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Archive for April 1st, 2013

The State of Equality and Justice in America: Masters of Our Own Fate

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
The twelfth of a 20-part series, “The State of Equality and Justice in America”
By Marc Morial

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” – Whitney M. Young

morialIn 1963, more than a quarter-million people gathered in Washington, DC to march for jobs and equality. The Great March for Jobs and Freedom was a watershed moment in American history – birthing now-iconic speeches that voiced the hardships facing blacks as they sought a fair shot at an elusive dream.

As we fast-forward 50 years and reflect on the progress we’ve made toward economic equality, we meet the sobering truth that much has been achieved, but much more needs to be done. Some people use apparent proofs of progress – that Blacks are no longer barred from living, learning and earning where they want because of their race, not to mention the election and reelection of our first Black president – to conclude that Blacks in America have overcome.

However, a shiny veneer of progress cannot justify the elimination of affirmative action in education and employment; the roll-back of voting rights protections and relegation of this precious franchise to increasingly partisan legislatures; or a cut back on social investments that can help current and future generations thrive in a fast-changing economy.

Taken alone, our achievements could be hailed as good progress in the pursuit of full equality. But unfortunately, the African-American condition has only improved primarily within our own community. This means that economic disparities with whites persist and cast doubt on what we thought was meaningful change.

These disparities underscore the need to reinforce our fight for lasting economic empowerment and for policies driving development in under-resourced communities. For example, the National Urban League launched our ongoing “War on Unemployment” in 2011, which included the release of our 12-Point Plan: Putting Urban America back toWork. We expanded the program in January of this year with a ground-breaking endeavor, Jobs Rebuild America – a series of public/private investments totaling more than $70 million over the next five years.
Beyond each of us actively working toward solutions, our ongoing struggle cries out for the kind of coalition advocacy that drove many of the civil rights and economic victories in the 1960s. Between November 2012 and January 2013, I helped to organize a historic convening of civil rights, social justice, business and community leaders to identify and push for public policy priorities to drive economic recovery and rebirth for African-American and urban communities and all low-income and working-class Americans. This policy agenda was embodied in an official Communique that included specific recommendations with clearly defined objectives to move us forward as a community.

When I compare these recommendations with the demands made on that August afternoon in 1963, I am struck by how little has changed.

In 1963, as today, the most pressing demands centered on economic equality, educational opportunity and parity, and civil rights. But instead of fighting against discrimination in hiring or a $2 minimum wage, we’re fighting for job training and wage equity. Instead of calling for school segregation to end, we’re demanding an end to disparities in educational investment. Rather than calling for meaningful civil rights legislation, we’re fighting to preserve those very rights our ancestors fought and died for and to retain the practical application of civil rights and equality through affirmative measures to achieve diversity in jobs and education.

Our experience since the Great March says that we must be vigilant in protecting our hard-won rights. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus,” we must become masters of our own fate to fully realize the economic prosperity we demanded on that day in 1963.

If we are to honor Whitney M. Young, one of the unsung visionaries of the Great March and the Urban League’s leader from 1961-1971, we must not only be prepared to seize opportunity when it comes, we must be committed to creating opportunity when it does not.

Marc Morial is President/CEO of the National Urban League.
Editor’s Note: This article – the twelfth of a 20-part series – is written in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today. For more information, please visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

Robert L. Johnson releases a National African American Opinion Poll on the Obama Presidency, unemployment, economic opportunity and social issues

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Black Opinions in the Age of Obama: Results of a National Zogby Poll

Bethesda, MD (BlackNews.com) — Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), today announced the results of a national poll commissioned by Zogby Analytics that reveals current African American sentiment on a range of issues that include the state of national affairs, race relations, employment, and a variety of current political and social issues. Johnson announced the results of the Zogby poll during his remarks today at a National Press Club Luncheon.

“I commissioned this poll for a number of reasons,” said Johnson. “First, for African Americans, this country has experienced the most historic political event and that is the election and re-election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Because of this, I wanted to find out how African Americans today feel about Obama’s presidency and equally important, if they feel that their lives are better off having lived under the first four years of Obama and the prospect of an Obama Administration for the next four years,” he continued.

