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Archive for February 13th, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Urges Supreme Court to Address Voter ID as Issue of National Priority

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Congressional Black Caucus Files Amicus Brief in Case Against Wisconsin’s Restrictive Voting Law

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging justices to hear a case filed by the Advancement Project against Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law.

In 2011, Wisconsin passed a state voter ID law that required voters to provide identification at the polls. A federal judge later ruled the law as unconstitutional on the grounds that it disproportionately affected African American and Hispanic residents. Over the following two years, Advancement Project challenged the discriminatory law on behalf of African-American and Latino plaintiffs under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2014, the Supreme Court blocked the Wisconsin law after the state failed to show that it was able to implement the law and properly issue IDs to thousands of voters in time for Election Day. However, the law will take effect for future elections and will have national repercussions unless the Supreme Court accepts the case.

“Photo voter ID laws significantly impact all voters but especially place burdens on African Americans, Latino Americans, young voters, seniors, women and individuals with disabilities,” said CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield speaking on behalf of the 46 member caucus. “Many of us led the fight to end the practice of voter disenfranchisement 50 years ago, and we cannot afford to standby and do nothing while historical advancements in equality and fairness are reversed with laws such as Wisconsin’s discriminatory voting practice which, if allowed, will open the floodgates across the country to silence many American voices by making it increasingly harder for all citizens to vote and have a say in America’s democratic process,” he concluded.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus were joined in this effort by the following groups:

·       National Council of La Raza

·       Latino Justice PRLDEF

·       Hispanic National Bar Association

·       National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

·       Hispanic Federation

·       League of Women Voters

·       American Association of Persons with Disabilities

·       OurTime.org

·       Rock the Vote

·       Color of Change

·       The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School

·       The Civil Rights Clinic at Howard Law School

·       One Wisconsin

To view the amici briefs, visit http://advancementproject.org/pages/wi-scotus-amici-curiae

Chicago Mayoral Candidates Band Together to End Big Money in Elections

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

(From Common Cause Illinois)

Every candidate backs Fair Elections Illinois ballot measure to reshape Chicago politics

CHICAGO, IL – All five of the city’s mayoral candidates stood up today against the corrupt influence of special interest donors by endorsing the Fair Elections ballot measure aimed at putting elections back in the hands of voters and changing the shape of every Chicago election for generations to come.

“Our mayoral candidates are standing behind the one thing on the ballot that has the capacity to change the entire face of politics in the city of Chicago for generations, and that’s our Fair Elections question,” said Rey López-Calderón, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois. “No matter whom you’re voting for, in this race or any other, voting YES for Fair Elections is the one way you can ensure every race, now and for years to come, is decided by the people, not special interests.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Robert Fioretti, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, William “Dock” Walls and Willie Wilson endorsed the Fair Elections Illinois ballot measure led by Common Cause Illinois, which asks voters whether the City and State should create a campaign financing system through small donors and limited public funds.

Passage of similar small donor match campaign finance systems in other cities, like New York City and Los Angeles, has helped stem the tide of dark money and Super PAC donations that have flooded elections since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Chicago’s ballot measure is the first step toward ensuring we can join other cities and states across the country intent on ensuring voters – not corporate donors and lobbyists – choose our elected officials.

Common Cause Illinois and its partner organizations across the nation are working on multiple fronts to stop the influence of big money in elections, including pressuring state and federal lawmakers to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Big money has long dominated our elections, and the problem has severely worsened since the decision in 2010 allowed corporations and groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on our elections. In 2012,

“independent” groups spent about $1 billion on elections, much of it from anonymous individuals and corporations.

The Fair Elections Illinois ballot measure will send an important message to both lawmakers and special interests that Chicagoans want their elections decided by ballot boxes, not check books, and they are ready for a campaign finance system and laws that protect their democratic rights.

