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The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, in cooperation with the Illinois Community College Board, ...
BALTIMORE, MD – United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the U.S. Department of ...

Archive for July 22nd, 2014

President Obama’s Statement on the Situation in Ukraine and Gaza

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

South Lawn

President Barack Obama: Good morning, everybody.  I want to make a brief statement about the tragedy in Ukraine.  Before I do, though, I want to note that Secretary Kerry has departed for the Middle East.  As I’ve said many times, Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas.  And as a result of its operations, Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.  I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.  And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.

So Secretary Kerry will meet with allies and partners.  I’ve instructed him to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  The work will not be easy.  Obviously, there are enormous passions involved in this and some very difficult strategic issues involved.  Nevertheless, I’ve asked John to do everything he can to help facilitate a cessation to hostilities.  We don’t want to see any more civilians getting killed.

With respect to Ukraine, it’s now been four days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.  Over the last several days, our hearts have been absolutely broken as we’ve learned more about the extraordinary and beautiful lives that were lost — men, women and children and infants who were killed so suddenly and so senselessly.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families around the world who are going through just unimaginable grief.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of leaders around the world whose citizens were lost on this flight, and all of them remain in a state of shock but, frankly, also in a state of outrage.

Our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts.  We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists.

Now, international investigators are on the ground.  They have been organized.  I’ve sent teams; other countries have sent teams.  They are prepared, they are organized to conduct what should be the kinds of protocols and scouring and collecting of evidence that should follow any international incident like this.  And what they need right now is immediate and full access to the crash site.  They need to be able to conduct a prompt and full and unimpeded as well as transparent investigation.  And recovery personnel have to do the solemn and sacred work on recovering the remains of those who were lost.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko has declared a demilitarized zone around the crash site.  As I said before, you have international teams already in place prepared to conduct the investigation and recover the remains of those who have been lost.  But, unfortunately, the Russian-backed separatists who control the area continue to block the investigation.  They have repeatedly prevented international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage.  As investigators approached, they fired their weapons into the air.  These separatists are removing evidence from the crash site, all of which begs the question — what exactly are they trying to hide?

Moreover, these Russian-backed separatists are removing bodies from the crash site, oftentimes without the care that we would normally expect from a tragedy like this.  And this is an insult to those who have lost loved ones.  This is the kind of behavior that has no place in the community of nations.

Now, Russia has extraordinary influence over these separatists.  No one denies that.  Russia has urged them on.  Russia has trained them.  We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons.  Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens.  So given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and President Putin, in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation.  That is the least that they can do.

President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation.  And I appreciate those words, but they have to be supported by actions.  The burden now is on Russia to insist that the separatists stop tampering with the evidence, grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full and unimpeded access to the crash site.  The separatists and the Russian sponsors are responsible for the safety of the investigators doing their work.  And along with our allies and partners, we will be working this issue at the United Nations today.

More broadly, as I’ve said throughout this crisis and the crisis in Ukraine generally, and I’ve said this directly to President Putin, as well as publicly, my preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution within Ukraine.  I believe that can still happen.  That is my preference today, and it will continue to be my preference.

But if Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and to back these separatists, and these separatists become more and more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside of Ukraine but the broader international community, then Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community, and the costs for Russia’s behavior will only continue to increase.

Now is the time for President Putin and Russia to pivot away from the strategy that they’ve been taking and get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine in a way that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and respects the right of the Ukrainian people to make their own decisions about their own lives.

And time is of the essence.  Our friends and allies need to be able to recover those who were lost.  That’s the least we can do.  That’s the least that decency demands.  Families deserve to be able to lay their loved ones to rest with dignity.  The world deserves to know exactly what happened.  And the people of Ukraine deserve to determine their own future.

Thanks.

Counterprotest will tell ‘Stand With Israel’ rally: “Stop excusing Israeli atrocities.”

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Coalition for Justice in Palestine

Organizers put thousands on Chicago streets Sunday to oppose Israeli bombardment of Gaza — and are mobilizing Tuesday counter-protest as outrage grows over Israeli execution video.

Israel Counterprotest will be held Tuesday, July 22 at Noon, at the Israeli Consulate, 500 W. Madison St., Chicago.

