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Archive for July 3rd, 2013

Block Party to Fight Austerity to be held at Mayor’s House

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Chicagoans gather to protest budget cuts, corporate welfare, and call for one-term mayor

 

CHICAGO, IL –  This 4th of July, Chicagoans opposed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s extreme budget cuts to public services, and policies of corporate welfare, will peacefully converge at the Mayor’s house, at 4228 N Hermitage, to speak out against these austerity measures and celebrate citywide resistance to his mayorship.

“At a time when working people are already struggling to make ends meet, Mayor Emanuel is eliminating thousands of jobs across the city every year,” says Greg Goodman, event organizer. “The loss of these jobs throws families and communities even further into crisis, and creates a chain effect that ripples out to negatively impact an ever growing number of Chicagoans. In the midst of all this, Rahm is systematically dismantling the social programs that ordinary people rely on to help them through times of crisis, and selling our public institutions and resources off to corporate profiteers.”

After gathering at Chase Park (Ashland and Leland) at 12 p.m. on July 4th, Chicagoans fed up with Mayor Emanuel’s austerity plans will hold a peaceful block party on his street (4200 block of Hermitage). The event will include music, dancing, and speakers.

“People who are barely getting by are being punished for the mistakes of the super-rich,” says local organizer Kelly Hayes. “That’s what austerity is. We’re going to let Mayor Emanuel know we didn’t create this crisis, and we’re not going to pay for it.”

For live updates, follow: @constantnatalie @baburrealer @bullhorngirl @gregrgoodman #OneTermMayor #RahmParty on Twitter. 

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/142447169277912

From Voting Rights to ‘Do What They Told Ya’

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

From Voting Rights to ‘Do What They Told Ya’ 

New America Media

By Mark Trahant

The Supreme Court’s ruling last week on voting rights sends a simple and clear message: And now you do what they told ya.

The court basically said that modern states wouldn’t use their power to keep minorities — including American Indians and Alaska Natives — from voting. “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 5-to-4 majority.

And now you do what they told ya.

So in North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, Montana, and Alaska, and in many other states where access to voting is limited, where polling booths are located far from reservation communities, or where “early voting” hours are made purposely unequal or unfair, well, the court said, in Shelby County (the Alabama county that sued to end the Voting Rights Act) “voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity.”

And now you do what they told ya.

But of course that parity is not found in Indian Country. American Indians and Alaska Natives still have the lowest registration rates of any racial or ethnic group. A study by Demos a couple of years ago pegged that number at 5 to 14 percent lower than the general population. I suspect the numbers are not much better two years later because Indian Country is growing so fast; nearly 200,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives became eligible to vote since the last election.

And now you do what they told ya.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg says the court’s majority is wrong because “the ‘blight of racial discrimination in voting’ continues to ‘infec[t] the electoral process in parts of our country.’” Early attempts to cope with this vile infection resembled battling the Hydra. Whenever one form of voting discrimination was identified and prohibited, others sprang up in its place.”

And now you do what they told ya.

A case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the practical 21st century application of these voting rights issues. Montana law provides for early voting and late registration. However “tribal members live a great distance from the late registration and in-person absentee voting places in county seats,” according to appellants’ brief. And the counties have largely said no, even when the cost has been covered or the administrative burden reduced. “Counties take the position that there is no violation of the Voting Rights Act, no harm, and that they have no authority or obligation to ever open any satellite offices.”

And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control.

The Supreme Court has said this is a new country, one that’s no longer divided by voting tests or low registration, “yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.” So Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was struck down and immediately states set out to prove that the Court was in error by enacting sweeping provisions that limit voter participation. Only two hours after the court’s ruling Texas announced the state’s voter ID law would take effect and new restrictive districts would begin. Not long after Mississippi and South Carolina joined the chorus. States with large American Indian or Alaska Native populations will not be far behind.

But there is a weakness in the court’s ruling: The more that those in power try to use cheap tricks — voter ID laws or limited ballot access — the more people will demand to vote. The court has basically set out the challenge: The only way to strip power from those who would limit your right to vote, is to vote. The only way to end austerity is to win the election. The only way to invest in a better future for young people is to show up in record numbers. American Indians and Alaska Natives will vote because “they” say we can’t.

