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Archive for August 5th, 2013

Something Is Fundamentally Wrong

Posted by Admin On August - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


By William Spriggs


President Obama continues his visits to different parts of America to discuss the economy. This is his attempt to use the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency to direct a national dialogue. The President said, “There are no simple tricks to grow the economy. What we need is a serious, steady, long-term American strategy that reverses the long erosion of middle-class security and gives everyone a fair shot to get ahead.”

On this score, the President is exactly right. Clearly, we have a huge jobs deficit, but the problems facing America run deeper. We are stuck because we lost the road map. Simply getting the engine of job growth running is not going to put us on the correct path. In fact, it will simply run us into another, deeper rut.  The current Washington consensus that everything is fine, we just need to address long run fiscal deficits misses the precarious position we are in and that we are lost.

In Chattanooga, President Obama raised two points directly that underscore the direction the national discussion needs to go. One is the issue of the minimum wage. The other was the awful track record of public-sector employment that has weakened the recovery from the Great Recession. Both relate to restoring the role of government and democracy in shaping our economy.

Once again, President Obama spoke to raising the minimum wage; a topic he mentioned in his State of the Union address. As he pointed out this week, “No one who works full-time in America should have to live in poverty, I will keep making the case that we need to raise a minimum wage that in real terms is lower than it was when Ronald Reagan took office.” 

To put that in a different way, we are currently paying workers wages that would have been illegal in 1980. To create the middle class out of the depths of the Great Depression, it was clear the government had to rewrite the rules of the game. The government had to reset the boundaries of economic activity, especially to set the boundaries for wages.

It follows absolutely that if it is legal to pay workers a wage that puts them in poverty, you will have poor people. It is neither in the power of workers, or the government, to fight poverty that the market generates. The growth of the middle class was achieved in the post World War II era, in large part, because until 1981, the minimum wage generally tracked closely the wage that yielded an income slightly higher than the poverty level. So, anyone who landed a job, and worked hard could at least start from being on the poverty floor. Today, that is not the case. Nearly 3 million people in America work hard full-time, year-round, but remain in the cellar, not even able to reach the floor of poverty.

The change in the 1980s was a change in policy priority. Instead of the government setting boundaries so the market would generate middle-class outcomes, the government became the

servant of the great “Job Creator”; a mythical beast that claimed powers impossible in economics. Modern economists believe that we observe the intersection of supply and demand forces; clearly outcomes cannot be generated simply by one force. This superstition has led to the “creation” of lots of low-wage jobs, despite a workforce that has grown in education and skills.

It is time to assert a positive role of the government in the economy. Letting market power reign is not the same as letting competition reign. Boundaries do not prevent competition; they merely proscribe the competitive outcome. The wielding of market power leads to the end of competition and the start of oligopolies and monopolies; and oligopolies and monopolies do not lead to efficient outcomes. This is why anti-trust laws were developed to counterbalance the powers of a few economic actors to dictate market outcomes; instead of market forces.

And, something the President said only obliquely is an important set of rules the government put in place as well. The president said, “We saved the auto industry, and thanks to General Motors and the UAW working together to bring jobs back to America, 1,800 autoworkers in Spring Hill are on the job today in what was a once-closed plant.”

The importance of the UAW to saving the auto industry is a key to understanding the shortcomings of the “Job Creator” myth.  For the many workers who walked out in collective action at fast-food restaurants around America this week to demand a raise in the minimum wage, the need for labor law change is clear. Government is one counterbalance to market power, but empowering workers is another way to bring equilibrium in the market place. 

The Senate finally confirmed the president’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) so the rights of those fast-food workers can be protected and upheld. But, the president needs to articulate a modernization of enforcement of workers’ rights to get us back from being lost to found.

And, in asserting a positive role for the government in the economy, the president raised the point, “Over the past four years, more than 700,000 workers at the federal, state, and local levels of government have lost their jobs. These are cops, and firefighters, and about half of them are the people who work in our kids’ schools. These are real jobs, too. It doesn’t help a company like Amazon when hundreds of thousands of customers have less money to spend. If those layoffs hadn’t happened-if public-sector employment grew like it did after the past two recessions-the unemployment rate would be more than a full percent lower today, at 6.5%. And our economy would be much better off.” The key acknowledgement he made is that “cops, and firefighters” are “real jobs, too.”

