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Archive for May 9th, 2014

Q&A: Nigeria Kidnappings — Who Are the ‘Boko Haram?’

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Q&A: Nigeria Kidnappings -- Who Are the ‘Boko Haram?’

New America Media
Question & Answer
By Andrew Lam

Editor’s Note: Professor Michael Watts teaches geography at UC Berkeley and is the author of many books, including “Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria” and “Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta.” He spoke to NAM editor Andrew Lam about the recent kidnappings of more than 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria by the radical group known as Boko Haram, and the apparent inability of the Nigerian government to either prevent or respond to their crimes. At the time of this writing, 276 of the girls that were kidnapped three weeks ago remain in captivity while 53 have escaped. On Tuesday, Nigerian officials reported that the group had struck again, abducting 11 more schoolgirls in the country’s northeast region.

Who are the Boko Haram and what should we know about them?

First of all, those individuals who are identified with Boko Haram do not refer to themselves as Boko Haram. Boko Haram, in the local Hausa language, means something along the line of, “Western education is forbidden.” It’s a term applied to them by residents in the communities in which the movement arose in the early 2000’s, in the northeast of Nigeria. They refer to themselves differently, as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad). I’m raising all of this because I think it’s very important that Boko Haram is not [a name] they deployed, and it’s not something that describes what they’re movement is about.

They made it clear in the past that they have no objection to women being educated in Islamic schools, the madrassas. One of their leaders, Shakau, has said that they are clearly opposed to Muslim women being educated in Western schools, or more importantly, [schools that are] not Islamic. [But] in the last couple weeks there have been other attacks that were not on schools – they have been on public places in the capital city (Abuja) — that are designed to send a very different political message. And if you look at the escalating violence since 2009 [it has been directed] primarily at police or security forces, and on prisons that have been holding their members. There have been attacks and assassinations on politicians and traditional rulers. And last but not least on Muslim clerics who have, in their view, said unworthy and critical things about their movement.

All of which is to say that, education is indeed a part of what concerns Boko Haram. But the types of activities they have been engaged in point to larger issues – firstly, the extent to which they [believe] that Sharia law, which was adopted in the 10 states of northern Nigeria (a largely Muslim region)… has been corrupted. Secondly, they are extraordinarily critical of state violence and state corruption, which they feel has contaminated the Muslim community in the north [and been] hostile to the Muslim community as a whole. Thirdly… they want the reconstruction of communities that have been destroyed by the Nigerian security forces, and the release of many individuals that have been picked up and are currently in prison. That last issue is clearly about what they see to be human rights violations perpetrated by what we know to be extremely violent and often undisciplined Nigerian security forces.

Only now, with mounting international pressure, does there seem to be any movement on the part of the Nigerian government. Why have they been so unresponsive to the kidnappings?

This movement — as offensive as we might consider it in light of the types of things that have been perpetrated — has to be put on a much larger and deeper historical landscape [with many other] popular Islamic movements in northern Nigeria that have largely appeared in the last couple centuries.

This one has a particular form, because it was shaped by two important forces: We now know that this group has connections with global jihadist movements – [including] the Shabaab in Somalia and Mali — and this has all sorts of implications for the military capability of this particular group. Which is to say, they’ve been trained. They’re capable of providing explosive devices for car bombs and so on. The second is that this group emerged and established itself in the northeast and was essentially a small and arguably insignificant movement until 2003 when politicians began to use the group for political thuggery. They (candidates) promised them all sorts of things if they were elected, vis-à-vis the implementation of Sharia law. And indeed there is evidence that politicians armed this group, then, after they were elected, broke a whole bunch of promises [which] produced tension between the government and the movement.

