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Archive for October 27th, 2014

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Advocates Call for Support in Chicago

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Advocates Call for Support in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and various advocates for the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy’s Law for Illinois, are raising awareness about a constitutional amendment on the 2014 General Election ballot that would give crime victims and their families the enforceable rights they deserve.  The Illinois Constitution already provides certain rights for crime victims and their families, including that they be given notice of court proceedings, the right to be present at trials and deliver victim impact statements.  But if those rights are denied, there is not a process in place for victims and their families to appeal to a higher court.  Illinois is the only state with a constitution that prohibits victims from pursuing legal remedy through an appeal.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Monday, October 27, 2014

WHERE: 15th Floor, Blue Room
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Attorney General Lisa Madigan

Sen. Heather Steans, chief sponsor of Marsy’s Law for Illinois

Rep. Lou Lang, chief sponsor of Marsy’s Law for Illinois

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, director of Marsy’s Law for Illinois

Polly Poskin, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA)

Noelle Dupuis, director of policy, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Nabilah Talib, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Parks Francis Center

Sharmili Majmudar, executive director of Rape Victim Advocates-Chicago

Maritza Reyes, director of Chicago Sexual Assault Program/Mujeres Latinas En Acción

About Marsy’s Law for Illinois (Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights)

The amendment is modeled after Marsy’s Law in California, which passed as a state constitutional amendment in 2008 and is among the strongest protections of crime victims’ rights in the country. The Illinois initiative is backed by law enforcement officials, prosecutors, victims’ rights organizations and community leaders. Please join us in standing up for crime victims and their families—support the Illinois Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. Visit www.MarsysLawForIllinois.orgfor more information.

Pastor Gerald Sconyers Throws Hat in Crowded Mayoral Ring

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Pastor Gerald Sconyers Throws Hat in Crowded Mayoral Ring
Time for new generation to bring fairness

By Chinta Strausberg

Born on the West Side of Chicago and raised in Englewood, Pastor Gerald Sconyers, who founded the River Jordan Ministeries in 2008, is collecting petitions to run for mayor because “now is the time” for new leadership from a different generation and one that won’t engage in “misuse of power.”

In an interview with this reporter, the 46-year-old Sconyers, who in 1991 was ordained by Annie R. Sconyers through New Thought Development Center, said his decision to run for mayor is predicated on his passion to serve people.

“It’s about service and ministry,” he said. “I have always had an inclination to serve,” but he was led into the ministry before he ever thought to run for mayor.

“I am passionate about people and the concerns I have for the direction the city is going in. I have an uncontrollable desire to serve humanity, and I feel now is the time.

Sconyers doesn’t believe the city of Chicago is headed in the right direction. “There needs to be a change in leadership with someone who understands we have to balance our budget but not continue to oppress” residents by “putting in these red light cameras. I feel we can do it in a better way,” he stated.

His greatest concern is the “continual misuse of governmental powers. We can find creative ways to balance our budget without adding signs and illegal taxation on the people.”

If electled, Sconyers vowed to appeal to people to come or return to Chicago because that will add to the city’s tax base without initiating “speed traps” like the controversial red light camera system.

Sconyers called the red light cameras nothing more than a “total misuse of power.”

On his decision to run for mayor, Sconyers said, “Now is the time. We have a new set of eyes on City Hall. There is a new generation to take on that responsibility and to move things forward in a more excellent way.”

Sconyers is married to Lynette and is the father of three sons.

So far, the candidates running for the office of mayor include the incumbent, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Ald. Robert Shaw, Ald. Bob Fioretti, Dr. Amara Enyia, Frederick Collins, activist William “Dock” Walls and the latest being Pastor Gerald Sconyers.

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.

