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CHICAGO, IL - Between now and Christmas Eve consumers will make millions of online ...
 Brenda Barrie and Blake Montgomery join 7 returning cast members for second installment  CHICAGO, IL — ...
  Two-year strategy will strengthen county-wide response to food insecurity with focus on health, children ...
This week, President Obama discussed Open Enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which began November ...
                                                   Matching money to benefit domestic violence agencies   Springfield, IL – More than $10,000 will ...
MB Financial Park at Rosemont to Host FREE Movie Screenings with  “Movies Under the Stars” Friday, ...
Organizers say "It’s the efforts to defend Black lives and protect migrant rights that make ...
UMC Delivers High Value Urban Focused Content through a Subscription Digital Streaming Channel Traci ...
  More than 3,000 undocumented undergraduate students will have access to a system-wide student loan program ...
Chicago (April 21, 2018 to September 09, 2018) The Ed Paschke Art Center (EPAC) "This is ...

Archive for January 20th, 2014

The Chicago Southside NAACP will rejoice in the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago Southside NAACP Remembrance, Resolution, Restoration

“Few people consider the fact that, in addition to being enslaved for two centuries, the Negro was, during all those years, robbed of the wages of his toil”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


CHICAGO, IL – On January 20th, 2014, The Chicago South NAACP will rejoice in the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a prominent leader in the civil rights movement with a special program on reparations.

In his 1963 book, Why We Can’t Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for compensation for slavery, segregation, and discrimination.

“No amount of gold could provide an adequate compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Negro in America down through the centuries. Not all the wealth of this affluent society could meet the bill. Yet a price can be placed on unpaid wages.” –Dr. Martin Luther King

The Reparations program is presented by Chicago Southside (NAACP) Political Action Committee in collaboration with the New Reformation Lutheran Church.  There will be two segments to the celebration, a devotional and educational program; good gospel singing and empowering information provided by a panel of experts on the subject.

The event will be held today, Monday, January 20, 2014 at 12 p.m., at The Reformation Lutheran Church,11325 South Forest Ave. in Chicago.

For more information, email chgosouthsidenaacp@gmail.com or call 773-429-9830, 773-403-1876.

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PBS celebrates Black History Month with new programs and a Digital Campaign that unites more than a century of history and culture

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

PBS Black Culture Connection Website Partners with Eunique Jones Gibson to Showcase the Making of the “Because of Them, We Can” (TM) Campaign


Arlington, VA (BlackNews.com) — In commemoration of Black History Month and as part of its year-round commitment to provide diverse programming and resources for all Americans, PBS today announced new shows and online content celebrating the African American experience past, present and future. From an AMERICAN MASTERS profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, to an INDEPENDENT LENS documentary about the secret spy agency created to maintain segregation in 1950’s Mississippi, Black History Month on PBS will provide programs that educate, inform and inspire viewers to learn more about the rich culture of our nation.

The lineup begins on February 3 at 10:00 p.m. with “American Promise,” a powerful coming-of-age documentary from POV that follows the journey of two young African-American males from kindergarten through high school graduation as they attend a prestigious Manhattan private school. Confronting challenges from typical childhood growing pains to cultural identification within a predominantly white environment, the young men and their parents push toward success and discover their own individuality in the process.

Also airing in February are two programs that celebrate the contributions of artists such as Bobby McFerrin and Terence Blanchard in JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC, and Bill T. Jones and Brian Stokes Mitchell in BECOMING AN ARTIST.

“Our Black History Month lineup delves deep into the stories of notable people and historical topics in a way that’s uniquely PBS,” says Donald Thoms, Vice President, Programming and Talent Management. “We feature the work of diverse and independent producers, which remains a staple of our content offerings year round, and I think our viewers will enjoy and even find a little inspiration from our content this year.”

In addition to on-air programs, the PBS Black Culture Connection (BCC), an extension of PBS.org featuring black films, stories and discussion across PBS, announces a digital partnership with the Because of Them, We Can(TM) campaign, which aims to educate and connect a new generation to heroes who paved the way. In an original blog series called “Behind the Lens,” hosted on PBS.org/bcc, PBS will go behind the camera of cultural architect and campaign photographer Eunique Jones Gibson, and her powerful images, to tell the rich story and history of African American icons through the eyes of our nation’s youth. During the month of February, the BCC will feature images from the Because of Them, We Can(TM) campaign including portraits of children inspired by Harriet Tubman, James Brown, Muhammad Ali and the Freedom Riders, along with a blog post by the photographer giving details of the subject, the shoot and the child/children who are pictured. “Behind the Lens” will be hosted on both the PBS Black Culture Connection and on www.BecauseofThemWeCan.com.

