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Archive for June 23rd, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Applauds Senate Confirmation of Two African American Judges to U.S. District Court

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CBC Chair Marcia L. Fudge’s Statement on Senate Confirmation of Judge Darrin P. Gayles and Judge Staci Yandle

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge wrote the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Darrin P. Gayles as District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the confirmation of Staci Yandle to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Judge Gayles is the first African American to be confirmed to a Florida federal district court in nearly 20 years and is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed to the federal bench. Judge Yandle is the first African American and the first openly gay federal judge to serve on the Southern District of Illinois bench.

“I congratulate Judge Darrin P. Gayles and Judge Staci Yandle on their historic confirmations to serve on the federal bench. Both Judge Gayles and Judge Yandle have distinguished careers and histories of public service that reflect their commitment to the legal profession and their communities.

“Since 2004, Judge Gayles has served on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, first as a County State Judge and then as a Florida State Judge, presiding over 600 cases that have gone to verdict or judgment. Judge Gayles has also been a volunteer with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. Since 1987, Judge Yandle has served the legal profession and this country through private practice and as an advisory board member to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.  I applaud Judge Gayles and Judge Yandle for this significant accomplishment in their already laudable careers.

“I also commend the Senate for confirming Judge Gayles and Judge Yandle. As diversity within the legal profession has significantly waned, these judicial appointments move our criminal justice system closer to reflecting the true diversity of America.”

NAACP, Coalition Partners Reaffirm Unified Support for the Voting Rights Amendment Act at Press Conference

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, D.C. — Civil rights leaders held a press conference on Capitol Hill reaffirming their unified support for the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA). Leaders called on the House of Representatives to advance the VRAA and protect voters before they go to the polls in November.

Click here to watch the press conference video archive.

From Lorraine C. Miller, Interim NAACP President and CEO:

“This is a critical time for action. As we approach the anniversary of Shelby v. Holder, we must act with renewed urgency in advancing the Voting Rights Amendment Act through the congressional process. The looming risk of voter disenfranchisement threatens our democracy.

Voter restrictions from state legislatures have brought forth court rulings that leave uncertainty as voters prepare for the 2014 mid-term elections.

In the last few days, a Brennan Center report states that of the 11 states with the highest black turnout in 2008, seven have new restrictions in place and of the dozen states with the largest growth in Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010, nine states passed laws making it harder to vote.”
In light of these findings the NAACP has issued the following call to action for full civic participation and representation in 2014, including:

• Engaging directly with Members of Congress to call for hearings in the House on the Voting Rights Act Amendment;
• Enlisting registered voters to assist elders and first-time voters with securing all required documents and identification to register and vote;
• Encouraging faith leaders to educate their congregations on the importance of being registered and of voting in all elections; and
• Educating and deploying our network of 2.5 million digital activists to support unfettered access to the polls, and to urge that every vote be counted.
Failure to advance this legislation gives a free pass to voting discrimination!

Kirk and Stepfather of Illinois Hero Felled Searching for Bergdahl Demand Answers from President Obama on Guantanamo Detainee Release

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Kirk Led 11 Senators in a Demand to Stop Releasing Terrorists

CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Ken Luccioni, stepfather of Private First Class Matthew Martinek who was killed in Afghanistan during a search for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, called on President Obama to provide answers and an explanation regarding the release of five high-value Taliban leaders from Guantanamo. In exchange for Bergdahl, President Obama ignored both the law and the recommendations of his own panel of advisors to release the dangerous group of men. Senator Kirk, along with 10 other Senators, sent a letter to the President demanding answers as to why he took this action, and requested that the other 149 Guantanamo detainees remain in custody until further notice.

