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          Emotional Justice Conversation and Art Series                                                                                                                Multi-media, Multi-Platform, Mixed Gender, Inter-Generational,  Global, Digital, Critical Transforming a ...
Coalition of National Civil and Human Rights Organizations Applaud Justice Department’s Announcement of Racial Bias ...
By Juanita Bratcher   Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Sec'y of State Jesse White, Republican Senator-Elect Mark Kirk and ...

Archive for August 6th, 2013

Madigan announces charges against Premier Bank Board of Directors in $70 million criminal fraud scheme

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Alleges Failed Wilmette Bank Defrauded Troubled Asset Relief Program
 
 
CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with the Special Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to announce charges against former board of directors and officers of a state-chartered bank, alleging a wide-ranging criminal enterprise that cost the government more than $70 million.
 
Defendants Zulfikar Esmail, Shamim Esmail, Robert McCarty and William Brannin were formally arraigned earlier today in Cook County Criminal Court on a multi-count indictment for their roles in the alleged scheme at Premier Bank in Wilmette that failed more than a year ago.
 
The defendants are charged for their alleged roles in a long-running fraud scheme that defrauded the U.S. Treasury Department of $6.8 million from TARP and cost the FDIC $64.1 million when the bank failed on March 23, 2012.
 
The indictment alleged that from 2006 until the bank’s failure, the defendants hid the poor financial condition of the bank from state regulators. It alleges that Zulfikar Esmail engaged in a criminal shakedown scheme, soliciting and demanding bribes in connection with applications made for business loans and lines of credit to open and operate several Michael’s Fresh Market grocery stores in Naperville, Downers Grove and Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The indictment alleged Zulfikar Esmail demanded his children be given ownership stakes in the stores in exchange for loans and lines of credit.
 
The Attorney General also alleged Zulfikar Esmail ordered construction and improvement work done on his Evanston home and rental properties he owned, including the construction of an underground tunnel on the property of his home. The indictment alleges Esmail directed the contractor to prepare invoices that fraudulently showed the work was done at the bank in order to bill the bank for the work.
 
“The perpetrators of this criminal enterprise are charged with using taxpayer funds to further their own shakedown scheme at time when our country was on the brink of disaster,” Madigan said. “Their brazen actions to cover up this fraudulent scheme led to the failure of Premier Bank at the expense of its trusting customers and American taxpayers.”
 
Over the six-year period, the indictment alleged the bank officers submitted numerous fraudulent reports to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, misrepresenting the financial condition of the bank’s numerous loans and lines of credit. To cover up the true condition of the bank, the indictment alleged money from third parties was used to make payments on several loans that were past due, including payments from a limited liability corporation owned in part by Zulfikar Esmail’s children.
 
By late 2008, when authorities allege the bank was nearing failure, the bank applied for and received the first of two payments from TARP, ultimately receiving a total of $6.8 million in taxpayer dollars, in order to further the criminal scheme.
 
“On July 10, 2013, SIGTARP federal agents participated in the arrest of the individuals charged today, which represents the first criminal enterprise charges brought against officers and directors of a TARP bank,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). “Esmail, the former Chairman of TARP recipient Premier Bank, stands charged of orchestrating a criminal enterprise by using Premier Bank as his personal fiefdom and of exploiting TARP to finance an alleged long-running criminal enterprise while fattening his own pockets at the expense of customers and federal taxpayers. Esmail, his wife who was a senior officer and general counsel of the bank, and two bank directors are charged with a massive bank fraud conspiracy that hid the true financial condition of the bank. They are also charged with theft by deception for using allegedly fraudulent bank records to get $6.8 million in TARP bailout funds from Treasury, all of which was lost when the bank collapsed under the weight of this alleged fraud. SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate allegations of TARP fraud and ensure that TARP funds are used for their intended purpose, not to fund criminal activity.”
 
The bank’s failure in 2012 resulted in a total loss to FDIC of $64.1 million.
 
“We are pleased to join our law enforcement colleagues in announcing today’s charges. The FDIC Office of Inspector General is committed to investigating and prosecuting cases where trusted insiders abuse their positions and engage in activities that harm their institutions,” said John Lucas, Special Agent in Charge, FDIC Office of the Inspector General’s Office of Investigations. “The alleged fraud in this case contributed to Premier Bank’s failure and corresponding losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund. We will continue to pursue such threats to the safety and soundness of FDIC-insured institutions throughout the country.”
 
