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Archive for February 24th, 2014

Foreclosed PNC Bank homeowners to speak out about harassment, calling on local residents to close their bank accounts

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Foreclosed PNC Bank homeowners to speak out about harassment, calling on local residents to close their bank accounts

Will hold press conference today, February 24th, 11:00 a.m. outside PNC Bank, 8700 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Chicago; an evicted homeowner and her Anti-Eviction Campaign supporters will picket and speak out about their arrest and harassment by bank security

(From the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign)

After their attempts to deliver a petition to PNC Bank ended in an arrest and intimidation, an evicted PNC Bank homeowner and her anti-eviction supporters are speaking out about how foreclosed homeowners continue to be treated in spite of the housing market recovery.

“It was crazy,” exclaimed Colette Robicheaux, an intern with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign. “PNC Bank security refused to let us stand on sidewalk and the police threatened to arrest even more of us. They even followed us to the gas station a couple block away.”

On Monday, February 10th, a handful of Yinka Solebo’s friends and supporters arrived at a local Chicago PNC Bank branch to deliver a letter of complaint to the branch manager. The letter included a petition (http://start2.occupyourhomes.org/p/solebo), signed by more than 1,200 people around the country concerned with the way in which PNC Bank had handled Mrs. Solebo’s foreclosure case. Instead, PNC Bank officials refused to accept their petition, with bank security even going so far as to grab one of Yinka’s supporters, nearly throwing him to the ground and then calling the Chicago Police Department to have them arrested.

“Frankly, I’m not surprised,” offered Dr. Toussaint Losier, who Chicago Police arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest. “These same banks push millions of people out of their homes and then leave these same homes sitting vacant and empty. The same way they treat our communities is the same way they treat us when we try to raise our concerns.”

Last November, Yinka Solebo and her family were to be evicted from their suburban home in Plainfield, after being foreclosed on by PNC Bank. When they sought to have their eviction case brought back up in court on the day of their eviction, PNC Bank officials refused to come to court and allowed the Will County Sheriff to evict them, leaving their belongings on the curb. Since then, those belongings have been stolen, and they have been left homeless.

In an effort to ensure that their concerns are heard by PNC Bank, Yinka and her supporters will be speaking out outside of PNC Bank, raising awareness about their mistreatment and calling on local residents to move their money out of PNC Bank.

For more information, contact Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign 773-236-0559

Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., an aide to Dr. King: “We need to teach our children about Black History”

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr., an aide to Dr. King: “We need to teach our children about Black History”

Urge start of citizenship classes for youth

By Chinta Strausberg

If you want to help finish Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, then African Americans should start teaching their children about black history, establish citizenship classes and teach them the art of non-violence they will need to be victorious over racism in America, Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, an aide to King, said late Friday night.

With WVON’s Cliff Kelley as MC, Father Michael L. Pfleger introduced Lafayette who was born in Tampa, Florida. He received a doctor’s degree in education at Harvard University and is the former director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Rev. Lafayette currently teaches at Emory University and is a master teacher of nonviolence throughout the nation.

Rev. Lafayette also autographed his new book, “In Peace and Freedom: My journey to Selma.”

Rickey Harris, who heads the Saint Sabina “Spirit of David” dancers, read a poem he wrote entitled, “AreYou Listening”?

“Dear America,




Do not fear me because of my skin color

Because of my age

Because I’m a young, black man in America

Truth is-

While you’re standing your ground, I’m just trying to stand on my own 2 feet

Amidst the poverty, amidst the injustice, the miseducation, amidst the prejudice

So please sir – please ma’am

Stop listening to how loud my music is and listen to my loud cry for help

Stop listening to how low my pants are hanging off my butt and hear the low self-esteem screaming from my heart

Stop listening to and reminding me of my past and help me hear the cheers of Martin, Malcolm, Medgar and a host of others cheering me to my best self and my best future

America, if you don’t hear anything else – listen to this

I Want To Live!!!

So don’t judge me, Help me”!  Harris signed it a “Young Black Man In America.”

