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Archive for August 14th, 2014

Justice for Victims of Police Misconduct!

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

National Urban League President Marc H. Morial issued the following statement on the death of Michael Brown and the unrest in the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

“Today, we join the family of Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri in grieving the senseless death of this promising young man.    These tragic instances of police misconduct must end—not just for the family of Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Sean Bell—but for the peace and well-being of communities of color and for our nation.

“As Michael’s death makes St. Louis County the latest flashpoint for outrage, anger and anguish, we are reminded that too many of our urban communities–gripped by hopelessness, joblessness and despair– now feel under siege from the very institutions that are charged with protecting them.

“We are encouraged that the Attorney General has opened an inquiry into this incident and we call on leaders at the state and local level in St. Louis County and Missouri to do what is needed to ensure an independent and transparent investigation.

“The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and its President and CEO Michael McMillan stand ready to work with the community and local organizations to help the healing begin and to foster  the critical conversation addressing the larger narrative that links our law enforcement institutions, the criminal justice system, and a dysfunctional economic system.”

Judge Borman Steps Down From the Case of Rasmea Odeh

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(From the Rasmea Defense Committee)

Judge Paul D. Borman has removed himself from the case of Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh.  Earlier this month, the judge stridently denied a defense motion calling on him to step down.  The motion claimed that his life-long support for the state of Israel—whose arrest, torture, and conviction of Odeh for alleged Jerusalem bombings in 1969 is at issue in this case—would not allow for a fair trial.  Odeh has pleaded not guilty to the charge of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, and vehemently refutes the Israeli convictions, which were based on a forced confession after extended periods of vicious physical and sexual torture.

Borman refused the motion, dismissing defense arguments about his decades of trips to and fundraising for Israel, claiming his “religious convictions” did not bring his impartiality into question.

According to supporters, Borman was falsely covering Zionist ideology with Judaism. “We opposed Judge Borman not because of his Jewish faith, but because of his decades of support for the state of Israel,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for Odeh’s defense committee.  “Rasmea overcame vicious torture by Israeli authorities while imprisoned in Palestine in the 70s. She has committed no crime and the government has no case. We need a judge willing to listen to a defense that puts Israel on trial for its crimes against Rasmea, and against all Palestinians.”

In an unexpected turn of events, Borman admitted his financial ties to Israel “could be perceived as establishing a reasonably objective inference of a lack of impartiality in the context of the issues presented in this case.” Defense claims of pro-Israel bias are vindicated, and Borman has removed himself.  The case has been randomly re-assigned to U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain.

Supporters of Odeh hail this as a victory for the defense, but are re-doubling efforts to win justice for Rasmea.

Abudayyeh continued: “This case is a political attack on the Palestine liberation movement, and that means we need a political defense as much as a legal defense. Thousands of people from across the country are fighting for Rasmea, demanding that the government drop the charges against her. If they don’t, we are still going all out for Detroit, to fill the courtroom every day of the trial.”

A status hearing in front of Judge Drain is still planned for Tuesday, September 2nd, in Detroit, and the Rasmea Defense Committee is calling for supporters to pack the courthouse and call the prosecutors to demand that they drop the charges on that day.  The date of the actual trial will be rescheduled.

The national Rasmea Defense Committee includes United States Palestinian Community Network, Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR), 8th Day Center for Justice, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, American Muslims for Palestine, Anti-War Committee (AWC)-Chicago, AWC-Minneapolis, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Committee Against Political Repression, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, CAIR-Michigan, Friends of Sabeel-North America, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of Peoples’ Struggle-U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace, Lifta Society, National Boricua Human Rights Network, National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Branch, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, United African Organization, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Voces de la Frontera, and Women Against Military Madness.

