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Archive for November 8th, 2012

Immigrant candidates see historic wins in 2012 Congressional Races

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

New American Leaders Project Releases National Post-Election Immigrant Candidate Scorecard 


New York, NY -The New American Leaders Project (NALP) released a post-election scorecard tallying the election results for Congressional candidates from immigrant communities, celebrating those who successfully won their bids for Congress on November 6, 2012.  The scorecard can be seen on a state-by-state basis here and by immigrant community here.  The election saw 4 Arab Americans (LA-3 will go to run-off), 10 Asian Americans (CA-6 remains too close to call), 1 Caribbean American, and 29 Latinos (CA-36 remains to close to call) win their Congressional races.   Among these victories are four historic first time wins, three by Asian American women:

  • Senator-elect Ted Cruz (R), the first Latino to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate
  • Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard (D) from Hawaii becomes the first American Samoan voting member of Congress.
  • Senator-elect Mazie Hirono (D) from Hawaii will be the first Asian American woman to ever serve in the U.S Senate
  • Congresswoman-elect Grace Meng (D), the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress
  • Congressman Mark Takano (D)of California becomes the first openly gay Asian American in Congress

“We celebrate these important milestones, and laud these leaders for their commitment to public service.  At the same time, we recognize that responsiveness to the needs of immigrant Americans, who include U.S.-born, naturalized citizens and undocumented individuals, is the duty of all elected officials at the city, state and national levels,” said Sayu Bhojwani, Founding Director of The New American Leaders Project.  “It’s our sincere hope that these new faces will have a profound effect in Congress, and therefore the community, starting in 2013.”

This year’s election also marked a historic high for the number of immigrant community leaders that ran for office, however the numbers did not keep up with the number of immigrants in the U.S. population as a whole.  As of November 7, the total number of Asian members in the 113th Congress will increase from from 10 to 11 (or 12, if Dr. Ami Bera wins the California 6th district seat).  At 6% of the U.S. population, Asian Americans should occupy 31 Congressional seats for proportionate representation. Latino Congress members increased to 30 (and may go to 31, if Dr. Raul Ruiz wins California’s 36th district), but given that Latinos represent 16% of the population, the total number of Latinos in Congress should be at 86 to be proportionate.

The composition of the new Congress will be a critical component of success for the agenda President Barack Obama outlined in his acceptance speech on Election Day – “reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system and freeing ourselves from foreign oil.”

 The New American Leaders Project (NALP) is the only national organization specifically focused on preparing first- and second-generation immigrants for civic leadership.  NALP aims to expand the number of immigrants in leadership positions, increase voter participation in immigrant communities and allow immigrant voters more opportunities to engage with leaders who reflect their unique experiences. Visit http://newamericanleaders.org or follow #NewamericanLP for additional information.

The New American Leaders Project has experts available for commentary on immigrant civic engagement. For all media inquires please contact:

Nina Spensley, 917.864.8400, nina@newamericanleaders.org or 

Shalini Matani, 516.458.9495, shalini@newamericanleaders.org.


Religious Leaders meet new CPS/CEO who says reforms are on the way

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Seeks plan to find 60,000 ‘lost’ students

By Chinta Strausberg


Chicago, IL – Dozens of religious leaders attended a special meeting Wednesday at the Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, 5141 S. State Street, to welcome and hear the plans of Chicago Public School’s (CPS) new CEO, Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who on her 11th day in office vowed not to close any schools until she has adequate input from the community and to implement a plan to find 60,000 “lost” students who simply disappear from the system.

After being welcomed by several ministers, Dr Byrd-Bennett painted a picture of her life saying she grew up in Harlem in the Grant public housing projects and remembers when she moved from the tenements “it was like the Jefferson’s, we had moved on up.

“We were so proud to be in the public housing projects where the walls were smoothed and animals that were not our cats were not around and where the water was always hot and the toilet flushed,” she recalled as the religious leaders laughed.

She said her parents, who did not have a high school education but that her grandparents taught her to “find your dream, chase your dream, capture your dream and live it but the only way that would happen was through education.”

Her parents made it clear that the only way she would ever get “what they called an American Express Gold Card” that would give her access to places, knowledge, and an opportunity to give back was with an education.

