17
October , 2018
Wednesday

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) issued the following statement after Iran released a ...
  Recoveries During Attorney General Madigan’s Tenure Top $14 Billion for State of Illinois   CHICAGO, IL  — ...
FY2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report receives clean audit opinion SPRINGFIELD, ...
  Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- During one of the worst economic times in the country's history, 30-year ...
By Marc Morial President & CEO, National Urban League As we celebrate the contributions of Black ...
A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ...
  By Chinta Strausberg At the annual meeting of the Actions Connected To Spirituality: Forming Alliances In ...
CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Senator Mark ...
Chicago, IL - The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently received the coveted ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL — In anticipation of the kick off of the Illinois State Fair, the ...

Archive for September 16th, 2013

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to unveil new Enterprise Pavilion during the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Pavilion connects job seekers, corporations, the government sector, and minority businesses during Exhibit Showcase

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) will unveil its new Enterprise Pavilionat the Exhibits Showcase, during the Foundation’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Sept. 18-21, 2013, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“The Exhibit Showcase is designed to provide educational, health and business related opportunities for ALC attendees,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “This year, our new Enterprise Pavilion will include a job fair, and information regarding how to secure federal and private contracts. We know that small businesses fuel our economy. The procurement portion has been added to increase the value of the Exhibit Hall experience for entrepreneurs and small business owners,” she said.

The ALC Exhibit Showcase will feature nearly 200 exhibitors including corporations, government and nonprofit organizations, small businesses and a marketplace. Close to 10,000 are expected to visit the Showcase on Sept. 19 from noon – 7:00 p.m.; Sept. 20 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sept. 21 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Exhibitors are arranged in Pavilions according to products and services offered and will include:

Authors Pavilion – More than 75 of the nation’s premier African-American literary and scholarly talent from all over the country converge at ALC for readings and book signings. Confirmed authors include Terry McMillan, Sherrie Shepherd, Bernice King, Victoria Rowell, Dr. Robin L. Smith and Dr. Sampson Davis.

Business and Technology Pavilion – Lenders, investment professionals, credit counselors, government and private agencies and others join together at the Business and Technology Pavilion.This pavilion is designed to attract influential industry leaders from around the world to introduce new products, services or advanced technology. In addition, attendees can learn about home-based businesses, franchise opportunities, retirement, investment, asset protection and credit/debt management.

Enterprise Pavilion (Job and Procurement) – The new Enterprise Pavilion will provide a platform for individuals to learn about various job opportunities in the federal and private sectors and give minority owned businesses an opportunity to engage with government agencies and private industry around the contracting process. This business exchange will be a rewarding opportunity for individual job seekers, and minority owned businesses.

Health Pavilion – African Americans are disproportionately affected by a number of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and certain cancers. The Health Pavilion will offer potentially life-saving health screenings to Exhibit Showcase visitors. Screenings provided by Howard University Hospital, vital information on health issues and preventative measures will also be provided to increase awareness of the negative impact of health disparities especially for African Americans.

Marketplace Pavilion – Exclusively for professional artisans, designers and unique craftsman and businesses, the Marketplace Pavilion is a source for one-stop shopping and features artistry at its best. ALC attracts high-end consumers seeking one-of-kind, high quality artistry, jewelry and clothing.

ALC is recognized as one of the most important gatherings of African-American leaders in the nation.

The conference provides an outlet to highlight CBCF’s mission – to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public. It also provides dozens of forums to address the critical challenges facing the African-American community. The Foundation will offer numerous session tracks to present high level, thought-provoking, engaging and useful information. The conference will also include the much heralded Phoenix Awards Dinner fundraiser, the inspirational Prayer Breakfast and a community outreach project in volunteering at Thrive D.C., a philanthropic organization dedicated to homelessness and providing vulnerable individuals a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives.

Registration: http://cbcfinc.org/registration-2013.html

Media registration: http://www.cbcfinc.org/alc2013-registration.html

Twitterwww.twitter.com/CBCFInc (#CBCFALC13)

Facebook – www.facebook.com/CBCFInc

Keeping the Dream Alive: The Next 50 Years

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Opening ReMARCs

By Marc Morial

President & CEO of the National Urban League

With the world watching, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was an undeniable success. The tribute brought together a multitude of tens of thousands of people from across the nation in commemoration of our progress, but also with a focus on our future.

