state laws sufficient to guarantee voting rights?

Browne Dianis: Voting in the United States is currently based on state and local law but largely, as a result, we have close to 13,000 separate sets of rules and regulations across the country about who can vote and how. State and local governments can – and do – disenfranchise individuals and groups of citizens. Many ways of denying voting rights are entirely legal under the existing but limited federal laws that touch on voting. The current voting system is separate, unequal and confusing.

NAM: Among the raft of state legislation seeking to redefine how and when Americans can vote, new photo ID laws, arguably have received the most media and public attention. Sponsors explain they are addressing voter fraud. Is there merit in that claim?

Browne Dianis: The myth of voter fraud is not supported by the data that show that those instances are rare. Besides, voter photo ID laws focus on voter impersonation, which is already illegal. Fines and penalties currently on the books can deal with those cases. But take a broader look at what’s happening. All of these [state] laws are designed to make voting inaccessible, not only the voter photo ID laws, but attempts to purge voters by using inaccurate citizenship data bases, roll-back and cut-backs to early voting; and laws that make it harder to conduct voter registration campaigns. We have states, like Florida, that have limited early voting by reducing the number of days available. The inevitable result will be a lower overall turnout because of fewer opportunities to vote, particularly for employed individuals. These are not the methods one would use to expand democratic participation.

NAM: Who would want to restrict an expansion of democracy and why?

Browne Dianis
: At the moment, this is driven by partisan politics. Republican legislatures, primarily, have enacted the new provisions using model legislation developed with assistance of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The money to support these initiatives has come from deep-pocket sources, like the Koch brothers. These laws, as even stated by some of their proponents, are intended to purge African-American, Latino, and young voters — many of whom vote as Democrats — from the rolls before November’s election. I’d like to note that the elderly and those with disabilities are also disproportionately affected, often regardless of political affiliation. A constitutional amendment would level the playing field so that the right to vote would not be subject to the whim of any political party.

Are you saying there’s no financial counterweight to support voting rights advocates?

Browne Dianis: Not at this point, and the need for monetary support is greater than it has been in the recent past. Proponents of expanding access to the ballot in the United States are receiving less monetary support than in the 2000 election. Organizations that are on the ground and actively engaged in protecting voters’ rights are stretched thin.

Setting financing aside, why not rely on the federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve voting rights’ disputes?

Browne Dianis
: Over the last several years, the Supreme Court has been moving slowly but surely farther and farther away from treating the right to vote as a fundamental right that is owed the highest degree of respect and protection. It has also grown less deferential to Congress’ ability to protect voting rights. The Court is threatening to use a stricter standard to such congressional acts than has been used in the past in order to determine whether or not those acts exceed congressional authority.

NAM: So how would this new amendment read and what are its key elements?

Browne Dianis: We need more research on the exact language, but we retained a firm to conduct focus groups across the country with diverse participants regarding the right to vote and related issues. Here are a few of the “must-haves” we heard from a majority of participants, things that would sway them to support a constitutional right to vote: all citizens over the age of 18 can vote easily or conveniently; the voting rules are the same all over the country so it is no harder to vote in state A than it is in state B; and persons with felony convictions — but who have served their time — can vote. There also was a demand for modern, accurate, verifiable voting machines.

We are also reviewing the state constitutions that more explicitly and affirmatively guarantee the right to vote than does the U.S. Constitution and there have been other voices calling for this amendment. Rep. Jesse Jackson [D-Ill.] has proposed an amendment, H.R. 28, as a start.

NAM: To get a Constitutional amendment proposed requires two-thirds of the state legislatures or two-thirds of Congress to approve. Ratification for it to become part of the Constitution has even a higher threshold. You would have to go through the same state legislatures or Congresspersons representing the very states that are passing restrictive voting laws. How realistic is it that a right to vote amendment could succeed?

Browne Dianis: It is possible, but it will take a national movement. It will be up to the American people to fight for the right to vote. They will have to decide whether their democracy is worth fighting for.

