February , 2019

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Archive for March 21st, 2013

Proof-of-Citizenship Laws ‘Disenfranchise’ Asian Americans

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Proof-of-Citizenship Laws 'Disenfranchise' Asian Americans

New America Media

By Glenn D. Magpantay

After the 2012 elections, political leaders across the country recognized the Asian Pacific Islander community and its ability to influence local, state and national races. Yet in several states, legislatures have adopted laws that effectively disenfranchise members of these communities.

Arizona, Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgia – home to sizable and growing API and Latino communities — now require voters to present documentary proof of U.S. citizenship. At least twelve other states are considering passing similar laws.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, involving a suit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund challenging Arizona’s proof of citizenship law.

The law is, on its face, patently absurd. There have been almost no documented incidents of non-citizens voting in U.S. elections. All voter registration forms contain sufficient safeguards that prevent non-citizens from registering, including heavy fines and imprisonment. Non-citizens who simply complete a voter registration form are subject to deportation. Who would take such a risk?

For citizens, such laws make registration more onerous and segregate naturalized and native-born into two separate voter registration processes. While citizens born in the country are allowed to mail in copies of their birth certificates along with their voter registration applications, naturalized citizens must register in-person and bring their original naturalization certificates to the county registration offices.

Asian Americans are disproportionately affected by these laws. Almost 40 percent of Asian Americans in Arizona are foreign-born naturalized citizens, compared to only about 5 percent of white citizens in the state.

Make no mistake about it; these laws are intended to disenfranchise minority voters. States that have already adopted or are considering proof-of-citizenship laws, moreover, all have fast-growing Asian American populations that are outpacing the states’ total population growth rates.

They also have histories of explicit anti-Asian discrimination. During WWII Arizona, like California, interred its Japanese resident population. Kansas’ Alien Land Law, which banned Asian immigrants from inheriting property, was only repealed in 2002. Georgia’s recent anti-immigrant legislation bars many young people from attending college.

Given these histories, the motivation behind laws that limit voting can only be seen as suspect.

After the 2012 election, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) conducted a 14-state, multilingual Election Protection study. In it, 249 voters complained that they were inappropriately required to prove their U.S. citizenship before being allowed to vote. In Georgia alone, the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center discovered that 282 voter registration applications were not processed because additional proof of citizenship was required.

In the Arizona suit, AALDEF filed an amicus brief on behalf of 12 Asian American organizations that conduct voter registration drives in states with laws similar to Arizona’s or whose state legislatures are considering such laws. Naturalized citizens in these states will no longer be able to register at these drives, as a result of these laws.

Before Monday’s hearing Justices indicated that the National Voter Registration Act – adopted by Congress to eliminate state requirements that disenfranchise minority voters — may indeed trump Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law.

As a nation, we should be encouraging voter participation, not curtailing it. The U.S. Supreme Court should strike down Arizona’s proof of citizenship law and send a strong message that this new type of voter suppression has no place in our democracy.

Glenn D. Magpantay is Director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program. Founded in 1974, AALDEF is a national organization that works to protect and promote the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing.

Photo Caption: Staff and volunteers from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fundon on National Voter Registration Day 2012.

Collins supports moratorium on CPS closures

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins issued the following statement on legislation she co-sponsored to prevent Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from closing any school facilities until the end of the 2014-15 school year:

School closures destabilize children, families and communities. They should not be undertaken lightly. I continue to have deep concerns about closing a large number of schools and uprooting their students – particularly children with special needs, children experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable young people – without adequate time to prepare for safe and supportive transitions.

I am not convinced that schools labeled as “failing” have been offered the resources that could put them back on track or that consistent, well-publicized, district-wide criteria are being used to identify schools for closure. A moratorium on school actions will allow CPS to clarify these criteria and identify needs in each underperforming school. It will also allow CPS leadership to pay down the trust deficit that hinders its ability to focus on what should be its highest priority: educating every child. I look forward to seeing the master facilities plan CPS will present this year, and I urge a renewed commitment to community involvement, school-level improvement and thoughtful, measured action.

The moratorium legislation, Senate Bill 1571, received preliminary approval from the Senate Education Committee.