On August 23, during our Redeem the Dream Summit in Washington, DC, a coalition of civil rights, social justice, labor, business and community leaders – African American Leaders Convening (AALC) – announced the release of the 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom. This domestic policy agenda articulates a vision for national priorities that can – and must – drive economic recovery and rebirth for African-Americans, urban communities and all low-income and working-class Americans.The 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom lays out five urgent domestic goals for the nation:  1) Achieve Economic Parity for African-Americans; 2) Promote Equity in Educational Opportunity; 3) Protect and Defend Voting Rights; 4) Promote a Healthier Nation by Eliminating Healthcare Disparities; and 5) Achieve Comprehensive Criminal Justice System Reform.

Led by the National Urban League; Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and President of the National Action Network; Benjamin Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP; and Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the AALC crafted this agenda to begin the next significant phase in our nation’s history to bring African Americans and others closer to opportunity and economic parity. The result of meetings which began in December 2012, the agenda will serve as the strategy and “action plan” that will help ensure that we meaningfully confront the most pressing civil rights, social justice and economic inequality challenges of our time. Otherwise, we jeopardize our ability and potential as a nation to fully live up to our ideals of equality and democracy.

We cannot move forward only in commemoration. Our commitment is to continuation. While the celebration has officially ended, the next phase of our work has already begun.

» Highlights from the 50th Anniversary March on Washington/ Drum Majors for Justice Celebration

» MSNBC Video and Transcript of Marc Morial Speeches

Photo Caption: Marc Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League

Prison’s Dilemma: Race in America – Past and Present

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

This article is the 10th of an 11-part series on race, sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Even if every convict were rightly sentenced, America’s vast, racially skewed incarceration system would still be morally indefensible.

By Glenn C. Loury

Over the past four decades, the United States has become a vastly punitive nation, without historical precedent or international parallel. With roughly 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. currently confines about one-quarter of the world’s prison inmates. In 2008, one in a hundred American adults was behind bars. Just what manner of people does our prison policy reveal us to be?

America, with great armies deployed abroad under a banner of freedom, nevertheless harbors the largest infrastructure for the mass deprivation of liberty on the planet. We imprison nearly as great a fraction of our population to a lifetime in jail (around 70 people for every 100,000 residents) than Sweden, Denmark, and Norway imprison for any duration whatsoever.

That America’s prisoners are mainly minorities, particularly African-Americans, who come from the most disadvantaged corners of our unequal society, cannot be ignored. In 2006, one in nine Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 was serving time. The role of race in this drama is subtle and important, and the racial breakdown is not incidental: prisons both reflect and exacerbate existing racial and class inequalities.

Why are there so many African-Americans in prison? It is my belief that such racial disparity is not mainly due to overt discriminatory practices by the courts or the police. But that hardly exhausts the moral discussion. To begin with, let’s remember the fact that the very definition of crime is socially constructed: as graphically illustrated by the so-called “war on drugs,” much of what is criminal today was not criminal in the past and may not be tomorrow.

Let us also frankly admit that a massive, malign indifference to people of color is at work. I suspect strongly, though it is impossible to prove to the econometrician’s satisfaction, that our criminal and penal policies would never have been allowed to expand to the extent that they have if most of the Americans being executed or locked away were White.

We must also frankly ask why so many African-American men are committing crimes. Many of the “root causes” have long been acknowledged. Disorganized childhoods, inadequate educations, child abuse, limited employability, and delinquent peers are just a few of the factors involved. In America, criminal justice has become a second line of defense, if you will, against individuals whose development has been neglected or undermined by other societal institutions like welfare, education, employment and job training, mental health programs, and other social initiatives. As a result, it is an arena in which social stratification, social stigmas, and uniquely American social and racial dramas are reinforced.

We should also remember that “punishment” and “inequality” are intimately linked-that causality runs in both directions. Disparities in punishment reflect socioeconomic inequalities, but they also help produce and reinforce them.

Is it not true, for example, that prisons create criminals? As the Rutgers criminologist Todd Clear concluded after a review of evidence, the ubiquity of the prison experience in some poor urban neighborhoods has had the effect of eliminating the stigma of serving time. On any given day, as many as one in five adult men in these neighborhoods is behind bars, and as Clear has written, “[T]he cycling of these young men through the prison system has become a central factor determining the social ecology of poor neighborhoods, where there is hardly a family without a son, an uncle or a father who has done time in prison.”

For people who go to prison, time behind bars almost always also diminishes their odds of living crime-free lives when they get out, by lowering employability, severing ties to healthy communal supports, and hardening their own attitudes. When such individuals return to their communities, they join many others with the same harsh life experience, often forming or joining gangs. This, in turn, further diminishes the opportunities that law-abiding residents in those same neighborhoods have to escape poverty or preserve the often meager value of their property.