NAM: Until that movement arises, what keeps you up at night? What are your most urgent concerns only a month out from the election?

Browne Dianis: I wonder, what’s the next barrier? Even when legal victories are secured, opponents of expanding the voting franchise continue to devise ways to limit it. Right now, we are concerned about robo-calls and other techniques used to disseminate misinformation about voting registration and precinct information, and we have to prepare for voter intimidation by so-called poll watchers. As I said, if the American people really believe that the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, they’re going to have to fight for it.

Mayor Emanuel meets with Ed Gardner, promises to hire blacks

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Mayor Emanuel meets with Ed Gardner, promises to hire blacks

Gardner ‘somewhat optimistic’ but says ball is in mayor’s court

By Chinta Strausberg


In a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday, business icon Ed Gardner averted a mass protest on City Hall and emerged from the mayor’s office “somewhat optimistic” that African Americans will be included on construction sites throughout Chicago.

Accompanied by his long-time friend and confidante, Carl McFerren, Gardner, who said last Saturday if he had not heard from the mayor he would march on City Hall this week 10,000 strong, told reporters his position is simple.

All he wants is jobs for blacks on city construction sites especially in the African American community, and he made it clear that his fight is far from over.

 “I want to see black men and women working on all construction sites throughout the city of Chicago,” said Gardner. He wants half the jobs on these sites to be held by blacks.

At a press conference held outside of the mayor’s City Hall Office, Gardner said he is “somewhat optimistic about his meeting with Emanuel.

He said the mayor “… seems to show some sign of being concerned about making a change. That is all I’m concerned about that the things are not like they have been for the past many years in the city of Chicago.”

Last Saturday when he spoke at a standing-room-only meeting with C.O.A.L. officials at BJ’s Market & Bakery Restaurant at 87th and Stony Island, Gardner said if the mayor didn’t meet with him by Wednesday, he and his supporters would march on City Hall the next day.

Today’s meeting averted a protest that could have proven embarrassing to Mayor Emanuel and just days before the Nov. 6th election. “The ball is in the mayor’s court…,” Gardner said.

“Chicago can be an example of what changes have to be made to see that Afro Americans get their share of contracts in this city and it certainly can be done,” Gardner said explaining that cities across this nation have similar problems.

“Some how it’s easy for the union people, I guess, to go around, because I don’t think they have an innate desire to not want blacks to work, but someone has an impediment that is stopping this from happening and I blame the mayor for allowing it to continue.”

Gardner blamed the mayor for not working with the aldermen and his staff to prevent this lack of blacks on the construction sites. “I am not going to stop at 87-years-old until it is corrected,” he vowed. 

Mayor Emanuel told Gardner that the Red Line construction work is very important to him and that “many African Americans will be working on that project.”

Gardner said the mayor “will be dealing with the union folks right away, but they know all of the answers. They know what they are doing and what they are not doing.

“They know when I see a site with nothing but non-blacks in the middle of a black community that they sent the journeyman out to do this job. They know what they did. It’s nothing new,” said Gardner.

He vowed to continue his direct action against job sites that have no black workers but added, “Right now, the ball is in the camp of the mayor and the organization of C.O.A.L. who will be meeting with his people on the Red Line and also on future construction sites throughout the city of Chicago.”

Asked if he is going to shut down more job sites, Gardner made it clear. “Our job is not to shut down sites. Our job is to try to make life better for particularly African Americans.

“If that is the next stage that we have to take, we will take it. We will give the mayor a chance to move forward and showing me by actions, not by words, not by what he says he’s doing.”

While Gardner said the mayor did not know why there is a scarcity of blacks on construction sites, he says the evidence is crystal clear. “I walk the streets of Chicago. I will see if black men and women are working,” said Gardner.

Mayor Emanuel said he would be meeting with CTA Chairman Terry Peterson and members from the Coalition of African American Leaders (C.O.A.L.), which is headed by Clarence Wood.

Referring to C.O.A.L., Gardner said this organization has promised him they will see that blacks will get “an improved share of jobs throughout the city of Chicago.”