Private First Class Martinek, an Illinois native, was killed in 2009 on a mission to find Bergdahl. He was 20 years old. Luccioni joined with Kirk today to emphasize the need for answers from the Administration.
“Matthew was born on December 7th, and died on September 11th – he was born a soldier and died a soldier,” said Senator Kirk. “I will continue to fight to make sure that Matt’s ultimate sacrifice is respected and not in vain. There should be no more fathers like Ken whose children are taken by the very terrorists that soldiers like Matt fought so hard to put behind bars.”
The text of the letter is below:

June 19, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our strong concern with your decision to release five high value prisoners from Guantanamo Bay– defying both Section 1035 of the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the recommendations of at least one panel of experts established by your own executive order.

On January 27, 2009, you issued Executive Order 13492, which described a process for a “prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal bases for the continued detention of all individuals currently held at Guantanamo.” This executive order established the Guantanamo Review Task Force, an inter-agency panel chaired by the Attorney General. Members of the task force included the Secretaries of Defense, State, and Homeland Security; Director of National Intelligence; and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The final disposition of the review was reported on January 2010 and recommended that 48 detainees, including the five individuals recently released in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, warranted continued detention under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. No publicly available decisions of subsequent review boards, including the Periodic Review Board established by your Executive Order 13567, indicate that the assessment of these five individuals haschanged.  The Wall Street Journal reported on June 10, 2014 that the intelligence community believes at least four of the five detainees would or were likely to rejoin the fight in Afghanistan. It is deeply concerning that in releasing these individuals, you overrode the recommendations of at least one panel of experts that you called on to guide national security decision-making.

On December 19, 2013, the Senate passed the FY14 NDAA and you signed it into law seven days later. As you know, this legislation included a 30-day congressional notification requirement for detainees transferred from Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries. This law was not followed ahead of the transfer of Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammad Nabi Omari.

In your decision to release these individuals, we are further concerned about the increasing recidivism rate among Guantanamo detainees. According to the Director of National Intelligence, an additional four former Guantanamo detainees were confirmed of rejoining the fight between July 2013 and January 2014, raising the combined suspected and confirmed recidivism rate to 29%. On June 16, 2014, Spanish authorities detained Lahcen Ikassriena, former Guantanamo detainee, who is believed to have led a recruitment cell for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, further raising concern about the actions of former detainees.

Contradictory to your own advisory committee, and without observance of Public Law No. 113-66, five senior Taliban leaders were released and many will likely return to the battlefield.  None of the remaining 149 detainees should be released without a full investigation of the process by which the five detainees were released outside of the legal process.


Fifty Years After Civil Rights Act: A Land of Opportunity

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
By William Spriggs

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Fifty years ago, the U.S. Senate passed the version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would be passed by the House and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill faced a filibuster of 14 hours and 13 minutes by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Between the passage by the Senate and debate by the House, three young civil rights workers-Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney-disappeared into the night on June 21, 1964, driving in the rural area near Philadelphia, Miss. Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were later found dead, having been murdered for trying to register African American voters in Mississippi.

On Monday, this week, the AFL-CIO supported a Moral Monday protest in North Carolina revisiting many of the issues America faced in 1964, and meant to be addressed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many things have changed since then. Too many things have not.

The Senate debated the Civil Rights Act for 60 working days, including Saturday sessions. Rarely today does Congress meet to carefully craft legislation lifting the lives of people. An important purpose of the act was to ensure economic freedoms for African Americans, especially the right to hold a job. In the 1960s, major American newspaper want ads openly advertised for segregated job openings. Those cold hard lines denied access to earning a living. Today, Senate Republicans filibuster votes to raise the minimum wage, and House Republicans refuse to debate it. That cold hard line leaves more than 2.6 million Americans working full time, year round but living in poverty, and America’s poor families with workers are unable to earn enough to get out of poverty.

North Carolina is a state where a child born into poverty has less than a 6 percent chance of moving up to the top 20 percent of the income pile. In the Wilson area, a poor child has only a 3.9 percent chance of moving up above middle. This is not because of single parent households, individual irresponsibility or the water people in North Carolina drink. The problem is that North Carolina has policies that trap people who fall down into poverty.