The defendants were arrested at their homes on July 10 and appeared in court today to formally face charges.
 
Zulfikar Esmail, 70, of Evanston, was charged with: Financial institution fraud, organizer of a financial crimes enterprise, continuing a financial crimes enterprise, theft by deception, commercial bribery of a financial institution and conspiracy to commit a financial crime. He faces a mandatory prison sentence for the Class X felony charges of theft by deception and organizer of a financial crimes enterprise, which each carry a mandatory prison sentence of six to 30 years. The remaining charges are Class 1 felonies punishable by four to 15 years in prison.
 
Defendants Shamim Esmail, 65, of Evanston; Robert McCarty, 51, of Geneva; and William Brannin, 53, of Chicago; were charged with financial institution fraud, continuing a financial crimes enterprise and conspiracy to commit a financial crime, each a Class 1 felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison. The three defendants additionally face the charge of theft by deception, a Class X felony with a mandatory prison sentence of six to 30 years.
 
Zulfikar Esmail and Shamim Esmail have been released on a collective $850,000 bond. McCarty was released on a $400,000 bond, and Brannin was released on a $350,000 bond.
 
The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
 
This case was investigated by the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP and the Office of the Inspector General of the FDIC. Bureau Chief Edward Carter and Assistant Attorneys General Edward Snow and Anshuman Vaidya are handling prosecution of the case for Madigan’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.

The Next Affirmative Action: Want to Help Minority College Students? Make the Entire Higher Education System More Accountable

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Part Four of an Eleven-Part Series on Race in America – Past and Present
 
By Kevin Carey
 
 
Affirmative action as we know it is dying. A growing number of states have moved to prohibit public universities from considering race in admissions, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently made a decision in an anti-affirmative action lawsuit that left little doubt about where the Court’s conservative majority stands. Less than a decade after the Court upheld racial admissions preferences in Grutter v. Bollinger, newer jurists like Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts seem ready to call into question and refuse to reaffirm a policy that has helped generations of minority students grab a rung on the ladder of opportunity.
 
 
The Court’s decision to remand the case – Fisher v. University of Texas – to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is apparently a temporary victory. It is particularly odious given the college admissions apparatus it could leave in place if ever struck down. Elite colleges warp and corrupt the meritocratic admissions process in a wide variety of ways. Academically substandard athletes, for example, are allowed in so they can play for the amusement of alumni and help shore up the fund-raising base. While some men’s football and basketball players come from low-income and minority households, many athletes at the highly selective colleges where affirmative action really matters engage in sports like crew and lacrosse that are associated with White, privileged backgrounds. Colleges also give preference to the children of legacies, professors, celebrities, politicians, and people who write large checks to the general fund. All of these groups are also disproportionately wealthy and White.
 
 
In other words, the Supreme Court is poised to uphold affirmative action for everyone except Minority students. We’ve come to this point in part because the Court has been packed with people like Roberts, who once struck down a plan to integrate public schools on the grounds that he saw no distinction between race-conscious policies that increased integration and the kind of brutal discrimination outlawed by Brown v. Board of Education. Apparently, John Roberts doesn’t see race, so neither should anyone else.
 
 
But affirmative action is also dying because it has strayed far from its original purpose. The justification for affirmative action the Court used in Grutter is that schools have a compelling interest in increasing racial diversity because students benefit from learning among people from disparate backgrounds. Affirmative action, once a pillar of the nation’s work on behalf of the historically oppressed, is now allowable only on the grounds that it’s good for White people.
 
This allowed Roberts to harangue lawyers defending the University of Texas’s affirmative action policies by asking them how much diversity, exactly, they were shooting for, knowing that any specific answer could be struck down as an illegal quota. Perpetual swing vote and de facto King of America Anthony Kennedy, meanwhile, made the sensible critique that UT was giving preference to wealthy minority students, since the university presumably gets more than enough of the poor kind through a state law granting automatic admission to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
 
 
Regardless of how the Court ultimately rules, it’s time to return affirmative action to its original purpose: leveling the college playing field for students who have been unjustly denied a fair chance at success. And the most important part of that project is expanding this idea far beyond elite colleges and universities.
 
