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Archive for July 15th, 2014

President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON, DC – In the afternoon of July 21, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Staff Sergeant Pitts will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008.

Staff Sergeant Pitts will be the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.


Staff Sergeant Pitts separated from the service on October 27, 2009 from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  He currently lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he works in business development for the computer software industry.

Staff Sergeant Pitts enlisted in the Army in August 2003 as a Fire Support Specialist (13F), primarily responsible for the intelligence activities of the Army’s field artillery team.   After completion of training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and follow-on parachutist training at the U.S. Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Camp Ederle, Vicenza, Italy, as a radio operator with the 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade where he deployed to Afghanistan.  His final assignment was with the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment “The Rock”, 173rd Airborne Brigade as a Forward Observer which included a second combat tour to Afghanistan.

At the time of the July 13, 2008 combat engagement, then-Sergeant Pitts was a Forward Observer in 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment 173rd Airborne Brigade as part of Task Force Rock. His heroic actions were performed at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

His personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal w/ “V” Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “4”,  NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Combat Action Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Parachutist Badge.



The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

Madigan Files Lawsuits Over New Student Loan Debt Scams

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on Madigan Files Lawsuits Over New Student Loan Debt Scams
First Lawsuits in the Country Target Debt Relief Scams that Prey on People Struggling to Repay Student Loans

CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed lawsuits targeting a new industry of student loan debt scams that seek to exploit people struggling to repay their debt. The lawsuits are the first in the nation to crack down on an emerging industry of scam operations charging large upfront fees for bogus services or for government services that are already free of charge.

Madigan filed the suits earlier today against First American Tax Defense LLC, based in Chicago, and Broadsword Student Advantage LLC, based in Frisco, Texas, alleging the unlicensed companies engaged in deceptive marketing practices and illegally charged consumers hundreds of dollars in upfront fees to reduce or eliminate their student loan debt burden. In reality, Madigan alleges, the companies sought to scam vulnerable people into paying as much as $1,200 upfront for bogus services, including assistance enrolling in a fake “Obama forgiveness program,” or for government services that are already free of charge.

“These companies illegally charge fees for services that student loan borrowers can obtain themselves through government programs at no cost,” Madigan said. “My office will be aggressive in cracking down on scam operations that prey on student loan borrowers for profit.”

Student loan debt levels have grown to historic proportions, now affecting nearly 40 million Americans who have $1.2 trillion in outstanding debt.

Madigan’s lawsuits targeting these scam operations allege that First American and Broadsword Student Advantage are doing an end-run around an Illinois law that she wrote to ban companies from charging people upfront fees for so-called debt settlement services.

Madigan’s lawsuits allege First American and Broadsword Student Advantage have advertised heavily on the radio in Chicago and downstate, offering consumers a myriad of options to ease their debt burden based on the companies’ alleged expertise and false affiliation with the U.S. Department of Education to consolidate or forgive their loans. The companies are alleged to offer to cut student loan payments in half or eliminate them entirely, and specifically offer public service employees a loan debt forgiveness program for which the companies could not qualify them. The lawsuit against First American specifically advertises an “Obama forgiveness program” that is not an actual government program.

The lawsuits allege the companies are in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Credit Services Organizations Act, and the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act. In 2010, Madigan crafted and helped pass the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act to ban companies from charging upfront fees to consumers for help with debt relief. Today’s lawsuits allege the companies are not complying with the requirements of the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act and in addition are not providing any meaningful assistance to reduce consumers’ student loan debt.

In announcing the lawsuits, Madigan urged current and former students never to pay upfront for help with student loan debt relief. For information on legitimate sources of free assistance, consumers can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the National Consumer Law Center. For problems with your student loan servicer or a debt collector, consumers can also contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Loan Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575 or www.ombudsman.ed.gov, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or Attorney General Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438.

“We applaud the Attorney General for cracking down on scammers targeting student loan borrowers,” said Dev Gowda of Illinois Public Interest Research Group. “Consumers experiencing problems with their student loans such as fraudulent activity should bring their complaints to the Attorney General’s office, and also to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which our report, ‘Private Loans, Public Complaints’ has found to get real results for students.”

Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Pham and Rebecca Pruitt are handling the cases for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

Youth and Their Fascination for Drugs

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on Youth and Their Fascination for Drugs

Most Chicagoans are unaware of the heroin epidemic. They honestly don’t know that one experience can kill!

By Rev. Harold E. Bailey
President of Probation & The PCC Network

CHICAGO, IL – Strange as it seems, an enormous portion of youth are seeking pleasure from an indulgence with new experimental drugs. Many of these new-found-drugs such as Lean and Kush, have been determined to play mental gymnastics on young men and women, and known to permanently destroy their mentalities. But today, let’s not focus on lean and Kush, while under the radar sneaking in is that Deadly Heroin. You must be warned that some users are left in a zombie state of mind!

Fascination is the calling card in which Satan use to entice youth into a deviate arena of ungodliness. They are lured from being well kept children, into roughneck hoodlums who could care less who is hurt, damaged or killed… all as the result of heroin!

A CBS Broadcast report stated that a heroin epidemic is hitting the suburbs and more people than a few people are dying. While heroin-related hospital admissions in Chicago are down, latest numbers show they are up by 200 percent in the suburbs.

In the same breath, I point out that stats note a large number of persons have moved from  Chicago South and Westside to establish new residence in the suburbs. As CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports, drug dealers could be operating right in your own neighborhood.

Young people hear about drugs, and are convinced by a passionate ‘friend’ to try the exciting drug with them. After the initial experience there is often no return.

Police outside of Chicago are zeroing in on dope dealers, and the number one target is heroin. While parents are observing their children for marijuana and crack, some have graduated to Lean, Kush and a hard dose of heroin.

A recent federal report states that  a startling 83 percent of men tested following their arrest in Cook County last year tested positive for at least one illegal drug, more than any of nine other major U.S. cities, according to the report released by U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.

Some law-enforcement officials believe that marijuana is a thing of the past. But one source said that  people forget that drugs are drugs! Also forgotten is the fact that more than a few thousands are serving serious time behind jail and or prison walls because of smoking or for handling marijuana. How do we ever rectify the use or misuse of the written law?

A state lawmaker predicts the legalization of recreational marijuana is inevitable and says the longer the delay, the more tax revenue cash-strapped Illinois will lose. This statement appears to be a major concern for ‘multi-dollars’ over the health-care of humans.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, posted on a social-media  page: “While Illinois if figuring out where to put dispensaries, Colorado is raking in $184 million dollars.” That’s a reference to tax revenues expected in Colorado where recreational marijuana has been legalized.

Bailey, president of Probation Challenge said, “We hasten to point out, where there is a ton of money involved, often you will find the law as an act of convince – but for whom becomes the question! And, a sometimes favorable disposition depending on the judge and how he or she interprets the law. In these Not-So-United States, it’s really about dollars and cents.”

We emphasize  that Joliet is in Illinois, and a stone’s throw from the ‘Murder Capitol of the United States, and their problem with, can in-fact be in Chi-Town over night!

In Joliet, it is reported that police moved in and arrested an alleged heroin dealer who is accused of selling 1.5 grams to an undercover officer for $200.  Joliet drug unit officials in this undercover operation seized millions of dollars’ worth of heroin.

We cannot over emphasize  that 53 people died from heroin in Will County.  With an increase of 212 percent in heroin-related deaths… would or should Chicago citizens expect this to soon explode into the bowels of South and East sides of the city?

One official said, “I think a lot of our society is unaware of our heroin epidemic, and the fact that one time can kill you is devastating.”

Rev. Harold E. Bailey is the  president, Probation Challenge

WWW.ProbationChallenge.org – The Truth Network

Contact: www.mrheb@aol.com

National Urban League Looks Back Fifty Years After Civil Rights Act

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on National Urban League Looks Back Fifty Years After Civil Rights Act

Fifty years ago this month, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, making discrimination illegal. The National Urban League was one of the key organizations on hand when the president signed the bill into law. NY1’s Cheryl Wills visits its national headquarters in Manhattan with a look back.