In an effort to salvage Israel’s plummeting international reputation in the wake of growing evidence of war crimes against Gaza civilians, the right-wing Zionist group Stand With Us is rallying to support the Israeli government at noon on Tuesday, July 22at Chicago’s Israeli consulate at 500 W. Madison. Protesters will be there to oppose that rally — and put the lie to Israeli spin that claims it has the “most compassionate army in the world.” The group put thousands on Chicago’s streets Sunday to oppose Israel’s increasingly lethal assault on the people of Gaza, and its Facebook page for today’s counterprotest had drawn almost 1,000 participants by Tuesday night.

Israeli military forces have now rocketed three hospitals in Gaza, flattening one and severely damaging another Tuesday, killing five and injuring another 50, including one health worker whose hand was blown off. Israel has also targeted schools, water treatment facilities and other civilian infrastructure, killing close to 600 — overwhelmingly civilians, including more than 150 children — and injuring at least 3,600 more in two weeks of constant attack. The death toll has more than doubled since Israel began its ground invasion last Thursday, flattening densely populated neighborhoods with a constant barrage of shells and bombs. Rescue workers fear many dozens more dead lie among the rubble.

Yesterday, video surfaced of an Israeli sniper shooting and wounding a civilian looking for injured relatives — then pumping another two bullets into the injured man as he cried for help, killing him, while medical and rescue workers looked on helplessly. Israel also shelled the ambulance in the video, killing paramedic Faud Jaber and news cameraman Khaled Hammad. The video, which has gone viral, has sparked a growing wave of outrage.

Gaza’s Red Crescent Society says Israel is deliberately targeting medical facilities, 77% of which have sustained damage and all of which face critical shortages of medicines and supplies as the need for their services has surged.

The reality on the ground puts the lie to Israeli spin and distortions, say protesters, who argue that Israel’s systemic abuse of Palestinians under occupation and its ruthless assault on blockaded Gaza civilians tears at Israel’s claim to victim status. They’ve vowed to meet Israeli apologists at every opportunity. “We won’t allow warmongers to gather unopposed in our city, and we are asking everyone to come out and protest with us,” says coalition member Nesreen Hasan.

Tuesday’s counter protest is being convened by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine, whose members include American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Chicago Islamic Center, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, Mosque Foundation, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-Chicago, and United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). The action is being supported by the ANSWER Coalition, the Anti-War Committee-Chicago, the Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Jews for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Palestine Solidarity Group.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/637353736372609/

Press Contacts: Hatem Abudayyeh, 773-301-4108, hatem@aaan.org; Kristin Szremski, 708-717-4180, kristin@ampalestine.org, media@ampalestine.org

Collins to make inquiries into termination of Simeon’s electrical program

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

“What our young people need most is hope for the future, and vocational programs provide that hope for many students.” — Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th)


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on the decision to eliminate the Chicago Public Schools’ last remaining electrical program, located at Simeon Career Academy:

“What our young people need most is hope for the future, and vocational programs that offer pathways to the trades provide that hope for many students. I was disappointed to learn last week that Simeon’s electrical program — the only one of its kind remaining in the Chicago Public Schools — had been terminated.

“It is my understanding, based on numerous conversations with my constituents, that this program was flourishing, satisfied performance standards and met an established need for vocational education in the communities I represent.

“I intend to make inquiries to CPS regarding the rationale behind the decision, and I will continue to push for high-quality career and technical education in our schools so interested students can graduate and find good employment in the trades.

“I also wish to express my gratitude to Simeon, electrical program teacher Latisa Kindred and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 134 for giving our youth a vision of future success and the skills to reach their dreams.”

Staff Changes in the Office of the Vice President

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of the Vice President announced that Melanie Kaye, Director of Communications to Dr. Jill Biden departed the White House.  Kaye is succeeded by James M. Gleeson, who most recently worked in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It has been a pleasure to have Melanie serve as my Director of Communications,” said Dr. Jill Biden.  “Her incredible dedication and remarkable skills have helped us bolster our Joining Forces initiative for our country’s military families, honor teachers and bring attention to the importance of education for our children and country’s future, improve access to quality health care, and promote the empowerment of women and girls.  I am so grateful for Melanie’s invaluable advice over the past three years as well as her kindness and integrity.  Joe and I wish her all the best.”

James Gleeson comes to the White House from the U.S. House of Representatives where he served as Communications Director to Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-34), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.  From passage of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to find budget solutions during the Simpson-Bowles Commission and the Super Committee, to the pursuit of commonsense immigration reform and economic policies to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class, James helped coordinate House Democrats’ communications strategy and messaging efforts since 2009.