“Eunique has created a special link to our past through a campaign that’s inspired and powered by our youth, our future,” said Nicole Eley-Carr, editor, PBS Black Culture Connection. “In many ways, she’s contemporizing Black History, and PBS is excited to be a space for this evolving dialogue that empowers young people by honoring achievers of yesterday and today.”  “I am excited and honored to share a glimpse into the making of the Because of Them, We Can(TM) campaign with the PBS audience,” said Eunique Jones Gibson. “Through the ‘Behind the Lens’ blog series I hope to further the campaign’s mission of building the esteem of both children and adults, while helping them reflect on a living legacy of greatness.” “Behind the Lens” will debut during Black History Month on PBS.org/bcc, alongside more than 30 films that will be available for streaming online throughout the month of February. The full Black History Month programming lineup is listed below (check local listings) and will also be available for online streaming on the BCC after premiere:


POV “American Promise”


Monday, February 3, 2014, 10:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET
“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, New York, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival

AMERICAN MASTERS “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth”


Friday, February 7, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET
Most famous for her seminal novel The Color Purple, writer/activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, she came of age during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th-century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the Civil Rights Movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire, and Walker herself.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Spies of Mississippi”


Monday, February 10, 2014, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET View the story of a secret spy agency formed during the 1950s and 60s by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain white supremacy. Over a decade, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate the NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). They were granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests and compel testimony. The program tracks the commission’s hidden role in important chapters of the Civil Rights Movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the trial of Medgar Evers and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.

JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC


Friday, February 28, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC is a unique, generational and wholly American concert experience that highlights two of the greatest musical art forms the world has ever seen, classical and jazz. With performances by artists such as Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Terence Blanchard and Elizabeth Joy Roe, this special emphasizes the works of legendary past composers such as Bach and Mozart with these contemporary artists. Songs are performed with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and National YoungArts Foundation alumni.

BECOMING AN ARTIST

Friday, February 28, 2014, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET
Enjoy an inspiring tribute to the power of mentoring and the vital role it plays in passing on our artistic cultural heritage from one generation to the next. The documentary features acclaimed artists across the disciplines, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Robert Redford, Rosie Perez, Bill T. Jones, Frank Gehry, Brian Stokes Mitchell, John Guare and Kathleen Turner working with some of the nation’s most talented students selected by the National YoungArts Foundation. BECOMING AN ARTIST is a celebration of our cultural vitality and the need to ensure its continuance.

The following is a sample of the more than 30 programs available for online streaming on the BCC in February:

* The African Americans:  Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
* The March
* Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
* Independent Lens – Daisy Bates, Black Power Mixtape, Soul Food Junkies
* Memories of the March
* Bill T. Jones: A Good Man (American Masters)
* Cab Calloway: Sketches (American Masters)
* Dreams of Obama (Frontline)
* Endgame: AIDS in Black America (Frontline)
* Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
* Freedom Riders (American Experience)
* Interrupters (Frontline)
* Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A-Comin’ (American Masters)
* Jesse Owens (American Experience)
* “Roots” Special on Miniseries (Pioneers of TV)
* Not in Our Town: Class Actions
* Slavery by Another Name
* Too Important to Fail (Tavis Smiley)
* Underground Railroad: The William Still Story
* Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll (American Masters)
* James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (American Masters)
* POV – Black Male Achievement documentary special series: Teaching Fatherhood, The Jazz Ticket, The Algebra Ceiling

Other series that routinely offer programming to commemorate Black History Month include FRONTLINE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, PBS NEWSHOUR, TAVIS SMILEY and WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL.

Find more information and high-resolution images from these programs on PBS PressRoom (http://pressroom.pbs.org).