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in July 1964, it effectively killed Jim Crow laws once and for all. The National Urban League’s Whitney Young was on hand to witness history. He received one of the nearly 100 pens that Johnson used to sign the historic legislation. Today, the National Urban League is marking this 50th anniversary with great pride.

“We are a better nation than we were in 1964,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.

The landmark Civil Rights legislation banned discrimination, which was still widespread in the mid-1960s, especially in southern states.

“Separate water fountains, people unable to stay at hotels, unable to eat at restaurants, that reality of an apartheid system in America is something that many people can’t even get their head around,” said Morial.

Click here to read the full article on the NY1 website.

White House Report: Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on White House Report: Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment

The White House released a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment and why conditions in the infrastructure sector are ripe for innovation, with new technologies and approaches promising significant gains in productivity, efficiency, and resilience.

The President has been clear that we need to improve our infrastructure and rebuild our roads and bridges in a smarter, more responsible way, while supporting millions of jobs. The President will continue to urge Congress to act to avoid a lapse in funding of the Highway Trust Fund, which will go insolvent as early as August – putting numerous active projects at risk. This week Congress will consider a solution to avoid that scenario.

In addition to today’s report, the White House released an interactive transportation map detailing the condition of and consequences for each state’s roads and bridges as well as the jobs that would be put at risk, if Congress fails to act.

The report can be found HERE, and the map can be found HERE.

Jesse White Awards More Than $280,000 in Project Next Generation Grants

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on Jesse White Awards More Than $280,000 in Project Next Generation Grants

Funds Provide Technology and Mentors to Help At-Risk Youth

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded $289,310 in 2015 Project Next Generation (PNG) Grants. Project Next Generation is the first-ever statewide mentoring program to be administered through Illinois public libraries. Project mentors work with young students at public libraries to develop technological skills and guide them in exploring life skills such as effective communication, goal-setting and conflict resolution.

“I am committed to improving the lives of young, at-risk children in Illinois,” said White.  “I established this innovative program when I first became Secretary of State to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

With funds provided through the Library Services and Technology Act, the PNG Grants are administered by the Secretary of State/Illinois State Library’s Diversity Program. Grants are awarded to public libraries serving culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.  To meet the grant’s criteria, a library must be able to deliver the program’s projects, meet the Children’s Internet Protection Act guidelines and have high innovative interest.

More than 6,600 students have participated in the PNG program since its inception in 2000, and 600 mentors have generously offered their time to provide training for students to help them obtain technology skills while encouraging lifelong learning.

PNG Grant recipients include the following public libraries:

  • Beardstown Houston Memorial Library
  • Bloomington Public Library
  • Carbondale Public Library
  • Centralia Regional Library District
  • Champaign Public Library
  • Chicago Ridge Public Library
  • Decatur Public Library
  • Elmwood Park Public Library
  • Harrisburg Public Library
  • Hayner Public Library
  • Joliet Public Library
  • Kankakee Public Library
  • Kewanee Public Library District
  • Matteson Public Library
  • Mississippi Valley Library District
  • Moline Public Library
  • Pekin Public Library
  • Peoria Public Library-Lincoln Branch
  • Richton Park Public Library
  • Sparta Public Library
  • Zion-Benton Public Library

For more information, visit http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/png.html.

Tri-State Beauty Expo to Honor Kitt Shapiro, the Daughter of Legendary Eartha Kitt

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on Tri-State Beauty Expo to Honor Kitt Shapiro, the Daughter of Legendary Eartha Kitt

Bershan Shaw, star of Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) Love in the City, will be a major speaker

Hundreds of beauty fans from NYC, Maryland, Philadelphia, and New Jersey expected to attend

Stamford, CT (BlackNews.com) — Kitt Shapiro, daughter of the legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt, and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) “Love in the City” star and URAWARRIOR founder Bershan Shaw, are among many high profile participants in Empowering through Beauty Expos (ETB Expo) upcoming 2014 expo: A Celebration of Beauty. The first of it’s kind in Fairfield County, this star studded benefit event will be held July 26, 2014, from 5-10 pm at The Stamford Innovation Center, 175 Atlantic Street, Stamford, CT. It will feature the EmpowerHER awards ceremony, a select panel of speakers, fashion show and beauty bar for a fun-filled mix of glitz, glam and education.

