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Archive for December 2nd, 2014

Black Attorney Calls for Suspension of Ferguson, MO Prosecutor

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Black Attorney Calls for Suspension of Ferguson, MO Prosecutor

Attorney Roy Miller calls for suspension of Ferguson, MO Prosecutor

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Attorney Roy Miller of Macon, Georgia, states that “if the District Attorney was serious about getting an indictment on Darren Wilson, he would have done as usual and made an arrest. This should have been done before sending the case to the Grand Jury. Probable Cause is usually first established by the arresting officer when an arrest is made and the Grand Jury then basically agrees or disagrees. Why change actual legal procedure, just for one man?”

Miller adds: “In every criminal case that I have been involved during my 24 years of practicing criminal law, a felony arrest always happened first… before a case went to the grand jury to consider dismissal or indictment (move forward). This did not happen with officer Darren Wilson, because he was never arrested; however, other men arrested for a felony had it happen to them. Why is this important?”

He continues, “Because when an officer makes an arrest, he has already established that probable cause exists. So when it goes to a grand jury, the grand jury usually follows the sworn statement and the expert opinion of the arresting officer’s finding that probable cause exists. The grand jury should not make the first opinion on probable cause and to do so appears to be a due process violation of the United States Constitution.”

Miller continues, “By Ferguson Police not doing this, they did not expose officer Wilson to the same negative procedure in which they have placed other felony arrest suspects. Almost all the time in major felony cases, an arrest supplies to a grand jury an opinion of probable cause that they follow. If an arrest was stratigically omitted, this would be disgusting and illegal conduct for a prosecutor. I feel that the Prosecutor should be suspended immediately and investigation should begin. Integrity is at issue and possible present misconduct should be prevented. Prosecution for the murder of Michael Brown seemed to have worked hardest for the defendant.”

Attorney Roy Miller can be contacted at attorneymiller99@aol.com or (478) 978-7526

Photo: Attorney Roy Miller

NAACP Applauds St. Louis Rams Players

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on NAACP Applauds St. Louis Rams Players

Five members of the St. Louis Rams used the pregame introduction to give the ‘hands up’ gesture connected to Ferguson protesters supporting slain teen Michael Brown. In light of this action, the NAACP has released the following statement:

The NAACP applauds the St. Louis Rams players who raised their hands over their heads in the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that has become emblematic of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager was shot dead. Our nation’s athletes play an important role as activists. They wield an influence and boast a platform that can be neither overlooked nor negated. The NAACP is heartened by the fact that some of the St. Louis Rams players used their voices to send a resounding message of justice to the world. Whether we are invoking the names of John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Billie Jean King or Muhammad Ali, we know that choosing courage over comfort is never an easy decision, especially for well-known athletes. We applaud these players for their courageous gesture.

“The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement”

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on “The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement”

Disenfranchisement News

From The Sentencing Project


ACLU files lawsuit challenging voting laws

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa recently filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa, challenging the constitutionality of the state’s disenfranchisement laws that prohibit anyone convicted of any felony from voting. Earlier this year, the Iowa Supreme Court questioned whether all felonies necessarily constitute an “infamous crime,” which the Iowa Constitution states would disqualify a person from voting. The lawsuit asks the court to “declare that the Iowa Constitution prohibits the disenfranchisement of people convicted of lower-level felonies (such as non-violent drug offenses); and seeks an injunction to stop the state from bringing criminal charges against Iowans with past lower-level felonies who register to vote.”

ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kelli Jo Griffin, an Iowa woman who lost her right to vote in 2008 following a non-violent drug conviction. She was told by her lawyers that once she completed her probation in January 2013 she would be allowed to vote, which was the state’s policy under former Governor Tom Vilsack (D). According to Griffin, she didn’t know this policy had been reversed in 2011 by Governor Terry Branstad (R) when she went to cast her ballot in 2013. The state charged Griffin with voter fraud and she could have faced up to 15 years in prison. After three months and $10,000 in legal fees, the jury acquitted her of all charges, though she still remains blocked from voting under current law.

Since Governor Branstad’s felony disenfranchisement policy went into effect, an estimated 8,000 Iowans have completed their felony sentences, but only 12 have had their voting rights restored.