Attorney General Madigan: Bill requiring review of suspicious vulnerable adult deaths passes out of Committee

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Measure would require review of Suspicious At-Home Deaths of Elderly, Disabled Adults
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the House Human Services Committee voted out a bill to establish vulnerable adult fatality review teams to investigate suspicious at-home deaths of elderly or disabled Illinois residents.
“This legislation fills a critical gap in state law, requiring authorities to thoroughly investigate and determine the cause of suspicious at-home deaths of elderly or disabled individuals,” Madigan said. “The results will allow the state to make further changes to prevent similar tragedies and improve services for people who receive at-home care.”
House Bill 2643, which is sponsored by Rep. Robert Martwick and was crafted in conjunction with Madigan’s office, creates the “Vulnerable Adult Fatality Review Team Act,” requiring a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to thoroughly examine deaths of adults with physical or mental disabilities and elderly persons receiving care in private residences.
“We have a solemn duty to not only protect our most vulnerable citizens, but also to hold accountable those responsible for their well-being,” Martwick said. “Our elderly residents and adults with disabilities that live at home deserve the same attention as those in care facilities, and I am glad to partner with the Attorney General to help make that a reality.”
The bill calls for review teams to assess the at-home death of a physically or mentally disabled adult or an elderly person if:
  • the death is of a suspicious nature or involves blunt force trauma;
  • the deceased’s attending physician requests a review;
  • the case was referred by a health care provider; or
  • the adult was the subject of a case from a senior protective service agency, law enforcement agency or a State’s Attorney’s office involving suspected abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.
The legislation is modeled on the Child Death Review Team Act and the Abuse Prevention Review Team Act, which require the review of deaths and sexual assaults that occur in long-term care facilities, and is designed to require the investigation of instances of suspicious deaths that fall outside the purview of those statutes. There are currently no review teams assigned to evaluate the deaths of adults aged 18 to 59 with physical or mental disabilities living in private residences.
The measure calls for at least 13 review teams, one in each of the Illinois Department on Aging’s Planning and Service Areas. The Director of the Department on Aging would appoint members to review teams assigned throughout the state. The teams would bring together professionals from different disciplines to share their expertise, including physicians with expertise in dealing with abuse and neglect of adults, State’s Attorneys, law enforcement officers, representatives of social service agencies that serve adults with mental illness and developmental disabilities, coroners, and emergency medical services professionals. Review team leaders would serve on the Executive Council, which would coordinate the teams’ efforts. The bill requires review teams to report their findings to the appropriate authorities and the Executive Council.
The Attorney General’s legislation is part of an ongoing effort to increase protections for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents. Madigan launched “Operation Guardian” in 2010 to ensure the safety of nursing home residents in Illinois. Teams of state and local agencies conduct compliance checks at nursing home facilities to review safety concerns. The initiative grew out of and expands on the Attorney General’s previous work to shut down south suburban Emerald Park Nursing Home when it was found to be housing numerous sex offenders and other felons.
Madigan has also successfully worked to protect nursing home residents by requiring background checks and a criminal history analysis for residents to identify those who might pose a threat to others in the facilities. In addition, Madigan authored the Resident’s Right to Know Act that requires nursing homes to complete an annual report detailing the facility’s standard of care, service and security issues to provide better information to residents and their families.

Ribbon cutting ceremony held at Saint Sabina for safe and accessible playground

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday for the building of a safe and accessible playground at Saint Sabina where children will be able to play without fear of violence and under the watchful eye of Father Michael L. Pfleger.

Hundreds of volunteers including Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull descended on Saint Sabina to be a part of building the historic safe and accessible playground that will be a safe haven for children thanks to KaBoom, a national nonprofit organization, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and scores of volunteers from Northwestern University.

The diverse group of volunteers that included scores of physicians from AAOS, members and supporters of Saint Sabina, former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich, a colonel from Virginia who is stationed in Afghanistan worked feverishly throughout the day seemingly oblivious to the chilly weather. Their camaraderie quickly became infectious.

Thanking the volunteers and the students, Father Pfleger looked on with pride as the crew lifted poured cement, hammered and put together a colorful playground next door to the ARK of Saint Sabina which is another save haven for youth. That is where on September 22, 2012 Pfleger held the historic Peacemaker Basketball Tournament where four rival gangs laid down their guns and opted to shoot hoops for peace.