Or as Rage Against the Machine once shouted: F%$# YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He lives in Fort Hall, Idaho, and is a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Join the discussion about austerity. A Facebook page is open at:
https://www.facebook.com/IndianCountryAusterity

Attorney General Madigan calls on FDA to adopt standards on arsenic in food

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Urges Agency to Move Ahead With Plan To Help Inform Parents About Safe Food Choices for Infants
 
 
 
CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan again called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish national standards for arsenic in food, particularly in products served to infants and children.
 
In September 2012, Madigan alerted the FDA to the presence of arsenic in infant rice cereals after research conducted by her office produced results similar to a national study by Consumer Reports, showing troubling levels of inorganic – or toxic – arsenic in samples of infant rice cereals. Based on those test results, the Attorney General urged the FDA to move quickly at the time to adopt standards on inorganic arsenic in food, particularly in baby food. In response, the FDA informed the Attorney General that it would complete its own analysis of the arsenic levels in food products by the end of 2012, with next steps to “follow promptly.” Those steps have not been completed.
 
In a letter sent today to the FDA, Madigan again urged the agency to act, noting that further delay of a national standard for arsenic in food would leave parents and caregivers without guidance on how to assess potential risks to their children.
 
“Parents need to be able to make informed choices about what they are feeding their children,” Madigan said. “The FDA recognizes the seriousness of this issue but has not yet completed its work. I am calling on the FDA once again to take action because further delay only adds to parents’ concerns about whether they’re unknowingly exposing their children to potential health risks.”
 
Arsenic is a heavy metal found in soil and bedrock that takes on two forms – organic and inorganic. Inorganic arsenic is considered a toxic chemical and a known carcinogen. The toxin is most often used for industrial and agricultural uses, particularly as a pesticide. Madigan encouraged parents and caregivers to moderate servings of rice in their children’s diet until the FDA issues its guidance.
 
In 2012, Madigan’s office provided rice products to laboratories for arsenic testing in light of tests conducted by Consumer Reports that showed the presence of arsenic in apple juice and studies by researchers at Dartmouth that detected arsenic in brown rice syrup.
 

Former CIA Agent tells his story in new book – “The Formative Years of an African-American Spy: A Memoir”

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 8 COMMENTS

 


Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Stories shape us. We learn by them, live out their lessons, and pass on what we know from life’s experiences in the form of our own tales. The Formative Years of an African-American Spy: A Memoir by Odell Bennett Lee is a book like no other. Just published and available on Amazon.com, it describes the experience of a man destined for achievement who exemplifies why “getting there” can be far more than its own reward.Photo Caption: Bookcover and author Odell Bennett Lee
Lee, a scholar of international affairs, a successful business man, and an accomplished CIA officer, writes a tale that speaks to the dramatic changes that reshaped American society and the world in the latter half of the 20th Century. But his story – a personal story – is far more than an account of hard work, learning and opportunity in a period of intense political, social and economic change. It is the tale of an African-American boy whose turbulent childhood, military service, ambition to learn and most of all, faith and friendships led him down an extraordinary path.
Launched into a family torn by its troubles, Lee’s accomplishments are noteworthy by themselves: the Navy, UCLA and Johns Hopkins, a globe-trotting decade as an international businessman and finally his recruitment as one of the first African-Americans to join the covert services of the CIA. But his trajectory is more than an arc of success. It is a story of compassion, knowledge, charm and humility that will grip young and old alike. From the streets of Los Angeles to the decks of a destroyer escort in the Pacific to the jungles of Sumatra and finally the corridors of power in Washington, Lee spins his tale of work and hope, challenge and struggle, luck and friendship but most of all faith and love.
Its twists and turns carry a message that Lee conveys in motivational talks as well as in the network of professional and personal ties that reflect a life of purpose that now can help others think clearly about their challenges and their potential to achieve a similar success ahead.
As Lee himself has said, “Friends and colleagues helped me through an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual renaissance that convinced me that I had something to offer society. Now retired, I am involved in motivational talks to minorities and civic A recent review of his book by Kent Harrington, a former CIA colleague, sums up the message of The Formative Years of an African-American Spy.
“For those who will read this book as the unusual story of a black case officer who not only survived, but also thrived in an often-byzantine agency and profession, they will not be disappointed. In Asia, Africa, and Europe as well as in the hallways of CIA’s headquarters, Lee won well-deserved accolades. But note takers should raise their pencils to underline his prose chronicling why that was so – as his title clearly states, the story of his “formative years.
“This most fascinating, heartwarming and uplifting story is also the most improbable: that against the odds and carrying the burdens that were put on his shoulders, Lee not only did what was right by those who loved him but also succeeded superbly as an intellectual, a cold warrior and a spy but most important as a husband, a father and a good man.”
The Formative Years of an African American Spy belongs on everyone’s bookshelves. It’s a superb memoir with a message that can be summed up in a familiar – and highly appropriate – phrase: yes we can.”
Lee’s book is a story that deserves to be read, just as his message is one that should be heard. The Formative Years of an African American Spy: A Memoir is available now at Amazon.com (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0010zZQ3VP1CpVdgf-iw4y0cxs7k4T1ZwXYHM4paGK7Flkv2NbgMc6oIlCqESaIh2tHXc-EBXryJhRhSp-xwr2-aesuy4d7qlxrl6vCyuiNA4vzAKFQURD4HpnU04_tT-4pRLAKhPOHSJN1X6WZkZ1iRw5DWUEoOFbf72XbE_9Q3qU22isDgNxK84t0wYUPr_-fjLo4aOMTTU4=).
 
