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Archive for October 4th, 2013

Governor Quinn establishes more Fair Hiring Process by issuing “Ban the Box” Order

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

New process will require State Agencies to evaluate applicants’ skills and abilities before asking about criminal history

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn issued an administrative order that prohibits state agencies under his jurisdiction from asking job applicants about their criminal history before beginning to evaluate the individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities. One in four adults have a criminal record that may show up on a routine background check. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to making Illinois government more accountable, transparent and effective and ensuring all workers are treated fairly.

“A lawabiding citizen’s past mistakes should not serve as a lifetime barrier to employment,” Governor Quinn said. “Creating opportunities for ex-offenders to obtain gainful employment and reach their full potential as a member of society is one of the most effective tools for reducing recidivism.  As we know, the best tool to reduce poverty, drive down crime and strengthen the economy is a job.”

More than 50 jurisdictions across the United States and ten states have adopted policies to “ban the box,” according to the National Employment Law Project. The Administrative Order instructs the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) – the state agency responsible for receiving job applications and administering the state’s personnel policies – to issue new guidelines for screening candidates for jobs in agencies, boards and commissions under the Governor’s jurisdiction. It does not prevent these entities from performing background checks or requiring drug-testing when such provisions are relevant to a position’s duties.

“Hiring managers will now have the opportunity to learn of a candidate’s skills and qualifications before making a decision based on their history,” CMS Director Malcolm Weems said. “CMS will work diligently to carry out the reforms that are spelled out in Governor Quinn’s Administrative Order.”

Governor Quinn has been joined by legislators, including State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), in the call for common-sense policies that make it possible for ex-offenders to have a second chance and become productive members of the state.

Earlier this year, Governor Quinn signed several pieces of legislation to give ex-offenders a second chance at employment and a productive life, while offering prosecutors and judges more sentencing options for non-violent offenders to help reduce the risk of repeat offenses. The new laws are also intended to streamline the criminal record expungement process. These include:

· Senate Bill 1659, sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) and State Representative Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), which increases the income tax credit for those who hire qualified ex-offenders from a cap of $600 to a maximum of $1,500 per employee. It also allows the tax credit to be valid if an ex-offender is hired within three years of being released from incarceration, rather than the current deadline of one year. The tax credit may be taken for up to five years.

· House Bill 3010, sponsored by State Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), creates a “second chance probation” option for non-violent offenders which allows a conviction to be cleared from a defendant’s record after successfully completing at least a two-year period of probation. This sentencing option gives prosecutors and judges more leeway in dealing with certain offenses. It also offers offenders a chance to keep one brush with the law from becoming a permanent stain on their records. The law takes effect January 1, 2014.

· House Bill 2470, sponsored by Representative Turner and State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), which streamlines the criminal record expungement and sealing process. The new law ensures that motions to expunge or seal criminal records are heard in a timely manner. It also ensures that if a judge rules in the defendant’s favor, that ruling is delivered promptly to the proper authorities.

To learn more about job opportunities with the State of Illinois, please visit Work.Illinois.gov. A copy of today’s administrative order is attached.

What Do Ethnic Media Say About Government Shutdown?

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

What Do Ethnic Media Say About Government Shutdown?

New America Media

NAM Staff

President Barack Obama summoned top lawmakers to the White House on Wednesday afternoon, where he was expected to urge them to pass measures to finance the government and increase the debt ceiling, without placing limits on the Affordable Care Act. But, no progress was made to end a budget impasse that resulted in a government shutdown since 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. News of the shutdown, which includes the closure of all national parks and a work furlough for 800,000 federal employees, generated a big response in the ethnic press. Key areas of concern included the shutdown’s effect on federal workers, loss of funding for social services, ramifications for immigration reform, and environmental impacts.

Federal jobs a lifeline for many people of color

Ethnic media expressed concern for the plight of federal workers. People of color make up a larger proportion of the federal workforce than they do the general workforce, Colorlines reports.

According to La Opinion, a federal report estimates that as of the end of 2011 there were 157,653 Latinos working for the federal government, or 8.1 percent of that workforce.