Before moving to D.C., James was an Account Manager for a political consulting firm in Denver, Colorado.  Prior to that, he served in the Colorado State House as a Legislative Aide to then-Majority Caucus Leader Michael Cerbo, and as a Policy Strategist for the Autism Society of Colorado.

James attended Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife Kelly Berens Gleeson.

Stop Deplorable Conditions at Ohio and Michigan Prisons

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Care2 Petitionsite Action Alert
Action Alert!

Inmates don’t need luxury in prisons, but they need to be treated like people. Serving them maggot-infested food is no way to do that.
Please sign the petition today! Stop Deplorable Conditions at Ohio and Michigan Prisons

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Ideally, prisons would serve to teach inmates a lesson about the consequences of their actions. In practice, they often disproportionately punish poor people and people of color. And though they certainly don’t need to be luxurious, they absolutely must be humane. But in Ohio and Michigan, inmates have reported food and serving equipment covered in live maggots — which is not humane in the slightest.

In Ohio’s Trumbull Correctional, live maggots were “falling out of a warming tray”; at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, they’d infested a turkey roll that was being sliced for an evening meal. Meanwhile, maggots squirmed out of the cracks in the serving line at a prison in Michigan earlier this year — and later, at least 30 inmates vomited and complained of severe dia rrhea.

The maggots are a symptom of a larger problem of systematic neglect. Employees at Aramark, the private food contractor at both prisons, were also found smuggling in contraband and having sexual relations with inmates. This is all absolutely unacceptable.

Ohio and Michigan must take every step to ensure that their inmates are being treated with dignity and respect. Urge their state governors to crack down on the deplorable conditions in these prisons!

Kathleen
Thank you for taking action,

Kathleen J.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite

President Obama Applauds New Commitments in Support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative: FACT SHEET

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

“That’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about. Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.” – President Barack Obama, February 27, 2014

In February, as part of his plan to make 2014 a year of action focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans, the President unveiled the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.  As part of the initiative’s launch, the President also established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force to review public and private sector programs, policies, and strategies and determine ways the Federal Government can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

Today, the President will announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative at the Walker Jones Education Center in Washington, DC.  Following the announcement, the President will hold a town hall session where he will take questions from the group of DC-area youth who will attend the event. During the session, the President will highlight how the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the Administration continue to work to build ladders of opportunity for all young people across the country.  In attendance at the event will be leaders from 60-plus school districts across the country with the Council of the Great City Schools, parents, business leaders, athletes, mayors and members of Congress.

Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council (“NCC”), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities.  Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.

Creating Opportunity for All

For decades, opportunity has lagged for boys and young men of color. But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success.  And the President, joined by foundations, businesses, and many other leaders, wants to build on that success to ensure that all young people, including boys and young men of color, who are willing to work hard have an opportunity to get ahead and reach their full potential.

The My Brother’s Keeper initiative encourages the use of proven tools that expand opportunity for young people, including access to basic health, nutrition, mentorship, high-quality early education and early introductions into the workforce, as well as partnering with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer.

On May 30th, the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released its 90-day report.  This report includes key indicators that will provide a comprehensive view of the environments and outcomes for boys and young men of color and their peers.  It also contains recommendations on steps our society can take to begin to expand opportunity for all in areas including:

o   Entering school ready to learn;

o   Reading at grade level by third grade;

o   Graduating from high school ready for college and career;

o   Completing post-secondary education or training;

o   Entering the workforce; and

o   Reducing violence and providing a second chance.

The Administration is doing its part by identifying programs and policies that work, and recommending action that will help all our young people succeed.  Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper, the President’s Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions, who are already taking action.

New Commitments

Today, leading private sector organizations announced independent commitments that further the goals of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and directly address some of the key recommendations in the Task Force Report.

Reducing High School Dropout Rates, Improving the Worst Performing Schools and Actively Recruiting High Quality and Sustained Mentors:

  • The NBA, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) announced a five-year commitment in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Team Turnaround and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS).

o   Through the partnership, these organizations will support a public service announcement campaign designed to recruit 25,000 new mentors, with a specific emphasis on recruiting men of color.

o   The NBA and its teams will work with educators in at-risk schools across many of their franchise cities to provide incentive programs that increase attendance and improve overall school performance.  Current and former NBA players will also participate in a series of grassroots, “lessons in leadership and teamwork” workshops in schools and after-school organizations that will inspire boys and young men of color to take charge of their lives, make good decisions, and be successful in their pursuit of education.

