April , 2019

SPRINGFIELD, IL– The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) observed Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month ...
Tuesday, April 26th  New York City, New York – As part of her Reach Higher initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will ...
Seventeen districts receive grants totaling nearly $872,000 to improve student opportunities    SPRINGFIELD, IL —The Illinois State Board ...
  SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee ...
CHICAGO, IL – A team of social justice activists planning one of the NATO meeting’s ...
NAPERVILLE, IL — North Central College has named Dr. Abiodun “GP” Goke-Pariola its next Vice ...
ABFE 9th Class of Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program Announced [Click To Enlarge] ...
    WASHINGTON, D.C. -The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) is excited to welcome 10,000 attendees ...
The FBI is seeking information on the leadership of the al Nusrah Front (ANF), a ...
Baltimore, Md. -- A white South Carolina police officer who claimed he killed Walter ...

Archive for May 16th, 2014

President Obama at 9/11 Museum Dedication: “Those we lost live on in us”

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama at 9/11 Museum Dedication: “Those we lost live on in us”

President Barack Obama’s remarks:

Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, honored guests, families of the fallen.

In those awful moments after the South Tower was hit, some of the injured huddled in the wreckage of the 78th floor.  The fires were spreading.  The air was filled with smoke.  It was dark, and they could barely see.  It seemed as if there was no way out.

And then there came a voice — clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs.  A young man in his 20s, strong, emerged from the smoke, and over his nose and his mouth he wore a red handkerchief.

He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames.  He tended to the wounded.  He led those survivors down the stairs to safety, and carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then he went back.  Back up all those flights.  Then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety.  Until that moment when the tower fell.

They didn’t know his name.  They didn’t know where he came from.  But they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana.

Again, Mayor Bloomberg; distinguished guests; Mayor de Blasio; Governors Christie and Cuomo; to the families and survivors of that day; to all those who responded with such courage — on behalf of Michelle and myself and the American people, it is an honor for us to join in your memories.  To remember and to reflect.  But above all, to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation.

Michelle and I just had the opportunity to join with others on a visit with some of the survivors and families — men and women who inspire us all.  And we had a chance to visit some of the exhibits.  And I think all who come here will find it to be a profound and moving experience.

I want to express our deep gratitude to everybody who was involved in this great undertaking — for bringing us to this day, for giving us this sacred place of healing and of hope.

Here, at this memorial, this museum, we come together.  We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters.  We look into the faces of nearly 3,000 innocent souls — men and women and children of every race, every creed, and every corner of the world.  We can touch their names and hear their voices and glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives.  A wedding ring.  A dusty helmet.  A shining badge.

Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget.  Of coworkers who led others to safety.  Passengers who stormed a cockpit.  Our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno.  Our first responders who charged up those stairs.  A generation of servicemembers — our 9/11 Generation — who have served with honor in more than a decade of war.  A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid — because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country.  Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us; nothing can change who we are as Americans.

On that September morning, Alison Crowther lost her son Welles.  Months later, she was reading the newspaper — an article about those final minutes in the towers.  Survivors recounted how a young man wearing a red handkerchief had led them to safety.  And in that moment, Alison knew.  Ever since he was a boy, her son had always carried a red handkerchief.  Her son Welles was the man in the red bandana.

Welles was just 24 years old, with a broad smile and a bright future.  He worked in the South Tower, on the 104th floor. He had a big laugh, a joy of life, and dreams of seeing the world.  He worked in finance, but he had also been a volunteer firefighter.  And after the planes hit, he put on that bandana and spent his final moments saving others.

Three years ago this month, after our SEALs made sure that justice was done, I came to Ground Zero.  And among the families here that day was Alison Crowther.  And she told me about Welles and his fearless spirit, and she showed me a handkerchief like the one he wore that morning.

And today, as we saw on our tour, one of his red handkerchiefs is on display in this museum.  And from this day forward, all those who come here will have a chance to know the sacrifice of a young man who — like so many — gave his life so others might live.

Those we lost live on in us.  In the families who love them still.  In the friends who remember them always.  And in a nation that will honor them, now and forever.

And today it is my honor to introduce two women forever bound by that day, united in their determination to keep alive the true spirit of 9/11 — Welles Crowther’s mother Alison, and one of those he saved, Ling Young.  (Applause.)