Disenfranchisement News: Civil Rights Commission Reports CAll for Reform

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Disenfranchisement News: Civil Rights Commission Reports CAll for Reform

Disenfranchisement News From The Sentencing Project

Tennessee and Florida are two of eleven states that restrict people with felony convictions from voting even after they have served their prison sentence and are no longer on probation or parole. In both states, voting rights may only be restored through an individual petition or application. The Florida and Tennessee State Advisory Committees (SAC) each recently prepared reports on felony disenfranchisement to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


In 2007, former Republican Governor— and the current Democratic candidate for Governor— Charlie Crist revised Florida’s Rules of Executive Clemency to automatically restore voting rights for most people convicted of non-violent offenses. Under the revised rules, almost 25,000 people were granted clemency in 2009. “This is four times the number of persons receiving clemency in that year than the average number of clemencies on an annual basis since the mid-1990s,” reported the SAC.

However, in 2011 Florida’s new Governor—and the current Republican incumbent— Rick Scott amended the 2007 clemency rules so that the Clemency Board must again review all cases of voter restoration individually. The 2011 rules also added additional paperwork for each case, regardless of the level of offense.  At the time of this change, there were more than 95,000 cases pending review for automatic restoration.

The Florida SAC says bringing back the 2007 clemency rules would allow people who have made full restitution to participate in the democratic process, as well as assist in the successful reintegration into society.


Tennessee has some of the most complicated disenfranchisement laws in the nation. Due to a series of amendments over the past 30 years, restoration of voting rights depends upon the year a person was convicted as well as the type of offense. In 2006, new legislation was passed that greatly streamlined the process, allowing most people upon completion of their felony sentence to apply for a “certificate of restoration” from the Board of Probation and Parole. The ACLU of Tennessee noted in the SAC report though, that the burdensome multi-step paperwork and the requirement to pay all court-ordered restitution and child support fees before applying may deter many people from seeking restoration.

The Tennessee SAC recommends the General Assembly and the Governor look to states with less restrictive felony disenfranchisement laws, and remove any unnecessary barriers to restoring voting rights in order to promote successful reintegration back into society.


‘Let me Vote’ campaign spreads voting rights awareness

The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties recently teamed up with local hip hop artists to promote their ‘Let me Vote’ campaign to debunk the myth that if you’ve been to jail or prison you can’t vote. California’s new prison realignment policy, which shifts many people convicted of low-level felonies from overcrowded state prisons to local jails, has added to the confusion of who can and cannot vote.

Under realignment, individuals finishing their sentences in county jails report to county probation officers instead of state parole officers. This arrangement is called post -release community supervision (PRCS) instead of probation, and advocates view this as an “innovative community-based alternative” to parole. Current California law allows people convicted of a felony to vote after they have completed their prison sentence and any supervision required after they have been released. Individuals still on probation are allowed to vote. However, Secretary of State Debra Bowen issued a memo earlier this year saying individuals whose state sentences moved to county probation could still not vote. In May, a Superior Court ruled Bowen’s interpretation of the realignment act as unconstitutional, and the state is currently appealing the court’s decision.

As it stands now, people convicted of a felony must complete whichever form of post-prison supervision a judge assigns before they can vote.


Candidate forced to withdraw due to prior felony conviction

Candidate for Dania Beach commissioner, James Ridgely III, was forced to withdraw from the race due to a 1989 drug trafficking conviction. People convicted of a felony in Florida cannot vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office until their civil rights have been restored. According to the SunSentinel, Ridgely has been voting since 1996 and mistakenly thought his civil rights had been restored after he submitted an application in 2012 to the state’s Office of Executive Clemency. Nova Southeastern University law professor, Bob Jarvis, says people can wait as long as five years before a decision is made on rights restoration.

It’s too late to remove Ridgely’s name from the ballot, but officials say any votes cast for him will not be counted.


NAACP brings voting booths to county jails

Detroit’s NAACP branch recently organized a registration drive in three county jails, registering 360 people to vote behind bars. Michigan law prohibits individuals convicted and serving time from voting, but those awaiting trial are still eligible to vote. However, state law requires first time voters to cast their ballots in person rather than absentee. Therefore Simone Lightfoot, Voter Empowerment Coordinator for the NAACP Detroit Branch, is bringing Detroit election officials into the jails to oversee voting. Eligible voters will be able to vote in a private area, with deputies present. Wayne County sheriff Benny Napoleon says, “Getting them to vote shows them that they have a vested interest in the process and that their say counts.”


