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Archive for December 7th, 2013

Chicago Minister and Civil Rights Leader reflects on meeting Nelson Mandela

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

“I was awed by his presence”

By Juanita Bratcher

Rev. Dr. Al Sampson had the pleasure of being in the presence of Nelson Mandela three times, and each time he was awed by his presence.

Sampson, a Civil Rights Leader, President of www.georgewashingtoncarverfarms.com, and former Pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago for more than 30 years, was ordained by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1966 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a world traveler and visited Africa several times.

After the Million Man March on Washington Oct. 16, 1995, where more than a million was in attendance, Sampson was selected by Minister Louis Farrakhan as the only Christian minister in a 30-member delegation traveling to 18 African countries to participate in the “Atonement Reconciliation Responsibility Peace Tour”.

Sampson first met Mandela when traveling with the Black Publishers Association to Africa several years ago. “While there, I had a chance to meet Nelson Mandela; I was awed by his presence. I met him again while with Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee, Alabama who gave birth to the World’s Conference of Mayors, and the third time with Minister Louis Farrakhan, after the Million Man March.

“I was always awed by his presence because many of us had participated in the ANC (Africa National Congress) movement. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Methodist Church had a ‘Free South Africa’ flag in front of his church.

“We took busloads from our church when he was on tour in Atlanta, Ga. I saw him and wife; they were brought to Chicago by Minister Farrakhan and she met with us and we talked with her.”

Sampson and several anti-apartheid civil rights leaders and activists in Chicago, including Professor Bob Starks, picketed the South African Consulate.

“So there has been a large history of Africans in America making this international connection and the role that Mandela made in going from prisoner to president.

“Every time I’ve been in Nelson Mandela’s presence I never had the need to ask him anything because our lives were so intertwined. I am a student of North Carolina sit-ins in Raleigh and in Mississippi. I know the horrors of being in jail although I didn’t stay in for 27 years” like Mandela.

“I have a first-hand reality check about prisons,” said Sampson. “I know the beast reality of prison (arrests during sit-in demonstrations). The genius of Mandela was to use his mind and transform the circumstances.”

In the early days of education in America, some sociologists said man was a product of their environment. Sampson said Victor Frankl and other psychiatrists, however, said you can transcend and rise above your environment.

“But we have learned as a people, as African Americans in America, to transcend our environment. His (Mandela) ability to have a movement outside the prison walls, and to then come out on a Sunday morning from a prisoner in one room to become the president in another room. What does this mean? It is a crowning achievement, as Dr. King said about the content of character.”

Sampson noted that U.S. Congressman Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus helped get Mandela’s name off the terrorist list.

Sampson was in South Africa this year with Ben Asiel. They met with Winnie Mandela whom he greatly admires.

“History will say that this woman (Winnie) was prepared to die for her man (Nelson Mandela) in the liberation struggle,” Sampson noted. “And I hope that she receives a prominent role, not only in the funeral, but as they write the history books that this woman was prepared to die for the liberation of people for her man.

“I’ve always appreciated her because in the history of our movement (in America) we had Fannie Lou Hamer and Rosa Parks; it was the parallel of people being oppressed from different parts of the world and that Africans in America are marvelous people for all we’ve been through.”

Some History Notes about Rev. Al Sampson, among many others:

Sampson and James Fox were the first students arrested in the Raleigh, NC sit-in demonstrations. He was then President of Shaw NAACP as well as President of the NAACP’s state youth and college chapters. Ezell Blair Jr. was also arrested in Greensboro, NC.

In 1975 he became the Assumed Pastorate of Fernwood United Methodist Church Chicago Southern District of Northern Illinois Conference.

He was selected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to serve on the Woodlawn Organization’s (T.W.O.), Chicago, IL staff as an organizer to study the techniques of Saul Alienky.

Was community organization consultant for poverty programs in Syracuse, NY, Wilmington, DE, Indianapolis, IN, and Boston, MA

Fellow, Metropolitan Applied Research Center, founded by Dr. Kenneth Clark.

Former SCLC Project Director in the largest major voter registration drive in Cleveland OH, which elected Carl Stokes the first Black Mayor in an urban city.

With the aid of a team of lawyers they helped to expunge “Brothers and Sisters’ records” through a program called Operation Clean Slate. There is now legislation called the “Expungement Act”, House Bill 2033.

Graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C, a Bible based school, during the turbulent ‘60s.

Worked with and Ordained by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

President of www.georgewashingtoncarverfarms.com.

Sampson can be reached at www.revalsampson.org.

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, Author, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine.

“The world lost one of its most courageous and righteous leaders”: AARP CEO A. Barry Rand on the death of Nelson Mandela

Posted by Admin On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Statement by A. Barry Rand, CEO, AARP on the Death of Nelson Mandela

The world lost one of its most courageous and righteous leaders yesterday with the passing of Nelson Mandela. Mandela, who was imprisoned for fighting against Apartheid in South Africa only to later become that country’s first elected president once Apartheid ended, dedicated his life to fighting for social justice and economic equality.