Politics365 reports that the government shutdown will disproportionately affect Latino and blacks:

“In 2012, blacks comprised about 13 percent of the nation’s population but nearly 18 percent of its federal workforce, according to the most recent data available. That same year, Latinos comprised nearly 16 percent of the nation’s population and a just over 8 percent of those employed by the federal government.”

Steven Pitts, an economist and labor policy specialist at the University of California, Berkeley, told Politics365 that “government employment — be it at the local, county, state or federal level – together constitute the largest single employer of black men and women living in the United States.”

Ethnic media ran press releases from labor advocacy groups and unions to show solidarity with furloughed federal workers – nearly 1 million federal employees who “are furloughed with no guarantee of retroactive pay while many others continue to work without pay.”

Shutdown will hit working vets especially hard

The military’s 1.4 million active-duty members will stay on duty during the federal government shutdown, and Pres. Obama signed a bill on Monday to ensure all active members of the U.S. military will continue to get paid, media report.

But, of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers, about half are members of the military. And veterans could start to see a delay in disability compensation and pension payments in two to three weeks.

The “Balitang America (News in America)” newscast on the ABS-CBN Network, spoke to Filipino American military retirees who are worried they won’t get their monthly pensions if the government closure is extended. Meanwhile the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department warned that if the shutdown drags into late October, “it will run out of money for compensation and pension checks for more than 3.6 million veterans worldwide,” reports Bev Llorente.

La Opinion reports that there are 1.2 million Latino veterans, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Freeze on social services runs the gamut

Ethnic media also reported on how the loss of funding for social service programs will effect their respective communities.

La Opinion reported that The Department of Agriculture announced that following the government shutdown it will not have additional funds for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program. Latinas make up 45 percent of the 9 million women who are pregnant or have small children and rely on healthy food through the WIC food program.

Univision reports that small business loans — many of them owned by Latinos – are on stand by, and that the closure of Head Start programs will also have a huge impact on Latinos, who make up 73.3 percent of all Head Start students.

Tribal communities will not be immune to the shutdown, reports the Navajo Times:

“Programs such as tribal colleges, some Indian Health Service units, and Head Start will operate only if funds are currently available.”

There is, in addition, no guarantee of federal reimbursement if tribal governments choose to self-fund, the Navajo Times reported.

Shutdown could slow immigration reform

Latinopost.com reports that the government shutdown and looming fight over the national debt and debt ceiling have eclipsed the momentum on immigration reform.

Jean Paul Salamanca writes: “The conundrum facing Republicans on the looming shutdown is not unlike the one facing them in the immigration reform debate. …While the best way to do that [make inroads with Latino voters] may be to pass the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that would grant millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a pathway to citizenship, hardliners in the Republican Party are still opposed to granting what they deem an ‘amnesty’ to immigrants living in the country without authorization.”

Despite the shutdown, planning for a National Day of Action on October 5th to call on Congress to pass immigration reform is moving ahead with 130 major mobilizations expected to happen in cities and towns across the country.

Environmental consequences

Rafu Shimpo, a Japanese daily news source in L.A., reported that as a result of the shutdown, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all of its 401 national parks, including Manzanar National Historic Site, where some 10,000 Japanese-Americans were detained during World War II. Manzanar was one of ten camps that together held 110,000 Japanese-Americans. The paper also reported impacts on Tule Lake Historic Site.

The paper also reported on the loss of revenue from the park closures — $450,000 per day, including an estimated loss of $76 million per day in visitor spending in “gateway communities.”

Indian Country Today posted a story titled “No Park for You!” featuring 10 photos of closed national parks and monuments.

Colorlines reported that among government agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has one of the highest percentages of furloughed employees – 90 percent of its staff — raising concern over environmental protection and oversight during the government shutdown.

Commentaries urge Obama to act tough, call for preservation of ACA

The Root’s Charles D. Ellison writes that he wanted to see Pres. Obama take a tougher stance on the budget battle and government shutdown:

“It’s his signature cool-pose style, half engineered as a way to always stand above the fray, Zen sharpened and carefully chiseled in an effort to completely blast long-standing stereotypes of angry, militant black men on a marathon head stomp…Times like these, however, call for a street-court approach. We now hunger for flashes of impatience and outrage.”