Slim chance of reform during an election year

Despite ACLU lawsuits and other efforts to reform Mississippi’s disenfranchisement laws, Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger reports that the chance of doing so any time soon is “slim to none.” In Mississippi, people with felony convictions who have finished their sentences may only regain the right to vote by executive pardon or by convincing a state legislator to personally author a bill restoring their individual voting rights. That bill then has to pass both houses of the Mississippi Legislature.

In a speech at Georgetown University Law Center earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said states in the post Reconstruction era used felony disenfranchisement laws as a strategic way to restrict African Americans from voting. According to The Sentencing Project, felony disenfranchisement affects approximately 182,000 Mississippians; of that total nearly 60% are African American. Salter reports that most Mississippians “aren’t bothered by the Reconstruction-era laws and believe that they still represent part of the punishment for crime.” So far, the Republican controlled Mississippi Legislature has expressed no interest in taking up the issue of disenfranchisement rights restoration, especially during an election year.


Judge orders voting access for people jailed the weekend before an election

U.S. District Court Judge S. Arthur Spiegel recently ruled that county election officials must allow eligible voters who are jailed the weekend before an election to vote via absentee ballot. Prior to this ruling, anyone could request an absentee ballot until the Friday before Election Day. But for people jailed in the final three days before an election, absentee voting was not permitted. In the 2012 election, this policy resulted in at least 400 voters being prohibited from voting.


New bill to cut wait time for voting rights restoration

As noted in The Washington Post, the Wyoming Joint Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill that would make it easier for people with felony convictions to regain their right to vote. Currently, individuals convicted of a non-violent first-time felony must wait five years after completing their sentence before they can apply for voting rights restoration. If passed, the new bill will get rid of the five year waiting period and help streamline the process for people convicted of certain non-violent offenses. According to the Casper Star Tribune, the bill requires the corrections department to issue certificates to people who are eligible to vote, but after January 1, 2016, the process will become automatic. The full legislature will consider the bill early next year.


Felony Disenfranchisement Infographic

As the 2014 midterm elections approach, an estimated 5.85 million Americans will be unable to exercise their voting rights due to a current or previous felony conviction. Disenfranchisement policies have potentially affected the outcomes of previous U.S. elections, particularly as disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact communities of color, leaving one in every 13 black adults voiceless in the electoral process. The Sentencing Project’s new infographic highlights rates of disenfranchisement for the total U.S. population and for African Americans in key states, including 11 states with competitive Senate races this November.

Click here for more information on felony disenfranchisement and the 2014 midterm elections.

Support The Sentencing Project

Credo Action: Tell Democratic Senators Sitting on Campaign Cash: Help us Save the Senate; Sign The Petition

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Credo Action: Tell Democratic Senators Sitting on Campaign Cash: Help us Save the Senate; Sign The Petition
Letters to Editors
Becky Bond, CREDO Action
These Democratic Senators could cost us the Senate

To Senators Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Tom Harkin, Tim Johnson and Ken Salazar:
“Together you are withholding $15 million in campaign contributions donated by political supporters to put Democrats in the Senate. Stop hoarding campaign cash and help us Save the Senate.”

Sign the petition â–º

Democratic campaign committees based in Washington DC are behind an escalating flow of dire fundraising emails to small dollar donors like you and me. But there’s a potentially game-changing pot of money available to them that’s being selfishly withheld.

The Huffington Post reports that five Democratic senators who are already retired or retiring at the end of this year are sitting on over $15 million in campaign cash that could be used to help save the Senate from takeover by Tea Party Republicans.1 What’s worse, three of them are from states with tossup races that could decide control of the Senate on November 4!

Together, these five Senators could chip in $15 million to Save the Senate.

Tell Senators Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Tom Harkin, Tim Johnson and Ken Salazar to stop hoarding campaign cash and help Save the Senate. Click here to sign the petition.

These Democratic Senators could cost us the Senate

We’re not talking about their personal money. This was money donated to them by their political supporters to put a Democrat in the Senate.

