February , 2019

  By Brent Wilkes America's Wire Writers Group   WASHINGTON, DC - By many accounts, the economy is prospering ...
  Legislation would open the door to use of recordings in all felony investigations   SPRINGFIELD, IL – ...
President Barack Obama: Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Illinois ...
Baltimore, MD -- Tuesday, May 11th, the NAACP Baltimore Branch with the support of ...
By Rick Rowsey, Victory Unlimited Show Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- As another year begins, Black men are ...
New Constitutional Amendment needed to protect the right to vote, advocate claims New America Media, ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following ...
In the build up to Beyond Sport United, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister ...
Comptroller responds to bond rating announcement   SPRINGFIELD , IL –  Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released ...
Opening ReMARCs By Marc Morial President & CEO, National Urban League Earlier today, I participated in the ...

Archive for May 14th, 2013

Why the Obama Administration must do more to help working-class families on housing

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


By Brent Wilkes

America’s Wire Writers Group


WASHINGTON, DC – By many accounts, the economy is prospering again and the housing market is on the road to recovery. But, reality is nowhere near as comforting as fiction, and the facts point to a very different reality faced by working families and minority communities, especially in the barrios.

The Great Recession pushed millions of willing workers off the labor force, put many others in lower paying or multiple jobs, and communities are still reeling from assets lost. At a time when we should be discussing how to stimulate our economy and job growth, many policymakers seem to only want to discuss how to mimic European austerity measures.

The regressive nature of our economic recovery has not gone unnoticed in our communities. We hear it every day from friends and family members, and in Washington D.C. we see it in reports like the one issued by Joseph A. Smith, who heads the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight. Mr. Smith oversees the agreement between 49 state attorneys general and the nation’s largest lenders to provide up to $25 billion in relief to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure. Yet, his report shows that many lenders are instead pushing homeowners to sell, resolving subordinated debt entanglements to drive owners toward short sales, and avoiding principal modifications at all costs.

More recently, attorneys general detailed how lenders grossly underreported the extent of their fraud and misdealing. There is no shortage of scathing reviews that show lenders dragging their feet on modifying mortgages, and regulators fumbling their responsibilities while trusting those very same lenders to police themselves.

The fact is that housing is hot again and investors want inventory. Which inventory exactly? Those would be the homes that were previously or are currently owned by modest wage families and across many communities of color. There is also a big investor driven effort to commercialize renting. If you think that’s a good idea, ask working families in Providence, Rhode Island where it is all too common for families to spend, at a minimum, fifty percent of their take home pay on rent.

There’s no doubt that banks are working hard to settle liabilities to process more foreclosures, and many more homeowners that may yet lose their home as the allure of profits take hold. What is so frustrating is that there is so much the government could do to provide relief, like utilizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for principal reductions and modifications, but holdovers of the Bush Administration refuse to act.

Indeed, regulators and agencies on the front lines of housing finance have so little diversity within their ranks that it is not even clear that they genuinely understand the plight of ordinary citizens, and especially minorities. That can be seen in proposed changes that would benefit Wall Street over Main Street, raise down payments and make it more difficult for anyone except the wealthiest to own a home. From policies that have already been approved like the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule to ideas like privatizing Fannie and Freddie, these all undermine the American Dream of homeownership that is so important to working wage families.

We need positive solutions, and increasing the inventory of affordable rental housing is absolutely important, but it should complement the policies that allow families to own a home, build roots in their community and depend on those assets for their children’s education, starting a business and retirement.

There are too many private interests actively lobbying to privatize the GSEs and therefore carve out the most profitable pieces, like multifamily, for themselves. At the same time, they want to shift the government guarantee from GSEs to instead guaranteeing large too-big-to-fail financial institutions.

We cannot allow the laws that helped build the post-WWII middle class, in part through homeownership, to disappear. Or worse, to turn the institutions and laws that help average and minority families own a home into yet another subsidy for Wall Street. It is too easy to forget that many of these laws and institutions that would be upended helped tear down redlining and the obstacles that prevented minorities from owning homes, and promoted community reinvestment and home mortgage disclosures that helped working families with little access to credit.