About PBS Black Culture Connection
The PBS Black Culture Connection, featuring video from films, award-winning documentaries and popular series like AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, links the diverse national content found on PBS with local programs, interviews and discussions from PBS member stations and from around the web. In addition to aggregating more than 100 digital resources about black history and culture in one place within PBS.org, the PBS Black Culture Connection features thematic film collections, biographies and profiles, original productions made just for the web and local station spotlights. After exploring the site, users are encouraged to connect with others through online discussion and to challenge themselves with a suite of quizzes. The PBS Black Culture Connection is made available through partnerships with member stations, including WNET and WGBH, and public media partners like the National Black Programming Consortium. It will also feature the works of producers like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stanley Nelson and Tavis Smiley.


About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and over 29 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

Photo Caption: Top: Alice Walker at London Premiere of “Beauty in Truth”; Credit: Brenda Lawley.
Bottom: Credit: Eunique Jones Gibson for the Because of Them, We Can(TM) Campaign

NAACP applauds Pennsylvania Court’s decision to strike down Voter ID

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE — Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley struck down the state’s controversial voter ID law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

“This decision helped end our three-year long fight to protect the rights of voters in Pennsylvania,” said Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Voting Rights Director and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO. “This Court recognizes that unnecessary barriers to the ballot box are counter to the principle this nation holds most dear—that all citizens should have free and unfettered access to the ballot box. The NAACP, Pennsylvania State Conference, ACLU, and other plaintiffs have worked tirelessly for this moment and we hope to repeat this victory across the nation.”

Judge McGinley’s court opinion states, “This Court holds that the photo ID provisions in the Voter ID Law violate the fundamental right to vote and unnecessarily burden the hundreds of thousands of electors who lack compliant photo ID…Further, a substantial threat  still exists to the franchise of hundreds of thousands of registered electors, and uncounted qualifies electors, despite Respondents’ unfettered ability to continue, strengthen, and clarify voter education efforts and to provide compliant ID to the hundreds of thousands of elector who lack it.”

“We applaud the court for ensuring that a law created to suppress the vote of citizens across the state cannot be implemented,” said Jerry Mondesire, NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference President.

He continued, “As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. this week and next, this serves as a reminder that the movement is not over and the battle can be won. This effort galvanized the people of the Commonwealth and with their support we were able to lead a strong case and protect the rights of voters.”

The law, passed in the General Assembly ahead of the 2012 Presidential election, has been barred from enforcement since 2012 due to a series of temporary injunctions. Plaintiffs in the case produced additional evidence in 2013 during a summer trial period.
State officials were unable to counter evidence showing lack of access to the proposed identification.

You can read the full court opinion: http://www.post-gazette.com/attachment/2014/01/17/Judge-decision-commonwealth-voter-ID-law-unconstitutional.pdf

Simon urges bipartisan support for Illinois farmers, consumers

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Continues push to preserve food stamp funding

SPRINGFIELD, IL – With Congress poised to tackle expansive agriculture legislation in the upcoming weeks, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is leading state-level discussions on the possible impact it will have on rural Illinois residents. During a meeting of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council (GRAC) today, Simon said she wants the farm bill to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) so that low-income residents can afford healthy food.


“A total of 49 million Americans live in households that are food insecure,” Simon said. “Too often they have to choose between paying for food, rent, medicine or heat. SNAP helps address those incredibly difficult choices. We should work together to strengthen, not weaken SNAP.”

A representative of Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), a member of the 2013 Farm Bill Conference Committee, provided a status report on the bill negotiations during the GRAC meeting. Representatives of the Illinois Farm Bureau also spoke about the importance of federal action to pass the farm bill.

Simon has submitted two letters to Congress in recent months, one asking that SNAP be protected from devastating cuts and another advocating for a well-crafted Hunger-Free Communities Incentives Grant that provides incentives for SNAP recipients to buy local food. The grant provision, currently in the Senate version of the farm bill, is a win for consumers, who increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and a win for farmers, who enjoy increased revenues, said Simon.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) also discussed progress of the Education Funding Advisory Committee, which is examining the state’s current education funding system and plans to propose a system that provides adequate, equitable, transparent, and accountable distribution of funds to school districts that will prepare students for achievement and success after high school. Simon, who serves as the state’s point person on education reform, testified before the committee this week regarding inequities that often hamper rural school districts in Illinois.

