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Archive for July 28th, 2014

Chicagoans Opposing JUF Support for Israeli War Crimes to Hold Counterprotest Today in Chicago

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Chicagoans Opposing JUF Support for Israeli War Crimes to Hold Counterprotest Today in Chicago

Coalition for Justice in Palestine

Activists say JUF should instead oppose ongoing slaughter, as US continues to funnel tax dollars to Israeli military despite growing evidence of Israeli war crimes.

CHICAGO, IL – Chicagoans will picket a pro-Israel rally on Monday at the State of Illinois Building, located at Randolph and Dearborn, as a counterweight to the distorted propaganda Israel government and its supporters continue to churn out in the effort to manufacture support for Israel’s ongoing violence against the people of Gaza and occupied Palestine.

The picket will take place today, Monday, July 28, at the State of Illinois plaza, Randolph & Dearborn, Chicago at 11 A.M.

The Jewish United Fund scheduled the pro-Israel rally at the same time as the Eid el-Fatr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan – one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar, when many local Arab Americans and observant Muslims will be at religious services.

Israeli forces have killed over 1,000 Gazans – overwhelmingly civilians – since its onslaught began three weeks ago, and injured over 6,000 more. The death toll in the occupied West Bank has also continued to rise as Israel seeks to suppress protests against its occupation and assault on Gaza — including the Israeli sniper assassination of human rights worker Hashem Abu Maria, who worked for Defense of Children International. He was shot as he stood among a group of onlookers at a protest in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar on Friday.

Organizers of today’s counter-picket include the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which has been coordinating local protests to oppose Israel’s ongoing slaughter in Gaza, including the latest protest in Chicago on Saturday, which drew thousands of supporters of Palestine to the streets.

For more information, contact Hatem Abudayyeh, 773-301-4108, hatem@aaan.org

President Obama’s Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) Will be Renamed in Honor of Nelson Mandela

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama’s Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) Will be Renamed in Honor of Nelson Mandela

Background & Fact Sheet on YALI

A White House official said President Barack Obama participated in a town hall with 500 exceptional young people who participated in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, an initiative Obama announced in 2013 as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

President Obama first launched YALI in 2010 to support an emerging generation of African leaders as they work to drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance, and strengthen the civil society structures that will help the continent grow and prosper.  The President announced the creation of this Fellowship, which connects young African leaders to leadership training opportunities at some of America’s top universities to expand their leadership skills and knowledge, during his 2013 trip to South Africa.

During the town hall, the President delivered remarks to announce that the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program will be renamed in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.  The President will also announce new public-private partnerships to create a continuum of programs, platforms, and support for young African leaders.  These new investments will include the development of four Regional Leadership Centers in Africa, a vast array of online classes and resources, along with seed funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities. A Fact Sheet detailing these announcements is below. For more information on the Fellowship, click HERE.

The YALI Summit serves as the lead-up event to next week’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest gathering any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, which will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions. With 60 percent of Africa’s population under 35, the future success of African nations will depend on the leadership, skills, and ingenuity of this emerging generation of leaders and this public-private partnership is vital to helping better the continent for years to come.

FACT SHEET: The President’s Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI)

Today, during a town hall with 500 young African leaders, President Obama will announce the expansion of his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which was launched in 2010.  Through YALI, the United States is investing in the next generation of African leaders, and has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, the United States, and the American people.  Signature aspects of this expansion include:

·         The creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa.

·         The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will be renamed as the “Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders” and will be doubled in size to reach 1,000 participants each year by 2016.

·         New virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces for the YALI Network.

·         Hundreds of new entrepreneurship grants and mobile incubators, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.

Deepening Our Reach on the Continent: Regional Leadership Centers

Today, President Obama will announce the creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa.  Beginning in 2015, these Centers will improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.  Each will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the energy and dynamism of the private sector, the knowledge of African and American institutions, and the programmatic and educational resources of the U.S. Government.  The Centers will focus on engaging young leaders from a wide range of organizations and backgrounds and with a diversity of experiences.  The Regional Leadership Centers will:

·         Provide Quality Leadership Training: Centers will provide both long and short courses on leadership and issues across multiple sectors.