Huge racial disparities in the incidence of incarceration should therefore come as no surprise. The subordinate status of Black ghetto-dwellers-their social deprivation and spatial isolation in America’s cities-puts them at greater risk of embracing dysfunctional behaviors that lead to incarceration, and then incarceration itself leads to more dysfunction.

Put it all together and look at what we have wrought. We have established what looks to the entire world like a racial caste system that leaves millions stigmatized as pariahs, either living behind bars or in conditions of concentrated crime and poverty that breed still more criminality. Why are we doing this?

The present American regime of hyper-incarceration is said to be necessary in order to secure public safety. But this is not a compelling argument. It is easy to overestimate how much crime is prevented by locking away a large fraction of the population. Often those who are incarcerated, particularly for selling drugs, are simply replaced by others. There is no shortage of people vying to enter illicit trades, particularly given how few legal paths to upward mobility exist for most young Black males.
The key empirical conclusion of the academic literature is that increasing the severity of punishment has little, if any, effect in deterring crime. But there is strong evidence that increasing the certainty of punishment has a large deterrent effect. One policy-relevant inference is that lengthy prison sentences, particularly in the form of mandatory minimum-type statutes such as California’s Three Strikes Law, are difficult to justify.

The ideological justification for the present American prison system also ignores the fact that the broader society is implicated in the existence of these damaged, neglected, feared, and despised communities. People who live in these places are aware that outsiders view them with suspicion and contempt. (I know whereof I speak in this regard, because I am myself a child of the Black ghetto, connected intimately to ghetto-dwellers by the bond of social and psychic affiliation. While in general I am not much given to advertising this fact, it seems appropriate to do so here.)

The plain historical truth of the matter is that neighborhoods like North Philadelphia, the West Side of Chicago, the East Side of Detroit, and South Central Los Angeles did not come into being by an accident of nature. As the sociologist Loïc Wacquant has argued, these ghettos are man-made, coming into existence and then persisting because the concentration of their residents in such urban enclaves serves the interests of others. As such, the desperate and vile behaviors of some ghetto-dwellers reflect not merely their personal moral deviance, but also the shortcomings of our society as a whole. “Justice” operates at multiple levels, both individual and social.

Defenders of the current regime put the onus on law-breakers: “If they didn’t do the crimes, they wouldn’t have to do the time.” Yet a pure ethic of personal responsibility does not and could never justify the current situation. Missing from such an argument is any acknowledgment of social responsibility even for the wrongful acts freely chosen by individual persons.

I am not saying that a criminal has no agency in his behavior. Rather, I am arguing that the larger society is implicated in a criminal’s choices because we have acquiesced to social arrangements that work to our benefit and to his detriment-that shape his consciousness and his sense of identity in a way that the choices he makes (and that we must condemn) are nevertheless compelling to him.
Put simply, the structure of our cities with their massive ghettos is a causal factor in the deviancy among those living there. Recognition of this fact has far-reaching implications for the conduct of public policy. What goals are our prisons trying to achieve, and how should we weigh the enormous costs they impose on our fellow, innocent citizens?

In short, we must think of justice as a complex feedback loop. The way in which we distribute justice-putting people in prison-has consequences, which raise more questions of justice, like how to deal with convicts’ families and communities, who are also punished, though they themselves have done nothing wrong. Even if every sentence handed out to every prisoner were itself perfectly fair (an eminently dubious proposition), our system would still be amoral, because it punishes innocents.
Those who claim on principled arguments that “a man deserves his punishment” are missing the larger picture. A million criminal cases, each rightly decided-each distributing justice to a man who deserves his sentence-still add up to a great and historic wrong.

Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He is the author of, among other works, “Race, Incarceration, and American Values: The Tanner Lectures.” This article, the 10th of an 11-part series on race, is sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and was originally published by the Washington Monthly Magazine.
Photo Credit: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Topinka embarks on “Common Sense Express” Announcement Tour

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller begins three-day statewide bus tour Sunday

CHICAGO, IL – Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka will board the “Common Sense Express” tomorrow and begin a three-day, nine-stop statewide tour to announce her re-election campaign for Illinois Comptroller.

Topinka will begin her journey surrounded by supporters Sunday morning in Chicago and conclude Tuesday evening in Marion, making stops with her “Common Sense Express” bus throughout the state along the way.

Specifically, the Announcement tour will include: Chicago, Rockford, Moline, Peoria, Quincy, Springfield, Edwardsville, Mt. Vernon and Marion.