State’s Attorney Recognizes Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on State’s Attorney Recognizes Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in a recent ceremony honoring two prominent community members for their professional and personal contributions to the Asian community.

The Honorable Edmond E. Chang (left), United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois and Chicago Police Sergeant Norman Kwong (right) both received the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Community Service Award during the ceremony.

Judge Chang was the youngest federal judge in the nation and the first Asian Pacific American Article III federal judge in Illinois when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in December of 2010.  Prior to joining the judiciary, Judge Chang was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, prosecuting a wide variety of federal offenses, including child exploitation, firearms and drug trafficking crimes.  Judge Chang is a long time contributor to the Asian Pacific American legal community, mentoring law students and serving as a guest speaker at schools and conferences throughout the country.

Sergeant Kwong is a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who began his career as a probationary police officer in the 20th District.  Sgt. Kwong has worked in several areas of the Chicago Police Department, including the Organized Crime Division where he was assigned to the Vice Enforcement and Vice Analysis teams, where he played a critical role in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of several individuals who were involved in Human Trafficking in several Asian communities.  Sgt. Kwong  returned to the 20th District as the Community Policing Sergeant where he created programs to engage and build relationships between police, residents and other community stakeholders.  Sgt. Kwong is active in the Asian Pacific American law enforcement community, currently serving as the 2nd Vice President for the National Asian Peace Officers’ Association and is the immediate Past President of the Asian American Law Enforcement Association.

The ceremony took place on May 8, at the Chinese American Service League in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood.

April Unemployment Hits Lowest Point Since 2008

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on April Unemployment Hits Lowest Point Since 2008

Falls to 7.9 Percent and Largest Decline Since 1976

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois unemployment rate hit a new five-year low in April when it fell to 7.9 percent, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. More people working pushed the rate down 0.5 points, the lowest since December 2008 and largest monthly decline in the history of this data series which began in 1976.

“More people working is another sign that our economy is on the rebound,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “As Illinois’ economy continues to gain momentum, April’s numbers reflect more people getting back to work and more employers adapting to the new national economy.”

In April 2014, the number of unemployed individuals fell -35,700 (-6.5 percent) to 516,000. Total unemployed has fallen -237,500 (-31.5 percent) since January 2010 when the rate peaked at 11.4 percent. The unemployment rate fell even though preliminary estimates indicate 7,800 fewer private sector jobs in April and 29,300 more jobs than one year ago. The unemployment rate and job creation numbers can move independently of each other because they come from different surveys.

The unemployment rate is in line with other economic touch points. First-time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and at 48,697 in April are 20 percent lower than one year ago. Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine Survey show Illinois employers in April advertised for more than 200,000 jobs (201,500 seasonally adjusted) and 85 percent sought full-time employment.

Illinois employers added +249,600 private sector jobs since the low point of employment in Illinois. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+114,600, +14.6 percent); Education and Health Services (+55,900, +6.8 percent); and Leisure and Hospitality (+38,000, +7.4 percent). Government (-25,600, -3.0 percent) continues to lead job loss.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower than the national rate only six times since January 2000. This includes periods of economic expansion and contraction.


· Illinois monthly labor force, unemployed and unemployment rates for years 2009-2013 have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February of each year, monthly labor force data for all states are revised to reflect updated sum-of-states controls, Census population controls, seasonal factors, non-farm jobs and unemployment insurance claims inputs. Data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly household (CPS) survey. Comments and tables distributed in prior Illinois unemployment rate news release materials should be discarded because any analysis, including records, previously cited might no longer be valid.

· Seasonally adjusted employment data for subsectors within industries are not available.  For not seasonally adjusted jobs data with greater industry detail, go to http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/CurrentEmploymentStatistics/I_SA_CES_Illinois_Jobs_2000_to_Current.xls “Other Services” includes a wide range of activities in three broad categories: Personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations.

· Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet Metropolitan Division are available at: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/Illinois_Chicago_Metropolitan_Area_Unemployment_Rates.aspx

Demand the Rescue of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls: Sign the Petition

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Demand the Rescue of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls: Sign the Petition
care2 petitionsite actionAlert
action alert!
Four weeks ago, more than 230 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by terrorists. They are in grave danger — and we cannot rest until they have been brought safely home.