·         Support Entrepreneurship: Centers will provide entrepreneurship support services, including mentoring, technology, and access to capital.

·         Enhance Professional Networking: Centers will offer young leaders the opportunity to connect with each other, American professionals, and experts from across the region.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $38 million for the creation of and programs in the Regional Leadership Centers.  American and African companies and foundations have more than matched these funds, providing principal capital for the startup costs, equipment, and technology for the Centers.  The MasterCard Foundation will provide financial support over five years to develop the Centers.  With financial and in-kind contributions from Microsoft, Dow Chemical Company, Intel Corporation, and Cisco Systems, the U.S. Government will be able to establish and maintain the Centers, and provide business software and hardware, mentoring, and information technology training through them.  With in-kind support from Proctor & Gamble, General Electric, Atlas Mara, and McKinsey & Company, the U.S. and its partners will be able to provide leadership training, technical support, and access to capital for young entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Government has joined with the following partners to establish and deliver high quality training, support, and networking through the Centers.  In collaboration with USAID, host institutions in Africa will provide instruction and collaboration space, expert training, and coursework for the Centers.

·         The Center in Ghana will be supported by a consortium of civil and private sector organizations including Africa 2.0, Africa Capacity Building Foundation, Ghana Private Enterprise Federation, and the Center for Policy Analysis, led by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.

·         The Center in Kenya will have a robust training curriculum with direction from a partnership that brings together Deloitte’s global management and strategy skills, the established curriculum and capacity of Kenyatta University, the public administration training of the Kenya School of Government, and Africa Nazarene University’s youth engagement and outreach.

·         The Center in South Africa will benefit from an education alliance led by the University of South Africa, with support from the University of Pretoria, which brings expertise in governance training, and Innovation Hub, which provides entrepreneurship support.

·         The Center in Senegal will assist young entrepreneurs through  the African Center for Advanced Studies in Management’s experience in professional management studies, the West African Research Center’s youth leadership training experience, and the Synapse Center’s support to young leaders.

Expanding the Flagship Program: The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Today, in front of 500 Fellows, the President will announce that the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will reach 1,000 participants each year by 2016.  The Fellowship currently brings 500 of Africa’s most dynamic young leaders to the United States each year for six weeks of leadership training, networking, and mentoring at top U.S. universities.  Training and mentorship are focused on three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration.  Upon returning home, the Fellows will have access to professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Providing the Tools, Training, and Technology to Promote Leadership: The YALI Network

The YALI Network provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to improve their communities and their countries.  Established by President Obama in April 2014, the Network already includes more than 68,000 members.  Using yali.state.gov and social media, the United States provides online courses and materials, and connects members with global leaders in their field.  Over the next year, President Obama will continue to engage the YALI Network.

Virtual training, tools, and technology for the YALI Network.  YALI Network members will have access to an array of online courses and training materials, along with virtual mentoring and networking opportunities.

·         Over 20 Curated MOOCs and 60 facilitated MOOC Camps: YALI Network members are able to access more than 20 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and will be offered 60 facilitated courses in MOOC Camps in YALI Spaces across the continent over the coming year.  Additional courses, including on vocational education, will come online in the months ahead.

·         Tailored web training videos: The YALI Network platform will also provide access to tailor-made training videos on leadership, business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management featuring U.S. university professors and experts in their field.

·         Meetups – the ability to connect at home and in person: The YALI Network website will provide members with a “Meetup” option, which enables members to connect, network and even collaborate on new initiatives.

Creation of state-of-the-art YALI Spaces. Over the next year, American Corners in Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and South Africa will be outfitted to provide YALI Network members opportunities to meet, learn, and incubate their ideas; spaces in seven additional countries will be renovated over the next two years.  YALI staff will facilitate online courses and provide advice on everything from business start-ups to opportunities for study abroad.  Meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and business tools will allow YALI Network members to work together to create social ventures, community service projects, and new business start-ups.