The ETB Expo and EmpowerHER awards are the brainchild of Trumbull resident and ETB Expo CEO, Tanisha Akinloye. Akinloye founded Empowering through Beauty (ETBINC), Inc., in 2010 as a non-profit devoted solely to helping serve the communitys disadvantaged women and girls. For over four years the Bridgeport, CT organization has provided beauty and health services, job training and education at womens shelters and ongoing events throughout the state.

Our EmpowerHER Awards are given out in celebration of the intelligence, strength, courage and determination of women who are creating social change, making a difference and inspiring others to do the same, says Akinloye.

The list of award recipients reads like a Whos Who of local and national stars. Alongside the high profile Kitt Shapiro, president of Eartha Kitt Productions and Simply Eartha, will be Kathy McShane: Connecticut director of the nationally renowned organization Ladies Who Launch; Carolyn Vermont, VP at the historic National Black MBA Association; Trevor Crow, best-selling author, talk show host, and therapist; Shantana Hazel, founder of the Sister-Girl Foundation, Inc; and Patricia West, mother of Logan West who was Miss Teen USA and Miss Teen Connecticut.

With my designs for the Simply Eartha(TM) line of ‘accessories that SAY something’, I now build on the amazing legacy my mother left me, inspiring and empowering her fans, old and new, says Kitt Shapiro. Receiving the EmpowerHER Legacy of Love award is a fitting tribute to the incredible mother daughter bond we shared.

Event attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to a high powered panel of speakers that includes OWNs Love in the City celebrity Bershan Shaw, author and Tom Joyner Morning Show producer Deya Smith, best selling author Lucinda Cross, celebrity life coach Jeannine Yoder, R&B singer Gabriel Brunot, master hair designer LaVoughn Gay, celebrity fashion designer Hope Wade, business coach Molly Rider, fashion designer Justin Hayes, Ms. CT Plus America, Apriel Biggs, and Miss Teen Connecticut, Sidney West.

“I’m honored to participate in the Empowering Through Beauty Expo, says Bershan Shaw. It is so important for women to understand being beautiful starts from the inside. We must uplift and encourage each other and not tear each other down, that is empowering and that is beautiful.”

Akinloye notes: Guests will not only experience a high dosage of positive reinforcement from our fabulous panel, but have the chance to receive glam makeovers from top industry professionals. Its going to be a dynamic networking mix and mingle for elite taste makers, movers and shakers!

ETB Expos first benefit expo took place in January 2014 at Trumbulls Marriott hotel. That event attracted celebrity headliners such as Grammy nominated R&B artist Jasmine Sullivan, as well as over 250 attendees from Philadelphia, Maryland, New York and Connecticut. A portion of the proceeds from the upcoming July event will go to support the mission of ETBINC, a 501c3 non-profit organization. A further portion of the evenings proceeds goes to support The American Diabetes Association, an organization near and dear to Akinloye and her family.

EmpowerHER is a movement that encourages women to come together to empower each other through confidence, self-worth, health, beauty and friendship, says Tanisha. It’s important for me to reveal the wholeness of beauty and what it really should look and feel like.

For more details about the event, visit www.etbexpo.com

For press opportunities, email press@etbexpo.com. Those interested in the many vending and sponsorship opportunities available at this event should call 203-767-9264 or email tanishaakinloye@gmail.com

Photo Caption: Kitt Shapiro (left), daughter of Eartha Kitt and Bershan Shaw (right), star of OWN’s “Love in the City”

State Fire Marshal Reminds Residents to Pay Close Attention to Safety While Grilling

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on State Fire Marshal Reminds Residents to Pay Close Attention to Safety While Grilling