“They have accepted the mayor’s challenge to see that more blacks bid on contracts, more blacks have a fair share of getting those contracts” in a manner that would be smoother and more friendly process that in the past.

“They know that I know that I am not satisfied the history of how blacks have been eliminated from construction sites in the city of Chicago. It must be corrected,” Gardner told reporters.

 Gardner told Mayor Emanuel, “As far as I am concerned, he is totally and finally responsible to see that this situation is corrected, and he promised me he would do as much as he possibly can to correct it. Time will tell.”

When told by reporters that elected officials have to live within the law and how could they achieve what he wants and live within the law, Gardner said, “…there are laws, but they are human beings.”

Gardner said he told the mayor, “Look, I put my life on the line in 1943 for this country.

They didn’t ask me if I lived East of Western or North of Western, whether I was black or white. I served my nation.

“I come back here and I see a thing 70-years later worst than what it was when I was struggling to be an American citizen trying to help this nation.”

Gardner said no matter what the laws are, it is the mayor’s responsibility to change that, which is preventing blacks from working on these construction sites. “If they are preventing black African Americans from getting their fair share of job opportunity, that is his responsibility to see that it’s changed.”

Asked if Mayor Emanuel committed to a percentage of jobs for blacks, Gardner said he wants half of those working on city construction sites to be African Americans.

Gardner said he is not against other ethnic groups working “but not at the expense of black families who can’t feed their children, young black men escaping into drugs and narcotics…no jobs and drug business very, very high and that should stop.”

Gardner told Mayor Emanuel that he holds him “personally responsible to bring about changes” and doesn’t see why unions can’t hire African American journeymen on city construction sites.

Having personally looked at several construction sites in black communities, Gardner said many times black contractors bid on jobs but are “bypassed” and “somehow those journeymen who somehow the unions send out are not African American. They can certainly bid cheaper preventing Afro American contractors from fairly getting their fair share of business.”

Two-weeks ago, Gardner held a jobs protest in Evergreen Park where more than 2,000 people joined him in support; however, Mayor James Sexton has been working with Gardner and the two major developers of the 92nd to 95th and Western construction site, Meijer’s and Menards, to get as many blacks hired as possible.

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.

In this tough election, we must not lose sight of social justice and interdependence

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on In this tough election, we must not lose sight of social justice and interdependence

By M. Starita Boyce Ansari, Ph.D.


Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Fifty years ago, Americans from community after community came together and committed to a vision for justice and equality. People fought. People died. People transcended the small interests of their own needs, as Blacks, Jews, women, gays and lesbians, took real risks to advocate for change and common cause. Many communities of American people came together to declare War on Injustice while our own federal government declared War on Poverty. But today, the victories won in common struggle are being squandered. Before it’s too late, let us not forget what common cause can achieve.

Among the strongest reminders of common cause are the many examples of the Black and Jewish communities coming together. Let us be inspired by the way these communities laid the foundation for Civil Rights:

* In 1909, Henry Moscowitz joined W.E.B. DuBois and other civil rights leaders to found the NAACP.

* In the first half of the previous century, more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools and 20 black colleges were established in whole or in part by contributions from Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald.

* Jews made up half of the young people who participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.

* Prominent leaders of the Jewish community, including Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, marched arm-in-arm with Dr. King in his 1965 March on Selma.

Now, my point is not to focus on Blacks and Jews per se, or to recapture the haze of nostalgia for our activist past. The world and times have changed. But the meaning of justice has not. We can’t go back in time, but we can go back to values. In the work I do with philanthropists and advocates today, the reflex seems to be to stay within a silo, to focus on a single issue. Results matter, but with “big” action and “big” advocacy out of fashion, we’ve lost our interdependent way. Before it’s too late, let us not forget that all of our victories won may one day soon be battles lost if we do not come together to take on the true heart of today’s inequality: the face of economic injustice.