 
About the Author
Odell Bennett Lee was born in Louisiana and grew up in California. At sixteen, his turbulent family situation forced him to drop out of high school and join the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, friends and colleagues convinced him that dropping out of high school was not a good idea and that he should complete his education when he had a chance. He received his high school diploma at twenty-three. Mr. Lee attended undergraduate schools at San Bernardino Valley College and U.C.L.A. He graduated with honors from U.C.L.A. and was named Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Danforth Foundation Fellow, American Political Science Association Fellow, among others. He attended graduate schools at The Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies, and the l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Institute of Political Studies) in Paris, France.
Lee worked for several international companies before coming to the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency. The C.I.A. offered him a unique opportunity to serve his country that he could not refuse. He is one of the first African-Americans to join the Central Intelligence Agency’s deep cover Case Officer ranks. After retiring from C.I.A., Mr. Lee worked on contract as an Intelligence Analyst and a Senior Training Consultant for the National Drug Intelligence Center. Finally, he formed his own company, Lee Consultants, Inc., and conducted seminars for several Fortune 500 companies on “Competitive Business Intelligence” and public policy. He is also a frequent leader of “Great Decisions” seminars compiled by the Foreign Policy Association.
Mr. Lee is also a motivational speaker, and his new book is the story of his life. Already, it is being used by professionals in upward bound type programs to motivate young people who have seemingly lost their way. The book has been well received by adults who believe that they have been psychologically damaged by their childhood experiences and are having difficulty managing their current personal relationships.
Mr. Lee and his wife live on the California central coast. He can be contacted at odlee1@aol.com

State’s Attorney Alvarez Recognizes Gay Pride Month

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

4th Annual Pride Awards ceremony honors two outstanding leaders in the community

 

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez along with members of the office’s Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered Advisory Council presented Pride Awards to the Honorable Sebastian Patti, Presiding Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County and Camilla Taylor, of Lambda Legal for their leadership and contributions to the LGBT community during a ceremony in commemoration of Gay Pride Month.

Judge Patti, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Division, was first appointed to the bench in 1995 and elected in 1996.  Throughout his tenure, Judge Patti has served in various divisions of the Circuit Court as well as a serving as a justice to the Illinois Appellate Court.  Judge Patti is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility and a faculty member of the Illinois Judicial Conference.  He also serves on the Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Sexual Orientation Awareness in the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Housing Court Advisory Committee.

Camilla Taylor is a Senior Staff Attorney and National Marriage Project Director in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBT community and people with HIV.  She is currently representing same sex couples in Lambda Legal’s marriage equality lawsuit in Illinois and was the lead counsel in Lambda Legal’s 2009 marriage equality lawsuit in Iowa, in which the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down Iowa’s marriage ban, making Iowa the third state in the country to permit gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. 

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Pride Awards Ceremony were held Tuesday, June 25 at the Center on Halsted in Chicago.