  • AT&T announced an $18 million commitment this year to support mentoring and other education programs with a mentoring component as part of the company’s Aspire initiative – a $350 million commitment focused on high school success and workforce readiness for students at risk of dropping out of school.

o   AT&T is launching the Aspire Mentoring Academy Corps, powered by AmeriCorps, AT&T and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to support AmeriCorps members in regions around the country and engage thousands of at-risk youth in mentoring activities.

o   AT&T will expand the engagement of its employees through the Aspire Mentoring Academy with a goal to provide students who are at risk of dropping out of high school with 1 million hours of mentoring by the end of 2016.

o   AT&T is using technology to scale its efforts through online mentoring, developing a mentoring app and piloting a program that mentors students through the CISCO IT certification process, thus developing critical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills.

Creating High Schools for the New Economy

  • With a commitment of $50 million, the Emerson Collective, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, along with partners from Silicon Valley and elsewhere, will collaborate with districts and educators to launch a competition to find and develop the best designs for next generation high schools.

o   Efforts will include connecting some of Silicon Valley’s best innovators and design thinkers with some of the country’s most effective and inventive educators and students to create schools for the new economy and provide models that can be adopted by other schools in the future.

o   This school redesign initiative aims to use the best in design thinking, education research and practice and technology to create new school environments to dramatically increase the engagement and success of currently underserved students enabling them to achieve and compete at the highest levels and provide the supports, tools and resources educators need to be and feel engaged, effective and supported.

Encouraging and Supporting Comprehensive Cradle-to-College-and-Career Community Solutions for Youth:

  • Today, the leaders of 60 of the largest school systems in the country, which collectively educate nearly three million of America’s male students of color, have joined in an unprecedented pledge to change life outcomes of boys and young men of color by better serving these students at every stage of their education.

o   Through an eleven-point plan that stretches from early childhood to graduation, these school districts will better support boys and young men of color by focusing on strategies with proven results.  These include expanding access to high quality preschool, implementing or scaling early warning systems to prevent grade retention, establishing programs to reduce suspensions and expulsions, increasing access to advanced and rigorous coursework and ensuring increased FAFSA completion.

Expanding Access to Advanced Placement (AP) Courses and Rigorous College Prep:

  • The College Board is investing over $1.5 million for “All In”, a national College Board program to ensure that 100% of African American, Latino, and Native American students with strong AP potential enroll in at least one matched AP class before graduation.

o   As part of their “All In” commitment, the College Board is partnering with all 60 school superintendents who have signed on to the CGCS pledge to identify and reach out to young men of color who have demonstrated the potential to succeed in AP classes.

Creating Entry-Level Job, Mentorship and Apprenticeship Opportunities for Youth:

  • Citi Foundation is making a three year, $10 million commitment to create ServiceWorks, a groundbreaking, national program that uses volunteer services to help 25,000 young people in ten cities across the United States develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers.

o   The program, which will deploy 225 AmeriCorps members over three years, will engage youth, age 16-24, in service and build a large-scale volunteer response to the crisis of low college and career attainment.  The young people – in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. – will receive training in critical 21st century leadership and workplace skills, the chance to build their networks and connections to their communities, and the opportunity to use their new skills by participating in and leading volunteer service projects.

o   Thousands of professionals – including Citi employees – will participate as volunteer mentors and trainers.

Disproving the Negative Narrative:

  • Discovery Communications will invest more than $1 million to create an original independent special programming event to educate the public about issues related to boys and men of color and address negative public perceptions of them.

o   The program will show specific youth stories and the interventions that made a difference in their lives as an illustration of ways to impact the future of boys and men of color.  This 1-hour program will air across Discovery networks and is scheduled to air in 2015.

o   Discovery Education will also host a series of screenings and town halls in partnership with community based non-profits to discuss “My Brother’s Keeper” stories of intervention and ways that communities can get involved and help address this important issue facing our Nation.