 
While Brown is the iconic twentieth-century decision on race and educational justice, the 1954 decision was presaged by a number of crucial legal actions in higher education. Unsurprisingly, states with racist elementary and secondary school policies also discriminated against Black students in their universities. In 1950, future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall argued and won Sweatt v. Painter, which prohibited UT from forcing Black students into a separate law school.
 
 
And like Brown, the promise of those early victories has been substantially unfulfilled. More than half a century after states were instructed to desegregate with “all deliberate speed,” the Justice Department still maintains a division of lawyers tasked with monitoring racial discrimination in public schools. (A DOJ headline from November 2012: “Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Georgia School District to Ensure All Students Can Enroll in and Attend School.”) And while public schools are no longer officially segregated, they are still governed by thousands of independent school districts that are substantially funded by local property taxes. Long-term residential and economic trends have made many of those districts impoverished and racially homogenous. As a result, minority students go to schools that on average receive less funding than those serving predominantly white students and are more likely to be staffed by unqualified teachers.
 
 
The same patterns persist in higher education. But here’s where the two parts of our education system sharply diverge. Both K-12 and higher education continue to suffer from a legacy of racism. There is enormous awareness of the elementary and secondary side of the problem. George W. Bush’s signature domestic policy achievement, the No Child Left Behind Act, was designed to erase the “achievement gap” between White and minority students, while the Obama administration’s Race to the Top school initiative was touted by both candidates in the recent presidential debates. There is currently a roiling national argument about K-12 school reform, with partisans and advocates arguing for and against standardized testing, charter schools, teacher merit pay, school closings, and many other policies aimed at fixing low-performing schools.
 
 
People may vehemently disagree about how to help minority students in K-12 education, but nearly all agree that the students need help in the first place. Yet in every big city with a headline-making, underperforming school district, there’s a public higher education system receiving not 1/100th of the scrutiny. Detroit, for example, is widely seen to have the worst public school system in America-so bad that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said he “lose[s] sleep over” the plight of the city’s 50,000 students. But how many people know that Wayne State, Detroit’s main public university, has an 8 percent-yes, 8 percent-graduation rate for Black students? Who’s losing sleep over them?
 
 
Detroit is, no surprise, a worst case. But it’s hardly the only city with a pervasive and largely ignored higher education problem. In Duncan’s hometown, 19 percent of Black students who enroll full-time at Chicago State University graduate within six years. At California State University, Los Angeles, it’s 22 percent. The University of the District of Columbia matches Wayne State for futility, with an 8 percent graduation rate for Black students. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee? 19 percent.
 
 
Texas Southern University in Houston was once the Texas State University for Negroes-the separate, unequal institution that the state created to avoid integration, leading to Sweatt. Today, it hosts the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and graduates 12 percent of its Black undergraduates on time.
 
 
Nationwide, the majority of all Black and Latino college students fail to graduate within six years. Even those who do finish may not be getting much benefit. Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s blockbuster 2011 study Academically Adrift, which found “limited or no learning” taking place among a substantial percentage of all college graduates, also found significant racial disparities, with Black students learning less than their White peers. Studies of literacy among college graduates have found similar patterns.
 
 
Black students are also more likely than other groups to default on student loans that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, leaving financial ruin in their wake, and minority students are targeted by for-profit colleges peddling sketchy degrees and inflated student loans. State governments, meanwhile, give far more money per student to flagship universities enrolling a disproportionately White, wealthy student body than to the regional universities and community colleges where most minority students are educated.
 
 
America’s higher education system is comprehensively failing to give minority students what they need, and this has little to do with elite college admissions. Including community colleges, fewer than one in 10 undergraduates attend colleges with admissions rates below 50 percent. By definition, affirmative action only affects the small percentage of students who are qualified to attend elite schools. Many of the minority students washing out of public universities in droves are the survivors of our infamously substandard K-12 schools, attending local, open-admissions institutions. Their problem isn’t getting into college-it’s getting out with a quality degree in hand and no terrible loans on their backs.
 
 
So the end of affirmative action, absurd though it is, may be an opportunity to change the way people think about race and higher education. Affirmative action is one of a relatively small number of high-profile issues, like climate change, school vouchers, and abortion, that people form strongly held opinions about based largely on broad ideological affiliation. To be liberal is to favor admissions preferences in college; to be conservative is to oppose them. That’s a powerful dynamic, but it has also had the effect of training generations of progressives to believe that they’re doing their part to further the cause of racial justice in college by supporting affirmative action-and nothing else.
 