When she felt like going astray, Dr. Byrd-Bennett said, “What they taught me was each time I wanted to walk on the wild side and do all of that stuff…, some hand pulled me back….  It was because of those values that my parents instilled in me and because of my faith” that she is successful today.

After introducing herself to the clergy including outlining her career as a teacher at East Harlem, NY 40-years ago including being a principal, Dr. Byrd-Bennett said she and Mayor Rahm Emanuel share the same vision when it comes to education and she comes fully equipped to handle similar academic and fiscal problems.

Her experience as school official in New York and Cleveland will help her close CPS’ $1 billion deficit.  “As I’m looking at these numbers” and asking questions, she said, “It’s like we tapped out every credit card we have.” “I will not perpetrate a fraud,” she said promising to crunch out the numbers and report back to the religious leaders as to the status of the budget.

Though many of the students whether in New York or Chicago come from poor communities that are fraught with violence, have few resources and sub-standard housing, Dr. Byrd-Bennett said, “I thought I was poor, but what I learned was I was in a state of poverty. I wasn’t poor. Poverty is a temporary state that I lived in. I wasn’t poor at all and neither are these children because they can learn…. They simply need adults who will not give up on them.”

“I know that every child in the CPS system is born with a God-given gray matter to learn. It’s just that too many of us have turned our backs on them….”

Saying the student’s need more than a strong teacher, she said they also need a “strong team of adults. They need the faith-based community to really open the doors of the church.” She vowed to expand that opportunity with the CPS faith based initiative.

Dr. Byrd-Bennett said, “If we really believe in a quality school in every one of our schools, then we need to have a longer school day. I support that tremendously, and that time needs to be used efficiently and directly for our kids.”

While she said children need extra time for additional help in math and reading “but equally important, our children need art, dance and theater” and not just academics. “All of our children don’t learn alike,” she said. “We need to have advanced technology in our schools. We need a library with resources.”

On air-conditioning, Byrd-Bennett said many of the schools are too old to install them. She also knows that schools need nurses need nurse, and they need updated books.

During the question and answer period where she was joined by Pastor Walter Turner, Rev. Gregory Daniels, a construction activist, asked that CPS to accept a construction trade program for the third through eighth grades. “Because of the crime and violence that is in our community running rampant, we need to get the children early” as a preventive measure.

Rev. Leonard DeVille said while religious leaders are trying to work with the schools, Mayor Emanuel “is now taxing the church” by making religious institutions may for their water when for decades this was exempt. DeVille said the city is going to start charging the churches to pick up their garbage. “Pastors are willing to work with you, but we got to get the mayor to respect the pastors. He has not met with us one time since he’s been in Chicago,” said DeVille who is also a former alderman.

Sandy Lewis, director of Community Affairs for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, asked Dr. Byrd-Bennett how could her office work with her given that 60,000 students are displaced from CPS. “We know once our kids are displaced from CPS, they end up in the criminal justice system going through this revolving door. We want to be more preventive in our efforts coming from the State’s Attorney’s Office of keeping kids in school where they need to be…,” said Lewis.

Dr. Byrd-Bennett said, “I was astounded when I heard there are 60,000 number just out there….” She said just last year “8,000 children graduated from eighth grade” headed for the ninth grade” but that “they disappeared” with no consequences as to their whereabouts.

“What are we doing proactively to find 8,000 lost students”? she asked. “How could we lose 60,000 children”?  “We need to have a huge and deliberate strategy on how to get those children back. Those are our children,” she said admitting she is very passionate about these missing students.

When asked by Apostle Steve Jones, pastor of the Praise Tabernacle Deliverance Center, about the issue of restoring a CPS truancy program and how can the Faith Base Initiative program work in conjunction with the CPS to help find the 60,000 students who have disappeared, Dr. Byrd-Bennett said she too is looking for the truancy department. “That is a priority,” she told Jones.

When asked by this writer her position on the 1991 law passed by the late Senator William “Bill” Shaw that mandates the CPS to teach African American and African history to all students, Dr. Byrd-Bennett appeared stunned saying, “I am not aware of the law. Not only will we abide by the law” but “in the skin I wear, it very, very important.”