Building on Successful Evidence Based Programs that Recruit High Quality and Sustained Mentors:

  • Becoming A Man (B.A.M.) and Match tutoring programs announced $10 million in new funding.

o   The funding will support the expansion of B.A.M. and Match tutoring programs, in addition to supporting a large-scale study on the programs’ long-term effects conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Urban Education Lab. B.A.M. is a mentoring and cognitive behavioral therapy program developed by the nonprofit organization Youth Guidance. Match is an intensive, individualized math tutoring intervention developed by Match Education.

o   The commitment is made possible by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools.

o   With this announcement, B.A.M. and Match are also committing to expand to 3-5 new cities over the next three years.

MBK Task Force Commitments

Through the MBK Task Force, a federal interagency working group created by Presidential Memorandum, the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Agriculture (USDA), along with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced today two new youth corps programs to expand opportunities for youth.  Both programs directly address recommendations in the Task Force Report.  The programs are intended to help young people successfully enter the workforce as well as create additional job opportunities and increase entry-level job, mentorship and apprenticeship options for all young people, including boys and young men of color.

Supporting Disconnected Youth Through Service and Engagement:

  • CNCS and the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) today announced a jointly funded AmeriCorps program called Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps.

o   The program, which totals up to $10 million over three years, will enroll disconnected youth in national service programs as AmeriCorps members over the next 3 years.  It includes a mentorship component, in which grantees will provide mentoring support to the AmeriCorps members.

Providing Opportunities that Build Early Career Skills:

  • USDA and AmeriCorps today announced a landmark new partnership between AmeriCorps and the USDA’s Forest Service, which connects youth with service opportunities to restore the nation’s forests and grasslands.

o   The $3.8 million joint funding will provide resources for both AmeriCorps grantees and member organizations of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), and will also provide for 300 new AmeriCorps members serving in U.S. Forests.

Previous Private Sector Commitments

  • In June 2014, eleven of the nation’s leading philanthropies announced a $194 million investment in initiatives to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color.
  • In June 2014, UBS America announced a five-year, $10 million commitment to establish a new education platform for improving college success among under-resourced populations. Commencing in three markets — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — with an intensive program focused on young men of color, UBS NextGen Leaders aims to empower students with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to succeed in college and compete in the global marketplace.
  • In June 2014, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched the expansion of “The Fellowship Initiative: Expanding the Horizons of Young Men of Color,” to provide boys and young men of color with long-term fellowships and pathways to jobs. The program involves a $10 million commitment to expand the effort to three cities serving nearly 200 youth.

Illinois Violence Prevention Task Force to Meet to Discuss Strategies to Curb Youth Violence

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – The Violence Prevention Task Force (VPTF) will hear presentations addressing gun violence from two community advocacy groups and discuss plans to host town hall meetings at its next committee meeting.

“We are all deeply saddened and concerned about the recent increase of violence in the City of Chicago, as well as other regions of the state,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director and VPTF chair Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.  “Violence affects us all, and so we must work together to develop peaceful and productive alternatives to violence.”

The task force is pursuing strategies that can help put an end to the violence epidemic, and will hold its next open meeting on Tuesday, July 22 from 2 – 4 pm in the Director’s Conference Rooms (located at 69 W. Washington St., 35th Floor, in Chicago and at 535 W. Jefferson St., 5th floor, in Springfield).  Individuals interested in attending this meeting should email DPH.ViolencePrevention@illinois.gov.  Seating is limited.

Previous meetings have included presentations, informing the task force about statewide efforts, from various groups on their violence prevention initiatives, including:

  • Using Geographic Information Services (GIS) to inform Violence
  • Illinois Violence Death Reporting System (IVDRS)
  • Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA)
  • Chicago Area Project
  • Cure Violence/Cease Fire
  • Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY)

In August 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation creating the VPTF to stem the epidemic of violence impacting today’s youth.  The legislation was sponsored by State Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), both of whom are members of the task force. The other members include: State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) and Pastor Corey B. Brooks, Sr.  The VPTF also receives administrative and other support from the Illinois African American Family Commission and The Illinois Latino Family Commission.