Now, those that would undo a generation’s worth of progress are cynically claiming that their efforts are meant to help minorities, but we know better.

Latino families are deeply interested in this discussion. And, while Treasury may have few officials that understand the plight of our community, we will continue to demand more accountability. Because we will not allow the aspirations of working wage and Latino families on credit access and homeownership to take a back seat to moneyed interests angling for a good return on investment. We simply cannot allow that to happen, again.

Brent Wilkes is Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com.

New Student-Run Cooperative opens in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood using high-tech manufacturing

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Youth aim to create jobs, revitalize community


CHICAGO, IL – Four African-American high school students at the Austin Polytechnical Academy (APA) in Chicago are applying their computer-aided manufacturing skills to a new worker-run business. The cooperative, called MECH Creations, will manufacture trumpet mouthpieces at APA, 231 N. Pine Avenue, Chicago, IL. With assistance from the Center for Workplace Democracy (CDW) and Manufacturing Renaissance (formerly Center for Community and Labor Research), the students, now business owners, have secured a patented design, created a business plan, acquired materials, and are ready to begin production this May.

“We’re starting MECH Creations to bring new business to our community,” says Jennifer Curtis, a 18-year-old student at APA. “We are four young women who will work for ourselves and our neighborhood to show that anything is possible for young people.”

MECH Creations will be debuted to the Austin community, and the city at large, on May 16th. Students will host a neighborhood event at 5pm, at APA, where they will present their plans and goals, and screen the documentary film, “Shift Change,” which tells the story of worker cooperative businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy.

“In school, we learned about the Mondragon Cooperative, the world’s largest worker-owned cooperative in Spain,” says Desiree Wordlaw. “It was started by five young people who attended a technical school that Austin Polytech was modeled after. We hope we can be as successful as them, and help bring money and jobs back to Austin.”

The Center for Workplace Democracy’s mission is to develop strong local economies and grow small businesses by promoting worker owned cooperatives, and other models of employee ownership.

“Chicago’s schools are full of graduating seniors without job prospects,” says Dennis Kelleher, Executive Director, Center for Workplace Democracy. “We’re partnering with students at Austin Polytech to support the idea that young people can start and run their own businesses, and take a leading role in revitalizing their communities.”

Former D.C. Treasurer launches new enterprise to facilitate black economic empowerment

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – Former Treasurer of the District of Columbia Lasana K. Mack announces the launch of a new enterprise dedicated to facilitating financial and economic empowerment for people of African descent locally, nationally and internationally through educational programs and development of a full-service financial institution.

The new enterprise – named APPEAL, Incorporated – is a non-profit association dedicated to sponsoring financial literacy programs and other educational programs addressing historical, cultural and socio-economic issues, and working to develop a full-service credit union for the benefit of its members. The effort will be publicly launched on Sunday, May 19, at a “Launch Party and Presentation” event at Soul 57 at 1326 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC from 5pm-7:30pm. Live-stream viewing of the event (on-line) will be available for those unable to attend in-person.

APPEAL is an acronym for Association of People for Pan-Africanist Economic Advancement thru Leverage, and part of its mission is to facilitate advancement of the concept of “Economic Pan-Africanism”, which essentially means that African/Black people and communities would benefit from effective efforts to invest and leverage our financial and other resources towards the goals of increased financial and economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and prosperity.

Historically, two of the most noteworthy proponents of the concept of Pan-Africanism with an economic focus were Marcus Garvey and Kwame Nkrumah, and APPEAL’s mission follows in that tradition. This includes facilitating education and development projects to improve the socio-economic conditions in African American communities, and also efforts to increase the utilization of Africa’s vast mineral wealth for the benefit of people of African descent at home and abroad.

Mack, the founder and executive director of the newly incorporated enterprise APPEAL, explained that “in order to have significant impacts on these critical issues, it will require a multi-billion dollar financial enterprise, and that is what we intend to build. We are seeking membership and support from the many people who understand the acute need to take this kind of concerted action to improve our socio-economic conditions.”

Renowned historian, author and educator Anthony T. Browder is a member of APPEAL’s Board of Directors and is serving in a leadership capacity for the organization’s educational programs, as “APPEAL recognizes that learning about African people’s rich heritage and culture often encourages productive and progressive actions among those in our community who become enlightened,” Mack said.