National Moment of Silence – Chicago, and in About 55 Cities Around the Country for Victims of Police Brutality

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Chicagoans participating in tonight’s National Moment of Silence for victims of police brutality will gather at Daley Plaza at 6:00 p.m., today, 8/14/14,  and join the national silent vigil at 6:20 p.m.  People will be gathering in at least 55 cities around the country to silently pay respect to those whose lives have been taken or forever altered by the brutality of the police state.  During the moment of silence, attendees will raise their arms in solidarity with Michael Brown, of Ferguson, Missouri, who was shot Saturday by police while his arms were raised in surrender.  Since Saturday, protestors in Ferguson have continued to confront police, with their arms raised in mock surrender, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

Some participants will carry cardboard signs bearing the names and ages of people from around the country who have fallen to police violence.  The brown cardboard signs are a show of solidarity with Michael Brown’s father, Louis Head, who held a cardboard sign in the immediate aftermath of his son’s death that read, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son.” As local organizer Mariame Kaba wrote in her blog upon seeing the viral image of Head holding his sign, “the image is a declaration and an affirmation of humanity; a father making a way out of no way to insist that his son’s life mattered. A man standing before us devastated yet stoic holding a screaming sign announcing his son’s execution. Michael had kin. He was loved. The image is a declaration and affirmation of that too.”

After the moment of silence, local youth organizers from Black Youth Project 100 will speak, sing, and share poetry.

As events in Ferguson continue to unfold, and police here in Chicago bring reinforcements from the state police, some community members want to see more solution building, and less aggressive policing.  “This crackdown mentality is part of the problem,” says organizer Kelly Hayes.  “It doesn’t work.  We see every day that it doesn’t work. Our young people get roughed up, harassed, and arrested over nothing, and things only get uglier.  Things will only get uglier until we stop trying to solve street violence with state violence.  It creates a culture of abuse, and we are seeing the product of that culture in the streets of Ferguson.”

Another local organizer, Georgette Kirkendall, expressed frustration with police violence and racial profiling, saying, “The silent vigil is an expression of love, mourning, and solidarity, but but once those quiet those quiet minutes have passed, we can’t remain silent.  As a community, we have to get loud, and I am ready to yell.”

Community member Jerica Jurado has been following events in Ferguson, and feels that the protestors use of their raised hands as a political statement is, by itself significant.  “I’m glad that imagery is spreading,” says Jurado.  “If the act of raising our hands can be transformed from an act of surrender to an act of resistance, that really says something about the inevitability of change.  It says that things can’t go on this way, and they won’t.”

To keep up with this event on Twitter, follow the hashtag #NMOS14

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/358420444311713

DC Prepares for National Summit on Non-Violence: Saturday August 23, 2014

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – “Changing the Culture of Violence” is the theme of the 2nd National Summit on Non-Violence, sponsored by Black Women for Positive Change (BW4PC), a national civic network, and the Summit Council on Non-Violence Advisory network. The Summit will be at Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M. Street, NW, Washington, DC, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 9 am-5 pm. Registration opens at 8:00 am. Adults and youth over 14 years are invited to attend and there is no registration fee. BW4PC is an inter-faith, multi-racial network, that includes women and men.

National experts on violence prevention will make presentations on relevant topics including:

(1) Pathways that Lead to Violence;
(2) Retraining Individuals and Communities Traumatized by Violence; and
(3) How to Change the Culture of Violence.

Beginning at noon, the afternoon session will focus on issues that impact youth, including screening of the youth-violence prevention film, “On 2nd Thought” and sessions on:
(1) Breaking the Cycle of Violence by Regulating Personal Behaviors;
(2) Building Peaceful Communities Among Youth; and
(3) Unleashing the Genius in Youth. The Summit will conclude with a “Positive Change Harmony Jam” live streamed at 4 pm, featuring youth performing positive, optimistic rap, hip hop and song.

Individuals can register free at www.blackwomenforpositivechange.org. Press/media are welcome. A special feature is youth attendees designated as “Non-Violence Youth Ambassadors” will tweet, text and Facebook conference proceedings to a global social network, in real time.

In a joint statement, BW4PC National Co-Chairs Delegate Daun S. Hester and Dr. Stephanie E. Myers, said, “The National Summit on Non-Violence will focus on the problem of violence in our families, communities, and in society-at large. Adults, youth, Faith Leaders, rappers, Educators and Elected Officials will talk together about finding solutions.