Lose a job? In North Carolina, the average unemployment benefit will replace only 35 percent of your pay, ranking 30th out of 53 unemployment systems in the United States and its territories, and you only have a 35 percent chance you will get any benefit at all, ranking 51st out of 53. If you are a single mother, then your combined Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefit will just get you to the level of extreme poverty (50 percent of the poverty line), ranking 43rd out of 51 (the 50 states and the District of Columbia).

Hunt for a job, and you will be in one of the states where the minimum wage remains at the federal level of $7.25 an hour, making you a minority among American workers, since most now live in states where democracy is working to lift the minimum wage to more decent levels. Or, try landing a job that has paid sick days, health insurance and retirement benefits-meaning a union job; the share of jobs protected by a collective bargaining agreement in North Carolina stands at less than 4.8 percent, ranking 48th out of the 51.

At the August 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph famously remarked: “Yes, we want all public accommodations open to all citizens, but those accommodations will mean little to those who cannot afford to use them.”

North Carolina and its radical Republican governor and legislature are hastily passing laws not to put government on the side of the people, but to put people at the servitude of the 1 percent. They have been limiting access to unemployment insurance, standing in the way of accepting federal support to extend access to health insurance to the working poor and in the way of lifting the minimum wage. And, to make sure that no one objects to their hijacking of democracy, they are taking actions to limit voting and to deny access to the state capitol for people to exercise their 1st Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So, while the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought the end of race-based laws, the state of North Carolina is trapping people into poverty.

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

Simon Kicks Off Electric Vehicle Road Trip, Encourages Employers to Take the Charging Pledge

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Statewide trip will promote, advance EV infrastructure

CARTERVILLE – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today kicked off a two-day road trip to promote electric vehicle infrastructure and challenged more Illinois employers to offer charging stations for their workers.

The Electric Vehicle Road Trip, organized by the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), began at John A. Logan Community College and will stop at 11 community colleges that provide electric vehicle charging stations for students, faculty and staff.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging in the next five years. Simon said that Illinois community colleges are taking the lead in reaching this sustainability goal.

“I am pleased to see Illinois’ community colleges are taking the lead in using and promoting sustainable technology,” said Simon. “By making charging stations available on campus, schools are not only supporting safe and reliable EV technology and our environment, they are also making it more convenient for employees who own or are considering an electric vehicle to charge at the workplace.”

Starting at JALC, a team of students, sustainability experts and IGEN staff will travel north completing the trip at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. The road trip is supported by the Offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Illinois Office of Tourism, the IGEN, Nissan, Chargepoint and Green Wheels USA.

Those interested in following the team’s progress can do so by visiting the IGEN Facebook and Twitter pages. The team is expected to be joined by “MiniAbe,” the state’s tourism ambassador as they make charging stops at locations including the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

“The electric vehicle has come a long way in just the last five years, but even as sales rise, some pesky problems persist,” said Lewis and Clark Community College Director of Sustainability Nate Keener, lead organizer for the event. “Range anxiety and battery concerns, for example, continue to plague the mind of the potential electronic vehicle consumer. With this trip, we hope to chase away some of those fears and show that it actually is possible to drive great distances in electric and hybrid vehicles.”

The IGEN is a consortium of all 39 Illinois community college districts across the state working to grow the green economy of Illinois. Its mission is to provide a platform for collaboration among all Illinois community colleges and their partners to drive growth of the green economy.

For more information about the Electric Vehicle Road Trip, visit the IGEN website at www.igencc.org.

The Jackson 5 of the Early 1970’s Deserve the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Kevin Antoine, JD
Assistant Vice President
Office of Diversity & Inclusion
SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – My wife and I recently saw the Broadway Musical “Motown.” Motown wasn’t just a musical, however, it connected to the history of America through the sounds of Motown. We loved the show, all the acts and all the songs. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the greatest and loudest applause both during and after the show was given to the performers performing as the “Jackson 5.” As I looked around, the audience was a mix of 50ish folks like my wife and I and 20 somethings. As we drove home my wife and I started reminiscing about “growing up with the “Jackson 5.” What we discovered is that history has not really given the Jackson 5 their just due as it relates to the impact they had on African-Americans as well as the rest of the nation in the early 1970’s. In this article I want to correct this oversight.