Universal Alley Jazz Jam celebrates 10th year

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL — UNIVERSAL ALLEY JAZZ JAM will celebrate it’s 10th year beginning on July 13, from 2:00pm-Dusk in Chicago’s South Side at 1801 east 71st Street outside on the Plaza behind the Black United Fund Inc.
 
Universal alley Jazz Jam provides a spiritual experience through music, poetry, and dance in efforts of revitalizing the community through the arts and culture weekly for six (6) to eight (8) weeks between July and August.
 
The series begins approximately at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, 2013 and ends at Dusk– and will run every Saturday through August 24, 2013.
 
Come early and stay late for the best Jazz and culture, and bring a lawn chair.
 
The Universal Alley Jazz Jam was reinstituted in 2003 to revitalize the Black community through Arts and Culture and to bring awareness of the various forms of Jazz to maintain and perpetuate positive Black music. It continues a Jazz History/Legacy of the 50th Street Jazz in the Alley jam sessions in Pops Simpson’s garage from ‘back in the 1960s’.
 
If you would like more information about this topic or would like to schedule an interview with Dr. Webber, please call 312-953-1075 or email Dr. Webber @  Csiddha@aol.com
 

Governor Quinn Encourages Youth Groups to Attend Free Camping Adventure

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

“Under Illinois Skies” Includes Outdoor Activities at Kankakee River State Park on July 22

 

CHICAGO, IL – Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) invites Chicago area youth groups to register for a free summer camping adventure – “Under Illinois Skies” – at Kankakee River State Park on July 22nd. The event, which was originally scheduled in June, is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that no child is left inside and is designed to expand outdoor recreation across Illinois.

“We want to make sure the children in Illinois have every opportunity to get outside and get moving,” Governor Quinn said. “’Under Illinois Skies’ is a great adventure that will introduce campers to nature while enjoying outdoor fun in one of our great state parks.”

The IDNR has partnered with the Chicago Retail Merchants Association to sponsor a full day of outdoor activities and overnight camping on Monday, July 22 at Kankakee River State Park near Bourbonnais. 

“Under Illinois Skies” is a pilot project through the IDNR that provides urban youth with opportunities to experience outdoors activities including fishing, hiking, and camping at an Illinois state park. The camping trip is among a number of events throughout the summer that are part of Governor Quinn’s “Leave No Child Inside” initiative to provide more outdoor recreation opportunities for Illinois’ youth, especially children in urban areas of the state.

Youth group leaders interested in registering for the free July 22 “Under Illinois Skies” activities at Kankakee River State Park should contact IDNR Community Outreach Director Jeffrey Jones at (312) 814-8579 or through email at Jeffrey.R.Jones@Illinois.gov by Wednesday, July 17. Space for this event is limited.

Alliance For Community Peace/IDOT warn motorists to ‘click it or ticket it’

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
 
 
Blacks, Hispanics lead deaths in crashes
 
 
By Chinta Strausberg
 

In just two-days, America will celebrate the 237th Fourth of July holiday but Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson, Jr., CEO of the Alliance for Community Peace, a bevy of ministers and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials Tuesday warned motorists to buckle up including those driving while “In-text-icated” or you’ll be pulled over, ticketed and perhaps jailed.

Officials said most of those who died in traffic crashes in Chicago were black and Hispanic males between the ages of 18-34. They were not wearing seat belts. This same age group doesn’t equate drinking and driving with death, and this coalition is hoping to change that mindset.

That was the stern message delivered at a press conference held at the True Light Church Baptist, 7300 South Maryland headed by Rev. Dr. LaRue F. Kidd. Joining him were Rev. Dr. Johnson, Andre B. Ashmore, Deputy Secretary, (IDOT), Rev. Phyllis D. Harrell, COO, Director, Alliance for Community Peace, Rev. Dr. Walter Turner, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Chicago & Vicinity, Rev. Dr. Barbara Wilson, President of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Ministerial Alliance of Chicago Vicinity and many others.

Referring to the partnership between IDOT and the Alliance For Community Peace holiday program, Rev. Johnson said their goal is to get the message of “driving sober or get pulled over,” buckling up and no texting while driving to young African American males and people of color. 