As to why they have not done anything, one reason is that historically there have been close connections between people in the Nigerian state and this movement. There are some suspicions, in fact, that in certain parts of the country at least, they have influential supporters. [An investigation] would potentially have exposed the connections… between the Nigerian state and this movement. The second reason is that the north is a majority Sunni Muslim area. The ruling elites in particular don’t want to… be seen publicly [associating] the communities in the Muslim north [with] terrorists. The president (Goodluck Jonathan) is not from the north, and is not a Muslim. I think it’s very tricky… to prosecute a series of military actions against Boko Haram, because the military themselves have a long track record of being extraordinarily violent and making matters worse. They’ve attacked Boko Haram and many civilians [have been] killed collaterally. Some individual members of Boko Haram have been imprisoned, tortured, or killed extra-judicially. The military forces are sufficiently corrupted and violent, so you can imagine why a president or a security council might be a little sensitive about unleashing the full force of the military on this group.

If you look at the American invasion of Iraq, prosecuting insurgency groups is incredibly difficult. They operate in parts of the country where they know the terrain incredibly well. They’re indistinguishable often from civilian communities. They’ve clearly been trained militarily. And they’re clearly capable of conducting a guerilla war, which is going to be very difficult to prosecute by the military.

So for all of these reasons, over the last four to six years, whoever is in power in government has typically not had a clear strategy. Sometimes they let the military go [at it] and there has been conflict. The groups are driven out to neighboring countries, to Cameroon and Chad, then they reorganize and come back more powerful and more angry than before. Particularly now — we’re in the run up to the presidential election in February 2015 — I think Goodluck Jonathan does not want to do anything to rock the boat. His opposition will say, “See what’s happening? They’re sending military [to] disrupt the election and prevent people in the north from voting for their opposition candidates.”

The U.S. is offering to come in and help with the rescue efforts. Could U.S. military involvement help, or would that simply escalate the crisis?

I think it’s very unlikely that you’re going to see greater American [military] involvement. The U.S. government has been offering and providing various types of military support — which means military training to the Nigerian security forces for counter insurgency. But the U.S. has never had a serious military presence in the country. I would think it’s unlikely that Obama would want to get drawn into a nightmare of this sort, particularly in a majority Muslim part of the world. It would be madness and they know that full well.

More importantly, Nigeria is a strongly nationalist country. The Nigerian leadership is fully aware of how inflammatory it would be — not only to the Muslim community, but other communities — to have an expanded American presence on the ground. In the past 20 to 30 years, whenever there’s been a political crisis, the Nigerian government has always rebuffed U.S. military support. They’ll buy arms, of course, but that’s a very different issue.

What is the likelihood that these kidnapped girls will be recovered?

A video released by Abubakar Shekau, one of the leaders [of Boko Haram], is polemical in the sense that he wanted to make a big splash in the international press, to highlight [the group’s] struggle as they see it. When he referred to selling these young women as slaves, I really am not sure what he is referring to there… What I do think, is that [the young women] have been broken up into smaller groups and sent to other countries, into Chad and Cameroon. So it’ll be extraordinary tricky to track these people down, even with U.S. military surveillance.

My suspicion is that some type of deal will be cut. Whether that will take some form of negotiation with Boko Haram, I can’t really say. But my suspicion is that some type of conversation is already happening, and as a result of that there’ll be some type of release of these young women.

Has kidnapping young women and girls become a strategy for radical groups to get international media coverage?

Sure. There are lots of ways of to get international coverage. Whether we’re talking about Nigeria or other insurgent movements around the world. We saw this in the Nigerian Delta over oil. Back in the early 1990’s to early 2000’s, the leaders of these militant groups made it absolutely clear that the reason why they started kidnapping oil workers was that no one in the foreign press gave a crap about their concerns. But as soon as a white person gets picked up, or held hostage, then they can guarantee it’s going to be on the front page of the New York Times, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. My suspicion is that Boko Haram are just as savvy about the media as any insurgent group, and they caught on [to the fact] that something of this sort (kidnapping young women) will get on the front pages.