The Jackson 5’s heralded arrival in American popular culture in 1969 was at a pivotal time in American society. They were the first recording act whose first four releases were number one hits on both the black (R&B) and white (pop) billboard music charts. However, just a year before in 1968 America’s urban inner cities were burning.

For African-Americans who lived in the North, the mid 1960’s was a time of urban riots brought on by their frustrations with poverty, poor schools, police brutality, inadequate access to healthcare, chronic high unemployment, and overt employment discrimination. In the South, fifteen years after the US Supreme ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, that segregation in public education should end with all deliberate speed, southern States openly defied the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In the summer of 1967, President Johnson appointed a federal commission, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, to investigate the riots in predominantly black areas of major American cities. Otto Kerner, then Governor of the state of Illinois was selected by the President to chair the commission. The Kerner Commission recommended sweeping federal initiatives to address those frustrations and recommended a national income supplement initiative, similar to the subsidies given to corporations to produce or not produce certain products. The Commission’s most remembered passage warned that the United States was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal.”

On April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the nation’s capital was burning, engulfed by riots that would last four days. Riots broke out in more than a hundred cities in the United States following Dr. King’s assassination.

1968 gave way to 1969 and the promise of a new decade, the 1970’s. In December 1969 Motown introduced America to what would be its last super group, the Jackson 5. With Eleven-year-old Michael singing lead and brother Jermaine signing second lead, the Jackson 5’s first single “I Want You Back” hit radio stations and they became overnight heroes to African-Americans, bigger than any government program. Five African-American brothers helped African-Americans turn their attention from everyday mistrust and frustration, with the government that had plagued the 1960’s, to an African-American family from humble beginnings in Gary Indiana. The Jackson 5 proved that the African-American family unit was not extinct.

The Jackson 5 represented a new generation of African-American entertainers with their Afros and bellbottom pants that embraced all that was black and beautiful. Even white America now believed that black was beautiful. Eleven-year-old lead singer Michael was a pint size James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Bill Robinson, and Cab Calloway rolled up into one. And unlike the present young entertainers, the Jackson 5 played their own instruments. Brothers Tito and Jermaine played lead and bass guitar and two cousins played the drums and electric piano. No member was over 18 years old.

The Jackson 5 demonstrated that African-Americans could rise to the occasion despite insurmountable odds and be the best at their chosen professions. Elementary school age children regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity all wanted to imitate Jackson 5. Even in my 5th grade class in my small hometown of Pass Christian, Mississippi the Jackson 5 help the newly integrated elementary school maneuver through integration.

In August of 1969, the Mississippi gulf coast was nearly obliterated by a category five-hurricane name Camille. The school year began in October of 1969 after the National Guard cleaned the area. Tension between the white and African-American students was high, more so at the high school than the elementary school where I was a fifth grader. However, I had my share of fights with a few white boys who were in 5th and 6th grade.

But in January 1970, The Jackson 5’s first song, “I Want You Back,” swept the country. By the time they debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show, lots of elementary school age children wanted to be a member of the Jackson 5. Somehow one of our teachers started having weekly talent shows in his classroom. We all had a five-member groups singing Jackson 5 songs. As a result, my memories of elementary school are that we had far less fights and more happy times.

The Jackson 5 even brought family and communities together even if only for a brief moment. My wife, who grew up in Harlem, remembers that when the Jackson 5 appeared on television, folks who normally sat on the stoops, or kids who played in the streets all went home or to the apartment on the block that had a television to watch the Jackson 5 perform. We did the same thing in Mississippi. I suspect this was duplicated in most African-American neighborhoods.