The ARK has been called “sacred ground” by Father Pfleger who continues to plant “seeds of peace” by offering street organization members a holistic transformation program that includes jobs, GED and City College education, counseling, providing them with suits and other social services.

But, Tuesday was a day for the children and a day of pride for the AAOS, which kicked off their annual meeting with their volunteering to build the playground. Besides the Chicago Bulls mascot, “Benny the Bull” showing up, so did the Saint Sabina Academy students who later held the ribbon AAOS officials cut.

While volunteers were assembling the playground parts outside, next door inside of the ARK of Saint, more volunteers and children were painting and assembling even more parts they would later bring outside for the crew to install. Accompanied by Father Pfleger, business icon John Rogers toured the Ark and marveled at the volunteers who were painting pits and pieces of the new playground.

Dr. Joshua Jacobs, first vice president of the AAOS and professor and chairman of the Orthopedic Surgery Rush Presbyterian Medical Center who cut the ribbon, said, “I’m elated. I am so happy that we can provide this for the Saint Sabina community.” Jacobs said AAOS has been building these playgrounds since 2000.

In cutting the ribbon, Jacobs said, “We are grateful to KaBoom who worked for us on designing and implementing this wonderful playground.” He thanked all of the volunteers including those who made financial contributions. “On behalf of the 37,000 orthopedic surgeons worldwide, it is my honor to help dedicate this safe and accessible playground today.”

Dr. Richard Schaefer is an orthopedic surgeon with the AAOS and is a colonel in the Army based in Virginia. The 28-year veteran said he was pleased to be a part of building the playground. “It’s a privilege to be able to give something like this playground for children so deserving for them to play safely and also an accessible playground for handicapped children.”

Zorich, who is working at Saint Sabina, said, “This is exciting for me. It’s a chance to meet a bunch of people from different communities to build something for kids. It’s a great thing.”

Dr. Richard Ressman, an orthopedic (photo) surgeon, said, “I’ve been doing this for ten-years. It is great for the community. It brings people together and helps reduce some of the violence in the neighborhood by getting people together.”

A resident at Northwestern University, Dr. Joan Williams said, “This is a great opportunity.” “I think this community has done a lot to make it a safe place for their kids and give them alternative activities to do. Hopefully, this playground will just add to that.”

Dr. Michael Flippin, an orthopedic surgeon, carried huge plantar boxes. “I think this is an excellent opportunity to give back to the community. I’ve been blessed. I think it’s a great opportunity to help others and do things that will make a lasting impression.”

In practice for seven-years, Dr. Flippin, who did his residency at Howard University, attended medical school in San Diego, said the violence that has plagued Chicago “is sad” but that the playground “gives an opportunity to do something positive in the community and to give people a good, safe atmosphere.”

Ed Barker, volunteer, said the Saint Sabina playground is number 50 for him. “It’s fun. It brings community together.” Asked about the violence, he said, “It’s a shame. I grew up on the South Side. I see no reason for this. It tears apart communities unnecessarily.”

In practice for 22-years, Dr. Leon Benson, with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institution (IBJI), clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago and a member of the AAOS, said, “This is a way to give back to the community. In concert with the AAOS, I believe our role is not just treating injuries but also preventing them.”

Pfleger fed them well. Hel’s Kitchen provided the catering. Smoke filtered into the air from two barbecue pits where hamburgers and hot dogs were slowly cooking. A tent, provided by the IBJI was outside loaded with food and fruits, but down in the McMahon Hall, hundreds were lined up to get sandwiches, slaw, potato chips, beverages and numerous types of deserts.

Outside the Chicago Blues All Stars band had Benny the Bull and some volunteers gyrating their hips to some funky down home blues. Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th) appeared briefly to show her support.

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.

Topinka salutes female fire service leaders

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

15 honored as part of Women’s History Month 


CHICAGO, IL  – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka saluted 15 fire service leaders, including two of the state’s female Fire Chiefs, on Tuesday as part of her office’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

In presenting the leaders with personalized proclamations, Topinka applauded the tenacity and courage of women who have not only entered fire service, but risen to the highest ranks of their departments.

“For years women interested in fire service have been told they need not apply,” said Topinka. “But you broke through that barrier, rose to the highest ranks of your Departments, and in the process showed women and girls everywhere that anything is possible if they work at it. I thank you for your service.”