Advocates take action to restore voting rights on 2016 ballot

A coalition of groups prepare to launch a petition drive to get a constitutional amendment on the 2016 Florida ballot to automatically restore voting rights to people who have completed their felony sentence. The ballot measure would not apply to people who have been convicted of a murder or a felony sexual offense.

There are an estimated 1.3 million Floridians who have completed their sentences and are living in their communities. Based on an analysis by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), the recidivism among those who successfully regained their civil rights was 20.7% lower than for those who had not had their rights restored. Desmond Meade, president of the FRRC, says “The quicker you allow a person to re-integrate into society, the less likely they are to recommit crime.”

“the Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement”

In a recent New York Times commentary, Brent Staples explores the racist origins of felony disenfranchisement, and how the laws were used during the 19th and 20th century to undercut African American political power. White supremacists were very clear that excluding blacks from voting was necessary to avert the “menace of Negro domination,” Staples reports. The larger the state’s black population, the more likely the state was to pass strict laws that permanently denied people convicted of crimes from voting. He notes that neither Vermont nor Maine, with small black populations, place restrictions on people convicted of even very serious crimes.

In Think Progress, Erica Hellerstein highlights Virginia’s strategic 1876 constitutional amendment that expanded disenfranchisement to include misdemeanor theft, which black men at the time were much more vulnerable of being convicted of and whose innocence was much harder to prove. “Sometimes, sharecroppers would even go so far as to round up a group of black men in the run-up to an election and accuse them of stealing things, effectively stripping them of the right to vote.”

Ira Glasser, former ACLU Executive Director and President of the Drug Policy Alliance Board, writes in The Huffington Post that felony disenfranchisement laws didn’t have much large-scale effect until the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act were passed in the late 1960s, destroying the legal infrastructure of Jim Crow laws. At that time there were fewer than 200,000 people in federal and state prisons combined, but that number grew rapidly after 1968 and the proportion of blacks who were incarcerated grew rapidly, often for non-violent drug offenses.

North Central College Names Abiodun Goke-Pariola Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on North Central College Names Abiodun Goke-Pariola Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty

NAPERVILLE, IL — North Central College has named Dr. Abiodun “GP” Goke-Pariola its next Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

Dr. Goke-Pariola will begin his new role at North Central College on July 1 after serving most recently as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

“I was very impressed by the thoughtful engagement of the people I met during my campus visit—from the trustees, alumni and students, to my future faculty and staff colleagues. I am honored by the invitation to join this truly remarkable community,” Dr. Goke-Pariola said.

Prior to his role at Otterbein University, Dr. Goke-Pariola served as dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Berry College in Rome, Ga. as assistant vice president for academic affairs, and director of the Center for Africana Studies at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.

“Dr. Goke-Pariola brings to North Central College a wealth of experience in faculty recruitment and development and a record of impact in the area of student-centered learning and outcomes in a liberal arts setting,” North Central College President Dr. Troy D. Hammond said. “GP’s bold and innovative leadership will be a tremendous asset as North Central looks toward its brilliant future.”

He completed his undergraduate degree in English in 1974 and his M.Phil/Ph.D. coursework in 1976, both at the University of Ife—now Obafemi Awolowo University—in Nigeria. He earned a doctor of arts in English language and literature from the University of Michigan in 1982.

The Nigerian native has authored more than 30 articles, book chapters and a book in the field of political sociology of language. He has engaged in conversations about higher education on a national level through regular participation in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) national conferences. He has successfully led the pursuit of several grants throughout his 39-year academic career.

Dr. Goke-Pariola believes the role of liberal arts colleges like North Central is to prepare graduates to meet the needs of employers through advanced, contextual and interdisciplinary learning in broad education areas. Development of critical thinking skills, co-curricular experiences and programs that emphasize global knowledge are among the key tenets of outcomes-based, student-centered learning, he says.

Among his professional honors and distinctions, Dr. Goke-Pariola was awarded an American Council on Education (ACE) fellowship and a Georgia Southern University Black Students Association/NAACP Essence

Distinguished Service Award for Faculty.

Dr. Goke-Pariola and his wife Jennie Smith-Pariola are parents of two daughters, Segi and Simi. Dr. Goke-Pariola also has three older children: Ola, Fola, and Rola.

He will succeed Dr. R. Devadoss Pandian, who is retiring as North Central’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. Pandian has been the College’s chief academic officer since 1995.

Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in seven areas. Located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live”—North Central College is just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop. With more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to learn more.

Cook County, Illinois Files Fair Housing Act Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo & Co. for Predatory and Discriminatory Mortgage Lending & Foreclosure Practices

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Cook County, Illinois Files Fair Housing Act Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo & Co. for Predatory and Discriminatory Mortgage Lending & Foreclosure Practices
Cook County Minority Communities Devastated by Foreclosures

On Friday, November 28, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez filed a federal Fair Housing Act lawsuit on behalf of Cook County against Wells Fargo & Co., Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and their subsidiaries and affiliates including the former Wachovia Corporation.  The lawsuit alleges that defendants’ predatory and discriminatory mortgage lending, servicing and foreclosure activities are part of a broad “equity stripping” practice that continues to this day and, in part, led to the foreclosure crisis in Cook County and elsewhere.At issue are over 55,000 potentially predatory and discriminatory mortgage loans Wells Fargo is now responsible for that it, and its affiliates, made to minority borrowers in Cook County since January 2000.  This includes many “Pick-A-Payment” loans made by Wachovia and World Savings Bank, among others.

Wells Fargo and its affiliates are responsible for over 26,700 foreclosure filings on homeowners in Cook County from January 2000 through August of this year.  Over 18,900 of those filings – 71 percent — are concentrated in Cook County’s minority neighborhoods and communities as depicted on the attached GIS map.  In contrast, just 22.6% of all owner-occupied homes in Cook County are owned by minorities.

The County is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages for the resulting harm that the defendants caused.  This includes the segregative effect on Plaintiff’s minority communities and neighborhoods, leading to urban blight; the reallocation of Plaintiff’s limited financial and human resources to address the harms defendants’ actions have caused; and the monetary damages that the County has sustained, including the erosion of its tax base, loss of property tax and other revenue sources, and the costs incurred relating to abandoned or vacant properties.

“The predatory lending crisis has caused tremendous tangible and intangible damage, particularly to African American and Latino communities in Cook County,” President Preckwinkle said. “Predatory lending continues to exist in Cook County and the lending institutions engaged in such practices must be held accountable.”

“It is our intent that this lawsuit, along with the two previously filed against other lenders, will eradicate  the harmful and discriminatory lending practices that have devastated so many homeowners in Cook County, particularly those targeting minorities and women,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

“Wells Fargo’s alleged predatory and discriminatory mortgage lending, servicing and foreclosure practices adversely impact all of Cook County.  But they have had a particularly devastating effect on minority communities that have been the focus of such activities, particularly including African American women,” said Jim Evangelista, a partner with the law firm of Harris Penn Lowry, LLP which represents Cook County.  James Montgomery, of James D. Montgomery & Associates, Ltd., who also represents Cook County, stated that “Wells Fargo continues to strip equity from minority homeowners and minority communities in Cook County.  The County holds Wells Fargo accountable for such actions.”

Earlier this year, Cook County filed similar lawsuits against HSBC North America Holdings, Inc., and against Bank of America, which also is responsible for mortgage loans made by Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.

UN Committee Against Torture Supports Passage of the Torture Reparations Ordinance

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on UN Committee Against Torture Supports Passage of the Torture Reparations Ordinance

CHICAGO, IL — On Friday, November 28, 2014, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) condemned the U.S. Government and the City of Chicago for failing to provide sufficient redress to those who were tortured by notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and the detectives under his command.  This is the second time in eight years that the UN Committee has condemned the U.S. Government for failing to fulfill its obligations under the Convention Against Torture with respect to the Burge torture cases.

Last week the UN Committee noted that the “vast majority of those tortured,” most of who are African American, “have received no compensation for the extensive injuries they suffered.” (see Paragraph 26).  The UN Committee called on the U.S. Government to provide redress to the Burge torture survivors by supporting the passage of the Ordinance seeking Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors that is currently pending in Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee.

In May of 2006, the UN Committee had addressed the Burge torture cases and condemned the “limited investigation and lack of prosecution.” It called on the U.S. Government to “bring the perpetrators to justice.”

In June 2010, Burge was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for falsely denying that he and others engaged in acts of torture. He was sentenced to serve 4 ½ years in prison. In October 2014, Burge was released from federal prison after serving less than 3 ½ years.