Democrat Bruce Braley is running neck-and-neck with Tea Party nightmare Joni Ernst in Iowa today where Senator Tom Harkin’s retirement has put his seat up for grabs. Sen. Harkin is sitting on $2.37 million in his campaign account — but he’s not willing to spend it to keep his seat from falling into the hands of an extreme right-wing culture warrior endorsed by Sarah Palin.

Ken Salazar, former Senator from Colorado, has $1.2 million in the bank while his fellow Colorado senator Sen. Mark Udall trails another extreme right-wing Republican Cory Gardner.

Retiring South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson has nearly a million in his campaign account while Democrat Rick Weiland is struggling to achieve a come-from-behind victory to hold South Dakota’s Democratic seat.

Montana’s former Senator Max Baucus (now ambassador to China) has over $1 million in his campaign account. And former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is sitting on nearly $10 million!

Tell Senators sitting on campaign cash to help us Save the Senate. Click here to sign the petition.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana was nearly chosen as vice presidential running mate to Barack Obama in 2008. Why would he hold out his $9.8 million when the fate of the Senate control hangs in the balance? The only explanation could be that he must still be harboring political ambitions for the presidency. If so, sitting out this election when he could help save the Senate is a mark of incredible vanity coupled with astonishing selfishness that should be taken into consideration if he runs for higher office in the future. As a conservative Democrat, Evan Bayh could take responsibility for funding Democrats in toss up races in Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas so progressives could focus their money and energy on races to promote Democrats who share our values.

Make no mistake. If Democrats lose the Senate we could see the impeachment of President Obama, attempts to ram through approval of Keystone XL, accelerated attacks on the Affordable Care Act, a complete block on all judicial appointments and a deal that would raise the Medicare eligibility age and cut Social Security benefits.

While Democratic campaign committees in Washington DC are sending out alarmist emails to activists like you and me saying that “ALL HOPE IS LOST,” there’s a better audience for their pleas — their Democratic Senatorial colleagues who are sitting on a mountain of cash that could be deployed in the closest races — including in their own states — to help save the Senate from Republican takeover.

Click the link below to sign the petition:

Thank you for taking action to help save the Senate.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Senator State Campaign cash (in millions)
Tom Harkin Iowa $2.37
Evan Bayh Indiana $9.80
Ken Salazar Colorado $1.20
Max Baucus Montana $1.08
Tim Johnson South Dakota $0.85
Total: $15.30

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
  1. Sam Stein and Paul Blumenthal, “Senate Democrats Not Running Or Already Retired Sit On $52 Million,” HuffingtonPost.com, October 23, 2014.

Tapping into the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Tapping into the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

Each month, I discuss the monthly U.S. Department of Labor jobs report on CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” and the findings are often bittersweet: economists generally feel the U.S. is making progress – yet, somehow, this improving trend continues to leave many African Americans behind.

Particularly, African-American women are the only group whose employment prospects have not improved significantly over the last year. One of the most perplexing aspects of this is that a study from the Center for American Progress found that Black women are starting businesses at a rate six times faster than the general population – making up the fastest-growing segment of women-owned businesses in America.

So, why is the unemployment rate still so unacceptably high for this group? How can we work together to fill this gap and tap into women small business owners to help solve the problem? We must access the potential of women entrepreneurs to drive job creation.

That’s why we’ve created programs like our Jobs Rebuild America initiative, which includes Entrepreneurship Centers in cities around the country that aim to power up jobs growth and improve the skills of small business owners. Our Entrepreneurship Centers are having an impact with 70 percent of the 12,000 people served each year being women, and thousands of jobs created as a result of their success. However, demand for these services far exceeds supply. With the continued support of our dedicated partners, we hope to serve many more people left behind by the economic recovery who are determined to make a better life for themselves.

Read my full op-ed on this topic as published on Oct. 22 in The Root.