Following are some additional anti-violence initiatives being carried out by the Administration:

  • Choose Respect Program: promotes healthy relationships among teens, prevents teen dating violence, and engages youths as leaders in teen relationship violence
  • Illinois Youth Recreation Corps: offers summer employment opportunities for youth with local government and not-for-profit entities, working and instructing in programs that provide recreational and conservation opportunities
  • Redeploy Illinois: assists youth at-risk of being sent to a correctional facility by offering assessment, case management, advocacy, education assistance, individual counseling, along with group, family, and substance abuse counseling/treatment, and home confinement
  • CeaseFire Program: engages high-risk individuals in 19 communities throughout Illinois with a goal to establish peaceful coexistence among rival groups, decrease group tensions, develop alternative strategies to violence around common violence triggers, and provide resources that highest-risk individuals can use to attain life skills that assist with alternatives to violence

“I am deeply saddened by the violence that continues to happen in Chicago,” Senator Hunter stated.  “Community leaders, lawmakers and citizens have come together in the past to reduce violence in the community.  In light of recent events, we should continue working together to provide employment opportunities for our youth, protect social services and promote peace within the city. We need a comprehensive plan developed by community stakeholders immediately.”

The VPTF duties include preventing violence by raising awareness of job opportunities for at-risk youth, assisting religious and community groups and organizations whose mission is to curb violence, and coordinating with mental health providers to assure that they are present in communities that need them.

“Violence has posed a threat to our community for far too long,” said Representative Ford.  “This year, we have already seen hundreds of murders.  We must take immediate action to deal with the root cause, and prevent these tragedies from continuing.  With 80 percent of Illinois’ mental health patients left without care, our continuing high unemployment rate, and other social problems, it’s important that this task force, lead by Dr. Hasbrouck, join other stakeholders to help bring peace to our city and State.”

IDPH continues to implement its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness, influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety and improved health outcomes.  Strategic plan priorities include developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization; reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.  http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf

NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock’s Address to the 105th NAACP Annual Convention: Full Text

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

My name is Roslyn M. Brock, and I’m all in for justice and equality.

The theme of this year’s convention is inspired by our location, The City of Las Vegas, which refers to itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World.  In Vegas, as some affectionately call it, you can find opportunities for shopping, dining, performances, and yes even, gambling.  Our theme borrowed a phrase from the gaming industry to inspire our imagination and to challenge our determination.

We want delegates to double down on their efforts to accomplish the mission of the NAACP which is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination.”  Our theme is “All In for Justice and Equality.”

In this city the term “All In” typically means wagering your entire hand gambling. But we are not here to gamble with our future, our children’s future or the future of the millions we fight for daily across this world.

This is serious business! We must channel our collective energies to risk everything we have for freedom.  We want to urge you to put it all on the line on behalf of those with whom we serve.

Half-hearted measures are not sufficient to solve the crises of our time.  We must be proactive and not reactive to deal with the setbacks we have experienced in recent months.  We cannot continue to play defense.  We have to be on the offensive.  Wave after wave of oppression continues to come our way.  But we can prevail.

Victory won’t come easy and it doesn’t come cheap!  To serve the present age, we have to go beyond the episodic and reactive responses to assaults on justice.  The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail. For too long we have waited on someone or something to ignite our fire and passion. But now we must do as the young people “Show up”, “Rise Up” and “Turn Up”!

We came together when Trayvon Martin was murdered. We demonstrated, and we wore hoodies.  But his killer was acquitted and stand-your-ground laws have stood their ground.  These dangerous laws that make our communities more vulnerable to violence are still in force today.  The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.

We were all moved to action when 270 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. We marched and petitioned and used the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter. But the girls have not been rescued.  Girls and women still suffer from gender-based violence from Nigeria to Nevada.  Most of the world has moved on.  Never forget that a tweet is no substitute for a sustained world-wide movement to demand respect for human rights, particularly the rights of girls and women!  The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.

We protested and became enraged over the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma this year.  While we rejoice in the states that have won victories over the death penalty, we have not yet consigned capital punishment to the ash heap of history where it belongs. The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.

On the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, we renewed our commitment to quality public education for all children.  Beyond integration, education is the real goal. We do not begrudge those who support charter schools as one approach to address failures of the education system.  But, the overwhelming majority of our children are in neighborhood schools and they equally deserve quality teachers, adequate facilities, enhanced resources, appropriate class sizes, and the kind of education that will prepare them for life in the 21st century.  The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.

In Detroit, Michigan, thousands of people have had their water turned off; hard working citizens have lost their pensions; and street lights have been turned off leaving communities more vulnerable to danger. What kind of a nation have we become? We must embrace the crisis in Detroit, because the crisis is not limited to that city.  This is a challenge for all Americans.  They should not be treated as if their struggle is happening in a foreign land for which we have no responsibility. These are our fellow Americans.  They bare our brothers and sisters. Change also has to be brought to Detroit—this slow-motion disaster that is the shame of America.  The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.