Public-sector jobs are the result of democratic forces-people demand a public good and government has to go out to hire people to deliver those goods. The market place runs on one dollar one vote. But, public demand is based on one person, one vote. The great fear of the rich in an unequal society is that the 99 percent will exercise their democratic voice to demand public goods-public safety, public roads and public education. Suddenly, what is produced in the country, and therefore the real priorities of the country, would reflect the democratic will of the people, and not just the dictates of the rich who hold the sway in what the market will produce. And in this economy, people want to know why we can’t produce jobs that pay decent wages over an economy that produces profits for companies like Apple and GE that send their money overseas to hide their profits?

The president continues to move the nation to a discussion of what it will take to re-create the middle class in America. The initial reaction from Republicans was to continue to argue about long run fiscal stability; a smoke screen for a “stay the course” strategy of slow job growth and increasing inequality and ignoring the harm done to the middle class.  If the president will stick to the conversation America’s workers want to hear, he can unite us in a conversation about pulling America back together.  He should not get distracted by a clamor for “bipartisanship.”  

He needs to unite America’s working families, employed and people without jobs, young and needing work and old and seeking retirement security-not uniting phony party labels. That is his job; to heal the wounds of this downturn and get us back on a path to prosperity for all. Let the Republicans alone to fight for the lost cause.

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.

Clifford Law Offices files lawsuit on behalf of two people injured from water tank falling off Chicago building

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 Clifford Law Offices filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of a couple that was injured by flying debris and a tidal wave of water when a huge water tank fell off of a building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

A man and his girlfriend were in an alley moving the woman out of the building next door on Wednesday when the wooden water tank fell approximately nine stories from the top of the Brewster building in the 2800 block of Pine Grove Avenue.

Lauren Hussar, 27, and Jack Baginski, 29, were standing near his Acura when the water tank crashed down to the ground next to them.  They were rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where Lauren still remains.

 “We are immediately seeking all maintenance and inspection records for this building and its water tank,” said Richard F. Burke, Jr., partner at Clifford Law Offices handling the matter.  “Such an old and potentially dangerous structure must be carefully inspected and meticulously maintained to ensure it is securely mounted to the roof of the building. People living in densely populated neighborhoods need to know these aging water tanks are safe.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Law Division and seeks an unspecified amount of damages on behalf of each of them.

Hunger strikers attempt to enter Northwestern Memorial Hospital to demand a meeting with the CEO

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The Hunger Strike for Health Care has moved its location to occupy the sidewalk in front of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Hunger strikers spent Sunday night outside and refuse to leave. They will attempt to enter the hospital and demand a meeting with the CEO.

A press conference will be held Monday, August 5, 10:30 A.M. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Hunger strikers are escalating their protest against Northwestern Memorial Hospital, after the administration refused to meet them last week. The protesters who include patients in need of organ transplants, their loved ones and other community members, moved their hunger strike to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and are occupying the sidewalk across the street from the main entrance. They are demanding a meeting with hospital CEO, Mr. Dean Harrison and refuse to leave.

Hunger strikers accuse Northwestern Memorial Hospital of putting profits over human life. “This hospital is not about health care, it is all about money,” stated Maria Garnica, one of the hunger strikers. “I want to ask Mr. Harrison, if you can take organs from us, how come you will not give us organs when we need a transplant?”

“Are we only valuable for our body parts?”, asked Father Jose Landaverde. “Making organs a profit-driven business is a form of trafficking.” Hunger strikers accuse Northwestern Memorial Hospital of routinely denying life-saving care to the poor, the elderly, immigrants and other marginalized groups. “They exploit us, and then leave us to die,” stated Landaverde.