The Twin City Daily Planet argues in an op-ed that a government shutdown is bad, but having more uninsured Americans is worse.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that the U.S. House’s proposal to keep the federal government running but delay components of health care reform would “cause 11 million more Americans to remain uninsured in 2014 and result in higher premiums for many others.”

What is the Future of Black Males?

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

In The Art of Being Cool: The Pursuit of Black Masculinity, Theodore Ransaw, PhD, has written a unique treatment of African American masculinity. Many Black males are torn between academics and thug culture and it appears the latter is winning. Large numbers of Black males are in remedial reading, special education, failing classes, suspended and dropping out of school and dropping into street and prison culture. Ransaw has established mentorship programs involving Black male students. In addition, as he points out in his introduction, he accustomed himself early on to being the “other” kid, a stance which empowered his ability to transform his uniqueness into an identity that suited him best. Ransaw recognized that having mentors in his life was critical to his growth and development. He brought these experiences and his academic knowledge to bear upon The Art of Being Cool: The Pursuit of Black Masculinity, articulating means and outcomes by which Black males have shaped their masculinity, both in the United States and elsewhere-in the present and the past.

The book contains a number of distinctive features. The wealth of references is an indication of Ransaw’s targeted audience and embraces his multifaceted approach. Sociologists, psychologists, educators, administrators, and others will not be disappointed when they read this book. The Art of Being Cool: The Pursuit of Black Masculinity delves into fear of Black men, the macho ideal, economics, influences of media and myths surrounding Black males, and other topics to lend a multidimensional perspective. Ransaw’s discussions include: how social capital and physical capital empower African American males’ navigation in school and professions; how mentor-mentee relationships can involve elements of academic and personal “cool”; how the school-to-prison-to-forced labor pipeline exists and gets encouraged; how Black men have demonstrated cool throughout the Americas and Africa; and how hip-hop offers Black men and male teens the global venue and form of communication to reinforce their social and physical capital and thus, their cool.

In addition Ransaw believes African American masculinity has been misinterpreted if at all, and Black men require the filters of social and physical capital to succeed in a world largely determined to ignore or objectify them-this book supplies practical tips to reinforce African American males’ capacity to exercise the art of being truly and substantively cool. As Ransaw asserts, “Masculinity is a pursuit, not a destination.” This highly recommended book thoughtfully examines the journey that Black males take toward wholeness.

Product Details
Title: The Art of Being Cool: The Pursuit of Black Masculinity
Length: 192 pages
ISBN-13: 978-193-4155-84-5
Price: $16.95

AFRICAN AMERICAN IMAGES, P.O. Box 1799, Chicago Heights, IL 60412, 1-880-552-1991 (Ph), (708) 672-0466 (Fax), aarcher@africanamericanimages.com

It’s Time to Shut Down the Shutdown

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Opening ReMARCs

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, national Urban League

The United States government officially – and avoidably – shut down on Tuesday. With government agencies and organizations that provide critical direct services to millions of Americans still reeling from the detrimental effects of the sequester, every minute, every hour, and every day that pass in the shutdown increase the negative consequences for communities across our nation.

Market research estimates that as Congress plays a game of stalemate, the shutdown could cost our nation at least $1.6 billion per week, $300 million per day or $12.5 million per hour in lost output. The fragile recovery of the Main Street economy cannot afford to be an innocent bystander in the carnage happening in Congress.

Almost one million federal workers have been instructed to stay home, with others – deemed “essential employees” – being told to report to work. However, their most essential need – getting paid – remains a question mark.

Government agencies from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been forced to suspend critical services such as the NIH’s research hospital intake, disease-tracking, and vaccine creation – putting the economic, as well as physical, health of the nation at risk.

It’s time to put ideology and the blame game aside and put the needs of the American people first. It’s time for Congress to get to work on quickly and responsibly passing a bill to adequately fund and fully reopen our government – and in the process, put people back to work.