When “ABC” their second number one hit was released, it was cool to be smart in school because the Jackson 5 said it was easy as 1-2-3. A whole new teen genre was created as a by-product of Jackson 5 merchandising. Teen magazines like “Right On” would be the forerunners of present day social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The Jackson 5 helped America transition from the assassinations and riots of the 1960’s to look to the future for hope and opportunity. The sense of pride the Jackson 5 instilled in all us young kids of the 1970’s lives on in us now as we have moved on from kids, to parents, and grandparents. Though Michael Jackson is no longer with us his positive impact on African-Americans during the early 1970’s cannot be underscored.

No musical group from an underrepresented population in the history of the United States uplifted a population and nation like the Jackson 5. The way the audience responded to the scenes with the Jackson 5 during the Motown Musical, based on the backdrop of civil rights, the Vietnam war, and the urban riots, demonstrates that in our collective thought the Jackson 5, if only for a brief moment, brought communities together for the common good.

Accordingly, I believe The Jackson 5 of the early 1970’s, is deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Obama you grew up with the Jackson 5 and you know what I’m talking about. Before you leave office you can help correct this oversight by awarding the Jackson 5 of the early 1970’s the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s easy as 1-2-3.

Kevin L. Antoine, JD is the Assistant Vice President of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center located in Brooklyn. He can be contacted by email at kevinantoine@icloud.com

Illinois State Board of Education Awards $62.7 million in Title I Section 1003(g) School Improvement Grants

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

State awards federal funds to reform 16 schools in nine districts

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Sixteen schools in nine districts will launch comprehensive changes this fall as the latest schools in the state to earn federal Title I Section 1003(g) School Improvement Grants (SIG) worth $62.7 million. These grants will help the selected schools and districts make significant changes to improve student performance and college readiness. This year’s competition brings the total number of SIG awardees during the past five years to 17 Illinois districts and 49 schools that have undertaken similar overhauls with support of the federal grant and state resources.

“These grants make it possible to ensure students on all levels are supported by effective teachers and adequate resources so they can graduate ready for success,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We will continue to work closely with these selected schools and districts as they implement comprehensive and transformative changes.”

Agency staff at the Illinois State Board of Education,  as well as State Board members, regularly visit SIG Schools to monitor progress. Grants are awarded for three years, pending re-application and state approval each year.

For each eligible school approved to receive funds under this grant, the district must implement one of four intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, Transformation or School Closure, as approved by the U.S. Department of Education. FY 15 money will be allocated to each of the nine districts with the bulk of the money going toward the reform strategy at the specific schools and a smaller portion of funds going toward district oversight. All 16 schools have elected to implement a Transformation intervention model.

“This grant will help us to provide much needed support and services to students who are learning in a challenging environment,” said Dr. Michael Kuzniewski, Superintendent of J. Sterling Morton HSD 20. “It will assist us in bringing outside resources to the classroom and ensuring they become embedded in practice.”

Twelve districts, identified as eligible to receive Priority Services under the Statewide System of Support, submitted a total of 28 proposals on behalf of eligible schools for the FY 15 School Improvement Grants. A team of 14 national external reviewers, selected for their expertise in both elementary and high school rapid improvement efforts and administrative experience, scored the applications to determine the 17 finalists. ISBE staff then interviewed teams from the finalist schools as part of the selection process. The Board approved the 16 selected schools and nine districts during the spring, and districts will receive funding during the fiscal year in order to implement new practices at the onset of the 2014-15 school year.

The SIG districts are required to work with one of 16 organizations, called Lead Partners, which have been pre-approved by the Illinois State Board of Education for their experience supporting schools in turnaround, restart, or transformative strategies. The state agency will also provide technical assistance during the process, and each district will have to reapply for continued annual funding with the Fiscal Year 2015 awardees re-applying in FY 2016 and FY 2017.

This year marks the fifth round of districts to apply and receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds authorized under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA SIG) funds. For a list of schools awarded funds during the past four fiscal years, please visit this ISBE School Improvement Grant web page at http://www.isbe.net/sos/htmls/sip_1003.htm.