Topinka will join a rally of local leaders and supporters in each community for a short program, and then be available to media. A mult box will be available to media outlets at each location.

Topinka’s Sunday’s (9-15-13) schedule was as follows:

10:30 a.m.:      CHICAGO TOPINKA RALLY

Billy Goat Tavern, 1535 W. Madison, Chicago

Program participants include: Cook County Board Commissioner Liz Gorman, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor

2:30 p.m.:        ROCKFORD TOPINKA RALLY

Stone Eagle Tavern, 6445 E. State St., Rockford

Program participants include: Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen, Winnebago GOP Chairman Jim Thompson, State Sen. Dave Syverson

5 p.m.:             QUAD CITIES TOPINKA RALLY

Rock Island County GOP HQ, 1721 5th Ave., Suite 100, Moline

Participants include: Rock Island GOP Chairman Mike Steffen, Bobby Schilling

SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2013:

9:30 a.m.:        PEORIA TOPINKA RALLY

Peoria County GOP HQ, 8835 N. Knoxville Rd., Peoria

Program participants include: Peoria County GOP Chairman Katherine Koyle, State Rep. David Leitch, State Rep. Mike Unes, State Sen. Darin LaHood, U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock

2 p.m.:             QUINCY TOPINKA RALLY

Villa Katherine, 532 Gardner Expressway, Quincy

Program participants include: Mayor Kyle Moore

5:30 p.m.:        SPRINGFIELD TOPINKA RALLY

Route 66 Hotel & Conference Center, 625 E. St. Joseph St., Springfield

Participants include: Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson, Sangamon County GOP Chairman Rosemarie Long, Governor Jim Edgar

SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2013:

10 a.m.:           EDWARDSVILLE TOPINKA RALLY

Madison County Courthouse, 155 N. Main St., #120, Edwardsville

Participants include: Madison County Republican Women’s Club Chairman Amy Sholar, Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton, Congressman Rodney Davis

1 p.m.:             MT. VERNON TOPINKA RALLY

Papa Z’s Ice Cream Shop, 1812 Broadway, Mt. Vernon

NOTE: Ice cream served as part of “Get the Scoop on Us” kickoff rally

Participants include: State Rep. John Cavaletto, Mt. Vernon Mayor Jane Chelsey, State Sen. Kyle McCarter

5:30 p.m.:        MARION TOPINKA RALLY

17th Street BBQ, 2700 17th St., Marion

Participants include: State Rep. Mike Bost, Williamson County GOP Chairman Sue Hamilton, State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld

Saint Sabina’s Anti-violence Peacemaker program being examined worldwide

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Pfleger:‘Transforming minds means giving youth options”

By Chinta Strausberg

In announcing the historic upcoming second Peace Basketball Tournament, Father Michael L. Pfleger and several former gang members urged all to attend this event and explained how the gang truce struck by Pfleger a year ago has not only changed many lives but is a blueprint to reducing violence all around the world.

At a press conference held Thursday at Saint Sabina’s ARK, 7800 South Racine, Pfleger told reporters “a year ago we started what was every body called a family that wouldn’t work. I was reaching out to brothers and sisters respecting them, loving them, challenging them, demanding them to end the shooting and that we would see what we could do to help them” in securing jobs and education.

“Here we are coming up a year later getting ready…having had three Peace Leagues now, having hundreds in GED classes, get jobs. We are getting ready for the second historic Peace Basketball Tournament with more NBA players than last year,” said Pfleger referring to the upcoming 12 noon Saturday, September 21, 2013, 2ndannual tournament being held at the ARK.

“We’re not saying this is the way to do it, but we are saying this is a way that is proving success and statistics show and the lives of these guys are changing shows this is working. We want to present this not only to Chicago but also to the world saying it is a model that is working.

“We’re going to continue to love these brothers. If we want to have peace that sustains, ultimately we have to transform lives and transform communities,”Pfleger said. “When we do that, then we don’t just bring statistics down, then we don’t just bring statistics down but then we have peace that becomes a norm rather than a good month.”

Reminded that this can’t be achieve unless you transforms their minds, Pfleger said, “Transforming the minds will come when you offer options, opportunities and positive things to get involved in.”

He vowed to continue to offer the youth more GED classes, internship jobs, as long as we continue to get job opportunities, and we will continue to have the Peace Tournaments throughout the year.

