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Archive for May, 2013

The State of Equality and Justice in America: “We are Dangerously Close to Regressing”

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on The State of Equality and Justice in America: “We are Dangerously Close to Regressing”
“The State of Equality and Justice in America”, the sixteenth of a 20-part series
sharptonBy Rev. Al Sharpton
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the great “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”. It was there, at one of the largest rallies for human rights, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
On August 28, 1963, Dr. King and all those gathered in Washington, D.C., addressed the notion of greater equality and justice in America in a way which could no longer be ignored. Thanks to Dr. King’s unyielding work, and the work of countless others before and after him, laws like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were eventually passed, and victories were achieved in the struggle for civil rights.
In the time since, we’ve watched people of color break down barriers across the board – including into the highest office of the land. Progress over the last five decades is undeniable. But now 50 years after the “March on Washington”, we are dangerously close to regressing on some of the most fundamental advancements in our society.
The Supreme Court of the United States is set to rule on several key items this year that are at the core of justice and equality in America. Shelby v. Holder challenges Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act itself. A key aspect of the Act, Section 5 requires jurisdictions that have a history of discriminatory voting practices to obtain advanced approval from the federal government before they can alter election laws.
Without Section 5, the basic foundation of the Voting Rights Act would be destroyed. The floodgates of biased and disenfranchising practices like harsh new voter ID laws would open and the protection of our participation in the voting process would be eliminated. Voting rights for all American citizens was a basic principle of Dr. King and all those who sacrificed during the civil rights struggle and in subsequent years. Ironically, half a century after Dr. King’s speech, voter equality is under attack all over again.
In addition to the Voting Rights Act, one of the greatest advancements toward equality we achieved in this nation was the ability of those who were traditionally excluded from higher learning to attend our great colleges and universities. Well, in 2013, affirmative action hangs in the balance. Two cases, Fisher v. University of Texas and a Michigan law banning affirmative action in public college admissions, have reached the Supreme Court.
The outcome of these two cases will have serious ramifications for the admission practices of schools throughout the country. At a time when our educational system is severely leaving minority and poor students behind, some are attempting to eliminate laws designed to create a more even playing field. Our society is growing ever diverse, and our institutions of higher learning need to reflect that diversity. Affirmative action doesn’t mean preferential treatment; it means equalizing an imbalanced scale. The future of so many students remains in limbo as the high court weighs in this year on these crucial cases.
This year marks another milestone in this nation’s history: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. In the last 150 years, we’ve witnessed momentous progress that was achieved only because of the selfless acts of many. Folks have marched, rallied, organized, boycotted, withstood beatings, bombings, water hoses, dogs and some even died for the cause of justice.
In a post-civil rights era, laws such as the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action appeared etched in stone permanently. But now the state of justice and equality in America remains to be determined because of these renewed attempts to repeal such laws. We can either continue on a path toward greater freedom for all, or regress back to the wrong side of history.
The generation of Dr. King, and the generation immediately behind him continued fighting until they got voting rights and affirmative action on the books. We must not become the generation that couldn’t sustain and maintain it.
Rev. Al Sharpton is president/CEO of the National Action Network and host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC.
Editor’s Note: This article – the sixteenth of a 20-part series – is written in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, of which Congressman Lewis is grand marshal. 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 toda.y.

Madigan Announces Memorial Day Release of 2013 Guide on Service Members’ & Veterans’ Legal Rights & Benefits

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on Madigan Announces Memorial Day Release of 2013 Guide on Service Members’ & Veterans’ Legal Rights & Benefits

 Attorney General’s latest publication provides much-needed guidance for Veterans, Family