Known for his national and international peace workshops, Dr. Lafayette, whom Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. named the co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), spent nearly two-hours sharing some of the dark but historic moments of his life dedicated to civil rights including how he was once a violent young man.

Referring to Ybor City, Florida which was a cigar manufacturing district once led by Vincente Martinez-Ybor, Lafayette said he grew up around cigar factories in Tampa where he began smoking cigars when he was 5-years-old. He said there are more men over the ageof 100 who smoke cigars in Cuba and that everybody drank wine. Lafayette’s grandfather was born in Cuba and his father was born in France. He is also part West Indian. His great-grandmother was a Seminole Indian who weighed 500 pounds. “She used to go to the meat market to weigh herself,” he said.

Lafayette’s family moved to Philadelphia where he finished elementary school. It was the first integrated school he had ever attended and on his first day he was shocked to see whites punching blacks and black fighting back. “That was my baptism in integration,”he chuckled.

But, he revealed there was another side of him he tries to keep “way behind” him—his life as a gang member of a notorious gang who developed an art of “psychological warfare.”

“I know violence. I know how to make a gun. We had the weapons. I have a background, and I try to keep it behind me…,” Lafayette confessed, but education changed his life forever.

While in college, Lafayette worked three jobs but was invited to a non-violence workshop by James Austin, Jr., a fellow student. Another friend, John Lewis, who is now a congressman, also invited him.

There he learned if you love someone you should forgive them and turn the other cheek. Referring to his grandmother, Lafayette said, ‘I used to turn all of my cheeks” and got his behind whipped but he still loved her.

In those non-violence workshops, he also learned how to manage anger. Lafayette said you should not allow someone to “rent space in your mind” and that your mind “ought to be high real estate.” When people know they can make you angry, in essence they are putting chains around your mind.

Another way to destroy yourself is to do “absolutely nothing” but he said explaining that too comes with aprice “apathy which is a form of self-violence.”

Lafayette talked about his fight to help desegregate the bus stations and how they were met with violence. He said whites knew if they integrated the bus stations all of their downtown lunch counters were next.

They held a sit-in at one of the bus stations and in the morning he went to make a phone call and was attacked by several cab drivers who were angry that the station was locked down and they couldn’t get coffee. They beat him, but he did not react even though he was a former gangbanger he took the blows while emitting love for his attackers. His civil rights training kicked in successfully.

Other protests including the dangerous freedom rides led to his getting three cracked ribs, but he kept going, kept fighting for equal rights even though he was in great pain.

He talked about the first through the third generation syndromes with the first coming to America binging their religion, values and culture like clothing. The second generation brought about the mindset of assimilation. “They wanted to be like everybody else…getting their hair straightened.”

The third generation “goes back  o their roots. They wanted to learn more about their forefathers including people like Tarzan and Jane and how Tarzan said ran around in the jungles with a short skirt on and a monkey by his side. As a child, Lafayette often played the part of Tarzan.

The third generation syndrome, he said sported Afro’s and wore dashikis. It was a time when blacks named their children African names.

Today, Lafayette said we do not teach black history in schools only European history. He said it is no wonder why our children walk around with pants hanging down. “It’s called the blues.” He described this as the blue devil…singing the blues, the yellow devil who came to scare you…those who say “don’t bring no mess here. They stay in their place and we in ours” so there is no trouble. Then there is the “green devil” jealousy where one organization “doing this the other doing that” followed by the white and black devils.

Lafayette said we do not uplift our young boys, enough which is why they feel so “low down.”

He also told of how he formed an organization to test children living in Chicago’s inner city where they were getting sick, their stomachs swelling and some dying. After launching an investigation, Lafayette learned the children had been eating paint chips he said were coated with glucose. “It tasted sweet to them so they ate it,” he said. That exposure to the cause of their illness prompted the city of Chicago to hire people to test the children.

Another incident in Chicago jarred his memory and that was the time when little black children were trying to cool off by opening up the fire hydrants. It was hot outside, but the police told them to turn it off. There were some black men sitting on a nearby stoop drinking beer. “They told the police ‘oh, let them alone. They just want to get cooled off.’”  Lafayette said one of the men threw a beer can at the cop prompting the police to make a “10/4” call.