Rikki Jones, president of the Cook County Democratic Women said she believes that Dr. Byrd-Bennett “is in the same place we are and you are about educating kids…. We want to work with you,” she said referring also to her pastor, Rev. Krista Allston, who accompanied her and who is also a former teacher.

Brandon Johnson, a former CPS teacher now organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, asked Dr. Byrd-Bennett to have a full moratorium on all school action and have a task force to look at those recommendations.

Rev. Martin Hunter asked her to look into a bill that calls for parity in the letting of contracts in the communities. Dr. Byrd-Bennett promised to meet with the religious leaders on a regular basis.

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.

Journalist Chinta Strausberg will be a speaker participant at Olive-Harvey College’s Veterans Day Banquet honoring Fallen Heroes today, November 8th

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and their fellow soldiers


Olive-Harvey College Veterans Services and Student Government Association Carmel Bernon Harvey, Jr., of Hegewisch and Milton Lee Olive III of Chicago gave their lives so that others could live. This week the students, faculty and staff of Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, will recognize and celebrate their heroic efforts during a Veterans Day Banquet Thursday, November 8, from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at Olive-Harvey College Cafeteria (10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago).

There will be a special address by Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Rochelle of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Strausberg will speak on the legacy of her cousin Milton Olive III – a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. In 1964, Olive, without hesitation, sacrificed his life and saved the lives of his fellow soldiers by falling on a live grenade and absorbing the shock of the blast with his body.

Harvey is also a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. In 1967, as he was defending a grounded helicopter, a grenade clipped to his belt became activated. Unable to detach it, Harvey heroically charged a communist machine gun. This allowed his platoon to beat back the enemy attack and evacuate the area.

During the event, Veteran/military students can share their thoughts on these war heroes and what it means to be soldiers, veterans and college students today.

 Strausberg will also speak on how military families keep the memories of their loved ones — our fallen soldiers — alive.

The event will be held Thursday, November 8, from 4 – 5:30 p.m. Olive-Harvey College Cafeteria (10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago).

About City Colleges of Chicago

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), District 508, is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with 5,800 faculty and staff serving 120,000 students at seven campuses and six satellite sites city-wide. The City Colleges of Chicago is in the midst of a Reinvention, launched by Chancellor Cheryl Hyman shortly after her appointment by Mayor Richard M. Daley in March 2010. Reinvention is a collaborative effort to review and revise CCC programs and practices to ensure students leave CCC college-ready, career-ready and prepared to pursue their life’s goals.

CCC includes seven colleges: Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College. The system also oversees: the Washburne Trade School, the French Pastry School, two restaurants, five Child Development Centers, the Center for Distance Learning, the Workforce Institute, the public broadcast station WYCC-TV Channel 20 and radio station WKKC-FM 89.3FM. For more information about City Colleges of Chicago, call: (773) COLLEGE or visit www.reinventingccc.org.

Charlie’s Angels reloaded: Stewart Family host holiday fund-raising concert to honor late father and benefit children in need

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — This year, the title Charlie’s Angels will use an old idea and give it a new twist. Charlie’s Angels will use their “powers” to aid children in need instead of fighting crime.

On Saturday, December 1, 2012, Charlie’s Angels, a unique family with gifts ranging from singing, acting, praise dancing, rapping and producing will yield their talents to giving back. The family will host a concert at the New Antioch Church of God in Christ. Pastor Jeffrey Martin Lewis is the Pastor, and the Church is located at 7826 South Vermont Avenue Los Angles, California.

Charlie’s Angels are the children and grandchildren of the late Charlie Stewart Jr., who passed away in 2001. In honor of Charlie, the family is performing a concert to raise funds that will benefit the HERITAGE HOUSE GROUP HOME, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991. Heritage House Group Home houses teens ages 13-18, that have experienced abandonment, those that are rebellious, have been sexually abused/assaulted, parent neglect and the list goes on.

Charlie, originally from Texas, dropped out of school when he was 13 years old to help his mother care for his 9 siblings. Charlie and wife, Mrs. Jessie Stewart, married at the tender ages of 20 and 16, respectively. Shortly after, Mrs. Stewart gave birth to their first child, Evelyn, and the family relocated to California a year after her birth. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart went on to have 8 more children. Charlie worked at Ellay Rubber Company as a Millman for 33 years, he raised and cared for his nine children and ensured they lacked nothing.