Please sign the petition today!

take action

A month has passed since more than 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped at dawn from their school. The Nigerian government and some other nations have paid lip service to finding the girls, but they are still missing. This is a crisis and global leadership must treat it as such.

These girls are in grave danger. The Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has admitted to kidnapping them, and the group’s leader has threatened to sell the girls into slavery or forced marriage, where they will almost certainly be raped or even killed.

“I will marry off a woman at the age of 12,” the leader said on video. “I will marry off a girl at the age of nine.”

Although the Nigerian government has finally acknowledged the emergency, it has been criminally slow to take action. Activists who demanded answers about the girls were detained by police, and the Nigerian First Lady even claimed the whole thing had been a conspiracy.

But other nations aren’t innocent, either. Western media outlets willfully ignored the story until online activists pressured them to cover it.

These young women have done nothing wrong. Their only “mistake” was trying to go to school to further their education. We’ve let them down, and we have to make amends while we still can.

Sign the petition asking the Nigerian, U.S. and other governments to step up their efforts to find the girls and return them to their families, before it’s too late.

Kathleen Thank you for taking action,Kathleen J.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Building Owner Sentenced to Jail for Contributing to Blaze that Killed Two Chicago Firefighters

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Building Owner Sentenced to Jail for Contributing to Blaze that Killed Two Chicago Firefighters

A Chicago building owner whose failure to make court-ordered repairs to an abandoned building resulted in a fire that killed two Chicago Firefighters in 2010 has pled guilty to contempt of court charges and been sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay fines and fees, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

In a rare criminal proceeding brought by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, building owner Chuck Dai has pled guilty to a felony charge of Criminal Contempt of Court. Dai, 65, of South Holland, failed to comply with an agreed court order requiring that the vacant building he owned be secured and that structural roofing problems be repaired prior to the outbreak of the fatal fire.

In addition to the six-month sentence in the Cook County Jail, Circuit Court Judge James Obbish ordered Dai to pay a $5,229 fine following a sentencing hearing today at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.

State’s Attorney Alvarez said that while failure to comply with building codes would typically result in administrative sanctions, the grave circumstances in this case warranted criminal penalties.

“Building owners have a legal and a civic responsibility to maintain their properties in our neighborhoods in a safe and responsible manner and this case represents our commitment to holding building owners accountable,” Alvarez said.

According to prosecutors, on December 22, 2010, a fire was started inside the vacant building at 1738-1744 E. 75th Street in Chicago. The blaze began near the rear door and quickly spread to the entire structure of the facility. When firefighters went up to the roof to vent the building, the roof collapsed. The fire killed Edward Stringer, 47, and Corey Ankum, 34, who were among dozens of firefighters at the scene. An additional 14 firefighters were injured battling the blaze.

The building, a former commercial laundry, was vacant in 2007 when City of Chicago building inspectors cited the property with 14 building code violations, specifically noting that the roof and roof trusses were rotted, had holes and were leaking.  Over the next year, Dai failed to show up at numerous court dates and was eventually fined more than $14,000 for failing to address the violations.  In October of 2009, in an effort to reduce the fines, Dai agreed to make all of the required repairs and secure the building from trespassers, actions that were never completed.

“Urban blight is a very challenging community issue and it is also a very serious public safety issue and we will do all that is possible to protect our first responders from the type of negligence that led to this terrible tragedy for the families of these public servants and the entire Chicago Fire Department,” said Alvarez.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lacy for her work on the case as well as the cooperative work of the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel.

Education Funding Advisory Board Establishes Benchmark for Equitable Funding for Fiscal Year 2015

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Education Funding Advisory Board Establishes Benchmark for Equitable Funding for Fiscal Year 2015

Equitable funding for Illinois schools requires $4.8 billion more in state funds

CHICAGO, IL — After convening last month to begin work on its recommendation for adequate education funding, the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) voted unanimously to update their recommended Foundation level to reflect inflation.  This would increase the state’s per-pupil Foundation Level to $8,767 for Fiscal Year 2015.  Based on current forecasts of General State Aid (GSA) funding for FY15, this recommended foundation level would require an additional $4.8 billion in state funds for K-12 education.