 
In reality, minority students need a much broader reform agenda, one that focuses on giving the colleges they attend a fair share of public resources and then holding them accountable for results. Not all colleges that enroll large numbers of Black students have catastrophic graduation rates. Some, like Elizabeth City State University, a historically Black public institution in North Carolina, get nearly half of their students through on time. Like many minority-serving institutions, Elizabeth City enrolls students whose academic preparation reflects the dysfunction of our K-12 schools. That’s a tough job, and a university with real academic standards shouldn’t necessarily let 100 percent of students earn a degree. But there’s a huge difference between 8 percent and 50 percent, and the things universities like ECSU do to help students graduate aren’t revolutionary: they bring new students to campus over the summer to help them acclimate, they carefully track their academic progress to look for warning signs of dropping out, and they focus hard on academics. But many unsuccessful colleges don’t do these things-or don’t do them well-because nobody outside the institution is paying attention.
 
 
States need to start practicing financial affirmative action by devoting more public resources to colleges that enroll students with the greatest academic needs. Along with the federal government, they should also penalize institutions with terrible graduation rates, student loan repayment rates, and post-graduation employment and earning rates, compared to peers with similar student populations. Those who set the national education agenda need to look past the handful of universities that graduate the ruling class and focus on improving the neglected institutions that educate future minority school teachers, scientists, doctors, and engineers. It will require the work of generations, but that’s what minority college students-blinkered jurists notwithstanding-truly need.
 
 
Kevin Carey is the director of the Education Policy program at the New America Foundation.  This article, the Fourth of an 11-Part Series on Race, is sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and was originally published by the Washington Monthly Magazine.

Mobile Rail Workers rally against firing of three workers of Mobile Rail Workers Union

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Letters to Editors

(From Mobile Rail Workers Union)

To intimidate workers from their NLRB election, management at Mobile Rail Solutions has fired three workers of the Mobile Rail Workers Union. This illegal act is unjust and will not be tolerated. They claim that they will be firing all non-CDL carrying employees. We see this as a clear attack on the Union and a direct retaliation for the worker’s recent OSHA complaints. For years, Mobile Rail has deployed its locomotive service trucks with teams of one driver accompanied by one non-CDL helper. The attempt to break apart these teams not only is meant to destroy the organizing efforts but also creates an extremely hazardous situation for all workers. By changing to a single-driver operation, there will be no protections in the case that the one driver suffers heat stroke, is injured by faulty machinery, or is a victim of a train accident.

We Demand:

  • The immediate reinstating of Eric, Dwayne, and Brian.
  • Workers are to be treated with dignity and respect. Management ceases all of its threats of firing and their attempted bribes to activity for our recognition as a union.
  • Management must meet with the workers to discuss job related issues and concerns.

The rally was held Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 1425 S Western Ave. in Chicago, Il. Attendees were asked to wear RED and Black!

Organizers said every worker should be free to organize without being fired and to democratically vote on the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) election on August 14th.

Crash data reveals a high percentage of motorcyclists driving drunk on Illinois roadways in late afternoon

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

IDOT, A.B.A.T.E., Gold Wing Riders and Law Enforcement Work Together to Reinforce “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over” Message to Save Lives

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) and motorcycle safety advocates joined forces to remind Illinois motorcyclists that mixing alcohol and motorcycle riding can lead to tragic results. The “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is paying close attention to motorcycle riders as Illinois crash data reveals the percentage of drunk motorcycle riders (motorcycle operators with a BAC of 0.08 or higher) involved in fatal crashes during late afternoon and early evening hours are more than double that of drunk drivers of any other type of passenger vehicle.

“The data indicates that many people are riding drunk in late afternoon and we must put a stop to this trend before more lives are lost on Illinois roadways,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over is a very simple life-saving message for these individuals. Their behavior is dangerous and is criminal, and law enforcement officers will continue to find them and arrest them.”

IDOT and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows for the 3 p.m. to 5:59 p.m. timeframe (see chart below) that 15 percent of motorcycle fatalities occurring during that time involve a drunk rider compared to 6 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities during the same time. Data shows from 6 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. to be even worse as 24 percent of motorcycle fatalities at that time involve a drunk rider compared to 11 percent of passenger cars.   