Charlie’s Angels says their father taught them even with limited resources, they can always find a way to give and inspire others to do the same. They comment, “He always told us that little becomes much when it’s placed in the hands of someone who has nothing. Our goal for this concert is to not only honor the legacy of our dad, but show the children at the Heritage House Group Home, that we care. Maria Serratos, the Program Administrator at the Heritage House Group Home says the children are excited about the concert. The funds raised will provide food and clothing and we want to ensure all of the children at the Heritage House Group Home have a blessed Holiday Season.”

Performing at the concert are Cynthia Simons, Keith Stewart, Dana Necole Brown, Mother Jessie Stewart, Maurice Chavis and other family members.

For more information, please contact Evelyn Stewart at 770-827-6906


Chicago Trolley kicks off the holiday season with a month-long food drive

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago Trolley Food Drive Offers $5 Off Explore Chicago Ticket With Non-Perishable Food Item

Drive for holiday cheer with Chicago Trolley this November by filling an entire trolley with food

CHICAGO, IL—Chicago Trolley Co. is kicking off the holiday season with a month-long food drive this November. Patrons are invited to bring a non-perishable food item to the Millennium Park Chicago Trolley kiosk (Randolph St, at Chase Promenade) for $5 off the regular price of an Explore Chicago ticket to Chicago Trolley’s Signature Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour. Chicago Trolley’s goal is to fill an entire trolley with food items to be dropped off to the Pro Labore Dei Mission on Saturday, Dec. 1. Now is the time to take advantage of Chicago’s best tour, while simultaneously bringing families holiday cheer!The Signature Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour covers 13 miles with 14 stops, giving patrons the option of visiting Chicago’s hottest retail, cultural and family attractions. Among the stops on the Signature Tour are Skydeck Chicago, the famed museum campus (Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium), the historic Chicago Theater, Millennium Park, Water Tower Place, The Art Institute, Navy Pier and the John Hancock Observatory. The full downtown tour is approximately two hours riding time, with all day access to hop on and off. Tours operate daily with vehicles departing the designated stops every 25-30 minutes beginning at 9 a.m. year round. The last boarding call is 4 p.m. daily during the winter months. There are no tours Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Explore Chicago Tickets are $35 for adults; $25 for seniors (65+) and $17 for children 12 and under (children under 3 ride free). Chicago Trolley will be accepting non-perishable food items through Nov. 30 and is offering a $5 ticket discount applicable to Explore Chicago tickets to every passenger who brings a food item. The drop off location and ticket discount is only available on site at the Millennium Park kiosk. For more information, visit www.chicagotrolley.com or call 773-648-5000.Pro Labore Dei was founded in 2003 by a Nigerian nun, Sister Stella, and a married couple from Palos who wanted to feed the poor and homeless with the little that they had. Today, more than 200 lunches are served every Saturday in Robbins, IL (3323 W. 137th St.) and under lower Wacker Dr. in Chicago. Dinner is also served every other Sunday at a men’s transient hotel located in the south loop on Clark Street.Holiday Lights Tours Begin Nov. 23

The Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour is a lightly narrated 2-hour tour showcasing the best of Chicago’s holiday lights and sights. Passengers will ride a festive Trolley, decked out in tune with the season, and have time to hop off at both the Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo and the Christkindlmarket, a traditional German American Holiday Market with distinctive crafts, artistic glass ornaments, delicious sweets and holiday food and drinks. The Holiday Lights Tours will run Fridays – Sundays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 23, 2012, and daily Dec. 26 – 31, with three departure times at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The tour departs from The John Hancock Building. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online at www.chicagotrolley.com.


Ebony Magazine reveals 2012 Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential African Americans

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The isssue hits newstands week of November 5, 2012. Ebony also celebrated the Power 100 with a NYC Gala at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall November 2


With its Dec./Jan. issue—hitting newsstands the week of November 5—EBONY magazine reveals its 2012 Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential African Americans. The annual Power 100 is a broad-range listing of politicians and athletes, entertainers and CEOs, authors and digerati. Top players in the worlds of religion, business, media, the creative arts and more are celebrated based on their impactful ideas and influence. “In this issue, EBONY selects the 100 primary influencers and game changers who have made vital accomplishments during the past year,” say the magazine’s editors.