It is no coincidence that gender, race and poverty remain systemic problems in America – they are at the core of the deepest divide in circumstances and principles that our nation has faced since the Civil War. We must respond to them together in order to make this nation a better place for all, to take on the “institution” of poverty as we did the institution of Jim Crow.

Is poverty an institution? It is, when an entire system is designed to foster and propagate it. The false choices between one group’s agenda and another’s, between the 1% and the 99%, all seem to lose the forest for the trees. We lose sight of the vast potential of human capital, of the power of granting equal access to all, and we get lost in a thicket of -isms and accusations. The Civil Rights Movement went far enough to give the U.S. a Black president in some 50 years. But, still, a majority of Blacks, Hispanics and women in this county feel the brunt of inequality. The tough realities are:

* Weekly earnings for full-time professional/management positions average $941 for women and $1,269 for men.

* Record numbers of public school children qualify for free three meals program.

* People of color represent 36% of the U.S. population, but 60% of the prison population. The prison population grew 700% from 1976 -2005, a rate that outpaced crime.

* Black households, more likely than any other household, live in inadequate and unhealthy housing.

* Blacks are four times more likely to experience police brutality.

* Hispanic seniors are more likely to be food insecure than any other Americans.

In the face of such heart-wrenching data, I am calling on you as I call on the philanthropists and advocates that I work with: “Let us not forget!” Let us not forget our interdependence and common cause. All of our children are precious gifts to the world. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that faith in oneself is the most powerful weapon against suppression and oppression. So, we must have faith in our ability and will to come together, again, to ensure that all of us have access to quality education systems and economic security in order for our nation to succeed. We must do this for our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our nephews, nieces and cousins, and our fathers and mothers.

Let us not forget! Like the Jewish sisters and brothers who made common cause with Blacks during the Civil Rights Movement, the motto must be “Never again,” before it’s too late. I call on each of you to embrace our interdependence, before it’s too late to build on human potential.

* “Never again” should any American be denied access to quality health, education, economic and social systems.

* “Never again” should women bear the brunt of economic inequality as they do in today’s ongoing labor market.

* “Never again” should young gays and lesbians fear for their dignities and their lives on a daily basis at schools and in public.

* “Never again” should a person be persecuted because of their religious principles.

* “Never again” should infants die, not because it was inevitable, but because our city budgets defunded critical programs for distressed and impoverished urban communities.

And let us not forget to bring the call for common cause to our youth. Before it’s too late, may philanthropists of every creed commit to empowering our youth to donate their time, talents and treasures for equity, opportunity and justice for all. The definition of philanthropy cannot remain within the rarified circles of big donors and big events. The gifts of all must be celebrated. And, it will take the will of all in order to move our nation forward.

Like our Jewish sisters and brothers, I am calling on Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and people of every creed to practice Tzedakah, the righteousness of doing what is right and fair and just for all.

Let us not forget, before it’s too late!

Dr. M. Starita Boyce Ansari is a scholar, trainer and speaker in the field of philanthropy, recognized by The Ford Foundation and The W. K. Kellogg Foundation for her research in the field. Dr. Boyce Ansari has helped institutions grow and revitalize while becoming more stable and more effective in their community impact. She is a champion for social justice, committed to equal access to health care, education and economic opportunity. She is currently President and Chief Change Officer at MSBphilanthropy Advisors, LLC.

Illinois State Board of Education awards $39.2 million in School Maintenance Grants

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Illinois State Board of Education awards $39.2 million in School Maintenance Grants

State Matching Grant program helps 691 districts repair and improve facilities          


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education announced it has awarded more than $39.2 million under the School Maintenance Grant Program to help 691 districts and vocational centers make necessary repairs and improvements on existing facilities. The dollar-for-dollar program provides up to $50,000 in matching funds for the maintenance and upkeep of buildings or structures used for educational purposes.

“This grant program offers much needed support in this tough economy to make necessary improvements to our school campuses,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “We know that much more needs to be done but this helps districts get to projects that have long been on their to-do lists and might still be without these funds.”