No one has all the answers to solve the problem of violence so, we are inviting the community to brainstorm together. We hope other cities will join this effort to find ways to stop the violence by watching the live stream of the workshops at www.blackwomenforpositivechange.org/

The National Summit is part of the National Week of Non-Violence August 16-23, 2014, endorsed by six Governors including. Congressman John Lewis, Georgia; Governor John Hickenlooper, State of Colorado; Governor Pat Quinn, State of Illinois; Governor Martin O’Malley, State of Maryland; Governor Jeremiah W. Nixon, State of Missouri; Governor Bill Haslam, State of Tennessee; Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia; State Delegate Daun S. Hester, Norfolk, Virginia; Mayor William Euille, Alexandria, Virginia; Mayor Vincent Gray, District of Columbia; Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Councilwoman Dr. Amelia Ross Hammond, Virginia Beach, VA.  www.blackwomenforpositivechange.org/

Chicago Students Union Press Conference & March for Elected School Board & Student-Prioritized Funding

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Members of Chicago Students Union announce plans to take control of their education and future by meeting with CPS principals and board members, proposing city-wide CPS student feedback system, and partnering with Chicago Votes to register all eligible students.

CHICAGO, IL – On Monday, August 18,  the Chicago Students Union (CSU) — one of the nation’s largest student unions with members from grades 9 to 12 — will hold a press conference in Daley Plaza, march to Chicago Public Schools Headquarters, and demand a democratically elected school board and student-prioritized funding.

CPS students will hold a press conference and rally with a coalition of supporters including CPS teachers, administrators and elected officials in Daley Plaza at 12:00 PM. “We are organizing in 20 CPS schools and student voice in Chicago has never been more powerful!” says Avelardo Rivera, a senior at Whitney Young and a member of CSU. “For our school system to work, it has to be democratic. We demand an elected school board, student-prioritized funding, and that student voices be part of every level of decision making in our school system.”

Press Conference Speakers Will Include:

Joseph Castro, Social Justice High School, Senior

Rosalina Torres, Whitney Young High School, Junior

Gabriel Portillo, Prosser Career Academy, Senior

Alexis Ayala, Infinity High School, Senior
Pedro Gonzalez, Prosser Career Academy, Senior

Ross Floyd, Jones College Prep, Senior
Sammy Cousino, Payton College Prep, Senior
Will Guzzardi, State Representative, 39th District

At 12:30 PM, students and supporters will march from Daley Plaza to the Chicago Board of Education. “We know CPS hears us and our demands for an elected Board of Education and fair funding,” says Baylee Champion a senior at Jones College Prep and a member of CSU. “We have met with the CPS Student Advisory Council, attended CPS Board of Education meetings, and are partnering with Chicago Votes to get every eligible CPS student registered to vote.”

Over 200 CPS students from dozens of schools have participated in CSU since it formed in 2013 in response to school closings in Chicago. Weekly meetings, completely organized and run by CPS students, draw 30-40 members. “At our meetings we share stories about what our individual schools need in terms of funding, courses and supplies,” says Pedro Gonzalez, a senior at Prosser Career Academy and a member of CSU. “Since we’ve gotten organized, we’ve met with CPS board member Jesse Ruiz to expose the lack of funds for supplies at Prosser. Our members reported that we were using books from 1993 with missing pages — even though the school had $100,000 left in discretionary spending at the end of the year. This is just one example of the Chicago Students Union fighting for students to get the resources we need.”

CSU members met with the CPS Student Advisory Council and proposed a new system for students to inform CPS about problems in their schools. The Chicago Students Union will continue to work with the Student Advisory Council to increase student power in CPS.