Building on a tradition of engagement. All of our embassies in Africa have significant, sustained engagements with young leaders.  Currently, 43 embassies have youth councils that provide input into U.S. policies and contribute to the design and execution of U.S. Government programs.  Since 2010, the State Department has held 15 exchanges specifically for young African leaders and brought more than 1,600 sub-Saharan young leaders to the United States, through its educational and cultural affairs programs, including Fulbright.  In just the past year, embassies have organized over 800 events across the continent to support Africa’s young civic, government, and business leaders.

Supporting Young Entrepreneurs

In addition to the announcements made by President Obama today, the U.S. Government is expanding support to entrepreneurs by connecting them to investors, advisors, and distribution networks.

In 2015, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. Morocco is hosting this year.  YALI Network members will have the opportunity to present at and participate in both summits.

Over the next year, the State Department will lead three partnership opportunity delegations of entrepreneurs and investors to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana. In addition, the State Department and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) will support selected YALI entrepreneurs to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 - 26.  DEMO Africa is a platform for top African companies to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.

The United States will continue to provide young Africans access to resources they can use to put their skills to work in service of their communities.

·         Hundreds of new entrepreneurship grants. USADF is partnering with the State Department to offer $2.5 million in seed funding to members of the YALI Network over the next three years in the form of 250 small entrepreneurship grants.  These grants will support start-ups and expansion of businesses and social ventures in six countries in 2015 – Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

·         Mobile incubators will reach at least 5,000 aspiring entrepreneurs in 2015. U.S. embassies in Africa will build entrepreneurial capacity beyond the capital cities by training and helping to incubate the businesses of at least 5,000 aspiring entrepreneurs from the Network in provincial cities and rural areas during 2015.  StartUp Weekend and other experts will accompany a mobile incubator, equipped with the tools and technology to get a business off the ground.  Conducted in collaboration with local governments, institutions, and NGOs, the workshops and equipment are designed to walk aspiring entrepreneurs through the basic precepts of starting a business, including writing a business plan, leveraging online resources, raising capital, and expanding market share.

Kirk, Cornyn, Ayotte Bill Blocks Iran from Abusing Administration’s Sanctions Relief

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Kirk, Cornyn, Ayotte Bill Blocks Iran from Abusing Administration’s Sanctions Relief

Seeks to Prevent Tehran from Using Sanctions Relief to Promote Terrorism, Develop Deadly Weapons, or Persecute Iranian People

Extension of Nuclear Talks Gives Iran Access to $2.8 Billion in Funds

Fungibility of Money Requires Certification

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), along with Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), introduced the Iran Sanctions Relief Certification Act of 2014, which would require Presidential certification that the funds made available to the Iranian regime under the extension of the P5+1 agreement are not used to:

  • Support terrorism
  • Build nuclear weapons and ballistic weapons
  • Violate human rights.

The extension of nuclear talks allows Iran access to $2.8 billion in blocked funds over the next four months. As Secretary of State John Kerry has previously stated, it would only take two months for the Iranians to complete work on a nuclear weapon.

Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) are also original cosponsors.

“Preventing consideration of the Menendez-Kirk bill has resulted in a failure to irreversibly block development of a nuclear weapon by Iran, in a 4-month extension of talks and in a release of $2.8 billion of revenue,” Senator Kirk said. “Before releasing $2.8 billion to Iran through sanctions relief, the Administration should certify to the American people that the money will not be used to advance terror, build nuclear weapons or violate human rights. How much more time will we allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb?”

“The last thing America should be doing is playing good cop with Iran and offering the taste of relief to a radical regime. But because the President has decided to do this unilaterally, this important legislation would give Congress greater oversight and ensure Iran is barred from using any relief funds for efforts that pose any danger to America and her allies,” Senator Cornyn said.

“The United States should not provide sanctions relief to Iran until that country verifiably and permanently ends its nuclear weapons program,” said Senator Ayotte. “Based on Iran’s continued support for terrorist groups, development of intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, and persecution of the Iranian people, we must ensure that any sanctions relief provided by the Administration to Tehran does not support these dangerous and reprehensible Iranian policies.”

The text of the legislation is available here.