The School Maintenance Grant Program, supported under the state’s School Construction Funds, can go toward an array of improvement activities, including re-sealing a parking lot, removing asbestos, replacing playground equipment, repairing bleachers and more. The grants, awarded for the first time since 2001, were distributed to districts through the summer and the start of this school year.

All school districts, cooperative high schools and Type 40 area vocational centers were eligible to apply for a grant. Under the terms of the program, Chicago Public Schools receives 20 percent of the allocation or about $6.5 million.

Under law, the School Construction Funds was created as a special fund in the State Treasury, which receives bond proceeds from the state’s sale of General Obligation Bonds for the purpose of financing school maintenance and construction.

To see a list of grant awardees, visit http://www.isbe.net/sbss/smp_grants.htm

For the latest news from the Illinois State Board of Education, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Illinois-State-Board-of-Education/136022251779 or Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/ISBEnews. Visit the official ISBE website at http://www.isbe.net.

“Images of Fashion”, 6th Annual Latino Fashion Week Tour

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on “Images of Fashion”, 6th Annual Latino Fashion Week Tour

Latino Fashion Week attracts celebrities Andy Vargas-Lead Vocalist for Santana to perform closing night Nick Verreos – Project Runway, & much more


 The Windy City will be the talk of fashionistas as Chicago prepares for the 6th Annual Latino Fashion Week®, the only full-week and tour dedicated to Latino fashion in the country! Kicking off on October 9 – 13, 2012, LFW™ will be held at the Zhou B Art Center 1029 W. 35th Street and Macy’s, 111 N. State Street. 

This year, LFW™ celebrates “Images of Fashion” dedicated to the industry behind the lens. A special photography exhibit by world-renowned fashion photojournalist Daniel Garriga will be on display throughout the week at the Zhou B Art Center. “We are pleased to be honoring the images and extraordinary career of Daniel Garriga who will receive an award closing night of LFW™,” says principals Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon.

Schedule of Events:

 Tuesday, October 9: LIGHTS, CAMERA, FASHION: LFW™ Red Carpet Media Party  

Zhou B Art Center – 1029 W. 35th St.

Doors Open: 5:30 PM | Reception: 6:00 PM | Runway Show: 7:15 PM

Hosted by Windy City Live’s Ryan Chiaverini and KISS FM’s Nina Chantele, a Red Carpet Media Reception will kick off the week with the theme Images of Fashion featuring top local Latino designers including Noelia Cruz, Claudia Urrutia, Nelissa Carrillo, Roland Rodriguez and Sadia Pattison, each of whom will present his or her most outstanding designs. In addition, LFW™ will feature its annual catwalk with Chicago’s very own local celebrities including Chicago Bears’ Evan Rodriguez, WGN’s Lourdes Duarte, ABC’s Stacey Baca, NBC’s Natalie Martinez and Daniella Guzman, Univision’s David Miranda, B96’s Julian Nieh, Rockit Ranch Productions President Arturo Gomez and more!

Wednesday, October 10: Macys & LFWâ„¢ celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month honoring 2012 Icon of Style, Carlos Santana

Macy’s, 111 North State Street, Dress Department – 4th Floor

5:30 PM | RSVP REQUIRED: 1-800-329-8667

Join Macy’s, Vanidades magazine & LFWâ„¢ “In Conversation” with our panel of experts for a discussion on Carlos Santana’s influence in the music and fashion world. After the panel, enjoy music, light Latin-inspired refreshments and, with any Carlos by Carlos Santana $5O purchase or more made during the event, receive a copy of Santana’s newest album Shape Shifter and limited-edition keychain.

Fashion Designer of Nikolaki Design and Project Runway contestant Nick Verreos will host and moderate the panel of style makers and industry experts which includes Diego Rocha, a Brazilian born handbag designer who opened his first store in Chicago, Jacqueline Blanco, Editor in Chief of Vanidades Magazine and Leanne Violette, Designer of Carlos by Carlos Santana Footwear.

Thursday, October 11: MHOA & LFWâ„¢ present Teen Runway Show and HACER Gala Fundraiser
Zhou B Art Center – 1029 W. 35th St.