“Second, the country has experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and African Americans have been the hardest hit. Today, African Americans continue to have double the rate of unemployment and less access to capital, and whereas, African Americans were once the largest ethnic minority group and the dominant minority political voice, they are now confronted with the growing political influence of the Hispanic population, which may directly impact competition for jobs and minority business opportunities,” he continued.

“Further, I wanted to create a discussion within the Black community and the broader community to bring to the forefront of public debate key issues of primary concern to African Americans. I am pleased to say that I am intrigued by the results of the poll and I believe better informed,” he noted.

The poll reveals that African Americans have an immense sense of pride in Barack Obama as President of the United States and he is unequivocally liked. He receives a 91% favorable rating. Seventy-two percent believe that President Obama’s election has helped them while only 4% believe his election has hurt them.

African Americans believe that President Obama’s election has helped them. A majority of those polled – 62 percent – are optimistic about employment in the next four years.

On the issue of employment, the poll reveals that thirty percent of respondents believe they are doing better off financially than compared to four years ago; however, the most recent jobs report shows an ongoing high rate of unemployment within the African American community. When polled on why African Americans believe Black unemployment is consistently double that of whites, responses include: failure of the education system for minorities, lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities, and a failure of government policies for hiring practices.

The poll was conducted by John Zogby and Zogby Analytics. One thousand and two randomly selected African American adults were polled by telephone and online survey. The complete survey results and remarks from today’s National Press Club Luncheon can be found online at www.rljcompanies.com/news.

Video coverage may be viewed online at: www.c-span.org/flvPop.aspx?id=10737439005

About The RLJ Companies:
The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust; private equity; financial services; asset management; insurance services; automobile dealerships; sports and entertainment; and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information visit: www.rljcompanies.com.

About Zogby Analytics:
For three decades, the Zogby companies have produced polls with an unparalleled record of accuracy and reliability. Zogby telephone and interactive surveys have generally been the most accurate in U.S. Presidential elections since 1996. Zogby Analytics is composed entirely of senior level executives from Zogby International. Zogby Analytics, along with renowned pollster John Zogby, have continued in the tradition of conducting telephone and interactive surveys, while keeping an eye on the future by incorporating social media tracking and analysis into our work. Zogby Analytics conducts a wide variety of surveys internationally and nationally in industries, including banking, IT, medical devices, government agencies, colleges and universities, non-profits, automotive, insurance and NGOs.


Robert L. Johnson
Remarks – National Press Club Luncheon
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
MARCH 26, 2013 * 12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. (EDT)
* Angela Greiling (GRY-LING) Keane (KEEN), President, National Press Club
* Alison Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of the NPC Speakers Committee
* Nyree Wright, NPC Speakers Committee Member


Thank you Angela for that kind introduction and thank you members of the Press Club and invited guests for being here this afternoon to hear the results of a national poll that I commissioned last month. The poll was conducted by Zogby Analytics. As many of you know, John Zogby has conducted and produced polls for over 30 years and is well-respected for his record of accuracy, credibility, and reliability. The poll was conducted by a telephone and online survey with a random sample of 1002 African American adults across the country to gauge their opinions on current social, economic, and political issues directly affecting the African American community.


I have always been vocal about economic opportunity for African-Americans. As the founder of Black Entertainment Television and now The RLJ Companies, The RLJ Companies holds investments in RLJ Lodging Trust, a publicly traded $2.5 billion hotel REIT, where I serve as Executive Chairman; RLJ McLarty, the largest minority automobile dealership group with over a billion in sales; and RLJ Equity Partners, a private equity firm in partnership with the Carlyle Group; and RLJ Entertainment, the largest independent distributor of entertainment content and traded on the NASDAQ.

I am what you might call a serial entrepreneur. I get a vision about something that should be done, usually in an area where African Americans are economically underrepresented, and I try my best to create business solutions to help address these social and economic problems.