For further information about the launching of APPEAL and how to become involved or support the effort, email info@appealinc.org or call (800) 711-7851.

About Lasana K. Mack

Lasana K. Mack was the Treasurer of the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) for seven years (2005-2012), a position comparable to a state treasurer and city treasurer due to DC’s unique municipal status. He successfully managed the finance and treasury functions of DC Government, an entity with a $10 billion annual operating budget and $1 billion annual capital budget, including cash management, banking operations, debt management – including bond issuances to finance infrastructure development, investment management, budgeting and accounting

He has a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Finance, and is also the founder, director and artist with a music ensemble (“BlackNotes”) known for producing progressive and quality music with a dynamic blend of several cultural arts elements emanating from African and African American heritage.

Photo Caption: Former Washington, DC Treasurer launches new enterprise for Black economic empowerment and educational enrichment.

Survey shows Illinois teachers gearing up to teach new Illinois Learning Standards

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Survey of 1,300 teachers shows implementation plans in place for new Math and English Language Learning Standards 


SPRINGFIELD, IL — A survey of 1,300 teachers across the state revealed that 80 percent of respondents are working in school districts with implementation plans for the new Illinois Learning Standards, which are based on the Common Core, ensuring more students will be instructed under the more rigorous, internationally-benchmarked standards.  The majority of those responding report components of the new standards for math and English Language Arts are already part of their current lessons or will become part of instruction next school year.

“This survey shows that Illinois administrators and teachers are working hard to implement these new learning standards so that students in our state can meet benchmarks set for their peers across the nation and in other countries,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We know implementation varies but generally involves a school-wide commitment to collaboration and professional development that allows teachers to develop and hone new approaches and integrate core content into all subjects. When these standards are implemented properly, students are able to master and apply their knowledge on a much higher and deeper level than ever before.”

Implementation varies from one school district to another because some districts are already using curriculum and practices that meet the new Illinois Learning Standards, while others are still establishing how they will transition to the new standards.  Most implementation plans begin with establishing a school-based team that reviews the new standards, passed in 2010, and develops and executes an implementation plan.

The state-led movement to use common standards revolutionizes education in the United States because it’s more likely that a student moving from one state to another will now face very similar content and expectations, and graduates will ultimately be better able to collaborate and compete with their peers in the global economy.

“We’ve always had learning standards in Illinois and other states,” Superintendent Koch explained. “Now as states, we’re offering a similar roadmap with updated benchmarks to reflect the best current day research and practices. This survey shows that districts and teachers largely agree and are eager to develop the curricula and hone the instructional approaches that meet these higher standards.”

Survey findings include:


  • More than 70 percent of responding teachers reported there is a point-person or committee leading the implementation efforts in their school or district.
  • Sixty-eight percent of respondents are using data to improve curricula and classroom instruction and another 23 percent plan to start doing so next year.
  • Nearly 67 percent of respondents said they’re ‘somewhat prepared’ to implement the Common Core Standards and 13.5 percent said they’re “completely prepared” to implement standards.
  • The majority of teachers said they’re already implementing specific components or instructional shifts in English Language Arts and Math Common Core Standards.

Judi Herzog, an eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher in Belle Valley School District 119 in Belleville said the new Illinois Learning Standards require her students to not only provide the correct answers but articulate their comprehension of subject material, a skill that will serve them in the workforce and college.

“Before they could just give me the answer and it was good enough,” said Herzog, a teacher for 37 years. “Now they have to show me the text that supports their answer. It’s not merely `here’s my answer,’ but this is my proof and reasoning for how I came to my answer. It makes students more accountable for their learning and keeps them more engaged.”

Herzog and other teachers say they have implemented the new Illinois Learning Standards in their schools through a large amount of peer collaboration and cross-disciplinary committee work as the standards emphasize integration of key skills such as reading, writing and mathematical thinking in all subjects, not just English Language arts and Math.