Congressional Black Caucus Urges Senate to Confirm Pending State Department Nominees for Ambassadorships to African Nations

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), CBC Africa taskforce co-Chairs Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)  released the following statements urging the Senate to confirm pending nominees for ambassadorships to African nations. Each nominee has awaited a Senate vote for more than 200 days:

CBC Chair Marcia L. Fudge: “Once again, the Senate has allowed partisanship to obstruct the democratic process. In this case, this obstruction compromises critical foreign affairs and U.S. national security interests on the African continent and around the world. Currently, State Department nominees comprise more than 22 percent of all pending nominees in the Senate, with the average nominee having waited more than seven months for a vote.For more than 300 days, the Senate has refused to confirm ten qualified nominees for ambassadorships to African nations, including countries that could be instrumental in countering terrorism on the continent. As reports have noted, Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria and surrounding nations since 2009, and it is speculated that the organization may have moved the most recent group of nearly 300 girls kidnapped from Nigeria into bordering nations. We need the cooperation from the Nigerian government as well as other countries within the African Union to stop the growth of terrorist organizations and the horrific actions they have taken against innocent children and their families.Ensuring diplomatic relationships with these nations and others, requires building and sustaining a strong U.S. presence. We must not let partisan games to impede our commitment to Africa and to impair our legacy of protecting human rights around the world. The Congressional Black Caucus strongly urges Senate leadership to bring these nominees to a vote without further delay.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks: “I urge the Senate to put aside partisan disagreements and move to confirm ambassadorships of these well qualified candidates to African nations. During this critical time our nation is working closely with Nigeria and other countries to find the young women who were kidnapped and combat the threat of terrorism in the region. Thus, we must have a well-established presence and not falter in our commitments, let’s confirm these ambassadors with no further delay.”

Rep. Karen Bass: “With the attention of the world focusing on Africa, it is absolutely essential that the United States have full representation in African nations. The United States is taking up several important issues involving countries in Africa including trade negotiations, fighting terrorism, addressing human rights abuses, investing in infrastructure, and fighting international human trafficking. President Obama has fulfilled his constitutional requirement by nominating qualified diplomats to fill these posts. Now Republicans in the Senate need to fulfill their duties and allow these diplomats a vote so they can represent the United States.”

The following nominees for ambassadorships to African nations have been awaiting a Senate vote for more than 200 days:

  • Tom Daughton (Namibia) – 311 days, nominated 6/30/2013
  • John Hoover (Sierra Leone) – 301 days, nominated 7/10/2013
  • Michael Hoza (Cameroon) – 280 days, nominated 7/31/2013
  • Eunice Reddick (Niger) – 280 days, nominated 7/31/2013
  • Matthew Harrington (Lesotho) – 279 days, nominated 8/1/2013
  • Larry Andre (Mauritania) – 238 days, nominated 9/11/2013
  • Helen La Lime (Angola) – 238 days, nominated 9/11/2013
  • Cynthia Akuetteh (Gabon) – 232 days, nominated 9/17/2013
  • Eric Schultz (Zambia) – 232 days, nominated 9/17/2013

NAACP Responds to Gov. Corbett’s Decision to not Appeal Voter ID Ruling

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP Release the following statement in response to Pennsylvania Governor Corbett’s statement that he will not appeal the recent court ruling striking down the states strict photo voter ID law.  The court concluded that the law placed and unreasonable burden on the right to vote.

From Jotaka Eaddy, Director of the NAACP Voting Rights Initiative:
“We are pleased that Gov. Corbett has ‎decided not to continue the State’s pursuit to institute a photo ID law that has been proven to discriminate against hundreds of thousands of voters,” stated Jotaka Eaddy, Director of the NAACP Voting Rights Initiative. “Today marks a significant victory for Pennsylvania’s voters and our Democracy.”

In 2012, the Pennsylvania NAACP joined a lawsuit against the state to block the strict voter ID law. The law, passed by the Pennsylvania legislature and signed by the governor this year, requires voters to present government approved photo ID in order to vote.  Reports show that hundreds of thousands of registered and eligible Pennsylvanian voters do not have an acceptable ID.  Proponents of the law indicated that the law is intended to prevent voter fraud, but acknowledged that the voter fraud prevented by the new requirement has not occurred in the state in recent history and is unlikely to occur even without the ID requirement.  Since 2000, only 10 cases of in-person voter fraud have been proven nationally.