David Kelly of Dex One to receive Better Business Bureau Torchbearer Award

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – David Kelly will receive the Torchbearer Award from the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) at the group’s 86th Annual Dinner Meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2013, at the Chicago Downtown Marriot.The award is presented to a business leader who has made significant efforts, with demonstrable results, to promote ethical business practices, and assist the BBB in spreading the concept of business self-regulation.

“David is an outstanding supporter and contributor to the Better Business Bureau,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

“He is a long-time member of the Board of Directors,” Bernas explained. “Through his active involvement on the marketing committee, David has been key to developing an outreach program to current and previous Accredited Businesses. David also played an integral role in the development of the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics for Business Success ethics training program.”

Kelly works as Director of Franchise Marketing for Midwest & Pacific Northwest for Dex One Corporation. Previously, he has been a marketing consultant, regional marketing manager and director of sales planning. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Loyola University Chicago.

National Veterans Art Museum to host reading of Short, Crazy Vietnam War memoir

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Reading accompanied by Display of Never-Before-Shown Artist/Author’s Drawings
CHICAGO, IL – On April 20, 2013 at 2 p.m., the National Veterans Art Museum will host a reading of an artist’s unusual illustrated memoir, Boocoo Dinky Dow: My Short, Crazy Vietnam War.

Julie Titone will read from the book, which she co-authored with the late Grady Myers, at the museum at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue. The free event will include the display of Myers’s drawings from the museum’s permanent collection. Guest reader Bill Crist, also a Vietnam veteran, will join Titone in reading excerpts from the book.

The book takes its title from soldiers’ slang pronunciation of “beaucoup dien cai dau,” meaning “very crazy.” A reviewer for the Vietnam Veterans of America called the memoir “Lucid … well-told … beautifully illustrated … infused with humor.” Washington State Magazine praised it as “Part ‘M*A*S*H’ and part ‘Full Metal Jacket.’ ”
Myers was an aimless Idaho teenager, when, desperate for troops, the U.S. Army overlooked his extreme nearsightedness and transformed him into Hoss, an M-60 machine gunner. In “Boocoo Dinky Dow”, he recounts his military initiation at Fort Lewis, Wash. He describes the intensity of Vietnam, where an old man carrying a bundle of sticks posed a moral dilemma and where his explosives-happy comrades in Charlie Company sometimes posed the greatest danger.
Myers returned from three months in Vietnam with a Purple Heart and spent the rest of his Army career recovering from his war wounds. He went on to a professional art career in Idaho and Washington State. He died in Boise in 2011. Myers’ work has been in the NVAM’s permanent collection since 1997 and includes such pieces as “Mascot,” “Still Life with CIB” and “The Toymaker.”

Myers and Titone were newspaper colleagues when they produced the first manuscript of his memoir in the late 1970s. They eventually married, had a son, divorced yet remained friends. When he became bedridden several years ago, they revived the manuscript to give him a project to work on.

Titone is a career journalist and university communicator who lives in Pullman, Washington. Her writing and photography has appeared in regional, national and international publications; her essays have been published in three college textbooks and two literary collections. Her novel, Deadline Affairs, was recorded by Books in Motion.
Examples of the Boocoo Dinky Dow drawings, and a book excerpt, are online at shortcrazyvietnam.com. Myers’ work in the NVAM’s collection are available through www.nvam.org/collection-online.
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.

State Senator Raoul supports constitutional pension reform

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13th) issued the following statement on the pension reform votes taken in the Senate this afternoon. Sen. Raoul voted in favor of Senate Bill 1 (Cullerton) and against Senate Bill 35 (Biss).
I want to commend Senator Biss and Representative Nekritz for their diligent work toward a meaningful solution to our pension crisis. My position on Senate Bill 35 had less to do with the merits of their proposed structural changes and much more to do with the legislation’s viability when challenged on constitutional grounds.
To vote for legislation I strongly believe would be overturned in court would have been a disservice to the citizens of Illinois. It would not have respected the protection our constitution affords public employees. And it would have put us back here, in an even worse fiscal situation, debating the same difficult issues one or more years down the road.
I voted in favor of Senate Bill 1, which reforms the Teachers’ Retirement System using contractual modification principles I believe pass constitutional muster. I concede that this measure, along with companion legislation that will apply the same framework to three other state retirement systems, will not result in the same level of savings as Senate Bill 35. They do, however, start us down the road to fully funding our pensions and reducing the unfunded liability’s impact on our ability to provide needed services.