“I think it’s increasing both college and career readiness because it gives  students, especially with the focus on informational text, more opportunities to apply what they’re learning in real-world situations and various content areas,” said Christina Robinson, an English Language Arts teacher at Nashville Community High School in southwestern Illinois. “It’s not only about writing in English class but writing is important in shop class, it’s important in science class. It’s a broader application of student learning.” 

While many teachers and administrators have attended ISBE-sponsored professional development on the new Illinois Learning Standards, the need for more ongoing professional development is recognized. Many educators attended sessions offered through their Regional Offices of Education and their own local districts. More seminars will be offered through the summer and upcoming school year but much of the work begins with a school-based committee.

Ryan Schaefer, a fifth-grade teacher at Tioga Elementary in Bensenville Elementary School District 2 where he has served on such a committee, has implemented lessons that meet the English Language Arts Standards this school year and will implement curriculum to meet the Math standards starting in August. He recently tested a new approach, based on the Common Core, during a lesson on fractions this school year and found that students responded enthusiastically and with greater confidence.

“Common Core emphasizes learning concepts to mastery; there are less areas to cover so we can really go deep with the curriculum,” Schaefer said. ”It was easier for me to teach the lesson and students picked it up much faster.”

A teacher of seven years, Schaefer said the collaboration that has gone on between teachers and administrators as part of the planning process is a great way to build teacher leaders within schools and strengthen relationships among colleagues and administrators.

“It’s sort of like when you jump into a pool,” Schaefer said of implementing the standards. “It’s a little intimidating but once you jump in and really start examining the standards, it’s not all that complicated.”

The survey regarding implementation was available via the ISBE website mid- January through late February. To see the survey results, visit: http://www.isbe.net/common_core/pdf/ataglance.pdf

llinois was in the process of updating standards in English Language Arts and Math, which had not been updated since 1997, when our state joined an initiative spearheaded by governors and state education chiefs from across the nation to develop common standards.  The standards were developed by teachers, principals, parents and education experts with lots of feedback from the general public. Illinois adopted the Common Core Standards in August 2010 and is among 45 states and the District of Columbia to voluntarily take on these more rigorous standards.

Illinois is a member of The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 22 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math aligned to the Common Core Standards. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.

Visit these Common Core web resources for additional information:

Illinois State Board of Education: http://www.isbe.net/common_core/default.htm

Advance Illinois Common Core webpage: http://commoncoreil.org/

Illinois PTA: http://www.illinoispta.org/ccss.html

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers: http://www.parcconline.org/

Madigan: Ranbaxy to pay more than $12 million to Illinois Medicaid Program for selling diluted drugs

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a joint $500 million federal and state settlement to resolve civil and criminal allegations that Ranbaxy, a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Gurgaon, India, sold diluted drugs and submitted false claims to state and federal Medicaid programs, including in Illinois. The state is expected to receive more than $12 million in settlement funds as part of the agreement.
“Ranbaxy put Illinois Medicaid patients at risk by producing and selling potentially contaminated drugs,” Madigan said.
The investigation resulted from a qui tam action filed in the U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes. The whistleblower’s complaint alleged that Ranbaxy knowingly manufactured, distributed and sold 26 generic pharmaceutical products – whose strength, purity and/or quality fell below the standards required by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration – out of its facilities in Paonta Sahib and Dewas, India, from April 2003 to September 2010.
Ranbaxy has agreed to pay the states and the federal government $350 million in civil damages and penalties to resolve civil allegations of improper manufacturing practices in the two plants. Illinois will recover approximately $12.6 million on behalf of the state Medicaid Program.
Additionally, Ranbaxy USA, a subsidiary, pled guilty to seven felony counts alleging violations of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and has agreed to pay $150 million in criminal fines and forfeitures. 

Simon: Reservation deadline approaching for Belleville listening post

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Defense and Local Community listening post to hear from southwestern Illinois residents


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The deadline to register for the Scott Air Force Base Defense and Local Community Listening Post is just two days away, Lt Governor Sheila Simon announced today. All local residents, especially military families, civilian Department of Defense employees, veterans, employers and educators, are invited to register by the end of the day Wednesday to attend the listening post on Friday.