The next thing they knew there were cops every where,” Lafayette said. “There wasn’t a race riot. It was a cop riot. I know because I was there.”

Lafayette also took a few questions from the audience. Senator Jacqueline Collins said she was a child of the 1960’s and that music “was an intrical part of the movement….music that gave us an objective, a goal and a reason to fight.” She said that blacks have lost the power of music that once “gave us hope.”

Rev. Lafayette said blacks need to come up with a message, a motto for their tombstones. As an example, he told of how during the civil rights era they had a song for every occasion including when they were jailed in the south for protesting segregation and how even in jail they would sing to their jailers. “The busses are coming, oh yeah,” they sang loudly to the dismay of their white jailers.

And, when the police told them they would take away their mattresses, they sang, “You can take away our mattresses, oh yeah” and then began to pile them up at the door, but when the police threatened to take away their toothbrushes, Lafayette mused, well they had better negotiate.

When this reporter asked how can blacks finished Dr. King’s dream, Dr. Lafayette said people must vote…not a third of those who are registered and that they cannot take voting for granted especially given the history of the violent and at times deadly right to vote in this country.

Some states, he said, have misused this right by coming up with various laws like independent political parties being forced to come up with 25,000 signatures including the state of Illinois.

One way to change this mindset is to begin legislative/citizenship organizations for youth 12-17 and teach them about civics and the right to vote. “We have driver’s education classes.They don’t have citizen education and we need that,” he said. “Get them involved.” He said youth need to be taught values including the concepts of non-violence.

Reflecting on April 4, 1968, the day Dr. King was assassinated, Rev. Lafayette said King had told him he was to go to Washington, D.C. to work on the Poor Peoples campaign. Five-hours later, King was dead. “They put a hit on him,” he said. “They were trying to stop the movement…but they missed.”

Hearing the news of King’sdeath, Lafayette called the United Press International (UPI) wire service for confirmation, then the Associated Press (AP) because he didn’t want to believe it.

Today, Rev. Lafayette continues Dr. King’s dream by developing a non-violence program that is now in 50countries and 30 states including some prisons where there are no longer any riots. He even trains some police departments. He said Dr. King today is larger than life and that the bullets that pierced his did not kill his dream for justice and equality for everyone. It made his mandate worldwide.

In thanking Rev. Lafayette for his personal sacrifices on behalf of the civil rights movement an his loyalty to Dr. King, Father Pfleger said, “I just want to challenge us. We cannot say that we honor Dr. King if we do not practice his principles of non-violence.Hanging his picture in your house does not honor him. Going to a birthday celebration does not honor him.

“While we’ve been having birthday celebrations, hanging his picture in churches and church offices,drones have become the weapon of choice in our country. While we were having celebrations on the steps for the 50th anniversary…, we continue to see ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws giving license to kill black boys. We continue to see war…and the NRA with their guns” that have become a part of America’s wardrobe. “and racism and violence are part of the blood street and we refuse to get a transfusion.”

Pfleger said Rev. Lafayette is correct in saying, “We have to stop looking to government to do…. We have to elect, yes, righteous people like Senator Jacqueline Collins, but we have to do that ourselves…. We have to teach our children, teach them at home, teach in the churches, teach them in the neighborhoods…because they are not going to get taught in public or charter schools.

“We have to make sure that we teach them ourselves. “Sometimes we don’t need any more strategy sessions. Just do it. Do what you think it is right” when it comes to the children.“Let’s love our children,” said Pfleger.

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.

Uptown Community fights back against Alderman James Cappleman’s Proposal to give $14 Million in TIF Funds to private real estate developer

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Uptown Community fights back against Alderman James Cappleman’s Proposal to give $14 Million in TIF Funds to private real estate developer

While the City of Chicago makes massive cuts to public services due to a supposed “budget crisis,” the mayor and his aldermen continue to find ways to offer handouts to private corporations. In the neighborhood of Uptown, fully half of the public elementary schools were shuttered last year and over 1,800 units of affordable housing have been eliminated in the passed two years. Yet, 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman is supporting a project that would give away $14 million in TIF funds to wealthy real estate development company JDL, in order to build an upscale housing complex.