In its most recent findings, the UN Committee also noted that the U.S. Government failed to prosecute any other officers responsible for torture under Burge’s regime because federal authorities allowed the statute of limitations to expire.

The UN Committee also cited its concerns about police militarization, racial profiling, and reports of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against African American and Latino youth, immigrants and LGBTI individuals.  In response to “We Charge Genocide,” who submitted a Shadow Report and sent an impressive delegation of youth of color to Geneva, Switzerland, the UN Committee noted is particular concern regarding “police violence in Chicago, especially against African-American and Latino young people who are allegedly being consistently profiled, harassed and subjected to excessive force by Chicago Police.”  The UN Committee also expressed “deep concern” about frequent and recurrent shootings and fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals, and the appalling use of tasers resulting in death, including the tragic death of Dominique Franklin, Jr. in Chicago and the “alleged difficulties” of holding police officers accountable for such abuses.  All of these issues and concerns were raised by the We Charge Genocide delegation.  Monica James, an organizer with the Tranformative Justice Law Project from Chicago, also testified at the hearing regarding police profiling and torturous prison conditions transgender women of color face nationwide in the U.S.

If passed by the Chicago City Council, the Ordinance seeking Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors would be an important step towards U.S. compliance with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

The Ordinance would serve as a formal apology to the survivors; create a Commission to administer financial compensation to the survivors; create a medical, psychological, and vocational center on the south side of Chicago; provide free enrollment in City Colleges to the survivors; require Chicago Public Schools to teach a history lesson about the cases; require the City to fund public memorials about the cases; and set aside $20 million to finance this redress ­- the same amount of money the City has spent to defend Burge, other detectives and former Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Chicago Police torture cases.

Chicago City Council Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard B. Brookins (21st Ward) filed the Ordinance in Chicago’s City Council on October 16, 2013.  The Ordinance is now supported by a total of 26 Aldermen and women.

Over 110 African American and Latino men and women were subjected to torture that was racially motivated and included electric shocks, mock executions, suffocation and beatings by Burge and his subordinates.  Scores of Chicago police torture survivors continue to suffer from the psychological effects of the torture they endured without any compensation, assistance, and they have no legal recourse for any redress.

CTJM submitted a shadow report on the Burge torture cases in conjunction with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights to the UN Committee.  Amnesty International, USA and Black People Against Police Torture & the National Conference of Black Lawyers also submitted shadow reports to the UN CAT on the Burge torture cases seeking redress for the torture survivors.  Shubra Ohri, a CTJM member and attorney at the People’s Law Office, attended the UN CAT’s review of the U.S. Government this past November.  In May of 2006 Joey Mogul, co-founder of CTJM and partner at the People’s Law Office, attended the UN CAT’s review of the U.S. Government and presented evidence on the Burge torture cases.

For More Information: Joey Mogul or Shubra Ohri, 773-235-0070

Ayotzinapa Letter of Demands Delivered to Mexican Consulate Chicago

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Ayotzinapa Letter of Demands Delivered to Mexican Consulate Chicago

Justice for Ayotzinapa-Chicago Committee

The people’s movement in Mexico has called upon the  people in Mexico and throughout the world to commemorate the 2nd year anniversary of President Pena Nieto’s regime by demanding his resignation and impeachment as President of Mexico. So as the “northern-most city in Mexico,” we the Mexicanos in Chicago will deliver our manifesto to the Consul drawn up by the Justice in Ayotzinapa-Chicago committee and invite the press to join us. This conference will be bilingual English-Spanish. This action is being done in coordination with the Comite Nacional Ayotzinapa.
For more information, phone 847-772-8448

Give & Tell: Show Off Your Participation; Make a Donation to the National Urban League

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Give & Tell: Show Off Your Participation; Make a Donation to the National Urban League

“When you learn, teach. When you get, GIVE.” – Dr. Maya Angelou

Last week National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial shared how, with your help, “Together We Can Change Lives” — a promise to get one step closer to our four Empowerment Goals.

Today, on #GivingTuesday, we ask that you join us in celebrating the power of giving by making a donation to the National Urban League. Our assistance with fighting injustices, and confronting job losses and discrimination are needed more than ever before. Your gift will help us maximize our impact.