“This is an opportunity for all community members, businesses and Scott Air Force Base families to speak out about economic challenges and opportunities within this unique region,” said Simon. “I look forward to engaging with these residents and so we can better coordinate federal, state and local action to strengthen these communities.”

Participants at the listening posts will take a brief survey and then discuss issues pertaining to business climate, education, workforce training and quality of life. Simon will present feedback from the listening posts to the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), which she chairs. The IMBSEDC coordinates the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois, and provides advice and recommendations for base retention, realignment and reuse.

“It’s extremely important that the state of Illinois obtains local community input about the many relationships our area has with Scott Air Force Base and our other military support facilities and employers,” said Frank Miles, public member of the IMBSEDC. “The information obtained during these sessions will help guide the state, as it formulates efforts to grow and protect Illinois military assets. Scott Air Force base is the St. Louis area’s third largest employer and has a $3 billion dollar annual economic impact on our region.”

Simon will hold a Defense and Local Community Listening Post near the state’s three largest military installations in partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Simon and the Institute held similar listening posts last year in rural communities to survey residents about quality of life issues. Feedback from the meetings helped shape the Vision for Rural Illinois, a strategic plan that helped guide Simon’s work in expanding access to local food and strengthening emergency medical services in rural Illinois.

The deadline to RSVP to attend the southwest Illinois regional listening post is Wednesday, May 15. Residents interested in attending can find more information about the listening posts and RSVP here.  

DATE: Friday, May 17

TIME: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

LOCATION: Southwestern Illinois College, Liberal Arts Complex – Rooms 2311-2313, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville

NOTE: RSVP here by Wednesday, May 15.

Quad Communities Development Corporation Celebrates 10 Years

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Co-founder and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to keynote ceremony


Ten years ago, then-Alderman Toni Preckwinkle realized that if Grand Boulevard, North Kenwood, Oakland and Douglas –all within her 4th ward – were to redevelop and prosper, they needed an engine of development.  Quad Communities Development Corporation was born. On Thursday, the organization will celebrate its tenth anniversary and accomplishments—only a month after the groundbreaking for the Shops and Lofts at 47, the first mixed-use housing and retail development complex to be developed in the area in nearly 75 years.

Themed “10 Years of Pursuing the Vision,” the celebration will recognize the power of community development to change a neighborhood—or four—for the better. Joining for the festivities will be Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President and Founder of Quad Communities Development Corporation; Shirley Newsome, QCDC Board Chair; Bernita Johnson Gabriel, Executive Director; and Will Burns, Alderman for the 4th Ward.

“When we started this organization 10 years ago, we were dreaming big,” said Preckwinkle. “Since then, it has been encouraging to watch the pioneering projects that QCDC and this community have undertaken. It has been an honor to watch our neighborhoods thrive and the organization grow.” 

With a decade of organizing stakeholders and the leveraging resources and technical assistance behind them, QCDC has much to celebrate. Led by the dynamic Johnson-Gabriel, the organization convenes residents, organizations, businesses and institutions within the Quad Communities to design human infrastructure and community development activities. In the process of growing a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood, QCDC established the 47th Street Special Service Area, which supports improvements to the business district; implemented the Elev8 Program, a comprehensive, school-based support system for youth and their families; and partnered with the CARA Program, which provides an intensive life skills and job placement services regiment to help residents break the poverty cycle. 

“10 Years of Pursuing the Vision” will be held on Thursday, May 16 from 11:30-1:00 p.m. at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St. Tickets are available at: http://pursuingthevision.eventbrite.com/.

Saint Sabina’s ‘Purpose Over Pain’ bonds with grieving moms on Mother’s Day

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


By Chinta Strausberg


In remembrance of Mother’s Day, members of the Purpose Over Pain group Sunday helda press conference in front of the Saint Sabina “Memorial Wall” that displaysphotos of slain children, and through tears they clutched pictures of theirloved ones while releasing balloons in memory of their murdered children.

Asked about the stalled legislation calling for gun background checks and the failureof this bill to pass, Father Michael L. Pfleger said, “We have to fight forbackground checks and an end to assault weapons. We have to close all of thesehoop holes. We have to do it, and if we don’t, then the legislators arelaughing in the face of the mothers,” he told this reporter after holding a 10a.m. Sunday press conference outside of the Saint Sabina “Memorial Wall.”