Residents in the ward have consistently voiced their opposition to this plan and the similar plans that came before it. In June of 2011, over 600 people packed the Clarendon field house to vociferously reject a proposal from Sedgwick Properties that asked for $50 million in TIF funds to develop the abandoned lot at Montrose and Clarendon. As new proposals have been entertained since then, public opposition has continued.

But rather than listen to the overwhelming majority of his constituents, Alderman James Cappleman continues to court proposals from private real estate developers looking for taxpayer-funded subsidies to pad their private profit. And the only people Cappleman consults on these decisions are those on his hand-picked Zoning & Development Committee, a group that is unrepresentative of the diverse working-class population that makes up the majority of the neighborhood. In fact, Cappleman so despises hearing the voices of constituents outside of his inner circle that on at least one occasion in 2013 he instructed building security guards to prevent “protesters” from entering the public meeting.

On Monday, a group of Uptown residents will once again gather to voice their opposition to this new corporate bailout proposal. Will Cappleman hear the voices of his constituents? Or will he attempt to shut out their voices once again and push forward with a plan that puts private profit over the needs of the people?

For more information, contact Ryne Polker at 217-416-8627

Tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline
care2 petitionsite actionAlert
action alert!
The State Department recently released its final environmental impact report on the Keystone XL pipeline. We only have until March 7 to make our voices heard!
An oil pipeline rupture is one of the most devastating things a community can experience. Last year, a pipeline carrying Canadian tar sand oil cracked in Mayflower, Arkansas. Twenty-two homes were evacuated as crude poured over people’s lawns and into nearby lakes. Even now, months after the initial spill, the residents of Mayflower are still suffering from breathing problems, vomiting, and migraines.

We cannot let this happen again. Demand that Obama protect our communities from pipeline disasters by rejecting the next big pipeline project.

TransCanada Corp. wants to build a giant pipeline through America’s heartland. This pipeline, dubbed the Keystone XL project, will put thousands of communities at risk of even worse spills. This is a risk we cannot take. We need to tell President Obama that the Keystone XL pipeline will only do harm.

We have until March 7th to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Take a stand and demand that Obama protect our communities by rejecting this extremely dangerous project.

Thanks for taking action,

Eric A.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Please sign the petition today! Tell President Obama to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

take action

Open Letter to Lebron James (Fatherless Anger)

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Open Letter to Lebron James (Fatherless Anger)

By Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director, Fathers Incorporated

Pictured recently posted by Lebron James on his Instagram account [Click To Enlarge]

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Hello Beloved Brother,

My name is Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated. My work for the last 23 years has been in business and not-for-profit leadership on behalf of vulnerable communities and Black men and boys. Today, I read with pain, excitement, angst, horror, delight, fear, concern, and urgency what is being considered your open letter to your father. One might wonder how I could experience ALL of these emotions after reading a short post about an absent father.

It’s because, well, I am you, I was you, and I see young and mature men like us everyday that too often express there issues with their fathers in unhealthy ways. I want you to know that I both understand and empathize with how you feel and the need to express your triumph over an obstacle that you perceive is responsible for the struggles you’ve had in life. Like you, I am a Black man who’s pent-up rage for my absent father drove me to do what I believed to be the right thing, for the right reason, and with the right justification. What I’ve learned, however, is that it was ALL wrong.

All over this country, Black males are looking at, following, and emulating every move you make, because you are a model of hard work and success who encapsulates a pattern and process they can follow to achieve their own goals and success. Many of these same males have come to know a world where the man responsible for their existence (their fathers) did not contribute to their lives in the way they needed, desired, or deserved. This is the reason I am writing you an open letter about your Instagram post (www.instagram.com/p/knuBWwCTPf/) — I believe that your brave disclosure can bring you and others closer to understanding, forgiveness, and healing of this fatherless pain and anger. This is my prayer and heartfelt desire.