CHICAGO, IL — In recognition of Memorial Day, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the release of a new, updated publication detailing the federal and state benefits afforded to Illinois service members, veterans, their families and survivors.
Produced by Madigan’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau, the 2013 edition of Benefits for Illinois Veterans features new information for service members, veterans, family and associated service providers regarding:
  • Exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune;
  • Veterans Retraining Assistance Program;
  • Issues of concern for veterans of the Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom; and
  • Services for homeless veterans.
“Under the law, veterans and military service members are entitled to certain benefits that reward their commitment to our country,” Madigan said. “We have developed this comprehensive guide so service members and their families will have the information needed to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”
The Attorney General’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau handles a wide variety of consumer issues affecting the military community, such as financial scams connected to Veterans’ Affairs benefits assistance, education benefits and mortgage-related issues.
Assistant Attorneys General Grant T. Swinger and Akeela White lead the Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau. To order a paper copy of this publication, the public is invited to call the Bureau’s hotline at 1 (800) 382-3000. The digital copy is available at the following link: http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/rights/Benefits%20for%20IL%20Veterans_2013.pdf

Black Students Flock to STEM Fields, Yet Business Lobby Pushes for More Temporary Workers

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on Black Students Flock to STEM Fields, Yet Business Lobby Pushes for More Temporary Workers
spriggsBy William Spriggs
Over last weekend, young people watched or read about President Obama speaking at Morehouse College and first lady Michelle Obama addressing the graduates of Bowie State University. Hopefully they were inspired by seeing so many young and gifted people finishing the course they chose to follow. Well, here is a little known set of facts.
Those colleges are both historically Black colleges-known as HBCUs-and they graduate a disproportionate share of the nation’s Black science, technical, engineering and math majors-the very majors everyone points to as the skills America will need to succeed. And, it turns out, HBCUs are important because those fields are the backbone of the new Black middle class.
More Blacks work in computer-related occupations than are employed as elementary and middle school teachers or postal workers. And, like those students at Morehouse and Bowie State, Black college students are more likely to choose computer science as a major than White students. In part because of the high share of blacks who major in computer science and because of the large number of Black college students, there are more baccalaureate degrees awarded to African- Americans than to Asian-Americans in computer science.
Now, a great challenge lies ahead. Having found a path to the middle class through education and training, business interests are pushing hard in Congress to import temporary workers to do computer-based jobs. This while there are still 20,000-plus fewer Blacks employed as computer programmers and systems analysts since their employment peaked in 2008.
stemchartBut, while those workers continue to search to get back to the high-tech jobs they trained for, we have seen businesses increase requests for H-1B visas (visas for high-tech workers). And now the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted ludicrous amendments, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the immigration bill, that refuse to give America’s workers a first shot at these jobs. These amendments would even allow businesses to fire American workers and replace them with temporary workers.
The AFL-CIO is fighting to restore some reason here. We need to protect American workers’ huge investment in college loans to get trained in computer and science skills the country needs, while providing a road map to citizenship for all aspiring Americans.
So, the AFL-CIO is challenging Sen. Hatch and the business lobby to make sure there are safeguards to keep a path to the middle class open.
William Spriggs serves as Chief Economist to the AFL-CIO and is a professor in, and former chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University.  Bill is also former assistant secretary for the Office of Policy at the United States Department of Labor.

On Memorial Day, Anti-War Veterans Remember the Fallen, Demand Right to Heal

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on On Memorial Day, Anti-War Veterans Remember the Fallen, Demand Right to Heal
For Memorial Day veterans of the global “war on terror” from Iraq Veterans Against the War as well as Vietnam Veterans Against the War and allies will gather at 11am at the Vietnam War Memorial Memorial at Wacker and Wabash for a ceremony decrying the horrors of war, remembering those who have died and are dying and calling for the fulfillment of the right to heal.The ceremony will call particular attention to the death of  Joshua Casteel, a victim of US militarism.  He died of lung cancer caused by toxins spread by US burn pits in Iraq.

There will also be a tribute to Thomas Young, who was the subject of the “Body of War” film and whose injuries from his deployment to Iraq have severely worsened over the years to the point that he decided to stop taking in nourishment to end his suffering.

Veterans will talk about the effects of US militarism on Iraqis, Afghanistanis, and US troops and call for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  demand for the “Right to Heal” in cooperation with Iraqi women’s and labor organizations. They will also talk about IVAW’s cooperation with the Mental Health Movement which fought the closure of the city’s mental health clinics and has connected the PTSD of veterans returning from war to that of those affected by violence in Chicago amidst an overall bleak picture of continuing underfunding of mental health care.