For example, a year ago, The RLJ Companies launched OppsPlace, an online jobs and business site specifically designed to introduce minority individuals and minority owned businesses to large U.S. companies to encourage employment and business opportunities.

The businesses I have started, in addition to creating value for my investors and shareholders, have the important goal of empowering African-Americans who have the ability to create value and wealth for themselves and ultimately this Nation. Make no mistake there are millions of African American men and women who have the talent, the ingenuity and the work ethic to fulfill these goals.

I think you would also agree with me that this Nation has created the greatest society for individual economic opportunity and achievement that mankind has ever seen. But despite that fact, there is the troubling question that has to be asked, and that is – to what extent do African Americans fully participate in this equation?

My primary concern is why, after enacting and enforcing needed civil and equal rights laws, spending more money on education for African American students at all levels than at any other time in the history of this Nation, and having twice elected an African-American President, black American families are still experiencing a growing disparity in employment, access to capital, wealth accumulation, and as a direct consequence, stagnation in economic opportunity and quality of life?

In an attempt to answer this question, I commissioned the poll with the following political and economic developments in mind:


1. For Black Americans, this country has experienced the most historic political event since the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. That event is of course, the election and re-election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Because of this, this monumental occurrence for all Americans, but particularly African Americans, I wanted to find out how African Americans today feel about Obama’s presidency and equally important, if they feel that their lives are better off having lived under the first four years of Obama and the prospect of an Obama Administration for the next four years.

2. This Nation is engaged in a major debate about the role of government in providing for the economic well-being of working-class and middle-class Americans. Without question, most African American families fall within that category. The debate raises the question of how much entitlement security the government should make available to these citizens and who should bear the cost of such transfer payments. The issue being raised is whether this country’s economic future is at risk because of the rising costs of entitlements and the debt and deficit that follow. This dispute, no matter how it is resolved, will directly impact African American families more so than any other population.

This country has recently experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We have seen a decline in economic growth and opportunity for all Americans but African Americans have been the hardest hit. This has been true in the past and it is true today as the most recent economic data clearly drives home that fact.
Here are the facts:

a. African Americans have double the rate of unemployment as white Americans (The National average is 7.7% and African American unemployment is 13.8% [Source: February 2013 Jobs Report US DOL] to be honest, it’s probably greater than that when you count the number of African Americans who have simply given up on finding employment. Sadly, this is not a new fact, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, African American unemployment has been double that of Whites for over 50 years;

b. The income gap of white Americans is 10 times that of Black Americans – the net worth of the median white household is $118,000, and the net worth of the median Black household is $11,800;

c. The wealth gap between black Americans and white Americans over the last 20 years has increased from $20,000 to $90,000 according to the Pew Research Center; and

d. Nearly half of African Americans born to middle class families in the 60s will not attain the wealth of their parents (Source: Pew Research Center)

3. African Americans were once the largest ethnic minority group and the dominant minority political voice dating back to the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans are now confronted with the growing influence of the Hispanic population, which is today the largest minority population group.

I wanted to gauge African American sentiment about the political and economic changes that could result from Hispanic Americans being the largest minority. This demographic fact could lead to Hispanics potentially exercising greater political influence within the country on key issues of importance to African Americans, namely, competition for jobs and minority business opportunities and perhaps Hispanics becoming the dominant ethnic voice on cultural and social issues;

4. I also wanted to find out how African Americans feel about their political leaders and organizations that represent their interests, as well as assess their attitudes about key social and cultural “issues of the moment” e.g. immigration reform; marriage equality; the gun and assault weapons ban; and the 2016 presidential election; and finally,

5. I didn’t know of any other organization that has recently conducted a poll targeted to African Americans with this combination of social, economic, and political questions, so I decided to do it. I wanted to create a discussion within the Black community and the broader community to bring to the forefront of public debate key issues of primary concern to African Americans. I am pleased to say that I am intrigued by the results of the poll and I believe better informed. I hope you will be also.