Asked if his program should be a model for Chicago, Father Pfleger said, “They don’t have to necessarily replicate this, but we could do throughout the city in every neighborhood stop demonizing these brothers as gang members, start seeing them as our sons, our daughters, as our brothers and sisters, reach out tothem, support them, challenge them but give them options.” And, agreeing are several former gang members who said Pfleger’s program has been the lifeline they needed to let go of a life of crime and the revolving door of jail and prison.

Shot six times once in the head, Curtis, 36, a former gang leader in the Auburn Gresham community since the sixth grade, said he joined the gang becauseit was the “norm” and that you are either a member “by affiliation or by association.”

“I can really relate to these brothers,” Curtis said having found his mother dead in the garage when he was 17-years-old. “My step-father had killed her,” he said looking back at he origin of his anger and hatred.  At the time, Curtis made good grades, played football and had a few scholarships.

As of result of his mother’s death, 17-year-old Curtis soon became the parent raising his younger brother and his sister by himself. Curtis said he had a grandmother and an uncle “who always instilled in me to do the right thing, but chose to do something else. I was dealt a bad hand, but I am the one who played that hand. I had so much pain and anger deep down inside of me. I needed help,”but he said counseling was not available to him at that time.

“I dealt with the death of my mom the way many youth dealt with it today…violence. What I cared about hurting somebody else was nothing. Somebody else’s life meant nothing to me. When I thought about it, I either wanted to die or go to jail to harm the person who killed my mom, my stepfather,” Curtis said.

Saying it is a myth that young men join the gangs for protection, Curtis explained youth joined the gangs based on demographics. “At that age, you really don’t decide. It’s peer pressure….”

A father of four, Curtis, who has been in prison three times, said he quit the gangs when he was 29-years-old. “Religion played a part in my ending a life of crime and looking at black history. Just looking at what my ancestors went through and what I was doing, it was like a slap in the face.

“I believe everyone has that part in the soul which is very good and when something touches your soul, you can really relate to it and I think African American history is what really did it,” Curtis said. With the birth of his son, Curtis said, “I figured he was coming to take my place” and he wanted a better life for his first-born.

But the real transformation came for Curtis when he attended his son’s graduation and heard the song, ‘You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago. His son was singing it.  “At that time, I thought the law enforcement was out to get me. I figured I was about to go to jail once again; so I made that foxhole prayer again. Lord, if you just let me out of this one more time, I won’t do it anymore. This time, I was sincere. I really meant it.” It turns out he was not arrested.

Living in the community, Curtis said he never really gave Father Pfleger a chance. “I was like…now this is somebody who is like a blood sucker trying to suck up to our community. That was what the older guys were telling me…that he was the police…but some of the young guys involved with Father Mike told me to give him a chance.” Curtis decided to give it a try.

After meeting with Pfleger last year, Curtis said, “It’s been a hit ever since then. ”Asked what would he tell the youth today, Curtis said, “They should inspire and aspire to do something…. Life is precious and you only get one life unlike some of the video games that you play where you get killed but you can come back to life, but that’s not the way it is in real life.

“There is no price on life,” said Curtis. “Life is precious.” He urged youth to “enjoy your youth the right way. Be productive and to get an education,” he said announcing he is working on his master’s degree in social anthropology in Westmar University. “Father Pfleger helped me to get a job.”

Charles “Juan”, a former gang member since the age of 12 who gave up a life of crime when he left the penitentiary at the age of 25, is now a Peacemaker for Saint Sabina. He served 14-years in prison for attempted murder.

What turned his life around is an amazing story because while in prison, Charles wanted to come home and apologize to the youth he shot. That happened and he said his apology was accepted and they are friends today. “I appreciate that,” Charles said of the former gang member he shot.

While volunteering for Saint Sabina’s Peacemaker program for three-months, last June Charles officially became a Peacemaker for Saint Sabina. “Father Pfleger’s program helped me to help talk to the youth on the street. The opportunity Father Mike gave me, I am trying to give to other youth,” Charles said.

Brandon is a Peacemaker in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood who is working with Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger. In announcing the upcoming game,  Brandon said of the numerous NBA players who are slated to attend, said, “They are blessing us with their presence showing us love and support to the guys from the neighborhood.”

Saying when he was growing up there were no NBA players in his life, Brandon said what transformed his mind was going to jail “and doing the wrong thing” so many times and realizing he had made the wrong choices in life.

In working with Pfleger, Jackson, a 25-year old father of 2 who has been incarcerated five times, said, “It has helped me. I probably would not be employed now. I had already made my mind made up” to end a life of crime. “This has helped me a lot. Father Mike helped me and now I can bless other people.”