“Whether you are traveling in a vehicle or riding on a motorcycle, safety should be the number one priority,” said ISP Colonel Michael Zerbonia. “Every second counts when it comes to road safety and our officers will be enforcing all traffic laws and reminding motorists that seatbelts save lives.”

In 2012 in Illinois, 148 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle crashes. That was a slight increase from 2011 motorcycle fatalities when 145 motorcyclists lost their lives. Motorcycle riders continue to be over-represented in Illinois motor vehicle crash fatalities. In 2012, motorcycles made up 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles, yet motorcycle riders represented more than 15 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.

“When motorcyclists fail to make smart choices, their decisions may have fatal results,” said Bruce Liebe, President of the Lincoln Land Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. 

For more information on motorcycle safety and drunk driving in Illinois, log on to startseeingmotorcycles.org or drivesoberillinois.org.

Illinois Passenger Vehicle and Motorcycle Fatalities Involving Drunk Drivers by Time of Day (2007-2011)
Time of Day Total Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving a Drunk Driver* Percent of Total Motor Vehicle Fatalities Involving a Drunk Driver* Total Motorcycle Fatalities Involving a Drunk Rider** Percent of Total Motorcycle Fatalities Involving a Drunk Rider**
12:00am-2:59am 422 34% 41 19%
3:00am-5:59am 237 19% 22 10%
6:00am-8:59am 54 4% 6 3%
9:00am-11:59am 27 2% 7 3%
12:00pm-2:59pm 36 3% 8 4%
3:00pm-5:59pm 68 6% 32 15%
6:00pm-8:59pm 137 11% 52 24%
9:00pm-11:59pm 244 20% 45 21%
Totals 1,225 100% 213 100%
  * Fatalities involving at least one passenger vehicle driver with a BAC of 0.08 or greater**Fatalities involving at least one motorcycle rider (operator) with a BAC of 0.08 or greaterNote:  For purposes of this report, a passenger vehicle is any vehicle, other than a motorcycle, that is licensed to operate on Illinois public roadways.

 

Nike partners with Saint Sabina to train youth

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

Pfleger sees ‘peace and love’ in community

By Chinta Strausberg

Saying he is so grateful to Nike for sponsoring a “Nike Clinic” for both grade and high school students held at the Saint Sabina ARK and for bringing out two former NBA players who gave a pep talk and taught life skills, Father Michael L. Pfleger Saturday said this is the first of several programs Nike will put on for the youth.

“I am so grateful for Nike for coming out. It was a positive thing having all of these skills being thought by professional coaches. They fed the kids. They gave them a shirt, gave them skills, gave them all this attention and brought out Bobby Simmons, Sonny Parker, former NBA players to come out and spend time talking to them,” said Father Pfleger.

In looking out over the youth listening to the former NBA players, Pfleger said, “We do good things at Saint Sabina. This is one of the best…. This is hopefully the beginning of many more things we want to do with the Nike group.”

Nike officials trotted out former NBA stars Bobby Simmons and Sonny Parker who gave pep talks to the youth. Simmons, who graduated from Simeon High School and who was a DePaul player has been a professional ballplayer for more than a decade, but now he has turned his attention to his businesses.

Simmons, who grew up in CHA’s Altgeld Gardens , told the students he was driven by perfecting his game and how he practiced day and night until he felt he was the best he could be.

He took those same sports principles and applied it to opening businesses that include printing, clothing and marketing companies including real estate.

Father Pfleger is still planning his September 21, 2013 peace tournament. It will be his second annual tournament following his September 15, 2012 peace accord he struck with four rival gangs in the Auburn Gresham community.

Asked about the peace in the community since that peace pact, Pfleger said, “The peace is continuing, but it’s not just the peace in the community but the great spirit in the community right now. Every time we go out on Friday night, we get great responses, support and gratefulness from the community. It’s one thing to have peace and another thing to have love and I’m seeing the love out there right now…peace and love,” he said.

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.