Jesse, Pfleger to Little League International: “Repeal the JRW Decision”

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

“Our kids are not cheaters”

By Chinta Strausberg


Angered at the Little League International’s stripping the Jackie Robinson West (JRW) team of its Little League U.S. title for allegedly violating residency rules just to create a super team, Father Michael L. Pfleger and Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Wednesday called for an investigation into the charges and an appeal of that ruling.

Jackson held a press conference at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 930 E. 50th St., where he was joined by Pfleger, the JRW team and their parents.

Later that night during his monthly Parish Council meeting held at Saint Sabina, Pfleger announced that Mayor Emanuel has asked the Little League International  President/CEO Stephen Keener to reverse this decision.

Calling the JRW team “a class act,” Pfleger said, “I am getting an enormous amount of flak and hate calls…,” he said because he thinks race was a factor in the stripping of the title from the JRW team. “I know this is America where racism is alive…. It was disturbing to me that this Evergreen Park man (Chris James) was obsessed with this for six-months.

“He went through driving records, checked out cars, followed cars, and took down license plates. He was obsessed with this,” Pfleger said of James. “The team of investigators twice…both time said the allegations were unfounded but he continued to stalk on this and the international league took away the title….

“It is amazing to me that every time our young black man rise up, people want to tear them down,” said Pfleger. He isn’t happy about black kids having to prove themselves either. “I believe race is in it.”

Pfleger said the same litmus test should be conducted on the north side team as the south side team. Pfleger is upset that the international league had several options it could have taken including fining or suspending the adults “but they went right after the kids,” he said. “The kids did not cheat….

“They are still winners,” said Pfleger. “They are a class act. They walk with dignity and maturity, sportsmanship and talent. They did what most folks couldn’t do in Chicago. They brought everybody together.”

Calling on the league to reverse its decision, Pfleger called for all 16 teams to undergo the same scrutiny as the JRW. Pfleger said one of the JRW members lives in Dolton. He lives with his grandmother. He spends some time with his mother and one boy had nine different addresses. “’Which address are they going on”? “We want all 16 teams to be investigated with the same scrutiny.” “These kids deserve better.”

The man responsible for the demise of the JRW was Chris James, vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association, who is white and allegedly married to a black woman and is the father of four, denies his motives were racial. “That’s the furthest from the truth,” he told a WGN-TV reporter. James had lost 43-2 against JRW prompting some critics to call him a “sore loser.” James said his team consists of African Americans and Hispanic players.

It was James who filed a complaint against JRW with the Little League International accusing the players of living outside of league boundaries. James told WGN-TV since he blew the whistle on JRW; he has allegedly received death threats prompting police to assign a car in front of his home.

While James said race was not his motive in filing a complaint against the JRW team, Pfleger disagreed saying, “Sorry, but I live in America. Maybe I’m tainted by that but I believe that and I believe that race is in the midst of this thing,” he said at PUSH.

Pfleger said unlike other communities in Chicago, there are no parks or baseball fields in the black community. Pfleger said the mayor was ready to build an indoor baseball facility in the African American community but it’s now on hold thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner who has cut anti-violence and after school programs even though Pfleger said the comptroller under Rauner’s administration said the funds were earmarked for their programs.

Pfleger urged everyone to call Gov. Rauner at 312.814.2121 and ask him to release those funds for the youth.

The head of the Little League International, Mr. Keener, issued a statement saying: “As painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program.”

During an interview with WVON’s Cliff Kelley, Rev. Jackson said, “The parents said they were never asked about anything except their ID and where they stay. One kid couldn’t put down an address because he was homeless… We must affirm our children.”

Jackson said many parents learned about the stripping of their title while driving their children to school. “If a child was playing over age, that would be an issue…. There are no parks for kids this age to play. They come from all over to play but they never discuss from them the prerequisites to play…,” said Jackson.

With a string of victories and few losses, on August 23, 2014, the JRW team defeated Nevada 7-5 and won the U.S. Little League title; however, they lost the Little League World Series championship game to South Korea in an 8-4 defeat.