To the youth, Brandon’s message is for them to stay positive and to choose a better life. “Just come to me, talk to me,” he challenged the youth.

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.

Shared Prosperity?

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

By Bill Spriggs

The AFL-CIO recently held its quadrennial constitutional convention in Los Angeles. The convention had committees that included many nonunion partners to create an agenda directing the AFL-CIO toward a movement that can include the voices of all working people-those covered by collective bargaining agreements, those who are retired, those who are unemployed and those who work without the benefit of a union contract. Shared prosperity, the goal of the AFL-CIO, must be inclusive.

The challenge is huge. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a labor market that isn’t growing fast enough to provide shared prosperity. The payroll numbers that are released at the beginning of the month are preliminary. Additional data becomes available later. So, the payroll numbers are adjusted later. Recently, the preliminary numbers for June and July were both adjusted-downward. June was knocked down from 188,000 to 172,000, and July went from 162,000 to 104,000. That means the preliminary number for August of 169,000 needs to be interpreted with some caution. So, despite promising news of accelerating job growth that even reached 332,000 jobs in February; since April job growth is decelerating.

Slow job creation has continued the trend that started in the spring of 2009 of unemployed workers being more likely to exit unemployment by dropping out of the labor force than finding a job. And, that was clear in the household survey released by the BLS showing the unemployment rate fell because of a drop in the size of the labor force-those people who are employed or actively searching for work. And, among the employed, a discouraging sign is the growth of workers who could only find part-time work. In August, 2.7 million workers were in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work, up from 1.1 million back during the labor market’s last peak in January 2008.

The frustration of workers can be found in their declining job mobility. The BLS recently reported that the median tenure of workers with their employer continues to trend up and is now at 4.6 years. In part, this reflects the aging of the workforce-older workers tend to stay put with their employer, but it also reflects data in the BLS Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showing that employed workers are not switching jobs. Those shifts also help create openings for other workers to fill; fewer shifts mean fewer job openings for unemployed workers to fill. In July there were 3.1 unemployed workers to each job opening, a slight uptick from June. Movement among employed workers shows a heated labor market, it helps workers shift to higher paying jobs, and it shows that firms are actively expanding trying to find highly productive workers. So, this helps to explain the low pressure on wage growth in the economy now.

And the quality of the jobs created has also been discouraging. Manufacturing, which helped to get the growth in jobs launched, has added only a net of 20,000 jobs of the 2.2 million created since August. On the other hand, retail trade has added 392,000 jobs and fast-food and restaurants has added 353,000 jobs. These are industries with lots of part-time and low-wage positions. The realization that these jobs may signify the new normal has made workers in these industries start to fight back. On Aug. 29, they staged walk outs demanding decent pay. Roughly 30 million workers languish at low pay while Congress fails to act on legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

The AFL-CIO Convention heard from Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz that the problem the U.S. economy faces is simple: low aggregate demand. He said we could boost demand by raising wages and government investment. The current fixation of Washington on debt and deficits is a harmful divergence of time and political space from getting job growth back up and wages up. The gap between what the nation could produce at full-employment and where we are now with 58.6 percent of Americans employed, below the 62.9 percent during the peak in January 2008 and the 64.7 percent of April 2000, is the deficit policy must focus on closing.

The AFL-CIO Convention passed resolutions to create a new set of actions so the labor movement can respond to this environment where all workers are under attack-from negligence of their key issues of more jobs and higher pay to their rights at work and their rights to organize. Clearly the movement has to broaden itself to include the un-organized because only if workers are united can new policies be put in place to change the situation.

Americans are not suffering from the laws of economics; American inequality is exceptional. It is not possible to explain the level of American inequality using the theories of market supply and demand; the same forces of globalization and technological change affect all countries. But, American policies are unique. Low minimum wages, the lack of collective bargaining in wage setting and corporate governance that lets corporate CEO pay skyrocket are uniquely American.

The current level of inequality in the U.S. is bad economics. It is the creation of raw greed-market power, not market forces. The shrinking share of income for the bottom 99 percent is not a system that is healthy. And, it is not sustainable. Unless the deficit of jobs and wage incomes is addressed, it will fuel another downturn in the economy. If we understand the cause was inequality we can fix this economy, but if we continue to create more inequality we will break the economy. Shared prosperity, not this weak recovery, is what will get us to sustainable growth.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs.

Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142.