Now, despite all of these political and economic realities confronting Black America, what truly intrigues me is that the poll results point to a Black America firmly believing that their lives are a “glass half-filled” rather than “glass half empty”.
RESULTS OF THE POLL: Black Opinions in the Age of Obama: Results of a National Zogby Poll
So, what did the poll, which I have chosen to entitle Black Opinions in the Age of Obama reveal? African Americans have an immense sense of pride in Barack Obama as President of the United States and he is unequivocally liked. He receives a 91% favorable rating. Seventy-two percent believe that President Obama’s election has helped them while only 4% believe his election has hurt them.

Consistent with the data that shows that African Americans believe that President Obama’s election has helped them, a majority of those polled – 62 percent – are optimistic about employment in the next four years.

Thirty percent (30%) of the respondents say they are doing better off financially than they were four years ago, about half say they are at least doing the same, and twenty-five percent (25%) say that “African Americans in general” are doing better while forty-four percent (44%) say they are doing about the same and twenty-one percent (21%) say they are worse off.

On race relations, tied to this feeling that the Obama presidency has been positive for African Americans fifty-three percent (53%) say that white-African American relations will improve, while only twenty-three (23%) are pessimistic.

When asked why they believed the Black unemployment rate was double that of whites. Responses include:
* Failure of the education system for minorities/African Americans (50%)
* Lack of corporate commitment to hiring minorities/African Americans (48%)
* Lack of good government policies (25%)

As to whether respondents felt they were overlooked or discounted as a serious candidate for employment because of their race, forty-seven (47%) percent said yes and thirty-nine percent (39%) said no.

When asked why the wealth gap has increased by $70,000 over the last 20 years, nearly half (47%) of respondents say that both the lack of jobs and a lack of access to capital are to blame for the wealth gap between whites and African Americans.

Since I agree that unemployment and access to capital are the most pressing issues for African Americans, I also asked in the poll about something I have been promoting for the last few years – what I have called The RLJ Rule.

Two years ago at this Press Club, I spoke about The RLJ Rule which is adapted from the National Football League’s (NFL) Rooney Rule. In 2003, the NFL established the Rooney Rule, which mandated subject to a fine, that the 32 teams give fair interviews to qualified minority candidates whenever a head coaching or general manager position becomes available before making a new hire.

The RLJ Rule, unlike the Rooney Rule, is voluntary and designed to encourage companies to establish best practice policies to identify and interview at least two African Americans at the managerial level before filling a position and to interview qualified Black businesses prior to awarding a procurement contract.

We included a description of The RLJ Rule in the poll and found that 75 percent polled were either “very” or “somewhat” supportive. Forty-seven percent of respondents said it would help African Americans’ chances to be hired or to become a minority supplier and 53 percent said they would like to see The RLJ Rule enacted into law.

With these critical economic issues facing the African American community, the poll asked who was the person or organization that would be the voice for African Americans to ensure their voice was heard at the national level. The leading civil rights/economic empowerment organizations scored very well.

The NAACP received an 83% favorable rating, the National Urban League received a 69% favorable rating, and the Congressional Black Caucus received a 68% favorable rating. When respondents were asked for the name of individuals who best represents their interests, an overwhelming 40% said no one speaks for them.

A segment of the poll focused on issues related to the emergence of the Hispanic population, race relations, guns, gay rights, and the 2016 presidential election:

Hispanics – Sixty-three percent favor a path to full citizenship within 10 years for Hispanics who are here illegally, while only 16% say they should “never” achieve full citizenship. Interestingly enough, 51% of African Americans believe that Hispanics “will achieve greater economic growth than African Americans over the next five years”. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of 18-29 year olds shared this feeling and sixty-percent (60%) of those over 50 years old.

Some of the reasons include:
* Hispanics face less racism than African Americans
* Hispanic lifestyle/work ethics
* Hispanics given more opportunity/education is better

Guns – Sixty-seven percent (two out of three polled) favor a ban on assault weapons, while 20% oppose such a ban. This includes a majority of all age groups.