Kirk, Boxer, Menendez, Collins, Shaheen Introduce International Violence Against Women Act

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Bipartisan Legislation Would Make Combating International Violence Against Women and Girls a Top U.S. Diplomatic Priority

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)  introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), bipartisan legislation that would make reducing the levels of violence against women and girls across the globe a top diplomatic priority for the United States and would empower the U.S. Government to respond quickly to incidents like the kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria.

“One out of every three women worldwide will be physically or sexually assaulted in some form during their lifetime, and too often we hear of these heinous acts right here in our country and abroad,” said Senator Kirk. “Addressing and preventing global violence against women while promoting social and economic empowerment for women and girls is essential for communities to thrive and for the stability of our international community. Our nation must lead the way to ensure that women and girls all over the globe have the tools they need to reach their full potential, free of the threat of violence.”

“The recent kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls underscores the horrific violence that too many women and girls across the globe face every day,” Senator Boxer said. “The International Violence Against Women Act will make clear that ending discrimination and violence against women and girls is a top priority for the United States and central to our national security interests. The bill will ensure that the U.S. government has a comprehensive strategy in place to promote the rights and safety of women and girls around the world.”Senator Boxer chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues.

“Full empowerment of women has an enormous impact on economic growth, and ensures that prosperous nations are truly just and thrive. Too many countries fall far short of this requirement and exclude women from full participation in the work force, national governments, and village councils. And, in too many places, girls are prevented from attending school, and women and girls are attacked as a deliberate and coordinated strategy of armed conflict. Achieving stable, just and prosperous nations is only possible with the full participation of women. This legislation makes clear that combating violence against women and girls must be a top U.S. foreign policy priority which we are required to lead,” said Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“This Act makes ending violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority,” said Senator Collins. “The world has just seen an appalling example of women and girls being treated as property and political bargaining chips in Nigeria, where the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 school girls and is threatening to sell them into slavery and forced marriages. Sadly, this is not a viewpoint limited to terrorist leaders: the International Center for Research on Women says one in nine girls around the world is married before the age of 15, a harmful practice that deprives girls of their dignity and often their education, increases their health risks, and perpetuates poverty. The practice of preventing women from attaining their full potential by targeting them for violence and early marriage is still unacceptably common. The International Violence Against Women Act ensures that the U.S. will take a leadership role in combating these problems. I am committed to continue working with my colleagues to end violence against women and girls and to provide the assistance and resources necessary to achieve this goal.”

“Violence facing women and young girls around the world is a challenge that we must address immediately and the recent kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls underscores that point,” Senator Shaheen said. “Protecting women from violence around the world is also critical to our national security interests, and our bipartisan bill will make ending violence and discrimination against women the top diplomatic priority of ours that it deserves to be.”
The International Violence Against Women Act would:
  • Require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and regular briefings to Congress.
  • Codify in law the existing Office of Global Women’s Issues within the State Department and the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
  • Codify in law the existing Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • Require the development and implementation of a 5-year U.S. global strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. The strategy will identify five to 20 eligible low and middle income countries for which comprehensive individual country plans will be developed.
  • Authorize U.S. assistance to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally, with at least 10 percent of the assistance provided to nongovernmental organizations—with priority given to those led by women.
Nearly 300 humanitarian, faith-based, human rights, refugee and women’s organizations have voiced their support for the International Violence Against Women Act, including: Amnesty International USA, American Jewish World Service, CARE USA, the Episcopal Church, Futures Without Violence, Human Rights Watch, International Justice Mission, Jewish Women International, the International Center for Research on Women, the International Rescue Committee, Lutheran World Relief, MenEngage, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Refugees International, the National Council of Churches USA, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Women Thrive Worldwide.
The co-chairs of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally made the following remarks:

“We commend Senators from both sides of the aisle for reintroducing the International Violence Against Women Act with bipartisan support,” said Esta Soler, Founder and President of Futures Without Violence. “Recent devastating events across the globe are a very timely reminder that violence against women and girls knows no boundaries. We must act quickly to prevent gross human rights violations – from early/forced marriage to domestic violence – and promote global stability and security.”