Lt. Gov. Simon pushes to prioritize mental health funding

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Visits Southern Illinois group home and crisis center

CARBONDALE, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon urged the state to prioritize funding for mental health services during a tour of a southern Illinois group home and a mental health crisis center.

Simon is the only southern Illinois resident serving on the state’s Budgeting for Results Commission and chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which has identified mental health access as one of its top health care concerns. Between 2009 and 2011, Illinois cut general revenue funding for mental health services by almost $114 million and was fourth in the nation for total cuts.

“Human service providers offer a number of valuable services – from job training to emergency mental health care – to people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses,” said Simon. “Like the rest of us, they are doing more with less, but we need to make sure the state provides the financial support service providers need.”

Simon is visiting a group home and a mental health crisis center operated by The H Group. For more than 50 years the agency has provided mental health services in Franklin, Jackson and Williamson Counties. The H Group Crisis Center in Carterville opened this spring and provides round the clock care to individuals going through mental health crises. These tours follow a visit to Murray Developmental Center earlier this year.

“Our mission at The H Group is to be your healthcare partner for hope, growth and improved quality of life,” said John G. Markley, CEO of The H Group. “We’re glad to call the State of Illinois our partner in providing essential community and mental health resources and are grateful to Lieutenant Governor Simon for spotlighting the need for stronger funding for these services.”

As a member of the state’s Budgeting for Results Commission, Simon heard testimony from southern Illinois service providers, advocates and stakeholders at three public hearings this summer. The bi-partisan commission will use the information on the success of existing programs and services to advise the Governor and General Assembly on the budget process this fall.

“I am proud to be involved in the budgeting for results process, which is letting us see firsthand the important work being done by agencies like The H Group,” Simon added. “I look forward to continuing to work with the rest of the commission to make sure we prioritize agencies who are doing their work well and can demonstrate it.”

Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can visit The H Group Crisis Center at any time, where they will receive a mental health assessment, counseling and be assisted with any necessary follow-up care. The center also helps patients avert expensive emergency room treatment. According to The H Group, in 2012 more than 2,600 mental health crisis patients visited emergency rooms in their service areas, and it is estimated that 75 percent of those patients could have been served by the crisis center.


Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. addresses health care inequality during Zeta Day on the Hill

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Two-Day Advocacy Training will focus on driving social change on behalf of women, the elderly, and youth

Washington, D.C. (BlackNews.com) — On Wednesday, September 18 and Thursday, September 19, 2013, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated will convene in Washington D.C. for Zeta Day on the Hill – two days of healthcare advocacy training, strategic planning, and congressional updates- preceding the 43rd Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Zeta Day on the Hill gives community leaders a platform to voice their concerns about maternal and child health, youth bullying and elder abuse prevention, as well as propose grassroots solutions with government leaders.

Confirmed speakers at Zeta Day on the Hill will include Sonya Clay, Assistant Director of Federal Affairs, American Academy of Pediatrics; Cindy Pellegrini, Senior Vice President for Public Policy & Government Affairs, March of Dimes; Bob Blancato, National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition; and Meredith Ponder, Senior Representative for Federal Policy and Advocacy for NANASP (National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs). Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s International President Mary Breaux Wright will be leading the day of advocacy.

Leadership from the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Elder Justice Coalition will hold workshops to help Zeta leaders examine the policy behind their Zetas Helping Others of Excel (Z-HOPE) programming, a holistic international outreach service program which focuses on the mind, body and spirit of women, men, seniors, youth and international women. Additionally, during their workshops, members of the Zeta National Social Action team will outline the sorority’s social action goals, including the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) initiative, and identify tangible action steps for becoming more effective community and political leaders.

Zeta President Wright noted that “the legal travesties of Summer 2013 will forever be etched in history as a strong call to Zetas and our community. We must never tire in our efforts to advocate and eradicate injustices carried out through the existence, interpretation, and application of obscure laws. By coming to Capitol Hill, we are preparing our members to improve our communities every day through social action.”

With a rich legacy of advocating for the people, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will also utilize social media platforms to invite the community into Zeta Day on the Hill with a live broadcast of these events on Facebook and Twitter using #ZetaDOTH.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has been at the forefront of social change since its founding in 1920. As Zetas begin a new year of operations, members are encouraged to be ‘that’ voice to address, advocate until our nation’s laws serve all people equally. For additional information about Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. visit www.zphib1920.org.



Illinois State Board of Education announces strategic planning and board meeting schedule for September 18-19 in Bloomington

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following schedule for its annual strategic planning session and regular business meeting on Sept. 18-19 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 201 Broadway St., in Normal.