Additionally, EFAB urges state legislators and Governor Quinn to take action to maintain state revenues for schools and to consider directing more resources to the State Board of Education to distribute to districts.

“The EFAB’s latest recommendation highlights the continued need for greater state funding for education in Illinois,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico.  “Fully funding the foundation level shows we put children and education first and that’s an investment that will pay dividends for generations and for the future of the Illinois economy.”

The committee’s latest recommendation reflects the Employment Cost Index for workers in elementary and secondary schools.  In EFAB’s last report, issued in January 2013, the committee recommended a foundation level of $8,672.  The foundation level is currently statutorily set at $6,119.

“While EFAB recognizes the dire financial position of the State of Illinois, the lack of adequate funding for basic education is a failure of the state’s moral and fiduciary responsibilities,” said Sylvia Puente Chairwoman of EFAB.

The foundation level is the minimum per-pupil funding necessary to adequately educate each public K-12 student in Illinois.  Districts with less local funding are meant to receive greater assistance from the state in order to meet the foundation level.

It is important to note that the state currently fails to fund the already insufficient statutorily set foundation level of $6,119.  This has forced across-the-board proration of district GSA payments for the third consecutive year.  In FY14, which runs July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, GSA was prorated at 89 percent of the total GSA claim.

State law requires EFAB to provide education funding recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor every two years.  The committee last issued a report in January 2013 and must formally submit its next report by January 2015.

Four members serve on the EFAB: Chairwoman Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum; Sheila Harrison-Williams, Superintendent of Hazel Crest School District 152.5; Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association; and Daniel Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  There is one vacancy.

Better Business Bureau Alert: The Lady Luckk Organization

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Better Business Bureau Alert: The Lady Luckk Organization

CHICAGO, IL – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is alerting consumers about The Lady Luckk Organization LLC, NFP due to serious unanswered complaints about charging money without services being performed. The Lady Luckk Organization LLC, NFP according to its website, is a non-profit business that provides a variety of services, such as housing assistance through homeless prevention, rental assistance and subsidized housing programs.

The BBB Business Review on The Lady Luckk Organization indicates an F rating due to unanswered complaints. The Illinois Secretary of State Corporation File lists the business’s incorporation status as “not good standing”. According to documents, the business is located at 710 – 712 East 47th Street, Chicago, IL 60653.

Recent calls from consumers to the BBB claim that they have applied for assistance from the business, providing all the requested information and paid the fee and received no services in return.

“Individuals who may find themselves in situations where the need is extremely important, such as finding safe and affordable housing, may act too quickly” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

“Often they believe because the business is a non-profit organization they have nothing to fear and that’s far from true.” Bernas added “If you want to avoid problems it is just as important to check out a non-profit as you would any other business”

Cynthia Nute, who was a client and former employee of The Lady Luckk said: “I contacted Lady Luckk as a client, paid the application fee, attended a workshop after which time I was hired as the receptionist. I worked for them from September thru December last year and received two paychecks both of which bounced.” She alleged that “the owners would get the application fee in cash or a money order and tell the applicant that it would be six months to a year to find the housing. But after the initial contact the applicant was never contacted again.” Nute stated this also happened to her.

Lysha Johnson also contacted the BBB. She said: “I paid the fee and provided my Social Security Number, birth certificate, and driver’s license. But since then I have been unable to contact anyone at the agency and was not permitted entrance when I went back to the business.” Ms. Johnson also claimed “a relative of mine put in an application and instead of paying a $35 fee, they paid $50.”

Before you sign-up for assistance from a non-profit, the BBB recommends:

  • Research the organization and its services. Go to bbb.org to obtain the Business Review on the company and check its BBB rating.
  • Listen and read. Make sure you understand what is expected and what services will be provided. Listen carefully at meetings with organization representatives. Take notes. Read the entire agreement including the fine print.
  • Get a signed agreement. When you determine what assistance you need and what the organization can provide, get the information in writing.
  • Obtain a timeframe. Know when the services will begin and when they will end.
  • Understand your obligations. Know exactly what is expected of you to fulfill any agreement.
  • Pay by credit card and retain receipts. It is preferable to pay by credit card for your protection. Paying in cash or by money orders increases your chances of being ripped-off.