Gas Grills Contribute to Hundreds of Serious Burn Injuries and Fires in U.S.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) today released a series of grilling safety tips and is reminding residents to think of safety first in order to prevent incidents leading to fires and serious injuries while cooking with gas grills.
“While grilling can be a fun activity during summer time, it could also post a potential risk for serious injuries or fires if basic safety steps are not followed,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. “Outdoor cooking involves much more than just dusting off the grill. It’s important to inspect gas lines and other features on the grill to ensure safety while cooking meals.”
In 2013, in Illinois 91 fires were ignited by grills, according to OSFM data. The most current report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), indicates that in U.S. gas grills were involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires between 2007 and 2011. An additional average of 1,400 home fires involved the use of charcoal or other solid-fueled grills during the same period.
The OSFM offers the following grill safety tips:
· Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. Using grills in an enclosed space could expose occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
· Position grills well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and tree branches.
· Place the grill at a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
· Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
· Designate a three foot “safe zone” around the grill.
· Use long-handled grilling tools for plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
· Remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill.
· Do not apply aerosol sun screen lotion before grilling. Read the instructions as some sun block lotions may not be used near heat or flame.
· Never leave the grill unattended.
Safety tips for charcoal grills:
· Purchase the proper started fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
· Never add charcoal fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
· Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to start a grill fire.
· When done grilling, wet coals and make sure they are completely cool before disposing.
Safety tips for propane grills:
· Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles.
· If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
· If a gas smell is detected while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
· Use only equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
For more information about grilling safety, please visit the OSFM’s website at www.sfm.illinois.gov.

Goodman Theatre’s Free “General Theatre Studies” Summer Intensive for Teens is Underway; Six-Week Program Culminates in a Free Original Student Showcase August 11 & 12

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on Goodman Theatre’s Free “General Theatre Studies” Summer Intensive for Teens is Underway; Six-Week Program Culminates in a Free Original Student Showcase August 11 & 12

CHICAGO, IL – Eighty Chicagoland teenagers come together for the Goodman’s 8th annual General Theater Studies (GTS), a comprehensive six-week intensive designed to further critical thinking, literacy and storytelling skills in 14-18 year-old students. Led by Director of Education and Community Engagement Willa Taylor, five teaching artists—Bobby Biedrzycki, Kevin Douglas, Khanisha Foster, Tony Sancho and Paul Whitehouse—introduce participants to theater using storytelling, ensemble building, object work and writing exercises in two three-and-a-half hour sessions per day, four days per week. In building the final performance showcase, participants conduct ethnographic research with family, friends and members of their communities around the question, “When was a moment you had to fight for love?” The showcase takes place Monday, August 11 and Tuesday, August 12 at 7pm at Goodman Theatre. Tickets are free but reservations are required; call 312.443.3800.

“Each summer, I am reminded of the transformative power of theater in our work with GTS. During this intense collaboration with our teaching artists, young people discover the importance of story–to learn about themselves, about each other and about the world,” said Taylor. “While all the work is grounded in techniques for creating performance, the biggest payoff for us is not the final performance but the ways they are changed by the experience of our time together.  That’s what makes it so special.”

More than 600 students have participated in GTS since its inception in 2007, and approximately 79% of program participants attend public schools, with 51% enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. Brandi Lee, a current Goodman intern who previously participated in GTS, noted, “GTS provided me with an environment to grow, share and learn. The teaching artists’ and staff’s ability to embrace every student and instill curiosity in them truly helped me to become the person I am now.”

Concurrent with GTS, InterGens—13 teens who have previously participated in the Goodman’s education programs plus senior citizen participants of GeNarrations—engage in a weekly storytelling session around the same theme of fighting for love. The group also performs a final piece at the August 11 and 12 showcase.

About the 2014 Teaching Artists

Bobby Biedrzycki is the Curriculum and Instruction Associate in the Department of Education and Community Engagement at Goodman Theatre, a company member of 2nd Story and on faculty in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Excellence-in-Teaching Award. As a writer, performer, educator and transnational human rights activist, his stories, poems, and performances have appeared on pages, stages and public spaces across the U.S. and beyond. His work is rooted in cross-disciplinary and intergenerational collaboration that focuses on creating social change.

Kevin Douglas, now in his eleventh year teaching with the Goodman, is an Ensemble Member at Lookingglass Theatre Company, where he has appeared in Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten, Lookingglass Alice, Around the World in 80 Days, The Great Fire, and Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting. He also teaches in Chicago Public Schools through Chicago Arts Partnership and Education (C.A.P.E.).