Photo Caption: Marc Morial

Lt. Governor Simon honors outstanding work to revitalize Main Street communities

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Main Street celebrates 20 years in Historic Downtown Pontiac

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As the ambassador of Illinois Main Street, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon honored the recipients of the Lt. Governor’s Award for Excellence at this year’s Illinois Main Street conference. The program is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the “Driving into the Future” conference taking place Oct. 1 – Oct. 3 in Historic Downtown Pontiac.

“For 20 years now Illinois Main Street has been helping support communities throughout Illinois,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, who chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council. “I look forward to continuing to work to preserve these communities that often provide an important snapshot of our past and a vision for our future.”

The conference, which is being hosted by Pontiac P.R.O.U.D. Main Street and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) – which administers the Illinois Main Street program – gives community and economic development professionals from around the state an opportunity to network, and learn about innovative new practices to rejuvenate Illinois’ downtown business districts.

Simon honored individuals who have excelled in organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring of downtown commercial districts with the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence. Awards were also presented for Main Street Innovation, Business, Property Owner, Innovation and Volunteer of the Year.

Recipients included:

· Batavia Main Street for its River Street: “Woonerf,” which is a European concept for shared space

· Chicago Six Corners Association: Renovation of the Grayland Theater Façade and Tuck Point

· Pekin Main Street: Converting the Elks Lodge into the Fusion Building/Sabella St. Station

· Pontiac P.R.O.U.D.: Restoration of the historic Livingston County Courthouse

· Aledo Main Street: Digital promotion project

· Batavia Main Street: Creation of the Batavia Main Street Award for local residents and businesses

· Jacksonville Main Street: 2013 Diamonds and Ice Masquerade Ball

· Main Street Libertyville: Membership drive to promote local merchants

· Chicago Six Corners Association: Six Corners BBQ Fest

· Downtown Crystal Lake: 20th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival

· Jacksonville Main Street: Art Fair on the Square

· Main Street Orion: Band shell 100th birthday celebration

· Aledo Main Street: New Business Springboard

· Batavia Main Street: Artisan Collective

· Chicago Six Corners Association: Revitalizing vacant storefronts and streetscapes

· Jacksonville Main Street: Creation of a Downtown Business Alliance

· Volunteer of the Year: Meek Family, Jacksonville Main Street

· Outstanding Main Street Business: Green Town Tavern, Waukegan Main Street

· Outstanding Main Street Innovation: ShopDowntownQuincy.com

· Outstanding Main Street Property Owner: Austin Properties, Quincy

Over the past 20 years, Illinois Main Street communities have created 9,300 jobs, opened over 1,200 new businesses, and represent public and private investment of over $750 million. In Illinois, 42 communities hold the Illinois Main Street designation.

Additional conference highlights include a 20th anniversary celebration featuring Illinois products, walking tours of Historic Downtown Pontiac, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence Gala and a proclamation from Governor Pat Quinn in honor of Illinois Main Street’s 20th anniversary.

This year’s keynote speaker is Valecia Crisafulli, who served as the first state director of the Illinois Main Street Program and most recently as the CEO of the National Main Street Center. The center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization, and has participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history.

Click here for more information about Illinois Main Street.

Pullman Porter Blues extends through October 27; Six performances added by popular demand

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Opening night benefit event raises $370,000 for the theater, kicks off The Goodman’s 2013/2014 “Dream” Season on a high note, honoring Director Chuck Smith and longtime Goodman Executive Director Roche Schulfer

Also added: October 7 Blues Showcase Event at Katerina’s (1920 W. Irving Park Rd.) And the chance to win a 1st Class round-trip for two on Pullman Rail Journeys

CHICAGO, IL -  It’s “a story that belongs in downtown Chicago” (Chicago Tribune). By popular demand, Goodman Theatre adds six performances of Cheryl L. West’s Pullman Porter Blues, directed by Chuck Smith: October 23 at 7:30pm; October 24 at 7:30pm; October 25 at 8pm; October 26 at 2pm and 8pm; and October 27 at 2pm (closing). Tickets ($30 – $78) for the added performances are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Pullman, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