Finally, veterans will talk about their continuing unmet mental health needs and IVAW’s

Speakers will include:

Jacob Crawford, Iraq and Afghanistan vet

Alejandro Villatoro, Iraq and Afthanistan veteran

Representatives of National Nurses United, Mental Health Movement, Civilian Soldier Alliance, IVAW/NNU campaign to improve VA health care

WHAT: Ceremony honoring the losses from wars, calling on end to those wars

WHEN: Today (Monday 5/27) 11am

WHERE: Wacker and Wabash, Vietname War Memorial (lower level by river)

WHO: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and allies (National Nurses Union, Mental Health Movement)

To All Veterans of War: “THANK YOU” for paying the ultimate sacrifice

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on To All Veterans of War: “THANK YOU” for paying the ultimate sacrifice
A special thanks to my cousin, Skipper

By Chinta Strausberg

When I close my eyes and think of all of the graves of our beloved U.S. soldiers who literally gave their lives to protect American’s soil, I cry and thank them forpaying the ultimate sacrifice—a sacrifice that continues even today.

According to the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago, there were 58,220, U.S. combat deaths including diseases and accidents during the Vietnam War which included my cousin, Milton Lee Olive III, who was 16-days shy of reaching his 19thbirthday.

Skipper, as my family called him, was born on November 7, 1946 to my uncle, Milton B.Olive II, a supervisor with the City of Chicago’s Human Services Department and who was also a professional photographer and civil rights activist, and his wife, Clara, who died giving birth to Skipper who was a breech baby.

My paternal grandparents, Jacob Augustus and Zylphiawareagle Spencer, raised Uncle Milton’s son with my grandmother nicknaming him “Skipper.” Uncle Milton bought a building at 6012 So. Loomis where my grandparents lived on the first floor. Skipper always thought of my grandparents as his parents.

Years later, Uncle Milton married Chicago Public School teacher Antoinette Mainor, who like my uncle, is now deceased. Skipper was not challenged at school, grewr estless and ran away to Lexington, Mississippi to be with his dad’s parents.

Well, when Uncle Milton found out where he was alarmed because that was in the area where Emmett Till was murdered by white men who claimed he was whistling at oneof the wives.

Uncle Milton feared his son would be killed as well especially since he learned that Skipper had signed up with one of the Freedom voter registration groups. No one knows why Skipper did that since no one I know in my family was involved in theregistering of blacks in the South.

So, my uncle Milton gave his son an ultimatum: get a job, go back to school or jointhe military. The rest is history.

When the Army soldiers came knocking on my grandmother’s door and gave her the bad news, she refused to go outside her home for weeks. Skipper was like a son toher, and to add insult to injury, the cookies he had asked her to bake and sendto him, was returned the next day.

Yes, Skipper saw a live grenade during that search and destroy mission in Vietnam. Yes, he grabbed the device, placed it on his stomach saving the lives of four of his comrades who were behind him—his friends, John “hop” Foster, Lionel Hubbard, both African American who have since passed, Sgt. Vince Yrineo and Captain James Stanford who are still living.

Fo rhis valor, this young Englewood-born teenager was the first African American to have received a Congressional Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. Posthumously, he also received a second Purple Heart for his unselfish andheroic acts.

So, I ask you to go and visit Olive Park, 500 North Lake Shore Drive, named after Skipper and to remember Olive/Harvey College also named after him.  Remember and thank all soldiers livingand dead for their personal sacrifices and to advocate on their behalf.

I would also like to thank the late Bishop Louis Ford for convincing the lateMayor Richard J. Daley to name Olive/Harvey College after Skipper. Back then, there were those opposed to naming a junior college after a black man,according to his grandson, Elder Kevin Anthony Ford. They compromised and shared a name with Camel B. Harvey, a white who also received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery.