Still the JRW won the attention of the entire world not just with their athletic skills but their mannerism and good sportsmanship. They even got a personal call from President Barack Obama and a citywide parade by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Earlier, the mayor said, “I called the president of the International Association of the Little League and asked him personally to reverse this decision. I said that the kids who played revealed their character on the field and they revealed their character off the field. Putting recriminations aside, do not forget the kids…. It’s a reason they captured not just this city. They captured the country. They’re true pro’s…,” Emanuel said during a mayoral forum held at Columbia College.

Earlier, Emanuel issued a statement saying, “These remarkable boys brought our entire city together and reminded all Chicagoans how important it is to support our children. They created memories that will last a lifetime and nothing will take that away, and they showed the nation their character both on and off the field. The city remains united in its support of these great children and in our hearts. They will always be champions in Chicago.”

Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who has supported the JRW team for more than 20-years, said, “It’s a sad day when kids have to pay the price for adults undermining the rules of fair play. Children are more important than rules. The Jackie Robinson kids earned their title with talent and grace.”

Wilson held a press conference Wednesday at his home, 345 E. Wacker Blvd., where he will present the special Black History Month trophy Friday, February 13th at the Jackie Robinson Park, 10540 South Morgan.

“As a former little league player from Chicago’s south side myself, I was saddened to learn the news today of the JRW title,’ said mayoral hopeful Ald. Bob Fioretti. “Those young men demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and teamwork and are still fine examples for other young people to follow.

“They should hold their heads high. It is unfortunate that the grownups didn’t follow directions and now the team members are paying the price.  In that, there is a lesson for all of us to play fair and follow the rules,” said Fioretti.

Senator Collins weighed in on the issue saying, “If the adults made the error, the children should not be punished. The children fulfilled their obligation in playing on the field. I think this rule that is established here is archaic and they should look towards repealing it. Most children of African American descent have various living arrangements because of divorce, separations, raised by grandparents. Some of those restrictions don’t apply.

“I think these special circumstances should be taken into consideration, but the punishment was overly punitive in reference to punishing our children. It deflates their egos. It diminishes their self-esteem. It beats up on them when they did everything right. If the adults are culpable, they are the ones who should be suspended or fined,” said Collins.

She pointed to the Patriots as an example. “They had a (scandal) of deflating the football; yet they still were allowed to play in the Super Bowl. We’ve had these athletes who had hormone injections and steroids, and they were never penalized. There’s no equivalency here. Breaking a rule is not cheating,” Senator Collins said.

Even White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest chimed in saying their losing their title in no way takes away the fact that they “performed brilliantly on the baseball diamond.” “The president is still proud of the JRW team.”

So is the Mint Clothing Store located at 1058 West Taylor Street in Chicago where Marco DiPaolo, the owner, is having a hard time keeping up with orders for his new JRW T-shirts that say, “still champions.” He told DNAinfo and WGN-TV, “The kids were just playing baseball. They weren’t doing anything wrong. They are still champions in everyone in Chicago’s eyes.”

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.

Chicago Police Sued to Produce Key Investigative Records

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Despite history of improperly withholding “street files” from criminal defendants, CPD tries to keep information secret under FOIA that could lead to exonerations


For years, the Chicago Police Department hid from criminal defendants potentially exculpatory information in secret unofficial “street files.”  In response to widespread criticism of this practice, CPD changed its policies to require that the detective notes previously kept in street files be kept in “General Progress Reports” and made part of the official records of an investigation.

Against this backdrop, James Walker and Jeff Boyd, both incarcerated for more than 25 years, used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to seek copies of CPD’s investigative files related to the 30-year-old homicide investigations that led to their convictions.  But CPD refused to produce General Progress Reports from those files, claiming that they are exempt from disclosure as “opinions” expressed during the “deliberative process” of an investigation.