Battalion Chief Seeks Candidates for fireman Exam

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Battalion Chief Seeks Candidates for fireman Exam

Starting salary, $50,000

By Chinta Strausberg

As marchers wound their away in and around numerous blocks in the Auburn Gresham community last Friday night calling for an end to violence, Chicago Fire Department Chief Battalion Chief Annette Nance-Holt was passing out cards asking people to take the firemen’s upcoming exam.

Nance-Holt, who lost her son, Blair Holt, on May 10, 2007 while aboard a CTA bus, was one of close to 200 people attending Father Pfleger’s weekly Friday night peace marches.

Though she chimed in with supporters who chanted, “Put the guns down,” This is our neighborhood” and bellowing “Peace,” Nance-Holt was busy passing out a plugger entitled “Answer The Call” that urged people to apply to become a firefighter-EMT.

According to Nance-Holt, an applicant must be a high school graduate by December 31, 2014. She said the test is being given on December 13th and December 14th. They must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and that the starting alary is more than $50.000. “It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone to take the exam. You do not have to have prior experience to be a fireman. They will train you,” she said.

The application deadline is Tuesday, September 16, 2014, and Nance-Holt says there is a $30.00 fee.

However, she added, “If you are a Chicago Public High School graduate, you get a preference. If you are in the police and fire training academy or the military, you also get a preference.”

For additional information about the firefighter-EMT exam, click on: www.cityofchicago.org/fireapplication

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Pioneering Juvenile Court Judge Forced From Office; Is Discrimination to Blame?

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Pioneering Juvenile Court Judge Forced From Office; Is Discrimination to Blame?
Judge Tracie Hunter

Cincinnati, OH (BlackNews.com) — As the first African-American woman and the first Democrat to ever become a judge in the juvenile court system of Hamilton County, Ohio, Tracie Hunter had high hopes of changing the system for the better. Unfortunately, her efforts have been sidetracked by an onslaught of personal and professional attacks designed to discredit her and undermine her authority.

Hunter won her seat after a heated court battle and numerous appeals in which voter suppression was suspected. Inevitably, the county was required to count more than 800 votes from majority black precincts when it was found that poll workers were responsible for disqualifying voters by sending them to the wrong booth.

Hunter encountered more resistance even after she had proven herself as the rightful winner of the election. Within her first two months on the bench, Hunter became the target of over 30 lawsuits filed against her by The Cincinnati Enquirer (the citys largest newspaper and supporter of Hunters opponent in the elections), the Hamilton County Prosecutor, the Hamilton County Commissioners Office, the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, and WCPO-TV. These attacks on Hunter have since culminated in nine felony charges, resulting in her removal from the bench only 18 months after taking her seat. Even those who had supported her soon found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Vanessa Enoch and Cheri Franklin-Scott, doctoral students with Cincinnatis Union Institute & University, have completed a case study in which they highlight the racial injustices within Hamilton County’s juvenile system. They state that over 80% of the juveniles charged within Hamilton County are African American, and that they have been subjected to a school-to-prison pipeline. These are the same injustices which Hunter had tried to eradicate until she was forced from her position.

Enoch and Franklin-Scott expose numerous violations of civil, constitutional, and human rights in their study, and present an analysis of the collusion, strategic privatization of the juvenile detention facility, and political maneuvers by Republican Party government officials. Enoch and Franklin-Scott contend that the $30 million budget associated with Hunters position (the second largest budget in Hamilton County) was also a motivating factor in targeting her.

To contribute to The Honorable Judge Tracie Hunter defense, please follow either links at:
www.traciehunterlegaldefensefund.com or www.gofundme.com/bmgc2k

For questions regarding the case study, please contact Vanessa Enoch at vanessa.enoch@email.myunion.edu or Cheri Franklin-Scott at cheri.scott@email.myunion.edu

Photo Caption: Judge Tracie Hunter of the juvenile court system of Hamilton County, Ohio

Support Continues to Build for a Complete BAN of PETCOKE from Chicago

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Support Continues to Build for a Complete BAN of PETCOKE from Chicago

Community Residents, Teachers, Nurses Cite Public Health Emergency in Southeast Side of Chicago as KCBX Threatens to Sue City of Chicago if Exception to Already Watered Down Regulations Are Not Approved.