Established by Governor’s executive order and chaired by Simon, the GRAC is tasked with improving delivery of state services to rural Illinois and expanding opportunities for rural residents to enhance their quality of life.  Under Simon’s leadership, the GRAC has worked to expand access to locally grown, healthy foods and enhance emergency medical services (EMS) in rural areas, as well as other rural issues.

NATO protest organizers condemn lock-out of public from criminal trial

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


Defendants’ wildly inflated ‘terrorism’ charges are part of broader effort to dirty up dissent in U.S., say activists.


CHICAGO, IL – Organizers of Chicago’s May 2012 NATO summit protests will protest sweeping court rules that substantially hinder public access to the publicly-funded, high-profile criminal trail of the NATO 3, Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church and Jared Chase.

The protest and press availability will be held at 9AM on Tuesday, January 21 — the day the defendants’ criminal trial begins — in front of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California, in Chicago.

Law enforcement and court officials are forcing every member of the public seeking to observe the NATO 3 trial to ‘pre-register’, produce a government-issued ID, and submit to a criminal background check. To guarantee a seat in the courtroom, observers must pre-register AGAIN each day prior to the day they wish to attend court. These draconian rules, say activists, are anathema in a democratic nation committed constitutionally to public trials.

The judge in the case has also issued a ‘decorum’ order so sweeping that one could conceivably be ejected from the courtroom and cited for criminal contempt for raising an eyebrow or shaking one’s head at testimony — or even smiling at a defendant. The order also bans political buttons, t-shirts, armbands and perhaps even particular colors should they be deemed by court officials to represent a partisan political statement. Members of the public who exit the courtroom at any time, including to use the bathroom, will not be readmitted unless the court recesses.

These court rules, say activists, function essentially to create the conditions for a secret trial In a case where public scrutiny is critical given the prosecution’s reliance on sweeping police spying and undercover police incitement.

Activists assert cops have manufactured a false ‘terrorism’ case to justify the millions spent on security to create a militarized police presence during the NATO summit. The prosecution, they argue, is part of a broad campaign to derail the Occupy movement and other forms of public opposition to government policy. Defense attorneys have described the case as based on “idle chatter, laced with bravado and abetted, encouraged and egged on by the undercover police agents.”

National Urban League applauds introduction of Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial  issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the Voting Rights Amendment Act 2014 by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT):


“We applaud Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for introducing the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.    This common-sense measure is an important first step to reaffirm the right to vote for all citizens and strengthen the protection of that right.   Further, it underscores the responsibility of elected officials to ensure, promote and support free and fair elections.

“Regrettably, the 2012 election cycle proved that discriminatory voter suppression tactics continue to undermine the fundamental right to vote for too many Americans.  It also demonstrated that voters are still critically in need of the protections that were stripped by the Shelby v. Holder decision.

We are encouraged by the bipartisan support the bill enjoys and look forward to working with Congress to help ensure that it is swiftly passed into law.”

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia L. Fudge’s Statement in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

In 1968, Dr. King spent his last birthday working on the Poor People’s Campaign to bring attention to the need for economic justice in America.  If he were alive today, I wonder how he would feel about the state of our country and of our world.

“I believe Dr. King would applaud the progress we have made toward racial and social equity, but he would strongly caution us about the shrinking equality of opportunity currently plaguing our world. He would question our nation’s persistently high unemployment rate, particularly for African Americans. He would ask why Congress couldn’t agree on extending unemployment insurance to the long-term unemployed – the people who need it the most. Dr. King would ask why millions of Americans continue to live in poverty and seek work while corporations post billions in record profits. He would call for individuals to be paid wages that would prevent them from falling below the poverty line.

“Today, our nation honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an individual whose work was guided by his dream for an unprejudiced and equitable society. If he were alive today, Dr. King would certainly be proud of who we are, but he would say that we must commit to move forward together as one nation, we must not rest on our progress, there is still much work to be done.”

Illinois State Board of Education announces Board meeting for Jan. 22-23 in Springfield

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL– The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following schedule for its regular business meeting on Jan. 22-23 at its Springfield office at 100 N. First St.

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 Meeting

Jan. 22-23, 2014

Location: Illinois State Board of Education, 100 N. First St., Springfield

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

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

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. Resolutions & Recognition

A. Dr. Harry Berman, Executive Director, IBHE

III. Discussion Items

A. USDA Smart Snacks in Schools

B. Legislative Update

IV. Public Participation

V. FY15 Budget Discussion

VI. FY15 Funding Discussion, North Chicago District 187 and East St. Louis District 189

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

8:30  a.m.

