February , 2019

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Website explains assessments, standards, and other key education initiatives for the 2015-16 school ...
Illinois Teacher of the Year to be named at annual banquet for top educators Oct. ...
Illinois Comptroller responds to Moody’s announcement   Springfield, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released the ...
SACRAMENTO, CA—Glenn Litton, 47, resident of Carson City, Nevada, was sentenced by United States District ...
New York, NY (BlackNews.com) -- Bravo Media's "Thicker Than Water" season two will premiere ...
Grants part of $42 million federally funded effort to increase number of high-quality charter schools ...

Archive for February 20th, 2013

AARP: Older African-Americans continue to face workforce obstacles

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, DC – Nearly four years after the official end of the Great Recession, African-American older workers continue to confront a difficult job picture across the country.

Federal unemployment statistics for January show that African-American workers between 45 and 74 had an unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, compared with 6.1 percent for whites of the same age. For African-American workers of all ages, the jobless rate for January was a whopping 13.8 percent, compared with an overall rate of 7.9 percent.

New AARP research shows that a large number of older African-Americans are anxious about continuing weaknesses in the economy and small businesses in which they are involved.

“For many years, older African-Americans have faced an extremely difficult job market,” said AARP Vice President for Multicultural Engagement Edna Kane-Williams in announcing the release of the research. “Others have confronted major problems as well, but the situation has been – and continues to be – especially acute for diverse communities.”

An AARP fact sheet, released in conjunction with Black History Month, summarizes preliminary data from a “Multicultural Work and Career Study” that will be released later this year. The overall survey included those ages 45-74 who were either employed or actively looking for work; it was conducted last November and December.

The strain among older African-Americans is apparent in the fact that a large number – 39 percent – said that it was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they will either lose their job or have to give up working for themselves in the next year.

Among those who said that they were likely to give up working for themselves, 15 percent said that “business is slow”, 12 percent cited the “weak economy” and 11 percent mentioned “my health”.

Reflecting anxiety on a separate question was the response from 25 percent of all African-Americans in the sample that they anticipated that they may need to take a leave from their job to “care for an adult family member in the next five years.” Nineteen percent said that they had already taken a leave to care for an older relative in the last five years.

AARP has a variety of programs and resources to support older workers. Most recently, AARP has begun offering a new way for experienced workers to advance themselves through Work Reimagined, a social network-based jobs program that connects employers seeking experienced workers with qualified professionals searching for new or more satisfying careers. The site (www.workreimagined.org) leverages the platform of the social media site, LinkedIn.

Work Reimagined offers job listings independent of LinkedIn, as well as articles, columns, tips and tools to help people navigate today’s workplace.

AARP has also developed an alliance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer resources and advice to encourage older entrepreneurs. Last October, AARP and SBA collaborated to host a National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day in several cities around the country.

To see a summary of the preliminary data from the “Multicultural Work and Career Study,” visit www.aarp.org/stayingaheadofthecurve2013

An appeal to perpetrators of crime: I’ve taught sound spiritual judgment through the Probation Challenge Program!

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


To the many ex-offenders that listened to what was declared sound judgment as clients of the Probation Challenge Program, again I appeal to your mentalities and others: Stop the insanities in the community! There is a solution! – Rev. Harold E. Bailey


By Rev. Harold E. Bailey


Since 1979, working out of the courtroom of Justice R. Eugene Pincham at 26th & California, I labored diligently with the probationers who were assigned to that court. The late Mayor Harold Washington noted my successful struggle with the program and had his office staff to contact me. The mayor suggested that I consider moving the program to Olive-Harvey College campus, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., so that I could broaden my efforts in working with youth… I agreed.

On the Olive-Harvey College campus, our training and programs transformed thousands of youth and renewed their minds through the vehicle of education. God’s work was perfected in many great ways, and the community was spared as to the havoc these many youth could have inflicted upon them.

Probation Challenge had a plan and that plan worked quite well – despite the objections of those who then sat in positions of authority at City Colleges of Chicago.

We were never wanted nor appreciated while housed on Olive Harvey College campus, and as one administrator stated, ‘Those people are beneath the dignity of the campus.’ However, by the grace of God, our work spoke for itself – loud and clear! Probation Challenge was applauded around the world, and we got rave reviews through print media, radio and television.