The September 24 opening night of Pullman Porter Blues launched the Goodman’s 2013/2014 “Dream” Season and raised $370,000 to support the theater. More than 450 guests—including Mayor Rahm Emanuel—attended the Season Opening Night Celebration at The Standard Club, The event was chaired by Lester N. Coney and Elaine Leavenworth was the Corporate Chair. To honor Executive Director Roche Schulfer for his 40 years at the Goodman, the Goodman unveiled the new “Roche Schulfer Executive Fellowship”—a salaried, year-long, holistic immersion into the workings of Chicago’s largest not-for-profit producing theater in which the fellow gains exclusive hands-on management experience in all aspects of producing, fundraising and promoting a 9-play subscription season. To honor Resident Director Chuck Smith for his 20 years at the Goodman and his great achievements in the Chicago theater community, the theater named Smith a Goodman Trustee. The festivities began at The Standard Club at 5pm with a cocktail reception in the Living Room followed by a three-course meal in the Grand Ballroom, where Kehoe Designs brought the railways to life with tabletops featuring vintage train track components that evoked the glamorous era of train travel. Guests were then transported to the Goodman to attend the opening night performance of Pullman Porter Blues.

Audience Events and Opportunities Around Pullman Porter Blues

Context: Chicago Bound: The Great Migration
A showcase of blues travelers and their works, featuring the band Autumn in Augusta with Ernie Adams (drums), Marcin Fahmy (piano), Donovan Mixon (guitar), Joshua Ramos (bass) and Lucy Smith (vocals).
Monday, October 7 at 7pm | Katerina’s (1920 W. Irving Park Rd) | $10 at GoodmanTheatre.org

Pullman Rail Journeys

Purchase a ticket to Pullman Porter Blues and be automatically entered to win a first class round-trip package for 2 from Chicago to New Orleans on a restored Pullman rail car. All Pullman Porter Blues single ticket purchasers and Goodman subscribers will be entered in the drawing. One (1) winner will be selected by random drawing on October 28, to receive a package that includes round-trip train travel for two from Chicago to New Orleans, courtesy of Pullman Rail Journey. Winner will be notified by phone or email. Prize is valued at $3,700.Valid for B-class double occupancy accommodations only. All on-board meals (food and beverages/spirits) are included. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts. One entry per household.

Museum of the African Diaspora prepares for annual gala with pre-celebration at Wilkes Bashford hosted by former Mayor Willie Brown and Belva Davis

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

8th Anniversary Gala (Oct 12) Festivities include Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Moet Hennessy USA, Ledisi and Pam Moore

San Francisco, CA (BlackNews.com) — The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and retailer Wilkes Bashford joined forces on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to hold a festive Pre-Celebration of MoAD’s upcoming anniversary black-tie Gala, which will be held October 12, 2013 at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, co-chaired by Wilkes Bashford and Deborah Santana.

Santana, MoAD Board Vice Chair and Founder/CEO, Do A Little Foundation, Inc., and well-known retailer and fashion icon Bashford, kept company with event hosts former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., a key catalyst in MoAD’s formation, and legendary broadcast journalist Belva Davis, founding MoAD Board Chair. Together they joined an enthusiastic, elegant crowd of notables in preparation for the museum’s approaching signature event, entitled “MoAD: The World’s Canvas.”

The October 12 black-tie Gala, celebrating MoAD’s eighth anniversary as a vital part of the San Francisco cultural landscape, will be held at the Palace Hotel. Award-winning news anchor Pam Moore of KRON 4 will emcee. Eight-time Grammy Award-nominated singer Ledisi, who is also a producer, actress, author, educator and activist, will provide jazz-influenced entertainment.

During the evening, MoAD will honor four world-changers: Actor and activist Danny Glover (who will receive the Patron of Culture Award); Dr. Sandra Hernandez, CEO of San Francisco Foundation (the Legacy of Philanthropy Award); Academy Award-nominee Alfre Woodard, (the Performing Arts Program Award); and Moët Hennessy, leading importer of luxury wines and spirits (the Corporate Leader Award). The Gala also includes a red-carpet cocktail reception, dinner with live auction and an after party.