I ask you what my Uncle Milton made me promise to never forget what his only son,his only child did for this country and to share Uncle’s dream in his own words:

“It is ourdream and prayer that some day Asiatics, Europeans, Israelites, Africans,Australians, the Latin’s and Americans can live in one world.

“It is our hope thatin our own country, the Klansmen and Negroes, Hebrews and Catholics will sitdown together in the common purpose of good will and dedication that the moraland creative intelligence of our united people will enable us to pick up thechalice of wisdom and place it upon the mountaintop of integrity; that allmankind from all the earth shall resolve to study war no more.”

Last year, a high-ranking retired military officer said someone in the mayor’soffice told him that I was a “radical.” I am still stunned by that accusationespecially since I don’t know anyone in the mayor’s office.  I am a radical for Christ and if callingfor equity for soldiers like housing for the homeless and health care for veterans is being a radical, then label me with that honor.

I thank all veterans of wars for their personal sacrifice. I pray for the families of the deceased, and I pray that this nation will soon open its heart and free its budgets and adequately fund veterans programs so when they comeback home they will have a place to stay. They can go back to school, and they will get the health care they so justly deserve. Now, if that’s being a radical so be it.

Yes, Skipper was born an unusual birth, and he died and on October 22, 1965 during a search and destroy mission in Vietnam, he died a very unusual death, but it is not surprising since he loved his country so very much. He told my family when he was hurt the first time when he was presented with his first Purple Heart that he had to go back “and finish my job.” He did just that and in a way not many men would have chosen. He paid the ultimate price for his beliefs and his love for his country and fellow man.

Because of his bravery all of the four survivors have grandchildren today, and the love he showed his comrades continues to live generation after generation.

Happy Memorial Day to all veterans and may you and this nation find peace in the near future…in our life time…peace for our troubled children, and may you find and receive the resources you need to readjust and blend in without the worries of housing and health care. We owe you that much and more.

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.

Don’t let Memorial Day scams mar the honoring of Military Service: The Better Business Bureau

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on Don’t let Memorial Day scams mar the honoring of Military Service: The Better Business Bureau

CHICAGO, IL – Memorial Day is a day we honor those who serve our country, have served our country and those who have died while serving; it is also a time of opportunity for scammers. Unfortunately, these operators have found Memorial Day to be an opportunity to take advantage of caring people, especially elderly veterans.

“Contributing to charities that assist the families of fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen is a wonderful way to honor them,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “However, there are scammers who dishonor our military by trying to take advantage of people’s desire to salute the military. As despicable as that is, it makes it necessary for good people to be cautious about contributing to charities that may be more interested in enriching their own operations than paying honor to our military.”

A few examples of scams include:

Military loans – Loans that guarantee instant credit approval or no credit check are usually paired with extra fees and high interest rates.

Military charities – Phony charities generally provide limited information, often use urgency as a pitch point and ask for money to be wired.

Rental properties – Advertisements may promote military discounts and request money be wired. However, the property shown is not what is available, or the ad was fake and the money is lost. Either way, the consumer is ripped off.

Life insurance policies – Some solicitors offer unnecessary life insurance policies that often include misleading information.

Car sales – Fake discounts are typical scams that take advantage of military personnel. They may require a fee upfront and ask for a wire transfer, or the car they are selling will be found to be in poor condition after the purchase is made.

The BBB offers some tips for individuals at risk:

  • Research first. Get as much information as you can before you pay. If you cannot find reviews of the business anywhere on the internet, be wary as it is likely to be a scam.
  • Wire money with caution. Never wire transfer money to anyone you are not familiar with. Wire transfers are very hard to track which is why scammers use them frequently to get money.
  • Use credit cards. Whenever possible, use credit cards. It is easier to track transactions, complain about charges and discuss charges with your bank.
  • Be careful what you click on. Do not click on links in emails from unfamiliar addresses and do not enter information on unfamiliar websites.
  • Can you find them on the internet? If you cannot find reviews of the business anywhere on the internet, be wary as it is likely to be a scam. Check the BBB Business Review to see if the business has a good rating.

Scammers don’t only target those who want to honor the memory of the fallen but target active duty service members as well.