To the many ex-offenders that listened to what was then declared in that school as sound judgment, today I appeal to your mentalities and others : Stop the insanities in the community! And if it’s not  you, you are perhaps acquainted with who the true perpetrators are! Talk to the killers, shooters and others who are a manic to society. Talk to your peers just as I’ve ministered to you. You have a peer group and they will listen to you before adhering to my voice…I’m no longer in a place to be heard and the enemy well knows of my absence from you!

Listen-up! Pass the word on: Stop the Killing and Violence Now! Avoid the pitfalls that are designed with you in mind. Downstate is waiting as their bowels of jails and prisons are willing to swell to accommodate violators of the law. Wise up Now…before it’s too late!

You remember when the powers-that-be said that Probation Challenge students would not listen, nor would they turn from the errors of their ways – but they did! This was an embarrassment to those who sought their termination from society and the program. Remember when these same societal rejects went on to colleges and universities and received in many cases grants and scholarships? They never returned back into the criminal justice system.

Our formula: A large dose of prescribed book educational learning with a much larger dose of day-to-day applicable common sense. The program’s clients agreed with the Probation Challenge mythology, and their hearts received the seeds planted.


A Viable Solution: The Illinois Probation Challenge Act 


The Probation Challenge Act, as set-forth via the Illinois State Statue, indicated that if a student missed one day of class they could go to jail for seven days. After the fourth miss, the client could go to jail. Most clients never had to go to jail for not cracking the books and going on to greater learning. Education is not a key – it is The Key!

The Probation Challenge Act was undergirded by the late Mayor Harold Washington, State Senator Howard Brookins, Sr., Carol Moseley Braun, Justice R. Eugene Pincham, the then Black Caucus and the Rev. Harold E. Bailey who created the program and its ideology.


Rev. Harold E. Bailey is Founder and President of Probation Challenge, The PCC Internet Broadcast Network…WWW.Probationchallenge.org, ‘The Truth Network’

EXPO CHICAGO joins forces with Chicago’s Premier Cultural Institutions for EXPO Art Week

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


EXPO CHICAGO, Choose Chicago and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Collaborate to Highlight Unique Programming and Special Events, Sept. 16 – 22, 2013


CHICAGO, IL — EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, in conjunction with Choose Chicago and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), announces EXPO ART WEEK Sept. 16 – 22, 2013.
With EXPO CHICAGO (Sept. 19 – 22) as the centerpiece, the exposition will join together with the city’s most prestigious cultural institutions to highlight the unique programming and special events offered throughout Chicago. The citywide celebration of arts and culture will include museum exhibitions; gallery openings; installations; public art projects; music; theater and dance performances and special dining experiences for residents and visiting international cultural tourists.
“The inaugural EXPO CHICAGO was an extraordinary step forward for both the exposition and our city,” said EXPO CHICAGO President and Director Tony Karman. “We envision that the joint partnership with our city’s leading cultural and entertainment institutions aligned with Choose Chicago and DCASE will further enhance our efforts to attract the world’s leading collectors, curators and art enthusiasts to visit our city and attend EXPO CHICAGO.”
“DCASE is thrilled to be a part of a week of activity that brings our city’s greatest cultural institutions together to showcase the abundance of art and culture that Chicago has to offer,” said Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Michelle T. Boone. “EXPO CHICAGO is an important asset to the cultural fabric of our city. With the broader experience of EXPO ART WEEK, residents of Chicago as well as visitors from around the world can take advantage of the incredible talent and artistry on display.”
Launching the international fall arts season, the city’s visual, performing and culinary arts will work in tandem to exhibit the diverse and dynamic culture that Chicago has to offer. EXPO CHICAGO aims to work closely with both cultural and civic organizations and will continue to establish partnerships and build key relationships with the city’s leading institutions in order to maximize the rich and vibrant culture on display during EXPO ART WEEK.
“Choose Chicago is proud to promote EXPO ART WEEK to national and international visitors and encourage them to experience EXPO CHICAGO and all the great events that are taking place at that time,” said Choose Chicago Vice President, Cultural Tourism & Neighborhoods Melissa Cherry.
Several highlighted art exhibitions occurring during EXPO ART WEEK include “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” and “Zarina: Paper Like Skin” at the Art Institute of Chicago and “Theaster Gates: 13th Ballad” and Paul Sietsema at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Other art and museum partners to date, offering special viewings and ticketing options include: ACRE Residency, Chicago Architectural Foundation, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Hyde Park Art Center, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and threewalls.
Gallery Weekend Chicago will once again work in tandem with EXPO CHICAGO to highlight the city’s premier contemporary art galleries with viewings of new exhibitions and artist talks at Chicago’s top galleries. After a week’s worth of special events, EXPO ART WEEK will have its grand finale with a VIP reception at Wright Auction House, presented in conjunction with Choose Chicago, EXPO CHICAGO and Gallery Weekend Chicago.  For more information visit www.gallerweekendchicago.com.
Performance partners to date, offering both VIP and public programming include: Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Goodman Theatre, Harris Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Lookingglass Theatre, Lyric Opera, Blue Man Group, River North Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre and The World Music Festival.
Participating restaurants to date that will reserve seating and offer special menus and signature cocktails during EXPO ART WEEK include: David Burke’s Primehouse, Embeya, Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, Longman & Eagle, mk, NoMi, Pump Room, Sepia and Spiaggia to name a few. EXPO CHICAGO will also work closely with the Illinois Restaurant Association and Chicago Gourmet to further organize restaurant and culinary partners.
For discounted airfare and hotel accommodations, travel arrangements can be made through Turon Travel, an agency dedicated to creating an expedient and fully accessible travel network for the global arts community. Guests may stay at any of EXPO CHICAGO’s partner hotels including the James Hotel Chicago, PUBLIC Chicago, the Park Hyatt and the W Lakeshore. Shuttles will be available during EXPO CHICAGO (Sept. 19 – 22) to transport attendees from Navy Pier around the city to enjoy events, tours and lectures at the partnering arts organizations and institutions in partnership with “Chicago Gallery News.”
Northern Trust, presenting sponsor of EXPO CHICAGO/2013, will also work within EXPO ART WEEK to help establish the longevity of this event, making it a destination for their global clientele and the international art world.