Clergy, unions, community organizations take over Palmer House Hilton Lobby, demanding hotel rescind invitation to ALEC

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

Moral Monday Coalition drops banners, risks arrests to protest corporate-authored legislation

 

CHICAGO, IL –  The Chicago Moral Monday Coalition, an alliance of Chicago clergy, lay people, unions and community organizations, took over the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton, at 17 E. Monroe St., to protest the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is slated to meet at the hotel this Wednesday for its 40th annual national conference. The Coalition is demanding that the Palmer House rescind its invitation to ALEC. Numerous Coalition members intend to risk arrest should the hotel not meet their demand, in order to raise awareness of the backroom deals ALEC makes with legislators, and demand ALEC be held accountable. A press conference will immediately follow the action, at the Monroe Street entrance.

“ALEC is one of the great nexi where money and politics meet in order to corrupt our democracy. ALEC brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators in order to vote behind closed doors on corporate-authored ‘model legislation’,’” said Greg Goodman, protest organizer.

ALEC model legislation includes “voter ID” laws, which facilitate unlimited spending by private interests in political elections, “right to work” laws, designed to repeal the minimum wage, laws that prevent the filing of class action lawsuits against corporations and employers, laws that eliminate mandated health benefits and other benefits for workers, laws that create new tax havens for corporations and the wealthy, laws that facilitate the diversion of public funds from public to private and charter schools, laws that limit the ability of government to regulate pollution and that repeal existing environmental protections, laws that facilitate the construction of for-profit prisons, laws that increase penalties for drug and other offense, laws that force juveniles to be tried as adults, laws that encourage racial and ethnic profiling in the policing of immigration, and the controversial “stand your ground” law.

“ALEC promotes the interests of Big Business and the 1% while actively working to disenfranchise ordinary people, erode workers rights, gut the social safety net, destroy the environment, eliminate corporate liability, criminalize poverty and immigration, privatize the public goods and inject even more money into our political system, drowning out the voices and rights of the people,” Goodman said.

The Chicago Moral Monday Coalition takes its name from the series of ongoing weekly protests in North Carolina.

“Over the last three months, more than 900 North Carolinians have been arrested, and thousands upon thousands more have rallied to support them. Our brothers and sisters in Raleigh have been protesting cuts to public education and assaults on labor, attacks on Medicaid, unemployment and other social programs, and disenfranchisement through restrictive voter ID laws,” said Chicago Moral Monday Coalition member Rev Marilyn Pagán-Banks, United Church of Christ.

“While Moral Monday activists and community members have been targeting their state legislators, most of these new laws were originally written by ALEC. As North Carolinians take their protest to Ashville today to follow their congresspeople home after the end of the legislative session, we join them in solidarity as we take the Moral Monday protest to the authors of these and other immoral laws in Chicago,” said Rev Pagán-Banks.

Moral Monday against ALEC debuts a week of action against the model-legislation manufacturer.

“Our fight against ALEC is just beginning. We want everyone in Chicago to know what ALEC stands for and how they are destroying our rights. We are calling on the citizens of Chicago to  demand Palmer House rescind its invitation and for ALEC to leave town, knowing its corporate-drafted laws aren’t welcome here,” said Natalie Wahlberg, organizer.

Moral Monday Coalition partners include local clergy and laypeople, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), National Nurses United (NNU), US Uncut, Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Chicago Fracking Working Group, Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions, Young People’s Assembly on Violence and Youth Services Project, Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel receives JUBA! Award at Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Jubalee

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Gala Benefit Takes Place October 28 on Jay Pritzker Pavilion Stage in Millennium Park 
Rahm Emanuel          
 
CHICAGO: The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), the world’s first year-round presenter of American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts, honors Mayor Rahm Emanuel with its JUBA! Award at JUBALEE, CHRP’s annual gala benefit supporting performance, education and community programs that reach more than 20,000 people every year. This special evening, hosted by broadcast legend and civic leader Bill Kurtis, takes place October 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. 

JUBA Award and performances

At this year’s JUBALEE, which launches CHRP’s 24th season, CHRP honors Mayor Rahm Emanuel with its annual JUBA! Award for Exceptional Service to the Arts and Community. Guests will celebrate Mayor Emanuel’s relentless commitment to promoting dance, the arts and civic engagement by every citizen. He will join the distinguished company of past JUBA! Award honorees including Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Bill Irwin, Mayor and Mrs. Richard M. Daley, Ted and Susan Oppenheimer, and Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception and a silent auction, followed by performances featuring CHRP’s resident ensemble BAM!, the Greg Spero Trio, youth from the Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School and other special guests. The evening concludes with dinner, a live auction and a dessert reception where guests can meet the performers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is Honorary Chair. Co-Chairs to date include Lane Alexander and Judith Blank, Diana Harris, Richard and Diane Weinberg, Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra, Elaine and Arlen Rubin, Ted and Susan Oppenheimer, Charlie Gardner and Patti Eylar, and Paul Levy and Mia Park.