The Mission of the Chicago Students Union is to represent Chicago Public Schools students, protect student rights, engage students in education activism, and amplify the voices of students. CSU is working towards an end to public school closings, an elected school board, student-prioritized funding, and registering students to vote.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/744099075652520

TimeLine Theatre Company Hires Dan McArdle for Newly Created Position of General Manager

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Names New Associate Artists and Elects Leadership for 2014-15 Board of Directors

CHICAGO, IL — TimeLine Theatre Company announced the expansion of its full-time staff with the addition of Dan McArdle as General Manager; the appointment of new Associate Artists, including Chicago-based and soon-to-be Broadway director Kimberly Senior; and the election of new leadership for its Board of Directors, including President John M. Sirek.


TimeLine’s first General Manager Dan McArdle has served as Managing Director with The Neo-Futurists since 2011, producing their last three seasons featuring more than 750 public events. In his tenure with the Neos, McArdle initiated several major facility and technology upgrades, presented their first international production and restructured ticketing policies resulting in increased attendance and revenue. He received his master’s degree from DePaul University’s MFA/Arts Leadership Program, a two-year program combining a full-time Fellowship position at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with coursework at DePaul. Prior to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, McArdle was the Finance Manager with Lookingglass Theatre Company. He is a former artistic Company Member with Theatre Seven of Chicago where he also served as General Manager. He has also held arts management positions with Goodman Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse and the Forestburgh Playhouse. McArdle received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently serves as Board Secretary with the League of Chicago Theatres.

As General Manager, McArdle will work closely with Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman to guide the business and financial operations and strategic goals of TimeLine, a growing non-profit theatre with an operating budget of $1.6 million during the 2014-15 season. He begins his work with the company on September 1.

“TimeLine’s place among Chicago’s cultural landscape has continued to gain prominence since inception due to their poignant mission and consistently excellent productions,” McArdle said. “I am overjoyed to be joining their prolific team of staff and artists in pursuit of their long-term goals.”

The addition of McArdle’s position expands TimeLine’s full-time staff to nine members. He joins a team that also includes Auman, Artistic Director PJ Powers, Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, Director of Marketing and Communications Lara Goetsch, Development Manager Lydia P. Swift, Production Manager John Kearns and Audience Services Manager Andi Sharavsky.


TimeLine’s Company Members have named two new artists to the theatre’s roster of Associate Artists: actor Danica Monroe and director Kimberly Senior.

Danica Monroe has appeared in several TimeLine productions, including the upcoming MY NAME IS ASHER LEV and past productions MY KIND OF TOWN, NOT ENOUGH AIR, DOLLY WEST’S KITCHEN, PARAGON SPRINGS and HANNAH AND MARTIN, for which she received a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Actress in a Supporting Role. She has worked around Chicago with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Uma Productions, American Theater Company and the Goodman Theatre, among others.

Kimberly Senior is a Chicago-based director who is directing TimeLine’s upcoming MY NAME IS ASHER LEV as well as past productions ALL MY SONS and DOLLY WEST’S KITCHEN. She is the director of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar, which opens on Broadway in October. Senior previously directed DISGRACED at American Theater Company and Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3. Her extensive credits in Chicago and regionally include work at Northlight Theatre, Writers Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Next Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, Redtwist Theatre, The House Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Peninsula Players, among others.

Working closely with TimeLine’s Company Members, Associate Artists contribute to TimeLine’s short-term and long-term artistic programming and growth. Associate Artists serve as non-voting advisers in artistic planning and are encouraged to propose and promote artistic programming ideas and to enhance the work culture and environment of TimeLine. With a collaborative spirit and active participation, Associate Artists demonstrate passionate commitment toward TimeLine’s mission, vision and values.

These individuals join an already distinguished group of Associate Artists that includes Will Allan, Brian Sidney Bembridge, Eva Breneman, William Brown, Aaron Carter, Andrew Carter, Louis Contey, Charles Cooper, John Culbert, Behzad Dabu, Julie Eberhardt, Ana Espinosa, Mikhail Fiksel, Terry Hamilton, Andrew Hansen, Alex Wren Meadows, Keith Parham, Ron OJ Parson, Collette Pollard, Mark Richard, Mike Tutaj, Ann Wakefield and Alex Weisman. For more details, including full biographies, visit timelinetheatre.com/company/associateartists.htm.