“CPD’s claim is a perversion of this exemption,” said Loevy & Loevy FOIA attorney Matt Topic.  “The exemption is very limited, and applies only to the expression of opinions during the give-and-take of deliberations over a policy decision, not a detective’s notes of factual information gathered during an investigation.  It is meant to protect policymakers from deliberating in a fishbowl, not detectives who are supposed to be neutrally recording all of the relevant facts.”

“How many men and women were convicted of crimes without seeing the underlying investigative documents?” asks Attorney Candace Gorman. “And now that the existence of these investigative files has come to light, the City wants to continue to withhold the most important documents from these files. This policy has to be stopped.”

A copy of the complaint is available here.

For more information, contact:

Matt Topic, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 773.368.8812, matt@loevy.com

Candace Gorman, Law Offices of C. Candace Gorman, 312.441.0919, hcgorman1@gmail.com

Alabama Senator Hank Sanders Pens Open Letter to Faith and Politics Institute Concerning 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and Selma to Montgomery March

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Obama Speaking in Selma, Alabama

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Congressman John Lewis shocked the organizers of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee that commemorates “Bloody Sunday” and the Selma to Montgomery march, when he told media outlets on February 8th that this years 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march should reflect the dignity of the original event, which is why he arranged for President Barack Obama to visit the day before the sacred Bloody Sunday march reenactment.

In response to this, Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders, wrote the following open letter:
An Open Letter to Faith and Politics Institute Concerning “Bloody Sunday”

Dear Faith and Politics:

I appreciate your bringing a group of congresspersons and other dignitaries each year to Selma and other places in Alabama for Bloody Sunday and related events. Every person in a leadership position ought to have this experience so that they may better understand how the right to vote was forged with blood and lost lives and suffering and sacrifice and struggle. Thank you for exposing these dignitaries to this historic and sacred struggle. We welcome you and all. We are especially glad that President Barack Obama is coming for we also invited him and the First Family.

Faith and Politics, I am extremely concerned. I considered writing you on several occasions but held back. However, after Representative John Lewis talked to a reporter, who then contacted me, I had to write. Other leaders of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee have written you in years past, but you never answered a single letter. I do not expect an answer to this letter, so I am making it an open letter.

The Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It should be a time of great unity, but you have shattered that possibility. The great challenges to the right to vote also demand unity. These challenges include the gutting of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act; the wave of voter photo ID laws, which are modern-day poll taxes; the proof of citizenship laws, which are modern-day literacy tests; and the many and varied other schemes that suppress and deny the right to vote. We should be united, but your actions divide us.

This Commemoration must be more than a celebration. Many workshops and other activities were scheduled for Saturday, March 7th, to forge a more effective effort to restore the Voting Rights Act and expand voting rights generally. Your actions disrupted these critical work sessions.

The reporter I mentioned, Mary Orndorff Troyan, said one of the reasons you wanted a march on Saturday was to ensure that it was a dignified march. Faith and Politics, the Bloody Sunday March has been reenacted each year since the seventies. No one has ever said that it was not dignified. Was the Bloody Sunday March not dignified when President Bill Clinton came to Selma in 2000, as a sitting president, for the 35th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday? Was the March not dignified when President Barack Obama came as Senator Obama to Selma on Bloody Sunday in 2007? Was the March not dignified when Vice President Joe Biden came in 2013?

Over the years, many leaders have come to Selma on their own to participate in this sacred pilgrimage not seeking glory or status. These include members of the Kennedy family, other prominent political and social leaders, and many more. Were the Marches not dignified when these leaders made the pilgrimage to participate in the Bloody Sunday March? Your actions cannot be about the dignity of Bloody Sunday, for if they were, you would not be having another march on a day other than Bloody Sunday.