City Budget Hearings: Chicagoans Have Questions About Chicago Police Militarization & Misconduct

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on City Budget Hearings: Chicagoans Have Questions About Chicago Police Militarization & Misconduct

Community organizers ask aldermen, media to get answers at Chicago Police budget hearings, likely to take place this week

CHICAGO, IL -  Organizers with We Charge Genocide (WCG), a group fighting police violence and militarization, are asking their alderpeople and the media to give voice to Chicago’s communities during the city’s budget hearings by getting answers to a series of questions they posted online. Funding the Chicago Police Department (CPD) accounts for a huge portion of city public spending: 41%, compared to the only 2% of the city budget that goes to community services, according to the 2014 City of Chicago Annual Financial Analysis. Chicago also has the most police officers per capita of any major city.

The CPD Budget hearing will be on Thursday, 10/30 at City Hall. Hearings that day begin at 9 a.m. CPD will go third, likely at around 10:30am.

Below is a set of questions community members from across the city, harshly impacted by under-funded public services and an over-funded, militarized police force, are asking alderpeople and the media to obtain answers to. Alderpeople are being encouraged by their constituents to ask these questions during the CPD budget hearings. WCG hopes the media will use these questions as well to get to the bottom of Chicago’s bloated police spending.

Militarization & Budget:

1. How does CPD determine the allocation of military-grade equipment within the department?

2. What stations or units currently possess military-grade equipment in CPD?

3. What additional training is provided to CPD officers/units/stations in possession of military-grade equipment provided through federal programs such as LESO 1033?

4. What is the total value and make-up of the military-grade equipment in CPD’s possession?

5. Can CPD, at this moment, provide a coherent explanation for the necessity of military tools on a city street?

6. What amount of the CPD budget is allocated to maintain the equipment and train officers in the use of the military-grade equipment in their possession?

7. What percentage of the budget is utilized for SWAT team training, equipment, and deployment?

8. What grants has CPD historically been awarded or applied to from the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) and its two main components, the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)?

9. Does CPD routinely and accurately collect and provide the relevant data to assess factors, such as race, gender, and age in stop-and-frisk interactions, much like New York and comparable cities do?

Additional Questions:

1. What steps are being taken to identify and investigate officers with well-documented patterns of misconduct by the IAD?

2. What resources and/or training does CPD receive from outside organizations (like the DOJ etc) on these matters?

3. Does CPD notify any oversight agency if and when CPD changes crime codes or training protocol? If so, whom? If not, why not?

4. What progress, if any, has CPD made towards fully implementing the following policies:
a. Administrative Notices of Violation (ANOVs, or issuing tickets for low-level narcotics possessions);

b. General Order G02-01-03: Interactions with Transgender, Intersex. Gender Non-conforming Individuals; and

c. Special Order S06-14-03: Responding to Incidents Involving Citizenship Status?

5. How often, if at all, does CPD review its Use of Force policies and training? And if so, what’s the nature of these reviews? What changes have resulted from these reviews?

6. What steps, if any, has CPD taken to address issues regarding the accuracy of CPD’s crime reporting raised by the Office of Inspector General and the Chicago Magazine?

7. How many officer complaints does IAD receive, both from the general public and from city offices, including IPRA,  311, OIG, and others? Why does CPD not make this data public?

a. Would CPD be willing to make its IAD investigative policies and procedures available to the public? If so, why haven’t you done so? If not, why not?

8. Does CPD notify any oversight agency if and when CPD changes crime codes, including but not limited to homicides to death investigations or homicides to assaults or aggravated assault to simple assault, etc.? If so, who? If not, why not?

9. What steps is CPD taking to reduce the amount of overtime officers work? (What is the break down for overtime of administrative / supervisors v. patrol / beat officers?)

10. The leading cause of arrest in Chicago is misdemeanor marijuana possession at 44 arrest per day. What specific policies is CPD currently implementing to end this practice?

We Charge Genocide is volunteer-run by Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in Chicago who seek to equip individuals across the city with tools to more proactively hold police accountable. In November, the group is sending six youth organizers to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, to present a report on Chicago Police violence before the Committee Against Torture. The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses, mostly by the police.

The Avenue Academy Students Honors Breast Cancer Survivors

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on The Avenue Academy Students Honors Breast Cancer Survivors

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness: The Avenue Academy is offering free beauty services to Breast Cancer Survivors and immediately family members.