If you’re like many of my friends and family you’re probably saying to yourself, “Whatever,” or, ‘Shut the $&#% up; you don’t know what you’re talking about!” That’s cool, because I said the same thing most of my life. In fact, about five months ago, I was completing a documentary called “Spit’in Anger: Venom of A Fatherless Son.” During the filming I interviewed Iyanla Vanzant, Dr.Jeff Gardere, Terrie Williams, Judge Mablean, Dr. Jeffery Shears, and even spoke to former MLB All-Star, Gary Sheffield. All the people I thought would help me tell this story of why Black men and boys harbor so much pain and anger as a result of father absence.

With your patience, allow me tell you a few important things I learned:

1. Projecting anger out is what we men often do when we aren’t shown how to constructively release our anger.
2. Anger and its negatives effects are not mutually exclusive; it is cumulative and increases exponentially, as does its negative, destructive consequences. We are hurting the people we love and ourselves by not addressing our anger.
3. Healing and appropriately releasing our anger can be difficult, but it is not impossible.

But, here is the biggest lesson I learned: The more anger towards the past we carry in our hearts, the less capable we are of loving in the present, so it is essential that fatherless sons are supported in multiple ways to address our pain and anger appropriately, and grow-up to be positive role models for all children.

Like you, I have an awesome mother, children and believe in the Word of GOD. As such, we are obligated to teach our children and model for them righteous behavior and morals, like forgiveness (which doesn’t necessarily mean establishing or entering back into a relationship that is one-sided or unsafe). It means teaching them that they will never be their best selves or offer the world their best based on the hatred of another, especially not our fathers.

I get it. Every now and then, I had to tell the world I was ok and that my father was insignificant in my life in order to suppress the fact that his absence was extremely significant in my life. I have a five-year-old son who is very fortunate given the statistics. He has had the pleasure of living his entire life with his married mother and father. Something I’d often wish for myself. Knowing what I know about my own hatred for my dad, I could never say to him that my success was fuel by my hatred for his grandfather. I did, but can’t anymore. We must always teach our boys and girls from a position of love, not distain, disgust or devaluing of another. We have all fallen short at one time or another of our potential. Too often for our Black boys; our disappointment has come at the hands of their fathers. But that doesn’t give us a blanket opportunity to hate based on information we DON’T have. You said it yourself, “I don’t know him.”

I can only ask of you to understand and possibly talk to someone that can share with you what forgiveness can do for your own elevation and continued success. Our boys are watching. Please make sure that the message you send to them isn’t one that starts with, “forget your father, look at me, I’m successful without him.” Forgiveness gives the benefit of understanding and closure.


Just a concerned Brother
Kenneth Braswell

What Will Happen if the Minimum Wage Increases?

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on What Will Happen if the Minimum Wage Increases?

By William Spriggs

Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report saying that the proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in 2016 would cost the creation of 500,000 jobs in 2016. While they did conclude that millions of families would be lifted out of poverty, they cautioned there would be real losers by adding people to the roles of the unemployed and underemployed.

Their conclusions are curious because the research they cite in their report on the minimum wage points to opposite outcomes. For instance, they cite the work of Hristos Doucoliagos and T. D. Stanley who looked at more than 64 studies on the jobs effect of minimum wages increases.

Doucouliagos and Stanley conclude there is: “Little or no evidence of a negative association between minimum wages and employment….” The CBO also cites the work of David Card and Alan Krueger who similarly conclude that after reviewing the available research there is little support for a negative relationship between minimum wage increases and employment loss. The CBO also cites the work of Dale Belman and Paul Wolfson, who limit their look to synthesizing the findings of research done since 2000.

Belman and Wolfson conclude: “The effects are statistically detectable but small, even when restricting attention to the effect on either youth or the food and drink sector.” The CBO also cites a study by John Schmitt that synthesizes the many studies done since 2000 on the effects of the minimum wage. Schmitt concludes that: “The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.”