Expressing a deep concern about reaction to crime in the Black community, seventy-five percent (three out of four) believe that the Nation pays less attention to Black on Black crimes than on gun crimes against whites.

Gay Rights – African Americans are evenly split on the issue of same sex marriage. Forty-two percent feel that marriage is exclusively defined as between a man and a woman; while 40% would support gay marriages having the same rights as heterosexual couples. We also asked a question about ministers who oppose homosexuality and gay marriage.

The results were evenly split:
* One in three (34%) support the ministers;
* One in three (31%) say the ministers are wrong; and
* One in three (35%) have no opinion

2016 Presidential Race – We asked this question, if the Democratic primary for President were held today, for whom would you vote and who should President Obama endorse to succeed him as the next President of the United States?

* Out of six potential Democratic candidates, nearly half of the respondents (46%) say they would support Hillary Clinton for President if the Democratic primary was held today and about one in five would support Vice President Biden.

In conclusion, the Zogby poll clearly demonstrates, for African Americans, having an African American President elected to two terms has created a tremendous feeling of unparalleled political pride.

Because of this feeling, and despite all of the economic challenges before us, I believe that African Americans are uniquely hopeful about their future. Interestingly enough, this emotion and belief was expressed by President Obama during his recent speech to the people of Israel. Speaking about the African American experience, the President said, “To African Americans, the story of the Exodus told a powerful tale about emerging from the grip of bondage to reach for liberty and human dignity – a tale that was carried from slavery through the civil rights movement. For generations this promise helped people weather poverty and persecution while holding on to the hope that a better day was on the horizon.”

I completely agree with the President. However, my concern and maybe even fear is that if this faith-like hope, or “promise of a better day on the horizon” is not rewarded with real and measureable economic change during and after the Obama presidency, the failure to do so could, and that would be regrettable, result in a major shift from hope to despair for millions of African Americans who today look at this Nation in the age of Obama and say “our glass is half-filled and we are still hopeful”.

Photo Caption: Robert L. Johnson, National Press Club
Photo credit: Noel St. John

Author Toni Harris shares successes in taking “Drastic Steps”

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Houston, TX – Author, motivator Toni Harris is fast becoming known for her nickname “The Turnaround Queen” and her latest release “Sometimes You Have To Take A Drastic Step To Turn Your Life Around” (220 Publishing ), a compilation of stories from entrepreneurs who have taken life-changing steps to make a difference in their lives, is helping to enhance Harris’ reputation for bringing positive to lives of everyone she encounters.

“Drastic Steps” discusses the necessary steps to turn your life around personally, professionally and financially. Harris is a wife, mother, daughter, student and business woman who wears the same hats as many of her clients. The former corporate trainer shares life-changing, “turn around” strategies with audiences worldwide on her weekly “Drastic Steps” radio show. Roxana Heredia, President of Listo Translating Services

says “Toni makes us face the fears that hold us back to reach our goals in life. With this book, she makes you understand that by only dreaming, you won’t get anywhere.”

Friday April 5th Harris will be joined by mentor and famed author and businessman George Fraser at the official launch for “Drastic Steps”. The event takes place at Belvedere Uptown Park 1131 Uptown Park Blvd. #1 in Houston and starts at 5:30 PM.

“Sometimes You Have To Take A Drastic Step To Turn Your Life Around” is available in e-book exclusively on Amazon and in paperback wherever books are sold.

Mary Zimmerman’s stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, a story-telling spectacle and musical fusion, makes its World Premiere June 21 – July 28 at the Goodman, continues at Boston’s Huntington in the Fall

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Academy Award-Winning Composer Richard M. Sherman contributes Sherman Bros. Trunk Songs to Zimmerman’s production, collaborates with Music Director Doug Peck