Overnight Protest Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/278977162241379
Monday Morning Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/609449932428970
Call-in Campaign: https://www.facebook.com/events/573732199357776

For more information, contact: Fr. Jose S. Landaverde 872-203-4310

Collins’ student privacy protections become law

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) applauded the governor’s signing of a measure designed to protect the privacy of students who use social media. House Bill 64, which takes effect on January 1, prohibits colleges and universities from requesting students’ social networking passwords or requiring students to give their schools access to their accounts except in extraordinary cases. It also allows primary and secondary schools to demand access only if they have reason to believe a social networking account contains evidence of violations of law or school rules.

“The prevalence of social media demands that government be proactive in establishing reasonable privacy protections for students, employees and job applicants,” Collins said. “I believe Illinois has taken great strides in the last year toward striking an effective balance concerning online privacy.”

Colleges and universities would still be able to require a student to furnish a password if they suspect a social media account contains evidence that a school rule has been violated. Elementary, middle and high schools must notify students and parents of their social media policies and the circumstances under which students may be required to give access to password-protected information.

Last year, Collins co-sponsored a law prohibiting employers from requiring employees or prospective hires to reveal their social media passwords as a condition of employment.

Durbin and Lee introduce Smarter Sentencing Act

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Bill Modernizes Drug Sentencing Policy, Focuses Resources on Violent Offenders and Public Safety Risks, Promotes Consistency with Fair Sentencing Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. – With federal prison populations skyrocketing and nearly half of the nation’s federal inmates serving sentences for drug offenses, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) have introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, to modernize our drug sentencing polices by giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing those convicted of non-violent offenses. Making these incremental and targeted changes could save taxpayers billions in the first years of enactment.

“Mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses have played a huge role in the explosion of the U.S. prison population,” Durbin said. “Once seen as a strong deterrent, these mandatory sentences have too often been unfair, fiscally irresponsible and a threat to public safety. Given tight budgets and overcrowded prison cells, judges should be given the authority to conduct an individualized review in sentencing certain drug offenders and not be bound to outdated laws that have proven not to work and cost taxpayers billions.”

“Our current scheme of mandatory minimum sentences is irrational and wasteful,” Lee said.  “By targeting particularly egregious mandatory minimums and returning discretion to federal judges in an incremental manner, the Smarter Sentencing Act takes an important step forward in reducing the financial and human cost of outdated and imprudent sentencing polices.”

The United States has seen a 500 percent increase in the number of inmates in federal custody over the last 30 years, in large part due to the increasing number and length of certain federal mandatory sentences. Mandatory sentences, particularly drug sentences, can force a judge to impose a one-size-fits-all sentence without taking into account the details of an individual case. Many of these sentences have disproportionately affected minority populations and helped foster deep distrust of the criminal justice system.

This large increase in prison populations has also put a strain on our prison infrastructure and federal budgets. The Bureau of Prisons is nearly 40 percent over capacity and this severe overcrowding puts inmates and guards at risk. There is more than 50 percent overcrowding at high-security facilities. This focus on incarceration is also diverting increasingly limited funds from law enforcement and crime prevention to housing inmates. It currently costs nearly $30,000 to house just one federal inmate for a year. There are currently more than 219,000 inmates in federal custody, nearly half of them serving sentences for drug offenses.

The bipartisan Durbin-Lee-Leahy bill is an incremental approach that does not abolish any mandatory sentences. Rather, it takes a studied and modest step in modernizing drug sentencing policy by:

  • Modestly expanding the existing federal “safety valve”: Our legislative “safety valve” has been effective in allowing federal judges to appropriately sentence certain non-violent drug offenders below existing mandatory minimums. This safety valve, however, only applies to a narrow subset of cases. The Smarter Sentencing Act would modestly broaden criteria for eligibility. This change, which only applies to certain non-violent drug offenses, is supported by nearly 70 percent of federal district court judges.