For more information about non-profit organizations and registering complaints, visit www.bbb.org

Vocalist/Actress Rene Marie Performs May 15-18 @ Jazz at Lincoln Center with her Acclaimed Eartha Kitt Tribute CD “I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt”

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Vocalist/Actress Rene Marie Performs May 15-18 @ Jazz at Lincoln Center with her Acclaimed Eartha Kitt Tribute CD “I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt”

Featured On NPR “All Things Considered”, The Dazzling Jazz Singer and Off-Broadway Star Will Feature Caribbean Trumpet Star Etienne Charles

Rene Marie, I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) – René Marie – singer, actress, writer. Eartha Kitt – singer, actress, writer. Never before has there been a vocal recording tipping the hat to the divine Ms. Kitt and her fiery, sensual and clever interpretations of songs. With her incredible range of vocal ability, her powerful emotional resonance and strong independent streak, René is the right artist to conceive of this historic project called I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt. It’s René’s third recording for the Grammy-nominated Motéma Music label in Harlem and her 10th career album. The release follows her acclaimed fall Off-Broadway show and was featured on NPR All Things Considered. René comes into Jazz at Lincoln Center’s venue Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola after a triumphant performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, where she received three standing ovations.

Show Info: MAY 15-18. 7:30pm & 9:30pm. $25-45. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. 59th & Broadway in Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. 212-258-9595. www.jalc.org

This brilliantly entertaining album burnishes René’s reputation as the most provocative risk-taker among today’s jazz divas. Eartha Kitt’s daughter Kitt Shapiro, who maintains her mother’s legacy via EarthaKitt.com and the company Simply Eartha, expressed her appreciation: “It’s wonderful that such a talented artist like René Marie has recorded the first tribute album to my mother, helping to keep her memory and spirit alive.  These classic songs deserve to be heard and loved by all generations.”

I Wanna Be Evil features classic Eartha Kitt songs like “C’est Si Bon,” “Peel Me a Grape,” and “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and lesser-known mischievous gems like “I’d Rather Be Burned As A Witch” and “I Wanna Be Evil.”

René shares more about her inspiration for the project:

“Eartha Kitt is one of America’s strongest iconic figures. She was an inspiring artist, a strong woman and an essential activist in different ways. She was homeless when she first moved to New York City yet became a star. She was a sensual and powerful woman in a man’s world at a time when most women were in the background, not front and center. She was a black actress in Hollywood at a time when most black actors were given subservient roles yet here she was – Catwoman. She challenged President Johnson on the Vietnam War and paid a price for her outspokenness. She unabashedly shared her sensual self and her fierce self and was just herself – simply Eartha. That alone, I have learned, can be the most radical act, especially if you are a woman. As Eartha states in one of her famous ‘Kittisms’: The price you pay for being yourself is worth it.”


It’s hard to believe it all started for René after she turned 40, but that is what has allowed her to unabashedly be herself just like Eartha. She has won many fans for her audaciousness but has also received strong criticism. Her well-known medley of “Strange Fruit” and “Dixie” wowed many but also stirred the pot on America’s history of slavery and Southern race relations. Her choice to sing the black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (set to the melody of the “Star Spangled Banner”) when the Mayor of Denver John Hickenlooper asked René – one of Denver’s high profile resident artists at the time – to open the State of the City address in 2008 spurred a significant backlash, right wing criticism and even death threats.

Yet René stood strong. Her daring makes her one of America’s most interesting and compelling artists. So do her influences. Her style incorporates a distinctly American mélange of jazz, soul, blues, folk and gospel and an innate theatrical ability to interpret a song deeply and live its truth. An actress as well as a vocalist, René starred Off-Broadway in New York City October 12-13 and 18 and 20, 2013, as part of the All for One Theater Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre in a one-woman play she wrote. In typical fashion, she raised eyebrows just with the title itself – “Slut Energy Theory – U’Dean.” The meaning becomes clear and intensely significant as the audience – and critics alike – find themselves transformed by her play about U’Dean, a woman on a painful yet sometimes funny journey from sexual abuse to self-esteem.