“Our role as presenting sponsor for EXPO CHICAGO/2013 is a wonderful opportunity to support the arts in Chicago, our global headquarters,” said Executive Vice President of Wealth Management at Northern Trust Steve “Mac” MacLellan. “EXPO CHICAGO is building a world-class cultural event in Chicago and we’re excited to be a part of this effort.”

“EXPO CHICAGO is a great tradition for our city and provides an opportunity for Chicagoans to celebrate visual arts and culture on a grand, international scale,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “EXPO CHICAGO enriches Chicago’s neighborhoods through its off-site events and community partnerships, and drives economic opportunities and employment throughout the city. For years to come, EXPO CHICAGO will attract artists, dealers, collectors and curators from around the world to Chicago to enjoy our robust, diverse and dynamic arts experience.

Art Expositions, LLC presents EXPO CHICAGO/2013, The International Exposition of Contemporary/Modern Art, at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall at 600 E. Grand Avenue, Sept. 19 – 22. This four-day art event features over 120 leading international galleries and offers a curated blend of contemporary/modern art and design. The complete EXPO CHICAGO schedule is as follows. For more information, visit www.expochicago.com.  
Opening Preview: Thursday, Sept. 19, noon – 6 p.m
Vernissage benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago: Thursday, Sept. 19, 6 – 9 p.m.
General Admission:
Friday, Sept. 20, noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21, noon – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 22, noon – 6 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 16 – Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013
For more information visit www.expoartweek.com.
About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois whose mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the City, the community and membership. Choose Chicago is a private, nonprofit organization that is responsible for marketing the greater Chicago area and is contracted by the City of Chicago and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority to act as the official sales and marketing agency for McCormick Place and Chicago.

About Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to promoting and supporting Chicago’s arts and culture sector. This includes, but is not limited to: fostering the development of Chicago’s nonprofit arts sector, independent working artists, and for-profit arts businesses; presenting high-quality, free or low-fee cultural programs accessible to residents and visitors; and marketing the City’s cultural assets to local, regional, and global audiences. DCASE produces nearly 2,000 public programs, events and support services annually, generating millions in economic benefits for the City of Chicago.

New company, Black Business Apps, helps Black entrepreneurs capitalize on mobile revolution

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Founded by author, speaker and television personality Fran Harris, the company specializes in the development of highly functional mobile applications for small businesses and professional service-oriented entrepreneurs
Austin, TX (BlackNews.com) — Black Business Apps is helping black entrepreneurs and businesses capitalize on the mobile revolution. The company specializes in highly functional mobile applications for small businesses and professional service-oriented entrepreneurs.