The following nine districts and 16 schools are approved to receive funding over the grant’s three year period:

District Name

School Name Total Award

(3 Years)

Bloom HS District 206

Bloom High School $5,853,060
Brooklyn Unit District 188
Lovejoy Elementary $1,987,320
City of Chicago SD 299
Holmes Elementary $3,000,000
Burke Elementary $3,000,000
Hirsch High School $2,407,245
Marshall High School $3,750,000
Mann Elementary $4,500,000

East St. Louis SD 189

Lincoln Middle School $5,250,000
Mason-Clark Middle School $5,250,000
JS Morton HS District 201

JS Morton High School $5,972,748

Kankakee SD 111

Lafayette Primary School $3,000,000

Meridian CUSD 101

Meridian High School $2,250,000
Meridian Elementary $4,500,000
North Chicago SD 187
Neal Math and Science Academy $4,500,000
Rock Island-Milan SD 41
Rock Island Academy $4,500,000

Frances Willard Elementary $3,000,000



For the latest news from the Illinois State Board of Education, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Illinois-State-Board-of-Education/136022251779 or Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/ISBEnews. Visit the official ISBE website at http://www.isbe.net.

Auditorium Theatre Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Children Heal With “Hands Together, Heart To Art” Summer Camp

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Award-Winning Program Using the Creative Arts to Encourage Emotional Healing Has Helped More Than 800 Children and Families Coping with the Loss of a Parent

CHICAGO, IL – As the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University heads into its 125th Anniversary Season, the landmark theatre celebrates another milestone Anniversary with the 10th year of its award-winning summer camp, “Hands Together, Heart to Art” (“HTHTA”). Children ages 7-14 that have experienced the loss of one or both parents are invited to this one-of-a-kind camp that uses the performing arts to encourage communication, foster emotional growth and provide young people with the consolation of friendship and compassion from their peers and instructors. Camp is divided into two, two-week sessions: July 7 – 18 (ages 7-10; application deadline is Monday, June 30) and July 21 – August 1 (ages 11-14; application deadline is Monday, June 14). For more information on “HTHTA,” visit AuditoriumTheatre.org.

“I am so humbled that ‘Hands Together, Heart to Art’ is celebrating its 10th anniversary year,” said Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson. “This little idea of a camp that uses the performing arts as a healing tool for children who  have experienced the death of a parent, has helped over 800 campers gain self-confidence, learn to express themselves and befriend others who have experienced the same loss. Having suffered the death of my father at the age of seven, I know firsthand the impact the arts can have on a grieving child. As we welcome our 900th camper this summer, I will be reminded of all the campers who have come before, and how this camp has helped them achieve their dreams for a happy future.”

“HTHTA” celebrates the healing power of creative play, allowing campers the ability to share their stories through various skills including acting, music and multiple forms of movement. Through participation in drama, music and dance classes campers are able to find alternative methods of expressing their emotions while building their confidence and self-esteem. The 10th edition of “HTHTA” centers on the theme of Superheroes. Campers will be instilled with the understanding that their own life experiences don’t have to bring them down but instead, can be used to empower them to go faster, farther and in turn be role models for others.

Led by Auditorium Theatre Director of Creative Engagement, Christina Bourné, the camp utilizes various techniques to work with the multitude of campers. “Sharing time,” where campers are divided into small groups facilitated by professional healing counselors, offers campers a comfortable, safe time and space to express and share their feelings with peers as well as on a one-on-one basis allowing them to realize that they are not the only ones going through this tragedy. Campers hear from arts professionals, grief specialists and adults from all walks of life who have experienced the loss of a parent showing them that there is hope for the future and that they too will be able to move forward and achieve great things. A full-time counselor is on hand throughout the entire duration of camp to give campers one-on-one counseling as needed. Using their own stories and the stories of others, campers work together to create, stage, rehearse and execute a performance culminating in a final showcase at the end of each session.