Khanisha Foster is the Associate Artistic Director of 2nd Story and an ensemble member of Teatro Vista. Her teaching artist work was honored by the White House last year, and her writing has been published with CellStories and 2nd Story. She has performed with Teatro Vista, Goodman Theatre, Steep Theatre and Collaboraction, among others.

Tony Sancho is an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago and a teacher at The Center for Community Arts Partnerships created by Columbia. Tony has performed at Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum Ojai Playwrights Conference, South Coast Repertory, Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater.

Paul Whitehouse is the company director at Child’s Play Touring Theater where he recently led a Big Read project in which students developed original work around the themes of Fahrenheit 451. He has also performed across the Northeast, at venues including Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and the Bushnell.

The teaching artists are augmented by teaching assistants Gracie Meier and Jessie Roman, each of whom is a former Goodman education program participant.

Director of Education and Community Engagement Willa J. Taylor began her career in arts education at Arena Stage where, under Founding Director Zelda Fichandler, she established the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program—one of the first theater-run apprenticeships designed to increase participation by people of color in professional theater. She then went to Lincoln Center Theater, where she created The Urban Ensemble, a multidisciplinary project that served at-risk youth. This collaboration between Lincoln Center and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the Public Theater was cited by President Clinton’s Council on the Arts and Humanities in its 1996 report, Coming Up Taller. At Lincoln Center, she consulted for New Victory Theatre, where she designed the arts education program for their inaugural season. Taylor also served as cultural director for Gay Games IV, where she oversaw the production of more than 200 cultural events, including the Broadway production of Sir Ian McKellen’s A Knight Out. For 12 years she served as a Russian and Arabic linguist in the US Navy. While overseas, she oversaw productions for the United Service Organization in Greece and managed Armed Forces Radio and Television in Turkey where she created the Profiles in Black history series. Following her graduation from Kendall College’s culinary program in 2001, Taylor opened Taylor-Made Cuisine, a gourmet catering company as well as Home Café, a neighborhood bistro. In 2005, she helped open and served as the catering chef for Chicago’s EatZi’s Easygoing Gourmet, a chain of gourmet bakeries, take out markets and restaurants based out of Dallas, Texas.

The Goodman is grateful for the generous support of its Education and Community Engagement program sponsors. The Goodman Women’s Board is the Major Supporter of Education and Community Engagement. The Efroymson-Hamid Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund are Education and Community Engagement Season Sponsors. Helen V. Brach Foundation and Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P. are Supporters of Education and Community Engagement. Polk Bros. Foundation is the Principal Foundation Supporter of the Student Subscription Series. Target is the Major Corporate Sponsor for the Target Student Matinees. The Crown Family is the Major Supporter of the Student Subscription Series. JPMorgan Chase is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for the Student Subscription Series. Peoples Gas and the Siragusa Foundation are Supporters of the Student Subscription Series. The Goodman Scenemakers Board is the Sponsor Partner for the General Theater Studies Program. The A&A Fund, Blue Cross Blue Shield, KPMG LLP, the Colonel Stanley Reed McNeil Foundation, and the Edmond and Alice Opler Foundation are Supporters of the General Theater Studies Program. The Field Foundation is the Supporter of GeNarrations. The Walter E. Heller Foundation is the Supporter of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics and the Student Subscription Series. Dr. Scholl Foundation is the Supporter of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics.

About the Goodman’s Education and Community Engagement

In addition to GTS, Goodman Theatre offers a variety of programming to enable Chicagoland learners of all ages to interact with working theater professionals and deepen the experience of the work on stage. The Student Subscription Series (SSS) engages more than 20 Chicago public high schools each year to creatively supplement students’ reading, writing, critical thinking and communication skills. Special matinee performances of Goodman productions are supplemented with exclusive teacher training workshops, educational guides and post-show discussions. CONTEXT: Discourse & Discussion is a series designed to engage the community in debate, dialogue and deeper exploration of themes within Goodman productions. Unlike a traditional post-show discussion which centers on the production, CONTEXT events focus on particular issues raised within the plays and explore how they resonate in today’s culture. Cindy Bandle Young Critics (CBYC) is a joint venture between Goodman Theatre and the Association for Women Journalists that introduces 11th grade girls to the art of theater criticism and the world of professional writing. Participants see every show in the Goodman’s season, interview theater artists and receive one-on-one mentoring from professional journalists. CBYC is named in honor of Goodman Theatre’s late, longtime press director, Cindy Bandle. The Goodman’s Youth Art Council (GYAC) allows past participants in theater programs to stay involved in the institution. Members of this leadership development program are committed to exposing their peers to theatrical productions and act as ambassadors for the Goodman in their communities and schools. GeNarrations is a writing workshop for senior citizens in which participants develop personal narrative performance pieces based on themes raised by Goodman Theatre productions, which they are then invited to perform in a public forum.