During February, Black History Month, to commemorate the genius and innovation of black entrepreneurs, BBA is promoting a “Success Runs In Our Race” Special on all apps ordered by midnight on February 28, 2013. “This deal is like a glass of southern iced tea – and we all know how sweet that is,” laughed founder & CEO, Fran Harris, who also co-founded the highly successful Black Millionaires Summit in 2008 featuring Russell Simmons.

“There are two business trends that we simply can’t afford to ignore,” said Harris. “Local and mobile.” By 2015 the mobile marketing industry is expected to eclipse the $38 billion mark. Research shows that black entrepreneurs tend to lead in the consumption but not in the development of technology. Harris’ company aims to change that.

“In 2013 there’s no good reason for us to be behind the 8-ball when it comes to growing our companies through the power of the Internet and mobile,” said Harris. “But if finances have kept start-ups, mom & pops or other companies from taking the mobile plunge, my company plans to eliminate the tech barrier for those who are truly serious about their brand’s success.”

Black Business Apps develops Android, iPhone and iPad apps for small businesses and professional services such as restaurants, doctors, chefs, dentists, authors, speakers, bands, lawyers, rappers, churches, non-profits and entertainers. “While we can certainly develop applications on the scale of mega-apps like Angry Birds or Evernote, most companies don’t need a $500,000 app to grow their businesses,” said Harris. “But they do need to be in the mobile space because that’s where their customers live.” For more information, visit www.BlackBusinessApps.com.


Black Business Apps, a division of Fran Harris Enterprises, LLC, is a business & marketing services concierge company that specializes in online marketing, reputation management, mystery shopping and the development of mobile applications. CEO Fran Harris is an innovator, thought leader, author, speaker and television personality who’s been featured as a life and business coach on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business Channel, Oprah & Friends, The Tavis Smiley Show and ESPN’s Longhorn Network.

Photo Caption: A snapshot of Fran Harris, founder and CEO of Black Business Apps, being featured in her self-developed app.

Record number of Illinois graduates take AP Exams and post successful scores

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Low-income and minority performance continues to show significant gains, moving Illinois closer to AP equity and excellence among all students 


SPRINGFIELD, IL –The number of Illinois graduates who take AP exams during high school has more than doubled in the last decade, with low-income and minority students continuing to make record gains toward closing the achievement gap on these rigorous tests. In 2012, more than 26,400 graduates scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam, with 17.6 percent of these students coming from low-income backgrounds, according to the 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation.

“The AP program complements our state’s focus on college and career readiness by giving students the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school and acquire the knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in challenging postsecondary course work,” said State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch. “Increased participation and significant achievement gains by students of all backgrounds show that our efforts are paying off.”

AP exams measure a student’s content mastery of college-level studies in specific academic disciplines. A total of 40,653 graduates took at least one AP exam during high school in 2012 compared to 18,833 in 2002.

Illinois ranks 16th in the nation for the percentage of 2012 graduates – 19.9 percent – who scored at least a 3 on an AP exam during their high school career. The national average is 19.5 percent. Additionally, the percentage of Illinois graduates who reached that benchmark grew by 8.2 percentage points from 11.7 percent in 2002, putting Illinois among the top 20 states that had a larger percentage point change over time than the national average. The College Board and the American Council on Education (ACE) recommend that colleges and universities award credit for AP scores of 3 and higher on any AP exam.

 Low-income students post big gains

 Illinois’ traditionally underserved public high school graduates also continued to make strides in achieving equity on AP exams. Low-income students comprised 28.9 percent of graduates who took an AP exam during high school in 2012 compared to only 17.6 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, the number of low-income graduates scoring a 3 or higher nearly tripled from 1,719 or 9.1 percent in 2007 to 4,645 or 17.6 percent in 2012. Research shows that minority and low-income students who earn at least a 3 on an AP exam are more likely than their peers to earn higher degrees in college and a college degree within five years of enrolling.

Other highlights regarding the state’s progress toward achieving equity and excellence for its students include: 

·         Illinois continues to close the equity gap among Hispanic/Latino students with these students comprising 15.6 percent of graduates in 2012 and 18.3 percent of AP exam takers. In five years, the number of Hispanic/Latino graduates who took an AP exam during high school more than doubled from 3,271 in 2007 to 7,441 in 2012. Hispanic/Latino graduates also accounted for nearly 15 percent of exam takers scoring a 3 or higher in 2012, compared to 13.1 percent in 2011 and 9.4 percent in 2007.