In celebration, the first annual EBONY Power 100 Gala was held at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall on November 2. The invitation-only event featured special performances by Grammy-winning hip-hop band The Roots, classical violinist Brendon Elliott, the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, the Black Monks of Mississippi and selected cast from the Broadway musical Fela!

EBONY Power 100 Gala sponsors include Nationwide Insurance, Chevrolet, Georgia-Pacific, Loop Capital, Hennessy and United Airlines, official airline partner of the EBONY Power 100.

Sec’y of State Jesse White’s Organ and Tissue Donor Public Awareness Campaign wins top awards

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White won a pair of top awards for his office’s organ and tissue donor public awareness campaign.

White’s organ and tissue donor program was recognized during the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) Region III Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.  The two honors were Public Affairs and Consumer Education (PACE) awards for top marketing campaigns.

“I’m honored that our efforts in Illinois have been recognized with these awards,” said White. “The real winners are the people who benefit from this important program.  Illinois has one of the largest organ and tissue donor registries in the nation, which is due to the generosity of Illinoisans as well as the state’s commitment to public awareness and education.”

The first award spotlights a feature story written by a Secretary of State Organ/Tissue Donor staff member for the 2011 Spring Life Goes On Newsletter called “Where Are They Now.”  The story was about a small boy whose father was waiting for a liver transplant.  Joseph Kralicek was the first organ/tissue donor poster contest winner back in 1991. His poster was selected to be printed and displayed at all of the driver’s services facilities, as well as libraries, schools and hospitals in Illinois.  In 2011, staff member Margaret Pearson followed up with Joseph and discovered that his father did in fact receive a transplant 20 years ago and is alive and well.  The office was awarded for showing the personal side to organ and tissue donation and how, years later, transplants remain successful.

The second award features the 10″x15” counter mats that were placed in driver’s license facilities statewide at each transaction counter. The mats highlight the donor portion of a person’s drivers’ license indicating their wish to be a donor. The purpose is to catch the attention of each customer approaching the facility’s counters for any transaction.  This mat is designed as a “last stop” reminder about the importance of organ/tissue donation and gives the customer one more opportunity to join the registry. 

Currently more than 5.1 million people are registered with the organ/tissue donor program.  To register, visit www.LifeGoesOn.com.

Eleven districts selected for School Technology Revolving Loan Program

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

ISBE names local districts to benefit from low-interest loans to boost technology in schools; additional funds available


SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education today announced the selection of the first 11 school districts from across Illinois to receive more than $1.2 million from the School Technology Revolving Loan Program. The low-interest loans allow schools to use technology for classroom instruction and staff development.

“With today’s economic challenges, the State Board of Education is grateful to be able to offer these low-interest loans to school districts,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Funds for technology in schools are especially important for students to succeed in today’s world. Our educators need the best tools available to help prepare students for college and careers.”

The districts receiving the loans and the amounts, which total $1,233,800, are:

Scott-Morgan Community Unit School District 2 in Bluffs $35,500
Waterloo Community Unit School District 5 in Waterloo $158,350
Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 in Woodstock $250,000
Fieldcrest Community Unit School District 6 in Minonk $81,850
Forrestville Valley School District 221 in Forreston $64,300
Griggsville-Perry Community Unit School District 4 in Griggsville $40,300
Meredosia-Chambersburg Community Unit School District 11 in Meredosia $36,700
Sycamore Community Unit School District 427 in Sycamore $211,150
East Alton-Wood River Community High School District 14 in Wood River $113,800
Taylorville Community Unit School District 3 in Taylorville $152,350
DuQuoin Community Unit School District 300 in DuQuoin $89,500

“This funding is vital for our district to meet the needs of our students in an ever changing technological environment, as well as to support instructional initiatives such as the Common Core Standards,” said Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski.

The school district in Woodstock, which is about 40 miles east of Rockford, plans to use the funds to upgrade networks and purchase new computers and related technologies for the 9-12 schools in the district. With the help of these funds, the district hopes to take greater advantage of wireless connectivity through the use of notebooks, tablets and other handheld devices.