  • Promoting sentencing consistent with the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act: The bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 – which was authored by Senator Durbin and unanimously passed the Senate before it was signed into law – reduced a decades-long sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Unfortunately, because of the timing of their sentences, some individuals are still serving far-too-lengthy sentences that Congress has already determined are unjust and racially disparate. The Smarter Sentencing Act allows certain inmates sentenced under the pre-Fair Sentencing Act sentencing regime to petition for sentence reductions consistent with the Fair Sentencing Act and current law. Federal courts successfully and efficiently conducted similar crack-related sentence reductions after 2007 and 2011 changes to the Sentencing Guidelines. This provision alone could save taxpayers more than $1 billion. More information on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 can be found here.


  • Increasing individualized review for certain drug sentences: The Smarter Sentencing Act lowers certain drug mandatory minimums, allowing judges to determine, based on individual circumstances, when the harshest penalties should apply. The Act does not repeal any mandatory minimum sentences and does not lower the maximum sentences for these offenses. This approach keeps intact a floor at which all offenders with the same drug-related offense will be held accountable but reserves the option to dole out the harshest penalties where circumstances warrant. These changes do not apply to penalties for violent offenses.

The bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act is supported by faith leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals to the United Methodist Church. It is supported by groups and individuals including Heritage Action, Justice Fellowship of Prison Fellowship Ministries, the ACLU, Grover Norquist, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the Sentencing Project, Open Society Policy Center, the American Bar Association, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Constitution Project, Drug Policy Alliance, Brennan Center for Justice, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


Only four weeks left to catch “Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder” before this dazzling spectacle is gone for the Summer

Posted by Admin On August - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
“Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder” Reaches Final Weeks of Performances Closing an Amazing Summer Run with Additional Shows Labor Day Weekend

CHICAGO, IL – Only four weeks remain to experience edge-of-your-seat excitement with “Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder” at Chicago’s Navy Pier® Pepsi® Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand Ave. Hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times as “….a circus everyone can feel good about,” Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder must close on September 2, 2013 (Labor Day).
“Cirque Shanghai” has regular performances as follows:

  • Wednesday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. 
  • Thursday at 2 and 8 p.m.
  • Friday at 2, 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Saturday at 2, 6 and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m.

 Final performances will be Monday, September 2 (Labor Day) at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
“Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder” is a spectacle for audiences of all ages, featuring performers direct from China who are leaders in their craft of tumbling, juggling, balancing and more. With a total of 36 troupe members, “Dragon’s Thunder” is the largest Cirque Shanghai cast to ever visit the U.S.
This year’s production features an incredible line up of awe-inspiring acts, including “The Chinese Flex Bar,” the heart stopping “Gravity Swings,” and the awesome sounds of the traditional Chinese “Dragon Drums.” For the first time in Cirque Shanghai’s North American engagement, the traditional Chinese drums will be an integral part of the production.
Back from last year’s show is the fate tempting “Wheel of Destiny,” and China’s finest daredevil motorcycle troupe, “Globe of Death,” returns with not two, not four, but five motorcyclists riding at break-neck speeds within a steel globe.
Audiences and critics alike have lauded this year’s production. Chicago Parent proclaimed “… this year’s show ramps up the entertainment and thrills from previous years,” while the Northwest Indiana Times raved that “The performers of the Cirque Shanghai…have mastered the ‘wow factor.’”
Directed by Miao Miao Chen, “Cirque Shanghai: Dragon’s Thunder” is presented in this exclusive U.S. engagement by Navy Pier in conjunction with International Special Attractions, Ltd. (ISA) production headquarters in Shanghai, China. 
Tickets are priced from $15.50 – $29.50, and are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com/shanghai. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are currently available by calling GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visiting www.grouptix.net.  
Located on Lake Michigan, just east of Chicago’s downtown, Navy Pier is the most-visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest, welcoming more than 8 million visitors annually.  Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it is now one of the country’s preeminent recreation and exposition facilities, showcasing 50 acres of parks, gardens, restaurants, shops, attractions, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exhibition facilities and more.