·         Black/African-American students comprised 12.4 percent of graduates who took at least one AP exam in 2012 compared to 10.2 percent in 2007. The number of these students who scored a 3 or higher doubled from 601 in 2007 to 1,202 in 2012.

Illinois school districts are currently implementing the internationally-benchmarked Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics, which were adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in 2010 and emphasize college and career readiness. ISBE recently raised the performance levels of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for elementary and middle school students to align with the more rigorous Common Core standards. The new performance levels will also pave the way for the higher expectations of a new assessment system, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment, which is scheduled to debut in 2014-2015.  

Other highlights of the 9th annual AP Report to the Nation include:

·         History and social sciences had the greatest number of graduates scoring a 3 or higher.

·         The ten most popular AP exams taken by the class of 2012 are U.S. history, English language and composition, English literature and composition, Psychology, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, Spanish language, statistics and chemistry.

Illinois Public Schools – Advanced Placement Participation by District: High School Class of 2012 – http://www.isbe.net/news/2013/pdf/ap-participation.pdf  

Illinois Public Schools – Advanced Placement Performance by District: High School Class of 2012 – http://www.isbe.net/news/2013/pdf/ap-success.pdf

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.


‘Kunta Kinteh Island’, an Elvin Ross Documentary, debuts in New Orleans with praise, support from Director Tyler Perry, NUL CEO Marc Morial, Actor Ben Vereen, other VIPS

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Multi-city launch of impactful African history film tour arrives in NOLA with multiple events

New Orleans, LA (BlackNews.com) — New Orleans will host screenings of a new documentary film, “Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles” on February 25th and 26th. The film honors the celebrated captive African, Kunta Kinteh, who gained worldwide recognition in the 1977 ABC television series “Roots”. The insightful documentary has the support of many prominent African Americans, including writer, director and actor Tyler Perry, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, and many other entertainment, civic and spiritual leaders. The film is also being widely supported by academia with planned tour stops at influential institutions including Harvard University, Morehouse College, Wayne State University, Northeastern University and St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.

“I felt the heart and emotion of our rich history in this brilliantly made and powerful documentary, Kunta Kinteh Island,” said Tyler Perry, owner of Tyler Perry Studios. “I am very proud of my long time friend and composer for recognizing the importance of retelling this story to this generation. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

Produced by Elvin Ross Studios, the film was made to educate a new generation of Americans about the legendary Mandinka Warrior Kunta, and as a philanthropic effort to raise funds for the Albreda Jeffereh Primary School in Kinteh’s impoverished Gambian village. The documentary traces the life of Kunta Kinteh; his journey to America; his brutal enslavement; his triumphant survival through harrowing circumstances; focuses on his lasting family legacy through profiles of his relatives in the village of Juffereh, Gambia, West Africa today; and shares his recent symbolic return to the point of his captivity – James Island in Gambia – which was formally renamed Kunta Kinteh Island on February 6, 2011.

“Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles, is a powerful intersection of African and American history,” shared Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “Elvin Ross, in his directorial debut, shines a light on this fascinating story that celebrates the strength and spirit of the Gambian people, and introduces this important part of history to a new generation.”

Special guests are featured throughout the epic documentary including the noted actor Ben Vereen, who played the beloved character ‘Chicken George’ in “Roots”; singer Jermaine Jackson of music’s Jackson Family; His Excellency Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia; and members of the Kinteh family who still reside in Kunta Kinteh’s tribal village in Gambia to this day.

“This documentary is a needed and significant reminder of the African Holocaust,” said popular actor Ben Vereen who plays an acting part in the documentary as its narrator and who also offers interview commentary in the film.

Elvin Ross made the film as a labor of love, after years of offering varied support to the Kinteh family and uncovering a unique perspective they had of their famed ancestor, Kunta. Ross felt a deep sense of urgency to complete the dynamic picture of Kinteh that the vast majority of the world was not privy to see.

“The fact that generations of Americans have not heard this story at all or have only heard a small portion of it through the Roots series, meant there was a historical void that I felt compelled to fill in making this film,” said Ross, director, executive producer and composer of Kunta Kinteh Island. “I also wanted the Kinteh family’s generosity in sharing Kunta’s life with me to benefit the condition of their lives and further his legacy”.