VII. Presentations and Updates

A. Student Advisory Council Update

VIII. Superintendent’s Report – Consent Agenda

A. *Approval of Minutes

1. Plenary Minutes: December 18, 2013

B.

*Rules for Initial Review

C. *Rules for Adoption

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

2. Part 22 (Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators)

3. Part 23 (Standards for the School Service Personnel Certificate)

4. Part 28 (Standards for Certification in Special Education)

5. Part 29 (Standards for Administrative Certification)

6. Part 226 (Special Education) (class size/composition)

D. *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

1. Request for Grant Approval: North Lawndale Eagles

2. Approval of Intergovernmental Agreement: Illinois State University for Administration of National Board Preparation

End of Consent Agenda

E. Denial of Certification for Tomorrow’s Builders Charter School in East St. Louis

F. FY15 Budget Recommendation

IX. Discussion Items

A. Other Items for Discussion

X. Announcements & Reports

A. Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

B. Chairman’s Report

C. Member Reports

XI. Information Items

A. ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports (available online at: http://isbe.net/board/fiscal_admin_rep.htm

XII. Closed Session (as needed)

XIII. Adjourn


Voices From Syria – Syrian Survivors’ Stories

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL – On Friday, Jan 17 , 2014, Heba and Amineh met with dozens of diplomats and NGO representatives hosted by the Permanent Mission of Norway at the United Nations to speak freely for the first time about the survivors’ stories of death and devastation at the hands of the Assad regime.

Saturday Jan 25, 2014 at  7:30 p.m. they will be in Willowbrook at Ashton Place, 341 75th St,, Willowbrook, IL discussing their situation.

“I don’t need your tears,” Amineh said, speaking today before the our event. “I need your help.”
“I cannot remember life before the revolution started three years ago,” survivor Heba Sawan said. “Only the war. This is my whole life now.”

Heba, 24, and her cousin Amineh Sawan, 23, arrived in the U.S. in mid-January to tell their story of survival as their small town of Moadamiya, a suburb of Damascus, was devastated by the army of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The two young women saw with their own eyes the killing of family, friends and others—all civilians–by the Syrian Army of Bashar al-Assad. Early on in the war, Heba’s financé was killed.
In the pre-dawn August morning when Assad’s army attacked the town with chemical weapons the two cousins rushed to the makeshift hospital and began treating victims. More than 1,200 of their neighbors were killed in the attack. “Bodies were spasming uncontrollably,” Amineh said. “Children were screaming unintelligible words as they were dying.” An infant died in her arms.

Assad’s forces laid siege to Moadamiya, blocking the delivery of food and other essentials, and preventing anyone from leaving. Those who tried to escape were cut down by snipers’ fire.
The young cousins were determined to make a difference. With the schools destroyed by artillery fire, the children of Moadamiya were left with nothing more to do than play war on rubble filled streets. Heba and Amineh established an underground school for the local children—a place to escape the harsh reality outside.

Racial and sexual tensions simmer in the Chicago Premiere of Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson

Posted by Admin On January - 20 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Jessica Thebus directs a piercing, dark comedy about friends and lovers living together in a daunting transitional neighborhood, February 8 – March 9 in the Owen Theatre

Chicago, IL – Love, race and class take center stage in Buzzer, Chicago native Tracey Scott Wilson’s intimate, darkly comic 21st-century exploration of the effects of a changing neighborhood on three cohabitating twenty-somethings—“a study of sex and the city in post-racial times” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). The trio is forced to confront the racial and sexual tensions that exist both inside their home and outside their apartment in a changing Brooklyn neighborhood. As previously announced, the cast of director Jessica Thebus’ Chicago-premiere production includes Eric Lynch (Broken Fences at 16th Street Theatre, Blacktop Sky at Theatre Seven, part of Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep); Lee Stark (The Iceman Cometh, Disgraced at American Theater Company); and Shane Kenyon (Big Love at Strawdog Theatre Company, Trainspotting USA with Book and Lyrics Theatricals). Buzzer runs February 8 – March 9 in the Owen Theatre; opening night is Tuesday, February 18. Tickets ($10 – $40; subject to increase) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Buzzer, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Bank of America is the Owen Season Sponsor, the Goodman Scenemakers Board is a Sponsor Partner and Heidrick & Struggles is a Contributing Sponsor. A performance calendar follows.