My wife and I had the opportunity to meet Madiba on a trip to South Africa in 1994. As we ate lunch together, I could not help but to feel in awe of his presence. He exuded a quiet dignity, strong conviction, inspiring confidence, the wisdom of his years and experiences, and a strong moral character. He was a man of purpose at peace with who he was and willing to fight for his beliefs. My wife and I left that brief lunch determined to do more to help make the world a better place. He inspired us. He showed us how.

Much has been and will be written about Nelson Mandela’s incredible legacy- his successful fight to end Apartheid and reconcile the nation; his work as President of South Africa to end poverty, improve education, and create economic opportunity for all; and his efforts on behalf of human rights for people throughout the world. But he also leaves the world a legacy that will largely go unnoticed: He has taught us all how to live with independence, dignity and purpose as we get older. After being released from prison at the age of 72, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin at the age of 75. At 76, he was elected President of South Africa serving a five-year term. He spent the rest of his life fighting to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation while continuing to speak out for social justice and human rights.

In a speech at the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in January 2007, Mandela said, “It can be said that there are four basic and primary things that the mass of people in a society wish for: to live in a safe environment, to be able to work and provide for themselves, to have access to good public health and to have sound educational opportunities for their children.”   Those are the things Nelson Mandela fought for and the things we fight for today at AARP.

While we will miss Nelson Mandela, we will also continue to carry out his legacy, to lead social change so all people can live and age with independence, dignity and purpose. Nelson Mandela showed us the way. Now, it is up to all of us to fulfill the promise.

State Senator Collins remembers Nelson Mandela’s “magnificent presence”

Posted by Admin On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL –Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement celebrating the life and work of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013):

I was saddened to hear the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing but grateful for the magnificent presence of this freedom fighter for justice and peace. He was a visionary who inspired a nation and world.

Like many social justice advocates, I became engaged in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s as I became aware of the injustices occurring in South Africa and was moved by Mandela’s servant leadership. When Mandela took his thank-you tour across America, I traveled to Detroit with many other Chicagoans to witness this powerful and prophetic leader. The South Africa divestment movement to oppose apartheid was my template for Illinois’ 2005 Sudan divestment law.

Nelson Mandela was truly a profile in courage, commitment and character. His great moral center, anchored in hope and love, gave him the power not only to stand against injustice but to shower his enemies with forgiveness. His luminous spirit lives on in the men and women throughout the world who continue his work for social justice and peace .

Leaders: “Spirit of Nelson Mandela will live on forever”

Posted by Admin On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Rep. Ford to name Cicero Avenue after Mandela

By Chinta Strausberg

As the world mourns the death of the iconic former South African President Nelson Mandela, local leaders say his spirit will live on forever and that the greatest gift he leaves as his legacy is his teaching the world how to forgive their enemies.

Born Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 after a very long illness. He is considered a martyr because of his fight to end South Africa’s oppressive apartheid system and his resultant imprisonment at Robben Island for 27-years.

Rather than to make a plea deal and get out sooner, Mandela, the author of “Long Walk to Freedom,” stood his ground and refused to compromise his opinions on ending apartheid, but though the was forced to break rocks into gravel, but it was the love he showed while in prison that won over his enemies.

It was love for all mankind even his jailers that helped him to become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

Robert Starks, professor emeritus at Northeastern University, said, “Mr. Mandela was one of the greatest men of the 20th Century. I was excited to meet him after chairing his visit to Chicago and Operation PUSH. He was very kind and down to earth. He and Dr. King are two of my heroes.”

Nelson Mandela may be gone but his spirit will forever live on as an example of how to forgive our enemies.

Saying the spirit of Mandela will live on and that his teaching the world the art of forgiveness is admirable, Starks added, “however, while we can forgive, we can never forget.”

“We mourn his loss, but it is the lessons of his life that we must not lose…..to refuse to compromise, to know how to forgive, to fight for what is right and to be willing to struggle for what is just,” said Father Michael L. Pfleger, senior pastor at Saint Sabina.

Rev. Thulani Magwaza, pastor of Saint Sabina who is from South Africa, said, “One of the quotes from Mr. Mandela that inspires me is, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we live.”

Illinois State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-8th) is proposing to change the name of the entire length of Cicero Avenue, which runs from Chicago into the suburbs, in honor of Mr. Mandela.

“President Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to many and has been an example during our own lifetimes of the power of love, reconciliation, and non-violent resistance, following in the line

of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Ford.

“It is a small gesture to change the name of a road from Cicero Avenue to Mandela Road, but it will help us to remember that even with Nelson Mandela’s death, we must continue to drive for excellence for the whole human race. Illinois Route 50 is the perfect state highway to be renamed, as it crosses so many different communities and will remind us of the almost miraculous work that Nelson Mandela undertook as he brought together people in his own country and all over the world to advance peace, democracy and opportunity.

His work should be an inspiration for us to work for these same goals,” said Ford.

“President Barack Obama also spoke out on Mr. Mandela’s death. “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” the President said. “So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set:  to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.”