I recall that some years ago Faith and Politics asked representatives of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee to come to Washington, D.C. to meet. You paid for their tickets, hotel rooms and other expenses, and they came. You proposed taking over the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. In response, we proposed that Faith and Politics co-sponsor the Bridge Crossing Jubilee along with the National Voting Rights Museum, SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) and other organizations. You said that you would only be a sponsor if you could be the sole sponsor. You conveyed the impression that we were not competent, and that is why you had to do it by yourself. This was not about faith or service or competence. It was about power and politics and control.

Even though we are volunteers, those of us who have led the Commemoration of Bloody Sunday for 40-plus years have been competent enough not only to accomplish the event each year, but to grow it into the largest Civil Rights Event in the country and, according to a national publication, one of the 100 greatest national tourist events. Your actions do not seem to be about competence but about control, power and politics.

The reporter told me that Congressman John Lewis said that certain unnamed national leaders tried to get into the front lines last year. One of those leaders was SCLC National President Charles Steele. I want to remind you that SCLC was the sole sponsor of the original Bloody Sunday March in 1965 and has been a co-sponsor of the Bloody Sunday March Reenactments since the seventies. The President of this organization certainly has a right to be among those on the front lines. SCLC President Steele told me that last year Faith and Politics tried to stop him and his wife Annette from getting on the front lines. When they entered the lines anyway, Congressman Lewis pointed his finger and said, This will not happen again. I will get another venue next year. Now we see what that venue is.

I am sorry to say that the issue of who will be among those on the front lines has recently become a bone of contention. Faith and Politics has insisted that only members of the Faith and Politics delegation be on the front lines. We have insisted that some of the nearly 600 other individuals who were also on the Bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965 be included. In 2013 when Vice President Biden was here, Faith and Politics wanted to allot only 30 places for survivors of Bloody Sunday with 270 places for members of their delegation, including congressional staff members. When an agreement was worked out that it would be half and half, Faith and Politics then had the Secret Service give virtually every place to members of the Faith and Politics delegation. It seems that you value status, power and money far more than you value blood, sacrifice, struggle and history.

Commemoration of Bloody Sunday is big enough for everyone. It has grown from a few of us crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the afternoon of Bloody Sunday in the seventies to about fifty events over five days each year. Your actions do not seem to be about dignity or competence but about power and politics and control.

In the 17 or so years that Faith and Politics has been coming to the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, not once have you organized a March or contributed in any way. You raise millions of dollars by claiming to sponsor the Bloody Sunday March but never paid for even a chair, a porto-toilet, water or anything else. You never organized other people to come if they were not in your delegation. You just show up and insist on privilege even though you refused to be a co-sponsor because you could not be the sole sponsor. This is about your privilege and power. Bloody Sunday is about sacredness, sacrifice and struggle.

It appears to me that Faith and Politics has set out to not only diminish but to destroy Bloody Sunday. You not only scheduled another march on Saturday in Selma but you scheduled a march and rally in Montgomery on Sunday during the afternoon when the sacred Bloody Sunday March takes place in Selma. It would have been so simple to hold your events in Montgomery on Saturday and join the events in Selma on Sunday. However, the arrogance of power has caused you to try to diminish the sacred Bloody Sunday March and Commemoration and change history.

Faith and Politics, you are not even representative of the struggle. From viewing your web page earlier this year, the makeup of your Board appears to be 14 Whites and two African Americans, including the Chief of Staff of Congressman John Lewis, who is a member emeritus. This is the organization that insisted on being the sole sponsor of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and the Bloody Sunday events. This is the organization that is insisting on moving Bloody Sunday to Saturday after 40-plus years of commemoration on Sunday. This is the organization that has not contributed anything to organizing these events over the years. Sadly, I do not see the exercise of faith in your actions but only the force of power and politics.

I hope that you will reflect on the facts I have shared in this open letter and on the history of Bloody Sunday from 1965 to the present. It took great faith and courage for all of those nearly 600 people to face the great dangers that awaited them at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in order to fight for the right to vote. It will require great faith and courage today to restore these same rights that were won in 1965 only to be lost in 2013.