Doors Open & Exhibit: 5:00 PM | AWSUM Panel: 6:30 PM | Runway Show: 7:00 PM | Gala: 8:15 PM

Now in its 4th year, this family event is highlighted by a Teen Runway Show, followed by the HACER Gala for Education, promoting a healthy lifestyle and improved self-esteem featuring the AWSUM (Amazing-Wonderful-Super-Unique-Me) Panel Discussion with teen-savvy motivational speakers including Miss Illinois USA Nancy To, Univision’s Carolina Rodriguez, Founder of Vox Populi Magazine Patrick Seller, Ford Models Agent David Sanchez and more. Runway show will feature designs by designer Andrea Castro and Akira for Men. Sponsored by McDonald’s Hispanic Owner-Operators Association.

Friday, October 12: LFW™ presents “For the Jetsetter: Haute Couture, Resort and Swimwear”

Zhou B Art Center – 1029 W. 35th St.

Doors Open: 6:00 PM | VIP Reception: 6:30 PM | Runway Show: 7:45 PM

Hosted by Journalist Carlos Anaya, this VIP reception honors Fashion Hope, an organization that builds awareness and raises funds in the fashion industry to help rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking; exposing what is perhaps the gravest human rights atrocity of our time. This will be followed by an exclusive runway show with designs by Eva Chen, a rising star in the international fashion industry; Eva has absorbed the merits of different cultures and put them into her designs. Also featuring local and international designers, Yirko Sirivich swimwear for men and Eva by Evelyn swimwear for women.  Celebrity guests include Erick Jimenez Sabater, Mister Universe Model 2012, Singer and The Voice contestant Terisa Griffin, Univision’s Jackie Guerrido and more!

Saturday, October 13: LFWâ„¢ presents Paparazzi Glamour and Fashion Lounge & Expo

Zhou B Art Center – 1029 W. 35th St., Chicago

Fashion Lounge & Expo: 11 AM – 8 PM

A Shoppers Fashion Lounge Expo: This lavishly fun pre-holiday shopping extravaganza will feature an array of premier clothing, right off the runway, accessories, make-up and salon boutiques. Booths will host mini makeover specials, product demonstrations and workshops. FREE & Open to the Public.

Paparazzi Glamour: Exhibit: 6:00 PM | VIP Reception: 7:00 PM | Runway Show: 8:00 PM

This glamorous evening, hosted by ABC’s Sylvia Perez, WGCI’s UB Rodriguez and Vanidades Magazine, begins with a VIP Celebrity status reception, followed by the finale runway show including collections by designers Argemito Sierra, Andrea Castro, Yirko Sivirich, Vanidades Magazine’s featured designer, Gabriela Moya and more. Celebrity guests include Journalist Carlos Anaya and Spanish soap opera star Christian Carabias. Special Performance by Andy Vargas, Lead Singer of Santana. 

Andy Vargas

Deemed “Latin Soul’s New Favorite Son,” Andy Vargas is a multifaceted crossover artist with a conviction for Latin music and culture. As the lead vocalist of SANTANA, his passionate voice and stage presence blend his deep roots of old world Latin music with modern day Latin style. Influenced by his father Javier Vargas, Andy was exposed to music at the early age of three years old.  By the time he was seven, he began to perform with his father’s mariachi band in Watsonville, California. Encouraged by his father’s excitement to teach him, Andy quickly saw the powers of a deeper communication and expression in music.  His interest in R&B soul, led him to follow musicians and bands like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay, The Temptations, Etta James, War and Carlos Santana.

Recognized by top executives in the entertainment business, Andy caught the eye of music producer Terry Melcher. He signed his first recording contract to R.C.A Records at the age of seventeen, under the guidance of super A&R executive Ron Fair.  Prior to his first album release, Andy was introduced to the legendary Carlos Santana.  Impressed with Andy’s musical talents, he was asked to join the new Santana Band. 