William E. Braun Jr., Financial Educator and Counselor for the Navy, says,

“Frequently, when military members fall victim to financial and consumer scams, it is due to youthful inexperience or a lack of financial literacy. My advice to all military personnel is to get well acquainted with the military assistance resources available to them.”

The Better Business Bureau has a military arm called BBB Military Line. It provides free resources such as financial literacy information, services and scam alerts, along with complaint and dispute resolution to all military service members.

If you have experienced a scam, report it to your local BBB at www.bbb.org

Nearly 20,000 Salute Summer with a Bike Ride on Lake Shore Drive

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on Nearly 20,000 Salute Summer with a Bike Ride on Lake Shore Drive

Nearly 20,000 bicyclists pedaled their way into summer today for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive, an annual fundraiser that benefits the Active Transportation Alliance’s work to improve biking, walking and transit.

“Summer in Chicago has begun! The weather was great as families and friends cruised up and down a car-free Lake Shore Drive having the time of their lives,” said Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke. “Twenty thousand people on bicycles transformed this highway into sheer biking bliss.”

Lake Shore Drive opened to bicyclists at 5:30 a.m. From downtown Chicago, participants took over eight lanes and 15 miles of this iconic roadway to bike to their hearts’ content north to Bryn Mawr Avenue and south to the Museum of Science and Industry.

After the event, riders gathered in Grant Park to lounge, eat pancakes from Goose Island, listen to music, check out sponsor booths and win give-aways. The band Trash Martini entertained festival-goers with lively tunes.

The event is sponsored by MB Financial Bank, NBC5, SRAM, Schwinn, Fairmont Chicago and WXRT FM.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

MB Financial Bank is a locally-operated financial institution that has been delivering competitive personalized service for over 100 years to businesses and individuals who live and work in the Chicago metropolitan area. MB has nearly 90 locations throughout the Chicagoland area. MB Financial has approximately $10 billion in assets. MB Financial Bank is a subsidiary of MB Financial, Inc., a financial services holding company which is traded on the NASDAQ as “MBFI.” Information about MB Financial Bank can be found at  http://www.mbfinancial.com.

Illinois Senate Moves Towards Passing State Based Health Insurance Marketplace

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on Illinois Senate Moves Towards Passing State Based Health Insurance Marketplace
(From the Campaign for Better Health Care)
SPRINGFIELD, IL – In passing HB3227 (formerly SB34), the Illinois Senate took a major step in establishing a state based health insurance marketplace that helps small businesses and individuals in Illinois.
State Senator David Koehler (D-46 Peoria), chief sponsor of SB34 (now contained in HB3227) commented after the vote, “I am pleased that a super majority of my colleagues in the Senate voted for Illinois to establish its own state health insurance marketplace.  Expanding help and providing a voice for small businesses and individuals who will be utilizing the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace is the intention of the Affordable Care Act, and I am proud that the Illinois Senate has made that commitment.”
Brigid Leahy, Director of Legislation at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said, “If we’re running things at the state level, we can fix things, we can make them better, we have better control over making sure that it works for consumers. If it’s in the hands of the feds, we don’t have that power.”
HB3227 establishes a pro-consumer and pro-small business health insurance marketplace in Illinois. The health insurance marketplace will be the one-stop insurance shop for more than a million Illinoisans.
Speaking on behalf of the Illinois Public Health Association, Tom Hughes said, “The diversity of this board will best represent the population of Illinois and protect consumers in the new marketplace.”

HB3227 ensures that the marketplace is governed by a diverse board that represents women, small businesses, communities of color, labor, public health, people with disabilities, and consumers, and provides for accountability of the insurance industry selling plans on the new marketplace.

Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, said, “This historic vote by the Illinois Senate today shows the Senate’s commitment to Illinois small businesses and individuals who will be eligible for the new Illinois health insurance marketplace.  When fully implemented nearly 1.2 Illinoisans will be utilizing this marketplace.  HB3227 will provide small businesses and consumers a direct voice in developing and implementation a State Based Marketplace that meets the needs of Illinoisans.  Now it is up to the Illinois House to show their commitment and support to small businesses and individuals, and  to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.”
About Campaign for Better Health Care
We believe that accessible, affordable, quality health care is a basic human right for all people.  The Campaign for Better Health Care is the state’s largest coalition representing over 300 diverse organizations, organizing to help create and advocate for an accessible, quality health care system for all.  For more information, visit www.cbhconline.org.

The Network for Women in Business announces the 2nd Annual Small Business Boot Camp for Women

Posted by Newsroom On May - 27 - 2013 Comments Off on The Network for Women in Business announces the 2nd Annual Small Business Boot Camp for Women

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — The Network for Women in Business announced that it will host the 2nd Annual Small Business Boot Camp for Women on July 13, 2013 at the East Side Courtyard Marriott, 410 E. 92nd Street, New York, NY. The announcement of this event follows the culmination of a successful year of helping smart and savvy women business owners transform their businesses via training and networking events.

During the past year, the Network for Women in Business has helped countless women increase their bottom line. Many of these women had been struggling for years even after having seemingly done all the right things, they were still having trouble attracting the right customers and getting clients to buy their products and services from their website. But after attending the trainings offered by the organizations expert trainers and coaches, hundreds of these business owners have seen a marked improvement in their small business growth.

The 2nd Annual Small Business Boot Camp comes after the success of last year’s event which was focused on Social Media Mastery. While this year’s event will also have a large portion dedicated to social media, it will also focus on both online and offline marketing and business techniques. The event will also combine the best of the new school and old school business growth strategies to provide attendees with the latest take on what’s working now.

Topics will include:

* Becoming a leading authority in your industry.
* The importance of having a good CRM tool and how to effectively use it to follow-up.
* The best methods to deliver and protect your content and the tools that you should use to do that.
* How to effectively use Mobile Marketing to turn leads into customers.
* The best cost-effective online and offline strategies to build and grow your business.
* How to master the hottest new trends in social media and how to use them to grow your client base.
* How to financially prepare for small business success.

Also included as a part of the festivities will be a book signing for the international best selling book, Success In High Heels, which features a chapter written by Toni Coleman Brown, founder of the Network for Women in Business entitled 30 Days to Facebook Mastery. This book represents a collaboration of 30 successful women from across the globe. Each woman has taken the time to share their personal success secrets in order to help others grow and prosper.

Guest speakers include Laurie Marshall of Trade Marks the Spot, who will share with attendees how to protect their business, as well as their intellectual property via the use of trademarks. Having served as the in-house counsel for the Major Baseball League, Laurie has over 15 years of trademark experience. Also speaking at the event is Alexandra Chou of owner of Infin8 Enterprises LLC, who will teach entrepreneurs about being financially prepared for business. Alexandra has taught several hi-tech entrepreneurs how to get financially prepared to attract investors to their business. She has also helped countless small business owners to get in the best fiscal shape possible in order to avoid potential problems with the IRS.

Event partners and sponsors, such as Go Apps Biz and Superior Business Management Solutions will give away mobile apps and free websites to select event attendees, while Soul Purpose Lifestyle Company will supply each attendee with a product sampling of their high quality pampering products.

Staff, volunteers and friends of the Network for Women in Business are looking forward to the 2nd Annual Small Business Boot Camp for Women and believe that all entrepreneurs who attend will definitely see bigger and better results in 2013 and beyond.

To register and find out more about this event, visit the website.

About the Network for Women in Business:

The Network for Women in Business was founded in January 2012 by long time business coach, author and motivational speaker, Toni Coleman Brown. Since its inception, the organization has grown to over 2,000 members and over 14,000 Facebook Fans and social media followers. The mission of the Network for Women in Business is to provide innovation, cutting-edge and affordable training solutions to women business owners. The soul purpose of the organization is to train, connect and advance women business owners world-wide.