Will hold community meeting July 28th

Support is growing from labor, community, clergy, and environmental activists, to call for an immediate ban of Petcoke in Southeast Chicago.  The Coalition to Ban Petcoke, the lead sponsor of the event, and the dozens of groups and activists organizations supporting the ban, call the continual storage of petcoke in Southeast Chicago a public health emergency and a major violation of human rights.

A community Meeting on the continual storage of Petcoke in Southeast Chicago and the public safety threat that it poses will be held Monday, July 28, 2014,  6 p.m. at Rowan Park 11546 S. Avenue L, Chicago.

Giant mounds of hazardous tar sands byproduct known as petcoke are being stored in the open-air along the Calumet River by KCBX, a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Despite the outcry of the community, these petcoke dust mountains are left uncovered and free to blow into neighborhood schools, homes, businesses, and community spaces.

With elections coming up in February 2015, the community residents demand that the Alderman and Mayor fight to protect the Southeast Side of Chicago or the outraged 10th ward residents will look for candidates who will ensure that the petcoke piles are removed and that the city strictly regulate dirty energy and move towards clean, renewable and sustainable energy.

TV Special Honors James Brown, ‘Godfather of Soul’

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on TV Special Honors James Brown, ‘Godfather of Soul’

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) If youve always loved his music, you wont want to miss James Brown: The Man, The Music, & The Message, a new national syndicated television special saluting the Godfather of Soul by Washington, DC-based On The Potomac Productions.

The national syndication is being led by NBCUniversal which has confirmed many of its owned stations to carry the program, including: WNBC New York, WMAQ Chicago, WCAU Philadelphia, WTVJ Miami, KNTV San Francisco, and WRC Washington . The one hour tribute captures the amazing life, career, and live performances of the man dubbed “The Hardest Working man in Show Business.”

Since his passing on December 25, 2006, the program has been updated. Hosted by Dick Cavett, the special, which will begin airing across the country this August, features a series of recent in-depth personal interviews with Brown as well as comedy routines by Eddie Murphy, Sherman Hemsely, Sinbad, and Kevin Hart. Also included in the show are videos and interviews with megastar Michael Jackson, Little Richard, Kevin Hart, Aretha Franklin, M.C. Hammer, Bobby Brown, Heavy D., and Kevin Hart; as well as radio and television personalities Casey Kasem, Donnie Simpson, and Dick Clark.

Atty. Thomas Hart Jr., Executive Producer and President of the production company said, “There is a renewed appreciation for James Browns music and contributions to society during his life. We cherished the time we spent with Mr. Brown making this documentary.”

The DC government awarded OTP a grant for this production. Over the weekend of July 18th and 19th, we held two successful screenings at the Historical Lincoln Theatre and at THEARC Theater in Washington. The National Bar Association will feature the film at its annual conference in Atlanta, GA on July 31, 2014. Additional screenings are being arranged around the country.

For more information, visit www.otpvideo.com

The Crisis in Illinois’ Health & Human Services System: Town Hall Forum Today

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on The Crisis in Illinois’ Health & Human Services System: Town Hall Forum Today
Forum today, Monday, July 28, 6:30 P.M., at the First Unitarian Church, 5650 S.Woodlawn

Electeds expected to be in attendance are: State Rep.Mary Flowers and State Rep. Esther Golar,

CHICAGO, IL -  Illinois’ ongoing budget crisis has sparked severe problems in the state’s health and human services system — from public aid and food stamps to medical, mental health and disability services. Residents are pushing back by bringing personal testimony about the crisis directly to state legislators. Their goal: to ratchet up awareness about the need to reinvest in vital safety net programs that support both individuals and the economic viability of their communities.A new coalition linking recipients and providers will host a Town Hall Forum to take testimony from residents with first-hand experience of the mounting pitfalls in accessing vital services through the state’s cash-strapped safety net programs. The event starts at 6:30 PM at First Unitarian Church at 5650 S Woodlawn in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, with testimony to be presented to State Reps. Mary Flowers, Esther Golar, Andre Thapedi (invited)

Organizers say the state has taken some positive steps to address the need for DHS services — including enabling the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. But they argue that privatization, office closures, “assembly-line” bureaucracies and overzealous Medicaid purges have decimated services at a time of increasingly dire need driven by record economic inequality and rising poverty rates.