Additional School Technology Revolving Loan Program funds are available this fiscal year for eligible districts serving 9th through 12th grades. (The program alternates between grades 9-12 and K-8 each year.) The deadline to apply is Dec. 1. For more information, including a fiscal year 2013 loan application, visit http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/elearning/html/revolving_loan.htm.   

The School Technology Revolving Loan Program is a 3-year loan with a 2 percent interest rate. Districts repay the loan in six payments (due two times a year). Districts that meet criteria set in law are selected on a first-come, first-serve basis contingent upon the balance of the fund, which fluctuates based on repayment schedules. A formula dictates the maximum amount districts can receive based on enrollment. Some districts request less.

The loans can be used for a variety of technology investments, including:

·         Equipment and wiring for installing and upgrading local- and wide-area networks and for network hardware.

·         Supplies and labor costs for electrical work directly related to technology.

·         Computer hardware used for classroom instruction and/or staff development.

·         Other technology hardware investments that directly relate to staff development and classroom instruction.

·         Staff development directly related to the integration of technology into the learning environment.

·         Computer furniture (not to exceed 10 percent of the loan).

Since the inception of the program in fiscal year 1999, more than $75 million (535 loans) has been loaned to qualified or approved school districts. Loan applications are received from June 1 to Dec. 1 every year.

The Lira Ensemble to hold Holiday Concerts in Michigan & Illinois

Posted by Admin On November - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The Lira Ensemble, known for its excellent performances of Polish music, song and dance, offers two concerts this Christmas season, titled “Polish Carols, Song & Dance” featuring the Lira Singers, Lira Dancers and Lira Symphony:


Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 3pm

at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in suburban Detroit

44575 Garfield Road in Clinton Township, Michigan




Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 3pm

the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in suburban Chicago

9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois


This Christmas concert is also a celebration of Polish and Polish-American culture. The Lira Singers, Dancers, and Symphony will perform some of the most beloved and most popular Polish holiday music. This concert offers the rare opportunity to hear Polish carols in arrangement for symphony orchestra. The Lira Ensemble will also perform works by Polish master composers such as Frederic Chopin, Stanislaw Moniuszko and Witold Lutoslawski, one of the most respected Polish composers of the 20th century. The concert includes folk song and dance from various regions of Poland in colorful, authentic folk costumes. Some American carols and folk songs complete the program.


The Chicago Tribune is among the many metropolitan newspapers that have given high praise to the Lira company. The Tribune wrote: “Chicago’s Lira Ensemble…gorgeous music and sharply choreographed folk dance.”


The concerts feature 13-year-old Daniel Szefer – a piano prodigy who will perform music of Frederic Chopin including the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante. Earlier this year, this young Polish-American was the youngest finalist in one of the most challenging youth piano competitions in the United States – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions. Daniel played Beethoven’s Concerto Nr. 5 and placed second (1st Alternate). Despite his young age, he has already performed around the US.

Both concerts will be conducted by Lira resident conductor Mina Zikri who was born in Cairo, Egypt and came to the United States in 1999. In addition to his duties with Lira, he is a guest conductor for the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt and is founder and music director of the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Zikri, who is also a violinist, has performed with the Lira Symphony for the past 5 years and has been a member of Daniel Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan orchestra since 1999.


As with all Lira performances, the concerts will be narrated in English by Lucyna Migala of WCEV/1450am, who is artistic director and general manager of the Lira Ensemble. Ms. Migala will share some Polish holiday traditions and will offer a bit of the history and tradition behind the music and dance performed.


The Lira company is artist-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago and is the nation’s only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance. The mission of the company is to bring the best of Polish culture into American life.


Both concerts are co-sponsored by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and by the Lira Society-Group 816 of the Polish Women’s Alliance of America. The Skokie concert is funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council – a state agency. The work of the Lira Ensemble also supported by grants from the Alphawood Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Dreihaus Foundation and the MAcArthur Foundation.


Both theaters open at 2:30pm for the concerts. Lira recordings will be available for purchase in the two lobbies.

Tickets for “Polish Carols, Song & Dance” are very reasonably priced so that families can attend – from $35 to $55, with discounts for groups of 20 or more and half price tickets for children under age 16 in all price ranges. All seats are reserved. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Lira Ensemble at 773-508-7040 or 1-800-547-5472.

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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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