Tickets to JUBALEE are $150, $250 and $500. For information or to purchase tickets, visit chicagotap.org or call 312-542-CHRP (2477).

BAM! photo (R) by Glenn Kaupert.   

 
About Chicago Human Rhythm Project
CHRP is supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Target, The Boeing Company, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Arlen and Elaine Cohen Rubin Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, The Jeanette & Jerome Cohen Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, Live Marketing, The James S. Kemper Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Arts Midwest, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Family Foundation, L&L Hardwood Flooring, So Danca, Peoples Gas, The Service Club of Chicago, The Walmart Foundation and generous individual donors.

Founded in 1990,  Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) builds community by presenting American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts in world-class and innovative performance, education and community outreach programs. During the last 22 years, CHRP has produced multiple community-based collaborations involving shared revenue programs, concerts and touring opportunities, including:

  • annual National Tap Dance Day concerts, featuring an array of tap and percussive dance artists
  • a shared revenue program designed to assist Chicago’s budding tap community to build capacity through audience development, created in 2001
  • Thanks 4 Giving, another innovative shared revenue program launched in 2005 as part of its annual Global Rhythms concerts at the Harris Theater, through which CHRP has partnered with more than 100 Chicago-based nonprofits to raise funds for a wide variety of service agencies
  • participation in the 5th Anniversary Beijing International Dance Festival, assembling 70 artists to represent the United States
  • establishment of the American Rhythm Center (ARC), providing a shared, affordable and sustainable education, rehearsal and administrative facility for several leading Chicago arts organizations in the historic Fine Arts Building
  • curating the first ever, full-length performance of concert tap dance on a main stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 7, 2012  

CHRP’s vision is to establish the first global center for American tap and percussive arts, which will create a complete ecosystem of education, performance, creation and community in a state-of-the-art facility uniting generations of diverse artists and the general public.

Lt. Governor Simon launches online military survey

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Military families and residents of defense communities asked to rank education, health care and work force issues 

 

CARBONDALE, IL – After convening listening posts in three Illinois defense communities, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today announced her office will continue soliciting input from residents and military families across the state. To extend her reach, Simon launched an online survey for individuals to share the issues facing communities that neighbor military bases or are home to National Guard and reserve units.

The community and virtual listening posts come as communities around the Metro East, Quad Cities and North Chicago areas struggle with the economic impact of sequestration and the possibility of future cuts.

“The listening posts enabled us to talk with residents, business owners, military families and others about how the state can help make their communities even better places to live and work,” said Simon. “It is important that residents who weren’t able to attend these meetings have a way to be heard, so I encourage people to participate in this survey. Together we can make Illinois the best state for military families.”

The survey, which is being administered in partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), will close Friday, Sept. 6. The brief online survey includes questions pertaining to business climate, education, workforce training and quality of life, and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

The Lt. Governor’s Office will work with the IIRA to compile the survey data with information from the three listening posts held in the Metro East, Quad Cities and North Chicago, where she met with military families, employees of the U.S. Department of Defense, veterans, employers and educators this spring and summer. Though the communities surrounding Scott Air Force Base, Rock Island Arsenal and Naval Station Great Lakes are different, each share concerns on issues such economic development and education opportunities for children.

Simon will then present the findings 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.

The survey can be found here.

Phen will host its Ninth Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit September 19th and 20th

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Boston, MA (BlackNews.com) — The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) will host its “Ninth Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit” on September 19th and September 20th in Washington, D.C. The summit assembles leaders within government, medicine and research, along with survivors and advocates to share and collectively address strategies to eliminate the prostate cancer racial disparity. Black men in the United States have a 60 percent higher prostate cancer incidence rate and suffer a 140 per cent higher death rate than men of any other racial or ethnic group.

“The release of multiple prostate cancer early detection screening guidelines during the past two years and the recent trend towards active surveillance has caused a tremendous amount of confusion within Black America. However, clarity is paramount for Black men who are facing prostate cancer incidence and death rates that are unprecedented compared to other men,” says PHEN president Thomas A. Farrington. “Our summit will strive to provide some clear answers and directions.”