That dynamic, say residents, locks out growing numbers of the state’s neediest residents from programs at a time when their families and communities can least afford barriers to service — while state service workers struggle with impossible caseloads and community-based care-givers have wages and benefits that leave them squarely in the economic ranks of their impoverished clients.

Testimony to electeds: Address ‘disaster’ in state health and human services

* Stop the assembly-line ‘disaster’ and put ‘human’ back in human services,
* Stop canceling eligible Medicaid and food stamp recipients
* Fix the health and safety hazards in local Human Services offices – worse than the Thompson Center
* Fund public health and human services with a “LaSalle Street Tax”

Witnesses will testify to state legislators on a range of human needs issues, including:

* Difficulties in negotiating an increasingly bureaucratic and understaffed ‘assembly-line’ process at Illinois DHS offices, exacerbated by elimination of assigned, accountable caseworkers for the Department of Human Services.  DHS insists their ‘task-based’ approach increases efficiencies, but consumers and workers call it a ‘disaster’ and ‘inhumane
* Wrongful termination of thousands of eligible residents from Medicaid coverage, driven by the mistakes of the Maximus Corp, a private contractor being phased out by the Quinn administration, but praised by Republicans Bruce Rauner and Patti Bellock
* Chaos, health hazards and lack of accessibility at multiple DHS facilities,

*A chronic — and growing — lack of adequate state revenue for human needs across the range of state services.

Specific proposals include:

* restoring accountable DHS caseworkers assigned to people, not tasks (DHS plans to expand the assembly-line across the state)
* restoring Medicaid drug and dental benefits cut under the SMART Act
* stopping privatization contracts like Maximus
* fund services with a sales tax on speculative financial transactions and a graduated income tax

The Alliance for Community Services is a new community-labor coalition bringing together recipients and front-line human services workers.

Organizations participating in Monday’s Town Hall include First Unitarian Church Social Justice Council, Southside Together Organizing for Power, Northside Action for Justice, AFSCME Local 2858, AFSCME Local 2806, Chicago Teachers Union and IMPRU

High School Principal Declares, “School Alone is Not Enough to Ensure Your Child’s Success”

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on High School Principal Declares, “School Alone is Not Enough to Ensure Your Child’s Success”

Tovi Scruggs

Oakland, CA (BlackNews.com) — It is no secret that many children in America are not being served by their schools. While everyone plays a role in this struggle and in its solution, no one group is more important than parents. Only when families and schools are committed to partnering can all children truly succeed.

Tovi Scruggs says the answer is not simply parenting, but educational parenting, a term she has originated to get parents and school systems to look at serving students better for academic success.

First Lady Michelle Obama & Essence Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. Bush have put out the call in the August 2014 issue for us to be a champion for our children. Parent Champion Coach Tovi Scruggs has just released a book in full alignment with that national call and initiative; the book is titled Be a Parent Champion: A Guide to Becoming a Partner with Your Childs School.

Scruggs, co-founder of ASA Academy & Community Science Center and now principal of a large comprehensive public high school in the Bay Area, wrote Be a Parent Champion: A Guide to Becoming a Partner with Your Childs School and conducts corresponding interviews, workshops, and book talks that are designed to motivate and educate parents to be their very best as school partners. Parents are inspired to analyze, reflect, and take action in regard to how they co-educate their children by partnering with their childs school. Parent Champion is the must-have book for this school year!

Principal Tovi Scruggs holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley as well teaching and administrative credentials and a Masters Degree from Mills College. Scruggs is also a public school product of Inglewood High School in Southern California. Her real credentials, however, come from working for 20 years in public and private schools, championing students, teachers, and families from whom she garnered a wealth of experience, skills, and talents that make up best practices for education. She continues to hone those practices and coach others to do the same in her work as a Parent Champion Coach through a variety of workshops she has put on for schools across the state.