René also is a woman of great strength and humor who walked a similar journey. Married at 18, a mother of two by 23 and a Jehovah’s Witness, she only occasionally sang. When her husband of 23 years issued an ultimatum to stop singing or leave, she chose music over the turbulent marriage and self-released her debut Renaissance in 1998 and toured as Ella Fitzgerald in a regional play. She began experiencing a whirlwind of success rarely seen in the jazz world, winning over critics; receiving awards such as the Best International Jazz Vocal CD (besting Cassandra Wilson and Joni Mitchell) by France’s Academie Du Jazz; gracing the Billboard charts multiple times; and becoming a headliner at major international festivals. A gifted songwriter, her previous Motéma release, Black Lace Freudian Slip, features blues-heavy originals. Her label debut, Voice of My Beautiful Country, is an ambitious celebration of Americana and a striking display of her incredible ability to forge connections between songs most would never think to merge.

For René Marie, success means shining attention on important issues in America and on bold artists like Eartha Kitt who helped change America’s landscape for the better. René has become one of those bold artists.


“She’s got moxie.” — Essence Magazine

“Ms. Marie has a smart, clear voice; she pushes her principles to the front of her work and playfully demands respect.” — New York Times

4/26 – New Orleans Jazz Festival, New Orleans, LA
5/14 – Side Door Jazz Club, Old Lyme, CT
5/15-18 – Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC
5/22 – World Café Live at the Queen, Wilmington, DE
5/23 – Westminster Canturbury, Richmond, VA
5/24 – Kennedy Center Mary Lou Williams Festival, Washington, DC
5/26 – Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC
7/23-25 – San Sebastian, Spain –Jazz Festival

Photo Caption: René Marie’s Tribute CD To Eartha Kitt





Lt. Governor Simon promoting healthy habits during National Women’s Health Week

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Lt. Governor Simon promoting healthy habits during National Women’s Health Week

CHICAGO , IL – Whether it’s eating healthy, getting active or quitting smoking, Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is encouraging women across Illinois to make their health a priority during National Women’s Health Week.

“By making a couple of small lifestyle changes, women can greatly improve their health,” said Simon. “Simple things like wearing a helmet while biking, getting more sleep or getting a breast cancer screening are easy ways to improve wellness. I hope women throughout the state will celebrate National Women’s Health Week by making their health a priority.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Women’s Health Week is an observance with the goal of empowering women to make their health a priority. National Women’s Health Week also serves as a time to help women understand what it means to be well. Simon will recognize the week at a Prentice Women’s Hospital luncheon at noon on Thursday.

To promote wellness, the HHS Office on Women’s Health recommends taking steps to improve physical and mental health by visiting health care professionals to receive regular checkups and preventative screenings, getting active and getting healthy. For more information helpful tips and statistics about women’s health please visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/.

Hyde Park’s Iconic Shoe Repair Owner turns 95

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Hyde Park’s Iconic Shoe Repair Owner turns 95

By Chinta Strausberg

Hyde Park’s iconic shoe shop repair owner, Taylor W. Lucy, the brother of Autherine Lucy who in 1952 desegregated the University of Alabama, celebrated his 95th birthday at the Mr T’s Shoe Service, 1007 E. 53rd Street, where friends and family gathered in the tiny shop to share greetings while taking a trip down memory lane.

A stream of customers came to wish Lucy, fondly called “Mr. T,” happy birthday people like Florence Cox, former Chicago Public School board president now president of the WE CAN, INC. Committee, who called him “a beacon of hope” forthe community.

Coxsaid Lucy “has been a beacon of hope for the community and black people in general. He has always been good to the kids and has always been good to the neighborhood. I think he stands out as one who we should follow, respect and

hold up as high as we can in the community because he has done much for himself and even more for the community.”

Lucy ,who will actually turn 95 this Tuesday, May 13th, doesn’t work at his shop anymore since he had an accident in October of 2012, but he comes back to check on his business now operated by those he has trained like his daughter, Marla Lawrence, a former Chicago Public School teacher turn social worker, her husband, Errol Lawrence, a retired associate dean of the University of Notre Dame, and workers he taught the art of shoe repair.

Lucy named his shop Mr. T and laughed when he recalled the real Mr. T, the actor, came to his shop asking him why he was using his name. “He came here and said,‘What you doing with my name?’ I told him, “What you doing with my name”? The two laughed and Mr. T told Lucy, “You’re OK.”