“Sweet Home Chicago!” casting set for the Chicago Premiere of Pullman Porter Blues by Cheryl L. West, directed by Chuck Smith September 14 – October 20)

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Tickets on sale August 9

Larry Marshall, Cleavant Derricks, E. Faye Butler, Francis Guinan and Tosin Morohunfola among the Broadway legends, Chicago Favorites and Newcomers aboard Blues-Infused Journey


CHICAGO, IL – Tickets go on sale Friday, August 9 for Goodman Theatre Resident Director Chuck Smith’s Chicago premiere production of Cheryl L. West’s Pullman Porter Blues—a 2013 Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award nominee for Outstanding New Play/Musical. This blues-infused “glorious ride” (DCist) follows three generations of African American Pullman porters in the 1930s—an era that no longer enslaves them, but still exploits them—in an updated production especially for the city of Pullman’s origin. Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks (Broadway’s original James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls) portrays Sylvester Sykes, a second-generation railway porter, union organizer and father. Tony Award nominee Larry Marshall (Sportin’ Life in Broadway’s Porgy and Bess) portrays Monroe Sykes, the family patriarch grateful for the opportunities given to him by the Pullman company. Newcomer Tosin Morohunfola portrays Cephas, the youngest Sykes son and med-school hopeful with an itch for adventure. Chicago stage favorite E. Faye Butler portrays Sister Juba “with infectious spirit and adroit comedic timing” (Variety), Francis Guinan (August: Osage County) portrays Tex, the conniving white train conductor, and Claire Kander makes her Goodman Theatre debut in the role of Lutie, a stowaway. The musicians aboard the train include Jmichael Davis (Keys) on piano, Anderson Edwards (Shorty) on bass, Chic Street Man (Professor Slick) on guitar and Senuwell Smith (Twist) on drums. Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room. Pullman Porter Blues runs September 14 – October 20 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Tuesday, September 24). Tickets ($25 – $86; subject to change) go on sale to the general public Friday, August 9 and are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Pullman, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Abbott Fund and Allstate are Corporate Sponsor Partners. ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor. A full performance calendar follows.

“I remember being enamored with the smiling Pullman porters on my first train ride. Little did I know about the horrific working conditions they faced; and yet they persevered to become the first organized black labor union, a feat that cost many of them their jobs and their lives,” said playwright Cheryl L. West. “I have the incredible opportunity to bring this play to Chicago, my hometown, where so many Pullman porters lived. With the Sykes men as guides, audiences are invited to both explore the dark world behind the porters’ smiles and to recapture that initial fascination with a long train journey.”

“In Chicago, the Blues and Pullman go hand-in-hand. Pullman Porters were the town criers of the African American community, spreading news all over the country. They were treated with respect by everyone in the black community,” said director Chuck Smith, who celebrates 20 years at the Goodman with this production. “Cheryl pairs a rich and sometimes tragic story with Blues music, which is arguably as legendary as the Pullman Porters themselves.”

“The Blues help you say what you feel and feel what you can’t say.” It’s June of 1937, and the Panama Limited Pullman Train is speeding from Chicago to New Orleans on the night of the Joe Louis/James Braddock world heavyweight championship—a watershed moment. Three generations of African American train porters wrestle with ghosts of the past and dreams for the future as they eagerly await word of the Brown Bomber’s victory. Set to timeless Blues tunes performed by a live, on-stage band, and hot on the heels of runs at Seattle Repertory Theatre and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, Pullman Porter Blues is a spirited, music-infused ride audiences won’t soon forget. The design team includes Robert Christen (lights), Riccardo Hernandez (sets), Josh Horvath and Ray Nardelli (sound), Mike Tutaj (projections) and Birgit Wise (costumes). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager and Briana Fahey is the stage manager.

Simon announces expanded eligibility for Link grants to farmers and markets

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Federal dollars will fund free wireless Link, debit machines


SPRINGFIELD, IL – As chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced expanded eligibility and a new application deadline for federal funding that will pay for wireless machines that accept debit, credit and Link cards.

In addition to farmers’ markets, direct marketing farmers are now eligible for the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project. Applications are being accepted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture today through Aug. 30.

“It is important for all Illinois residents to have access to fresh, locally-grown produce, and this federal funding should help us reach more families around the state,” Simon said. “I encourage farmers and markets to apply for the grants before August 30 and make it easier for residents to eat healthy.”