Sincerely,
Hank Sanders
Alabama State Senator

Photo Caption: President Obama speaking in 2007 at the Bridge Crossing Jubilee’s King Unity Breakfast in Selma, Alabama


Albert Einstein Endorses Black History Month?

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Albert Einstein

By Kane Kinnebrew III


Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — In 1948, Albert Einstein was interviewed by the student newspaper at Cheney State College and he was asked his opinion about U.S. racial prejudice. He responded, “Racial prejudice has unfortunately become an American tradition which is uncritically handed down from one generation to the next. The only remedies are enlightenment and education. This is a slow and painstaking process in which all right thinking people should take part.”

At a time when some people have questioned the need for Black History Month, Einstein’s comments though, made over 60 years ago, make one of the best arguments in favor of Black History Month. His statement acknowledges the notion that Black History Month is the perfect vehicle to enlighten and educate society not only about Black achievement but also about the history of racism. The writer William Faulkner once said, “History isn’t just a reflection of what was it’s also a reflection of what is.” In other words, everything that’s happening today is rooted in the events of the past.

Enlightenment and education can be a slow and painstaking process especially if left to one’s own accord. However, Black History Month provides a three-step approach to make it a reality. First, it helps to dispel racist attitudes and beliefs. Second, it helps to develop pride and self-esteem within the Black community and third it helps to shed light on the roots of racism.

One of the cornerstones of racism is the belief in racial superiority. However, the notion of superiority can only exist if you remain ignorant about other races, specifically if you’re unaware of their contributions to society. An unyielding racist doesn’t want to know or accept anything about Black history or anybody else’s history for that matter. They don’t want anything to shake the foundation of their racist beliefs. Black History Month can help to chip away at those attitudes by highlighting the contributions of African Americans of the past and also by spotlighting current Black achievement.

At ItsABlackThang.com (www.itsablackthang.com), we provide a multitude of Black History Month related items to help children and adults learn more about our past, present and future. We offer workbooks, pencils, bookmarks, posters, back packs, banners, and more. Each item features positive information and slogans about African American history.

Black History Month also helps to develop pride and self-esteem within the Black community. Images have a profound effect on the way we see the world and the way we perceive ourselves and others. By focusing on positive images and information, Black History Month provides a balance to the negative and often stereotypical images on television, and in films and music.

At ItsABlackThang.com (www.itsablackthang.com), we offer almost 10,000 African American related products that help to build pride and self-esteem. We offer stunning artwork and figurines as well as memorabilia that honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, Buffalo Soldiers and Negro League Baseball.

Black History Month also helps to shed light on the history of racism. American society has experienced major social changes over the past 75 years. So it’s easy to get complacent and forget about the systematic racism and discrimination that once existed. It can be painful to watch or read about the lynchings, the church bombings, the attacks on Civil Rights marchers, and the tragedies at Rosewood, FL and Tulsa, OK. But as writer James Baldwin once said, “If you don’t know what happened behind you… you can never understand what’s happening around you.”

Black History Month is not just a time to reflect on the past, it’s also a time to acknowledge the current contributions that African Americans make to American society and to the rest of the world. During Black History Month we should measure how far we’ve advanced from the year before and provide information on things like: the number of Black middle-class families, the number of Black-owned businesses, the buying power of Black Americans, the number of registered voters, and the number of elected officials. This type of information should be reported by the media all month long.

The focus on Black History is necessary but we also have to highlight the progress we’ve made and celebrate our successes. We have to focus on where we’re going and not just where we’ve been. As Einstein stated, only through enlightenment and education can we tear down the walls of racism and build a bridge to a better future.

Kane Kinnebrew III is the founder and owner of ItsABlackThang.com (www.itsablackthang.com), a subsidiary of Kanes Publications. He founded the company in 2001, and has grown the website into one of the largest and most visited shopping sites featuring African American related products.