TimeLine Theatre is also pleased to recognize the newly elected leadership of its Board of Directors for the 2014-15 season:

President John M. Sirek, Director, Civics Program, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Vice President Rick Gray, Retired Senior VP, Marketing and Communications, Hudson

Secretary Susan A. Payne, Executive Vice-President, Metropolitan Capital Ban

Treasurer Katherine Feucht, Partner, Deloitte & Touche

“This impressive group is leading TimeLine’s Board of Directors at a critical juncture in the company’s history,” said Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. “Guided by our long-term strategic plan, we are managing growth and planning for a future that supports our unique mission and can serve a broader audience. There is much work to do and we couldn’t be more pleased to have these individuals guiding the way.”

TimeLine’s Board of Directors also includes Elizabeth K. Auman, J. Robert Barr, Karen B. Case, Marti DeGraaf, Alvin Katz, Nadim A. Kazi, Michael J. Kennedy, Eileen LaCario, Michael B. Lowe, Thaddeus J. Malik, Jessica Graham Nielsen, PJ Powers, Matthew R. Reilein, Elizabeth Richter, Debra Siegel, Anne Stockton and Nicole Thomas.


TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®), Best Theatre in Chicago (Chicago magazine, 2011) and the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010), was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. Over its first 17 seasons, TimeLine has presented 59 productions, including nine world premieres and 20 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, which brings the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 50 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 10 times over 14 seasons of eligibility.

TimeLine launches its 2014-15 season with the Chicago premiere of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok, directed by Kimberly Senior and running August 22 – October 18, 2014 (press opening on Thursday, August 28 at 7:30 pm) at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. For more information about MY NAME IS ASHER LEV and the rest of TimeLine’s 2014-15 season, visit timelinetheatre.com.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President John M. Sirek. Company Members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.

Major supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and The Shubert Foundation.

TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.

IDOT, Ford Motor Company Fund, Allstate and ISP Partner to Save Teen Lives on Illinois Roadways

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Safety Advocates Kick-Off Eighth Year of Operation Teen Safe Driving Program at Illinois State Fair

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials today joined representatives from Ford, The Allstate Foundation and the Illinois State Police at the Illinois State Fairgrounds to kick off the eighth year of Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD). The statewide program, also sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, is administered by IDOT’s Division of Transportation Safety. Since 2007, this nationally recognized program, has contributed to a 55 percent decline in teen fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes on Illinois roadways, including teen drivers, passengers, pedestrians and pedacyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes.

“We at IDOT are pleased to be working with many partner organizations and schools to highlight for teenagers the importance of wearing seatbelts and staying focused on the road,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “This peer-led program is one of a kind, and we are proud of the positive impact it has made to help save lives on Illinois roadways.”

“This is all about the safety of our young people and their driving skills because safe driving habits begin early and last a lifetime,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Teens who embrace a culture of safe driving and respect the rules of the road avoid law enforcement and ultimately become responsible adult drivers,” he added.

The goal of Operation Teen Safe Driving is to reduce teen fatalities and injuries by utilizing the creativity of Illinois teens in a friendly competition to influence their respective communities.  The program enables all Illinois high schools to apply for grants to initiate a peer-led teen safe

driving program within their schools. The schools compete against other schools within their regions for one of five winning spots. The winners receive prize money to use toward post-prom events, and are invited to participate in Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive events in Spring 2015.

“Ford Driving Skills for Life is once again proud to partner with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Allstate to bring the award winning ‘Operation Teen Safe Driving Program’ to schools again this year. Over the past seven years we have reached over 500 schools for peer-to peer programming and trained thousands of students on needed hands-on driving skills. Helping save teen lives requires everyone working together and as such we remain very happy to support this great public/private partnership, said Jim Graham, Manager Ford Driving Skills for Life.”

This lifesaving, innovative program is augmented by crucial sponsorships from the Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation as it enlists young people to teach and promote safe driving skills to their peers.