A number of distraught mothers and Cook County Comm. Deborah Sims joined Pfleger infront of the “Memorial Wall” that is a stark reminder of the realities of gunviolence in Chicago. It even contains the photo of Pfleger’s foster son, JarvisFranklin, who was fatally shot on May 30, 1998 just a few blocks from thechurch.

But, before the conference began, Father Pfleger and several mothers had to consoleDonna Hill, whose son, Marshall, 21, was killed while he was inside of a fastfood restaurant. Weeping as she clutched a picture of her son, Father Pflegertold the distraught mother, “God is showing you. You could not have done thisby yourself,” he said reminder her of the strength she had just to join theother grieving mothers.

“Oh, Jesus, oh, God,” Hill lamented tears streaming down her face. “This is hard.I’m trying.” “I can’t sleep…” The mothers comforted her telling Hill, “Don’tlet the devil win.” The women bonded putting their arms around her as sheopenly sobbed.

Saying she does not know how she is going to get through this, Hall said her son wasinside of a North Side fast food store when “somebody shot through the window.He died inside. He died right there on the floor. I was not even a block away….I didn’t hear it,” she said referring to the death of her baby son. Hall has anotherson who is 28-years-old. Her son was killed three-months ago.

“They killed my baby. He had just left the house…. He said, ‘Ma, I’ll be back,” Hallsaid clutching a picture of her son. She said the violence has “got to stop. Idon’t know how to deal with this. I’m going crazy. I’m on so much medication.”Hall added, “If I wake up tomorrow, that’s fine and if I don’t, that’s stillfine because at least I’ll be with my son…. I pray to God every day, but itseems like he is just not hearing me. I just miss my baby so much,” she saidcrying.

Annette Nance-Holt, the mother of Blair Holt, 16, who was fatally shot on May 10, 2007aboard a CTA as he shielded a female friend, said, while celebrating women onMother’s Day, “It is so many of us out here who hurt and we suffer on Mother’sDay not that we want to but because that is where our lives who have directed.”

Referring to many mothers’ who were not there last year, Nance-Holt said, “they now haveto join this unfortunate club.” Quoting her late mother who died a year ago onSunday, Nance-Holt said, “Never give up. Never stop fighting, and never letanyone stand in your way and that is what these mother’s are doing….”

Father Pfleger prayed for the mothers. “We remember the sons and the daughters who arenot here to say Happy Mother’s Day, but we gather here in support of them. Westand here in the place of those sons and daughters. We stand here to be theirvoice to say thank you to those mothers. Thank you for them for the love youthey gave and the life they gave and that evil may have snatched the lives ofour children, but they can’t snatch the memories of our children….

“They cannot take what those children are and still mean in every heart and lifegathered here today,” said Pfleger. “And, even though the children are not hereto say Happy Mother’s Day, we know the children are at the throne of God andthere they are thanking God for their mother’s today…,” said Pflegerreminding them that they “are not alone.”

One of the mothers, Antoinette Banks, 21, the mother of Archie Lee Chambers, Jr.,who was killed April 21, 2012, wanted to be a physician’s assistant. “The lostof a child is a mother’s worse pain, but a tragic lost of a mother is a worsenightmare. We live a nightmare with each and every breath we take…. No one cantake the place of a child that is killed….”

Banks said “it’s a struggle every day” and said some thought about committing suicidewhile others wanted to extract revenge while other mother’s became very angrywhile some mothers simply wanted to be left alone. “The pain is unbearable, andthe tears are endless. Our lives are changed forever for our children remain inour heart.” Banks added, “A mother’s love is ever lasting.”

Clara Allen lost her daughter, Dominique Willis, a junior at Northwestern University,on July 20, 2007. She was in a car and was shot in the head at 104thand Morgan. “The same thing is going on every day. We lose our children. Thereare people out here killing them….

“When will the change come for us? We stand here every Mother’s Day…the same thingover and over again standing here for the love of our children…. There is somuch pain in this crowd today. There mother’s are hurting…. Our hearts areheavy…. What can we do”?