ROC/United to Stage Surprise Friday 13th Action to Protest Darden Restaurants and National Restaurant Association’s Unfair Labor and Wage Practices

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Stage Surprise supported by ROC/United, Food Chain Worker’s Alliance, Raise the Floor, Paid Sick Days Coalition, Women Employed, Cook County Place Matters, ARISE, Grassroots Collaborative

CHICAGO, IL – On Friday, February 13, members of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC)//United, Food Chain Workers’ Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Raise the Floor, Paid Sick Day Coalition, and other supporters will hold a “tip-in” where they will have a dinner of coffee and water at The Capital Grille to show love in public to restaurant workers, and bring attention to the poverty wages and inhumane employment practices at the largest full-service restaurant corporation in the world, Darden Restaurants.

It will be held February 13, 2014 @ 9:00pm, at The Capital Grille 633 N. St. Clair, in Chicago.

The action will be accompanied on social media by hashtag #recipe4love, which supporters will be tweeting @Darden_News throughout the day. There is also a twitterstorm planned in conjunction with the action from 8pm-10pm to bring awareness of One Fair Wage. @rocchicago will be live-tweeting the “tip-in”.

As ROC Chicago member Rameka Aton explained, “The cause of violence [in Chicago] is not guns, it’s poverty. It is time to raise the standard and hold companies like Darden and the NRA responsible for the disparities they incur on low income communities when they exploit their workers.”

ROC’s ONE FAIR WAGE campaign is working to pass legislation in cities and states that will require the restaurant industry to pay its employees fair wages, and not pass off their worker’s wages onto the consumer in the form of tips. Despite being the fastest-growing sector of our economy, the restaurant industry also has the lowest wages and seven of the ten lowest paying jobs in the country. In fact, the federal minimum wage rate for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 per hour for the past 24 years. The extremely low “wage floor” in the restaurant industry  is the result of intense lobbying by the National Restaurant Association, often referred to as “the Other NRA,” which is the most organized employer lobby in the country, and has spent millions of dollars opposing minimum-wage increases all over the country.

To call attention to this injustice and to demand concrete change,  restaurant workers and community members across the country will be participating in a national day of action on February 13th (2/13) — the day before Valentine’s Day — to show love in public to restaurant workers. As Cornell West, renowned academic and activist has said, “justice is what love looks like in public.”
Echoing West, ROC member Nataki Rhodes explained: “Love is the intuition of one’s self in another. I see my own struggle in so many other workers, and that is why I am a ROC member and continue to stand up for justice.”

The mission of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce. We are 13,000 restaurant workers, Over 100 high-road employers, thousands of engaged consumers united for raising restaurant industry standards.

Who is Darden?

A Fortune 100 Company with $8.5 billion in annual sales in the restaurant industry

One of the four leaders of the National Restaurant Association (Disney,McDonalds, and Marriott)

An empire of seven chain restaurants (Olive Garden, Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s, and Bahama Breeze)

The largest employer of sub-minimum wage workers in the country (30,000 people working for less than min. wage).

For more information, carlos@rocunited.org

#muslimlivesmatter: Chapel Hill Shooting and the Mainstream Media

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

#muslimlivesmatter: Chapel Hill Shooting and the Mainstream Media

Arab American Media, Editorial, Staff

It took the mainstream media an entire day to report on a possible hate crime that claimed the lives of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, were all shot dead on Tuesday before their suspected killer turned himself in at 5 p.m.

They were all students who dedicated their lives to education and raised funds to help Syrian refugees.

The suspect is a 46-year-old white male.

The story was reported by local media and circulated on the web, sparking outrage about the lack of national coverage. Soon after, the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter emerged on Twitter and Facebook.

Despite news of the crime spreading rapidly on the Internet, major U.S. media outlets did not report on the triple-murder until the next morning. British Newspaper the Independent posted a story about the incident five hours before such prestigious U.S. newspapers as the New York Times and Washington Post.

While the Independent identified the victims as Muslim in the headline, the New York Times’ headline read, “Man charged in death of 3 near University of North Carolina.”