“Amnesty International USA is grateful that this life-changing legislation has been reintroduced in the Senate at a time when the world’s attention is turned on the successes – and challenges – of advancing the human rights of women and girls across the globe,” said Cristina Finch, managing director of Amnesty International USA’s identity and discrimination unit, which focuses on women’s human rights. “The abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria is yet another deeply disturbing example of the ways in which violence against girls and women affects every aspect of their lives. One in three women will experience violence in her lifetime, affecting her ability to access, among other rights, the right to education. Amnesty International is proud to join IVAWA’s sponsors in the Senate and House in their commitment to shining a light on this global scourge until every woman and girl can live a life free from violence.”

“The International Violence Against Women Act represents a huge step forward in the U.S government’s commitment to ending violence against women and girls,” said Ritu Sharma, President and Co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide. “This bill is about the schoolgirls who were abducted last month in Nigeria and are now being sold as wives. It’s about the Pakistani women who lost their lives last year when their university bus was bombed. It’s about every woman and girl who experiences sexual or physical violence. Now is the time for us all to stand up for them.”

“Violence against women and girls continues to occur around the world at epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. “At CARE we have seen the pain endured by survivors of violence as well as the tremendous cost to vital U.S. investments in international development. The International Violence Against Women Act is an important tool for the U.S. as it works to address gender-based violence, and it will help to support the ongoing efforts of countless advocates and activists in developing countries around the world.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, where it has 63 bipartisan co-sponsors.

Chicago Man Charged in Child Pornography Case

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Bond was set for a Chicago man charged with possessing child pornography after investigators discovered that he had downloaded numerous videos to his home computer, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Jose Munoz, 26, of the 4700 block of South Keeler Ave., is charged with one Felony count of Child Pornography/Possession following an investigation by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Chicago Police Department.

According to prosecutors, authorities initiated an investigation after becoming aware that the defendant was downloading child pornography via a file sharing program. The investigation revealed that from March 3, 2014 through March 25, 2014, Munoz searched for and downloaded videos containing child pornography, which he also made available for sharing. Investigators executed a search warrant at Munoz’s home, during which they seized Munoz’s laptop computer. A forensic review of the computer revealed more than 200 videos files of children under the age of 13 depicted in acts of sexual conduct and sexual penetration.

Munoz was arrested on May 6 and he appeared in bond court Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago where Judge Donald Panarese set his bond at $100,000. Munoz’s next court date is May 27th.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office administers the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes criminal acts such as child pornography, sexual solicitation of a child or missing child investigations. The task force also offers guidance and information for parents and educators on internet safety.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

Know Your Rights: FBI questioning Palestinian community members in Chicago

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Letters to Editors

FBI questioning Chicago Palestinian community members

By Committee to Stop FBI Repression and United States Palestinian Community Network

Last week, two FBI agents entered the small business of a Palestinian American in Chicagoland and began asking him questions about community leader Hatem Abudayyeh (who is still under investigation as one of the Midwest 23 activists) and Rasmea Odeh, thecommunity icon facing trial this June. The United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) denounce this attempt at harassment and intimidation, and call on all organizers and activists around the country to remember: Don’t talk to the FBI!

The person visited by the FBI last week refused to answer any questions about Abudayyeh or Odeh, and told the agents to call his attorney when they insisted on continuing their interrogation. Everyone has the right to remain silent, and should always utilize that right when visited by the FBI or other law enforcement agencies.

If you are contacted by the FBI or other law enforcement, you should refuse to answer questions and IMMEDIATELY call the National Lawyers Guild Chicago hotline at 312-913-0039. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) also produces important “Know Your Rights” literature in English and Arabic.

In addition, a dynamic new organization, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, which focuses specifically on defending the rights of those active in Palestine support work, has published an important legal and tactical guide to Palestinian human rights advocacy in the U.S. Also, youth activists with the community-based Arab American Action Network in Chicago produced a popular video in 2012, reminding community members of their rights when approached by the FBI.

These FBI visits and intimidation tactics are not new to the Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, which have been the most affected by U.S. law enforcement’s techniques of widespread surveillance, entrapment and harassment, especially since 9/11. The Department of Justice will continue to come after those of us who are doing effective and impactful work, especially those of us in the Palestine support movement. But we have rights that must be known, learned and defended.