The CBO in its text says it thinks the studies that are most reliable look at changes in the minimum wage that have been taking place at the state level, and that the studies need to control for local labor market differences. This is an endorsement of the approach taken by the work of Sylvia Allegretto, Arindrajit Dube, Michael Reich and Ben Zipperer that CBO also cites. CBO looks heavily at the effect of the minimum wage on teen employment. Teenagers are a small fraction of minimum wage workers, but a large share of teenagers are affected by changes in the minimum wage.

The Allegretto study they cite, using methodology that CBO reports is the most reliable, finds that increasing the minimum wage has between a very small negative effect to a small positive effect on teen employment, but either effect is so small it is essentially zero; no effect.

So, if the available evidence CBO considered suggests that there aren’t employment effects, why would CBO report employment effects? The studies of Doucouliagos and Stanley and of Card and Krueger CBO cite discuss a phenomena known as “publication bias.” Because for many years, economic theory predicted raising the minimum wage would lead to job loss, the only available research published by economists showed job losses.

Economists either manipulated their models to get the desired effect-leaving out other important variables and explanations for job losses, or didn’t get published. Unfortunately, CBO appears to have succumbed to a similar malady in policy discussions. But, as is often the case, policy in Washington is behind.

So, despite overwhelming support from Nobel laureates in economics and past presidents of the American Association for raising the minimum wage because those on the cutting edge of economic knowledge know the consensus of the field has changed, the policy debate in Washington is locked in the old world because Republicans have made increasing the minimum wage a partisan issue. The safe spot for the “non-partisan” CBO is to side with Republicans that there will be job loss, but give in to the current state of economic thinking that wages will rise and poverty fall.

It is a strange change in fate that raising the minimum wage is no longer an issue to economists, but is a political football. Until the 1970’s, increases in the minimum wage won majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. Given the overwhelming support of Americans for raising the minimum wage, and the current state of economic knowledge, raising the minimum wage should be smart policy, not partisan. The CBO should have punted instead of creating needless confusion.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

7 free help lines available to help African-American families with money troubles

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on 7 free help lines available to help African-American families with money troubles

As a public benefit, CareConnect USA has published several toll-free help lines for families seeking financial assistance

Waxhaw, NC (BlackNews.com) – When a household relies on two paychecks, budgets are strained if one job is lost. In cases like this, a family can tread water for a time. But as they struggle to find work, many will fall into troubling debt. Fortunately, more households are finding lifelines for help.

Since 2009, phone calls to financial help lines have risen 10% per year. As a public benefit, CareConnect USA publishes help lines for families seeking financial assistance. According to national director David Moakler, awareness is the key. “Although we are pleased that more people have learned about programs to ease their money troubles, the sad news is that the need for such help continues to grow.” The national rise in calls to the help lines has been especially strong from African-American regions.

Government agencies and non-profit outreach centers provide free advice and numerous services within the CareConnect USA network. In their effort to increase awareness, the group distributes free help line posters to 150,000 workplaces, 3200 job centers, and reference tools for social workers annually. They authorize the information below to be published on websites and resource pages where appropriate.

Families facing financial difficulty can call the help lines below for programs for relief:

Child Support Enforcement Help line: (888) 369-0323
Mortgage Payment Assistance Help Line: (800) 750-8956
Free Bankruptcy Advice: (800) 379-0985
Collector Complaint Help line: (800) 379-0688
Student Loan Relief Help Line: (866) 836-9168
Debt Relief Help Line: (888) 913-7294
Credit Score Improvement Help: (888) 814-9342

For more information, visit www.CareConnectUSA.org, call 800-291-1068, or email info@careconnectusa.org.

The 18th Annual American Black Film Festival seeks comedic talent for 2nd Annual Comedy Wings Competition sponsored by HBO

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on The 18th Annual American Black Film Festival seeks comedic talent for 2nd Annual Comedy Wings Competition sponsored by HBO

Deadline for submissions: March 20, 2014

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) – Film Life, Inc. announced the launch of the second annual Comedy Wings Competition, a national search to identify the next outstanding comedian. Submissions are now open, with full details at www.abff.com. The pool of entries will be narrowed down to up ten semi-finalists, from which four finalists will be selected to receive a trip to 2014 ABFF, in NYC, June 19-22, where they will perform live before the festival audience, for the chance to win an audition with HBO.