Come out to Austin’s only beauty and barber school as we honor and pamper individuals for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Saturday Nov 1st 10am-2pm.

photo 4

Services are limited to one service per person and you must be rocking pink!

Refreshments and music will be provided as well as free give aways.

Services Include:
• Shampoo & blow dry
• Manicure/Pedicure
• Eye brow arch
• Style & cut

Come out and let the students of The Avenue Academy honor, pamper and spoil you! Saturday Nov 1st 10am-2pm. 5306 w. Chicago Ave.


The students and staff of The Avenue Academy are not only honoring survivors and current fighters, we’re donating all wigs created by students in efforts to simply shed a little happiness in their lives. Breast Cancer is very near and dear to our hearts and our students are using their talents to empower, uplift and motivative individuals to continue their fight and to know they are not alone.


If you are a breast cancer survivor and fighter or know someone that is, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 773-921-6990 or email us directly avenuebeautyacademy@yahoo.com and theavenueacademy@gmail.com


Illinois State Board of Education Announces the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois State Board of Education Announces the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year

Steven Elza from William Fremd High School in Township High School District 211 Named 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year

NORMAL, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education named Steven Elza, an automotive technology teacher at William Fremd High School, the 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year. One of 12 finalists, Elza was announced as this year’s top educator during Saturday night’s 40th annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet in Normal.

“Steve is an important role model both for his students, colleagues and for those individuals thinking about a career as a teacher,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “His pathway into teaching, including his experience in being mentored, is an important story for others to hear about as the field of teaching experiences decreased enrollments. As a career technical educator, he also will be able to provide much-needed insights into the preparation of students for high-paying and rewarding careers.”

Steve wasn’t interested in school until the end of his sophomore year in high school when an opportunity arose that would change his life — he was offered the chance to attend the Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) to specialize in automotive technology. The program director, Jim Krudl, became his mentor and lifelong friend. He inspired, encouraged and supported Steve as the future began to take shape. College hadn’t been a part of Steve’s plan until Krudl asked him to visit Southern Illinois University. Steve obliged and, in his words, “fell in love.” He was the first person in his family to attend college and graduate.

The idea of teaching wasn’t on his radar until Krudl again intervened and told him about an opening at the Technology Center of DuPage, where Steve had studied in high school.  Steve quickly discovered teaching was his dream job.

Steve builds relationships with his students just as his mentor, Krudl, did with students at TCD.  He’s known for his extraordinary efforts to support each student in his classroom.

“Before the end of every year, Mr. Elza has a one-to-one discussion with all of his students and helps them establish their high school exit strategy,” said Kurt Tenopir, principal at Fremd. “With freshman and seniors alike, Mr. Elza discusses what each student’s goals are and assists them in developing a plan that will provide each student with the knowledge of being as successful as they possibly can be. These life-altering discussions between Mr. Elza and his students should be administered to all students by all educators.”

A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in automotive technology, Steve also holds two Master of Education degrees from Southern and has earned numerous other certifications. Steve’s automotive technology program has achieved National Automotive Technician Education Foundation certification. Township High School District 211 is the first high school district in the state to have all of its schools achieve this distinction. Only 4 percent of all high schools in the United States achieve this certification. Additionally, Steve has led students to multiple state and national competitions, where his students have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and materials.

A former student described Steve’s teaching in this way: “From the basic automotive technology class to the weekly Auto Club, he puts his students before many other priorities and makes many sacrifices for his students. Always promoting school events and participating in any way possible, he teaches the meaning of becoming part of something bigger than yourself.”

Last year’s Teacher of the Year was Pam Reilly, a second-grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich CUSD 430.

This year, more than 230 nominations for Those Who Excel were reviewed and scored three times by a selection committee composed of administrators, teachers and school board members. Principals, faculty, parents and students submit letters on behalf of candidates as part of the nomination process.

The 12 finalists for Teacher of the Year were interviewed and videotaped, and those interviews were scored again before going to State Superintendent Koch for a final decision.