Last year, with the generous support of our donors, we were able to:

  • Provide service learning, historical & cultural literacy, and mentoring to 2,375 students across affiliates nationwide through Urban League Project Ready
  • Provide a combined 43,600 hours of business counseling and training services to almost 11,600 clients, and create/save 1,180 jobs.
  • Ensure equitable engagement of African American and other communities of color in the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Serve approximately 7,000 homeowners and nearly 30,000 clients across the counseling network of 33 affiliates with housing counseling (62% avoided foreclosure).>>Learn more
Help us change even more lives with your donation on #GivingTuesday.
Make a donation on #GivingTuesday, and tell a friend how you are helping to change lives in historically underserved communities.

Below are four graphics that support our 2025 Empowerment Goals and can be shared with your network. (Click to enlarge & download.)

About the National Urban League:

Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, the National Urban League has affiliates serving 300 communities, in 35 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.

Unacceptable, 1.6 Million Homeless Youth in America

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Unacceptable, 1.6 Million Homeless Youth in America
Tell President Obama to Invest In Kids in His Budget! Sign The Petition
Improving the well-being of a child has a ripple effect that exponentially benefits not only the future of the child, but the future of their community. Investing in better nutrition and health care, for example, can help children perform better in school and pass these gains on to their children. Will you step up to help empower children to reach their potential?
Nearly 60 million school-aged children around the world are not in primary school–these are 60 million children whose futures are being squandered without proper investment in their education. Even here at home, 1.6 million young people are estimated to be homeless. It is vital to future of our nation and our world that the US make investing in children a top priority.
Thank you,
The Care2 Petitions Team Kelsey Dean
The Care2 Petitions Team

50-Year-Old Harlem Community Center Faces Foreclosure Due to Developer Fraud

Posted by Admin On December - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on 50-Year-Old Harlem Community Center Faces Foreclosure Due to Developer Fraud

73-Year-Old Pastor Shirley Holmes Sulton feverishly raising $15 Million to meet January 5th deadline.

Shirley Sulton

Developers demand $15 million to keep Harlem church open. 73-Year-Old Shirley Sulton fights to save her church/community center after 50 years of service.

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — The Prison Policy Initiative released a report which revealed that nearly 2.4 million people are currently serving time in prison. If the judicial system has set firm standard for punishing those who contribute to the destruction of our society, why isn’t there a set standard for rewarding those who do good deeds in our society?

Shirley Holmes Sulton, the 73-year-old Pastor of Samuel’s Temple Church in Harlem sincerely wonders the same thing. Facing foreclosure due to a corrupt developer and failed bank deal, Sulton has been notified that she has until January 5th to raise $15 million or she will lose the 50-year-old ministry that has been a staple in Harlem since President Kennedy was in office.

Located at 75 East 125th Street in the heart of Harlem, Samuel’s Temple Church has helped tens of thousands of people who travel from every borough to seek assistance from Sulton and her volunteer staff. The 70,000 square foot church has fed thousands of families, offered after school programs and tutoring, opened up the first 24 hour nursery in Manhattan and served as a homeless and battered womens shelter among a plethora of other services without any federal funding, grants or large monetary donations to date.

Sulton, standing tall at 4 feet- 11 inches, is well into the age range where she should be enjoying a life of peace during retirement yet she continues to work tirelessly to serve her community, recently going back to work as a public school teacher at TAPCO School to help raise funds to keep her church open.

According to researchers, taxpayers shell out $39 billion dollars to keep prisons operating. If punishment is a multi-billion dollar industry, what more can we do to help women like Sulton who provide emotional and spiritual healing as well as support for countless families in need of assistance?

“Right now all I want to do is continue the work I began 50 years ago. Its not my time to stop. Not yet,” Sulton says.

Sulton has created a Twitter party to rally support for her mission. Organized by the hashtag #RewardGoodDeeds, Sulton has set up a #RewardGoodDeeds fund to save her church. She is asking the public to donate to her fund by visiting www.stcnyc.org and then tweeting her hashtag #RewardGoodDeeds to help dispel the myth that violence and crime are the only newsworthy media items.

“If you have ever had someone offer you a helping hand and you believe they should be honored just as much as we focus on punishing others, please tweet #RewardGoodDeeds and donate to my fund,” Sulton asks. “There really are good people in this world who work to help others. Let’s honor them.”

To Help Save Samuel’s Temple Church, donate by phone at 1-800-372-3590

Donate online: www.stcnyc.org

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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