It has been more than a year since the Supreme Court undermined the Voting Rights Act.  There was a chorus of protest and dismay, but instead of Congress responding to this travesty by strengthening the Act, more and more states are trying to assault and restrict the right to vote. We’re grateful to Attorney General Eric Holder who stopped Florida’s Secretary of State from conducting a massive purge of voter rolls.

We can restore the Voting Rights Act. But we must unite in a national campaign to educate all Americans about the power of their vote. We can not do this work alone – but it can not be done without us.

We must prevail because when we look at Chicago, Illinois, since the beginning of this month close to 200 shootings have occurred with at least 34 of them resulting in death. This year 1,000 individuals have been shot in this city. These shootings are taking the lives of our next generation at alarming rates. The problems are so profound that even an 11-year old young girl Shamiya Adams who attended a sleep over lost her life.

We need a moment of silence for the soul of Eric Garner, the gentle giant from Staten Island, NY who was killed by police on Thursday in New York You may have seen the video on the news or online. I urge you to watch it, as painful as it might be. And ask yourself the question, what was Mr. Garner’s crime? Allegedly, he was selling cigarettes on the street.

The police used a choke hold banned more than 20 years ago which took his life. The prevailing fact is, Eric Garner had just acted as a peacemaker on the street in a dispute that the police were late to break up.

The officer’s killing of Mr. Garner is a matter for a criminal investigation and the NY State Conference NAACP will not let it be swept under the rug or reduced to an internal investigation. We demand justice for Eric Garner and the kind of police reform that insures that something like this will never happen again. The pressure keeps coming, but we must prevail.
Friends, I still have hope and I am inspired by the theme of our convention but allow me to amend it by adding four very important words. You see, a the poker player can declare himself to be “all in” – but our work is too deep, too broad, and too wide for individual. Imagine with me the possibilities of an amended theme that embraces the concept that “We are all in this together” I am all in.  He is all in.  She is all in.  They are all in.  We are all in, and “We are all in this together!”

Together, we must continue the commitment of generations of activists who came before us. We must replicate the resolve of the heroes and sheroes whose names we know and the names of those we cannot call.  Together, we must honor the legacy of those who have suffered, bled and died for the cause of justice and equality.

We have to leave Las Vegas with the zeal to vote in November for individuals who believe that their victory is our victory. African American voters will play a critical role in the outcome of this year’s elections. Indeed, we already have.

A prime example is recently when veteran conservative Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran appealed to us to support him in his runoff for the Republican nomination for US Senate. We responded to his call and made the difference to elect someone who was really conservative over someone who was too extreme.

The survival of our republic depends on our success.  Our agenda is essential.  It is about the fundamental building blocks of a decent and thriving society. All people—need living wage jobs, affordable quality health care, excellent schools, a clean environment, safe neighborhoods, and a truly fair justice system.

Let us resolve to forge a more perfect union in America. We survived the Civil War. We survived Jim Crow. We thrived when we united to fight against injustice through the courts, through legal protest, and civil disobedience.

We face many challenges. But we have much to celebrate as well. Every one of us is a beneficiary of the heroic work of our movement for more than a century. Let us go forth from this warm city in the desert burning with determination to make this year the year that we went “all in for justice and equality.” Courage Must Not Skip This Generation!

College Changes Everything Conference Highlights Collaborative Efforts to Get Illinois Students To and Through College

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

DEERFIELD, IL – On Thursday, July 17, Illinois education, government and non-profit leaders converged in Tinley Park near Chicago to address challenges and identify solutions in helping Illinoisans get to college and graduate. The fourth annual College Changes Everything™ Conference drew a capacity crowd of over 500 people for the one-day event. College Changes Everything™ is a college access movement initiated by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), in part to help the state achieve its goal of increasing the proportion of adults in Illinois with high quality postsecondary credentials or degrees to 60% by the year 2025 (Goal 2025). Currently, the state is not on track to meet that goal.

“We need to remodel education,” said James Applegate, Ph.D., executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.  Achievement gaps are growing for low income and minority students, and 70% of college students are balancing jobs and families, yet the system doesn’t effectively support these students, he said. “Remodeling education isn’t about heroes and miracles,” said Applegate, “it’s about us.”