Funeral Services set for Dr. Barbara S. Penelton for Sunday and Monday

Posted by Newsroom On March - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

Visitation for Dr. Barbara S. Penelton, 75, who died in a head-on car crash in Peoria last Monday, will be held Sunday, March 24, 2013, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the New Cornerstone Baptist Church, 3609 West Harmon Highway, Peoria, Illinois, followed by a 4 p.m. funeral.

During Sunday’s visitation at 3:30 p.m., her sisters of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc will hold a brief observance.

On Monday, March 25, 2013, visitation services for Dr. Penelton will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Side Unity Church, 9320 So. Ashland, Chicago, Illinois.

Interment will be held at the Lincoln Cemetery, 12300 So. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Il 60655.

The older of two children, Penelton was born on April 8, 1937 to the parents of Ruth and George Spencer in Chicago. Dr. Penelton’s maternal grandfather was a physician and her grandmother was a seamstress.

Dr. Penelton’s parents later moved to the newly federally subsidized Ida B. Wells development in the early 1940’s. After WW II, her father went into business and became an Amoco (Standard Oil) dealer. Mr. Spencer owned several of the franchises on Chicago’s south side, and retired in 1985. He is 95-years-old.

Dr. Penelton earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in education from the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1958 and a Master’s Degree in education also from the University of Illinois in 1961. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Dr. Penelton taught at the CPS’ Harvard and McCosh Elementary Schools until 1966.

Later in 1966, she moved to Peoria, IL, after accepting a position as director of education for the Peoria Tri County Urban League. In 1969, Penelton became the first African American female faculty member at Bradley University, also in Peoria, where she taught and served as chair of the university’s Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education and Health Sciences. Dr. Penelton also served as the University Ombudsman.

“She was an educator extraordinaire, and she loved being with and mentoring students,” said Dr. Joan Sattler, the dean of Bradley University. “She delighted in being around students and she had the special ability to bring out the special talents in students. I can’t believe she’s gone.”

Dr. Penelton received the Putnam Award for Teaching Excellence, the YWCA Leadership Award and numerous other academic and civic awards during her teaching career.

Dr. Penelton is the cousin of Pfc. Milton Lee Olive, III, 18, who on October 22, 1965 spotted a live grenade during a search and destroy mission in Vietnam, grabbed the device placed it on his stomach and allowed it to explode.

Olive’s act of bravery saved the lives of four comrades two of whom are alive today. Dr. Penelton, who grew up with Olive, lived four blocks from her maternal grandparents, Jacob and Zylphia Wareagle Spencer, who raised Olive from birth after his mother, Clara, died in childbirth. Olive was a breech baby.

Dr. Penelton would frequently attend press conferences in Chicago and spoke about Olive’s life and legacy on behalf of the family during Memorial Day services.

Dr. Penelton led a fulfilling and dedicated family life. In 1957 while studying at the University of Illinois, she met and married Frank Smith, a fellow Chicagoan who was then an art student at the university. To that union were born two daughters, Kim and Lisa. They divorced in 1965. In 1966, she met Peoria journalist Richard Penelton. They married in 1968 and Penelton adopted and raised their girls, until his untimely death in 1972. Dr. Penelton was widowed at the age of 35.

On the last day of her life, she spent time with her best friend, Joan Wesley, a childhood friend whom she convinced to move to Peoria from New Mexico. On that fatal night around 11:15 p.m., Dr. Penelton went by Wesley’s house to see that she got to bed and if she needed anything. The two had grown up together in Chicago and were close friends.

When Dr. Penelton left Wesley’s house, her car reportedly crossed into the center lane of the oncoming traffic killing her at the scene. She was going back to Chicago to check on her father who had successfully battled cancer. His wife, Ruth Spencer, who was a retired accountant with the State of Illinois, passed in 2007. They had been married for 70-years.

Dr. Penelton leaves to mourn a father, George Spencer, a brother, George Spencer, Jr., two daughters, Kim S.P. Campbell (Frank) and Lisa S. Penelton, two grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives.

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.

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