Abudayyeh’s family home was raided by the FBI in September of 2010, and over 3 and a half years later, he still has not had all his property returned. The Midwest 23 were all subpoenaed to a federal grand jury, and all refused to testify, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas has repeatedly told Midwest 23 attorneys that the “investigation is ongoing.” CSFR activists have insisted throughout that the investigation is nothing but a “witch hunt,” an attempt by federal law enforcement to harass, intimidate and pressure anti-war and international solidarity activists into informing on friends and colleagues in the social justice movements. And this has proven to be the case, as no arrests or indictments have been made. Nevertheless, the Midwest 23 cannot put this chapter of their lives behind them, as it seems that the FBI is still sniffing around for information.

The FBI and other federal and local law enforcement have used informants, surveillance, infiltration and other nefarious methods for decades in this country, targeting especially oppressed nationality groups like the Black and Chicano liberation movements, the Puerto Rican independence movement and the American Indian Movement. Recently, anti-war and anti-austerity activists like the Midwest 23, the NATO 5, Occupy and others have also come under attack, but the people facing some of the most vicious current state repression are Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, including Rasmea Odeh, who is facing 10 years in prison, revocation of her U.S. citizenship, and deportation for the ridiculous allegation that she lied on an immigration application two decades ago.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent! Don’t Talk to the FBI! Palestine Support Work is Not a Crime!

The views and opinions expressed in this letters to Editors are not the views and opinions of Copyline Magazine

Copyright © 2014 US Palestinian Community Network, All rights reserved.
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Asili Museum Attempts to Raise $50K to Create a Community Space for Education, Cultural Celebration, and Personal & Economic Development

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Asili Founder Sherah Khamisi-Jawara

Cincinnati, OH (BlackNews.com) — For the last several years, the Asili Museum & Institute administrative staff has been pouring their hearts into a project dear to them. The Asili Museum & Institute is a non-profit community space for education, cultural celebration, personal and economic development The institution encourages personal development, education, mentorship, cultivation, inspiration, and the turning of dreams into reality.

Asili also explores and promotes safety and health, and has the goal of remaining functional and become prosperous. Organizers say the facility needs everyone’s support because their work enriches lives.

Asili also promote activities that support children and adults such as: Tutoring Services; Home-school & After-School Care; Chess; Active Games; Gardening; Various Board Games; Fun Fridays; African Dance & Drum; Become a Scientist; STEM; Young Entrepreneur Program; Hip Hop Dance and much more… take a look at their video which explains their services.

Positive actions

Asili Museum is launching their first fundraising campaign, and they are very excited about reaching this goal of $55,000. They say that exceeding this goal would be a plus! The funds raised will cover utility repairs to the museum, facility upgrades, and operating expenses.

Can you donate?

They need supplies and materials as listed on the “Donation Supply List” at www.bbnomics.com/?media_dl=1945. Also, those who know friends, family or businesses who can contribute are encouraged to reach out to them. All donations are tax deductible.

Can you volunteer?

Can you paint, help lay carpet, tile, or clean rooms? Do you know groups interested in community service opportunities? If so, please visit http://bit.ly/1jm6HGU

How to contribute

Donations begin at $5. Everyone can help them reach their goal with just a few clicks! The campaign begins May 7th, 2014 at 9:00 AM directly from BBNomics A Crowdfunding Site (http://bit.ly/1j7jk6l) and ends Monday, July 31st, 2014 at midnight. Go to BBNOMICS.com, highlight one of the pledge amounts on the right, i.e.:  $5, $20, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 then click “I WANT TO CONTRIBUTE” to contribute! Your donation will be processed through PayPal, is tax-deductible and you will be rewarded – Everyone WINS!

BBNOMICS is a Crowdfunding site that has raised $32,404.00 for projects, businesses and organization in our communities so far. This crowdfunding site has at its core a goal of empowering predominantly black neighborhoods across the globe by circulating community dollars in a way that will foster the spirit and activity of business cooperation.

What will Asili do in return for your contribution and/or pledge?