The primary theme of the conference this year focused on using collective impact—truly collaborative efforts among communities, local government, non-profits and state agencies—to advance towards Goal 2025. Keynote Nancy Zimpher, Ph.D., chancellor of the State University of New York, focused much of her presentation on her work with StriveTogether, a national network that utilizes a collective impact approach to help support education from cradle to career.

Zimpher, Applegate, and a panel of business and government experts highlighted the importance of partnerships between business and educational institutions that build education to career pathways and align academic content with real world applications. These partnerships also provide opportunities for applied learning and work experience during college, which may increase persistence in college, and lead to higher employment rates post-college.

Other conference topics included, among others, sessions on STEM learning exchanges, innovative ways to improve college and career readiness, and the impact of afterschool programs on truancy and college readiness.  See the full conference agenda here.

The conference, sponsored by ISAC, is a collaborative effort in itself. ISAC, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois State Board of Education, Women Employed, Illinois College Access Network, Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, Voices for Illinois Children, and Advance Illinois work together each year to produce the important event.                                                               830**14

ISAC executive director Eric Zarnikow presented the College Changes Everythingâ„¢ champion award to former state senator Miguel del Valle, recognizing del Valle for his decades of work as a champion for education and for the disenfranchised in the state. Del Valle, who served in the Illinois General Assembly for twenty years and also as Chicago city clerk, is now the chair of the Illinois P-20 Council and vice-chair of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, among his many roles.

“While Illinois does face challenges in college readiness, access, persistence, and heavy student loan debt,” said del Valle, “the good news is that we have passionate communities and a diverse group of committed and experienced leaders who are already collaborating to build solutions.”

About College Changes Everything

College Changes Everythingâ„¢ is a college access movement that recognizes that college can be a life changing experience not only for students, but also for families and communities. In Illinois and across the nation, those who obtain education beyond high school not only see a significant impact on their potential career prospects and future salary, but also change levels of poverty, life expectancy, crime and obesity rates in their communities. Join the conversation and help make college relevant and possible for everyone by sharing your story about how college changed, is changing or can change everything for you. Find out more and share your story at www.collegechangeseverything.org.

About the Illinois Student Assistance Commission

The mission of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is to help make college accessible and affordable for students throughout Illinois. ISAC provides comprehensive, objective, and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families–giving them access to the tools they need to make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state’s flagship Monetary Award Program and other scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers—totaling more than $380 million in academic year 2013-14—ISAC can help students make those choices a reality. www.isac.org

Washington Business Journal Names Robert R. Hagans Jr. 2014 CFO of the Year Awards Honoree

Posted by Admin On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, D.C. -Washington Business Journal has selected AARP Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Robert R. Hagans Jr. to be one of its 2014 CFO of the Year Awards Honorees. He is among 11 honorees in the Greater Washington area being recognized for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. Honorees were recognized on July 17 during the 2014 CFO of the Year Awards luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia.

Rob Hagans has been with AARP since July of 2001 and proved a valuable member of the team, particularly following the global financial crisis of 2008. Under his leadership, AARP has continued to have a stellar financial record and firm policies that will sustain the organization and its social mission for years to come. As of the end of 2013, AARP had six consecutive years of positive operating results while maintaining financial discipline, improving financial health and developing a robust strategy for funding enterprise initiatives.

“Rob is the first to say that this is an honor not only for him, but for all of AARP,” said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand. “This award is a reflection of the culture of disciplined financial management that has been created here, a culture that gives AARP the flexibility and capability to thrive in the long term.”

Hagans has more than 35 years of work experience in nonprofits and financial management. His career includes a previous position as a Director of Finance for Prince George’s County Maryland, where he also served as trustee for the Prince George’s County Police and Fire Service Pension Plans; chairman of the County’s Risk Management Committee; member of the board of trustees for the Local Government Insurance Trust; and member of the Advisory Board for the Maryland State Local Government Investment Pool. He had previously served as an Assistant Vice President for Asset Management and Treasury Operations at Howard University, as well as Treasurer for the District of Columbia government.

Hagans currently serves on the boards of the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System. He previously served on the board of Children’s Hospital and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Hagans is a member of the Executive Leadership Council and has served as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs and 100 Black Men.

See video of Rob Hagans discussing his work at AARP here.

About AARP  AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

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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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