The Kunta Kinteh Island educational film tour will visit multiple cities across the U.S. and consists of three primary types of philanthropic events in each city: a red carpet screening of the documentary, an educational event, or a faith-based gathering. The New Orleans event consists of three screenings – one at Layola University on Monday, February 25th at 7PM; one at the St, Augustine Senior High School at 10AM on the 26th; and the final screening will be a black tie, red carpet affair at the Audubon Tea Room at 7PM on Tuesday, February 26th. The events in each city will feature celebrity and VIP guests, and offer a first opportunity to view the film and to lend financial support to the Elvin Ross Foundation. The Foundation will provide general funding, books and solar laptops to the primary school in Kunta Kinteh’s village in Gambia. Select cities will also host black tie galas or thoughtful panel discussions on the documentary, to raise additional funds for the Gambian school. Visit www.elvinross.com for details of the New Orleans events and VIP attendees.

About Elvin Ross Studios
Elvin Ross Studios is a production company that composes music for television and film, and produces documentary and feature films. Elvin Ross has enjoyed a more than 15-year career providing music for numerous Tyler Perry stage, television and film projects. Kunta Kinteh Island marks Ross’ directorial debut and is the first of many film projects to come from Elvin Ross Studios. Elvin Ross is also a writer and teacher and is working on an academic curriculum companion to the Kunta Kinteh Island documentary, for secondary school and university students.


How “Obamacare” is impacting low income people in LA and New Mexico

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Health Care Changes Coming – Most People Don’t Know

Health Care Changes Coming - Most People Don't Know

New America Media

By Marisa Demarco

ALBUQUERQUE — In some New Mexico communities, folks have never heard of “ObamaCare.” They don’t know that the Affordable Care Act will take effect in 2014, and that they, too, may be eligible for free health services. “I’m amazed,” says Kelsey Heilman of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “When you’re talking to regular people on the street—particularly low-income people and particularly in communities of color—people just don’t know that anything is changing.” 

Depending on the statistic you’re looking at, New Mexico has somewhere between the fourth- and second-highest rate of uninsured residents, she says. More than 400,000 folks in this stretch of desert lack access to health care. That’s about to change in a big way.

New Mexico is a large state, area-wise, and aside from a couple of metropolitan corridors, the population is spread far and wide. Not everyone has access to the Internet. Smaller towns might not have a local media source. These factors contribute to an information void in some parts of the state, even about basics like medical help.

But that’s not the only struggle. “Part of the problem is the coverage of the Affordable Care Act has been so politicized,” Heilman says. “It’s been so hard to tell people: ‘This is what’s happening if you don’t have insurance. And this is what’s happening if you do have insurance.’ That’s the kind of info people want now.”

The Basics

Early this year, New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez announced the state would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The move, though unexpected from a conservative governor, will allow Medicaid to cover 170,000 more people in the state.

If you make about $15,000 per year (about equal to a full-time minimum-wage job) and you’re single, or if your family of four takes in $32,000 per year, you’ll be covered by Medicaid. No premiums, no cost sharing.

If you make more than that and don’t have benefits from your job, you’ll check out the state’s health insurance exchange. You’ll log onto the official online marketplace—not unlike Travelocity—and look for the best deal. Depending on your income level, you will pay part of the premium, and the federal government will pay the rest.

There is a fine for people who don’t sign up for anything. It wouldn’t apply to that first group, folks earning minimum wage for themselves or their families. And it wouldn’t apply to Native Americans.

Everyone else would face an increasing penalty. In 2014, it would be $95 per uninsured person. In 2015, it would be $325. In 2016, it would be a steep $695. (Children count as half-people for the purposes of the fine.) The penalty kicks in if you go longer than three months without coverage, but it never costs more than the health insurance would.

Yes, there’s an individual mandate. But as Heilman notes, the good news is that health care will reach so many more Americans. “If you or someone in your household is uninsured, you are probably going to be able to get coverage. You, at the end of this year, are going to have access to a health insurance option.”

People can begin enrolling on Oct. 1.

2013-02-20-NewMexicoinfographic.jpg Better Living

Heilman has spent her time as a staff attorney with the Center on Law and Poverty working on health care issues, including access for immigrant families. Undocumented immigrants won’t be covered (or fined) by the Affordable Care Act.