Board members will also visit the main campus of the Regional Alternative School serving McLean County at 408 W. Washington in Bloomington at 1 p.m. Sept. 19.

All State Board of Education meetings listed on this agenda will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Board office no later than the date prior to the meeting. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education, Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972.

Chairman Chico may call for a break in the meeting as necessary in order for the Board to go into closed session.

State Board of Education Annual Strategic Planning and Regular Business Meetings

Sept. 18-19, 2013

Location: Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 201 Broadway St., in Normal

This meeting will also be audio cast on the Internet at: www.isbe.net

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013

10 a.m.

AGENDA

I. Roll Call/Pledge of Allegiance

A. Consideration of and Possible Actions on Any Requests for Participation in Meeting by Other Means

II. Update on North Chicago

III. Formula Funding Working Group Report

A. White Paper

B. Guiding Principles

C. Update on Education Funding Advisory Committee

Lunch 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

IV. 2013 Veto Session and 2014 Legislative Agenda

V. Board Goals and Metrics

VI. Closed Session

VII. Recess Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

8:30 a.m.

VIII. Reconvene/Roll Call – OPEN SESSION

IX. Retreat Debriefing

X. Student Advisory Council Introductions

XI. Plenary Session

XII. Public Participation

XIII. Resolutions & Recognition

A. Linda Tomlinson

XIV. Presentations and Updates

A. Next Generation Science Standards

XV. Superintendent’s Report – Consent Agenda

A. *Approval of Minutes

1. Plenary Minutes: August 15, 2013

B. *Rules for Initial Review

1. Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)

C. *Rules for Adoption

1. Part 226 (Special Education)

D. *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

1. Survey of Learning Conditions

2. Request for New Intergovernmental Agreement – Hazel Crest School District 152

3. Targeted Initiative Program Engaging and Educating Youth – Request to Award

E. *Fall 2013 Waiver Report

End of Consent Agenda

F. Approval of Closed Session Minutes, January 23, March 20, April 16, 2013, & August 15, 2013 (as needed following closed session)

G. Approval of AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement (as needed following closed session)

H. Appointment of State Educator Preparation Licensure Board Members

XVI. Discussion Items

A. Board Committee Structure

B. Appointment of Committee Chair for Finance and Audit Committee

C. Capital Funding Update

D. Other Items for Discussion

XVII. Announcements & Reports

A. Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

B. Chairman’s Report

C. Member Reports

XVIII. Information Items

A. ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports

(available online at http://isbe.net/board/fiscal_admin_rep.htm)

XIX. Closed Session

XX.   Adjourn

Pop and R&B Songstress Cordula releases new single “My Ride”

Posted by Admin On September - 16 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

POP AND R&B SONGSTRESS CORDULA RELEASES NEW SINGLE ‘MY RIDE’

ATLANTA, GA (BlackNews.com) – Singer, Songwriter, Pop/R&B sensation Cordula released her new single “My Ride” to much fanfare within the urban music industry. “My Ride” represents the debut single for Cordula’s Music’z Therapy imprint, following the label’s deal signing with Universal Music Group Distribution and Fontana Distribution.

Cordula was in Miami on September 7th to record the visuals for the single and the video is already slated for MTV Jams following editing. A full-featured production with magnificent scenery and stellar choreography, the “My Ride” video will showcase the natural beauty of this artist as well as highlight her creative sense.

“My Ride” is available on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/my-ride-single/id690351029) and will be available in stores shortly. This song is currently impacting radio in the South East United States and gaining adds at a steady pace nationally.

One of the more interesting points on Cordula’s professional journey is that she is also a medical doctor and teaches medical residents at one of the major hospitals in her region. Cordula says music has always been her great love and while she took the route of healing others via the medical field, she has felt the call to the stage since she was a child.

Cordula began her entertainment career at age three, beginning with tap and ballet. By age 10 she earned a spot on the prestigious Peabody Institute Choir AND helped co-write her school song. Classically trained as a musician and singer of multiple styles, Cordula brings to music, a true sense of artistry reminiscent of past lady masters and she loves healing through this medium, as well as via her medical career.

Stunningly beautiful, ethereal voice quality and unyielding professionalism, gives Cordula the impetus to capture and secure her place as a major voice in the music industry. Her strong dedication to community and healing through all mediums, gives this artist the base needed to withstand the test of time in music, business and as a personality with a huge heart married to an even bigger voice.

Find out more about Cordula, view her videos and music via her official website www.CordulaTheArtist.com and her single “My Ride” is available for download on iTunes.

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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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