10th Anniversary Birthday Celebration

Celebrating the 800 children and families who make up the “HTHTA” extended family, the 10th Anniversary of “HTHTA” will be commemorated with a special Birthday Party on August 17. The momentous occasion will feature food, fun activities, a short program featuring past and present campers and a special guest speaker. All past and present camp families, sponsors, speakers and friends are invited to attend the celebration from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Roosevelt University’s Lillian and Larry Goodman Center (501 S Wabash Ave.).

“Hands Together, Heart to Art” Sponsors

“HTHTA” is sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss, Variety – The Children’s Charity of Illinois, Helen Brach Foundation, A. Montgomery Ward Foundation, Chicago Cabaret Professionals and A.R.T. League, Inc.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community and educational programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. The Auditorium Theatre is generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the NIB Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theatre tours, call (312) 341 – 2310 or visit AuditoriumTheatre.org.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Announces the Jomba! Initiative, a Partnership with South Africa’s Flatfoot Dance Company

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

July Events Include Symposium, Mandela Day Celebration,
Summer Intensive Performances

CHICAGO, IL — Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT), which creates world-class dance inspired by the African Diaspora in a community dedicated to nurturing artists, supporting human relationships and sharing common values through engaging in dance, announces the second in a three-year collaboration with Flatfoot Dance Company of Durban, South Africa, under the banner The JOMBA! Initiative. The goal of The JOMBA! Initiative is to develop a long-term cultural exchange between the two dance organizations that fosters artistic creativity, professional development and employment opportunities, with the shared aim of using dance as a medium to engage in constructive social change.

The JOMBA! Initiative: Community Symposium
Monday, July 7, 2014, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago
$10 general admission

What is possible in a cultural exchange between Americans and South Africans? What can we learn about our commonalities and differences with regards to slavery in America and apartheid? DRDT and Flatfoot artists reflect on how visiting each other’s countries has informed their perspectives about the global community, and both companies perform excerpts from their respective repertories.

Mandela Day Celebration: Dance and Social Change
Friday, July 18, 2014, 3–5 p.m.
Washington Park Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd., Chicago

Vuyiswa Tulelo, South African Consul General of Chicago, joins Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Flatfoot Dance Company artists for this intimate performance and discussion about South Africa today. This program honors Nelson Mandela, those who served in the anti-apartheid movement and those who affect change through community partnerships and volunteerism.

Summer Intensive Performance
Saturday, July 19, 2014 7:30 p.m.
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
$25 general admission

Participants from across the country come to Chicago to participate in DRDT’s crown jewel, its annual Summer Intensive, which culminates in a performance of new and beloved choreography by the Summer Intensive artistic team, also featuring a special performance by Flatfoot Dance Company. DRDT’s Summer Intensive offers technical rigor and artistic development within disciplines of dance. During the four weeks, participants engage in a strong curriculum fostering learning and personal growth, along with opportunities to experience the company’s repertory through forums, workshops and performance.

In 2013, DRDT became the first American dance company to serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. at the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience during the international festival’s 15th year in Durban, South Africa. During the festival, DRDT collaborated with Flatfoot, which, like DRDT, is committed to using dance as a medium for social change. The U.S. Consulate General in Durban sponsored Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Arts Envoy Program.

DRDT received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Program to support the second year (2014) of this three-year project. In February and March, DRDT Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff returned to Durban to serve as an artist-in-residence with Flatfoot, creating workshops for residents from the surrounding communities at University of KwaZulu-Natal. The July events in Chicago (above) are part of this second year of collaboration. Support includes grants from The Joyce Foundation and The Boeing Company and partnerships with the South African Consulate of Chicago, The University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator and Old Town School of Folk Music.

In 2015, the third year, DRDT returns to Durban to participate in JOMBA! when the project culminates with a collaborative work, which DRDT will also include in its 2015 season in Chicago and New York.