Glover and Woodard, both active off stage in humanitarian causes, have global perspectives on MoAD. “MoAD’s extraordinary exhibits, youth education, and community outreach ably communicate a crucial message of unity,” said Glover, known for his peace activism. Woodard, who is busy preparing for the highly anticipated release of 12 Years a Slave in movie theaters next month, co-founded a nonprofit, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), to advance democracy. “I believe MoAD’s mission of drawing together the children of the African Diaspora to celebrate their heritage and acknowledge their common bonds, then share those ideas and traditions with the wide world is a monumental gift,” she said.

Deborah Santana, who also serves as MoAD’s interim executive director, shares those sentiments. “MoAD is dedicated to being a bridge that connects all people through our shared African ancestry and our common humanity.” She added, “The museum is a wonderful educational resource to parents, teachers, artists, and all who are interested in learning more about global art and cultures.”

“MoAD is an important national treasure,” added Wilkes Bashford, Co-Chair of this year’s Gala and a supporter of the museum. “For eight years it has been connecting with people of every background. We are fortunate to have it here in San Francisco, attracting visitors from across the globe and helping to build bridges among people of all ethnicities.”

Since opening in 2005, MoAD has welcomed more than 350,000 visitors from around the world. All visitors walk through seven displays that tell a story: The Origins of the African Diaspora; Celebrations: Ritual and Ceremony; Music of the Diaspora; Culinary Traditions; Adornment; Slavery Passages; and the Freedom Theater.

MoAD’s educational Wells Fargo Heritage Center opened in June 2006. Some of MoAD’s education initiatives include the Youth Media Training Program, a youth development and job readiness program featuring multimedia training and stipends to youth in grades 10 through 12. This program targets key areas such as the Bayview/Hunters Point and West Oakland.

As a cornerstone of the economic and cultural revitalization of downtown San Francisco, MoAD is uniquely positioned as one of the only museums focused exclusively on the history, art and culture of the African Diaspora.

About the Museum of the African Diaspora
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) showcases the history, art and the cultural richness that resulted from the dispersal of Africans throughout the world, with innovative and engaging exhibitions, education and public programs. Incorporated in 2002 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, MoAD opened its doors in 2005 in space contiguous with the St. Regis Hotel and Residences and in the historic Williams Building at 685 Mission Street at Third Street. MoAD was conceived as a cornerstone of the revitalization of downtown San Francisco, and has become an anchor with its neighbors San Francisco MOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in making this dynamic cultural corridor a premier destination. This area of Mission Street is a destination for artists, students, teachers, scholars, local residents and tourists alike. As a nonprofit organization, the museum’s operations and programs are supported by grants and contributions from public and private sources. For more details, visit www.MoADSF.org

Photo Caption: Deborah Santana, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Wilkes Bashford, Belva Davis

Community Technology Centers: Road to Technology Learning for those off the beaten path

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SoapBox Rants

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

Do you enjoy computers at school or the library, but oftentimes find that they are all taken up when you get there? Did you know that there are federally funded Community Technology Centers all over the city of Chicago because your town wants its citizens to be computer savvy or literate at the least? Yes. They appear to be all over the city of Chicago and many of them include free WiFi and training, too. According to the website We Connect Chicago (http://weconnectchicago.org), there are more than 250 of them.

They are legally required to be open and available to the public at least 12 hours per week. They received grant funding to make these facilities and computers available to you. Just click on the link for locations (http://locations.weconnectchicago.org), type in your address, choose a radius by miles, and click on the search button and view the map or list. You can fine-tune your search by selecting the internet, Wi-Fi and/or Training checkbox. You can even narrow the location to types of facilities you prefer to visit like a library, city college or Community Technology Center. While many of the centers have regular hours, some want you to phone ahead. What’s up with that? You got the grant. Make the stuff available on a regular schedule to the public or pass the application on to someone else.