DREAMGIRLS Returns to the Harold Washington Cultural Center for a Limited Engagement

Posted by Admin On July - 15 - 2014 Comments Off on DREAMGIRLS Returns to the Harold Washington Cultural Center for a Limited Engagement

Three Performances July 25-27, 2014

CHICAGO, IL – Renowned Director John Ruffin announced his second revival of the critically acclaimed and award winning Broadway musical, Dreamgirls at the Harold Washington Cultural center in Chicago. The limited engagement of only three performances runs July 25-27, 2014.

Theater 47 first performed a successful run of Dreamgirls at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in the spring of 2012. The show was a part of the “Broadway to Bronzeville” series created by the show’s director, John L. Ruffin.  The original production of Dreamgirls initially premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on December 20, 1981.The show  closed on August 11, 1985, after 1,521 performances. Dreamgirls  was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical, and won six. It was later adapted into a motion picture from DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures in 2006.

Dreamgirls follows the story of all-girl singing trio from Chicago called “The Dreams” and the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry. At first, the Dreams’ manager falls in love with the lead singer, Effie. Later, he abandons her both romantically and professionally, replacing her with someone thinner. Eventually, Effie manages to recover from the blow and builds a successful career going solo. In the end, during the group’s farewell appearance, Efie is reunited with the Dreams resulting in a happy ending for all.

John L. Ruffin is no stranger to the world of theater, he has written, produced and directed many successful stage plays such as “Love Me and Leave Me,” “The Ideal Husband” and “All My Single Ladies.” He has also directed other record breaking Broadway stage productions such as “The Wiz,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Color Purple” and “Imitation of Life,” in his native Chicago.  The mission of his performing arts company –Theater 47, is to evoke an artistic awakening and provide affordable entertainment options to communities and families — particularly those who have never had the opportunity to see a Broadway production.

In an effort to bring Broadway to the masses, John Ruffin ‘s Theater 47 Performing Arts Foundation, in conjunction with Coball Entertainment; will launch a national tour  this fall of the Tony Award winning hit Broadway musical, “THE COLOR PURPLE.”  Theater patrons can also look forward to upcoming  tours produced and directed by the T47 and Coball  collaboration  in 2015  to include; ”DreamGirls”, “The Wiz” and “Imitation of Life”

The upcoming Chicago performance of Dreamgirls will feature an infusion of technology into the scenic design, new costumes and updated choreography. “We wanted to bring the show forward without compromising the integrity of the original production,” said the show’s director, John Ruffin. “Audiences can still expect a great production filled with engaging music and dramatic intensity.” The show is being mounted as a limited engagement production and sneak preview in preparation for the 2015 national tour.

Under Ruffin’s direction, 45 of Chicago’s most talented stage actors, dancers and singers will bring to life one of the most successful shows in the Broadway portfolio. The core ensemble features Tashika Benson as Effie White, Jennifer Johnson as Deena Jones, Aeriel Williams as Lorrell Robinson, K.C. Lee as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Todd RaSean  as C.C.. and Melinda “Sandy Redd” Bussie as Effie’s replacement Michelle Morris. Mike Kenady will take on the role of James “Thunder” Early.

Performance Schedule

Friday, July 25, 2015               7:30 PM

Saturday, July 26, 2014           7:30PM

Sunday, July 27, 2015             5; 00PM

Tickets are available online at, www.johnruffin.com and at the Harold Washington Cultural Center box office.

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