As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Steve will have opportunities to share his knowledge and expertise outside the classroom. Beginning in the 2015 spring semester, Steve will be available to speak at teaching workshops, educational conferences and community meetings. He will represent Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and in the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and ING. Steve will also receive products from SMARTer Kids.

Pro-Life African Americans March Nationwide to the Supreme Court Hoping to Bring an End to Abortion

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on Pro-Life African Americans March Nationwide to the Supreme Court Hoping to Bring an End to Abortion

Group says the leading cause of death of African Americans is abortion, and 52% of all African American pregnancies end in abortion

Pro Life African American March

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — On October 11-13, 2014, the Life Education And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), the largest African American Pro-life group in America, led a contingency of over 400 people (predominately African Americans) in demonstrations to end abortion. The demonstrations were held in Newark, NJ, Lawnside, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, District Heights, MD, and finally Washington, DC.

Their cry was “If You Love The Children Say So”, and their purpose was to denounce the Congressional Black Caucus partnering with Planned Parenthood and to invoke “National Conviction” for the 1,786 African American children killed each day by abortion.National Director Rev Johnny Hunter stated, “The last time we came to Washington DC I now see children who were being pushed in baby carriages, are now marching themselves for the rights of children in the womb, this is wonderful, I know these children represent the generation that will see abortion come to a end in their life time!”

L.E.A.R.N. protested in a similar march that led to Washington DC in 2001. Since then, over 8 million African American children have been killed by abortion. According to the group, the leading cause of death of African Americans is abortion. They say that if you were to combine the top 10 leading categories of causes of death for African Americans, it wouldn’t come to half to the amount killed by abortion. “52% of all African American pregnancies end in abortion,” they assert.

“This march represents an annual event that will be summoning African American churches and activist to be engaged in the civil rights movement to free enslaved children in the womb, children that are predominately African American. These are children that have been convicted and sentenced to die unjustly,” stated Rev Clenard H. Childress Jr, who organized the march and vows to continue the protest march to Washington, DC each year. “Its outrageous that we have Black leaders caucusing with Planned Parenthood and endorsing legislation that would no longer require a licensed physician to perform abortions, now that’s a war on women!”

Legislation has recently passed in California and is presently being championed by Governor Andrew Como in New York that purportedly greatly increases the number of abortions. It is legislation that would eliminate the requirement of abortions being performed by licensed physicians. Data proves that less physicians are willing to perform abortions. For some of these doctors citing the reason of their pledge to preserve life which is in the “Hippocratic Oath”, it is a pledge that all doctors recite upon completion of their requirements for licensing. This bill would allow lay people to perform abortions without having been licensed by the state to practice medicine.

Connie Eller, President of Missouri Blacks for Life, traveled from St. Louis to participate in the March. She stated, “The endangerment of women nationally is at an all time high. Can you imagine the carnage that is going to result in California and any other state that permits such a deplorable standard of care. Is this because predominately these will be African American women? This is racism at its worse.”

Though African American women make up 12% of the population, they account for 37% of all abortions. African Americans in the United States are presently beneath the replacement rate of the existing population. Sociologists explain that 2.2 is the required number of children per women to replace the existing number of the population. African Americans are beneath the replacement rate at 1.96 children per woman.

“Politicians and the Pulpits of Black America have betrayed its people. They have been Shepard’s leading the sheep to the slaughter,” stated Rev Luke Robinson, Senior Pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church of Fredericksburg Maryland. Rev Robinson was the keynote speaker at the rally at District Heights Church of Maryland, “Where are the leaders of righteousness and j common sense? There is no way we can continue on this path of destruction and our established leaders have failed miserably.” Rev Luke Robinson also heads The Voice Of Truth and Life Ministries of Maryland.

Rev. Ronald Tucker, Senior Pastor of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Glassboro NJ attended the march for the first time and has committed to be involved throughout the year. He has also committed his congregation and associates to the success of next year’s march. He commented, “We have to do more, I have to do more! I was deeply moved by the youth and the commitment of L.E.A.R.N. to save babies of all colors from abortion. Despise not small beginnings; we will be even better next year!”