The Times disregarded the possible motives or the identity of the victims. It was like headlining the Boston Marathon terrorist attack story, “Man charged in the death of 3 in downtown Boston.”

Unfortunately, the national mainstream media’s apathy about the murder of the students shows that Muslim lives do not matter to the establishment.

The victims’ significance is defined by their identity and national origin in this country.

If it had been a 46-year-old Arab pulling the trigger on three young white folks, the media would have hosted ex-military officials minutes after the incident to discuss which countries our government shall bomb next as a response.

As Arabs and Muslims, our faith and ethnicity only become a factor if we do something evil. However, when evil is inflicted upon us, we are overlooked.

When three Muslims are victims of murder, in the headline of the New York Times they are merely “3.”
We urge our community members to keep the lost lives of the three innocent students in the national consciousness by continuing to condemn the crime on social media and in their daily lives. We cannot count on the mainstream media to honor the memory of the three victims, but we will on our own.

Deah Barakat was a medical student. In a video that has circulated on the Internet after the crime, he urges people to donate to a medical mission that would allow him to travel to Turkey and tend to the dental needs of Syrian refugees there.

This is the kind of spirit our victims had. We owe them attention.

Our government owes them justice.

NAACP Mourns Tragic Murders of Three Syrian American Students

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP statement on Chapel Hill shooting

Baltimore, MD -  In light of the tragic murders of three Syrian American students Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha,19, the NAACP has released the following statement:

“The NAACP mourns the tragic and senseless loss of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha,  and Razan Abu-Salha,  each of whom were active participants in their communities, studying subjects they loved and planning for their futures. We condemn all acts of violence and racial and religious intolerance. We call on the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Department of Justice for a thorough investigation to ensure that justice is served. Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victims and everyone whose lives they touched.”

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, the shooter, was charged with three counts of murder.

While police suggested it was a neighbor dispute over parking, relatives said  it was a hate crime.

Dating Scams Spike At Valentine’s Day

Posted by Admin On February - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Online searches include everything from antiques to zebras and in the middle there are those looking for love. Studies indicate however, that one in ten individuals who post to online dating sites is a scammer. As Valentine’s Day draws near the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging consumers to be aware of con artist who are out to steal not just your heart but your money as well.

There are many variations of them; but one of the most common scams involves signing up with an online dating site and after doing so receiving a message from someone claiming to work abroad or be in the military and stationed overseas. For a period of time the two communicate via phone and or email forming a connection. After a while they’d like to visit but they need money. Often the money is sent via wire transfer. After it is received, your money is gone and and so is your love interest.

Other online dating ploys include “financial hardships” needing money immediately for a sick family member. Or scammers will use the picture of a member of the military to draw interest.

“These types of scams are tricky because scammers know how to make people feel vulnerable and how to do what they want,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to NEVER send money to someone you meet online and don’t know much about.”

To avoid online dating scams, be wary of anyone who does the following:

* Asks to talk or chat on an outside email or messaging service. This allows fraudsters to carry out scams without the dating site having a record of the encounter.

* Claims to be from this country but is currently traveling, living or working abroad. In addition to military ploy described above, scammers also pretend to be temporarily working overseas.

* Has a suspicious Facebook profile. Scammers often use the names and photos of real people to create fake Facebook profiles. Their profiles tend to have few friends and contain many grammatical errors. Also, check to see when they joined. Recent pages are another red flag.

* Asks for money or credit card information. In some cases the scammer will claim an emergency like a sick relative or stolen wallet, and will ask people to wire money. The first wire transfer is small but the requests keep coming and growing. Or they may ask for airfare to come for a visit.

* Sends emails containing questionable links to third-party websites. Third-party links can contain malware that’s designed to steal personal information off your computer.In some cases you may become a victim of “ransomware” when a scammer makes your computer inoperable until a fee is paid.

For more information, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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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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