From the Jury Box — Thoughts on the Stop-and-Frisk Trial

Posted by Newsroom On May - 25 - 2013 Comments Off on From the Jury Box — Thoughts on the Stop-and-Frisk Trial

From the Jury Box -- Thoughts on the Stop-and-Frisk Trial

New America Media

By Damaso Reyes

NEW YORK — It was one word that struck me. More than any other word spoken over the past 10 weeks of court testimony in Floyd v. City of New York, the civil trial questioning the New York Police Department’s policy of “Stop, Question and Frisk.”


In over 8,000 pages of official court transcripts from the trial that ended on Monday, it is spoken time and time again by sergeants, precinct commanders and current and former high ranking officers within the police department. The question being replied to was a variation on this: “Does it bother you that in the vast majority, nine out of 10 stops, no enforcement action was taken? No summons, no arrest, no weapons found?”


This is perhaps the heart of the case that the Center for Constitutional Rights brought to Judge Shira Scheindlin’s courtroom on the 15th floor of the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. Authorities see no wrongdoing, despite the fact that over the past decade, NYPD officers have conducted nearly 4.5 million stops in a city of 8 million. Eighty-five percent of those stopped were black or Latino, meaning that many people have been stopped more than once.

During the bench trial, members of the press were seated in the jury box, a metaphor not lost on me. As a New Yorker of color, and one who has been stopped by the police, I had an intense personal interest in the trial. Perhaps it’s also because I have spent much of the past 10 years outside the country as a foreign correspondent, watching from afar as my city and country changed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to prize security above nearly all else. Back in New York for a few months, I decided to spend some time observing the trial.

When I was stopped, on a train platform after visiting my mother’s house in central Brooklyn, two white officers came up to me and asked if they could look in my bag. There had been a robbery, they explained, and were looking for a suspect. I knew my rights. I could have refused to consent to a search of my bag. I also wanted to get home and my train was coming. If I refused, would they hold me anyway? Would they ask me for my ID and run a background check? Maybe, maybe not. At that moment I didn’t want to deal with the hassle, so I agreed. They didn’t find anything, politely thanked me for my time and moved on. No form was filled out.

Apparently, I fit a description.

Both in the press and in the courtroom, the city’s lawyers as well as NYPD officials defended Stop-and-Frisk as an important law enforcement tool that gets guns off the streets and stops crime.

However, less than one percent of all stops results in the discovery of a weapon and only 0.14 percent of all stops results in finding a gun. This, despite the fact that “suspicious bulge” or “furtive movement” is the box ticked off on the form that officers are required to fill out in a large percentage of stops.

As a journalist I’ve had my fair share of encounters with NYPD officers. A few of those instances weren’t what I would have wanted them to be. But in reporting multiple series on the 28th precinct in Harlem and after spending many days riding in radio cars, standing on rooftops and walking the streets with a variety of policemen and women, I can say I have a broader perspective on the department than most. Most officers and commanders care deeply about the communities they serve. That’s why they became cops.

But as we learned in the trial, the NYPD is, among other things, a bureaucracy. The plaintiffs claim that this bureaucracy is obsessed with numbers and passed that obsession down to the rank and file through “performance goals,” which they claim is just another way to say quota.

When the recording that Officer Pedro Serrano made of his superior Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack telling the officer that he needed to stop “the right people” was played, eyebrows were raised. When pressed by the officer to tell him who these people were, McCormack’s response was “male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”

The department denies this was a blatant call for racial profiling but instead a commander telling his staff to address a specific problem. They have repeatedly told us that while a high number of blacks and Latinos are being stopped, the vast majority of perpetrators, as well as victims of crime, are black and Latino — so it makes sense that these people would also be stopped and questioned.

Missing from that logic is the fact that in order for a stop to be legal, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has just happened, is in progress, or will in the near future be committed. Putting aside the frightening idea of “future crime” for a moment, this suspicion must also be specific to the person being stopped. Simply being a black male in an area where black males commit crime is not enough.

We’ll soon discover whether or not Judge Scheindlin agrees.

Pictured above: Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit officers from the 28th Precinct conduct a Stop and Frisk in Harlem in 2006. Photograph by Damaso Reyes.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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