Direct marketing farmers are defined as individual producers of agricultural products — such as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or grains — that are sold to the public at a farmers’ market that does not accept Link cards, the program by which Illinoisans access federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits.

The EBT Wireless Project is funded by a grant of $178,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and aims to expand access to fresh food for low-income residents and increase the sale of locally-grown food across the state. The grant reimburses farmers and markets for the purchase of a wireless machine, terminal setup fees and SNAP wireless fees, but not transaction fees.

Selected project participants will be provided with community kits developed by the Lt. Governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which will include training and promotional materials. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is also involved in administering the program while Experimental Station, a Chicago non-profit, and the Illinois Farmers Market Association will assist with training and the development of promotional materials. 

Simon noted that farmers markets and direct marketing farmers who want to accept SNAP benefits can go another route if they see the potential for high-volume sales. DHS is now offering free wireless terminals to farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that accept Link cards, but cannot be used for debit or credit cards. To be eligible, the sellers must be Food and Nutrition Service-certified, average $100 per month in Link transactions and use the wireless machine only for Link transactions.

To determine which Link program is the best fit or to apply for the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project, click here, visit www.agr.state.il.us or call 217-524-9129.

Hampton University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year Award awarded to national president of The Links, Incorporated

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Margot James Copeland Recognized for Contributions to HBCU

Margot James Copeland, National President of The Links, Incorporated, receiving Hampton University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year award


Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated’s national president, Margot James Copeland, was named Hampton University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year. This award is given annually to an alumnus for career accomplishments and outstanding contributions to Hampton University. The honor was bestowed upon Copeland during the university’s 143rd annual commencement exercises held May 12, 2013 in Hampton, Va.

“Margot is most deserving of this award as she understands the important role historically black colleges and universities play in building leaders of tomorrow,” said Eris Sims, executive director of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated. “She is a champion for programs and initiatives that strive to eliminate the academic achievement gap for students of color. It was under her leadership that the organization established its National HBCU Initiative in an effort to increase the retention and graduation rates of students attending college by the year 2020.”

Copeland’s passion for higher education is also demonstrated through her volunteer efforts. She is a member of the Business School Advisory board at Hampton University and a trustee at Kent State University. She also serves as a mentor/protégé program advisor for Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.

Copeland serves as executive vice president – director, Corporate Diversity & Philanthropy and an Executive Council member at KeyCorp. Since 2001, at which time Copeland served as chief diversity officer, KeyBank has been ranked as a Top 50 Company for Diversity for five years by DiversityInc. Copeland is a career human resources professional championing for environments where people can realize their full potential.

Among Copeland’s many distinguished awards and honors are: being named one of the “2012 Top Influential Women in Corporate America” by Savoy magazine; recognized by Diversity First as one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Ohio – 2012; being named one of the “Top Executives in Diversity” by BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine; bestowed Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Community Service Award.; and bestowed the Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Community Service Award.


The Links, Incorporated celebrates more than 65 years as a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African-American ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 276 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, its legacy of friends providing service that changes lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.

The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.

With over 2 million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually. For more information, visit www.linksinc.org.

Author Raye Mitchell introduces New Fictional Book Series “The Harvard Litigator: The Fixer For The Little Guy”

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   National Book Club Conference | Atlanta, GA | August 2-4, 2013


The Award-winning humanitarian, author and founder of G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program(TM) to host the inaugural “Fixer” party and reception on Friday August 2, 2013 at the Atlanta Buckhead Marriott to help women and girls.