The 2013 summit sessions are: Evaluating Early Detection Screening Guidelines; New Developments and Evolving Trends in Prostate Cancer; PHEN Community Education and Awareness Outreach Initiatives; Active Surveillance – To Treat or Not to Treat Prostate Cancer; New Diagnostics Tests for Informed Treatment Decisions; Clinical Trials Equity.

The venues for the two-day summit are the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Building; the Washington Convention Center and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). More information about the summit sessions and the schedule for each venue is available on PHEN’s website at: Summit Update .

The summit is open and free to the public. Registration is now available online at:
www.prostatehealthed.org/register2013.php

For more information about the Ninth Annual Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit, please email rapcancer@prostatehealthed.org or call 617-481-4020.

About PHEN
PHEN was founded in 2003 by Thomas A. Farrington, a prostate cancer survivor and author, with a mission to eliminate the African American prostate cancer disparity. PHEN’s efforts are implemented through its national “Rally Against Prostate Cancer (RAP Cancer)” initiatives which include the annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit. For more details, visit www.prostatehealthed.org

 

$70,000 urban land site now valued at $1,000,000 for student

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Special Partial Tuition Scholarships Now Available for accepted African Americans, Other Minorities or U.S. Veterans

Boston, MA (BlackNews.com) — The Founder of The REDI Foundation, non-profit institute, Richard Michael Abraham, announced at The REDI Foundation’s press conference that the mission to teach and train land and property owners how to become successful real estate developers and develop their property continues to produce success stories.

“The 6-Month Mentoring ONLINE Real Estate Development Course is teaching and will train 500 professionals in the next five years how to successfully develop land or property. This is my legacy Course where I mentor each accepted student personally and privately. Since my announcement in November last year, just look at the fantastic developments my students are doing,” Mr. Abraham stated.

The 6-Month Online Real Estate Development Certification and private Mentoring Course is recognized as the world’s most comprehensive Program. Each accepted student is required to develop the land or property with the help of and under the watchful eye of Mr. Abraham. Course enrollment is strictly limited and always fills quickly but “Standby” places are available for exceptional applicants.

“Just take one of my students. Even though F.T. Ryan, a fabulous student is educated, like so many other Americans he cannot find suitable employment. He remembered ten years ago, he had purchased a vacant land parcel and now, to survive and take control over his life and income, he decided to learn how to develop his land. After working and studying hard in the Course and following my Mentoring, F.T. (or Todd) now is on the verge of developing a mixed-use development including his own street-front restaurant and upper floor apartments in Philadelphia. Based on the financial feasibility, he is now projecting to earn a $1,000,000 profit. And there are a lot of other average Americans out there who can do the same,” Mr. Abraham added.

Todd had a few words of his own to add: “With an extensive background in Chemistry, Art and Mathematics from Temple University, I still did not FEEL FULFILLED… until I enrolled into the REDI Foundation’s Real Estate Development Certification Program. Imagine having someone that’s like a friend of the family, a close friend of the family who wants to passionately and wholeheartedly see you succeed as a real estate developer, fulfilling your visions…Richard Michael Abraham. Imagine having a life coach that passionately wants to see you succeed…Richard Michael Abraham. And the icing on the cake – to have someone teach you PRINCIPLES that most people wouldn’t even learn in a lifetime…Richard Michael Abraham. And this is just the tip of the iceberg to what the future will hold. What so many other developers KEEP HIDDEN out of fear, Mr. Abraham and The REDI Foundation brings to light with stellar confidence.”

Land and property owners, entrepreneurs and professionals who possess a passion for real estate development and who feel they have what it takes to develop real estate (once they learn the skills) are invited to apply for the 6-Month Course by visiting www.redii.org

Only the very best applicants are accepted. If you feel you are an exceptional candidate, to apply for a special “Standby” Course place, review all the details about the course on the website and then, if you have a passion to learn, email your completed Application as soon as possible. Tuition is comparable to a University program. (Partial scholarships are limited) Include a sincere cover letter describing why you want to be accepted. Also include any details on land or property you want to develop. Once received, a REDI Application officer will contact you for your interview and to discuss your exact tuition amount after the partial scholarships.

Photo Caption: F.T. Ryan, real estate student at The REDI Foundation 

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