The Comedy Wings Competition has been created to showcase talented yet undiscovered stand-up comics and introduce them to the industry at large. The competition is looking for someone with a natural gift for comedy who can make us laugh through their unique interpretation of material, steered by physical mannerisms, vocal inflections, with and effortless comedic timing.

“The Comedy Wings Competition is yet another great addition to an already stellar festival, and speaks to our shared goal of identifying outstanding talent across all entertainment genres. Comedy is part of the HBO DNA, and now, thanks to the brilliance of Jeff Friday and his team, it is imbedded into The American Black Film Festival,” said Dennis Williams, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, HBO.

“HBO, is an exceptional network for new faces to be associated with;” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Founder and CEO of Film Life, Inc. “The Comedy Wings Competition enables them to expand its foothold on spotlighting exceptionally talented individuals beyond those behind the camera, which it has done through its short film competition for the past eighteen years. I am really looking forward to the long term results of this competition.”

To date, the Comedy Wings Competition at ABFF has provided much needed exposure for up and coming Black talent. Notable comedians who have performed at the festival early in their careers include Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Craig Robinson, Tommy Davidson, Earthquake, Bill Bellamy, Ricky Smiley, Sheryl Underwood and Chris Spencer, creator and executive producer of BET’s hit show “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”

“ABFF is providing an amazing platform for talent and The Comedy Wings Competition is a great initiative for emerging comedians to get recognition,” said Comedian Kevin Hart. “I encourage comedians to submit their performance to this outlet to showcase their talent and follow their dreams.”

Comedy Wings Competition entrants are required to submit a traditional stand-up comedy routine, 3 to 4 minutes in length, of original material authored by the entrant. Entrants must be a minimum of 21 years of age and of African descent. Submissions will be judged by a panel of esteemed professionals from the entertainment industry. For the Comedy Wings Competition’s official rules and submission form, please visit www.abff.com/#!submit-talent-comedy/c11mk

Deadline for submissions: March 20, 2014

Festival passes and tickets on sale now. Catch the early bird pricing through March 15 at www.abff.com/#!passes/cw1l

About The American Black Film Festival
The ABFF (American Black Film Festival) is a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it serves as the preeminent pipeline to new Black talent in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world. Festival passes and tickets are on sale now. For more information visit www.abff.com

The ABFF is presented by Film Life, Inc., a multifaceted entertainment company headquartered in New York City. 2014 sponsors to date include: HBO (Founding and Premier), Cadillac (Premier), American Airlines (Signature), NBCUniversal (Official) and Nielsen (Supporting), as well as media partners Black Enterprise (Premier), Upscale and Uptown. The festival’s 2014 celebrity ambassador is actor Morris Chestnut (The Best Man Holiday, Nurse Jackie).

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Blacks Network 2014 Inspirational, Empowerment, Professional Networking Conference, May 3rd in Atlanta

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on Blacks Network 2014 Inspirational, Empowerment, Professional Networking Conference, May 3rd in Atlanta

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Blacks Network Inc, which focuses on uplifting and enabling black professionals and entrepreneurs seek out new business ideas, professional recognition, and investment opportunities, has today announced its 2014 Inspirational, Empowerment, Professional Networking Conference will take place May 3 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.

As a network that seeks to showcase and promote the economic growth of emerging and black professionals around the world, this year Blacks Network Conference is anticipating attendees from Europe, Africa, Canada, and over 2000 business owners and professionals from across the nation and Atlanta, Georgia area.

“If anyone is looking to make Business-to-Business connections, learn about products and services that will help business growth, or grab cutting-edge professionals ideals and connections, and speed networking, this is it,” says event organizer, Godwin E. Enogieru.

This year’s event, which features a roster of celebrity keynote speakers delivering inspirational, motivational and women empowerment messages, will provide a networking-environment that brings together minority business owners, future entrepreneurs, senior management, professionals and company decision-makers.