CHICAGO, IL – “The jungle is jumpin’!” The creative team is set and casting is underway for The Jungle Book (June 21 – July 28), Tony Award—winner Mary Zimmerman’s world-premiere stage adaptation, based on Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film and Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 collection of stories set in the Indian jungle. Zimmerman and her designers traveled to India to observe and research both current and historic forms of decorative art, dress and music—and, with Music Director Doug Peck, Zimmerman held two music workshops to fuse songs (the popular tunes from the film, its sequel and more) and styles (Western jazz and swing with Indian-inspired dance and classical music) to create a sound unique to this production. In addition, Academy Award—winning composer Richard M. Sherman—whose numerous songwriting credits with brother Robert B. Sherman include the Walt Disney motion pictures The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Aristocats—has shared songs from the Sherman Brothers’ trunk and other previously unreleased material. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) and designers Daniel Ostling (set); Mara Blumenfeld (costumes); T.J. Gerckens (lighting); and Andre Pluess, Josh Horvath and Ray Nardelli (sound) make the jungle spring to life in a music-and movement-filled spectacle that chronicles young Mowgli’s adventures growing up in the animal kingdom. The Jungle Book premieres June 21 – July 28 at the Goodman; tickets ($34-$105, subject to change) are now on sale and available at GoodmanTheatre.org, by calling 312.443.3800 or visiting the Goodman box office (170 N. Dearborn). Allstate and JPMorgan Chase are Premier Sponsors of The Jungle Book and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor. The Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner and Accenture and Towers Watson are Opening Night Sponsors. The Jungle Book is produced in association with Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, where performances run September 7 – October 6. Casting will be announced at a later date.

Guests at the May 18 Goodman Theatre Gala fundraiser will be the first to experience The Jungle Book with an exclusive musical sneak-peek. Beginning with a 6:30pm cocktail reception at The Fairmont Hotel (200 N. Columbus), the evening includes an elegant dinner and dancing to the band Big Fun. Co-chairs are Women’s Board members Amalia Perea Mahoney and Christine Pope and Adnaan Hamid is the Trustee Chair. Proceeds benefit the Goodman’s Education and Community Engagement programs. Tickets start at $1,000; call 312.443.3811 ext. 586.

“Our challenge with the stage adaptation is to combine the profundity, beauty and even strangeness of Kipling’s stories with the spirit and music of the film which is all joy, joy, joy,” said director and adapter Mary Zimmerman, who marks 20 years as the Goodman’s Manilow Resident Director. “Our music workshop united six Chicago swing/jazz musicians with six Indian instrumentalists who combined their virtuosity into something new and completely exciting. The songs from the film are utterly recognizable—yet renewed and enriched—and it’s the thrill of a lifetime to work with the legendary Richard Sherman.”

“Favorites like ‘Bare Necessities’ and ‘Trust in Me’ will make great appearances. ‘Colonel Hathi’ will probably feel like a musical/dance highlight—one of the biggest moments—and ‘Baloo’s Blues’ will be the debut of a new piece of material,” said Music Director Doug Peck, who contributes new orchestrations and arrangements to the project and who attended two music festivals while in India to explore the Northern Classical/Hindustani and Southern Classical/Carnatic traditions.

The all-new orchestration includes a blend of Western instruments (piano, bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, tuba, flute, clarinet, saxophone) and traditional Indian instruments (harmonium, sitar, veena, tablas, tanpura, ghatam, Carnatic violin).

“The Jungle Book music workshop proved to be a groundbreaking and thrilling experience,” said Richard Sherman. “I’m delighted with the fusion of authentic Indian instrumentation with the fun of American jazz. Mary Zimmerman and Doug Peck are brilliant creators, and the world’s going to see and hear something they’ve never experienced before.”

Groundbreaking for new retail/housing complex sign of Bronzeville’s renewal

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Largest Commercial Development in More Than 50 Years

On Tuesday, April 2, ground will be broken for The Shops and Lofts at 47, the long awaited mixed-use development that will be built at the intersection of 47th and Cottage Grove Ave. When completed, the $46 million dollar complex will include 96 mixed-income rental apartments and 55,000 square feet of commercial space anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

“We at QCDC have long known that redevelopment of this corner was critical to the renewal of our neighborhood,” said Shirley Newsome, Board Chair of QCDC, which first called for the revitalization of the Cottage Grove commercial corridor. “It is a great credit to the vision and commitment of the city and the tenacity of our development partners that we are able to celebrate the realization of our vision today.”