Born in Shiloah, Alabama on a farm owned by his parents, Milton and Minnie-Hosey Lucy, Mr. Lucy was born sixth of ten children during the days of segregation. He vividly remembers for the “For Colored” and “whites only” signs posted at drinking fountains and even on toilet doors. “I was born in an era where you had a fountain here that said black and another that said white…and if you went in there, you got arrested for being off limits. I got used to it but got away from it as soon as I could.”

The days of racism remain etched in Mr. Lucy’s mind. Referring to his baby sister,Autherine, now a retired teacher, he recalled how she first integrated the University of Alabama. “That was kind of dangerous because at that time you were not safe when you want to break up something other races weren’t accustom to. They didn’t like mixing the races.

“She attended class for three-days but after that they assumed it to be too dangerous to provide class safety for her. After those three days she was expelled,” Mr. Lucy said. “She made some statements about some faculty members…that they didn’t to the best they could to provide safety and security for her and because she couldn’t prove it, she got expelled.

“I was glad for her to get out of there because it was a dangerous situation. It was wrong, but I supported every step she made,” he said.

To get away from the raw racism, when he was 13 he moved 135 miles away from his home and lived with a cousin in Fairfield, Alabama where he enrolled in schooland graduated. “When I got in ninth grade, I was elected president of the class,” he recalled. Racism was not as bad in Fairfield.

While racism in Fairfield, Alabama, he said, “was a little bit better, but you have to understand and know how you respect people. You speak to them and what you don’t have to say, you don’t say. You know what other people don’t like to hear…. I learned to describe things instead of saying things…like you were supposed to say ‘yes ma’am and no ma’am….'”

He said sometimes he would forget to say‘yes ma’am and no ma’am,’ and whites would “turn beet red. My dad would get nervous…. Instead of saying yes, he used descriptions for answers.

When asked what was it like being an African American in the Deep South at that time, Mr. Lucy said, “It was something you knew that wasn’t suppose to be. You are a human being and are suppose to have the rights others have and we didn’t have that because of our color….”

While in high school, Lucy learned the art of shoe repair. “I took the trade. When I finished that trade at the end of the year, I received all three (1st,2nd and 3rd) best shoemaker prizes because no other person qualified.”

Lucy gave credit to his principal, E.J. Oliver, an African American who also got black history taught in his school. Lucy said learning his history helped himto better understand who he was and from where he came.

Before he came to Chicago in 1944, Mr. Lucy was drafted into the Army. Once here, he moved with his sister at 5911 South Indiana. He was assigned to Fort Sheridan and later was sent overseas including in European Theater of World War II going to countries like England, France, Belgium and Luxembourg. He was discharged from the Army in 1946…an Army he said was still segregated. There were no blacks in commanding positions.

Three-years later, Lucy married Susie Myrick and together they had seven children, six boys and four girls. His daughters worked at his shop, and some of his sons learned the shoe repair trade. Later, Lucy and his wife divorced.

He then married Mildred Harris and they had four children. His wife passed in 2004. Since then, Lucy said, “I’ve just been floating from to another” including dating his long-time friend, Jackie Payton. “We just love each other,” Lucy said glancing at Payton with a huge smile.

When Lucy came home from the service, he started a business at 55 East Garfield across the street from the Butternut Bread building. While working at his shoe repair business, he enrolled in a VA educational program under the GI bill. He took courses in radio, television and engineering and graduated in 1949.

“I got rid of the shop and brought a livery cab, but then I got me a job as a shoemaker at B&B on the North Side across the street from Dr. Shores Shoes.I stayed there for 15-years.”

While there, Lucy was elected president of the United Shoemakers of America. He held that position for 15-years. There, Lucy said, “I got some white folks fired because of how they treated black folks…. I always got my facts together”including a white man who had unfairly fired several blacks. When Lucy found out why, the white man was fired and the company had to rehire the blacks with back pay. “I was happy about being successful….”

Having learned to do shoe repair on the equipment, the company was supposed to pay him average wages. However, when the owner went to New York on sales business, Lucy left because he made more money doing piecework vs. working on the machines. He quit.

The next day, he went to Zenith at 1900 North Austin, and was hired as an electrical engineer. He stayed there for seven-years. While at Zenith, in 1971 he bought a shoe shop at 1374 E. 53rd Street in Hyde Park. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.” Lucy said five-minutes after he bought the shop a man tried to buy his business. He didn’t sell and he ultimately quit Zenith.