His cross-cultural appeal allows Andy to compose and sing melodies, soulful lyrics, and captivating grooves with music that makes you move.  When you come in contact with Andy Vargas, you will understand that he is more than just an artist, musician and DJ, he is an unforgettable experience. 

Daniel Garriga

As a photographer, director and creative director born in Barcelona, Spain, Daniel Garriga grew up with a strong artistic heritage. This initial exposure helped to develop his keen interest in visual arts, photography and fashion. He has been featured numerous times as the key photographer on hit fashion TV series “America’s Next Top Model,” “Project Runway” and recent break-out hit “It’s a Brad Brad World” on Bravo. He also played a cameo as a NY high fashion photographer and mentor of the main character in the Hollywood feature “Comfortably Lost,” in theaters soon.

Editorial Photography includes: Vogue, Vogue China, Marie Claire, Seventeen, GQ Magazine, Esquire, Glamour, WWD, WWD Men’s, Men’s Health and Menswear. Advertising Photography and Commercial Directing experience includes America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, Oscar de la Renta, Coca-Cola, Martini Rossi, Starr Rum, John Frieda, Kiehl’s, Ouidad, The Gap, Callaway Golf, Perry Ellis, Verizon Wireless, Gillette Fusion, Deutsche Bank, Kohl’s, Somerset Collection, 900Stores, Millenia Mall, XX Beer, Modelo Beer and Plaza66 China.

Nick Verreos

Nick Verreos is an American fashion designer and contestant on the second season of the reality television program Project Runway.  He was a panel member on Lisa Rinna’s fashion wrap up shows on TV Guide Network that followed the Grammys, Oscars and Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2008 and 2009. Nick hosted 3 fashion segments on E! Countdown to the Academy Awards and covered the Red Carpet Arrivals on SOAPnet.com for the Daytime Emmy Awards and the Primetime Emmy Awards.

LFWâ„¢ supports the following:

Fashion Hope

Fashion Hope builds awareness and raises funds in the fashion industry to help rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking, exposing what is perhaps the gravest human rights atrocity of our time.


A U.S. Scholarship program, designed to provide financial assistance to eligible graduating Hispanic High school Seniors who face limited access to educational and career opportunities.

3c Wear, LLC.

A family owned company with one vision in mind, making Inspired Clothing to Inspire Giving.  We inspire children, their parents and friends to make a difference in this world by providing opportunities to give something meaningful to children in need.

Fresh Food Fund application now online

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Fresh Food Fund application now online


Program will help vendors sell fresh groceries in “food deserts”


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) announced the Illinois Fresh Food Fund application is now available online at www.iff.org/illinois-food.  The Fund aims to increase the availability of fresh and healthy food by providing loans and grants to merchants planning to operate full-service grocery stores or food co-operatives in underserved areas.

“I encourage grocers, co-op owners and developers to learn about the Fresh Food Fund and consider whether its financing could help them invest in a neighborhood that needs what they have to offer,” said Sen. Collins, a long-time advocate for innovative solutions to the problem of food deserts.

The state has put $10 million into the program; IFF, a nonprofit community development lender, secured a $3.5 million federal grant for the Fund. Several banks and foundations have also contributed.

“The relationship between access to fresh foods and overall quality of life, especially for our young people, is well known,” Sen. Collins said. “I have always believed a solid investment in good nutrition can help transform struggling neighborhoods.”

In addition to securing the funding needed to establish the program, Sen. Collins in 2009 sponsored the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act. This law has implemented a successful strategy to supply facilities with Illinois-grown food products.

Fresh Food Fund loans and grants can be used to purchase land, build a store, renovate or expand an existing business or purchase new equipment such as refrigerated cases. Most projects accepted for financing will receive a combination of loans and grants. Applicants must submit a detailed business plan, references and a certificate of good standing from the State of Illinois.

Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce receives resolution from MWRD Commissioners for efforts to assist small business owners

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce receives resolution from MWRD Commissioners for efforts to assist small business owners
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Vice President Barbara J. McGowan and Commissioner Patricia Horton presented a resolution to Carnice Carey, Executive Director of the Chamber, to honor the organization for its work.
“Breaking Barriers in the 21st Century” is the theme of this year’s Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce’s 44th annual awards gala later this month.
The event will be held at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago on Oct. 19.
“Thank you to the Board of Commissioners for this resolution,” said Carey. “The Chamber continues to offer assistance to small business owners to ensure they are involved in contract opportunities in the state of Illinois which is our primary mission. We strive to fulfill our mission by partnering with various businesses and agencies. We appreciate the MWRD’s continued support of small and minority businesses.”
The Chamber is the second oldest interracial diversity business organization in the nation. They provide seminars, technical assistance, training and certification programs. They also support small business development and growth through partnerships with public and private organizations and through community outreach.
Established in 1933, the Chamber’s mission is to promote the creation and expansion of small, minority and female-owned businesses through capital development and government contracting. The awards gala honors and recognizes the achievements and contributions of minority businesspersons and community leaders.
Vice President McGowan, who is also chairman of the Affirmative Action Committee, said that “the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s Board continues to advocate for and support the aspirations of minority communities and small businesses.”
More information about the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce can be found at http://cosmococ.org/home.php, and more information about the MWRD can be found at www.mwrd.org.

Consumers are urged to use extreme caution when applying for loans on the Internet

Posted by Admin On October - 10 - 2012 Comments Off on Consumers are urged to use extreme caution when applying for loans on the Internet

(A Message from the Better Business Bureau)




CHICAGO, IL – Consumers wanting to obtain loans of a few hundred dollars or less are urged by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to be extremely cautious when applying for money from companies that offer loans over the Internet.  


Illinois consumers are among those from 42 states that have sent in more than 280 complaints to BBBs across the United States. These complaints concern just one company, Utah-based, Zeal Funding Services, LLC also known as My Cash Guardian, Money Leaf and My Money Toolbox.


“There are some very disturbing commonalities in the complaints that our BBB and those from other states are receiving,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Consumers have complained about finding unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts and on their credit card statement by the company. When inquiries have been answered, the company states the withdrawals are for previously unmentioned membership fees or account protection.”


Consumers say that they were not informed beforehand of these automatic withdrawals, which can cause bank accounts to become overdrawn. In addition to the automatic debits and questionable charges, there is another area of concern.


“Consumers must be very wary of giving personal information to any company over the Internet,” said Bernas. “You do not know who has access to or how an unknown business protects your social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers or other information.”


LaTonia, a consumer from Chicago registering a complaint with the BBB, saw unwarranted charges on her account after applying for a loan. “I applied for a loan and soon afterwards the amount of $29.99 was withdrawn from my checking account twice, each time by a different company.” LaTonia said, “When I called to find out what was going on I was told that this was a fee for services to help me with my finances and went along with the loan automatically. I go for a loan because I need money and then I end up in this situation when I did not even agree to these charges.”


Wendy, another consumer, had a similar experience when she took out a loan with My Cash Guardian. “I found a $29.95 charge on my credit card that I had not authorized. The company told me that I had agreed to this when I applied for a loan. They promised me a refund within 10 to 15 days, but it has been over three weeks and I have not seen it,” Wendy recalls, “I have gotten three unauthorized charges on my credit card statement since this one for unrelated things like bike parts. These charges were all under $30.”


The BBB offers the following tips for consumers to protect themselves when doing business on the Internet:

  • Verify the business’s contact information (name, address, phone numbers) before you give out any personal information.
  • Read the loan’s terms and conditions carefully. If you don’t understand them, ask. If you are unable to get a suitable response, don’t do business with the company.
  • Be extremely cautious about providing social security numbers, bank account numbers and other personal information to businesses you do not know and trust.
  • Deal with businesses that have proven to be trustworthy and have known business practices. Ask friends and family members and research the business. If a pop-up box appears after purchasing an item, read the box carefully to see how you can close it out without agreeing to a purchase.
  • Check out the business with the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org

For more consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org

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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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