“As The Allstate Foundation continues to help teens focus on safe driving behaviors, such as wearing a seat belt and limiting distractions, we are proud to support Operation Teen Safe Driving again this year,” said Bill McGrath, Regional Sales Leader for the Midwest Region of Allstate Insurance Company. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with IDOT to build upon our rich histories of helping prevent teen fatalities on the road in Illinois.”

Applications are now available at www.teensafedrivingillinois.org and are due September 15, 2014 for the 2014-15 school year. Based on the applications submitted, a minimum of 10 schools will be selected from each of the seven regions. Those selected schools will then receive $2,000 to develop their teen safe driving program. From each of the seven regions, five top winners will receive prizes to be used at their post-prom events in amounts from $500 to $2,500. In addition to the monetary prizes, each of the winning schools will be invited to attend one of the Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive events. The events provide a lifetime opportunity for teens to learn critical driving techniques from professional drivers in a controlled environment.

The selection process requires students to identify significant traffic safety issues within each of their communities, including underage drinking, driving unbuckled, driving impaired and driving distracted. The teen proposals will provide information explaining how they would combat the problem and implement a teen awareness program in their school and community. A total of 105 high schools participated in the 2013-14 program.

Father Pfleger Offers Gun Turn-in to Keep Gun Issue Alive

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

First 180 people to get $100, ADIDAS shoes

By Chinta Strausberg

In an effort to eliminate the violence that has taken the lives of more than 214 people since the first of this year and wounding 1,300 others, Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger Wednesday held a press conference in an effort to continue the dialogue needed to get the guns off the streets of Chicago.

The gun turn in, which will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, August 16, 2014, at Saint Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Place, is earmarked for the first 180 people between the ages of 16-30—a group he says is most at risk. This event is just one component to Pfleger’s overall program to reduce gun violence in the community.

Pfleger is giving a $100 gift card or an ADIDAS gift card for each working gun turned in. Originally, Pfleger had offered 150 people the cash awards, but a man from Minnesota made a donation saying he was glad to “buy a gun off the street.” He can now offer the awards to the first 180 people.

“This goes along with our peace walks we hold each Friday, the Peace League held every Monday, our Block Club party which will be held Friday, August 16th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Park, 1230 West 79th Street, our GED classes and we’ve employed over 1,000 youth this summer,” said Pfleger. “We must do everything and anything to try and end this epidemic of guns and violence.”

Hoping to save a life, Pfleger made his remarks flanked by a number of people who have either known others shot or like 19-year-old gunshot survivor Ondelee Perteet, a quadriplegic due to being shot on September 5, 2009 at a birthday party on the West Side. Also supporting the gun turn in was Tonya Burch, the mother of slain 19-year-old Deonate Smith who was shot at an unauthorized Englewood block party on August 1, 2009.

Agreeing with Father Pfleger’s gun turn in was Perteet, then 14, who recalled the day he was shot by a 15-year old boy angry after his sisters had put him out of the party because of his anti-social behavior.

Referring to the shooter, Perteet said, “He went outside, sat on a fire hydrant, took out his cell phone and called up a gun.” Perteet, who is now a sophomore at Malcolm X College studying speech and communications, was shot in the face, with the bullet breaking two bones in his neck then travelling down his spine.

While the doctors said he would never walk, Perteet is proving them wrong, and his goal is to become an advocate for removing guns from the community. “These guns are tearing people apart. Put the guns down,” said Perteet who was accompanied by his mother, Deetreena Perteet.

When Pfleger looks at Perteet, he said he knows he is on the right path. “Guns, Pfleger said, “have become the first line of offense and part of America’s wardrobe.” The gun turn in is an alternative and another venue to remove the weapons from the streets.

And, for those critics who question what good would taking 180 guns off the street, Father Pfleger asked, “What are you doing”? And leading by example, Father Pfleger said, “We have over 1,000 young people working on jobs this summer.  Pfleger, who was also joined by Rev. Susan Johnson, executive director of Chicago Citizens for Change, vowed to continue his anti-violence work “until there are no more shootings…no more violence….”