Given what is going on in society and in the communities, Pastor Turner said, “It is not just bullets. It’s just not knives but now even cars are weapons, and we need to make sure as we celebrate this great holiday of independence…of freedom, the Fourth of July also represents for our country that we were able to take ownership.

“We need to take ownership of our lives so that we need to make sure that each and every individual when they get behind the wheel of a car they will know it is a privilege to drive, a privilege to be able to on the road…,” Turner said. Looking at the 18-34 at risk black men “that are being loss just through driving, we need to continue this campaign for community awareness. It’s time for us to take it to the street.”

Rev. Dr. Kidd expressed great concern over the Smart Phones because many do some “dumb things” with these cell phones. “I’ve come to discover that not only people are driving intoxicated but they are also driving in-texticated because they are texting while driving.” He urged motorists not to drive and text at the same time. Kidd also said he has seen motorists using their cell phones to take pictures while driving.

On behalf of Gov. Pat Quinn, Ashmore said last year 956 people died from traffic crashes. “The loss is too great for our communities and too great for the state of Illinois as a whole. Between 2009-2011, a total of 234 occupants of passenger cars died in traffic crashes in Chicago.”

He said of total fatalities 119, or 51 percent were African Americans and 53 were Hispanics. “Seat belt usage rates among African Americans and Hispanics who died in traffic crashes were 17 percent and 24 percent respectively mostly involving male drives between the ages of 18-34,” said Ashmore.

“These deaths and others across the state are the reasons why the IDOT displays current traffic related fatality numbers on our interstate digital boards every day,” Ashmore said. Though Illinois has a number of programs reminding drivers to drive safely, Ashmore said unfortunately there are still an average of 80 deaths a month.

That is why IDOT has initiated the “Safe Communities for Illinois” program to address this problem that provides funding for minority communities to develop safe driving programs especially around holidays. Ashmore wants the messages to target the at-risk drivers.

For the July 4th holiday, Ashmore warned state troopers will be out in force looking for seat belt violators and drunk drivers especially during late night hours. Hundreds of seat belt enforcement zones will be conducted across Illinois during a ten-day campaign half of them at night when most die in crashes. “Drive sober or get pulled over or click it or ticket it,” he said.

“We understand that this initiative is about individual and collective responsibility, and we are encouraging all of our clergy, our laity, young and old to take ownership” during this holiday but in a responsible way, said Rev. Dr. Wilson who urged people to assign a designated driver if they are drinking or to drive sober.

Peeling off the disturbing statistics of accidents, Rev. Harrell said black and Hispanic vehicular and alcoholic related fatalities are higher than the statewide average.

According to Rev. Harrell, a new bill was passed that bans texting or the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. “You must use a blue tooth or cordless but both hands must be on the steering wheel.” Failure to do so will get you pulled over, ticketed and perhaps jailed.

The Alliance for Community Peace program is designed to help local communities develop creative and comprehensive public education programs during the IDOT’s major safety belt and alcohol campaign, according to Harrell.

“The goal of this program is to reduce injuries and fatalities among at risk males ages 18-34 within the city of Chicago, increase seat belt usage rate among the demographics, increase awareness of the division of traffic and safety and the available material and programs through the IDOT…,” said Harrell.

She said the goal is also help local agencies and communities incorporate IDOT and the Division of Traffic Safety (DTS) messages and programs into their communities especially in Chicago.

Laying out some startling statistics, Rev. Harrell said young males ages 18-34 represent one-third of the 955 people who died on Illinois roadways last year or 317 deaths. She said an average of alcohol impaired driving fatalities include an average of about 0.8 or higher blood alcohol level.

In 2011, Harrell said there were 9,878 fatalities in the U.S. involving drivers who were legally drunk with an alcohol blood count level of 0.8 or higher. Also, in the same year, 6,507, or 66 percent of those died from being drunk with alcohol. Vehicular occupants who died included 2,661, or 27 percent and 710 or 7 percent who were non-occupants who were hurt outside of the cars.

Referring to 2012, Harrell said it was a very dangerous year in Illinois where fatalities increased by four percent. So far this year, Harrell said there have been 957 deaths for Illinois for 2011.

“Today, we have an issue. Traffic fatalities increased 17 percent statewide from January to July last year compared to the same year in 2011.”