NATIONWIDE: San Francisco Bay Area author, social entrepreneur and real life “Fixer” Dr. Raye Mitchell, arrives in Atlanta on August 2nd to attend the 11th annual National Book Club Conference (NBCC), which is taking place August 2-4, 2013 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Conference Center.  The groundbreaking writer will join dynamic colleagues attending the conference to discuss her non-fiction book on innovation and change, “The Laws of the New Game Changers: How to Make Breakthroughs That Take You Forward.” During the conference, Dr. Mitchell will excitedly introduce to Atlanta audiences her new fictional book series now in development, “The Harvard Litigator: The Fixer for the Little Guy.”“The Harvard Litigator” book series is a riveting fictional collection Author
Dr. Raye Mitchell
inspired by true facts and Mitchell’s real life experiences as a litigation attorney working to help improve the quality of life for hard working Americans and to generate future opportunities for them. The main character, Zola Penelope Roberson (ZPR) is based on Raye Mitchell’s life as a Harvard Law School trained attorney who leaves the legal profession to dedicate her time to helping and mentoring women and girls. One of the series’ narratives, “The Pawn” is a ripped-from-the-headlines-page-turner, inspired by the true case history of the sensational January 2013 jewelry store robbery of Jason’s of Beverly Hills that was featured on TMZ. Mitchell’s exclusive insider’s details go far beyond, and disclose layers much deeper than those revealed in the news. Visit the website www.theharvardlitigator.com to stay informed about the book series.“The NBCC is a very most important book club conference for authors and publishers of color, and I want to introduce the development of my ‘new legal drama meets Christian fiction’ project to this influential group of literary experts and thought leaders to start a conversation,” said Mitchell. “I am also excited to participate at the conference because “Scandal” co-executive producer Judy Smith, the real-life ‘fixer’ who inspired the blockbuster television series, will be honored there. I have high respect for Judy’s work and contributions as a real life crisis management expert and author. And, I must confess that I never miss an episode of “Scandal.”Because all proceeds from Mitchell’s books and projects support The New Reality Foundation and The G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation supporting mentoring and leadership training for girls, Mitchell will host a “Fixer” party at the NBCC to raise awareness and support the innovative programs designed to help “fix” many of the challenges that girls face as obstacles to their success. The fixer party will take place at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Conference Center in the Chastain Ballroom on Friday, August 2, 2013, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.Admission to Mitchell’s “Fixer” Party is free, but registration is required at the website: rayemitchellfixerparty.eventbrite.com.  The reception will help raise awareness of the need to support and mentor girls of color to become global leaders. “We need to fix the things that are blocking our girls from achieving greatness” Said Mitchell and so “guests who make a donation of $15.00 will receive a “Fixer Goodie Bag” valued at over $35.00 that includes a t-shirt, coffee mug, posters, stickers and more.” Registered guests who make a donation of at least $100.00 will have a chance to win a fabulous pair of Christian Louboutin designer shoes, valued at over $750.00.”Curtis Bunn, NBCC founder and president, his committee and all the noted authors have been invited to the “Fixer Party,” including “New York Times” bestselling authors Eric Jerome Dickey, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Pearl Cleage, Terrie Williams, Carl Weber, Alice Randall, ReShonda Tate Bilingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray; Andre Carter of the reality show “Braxton Family Values;” author Karen E. Quinones Miller, and more. Also invited and participating at the conference is DeVon Franklin, executive vice president at Columbia Pictures; husband of actress Meagan Good; and author of the critically acclaimed work “Produced by Faith.”

About Raye Mitchell

Raye Mitchell is a real life ‘fixer’ who helps ordinary people deal with problems that can become overwhelming. A successful litigation attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School, Mitchell is now acclaimed as an award winning humanitarian and social entrepreneur recognized for her contributions to creating positive changes in the community, and for girls in particular. She is the founder of The New Reality Foundation, a 501 c (3) tax-exempt foundation started by Raye in 2007 that provides training and mentoring for girls. The G.U.R.L.S. Rock Leadership Global Leadership Program (www.gurlsrock.org). Raye is also the co-founder of The M.B.A. Series Executive development Program that provides leadership training for young adults aged 12-40. (www.thembaseries.org)


A native of Los Angeles, California, Mitchell is a graduate the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy (BS) and USC Marshall School of Business (MBA). Raye has received numerous awards and is the author of “The Laws of the New Game Changers: How to Make Breakthrough Impacts that Take You Forward”(2013) and “The Evolution of Brilliance: Voices Celebrating the Importance of Women” (2011). www.rayemitchell.com.


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