“I always support efforts where there is positive connection and relationship building, new approaches to old ways of business, deep conversations, and good folks masterminding and exchanging great ideas. I am honored to host such an event in a city I call “home.” After all, I started building my own business muscles right there at Spelman College” says Rolonda Watts, the event host.

Leading the list of confirmed celebrity-entrepreneur speakers are Dr. Mel Mahone, Ash Cash, Audrey Blake, Cherie Johnson, Dr. Gather William II, and Melissa Grimmond comedian

Headlining the awardees is a 13-year-old entrepreneur, jewelry designer, author, motivational speaker and philanthropist Gabrielle Jordan Williams.

Seamlessly tying everything together will be an entertainment extravaganza of comedy, music, and an awards presentation. Part of the excitement will be the giving away of $20,000 cash to a lucky attendee. The winner will be determined by the random selection of a name from the list of registrants. Trin-i-tee 5:7 and DJ Lyon will provide the music.

For further information, please contact: Organizer Godwin E. Enogieru (Blacks Network, Inc) at (877) 773-1002 -TICKETS Available at: www.BlacksNetwork.com

“Breaking The mental Chains of Black Teenagers” book combines Black History with inspirational truth to motivate at-risk students

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2014 Comments Off on “Breaking The mental Chains of Black Teenagers” book combines Black History with inspirational truth to motivate at-risk students

Bad decisions by black teens are displayed daily in the media: This new book has been a surprising catalyst to making better decisions

Lanham, MD (BlackNews.com) – As the author of Breaking the Mental Chains of Black Teenagers, Baker believed his book could positively change the mindsets of at-risk black students. He was proven correct when Ms. Braxton agreed to conduct a chapter by chapter discussion over a four-week period with her class. The topics covered sparked insightful classroom discussions about life choices and dispelled myths about getting rich quick, education not being important, and the fantasy of prison life that many black youth are accepting as reality.

“The growth in my classroom was amazing and continuous! Some students didn’t want to speak or get involve at first, but after reading the first couple of chapters they wanted to participate in the session and discuss the material after class. The rich conversation was the best to me,” said Ms. Braxton, an 8th-grade teacher in Maryland.

Breaking the Mental Chains of Black Teenagers teaches teens how to be leaders, how to be successful in any field, and how to build confidence. The book begins by establishing a positive self-identity for teenagers and reveals proven historical facts, including scientific discoveries such as math that were made by blacks.

“They were utilizing their metacognitive thought processes,” Braxton said of her students. “Yaba became a quick favorite in my class. The children were thirsting for more information and waited eagerly for his arrival every week. There were a number of students who also took it upon themselves to extend their newfound information by doing their own research to learn more about what they read. I would definitely recommend this book to other teachers to use in their classrooms because knowledge is power. This book equips students with knowledge that they would have never known otherwise and that knowledge builds their self-esteem because they know and understand that they come from a people that are way beyond the stereotypes they are accustomed to.”

The class read two or three chapters from the book for each weekly session.

Roxana, a Latino student, feels the book is bigger than the title. “Don’t get discouraged about the title of the book, even if you’re not black, still read it. I’m Latina, don’t feel strange about reading the book. It’s a very good book and you can learn many important things that can be applied to your life for a better future.”

Baker’s passion extends beyond the classroom, and his inspiring and motivating discussions have impacted thousands of teens. His previously written books have received media attention from BET, CBS News, Upscale magazine and other media outlets.

“I wrote this book as a guide to help parents, teachers, and mentors break through most teenagers’ know-it-all mindset that puts children of color on the pipeline from school to prison,” Baker said. “Imagine the impact on our community if we can prevent just 25 percent of our kids who were going to prison and redirect them to college or a trade. Thousands of lives that would have been lost to the prison system would now be changed into productive citizens. The next step is to expand the Breaking the Mental Chains of Black Teenagers school sessions to 10 schools in 2014.”

For more information about this topic, please call Asmeret Habteab at 202-596-7573 or e-mail Asmeret at JLM1922@gmail.com

Photo Caption: Bookcover

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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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