Flatfoot Dance Company
Flatfoot Dance Company, based in Durban on South Africa’s East Coast in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, works with the University of KwaZulu-Natal to host the annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, Africa’s largest contemporary dance festival. This unique African contemporary dance company works with both memory and history to develop politically and socially charged dance and theatre work. Since 1995, Flatfoot prides itself in not only offering dance theatre work that has won numerous awards, commissions and invitations from all over the world, but also training and education programs throughout urban and rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
The mission of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, founded in 1995, is to re-imagine and diversify the aesthetics of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical and African-American traditions in dance. In its uncompromising pursuit of excellence in performance, the development of new choreography, the training of dancers and the creation of a diverse audience, the company seeks to demonstrate how art and beauty play a transformative role in society.

Deeply Rooted programs are partially supported by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Irving Harris Fund, Lake Shore Chapter of the Links, Inc., MacArthur Foundation funds through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund and the Deeply Rooted Family of Friends. Special thanks to Ballet Chicago for their continued support.

For information about Deeply Rooted’s 2014 activities, please call 312-795-9777 or visit deeplyrooteddancetheater.org.

Photo by Sandro.

Illinois Tollway Chief of Diversity and Strategic Development Named to Negocios Now “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago”

Posted by Admin On June - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway’s Chief of Diversity and Strategic Development Gustavo Giraldo has been named to the first “Who’s Who In Hispanic Chicago” by Negocios Now, a national award-winning publication focused on the Hispanic business community.

Negocios Now has selected Giraldo for his exemplary performance in promoting equal opportunities in the construction and engineering fields for minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses and underemployed workers.

The announcement will be made at a gala event tonight at the Chicago Cultural Center during the presentation of the Negocios Now “Who’s Who” special edition.

“Governor Quinn has called on us to ensure that all workers and businesses of all types and sizes have the opportunity to work on Illinois Tollway contracts,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Gustavo’s commitment to providing outreach and assistance, as well as leadership in creating opportunities for workers and businesses to participate and succeed is in lockstep with this vision for the Tollway.”

The goal of the event and the launch of the Negocios Now “Who’s Who” special edition is not only to recognize those individuals making a tangible positive impact in the communities they represent, but also to inspire other members of the Hispanic community to similar endeavors.

“Negocios Now is very proud to have Gustavo Giraldo recognized in our first list of Negocios Now – Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago,” said Clemente Nicado, Publisher Negocios Now. “As chief of Illinois Tollway’s Department of Diversity and Strategic Development, Giraldo has made a giant effort to promote, assist and assure diverse participation in all aspects of Tollway operations with amazing results.”

The Illinois Tollway created the Department of Diversity and Strategic Development in 2011 to promote, assist and ensure diverse participation in all aspects of Tollway operations, including contracting, consulting and the supply of goods and services. The culmination of these efforts is to level the playing field for businesses of all sizes and types to participate in the Tollway 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

Since the Illinois Tollway launched the Move Illinois Program in 2012, Giraldo has led the agency’s efforts to diversify and expand the pool of firms and individuals doing business with the Illinois Tollway. In addition to organizing networking events for construction and professional services firms, the Tollway created its first-ever Construction Contracts 101 Training Webinar to help companies navigate the contract and bidding process. The Tollway also has developed technical assistance programs for small, minority- and women-owned construction firms in partnership with the Illinois Community College Board to establish a new Construction Business Development Center and with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to develop a Coaching for Growth Program in partnership with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

About Negocios Now

Negocios Now was founded in 2007 and is published by Nicado Publishing Company. The national award-winning publication is the Midwest’s most dynamic news source for growing Hispanic businesses, focusing primarily on business owners, entrepreneurs and economic development in the Latino community. In 2011 Negocios Now received the “Outstanding Business Publication” and “Outstanding Business Article” awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications. In May 2012, The Chicago Headline Club, a leading association of local professional journalists, awarded Negocios Now the Peter Lisagor Award for General Excellence, a first for a Hispanic newspaper in Chicago. Publisher Clemente Nicado, is the author of “Así lo hicieron”, a 2012 book featuring profiles of outstanding Hispanic businesspeople in the Chicago area. Negocios Now received two additional national awards in 2013.

About the Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).

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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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