Ranging from a “thank you” email & certificate, name on Asili’s African Wall of Fame, annual family membership, museum tour, tee shirt, Jupiter Strong Money Muncher Book, $25.00 /$50.00 gift certificate from Black Business on/or offline as well as Unique Gift Shop, and finally an entry in their Africa for Africans Trip/Tour for 2 to Ghana! Asili is so grateful for your support and want to show their gratitude.

Will you help Asili spread the word?

Share messages about their campaign via email, social media and word of mouth. Also share what this organization is proposing to do in communities nationwide. Please help support the Asili Museum, a cultural and educational institute by contributing supplies, money or time. Join the challenge. There is something special about reaching out and helping our communities meet their full potential, Asili Capital Campaign.

Positive Thoughts

Progression is exciting, unity is encouraging and generosity makes the world go round. Positive thoughts, words and actions equal success. Sherah Khamisi-Jawara, Chief Executive Curator of Asili Museum comments, “If we all do a little no one has to do a lot.” She also thanks everyone in advance for their support!

Photo Caption: Sherah Khamisi-Jawara (centered), founder of Asili Museum

Never Before Until Now – A Riveting Novel that’s Appropriate for Mother and Teen, With Lessons for Both

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

They Call Me Stormi

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Felecia Poole, Los Angeles-based author, debuts her new book, In The Midst Of The Storm: They Call Me Stormi. This is a riveting story of a young girl’s journey through love, sex, and betrayal, and her fight to keep her sanity and the consequences of trying to become an adult too fast. Many teens are forced to grow up too fast trapped between being a teen and trying to be an adult, many starting with being a latchkey child because both parents are required to work.

The author’s characters are skillfully developed, and you are walking in their shoes – you are there with them as they blunder through life. You are reminiscing on your own life as a teenager and a parent. After rewinding the tape of your own past, one can’t help but to understand that their lives could have ended up as some of the youth characters in this tale. This tale will cause many parents to take off the blinders and pay more attention to their teens and their associates. You will see how family values and spiritual values play out in teens when confronted with tough decisions that they are faced with daily.

Stormi, the protagonist, on the day she was born a mighty storm raged. Her father nicknamed her Stormi. She was born at the speed of a bowel movement, She could have died during her birthing but her mother saved her from fallen into the toilet water. Had she cheated death, had her survival changed the course of her destiny or did her nickname set the stage for her roller-coaster life? This was the making of a mad teen.

Stormi was trapped between a spirit of good and evil, and having a mind of a teenager and a body of an adult woman – and she worked it all to her benefit. Obeying the evil voice placed Stormi in dire situations. However, remembering and reciting the prayers that she heard her mother pray enabled her to escape on many occasions.

Stormi and her teenage friend Shannon shared the kind of friendship that most never achieve in a lifetime. But something awful happened to Shannon, and Stormi was left with a dilemma involving saving her friend’s life, not being a snitch, and staying true to the game – a burden too grand for a fourteen-year-old to bear.

Every parent and teenager must read this cautionary tale. Teens will decipher the traits of a true friend and the danger in trying to become an adult too fast, the price of following the crowd and hanging with the friends that have a different value and belief system. Parents will truly see how a spiritual and a prayerful lifestyle can make a great impact in a child’s life when confronted with tough life decisions. LOVE… SEX… BETRAYAL…

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Topinka Releases Monthly Money Matters

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller issues May financial report

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s latest issue of Money Matters includes an overview of recent state spending, details regarding the state’s bill backlog, and a look ahead.

A Mother’s Day Event Honoring Seven Generations of Families

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

In honor of Mother’s Day, Josephine’s Cooking, formerly known as Captain Hard Times Dining, 436 E. 79th Street, is sponsoring a “Mother’s Day Brunch,” Sunday, May 11, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., honoring seven generations of families.

“Given the growing number of mothers who have lost their children to violence, I think honoring these seven generations of families would not only be an honorable gesture but an example of some good and welcomed news in our community.

“Motherhood is so special, but in today’s world it has become synonymous with violence and death. Please help us make this Mother’s Day a very special day for these six generations.

For more information, contact Josephine Wade, Co-owner, Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant, at 773.615.9475

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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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