Angela Blakely’s daughter, Janay McFarlane, 18,  was killed on February 15, 2013. “My baby walked out of a grocery store, and she was shot in the head….” She said her daughter left a six-month-old son, Jayden Conaway.  “I never knew pain until I got this call” about her death.“She was the love of my life.” She said her daughter was born on Christmas Eve and was the best Christmas gift she had every received. She is glad that she is not alone in grieving for her child. She had wanted to be a professional cook. 

Nance-Holt said, “It is so unfortunate that we have to do this in our community…tocelebrate Mother’s Day crying and grieving where in other communities mother’sare happy. Our children were snatched away from us. We didn’t have anopportunity to say goodbye. They were all doing the right things at the righttime…. Every year this crowd has grown more and more.”

Echoing what Father Pfleger said earlier, Nance-Holt said many mother’s hearts are sofull of grief they literally can’t get out of bed. “It takes so much just tostand here, and it takes even more for us who have been through this to watchthe new mother’s join us because we are letting our children die and this isnot what this is supposed to be….”

“I ask you, if you can do anything to make a difference to stop this killing, doit…. Do not let us suffer…. We don’t want to hear ‘God bless you.’ We want tosee some action. We want to see you write letters to legislators…march on CityHall…marching on D.C. We need you to join us and make a difference,” Nance-Holtsaid.

Father Pfleger said over the last year a rose farm in Florida created a rose bush “in honor of Coretta Scott King…for a woman who stood for peace and for love. On April 27th that rose bush was planted at the crypt of the KingCenter in Atlanta, and last weekend it was planted in Marion, Ala the home of Coretta Scott King.”

Pfleger said her daughter, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, sent two of those rose bushes to beplanted by the Saint Sabina ‘Memorial Wall” “to show the King’s family love and standing with the mothers here today.” The two rose bushes represent peace and love and that they “would be a continual remember to the mother’s that the King family stands with you as they have lost in their lives, they understand your loss and they stand with you,” said Father Pfleger.

Sharon Miles said Cory Harper her nephew’s son was killed on July 4, 2012. She read the names of the deceased children. The other parents yelled out the names oftheir murdered children and after forming a circle, Pam Bosley, who lost her son, Terrell, to gun violence, asked them to release their white balloons that had their children’s names written on them.

Forming a circle, the mothers released the white balloons saying, “We love you….”Father Pfleger closed out the press conference with a prayer. “We should never let a moment of evil ever over power the moment of life. We should never let a moment of killing take precedence in our hearts and minds over the moments of when they lived, loved and laughed…. We thank you for life today even” though the mothers are full of pain.

“We thank you for love today…for our children today. Yes, it hurts to lose them,but God thank you that you gave them to us that we held them. We loved and we knew them because you couldn’t have shared them with us at all…,” Father Pfleger prayed asking God to “be their strength…their courage. Wipe the tears. Hold them in the palm of your hands and let them know…they are not alone….”

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. 

Rapper Jay-Z launches 2013 Scholarship Program for needy students

Posted by Newsroom On May - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The deadline to apply is May 31, 2013

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund (SCSF) provides individual grants ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 to every student who qualifies and reapplies yearly, from admission to graduation. The grant can be used to cover tuition expenses and related supplemental educational expenses such as books, lab fees, travel and select costs of living. All Shawn Carter Scholars are required to “give back” by conducting community service and by serving as mentors to younger, aspiring Shawn Carter Scholars.

All high school seniors, undergraduate (2-year or 4-year) college students, and students at vocational or trade schools are eligible to apply. All applicants must be US citizens, 25 years old or younger, and have a minimum GPA of 2.0.

The program attracts candidates from all backgrounds, nation-wide. They all have a compelling desire to pursue higher education, in spite of many personal, socio-economic setbacks, including teen pregnancy, former incarceration, interrupted schooling, and homelessness. They are hardworking, resilient and determined individuals who want to make positive contributions to their local and global communities, and they turn to the SCSF to make their ambitions and dreams possible.

Founded in 2002 by Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) and his mom Gloria Carter, the foundation has since then given scholarships to over 750 students, totaling over $1.3 million dollars.

For more details and/or to apply, visit:

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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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