Ms. Scruggs is a delightful guest for interviews by phone or in person. Topics include the following:

* How to be a Parent Champion
Discusses educational parenting and Parent Champion precepts. Inspires and educates parents to be their very best as school-partners as they analyze, reflect, and take action in regards to how they co-educate and partner with their childs school. While schools are creating a culture of success, so too will families.

* Building the Home-School Connection
Your childs best chance at academic and personal success is linked to the strength of the home-school connection. In this workshop, learn key methods, strategies, and structures to build a solid homeschool connection that will result in Parent Champion behaviors.

* Back-to-School Readiness
Being ready for school is more than new clothes and new school supplies. Readiness is a growth mindset, the proper attitude, emotional stability, and the organizational structures in place to be ready to do school instead of letting another year of school do you.

* Parents Right to Choose: School Selection for Your Child
This workshop educates parents about the types of schools that exist, assists parents in getting clear about the best school for their child, and then guides parents in how to best select a school with clear step by step guidance.
What people are saying about Tovi C. Scruggs and Parent Champion:
“The health and well being of our children and our community requires that parents are knowledgeable about and engaged in the education process. Parent Champion gives parents and guardians the lay of the land and grounds our expectations in a hard reality. It challenges us to be reflective and proactive with practical tools that are tried and tested. Use one or use them all….Just get in action!”
— Jenee Johnson, Parent Champion, Mother, Director, San Francisco Black Infant Health Program, San Francisco Department of Public Health

“With the ultimate goal of dramatically improving genuine parent participation in their childrens academic lives, as well as improving student academic achievement, Parent Champion bridges the cultural gap between schools and parents/ communities, strives to advance relationships between teachers, parents and students, and identifies community resources that can be used to support students academic success.”
— Robyn Fisher, President/CEO, RTFisher Educational Enterprises, Inc., Co-Founder and Board Chair, The Choose College Foundation, Inc.

“This model provides a pattern for increased parental involvement with their childs educational, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being, all of which are necessary to become a mature adult who is a contributing member of society to the extent their ability, capacity and potential will allow. I endorse this program wholeheartedly.”
— Adam Taylor, Executive Director of K-12 Operations, West Contra Costa
For more information about Tovi Scruggs or her new book, visit www.ticiess.com

Photo Caption: Tovi Scruggs, author of “Parent Champion

Cook County Justice Advisory Council Awards $600,000 in Violence Prevention Grants

Posted by Admin On July - 28 - 2014 Comments Off on Cook County Justice Advisory Council Awards $600,000 in Violence Prevention Grants
Grantees include the University of Chicago, Enlace Chicago and the Illinois African-American Coalition for Prevention

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the first round of violence prevention, intervention and reduction grants from the Justice Advisory Council. The University of Chicago, Enlace Chicago and the Illinois African-American Coalition for Prevention will each receive $200,000 in grant awards. Additional grants will be awarded at the September board meeting.

“These organizations are on the front lines of dealing with the impact of violence in our communities and it is critical that the County continues to fund meaningful programs that will help reduce criminal involvement,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The University of Chicago, in partnership with Comer Children’s Hospital, La Rabida Hospital, and Stroger Hospital, will provide trauma-informed medical and clinical care to young victims of violence and their families. The program includes training hospital staff in trauma informed practices, assessment of clients, intensive case management and patient navigation (aftercare), mentoring, and SELF (Safety. Emotions. Loss. Future) groups to help youth process trauma, avoid future violence involvement and move forward with their lives.

Enlace Chicago will convene a wide array of smaller organizations that offer various services to the target population in Little Village community. The program “Little Village Youth Safety Network” will use CPS early indicators to identify gang involved youth and provide parent engagement, youth mentoring, mental health treatment, and youth leadership development. The goal of the program is to reduce gang involvement and minimize risk factors at the ages at which gang involvement typically begins.

The Illinois African-American Coalition for Prevention will provide a comprehensive program consisting of evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mentoring, and balanced and restorative justice training. The program will target 120 youth ages 14 – 18 from at-risk communities.

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