Obama called Mandela “a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”

Editor’s Note: Chinta Strausberg covered Nelson Mandela when he came to Chicago in 1993.

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.

Newly announced winner of 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize, anti-slavery leader Biram Abeid of Mauritania in West Africa, to speak to faith and community organizations in Chicago and DuPage County December 7 – 9th

Posted by Admin On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The newly announced winner of the prestigious 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize – Biram Abeid of the West African nation of Mauritania – will speak to a variety of community and faith organizations during a trip to the Chicagoland area December 7th – December 9th.  Following his Chicagoland tour, Abeid will travel to the United Nations in New York City to receive the Prize, given only once every five years to outstanding global human rights leaders.  Past recipients have included former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., former President Jimmy Carter and former South African President Nelson Mandela.  The trip is being organized by the Abolition Institute (www.StoppingSlavery.org), a non-profit organization in Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood recently profiled for its innovative work fighting slavery in Mauritania: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/16/opinion/sutter-mauritania-abolition-institute/index.html

The West African nation of Mauritania was the subject of a chilling 2012 CNN expose entitled “Slavery’s Last Stronghold” which noted that an estimated 10-20% of its population is still enslaved: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/03/world/mauritania.slaverys.last.stronghold/index.html

Biram Abeid, and Mauritanian native Bakary Tandia, will be travelling throughout Chicagoland to highlight the work that needs to be done to end slavery in Mauritania, where – on a per capita basis – as many people are enslaved today as were enslaved in the United States on the eve of the civil war in 1860.

Below is the itinerary for Biram Abeid, President of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania, Mauritanian diaspora leader Bakary Tandia and Sean Tenner and Reverend Mitchell Johnson of the Abolition Institute – a leader in Chicago’s faith community.  Media interviews are encouraged as a means to focus public attention on the crisis of modern day slavery in Mauritania.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

4:00 PM:  Biram Abeid and Bakary Tandia arrive at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago

7:00 PM: Abolition Institute delegation attends Chicago Bulls game at United Center

(1901 W. Madison Street in Chicago) where they will be recognized by the Chicago Bulls for their human rights work.  South Sudanese native Luol Deng and the entire Chicago Bulls organization have been supporters of the cause of African organizations in the Chicagoland area.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

7:30 AM: Delegation attends Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) (400 W. 95th Place in Chicago), after the worship service, TUCC’s African Ministry will host an informational session with delegation.

Trinity United Church of Christ contact:  Rev. Joan R. Harrell, M.Div., M.S.

(773) 962-1565 Jrharrell@trinitychicago.org

10:30 AM: Delegation attends St. Sabina Church (1210 W. 78th Place in Chicago), world

renowned for its civil rights and human rights work.

Contact: Chinta Strausberg (312) 371-7730  chintabernie@aol.com

12:00 PM: Delegation visits Masjid Taqwa Mosque (8211 S. Exchange in Chicago) and meets with Muslim community leaders and representatives of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.  Delegation conducts interview with Radio Islam.

Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago Contact:

Deputy Director Imam Matthew L. Ramadan (708) 955-0799

3:15 PM: Delegation meets with students from Wheaton College at Graham’s (119 W. Front Street in downtown Wheaton).  Wheaton College and the City of Wheaton were originally founded by Illinois abolitionists as a center of activity for those fighting the evils of slavery:  http://www.wheaton.il.us/about/history/default.aspx?id=3920.  Wheaton College students, including activist David Robinson, are currently leading efforts on human rights issues in Africa.

4:00 PM: Meeting with community leaders in Naperville, hometown of Abolition Institute members Sean Tenner, John Ferrin and Abdul Suleiman. Event organized by community leader Anna Banks Simeon (location TBD).

7:00 PM: Meeting of the Abolition Institute (4802 N. Broadway #200 in Chicago)

Monday, December 9, 2013

9:00 AM: Breakfast with African-American faith leaders, elected officials, and community leaders at Salaam Restaurant, (706 W. 79th Street in Chicago).  The Abolition Institute is grateful for the breakfast sponsorship of the law firm of Romanucci and Blandin. Contact: Brother Leonard Muhammad (312) 371-0046

12:15 PM: PCC Network interviews with African-American leaders (7644 South Kingston in Chicago) Contact: Chinta Strausberg at (312) 371-7730 or chintabernie@aol.com

2:00 PM: Delegation speaks to Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School (325 S. Kenilworth in Oak Park).  The group will address approximately 300 students, teachers and faculty about the power they have to fight modern day slavery.  The event was inspired by the work of local educators Lisa Hendrix and Joel Ostrow.  Following the approximately one hour presentation, members of the delegation will be available for media interviews and meetings with members of the community.

6:25 PM: Abolition Institute delegation depart O’Hare Airport for New York City.  They will attend the presentation of the Prize at the United Nations Headquarters at 3 PM on Tuesday, December 10th (International Human Rights Day).

For more information contact: The Abolition Institute (www.StoppingSlavery.org)

Sean Tenner (312) 576-8822

Reverend Mitchell Johnson (312) 498-0130


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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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