“Tracey has made a name for herself through her incisive, explosive dramas that deal with issues surrounding the contemporary African American experience. Her terrific new play, Buzzer, opens the door for thoughtful discourse about the conversations we have—or don’t have—about race, class and how best to treat each other,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls.

Hailed a “singular new voice” by the New Yorker, Wilson’s work has been seen at venues across the country; the Goodman has produced The Story (2005) and The Good Negro (2010), both directed by Chuck Smith, and Buzzer was included in the 2012 New Stages festival, directed by Thebus. A co-commission of Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater and Pillsbury House Theater, Buzzer made its world premiere at the Pillsbury House in 2012; critics unanimously endorsed the play as timely, important and simultaneously hilarious and tragic. It was remounted in a sold-out run at the Guthrie in 2013, directed by Marion McClinton.

“I have lived in neighborhoods that have been gentrified, and I have gentrified neighborhoods; the issue is always there,” said Tracey Scott Wilson. “The characters in Buzzer are of a generation that has been raised on the Disney Channel, in a very multicultural world where Beyoncé and Jay-Z are considered the biggest stars. It’s very different from someone who grew up when there were not many black characters on TV. Especially in the ‘post-racial Obama age’ we’re entering, there are the things we are supposed to say, the things we actually say and the things we really believe.”

Buzzer follows three young people as they move into a newly-rehabilitated building—one with broken buzzers—in a lower-class, urban neighborhood that is grappling with the effects of gentrification and can be dangerous. Jackson (Eric Lynch), a successful African American attorney who grew up in this neighborhood, has returned home, determined to enjoy its renaissance and build a life there. Having attended Exeter, then Harvard and Harvard Law School, Jackson managed to avoid much of the neighborhood’s strife in his younger years. Suzy (Lee Stark), his girlfriend and a teacher at a tough inner-city school, and his troubled boyhood best friend Don (Shane Kenyon)—both white, and who have a history of their own—move in with him. Don hails from a privileged background, but has extensively battled drug addiction; as a result, he is more street-smart than Jackson. The neighborhood and its newest residents’ emotional entanglement take a toll, and the apartment becomes a kind of crucible in which the ever-present urban landscape has devastating results.

Director Jessica Thebus, who previously directed Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House and Stage Kiss for the Goodman, works with Wilson for the first time. “Tracey challenges our assumptions; we’re surprised and invigorated by her argument, and we’re illuminated by the intimacy of this story. The economy of just these three very real people invites you to ask yourself, who am I judging and why? Who’s doing what? Whose side am I on? And you’re not sure quite where to position yourself as the story unwinds.”

The design team for Buzzer—Walt Spangler (set), John Culbert (lights), Mikhail Fiksel (sound) and Birgit Rattenborg Wise (costumes)—incorporates elements of Wilson’s former Brooklyn neighborhood to create a realistic setting. Added Thebus, “Don, Jackson, and Suzy are always dealing with the outside, which feels a little unstable. From the cars driving by—questioning, ‘was that a car backfire or was that a gunshot?’—to the guys on the corner to the radio, we have extraordinary designers who will make us feel like the presence of that neighborhood is there.”

EVENTS AROUND BUZZER

POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS
Following each Wednesday performance of Buzzer, stay for a discussion about the play with members of the artistic team.
Goodman Theatre | FREE

COLLEGE NIGHT
Enjoy pizza, pop and the opportunity to mingle with other students and Goodman artists before a performance of Buzzer.
Tuesday, February 12, 6pm | Goodman Theatre | $10 with promo code COLLEGEBUZZ (must redeem with valid student ID)

ARTIST ENCOUNTER
A discussion with playwright Tracey Scott Wilson and director Jessica Thebus.
Sunday, February 16, 5pm | Goodman Theatre | FREE
Reservations are required. Call 312.443.3800 to reserve your seats.

BUZZER AND BREWS
Mingle with cast members and Goodman artists in the theater’s rehearsal space before and after a performance of Buzzer.
Thursday, March 6, 6pm Reception / 7:30pm Performance| Goodman Theatre | $60

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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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