Having lost his lease, he moved to 47th Street for a year and then bought his current shop in 1989. Mr. Lucy is very opinionated on a myriad of social issues.

Asked his reaction to the gun violence that is going on primarily in the black community, Mr. Lucy said, “It is very disappointing because it doesn’t seem like anybody can do anything about it. That is what makes it so bad…. I think Chicago should be an occupied city, occupied with troops. I think that would help.”

Lucy said it’s time for the Army, the state troopers to occupy Chicago but warned they can’t be racists. “You need somebody in there who has a little respect for what is best for people. You have to learn how to respect one another. You got to believe in something good, you can do better. Just think about people who don’t believe in anything…. Everybody’s looses….”

Lucy is very concerned about Republicans turning back the civil rights clock. Referring to last June’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights bill, Mr. Lucy said, “That was against us. It was a blow that knocked us out of the box. Every time you turn around, you see a state talking about taking the rights from voters…all over North and South….”

And on the controversial concealed and carry law, Mr. Lucy referred to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal who signed the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 that goes into effect on July 1. It allows people who have concealed carry permits to bring their weapons into churches, airports, school zones, bars and government buildings. Mr. Lucy just shook his head in disbelief.

“Everybody is afraid of doing right. When you’re a politician, you have to see which way the wind is blowing” before making a decision.

On President Obama, Lucy said he wished he could have talked to Vice President Joe Biden on the gay rights issue. “There is no way you can put gay over marriage…. This country was founded on religious principles, why deviate”? He blames politics for the changes that are being made in today’s society. Lucy said he respects all people “what ever they represent.”

Lucy is disturbed about the money spent on charter schools while public schools are suffering. “You have people running charter schools and they are running away with the money. You can’t win, but it doesn’t keep you from trying.”

“People are not dumb anymore. They observe, but you got to keep the message out there,” he said referring to Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. “He can out spend you and out talk you, too.”

Asked about the election of President Obama, Mr. Lucy said, “I’ve been pulling for him before he was born. I was hoping someone would come along and when he came along I argued with my baby sister, Autherine. She was voting with Miss Clinton. I said I am voting for Obama and she said, ‘Is it because he’s black’? I said, yes, because he’s black and he qualified.”  Mr. Lucy said his sister didn’t switch opting instead to vote for Clinton. “I told her she’s entitled to that vote. I told her she voted for a good girl.

“But, President Obama selected two more terms for a Democrat. If Hillary wants to run, she can do two terms. I will vote for her because there is nobody else qualified…. I know that and the Republicans know that, too. They know they don’t have anybody that will rate up there with her, and the Democrats don’t have anyone else either.”

But, besides Hillary Clinton, Mr. Lucy said Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Ann Warren is another potential presidential candidate. “She’s on her way up. She’s qualified. You got to watch her…. She’s a banker and the banking people are afraid of her.”

A number of old customers began to stream into his shop like Arthur Slater, a retired Chief of Schools for the CPS, who knew Mr. Lucy for decades including when he had a store on 47th Street. “I think he is great. I don’t take my shoes to the shop anymore because I have not found anyone good enough to replace him. I will buy a new pair first. I had excellent service with him…my entire family….”

A former teacher turn social worker, Lawrence said her dad “means everything to me. He taught me what it means to be good, kind and human and I hope that I embody all of those things. He’s the best guy that I know. I have been honored to work in his business. I am a helper. It’s been a privilege….”

His daughter said their customers view her father as their dad. Her husband, Errol Lawrence, feels the same way and together they are helping to carry on her father’s shoe repair business for yet another generation.

Paula Harris, a customer for 18-years, said Mr. Lucy “is a testament to hard work and entrepreneurial ship…. He is more than just my shoe repairman. He’s like a grandfather to me…. I hope I can live to be at least 95 and helped people like he helped me out.”

Sitting next to Lucy was his special friend of 30-years, Jackie Payton, who said when Lucy works he whistles. “That’s when he is deep in thought,” she said laughing.

Looking around at his old customers, Lucy smiled saying, “I get the best of everything…friends…family by divine intervention.” Mr. T got up, stood and walked outside of his historic shop to pose for pictures.

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.

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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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