The groundbreaking event for The Shops and Lofts at 47, the long awaited mixed-use development at the historic intersection of 47th and Cottage Grove, will be held Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 47th & Cottage Grove Ave., in Chicago at 1:30 p.m. .

Attending the event will be Alderman Will Burns, 4th Ward; Shirley Newsome, Board Chair, Quad Cities Development Corp.; Bart Mitchell, President and CEO, The Community Builders; Frank Petruziello, President, Skilken; Ken Gold, CEO, Skilken; Adam Troy, President, TROY Enterprises; Karisa Sprague, VP, Walmart Stores; Commissioner Andrew Mooney, DHED; Charles Woodyard, CEO, Chicago Housing Authority

Development Partners:

Since the 1940s Skilken has developed a strong portfolio of retail centers throughout the Midwest, and hundreds of single tenant projects for regional and national clients. In the past decade Skilken has expanded into the urban marketplace by capturing opportunities for development in underserved markets. Skilken specializes in helping national retailers find the intersection of commerce and community.

With Midwest regional headquarters in Chicago, The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) is the largest nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing in the United States. TCB’s mission is to build and sustain strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential. Its Chicagoland investments in addition to The Shops and Lofts at 47 include Oakwood Shores, Merrill Court, St. Stephen’s Apartments, and Northtown Village Senior Apartments.

TROY Enterprises connects People, Place, and Product to develop innovative urban real estate projects. TROY engages with political, community and religious leaders to maximize human potential, capital and programmatic return on investment in underserved markets. Over the past two decades TROY has developed a successful platform of profitable real estate projects by partnering with corporations, government, faith-based entities and non-profit groups.

Upcoming audio conference: The role of sequestration on federal funding

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Sequestration. It’s a word that invokes fear and anxiety among policymakers and program officials alike. With so much uncertainly, and plenty of spin coming from the pundits, they simply want to know how their organizations are going to be affected.

How do the across-the-board budget cuts, as mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011, affect social services programs?

What’s the impact on federal revenue streams for scores of grant programs?

Will education programs be influenced by sequestration?

What about money for innovative research?

How will worthwhile community development initiatives be affected?

What about funding for public housing?

Will Medicare and Medicaid be impacted?

Will community health centers see funding reductions?

That’s why we invite you to join our staff of Congressionally credentialed editors on Thursday, April 4th, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. EDT for a roundtable discussion about “The Role of Sequestration on Federal Funding.”

This FREE event, presented by CD Publications, will feature in-depth analyses and reporting on how your ability to serve your community may be affected by potential cuts in federal spending. Plus, we’ll provide plenty of time for you to ask questions and receive real-time feedback.

But you need to sign up now!

Don’t delay and register now to attend. There are only a limited number of slots available for this FREE event — and when they’re gone, there will be no more.

Go to http://www.cdpublications.com/store/396

Upcoming Free audio conference: The Role of Sequestration on Federal Funding – Join us April 4, from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., when CD Publications presents a FREE audio conference featuring in-depth analyses and reporting provided by our staff in a roundtable discussion

Now available on CD: Funding School and Community Safety: Grants Resources Best Practices – audio conference discussing federal and private opportunities focused on school and community safety.

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Totally Positive Productions announces Spoken Word Talent Competition

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Totally Positive Productions is searching for positive youth Spoken Word Artists for its upcoming “Education” Spoken Word Talent Competition 2013 which will be held at Gorilla Tango Theatre (Bucktown) on Saturday, April 27, 2013. The winner will receive $300.00, but before performing in the competition, hopefuls must first audition at one of three dates to ensure that the message and/or performance are free of derogatory messages and profanity.

“The winner will not only be judged on style and delivery, but their content must be clean and family friendly. We don’t allow our participants to use any derogatory or negative language in their music and spoken word piece in our competitions,” said Taj Jones, the organization founder and director. “We are about promoting our youth who uplift and respect themselves. This is to give them an outlet and to showcase those youth doing right.”