Anyway, being the “library hopper” that I am, the library is usually my facility of choice, but the colleges may not be a bad idea either. As you will note, some facilities have a whole lot more going on than the others or have later hours; so choose wisely. I do some serious camping out at the library and I don’t want to be interrupted because they are closing early; so I choose a library with late hours. You don’t have to stick to one facility. Move around. You might be missing something if you don’t.

If you’d like to know more about the federally funded Community Technology Centers, check out the Center for Effective Government’s (http://www.foreffectivegov.org/node/12) website.

Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al. She is also a weekly columnist for CopyLine Magazine

October is College Application Month

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

ISAC and the State of Illinois join the American College Application Campaign

DEERFIELD, IL – For the second year the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), high schools and community-based organizations around the state have joined the nationwide College Application Month campaign to encourage earlier college applications from students who might otherwise apply late in the school year or not apply at all.

“Students can feel overwhelmed by the process of choosing and applying for college or other postsecondary training, particularly first-generation students who do not have an immediate family member who attended college,” said Eric Zarnikow, Executive Director, ISAC.

Illinois has joined 38 other states and the District of Columbia in the American College Application Campaign. The primary purpose of College Application Month is to help high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and ensure they apply to at least one postsecondary institution. Many planned activities occur during the school day, with a focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.

Over 200 local College Application Month workshops are scheduled throughout Illinois. A listing of events is available at http://www.collegechangeseverything.org/appmonth/.

“Research shows that providing students with guidance in college exploration and applications can help ensure that all high school seniors have the opportunity to take a critical step towards continuing their education,” Mr. Zarnikow said. “Such guidance can even boost the number of students who enroll in a school that fits their needs and goals, minimizing student debt and maximizing the chance for completing a degree or certificate program,” Mr. Zarnikow concluded.

The ISACorps, a team of over 100 of near-peer mentors based throughout the state will provide school support, participate in workshops, and appear in web seminars during the month to help students explore careers and apply to colleges. A list of ISACorps members and their contact information is available at www.ISAC.org.

“Students who begin the college application process early and who have the support of knowledgeable college access practitioners are better equipped to leverage time and resources to make better decisions. Promoting college completion begins with promoting high quality college planning,” Mr. Zarnikow concluded.

About ISAC

Established in 1957, ISAC’s mission is to help make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students through administration of need-based grant and scholarship programs, outreach efforts across the state and by offering College Illinois!®, the state’s 529 prepaid tuition plan. The Commission has distributed more than $10.4 billion in grants, scholarships and non-loan aid to over 4.8 million Illinois students and families.

For more information about finding and applying for financial aid, interested students may contact the ISAC Call Center. ISAC Call Center Representatives, including Spanish‑speaking representatives, are available to answer questions at 800.899.ISAC (4722)

New scam targets Immigrants, says Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Scammers are posing as immigration officials, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), calling visa applicants to demand personal and monetary information and threatening to deport or arrest applicants if they don’t obey. They have even spoofed the USCIS phone number on phones to make their calls look legitimate. The BBB urges consumers to never give out personal information to these callers and to ignore them.

Sometimes the caller may know who the person is, including name and address. They inform the individual that the government is charging a new fee for visa applicants, and you must pay right away via wire transfer. Not only are visa applicants requested to pay immediately, but in some cases are also asked for personal information, including social security and bank account numbers.

“Immigrants who may speak little to no English can easily fall prey to callers pretending to be from the USCIS” said Steve J. Bernas, president, & CEO serving the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “When in doubt, hang up the phone and don’t let these scammers fool you into stealing your personal information, no matter how convincing the number on the phone looks.”

The BBB offers the following tips:

  • Never wire money to these callers. Real representatives from the USCIS will never require people to give money over the phone.
  • Just hang up the phone. If someone claiming to be from the USCIS calls you, hang up and don’t call back. If you call back, sometimes scammers make it seem like you are calling the real USCIS to trick you.
  • Never give out personal information. No matter what the caller says to you, never give out your I-94 number, “A” number or visa control number.
  • Know the real USCIS contact information. If you get a call from a scammer, call the real USCIS number, which is 1-800-375-5283. Tell them about your situation.

For more advice on scams, visit www.bbb.org

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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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