To see pictures of the 2014 Say So March and stay informed on 2015, please go to www.SaySoMarch.com. To reach the L.E.A.R.N. network, please visit www.BlackGenocide.org or call (866) 242-4997.

TUPAC Unseen: New Book & Website Publishes Previously-Unseen Tupac Shakur Collection of Photographs & Artwork, Showing Icon in Rare New Light

Posted by Admin On October - 27 - 2014 Comments Off on TUPAC Unseen: New Book & Website Publishes Previously-Unseen Tupac Shakur Collection of Photographs & Artwork, Showing Icon in Rare New Light
Art Photographer Joel D. Levinson photographed Tupac Shakur in 1993, and used the opportunity to create thirty-six portraits that showed the human side of a superstar steeped in enigma. Over two-decades later, Levinson is finally making these ‘hidden’ portraits public via a new book and website in a project called ‘TUPAC Unseen’. To complement his original portraits, Levinson has also transposed each into a stunning piece of 2014 artwork that takes the cult hero’s image and personality to a level never seen before

Los Angeles, CA Upon meeting Tupac Shakur, Joel D. Levinson was greeted with unguarded enthusiasm and an open invitation to photograph him on an unrestricted basis. It was 1993, and the trust forged between Shakur and Levinson resulted in the creation of thirty-six bold and spellbinding portraits that show a human and compassionate side of the star that was rarely made public. Only a half dozen of these images were previously released for publication.
Twenty-years after the photographs were taken, Levinson is showcasing them to the world via a new book titled ‘TUPAC Unseen’ and its associated website.
TUPAC Unseen, is comprised of thirty-six portraits photographs Levinson made in 1993 and thirty-six original Artworks (one of each portrait, completed in 2014) each one an individual homage, for a total of seventy-two original works, less than a half dozen of which received any type of publication. It is a remarkable collection of work and quite simply the collection of Tupac photographs that illuminates his serious, meditative and friendly personality, with depth.
“I was so struck by Tupac’s natural warmth that I become obsessed with researching not only his work, but its cultural impact,” explains Levinson, who has had thirteen One Man Museum exhibitions of his work, is represented in forty-two Museum Collections in North America and Europe and in the past five years has seen over three hundred of his photographs placed in twelve Museum Collections. “I found my interest in Tupac’s work develop deeper and deeper with each month of research, and greater familiarity with his music and developed an affinity for this man and his work.  What began as a six month, purely photographic project  to publish portraits (the vast majority previously unseen and unpublished) to illuminate sides of this man I had not seen offered in any other photographs or images, initially developed into something that encompassed much more. Eventually, it extended into an eighteen month project, which further extended to four years and finally after seven years, it is being released first in an eBook.
My goal was to display a side of Tupac that was rarely seen in other photographs and artwork created during his lifetime.  Seven years later, we’re releasing something that I believe is going to expand the perception of Tupac.”
Aside from the book, Levinson is also continuing the TUPAC Unseen project via a popular and growing new website.
“We’ve just launched the site to coincide with the eBooks official release. We initially plan to use it as a virtual companion to the eBook and expand by offering two exclusive downloadable mini posters that will be added on a monthly basis along with other content. The site exists as an expanding memorial to an immortal entertainment and cultural legend. We’ll bring fans from around the world together to celebrate his achievements, enjoy his work and share perspectives on his life. he adds.
‘TUPAC Unseen’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1tkJn1F.
Visit the project’s official website, here: https://www.tupacunseen.com.
About the Author:
Joel D. Levinson was born and raised in Fairfield, CT where he attend Andrew Warde High School and attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received a BA in Communications and an MA in Visual Arts where he was awarded the The Eisner Prize for outstanding achievement in Photography.

Levinson is an Art Photographer who has had thirteen One Man Museum exhibitions of his work, is represented in forty-two Museum Collections in North America and Europe. In the past five years there has been over three hundred of his photographs placed in twelve Museum Collections. As a photographer/designer Levinson worked for many major Hollywood Movie Studios, independent film labels as well as major and independent Record Companies.

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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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