Also speaking was Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. She painted a dismal picture of Illinois’ gun problem. “Over 1,000 people die every year in gun-related incidents in Illinois,” Daley said.

“In 2011, about 60 percent of those deaths were homicides and 40 percent suicides,” she told reporters. “Studies continue to show that where there are more guns there are more deaths. We see that every day in our city.”

“The risk of homicide is three times higher in homes with firearms than in homes without them, and keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide with a gun by 17 percent. While some think having a gun in their home will keep them safe, that is not true,” Daley said. “A gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self defense.”

On gun accessibility, Daley said when students in the 6th to 12th grade were asked if they know where to get a gun, 59 percent of them said they did and two-thirds said they knew where they could get one within 24-hours.

“We must do what ever we can to keep our communities, our children and our families safe from gun violence and this gun turn in is a great way to get some of these guns out of our neighborhoods,” Daley said.

Another supporter of Father Pfleger’s gun turn-in was Tonya Burch, the mother of gun shot victim Deonate Smith, 19, who was murdered on August 1, 2009, at 950 W. 51st St, at an unauthorized block party. “Two girls got into a fight and my son was shot in the back,” Burch told this reporter.

Her son was attending Daley College and had plans to join the Air Force.  A 17-year-old girl was shot but she survived; however, a bullet tore through Smith’s back shattering all of his dreams.  “We need to turn in the guns,” Burch said.

Father Pfleger’s figures came from a recent University of Chicago Crime lab study that stated:  “Gun use intensifies violence, increasing the case fatality rate in assaults,” according to Douglas J. Besharov, editor of the Policy Retrospectives.

“Gun violence substantially reduces the standard of living in a community in which it is common, and not just for the immediate victims,” the study stated.

Concluding, the study made it clear that, “Most robberies and assaults do not involve guns and most street criminals do not own a gun, despite the evident advantages to the criminal of using a gun.

“Weapon choice by violence perpetrators is influenced under some circumstances by both access to guns and by the criminal justice consequences of carrying and misusing a gun.

“Widespread gun ownership does not convey public benefit in the form of reduced residential burglary rates or home invasion robberies, perhaps because burglarizing a home with guns in it is more profitable. Guns are a valuable form of “loot,” the study said.

According to the crime lab, America has 250 million plus guns in private circulation, and because of easy access to guns, the “social costs of gun violence may be on the order of $1 million per gunshot injury.”

Father Pfleger said he continues to offer a $5,000 reward for the capture of gunrunners thanks to outside donors like business icon John Rogers and others. Pfleger made it clear that these rewards are not coming from church funds and that so far this year about 50 guns have been turned in. “You can drop off a gun at our office anytime. No questions asked,” he told reporters.

Pfleger said guns should not be easier to get than a computer and that the large gang population in Chicago proves that “we have failed. Why are young people running to the gangs…because they cannot find something else….” He said the high unemployment coupled with no education “creates a perfect storm in Chicago” for the proliferation of gun violence. He is offering another alternative for the youth.

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.

Robin Williams – A Genius Who Named Everything, Except His Own Depression

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Robin Williams - A Genius Who Named Everything, Except His Own Depression

New America Media

By Andrew Lam

Robin Williams once joked that death is “nature’s way to let you know that your table is ready.” It’s not funny now that the comedian overrode nature by grabbing the table without waiting for the maître d’. But if his suicide has any silver lining, it’s that depression and mental illness are now being talked about more openly.

In far-flung India, China and Vietnam, where mental illness, especially depression, is a taboo subject, it is now on the front pages of newspapers and TV programs reporting on Williams’ suicide.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, to a father who was an executive for Ford Motor Company and a mother who was a model, his was a childhood among toys. He grew up privileged but reportedly lonely. An overweight and bullied child, Williams played alone in a large home, and no doubt his loneliness and sadness lent themselves to invention: the need to occupy others’ lives via the act of mimicking, via the act of imagination.