Auditions are being held at Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown (1919 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647). Audition dates and times are as follows:

Sunday, April 7, 2013 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm

Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Sunday, April 14, 2013 from 12:00p.m. to 3:00p.m.

To register for auditions or for more information, contact TPP at 773.488.9553.

This event is sponsored by “Special People In Need” and “Chi-Vas White of ONELLW Clothing”.


Totally Positive Productions (TPP) is a not-for-profit organization started in 1993. Its mission is to produce Positive Rap, Singing, Dance and Spoken Word Talent Competitions as well as positive “Off the Street” activities for youths and young adults as a deterrent to drug and gang involvement.

Totally Positive Productions can be found online at www.TotallyPositiveProductions.com or at www.Facebook.com/TotallyPositive and www.Twitter.com/TotallyPositive

Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown is a year-round theatrical venue where audiences of all ages can consistently go to see a wide variety of talented artists. GTT exists to provide artists with an opportunity to produce their work in professional environment. GTT was created by Second City- and IO-Chicago-trained Dan Abbate and boasts an 80-seat performance space. GTT Bucktown is conveniently located at the intersection of Western and Milwaukee in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Easily accessible by public transportation, GTT is steps away from the Western Blue Line stop and the #49 Western, #73 Armitage and #56 Milwaukee buses. Street parking is readily available. With shows for both children and adults, all GTT performances are on a rating system, similar to the one used in movie theatres. GTT offers a variety of affordable beer and wine for purchase. Consult the website for rating information, tickets, and details.


1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647 – 773.598.4549

The Book Look and Black Art in America partner to promote the World of Black books and arts; partnership benefits Black Authors and Artists

Posted by Newsroom On April - 1 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The new partnership will provide authors & artists a global platform for black literature & visual art

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The Book Look, the online review show commonly regarded as the industry’s video hub for African American literature, is announcing its partnership with Black Art In America (BAIA), the leading social network for Black art in the nation. The two organizations will collaborate and cross promote emerging, established and celebrity authors and artists to a worldwide audience by way of their popular online platforms. Accordingly, Black Art in America now hosts “The Book Look Group,” a discussion forum for books at www.blackartinamerica.com/group/the-booklook and The Book Look is planning an on-air segment for Black Art In America.

“It’s a thrill for us to come together and expand the platform for new and established authors and artists to get their works seen and discussed,” says Charisse Carney-Nunes, an award-winning children’s author and co-executive producer of The Book Look.

Along with The Book Look Group on www.blackartinamerica.com, The Book Look will continue to provide an interactive platform for authors at www.thebooklook.com while Black Art In America remains the nation’s leading online social network for African-American art.

About The Book Look
The Book Look is a popular online TV source for celebrating books, authors, celebrities and events relevant to the African American community. Monthly episodes include original content, industry information and engaging interviews with notables including Hill Harper, Octavia Spencer, Walter Mosley, Common, Tyrese, Roland Martin, Zane, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Omar Tyree, Angie Stone, Prodigy, Michael Beckwith, Ledisi, Eric Jerome Dickey, Keli Goff, Scandal’s Judy Smith, Michael Baisden, Cornel West and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The Book Look is prominently placed on numerous websites with a combined reach of over 250,000 consumers including AALBC.com, the leading site for books and film by and about people of African descent. Authors can learn how to get their book on The Book Look at www.thebooklook.com. www.facebook.com/TheBookLookTV Twitter @TheBookLookTV

About Black Art In America
Black Art In America is the largest online social network focused on African-American art. Black Art In America provides member artists with global exposure by connecting them to collectors, arts enthusiasts, arts institutions and professionals. Black Art In America has received over 4 million page views from 180 countries and has a weekly reach on Facebook exceeding 1 million. Artists can learn how to get their work on Black Art In America at www.blackartinamerica.com. https://www.facebook.com/BlackArtInAmerica Twitter @BAIAONLINE

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