But immigration status plays a role in why today 40,000 New Mexico children who are already eligible for Medicaid aren’t signed up. In Doña Ana County near the state’s border with Mexico, many children are in families with mixed immigration status. Though the kids may reside in the U.S. lawfully, the process of obtaining Medicaid is intimidating for undocumented parents.

Sometimes, says Heilman, the state doesn’t follow its own rules with respect to asking for Social Security numbers. “We continue to hear from families who’ve gone in to apply, are very clear that they’re only there for the children, and the office will insist that they need a parent’s Social Security number to process the application.” The parents will get scared and leave, she says, even though those requests aren’t lawful.

In other parts of New Mexico—the Four Corners area—the challenge is the rural nature of the state. “Getting access to insurance doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for you to access a health care provider in your community.”

Plus, the state has stopped doing outreach to enroll kids in Medicaid, she says. Instead, it’s when children go to the hospital in an emergency that they’re enrolled. “But we don’t want kids getting just sick care,” she says. “We want kids getting health care.”

New Mexico will have to work to inform its residents of the big change headed down the pike. “It’s really a whole new world,” Heilman says. “For so long, it’s been the case that whether or not you had money determined whether or not you could get health care in a real way. Almost everyone in New Mexico, 11 months from now, is going to have access to a coverage option.”

Marisa Demarco is a journalist in the desert and a co-founder of online news outlet the New Mexico Compass. This story was written as part of a series of press briefings with ethnic media that New America Media has been conducting in seven cities in the country this year. This project is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

National Veterans Art Museum announces two new board members

Posted by Newsroom On February - 20 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Museum Welcomes Julie Chavez with Bank of America and Phil Maughan, Formerly of Northern Trust Company


CHICAGO, IL – In early January, 2013, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) announced the appointment of two new board members: Julie Chavez, Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Bank of America, and Phil Maughan, formerly of Northern Trust Company. The NVAM’s Board of Directors, which is currently sized at eleven members, is chaired by consultant and artist Mike Helbing and vice-chaired by public affairs consultant Ron Gibbs.
It is the mission of the NVAM, as the nation’s only institution devoted to veteran art, to continue to collect, preserve and exhibit art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Toward that end, the NVAM recently launched the NVAM Collection Online, a searchable online database. The NVAM Collection Online features digital images and information about more than 1,200 pieces of art from the permanent collection. The NVAM opened the doors to its new location at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois in the Six Corners / Portage Park neighborhood.
“In a continuation of the NVAM’s growth and development, the Board is pleased to welcome two new board members: Julie Chavez and Phil Maughan. These dedicated leaders of the community and active supporters of Chicago arts are enthusiastic about forwarding the NVAM’s mission and bring a wealth of expertise from their exemplary careers,” said Levi Moore, Executive Director.Julie Chavez is Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Bank of America where she is responsible for managing a variety of programs in the areas of philanthropy, community and civic engagement, volunteerism, sponsorships, communications, and business development for the Chicago area.

During her career, she has served as executive director of the Continental Bank Foundation and various positions with the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Chavez earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from National Louis University in Chicago. Chavez is a board member of Metropolitan Family Services; board chair of the National Museum of Mexican Art and board member of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.  She is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.
Chavez is the recipient of several awards including Genesis Housing Development Corp., Chinese American Service League, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Community Leadership Award, the Spanish Coalition for Jobs Community Service Award, the 18th Street Development Corporation Community Builder of the Year Award and the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum’s Sor Juana Award, and the Little Village Development Corporation Champion of Change Award.
Phil Maughan is a Vietnam Veteran with a business background including Northern Trust Company and Sears, Roebuck and Co. Maughan was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC as the communications platoon leader for an Infantry Brigade and as the Signal Officer for the 7th Battalion 15th Field Artillery in Vietnam. His decorations include two Bronze Stars. Maughan received his BS from the University of Dayton and his MBA from Illinois State University; he is CPA certified.
Maughan is involved with such community organizations as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Financial Executives International and Parish Church. Maughan is currently a member of the Chicago Chapter Board of Directors, member of the National Budget and Finance Committee and of the National Pension and Investment Committee. He previously served as Chapter President, Chairman of National Membership Committee, member of the National Governance and Strategic Re-alignment Committee and more.
About the National Veterans Art Museum
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from an artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.
The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit www.nvam.org. 
Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at www.nvam.org/collection-online.

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