Since July 5, 2012 when the message boards started listing the death tolls through December 31st, Harrell said there were 478 roadway deaths in 2012 compared to 500 during the same period of time. However, Harrell said the number of crash fatalities from January until today is 468. “The message still needs to be proclaimed from the pulpit, from the communities, from the residents that the message that drinking and driving is not kosher.”

Harrell urged pastors and community people to educate the at-risk group of motorists and said the safety check campaign runs from 6 p.m., July 1, 2013, to 5:59 a.m., July 5, 2013. Harrell said from 2008-2012, 2,443 people died in Illinois.“ That number is too high,” she said. “Please drive safely, seat belt safe. Clickit or ticket it, and please drive sober during this holiday. We’d like to see you around.”

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.

 

 

 

 

Collins’ school safety legislation becomes law

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

Police must partner with schools on shooting incident drills

 

OAK PARK,IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) spoke at a ceremony held at Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park for the signing of school safety legislation she sponsored. The new law requires law enforcement to work with schools to conduct shooting incident drills.

“Preparation is one of the keys to making sure school is a safe environment for all our children,” Collins said. “If in the future, God forbid, someone enters one of our schools to harm students and teachers, administrators and police will already have experience communicating and working together.”

Public and private schools in Illinois are already required to conduct evacuation drills to prepare for disasters such as tornados and fires. They may also simulate bomb threats, hazardous materials situations and other types of incidents. The law Collins proposed requires local law enforcement agencies to participate in exercises that prepare for a shooting incident and to notify schools if they find deficiencies in their response plans. It explicitly states that students do not have to be present at the time of the drill. Some schools may decide that the disruption and apprehension caused by asking students to act out a response to a shooting outweigh the benefits of student participation, particularly in the younger grades.

The legislation also adds suspicious person drills to the list of other kinds of safety exercises schools may conduct. Senate Bill 1625 takes effect immediately.

Lt. Gov. Simon seeking clemency for Illinois abolitionists

Posted by Admin On July - 3 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

First petition aimed at clearing Dr. Richard Eells

 

CARBONDALE, IL – In celebration of the nation’s anniversary, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced that she is launching an effort to restore the reputations of those who fought for freedom and equality. Simon will file petitions seeking clemency for Illinois abolitionists convicted for their fight against slavery. The first petition filed today seeks to clear central Illinois abolitionist Dr. Richard Eells.

“The men and women who defied the law to help slaves through the Underground Railroad risked their safety and well-being because they believed that all individuals deserve freedom,” said Simon. “It is time that we honor their memories and sacrifices with pardons for their selfless and courageous actions. Abolitionists were on the right side of history, and a pardon vindicates their foresight and heroism.”

Despite Illinois residents voting to abolish slavery in 1824, both Illinois and federal law prohibited the harboring or assisting of runaway slaves in free states. As part of this effort to honor abolitionists who fought for equality, Simon’s office is working with historians and experts around the state to identify men and women around Illinois who were convicted of violating slavery laws.

Simon filed a petition of clemency today for Dr. Richard Eells, who in 1843 was convicted of harboring a runaway slave. Eells, an abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor, did not hesitate to assist a man who is known in court records only as “Charley,” a runaway slave from Missouri. While transporting Charley to safety, they were discovered by slave catchers. In April 1843, a jury found Dr. Eells guilty of harboring and secreting a slave, and unlawfully preventing the lawful owner from recovering the slave. His case was later heard by the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the original verdict.

“The Friends of the Dr. Richard Eells House organization is very pleased with the opportunity the Lt. Governor is giving us to provide a pardon to Quincy’s Dr. Richard Eells for his efforts in 1842 to help Charley,” said John Cornell, president of the Friends of the Dr. Richard Eells House. “This pardon will also provide vindication and honor to all the courageous participants in the Underground Railroad. We just wish Charley could have found his freedom at that fateful time.”

Through his involvement in the Underground Railroad, Dr. Eells helped numerous slaves traveling through Quincy toward Chicago, and ultimately, to freedom in Canada. The National Parks Service has declared Dr. Eells home as one of the country’s 42 most important Underground Railroad sites, and the home is currently operated by the Friends of Dr. Richard Eells House.

Simon is also asking the public to contact her office to recommend additional clemency requests for individuals convicted for their abolitionist activities. Please visit www.ltgov.illinois.gov for updates.

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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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