So much so that it became a habit, a shield, and eventually a vocation — and his was a kind of talent that hid his own sadness by making others laugh. As a testimony to his down to earth and friendly personality, but also his ability to mimic, a Vietnamese-American friend of mine who once worked as an extra on the Good Morning Vietnam set testified that, “We had a lot of down time in between shooting in the classroom scenes. Robin Williams would learn people’s personalities over those six days and make fun of all of us based on that. I was in awe.”

But of all things Williams could talk about, or make fun of, on stage– from sex to violence, from politics to his own divorce, from his struggle with alcohol abuse to his open heart surgery, he didn’t manage to name the thing that ailed him for what it was: a mental illness, depression. Even for one of the world’s most eloquent public figures, the D word still left him tongue-tied. Saying that he was “bummed out,” in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, seemed as close as he could manage.

In Vietnamese there’s a phrase that is used to describe a rare talent, someone who has a golden tongue: “Xuat khau thanh tho.” It means to open one’s mouth and out comes poetry.

Robin Williams didn’t speak poetry but he spoke something more accessible in the modern world: the ability to provide humor at will, a rapid fire of comical ideas and observations that no script could match, taking on voices and personalities that seemed spun out of bright clouds. His was a genius rarely seen even among the best entertainers and comedians, and it brought joy and laughter and admiration for the millions.

If genius is the ability “to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm,” as Aldous Huxley once observed, it seems to be a good fit to describe Williams’ man-child persona. But F. Scott Fitzgerald’s definition of genius may have come closer to capturing what Williams’ gift was all about: “the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”

Williams’ many observations delighted the world. On Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky affair: “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.” On Canada: “…like a loft apartment over a really great party.” On his own open-heart surgery and why he afterward would cry at the drop of a hat: “I do not feel they gave me a new valve but a tiny vagina. I do not know. I’m just so emotional these days.”

But there’s often a steep price to genius. For Williams it came along on an energy driven by what seemed to be mania, and the down time of which, no doubt, was an overwhelming darkness.

But if not curable, it is treatable, with diligence. To do so, however, means breaking the silence around depression, owning up to the disease and seeking help, and sharing one’s story.

And, even for a man with a golden tongue, it’s the one thing he couldn’t articulate.

New America Media editor Andrew Lam is the author of “Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora” (Heyday Books, 2005), and “Birds of Paradise Lost,” a book of short stories.

American Rhythm Center Hosts Free Classes Sept. 8-13

Posted by Admin On August - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
5, 6, 7, 8 . . . DANCE, FREE 4 ALL!

Kicking off its third year of offering Chicago a range of dance classes at its innovative, collaborative dance/arts facility, the American Rhythm Center (ARC), a program of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), hosts a Free 4 All, six days of free dance classes on the third floor of the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Avenue. The event takes place Monday-Saturday, September 8-13, 2014.

The Free 4 All features free classes for all ability levels in a range of genres and styles, including tap, flamenco, Zumba, modern, hip hop, Tai Chi and more. Teaching the classes are professionals and young dancers representing the ARC’s community partners and other affiliated groups, including Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute, DMX Dance Company, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Esoteric Dance Project, Gang of Toes, Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, M.A.D.D. Rhythms, MPulse, Muntu Dance Theatre, Movement Revolution Dance Crew and more.

On Friday, September 12, the ARC hosts a free Improvisation Jam at 6 p.m. for modern and contemporary dancers and a free Tap Jam for hoofers and tap dancers at 8 p.m. Donations are welcome.

The ARC is Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s collaborative initiative to provide a shared, affordable and sustainable education, rehearsal and administrative facility for several leading Chicago arts organizations. The aim is to offer diverse, high-quality dance and movement classes to the general public while centralizing the education programs, rehearsal space and administrative offices of several core groups, as well as additional emerging companies and independent artists. The fall 2014 session of classes begins Monday, September 15.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Free 4 All takes place Monday-Saturday, September 8-13 at the American Rhythm Center at the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., 3rd floor. For information or an updated class schedule, visit arcchicago.org or call 312-922-1272.

Photo: Dave Rentauskas

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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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