March , 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks met with the leadership of the African ...
From Marc Mauer The Sentencing Project I’m pleased to announce a new publication from The Sentencing Project ...
Prevention Initiative Program helps build foundation for learning   Springfield, IL  – The Illinois State Board of ...
 Message kicks-off National Child Passenger Safety Week   Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White encouraged parents ...
A highly successful and unique alternative prosecution program created by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s ...
A former Chicago Police Officer has been sentenced to three years in prison for ...
Gulfport, MS (BlackNews.com) -- What do you get when you cross an expatriate with American ...
Arab American News By Natasha Dado Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab ...
By Monica Vaca Acting Director, Division of Consumer Response and Operations Three million of you called, wrote, ...
National Society of Black Engineers Convention Showcases Community Impact More than 8,000 to Attend the Event, ...

Archive for March, 2015

Attorneys, Leaders & Families Affected by Police Abuse Call for Reforms from CPD

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Attorneys, Leaders & Families Affected by Police Abuse Call for Reforms from CPD

Pro-Bono Lawyers, Affected Families Demand CPD Allow Arrestees to Call Legal Aid

Months of Fruitless Negotiations, Homan Sq Revelations, Lead Pro-Bono Legal Defense Organization to Demand Access to Detained Clients from Mayor

City government ignores a simple, home-grown solution to consistent & costly allegations of civil rights violations: Superintendent McCarthy, Emanuel and next Chicago mayor can act to ensure access to counsel for detainees; less that 1% had advocates present in 2013

CHICAGO, IL – Many cities have specific rules dictating how long police can detain people before they get telephone calls. Chicago’s lack of such strict rules has helped feed its notorious reputation as a locus for false confessions, torture, and illegal stops, particularly of youth of color, according to First Defense Legal Aid. People denied contact with their attorneys at Homan Square and elsewhere & pro bono attorneys not able to be contacted by people held in police stations

FDLA, in a press release, stated that recent revelations about Homan Square highlight these civil rights violations. In fact, CPD documented that less than 1% of arrestees had a lawyer at any point, in any CPD facility, in 2013. This includes juveniles. Civil rights violations not only harm arrestees and their families, but fuel the City’s well-publicized violence problem.

To advance public safety for all, FDLA stated, the CPD needs to institute the following today:

1) That arrestees will be granted phone calls within 2 hours of their arrest.

2) This right, as well as telephone numbers for available legal aid will be prominently displayed in easy view of all CPD detainees.

First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) provides free, around-the-clock legal representation to people in Chicago Police custody when alerted at 1800LAWREP4 and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. FDLA undertakes these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system.

“I was taken to Homan Square last week. I asked for phone calls. They said only if & after you’re booked.” -Community Leader to Speak Out.

The protest will be held today, Tuesday, March 31st, at 2:30pm, the afternoon before the final mayoral debate at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th floor, Chicago.

For more information, contact Eliza Solowiej, Executive Director, First Defense Legal Aid, 773.354.8581, eliza@first-defense.org

U.S. Attorneys Michael Cotter and Damon P. Martinez to Lead Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on U.S. Attorneys Michael Cotter and Damon P. Martinez to Lead Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the appointment of U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter for the District of Montana and U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez for the District of New Mexico as the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Native American Issues Subcommittee (NAIS) of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys (AGAC).

“Throughout my tenure as Attorney General, the Native American Issues Subcommittee has been a critical source of expertise, guidance, and inspiration in addressing the department’s goals of reducing crime and strengthening communities across Indian country,” said Attorney General Holder.  “As public servants from districts with significant responsibilities related to tribal nations, Mike Cotter and Damon Martinez possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will serve to promote the mission of the NAIS and benefit Indian country as a whole.  I am confident that, with their dedication, their vision, and their leadership, we will continue to deliver on this department’s important work and to fulfil this nation’s historic relationship of trust and cooperation with Native American and Alaska Native people.”

U.S. Attorney Cotter was appointed to the NAIS in 2009.  He replaces U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon of the District of North Dakota.  The District of Montana has served as a successful example of the Attorney General’s 2010 Indian Country Initiative.  Prosecutors are assigned to individual reservations and travel monthly for meetings with tribal and federal partners.  The strategy includes utilizing tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, tribal prosecutors who focus on domestic violence matters.  Prosecutors also participate in bi-monthly case meetings with tribal prosecutors and law enforcement, as well as develop cross-disciplinary trainings, such as presentations to first responders on the new federal strangulation statutes in Indian Country.

As part of ongoing Initiative efforts, Assistant U.S. Attorneys facilitated the creation of and continuing work by the Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs), which are comprised of prosecutors, law enforcement, as well as medical and social service providers.  The SARTs represent a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to responding to sex crimes that occur on reservations.

U.S. Attorney Martinez, who was appointed to the NAIS in May 2014, has continued and expanded the implementation of the Attorney General’s 2010 Indian Country Initiative and other federal initiatives in New Mexico which is home to 22 Indian pueblos and tribes.  Through the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project, sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, federal prosecutors train tribal prosecutors and officers in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques so that every viable sexual and violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  Working with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, New Mexico has established one of the first HIDTA drug task forces in Indian Country.  It also supports two Indian Country Project Safe Neighborhood programs that focus on reducing gun violence in tribal communities.  Under the Attorney General’s Smart on Crime Initiative, the District of New Mexico has been working with an interdisciplinary team to develop one of the nation’s Indian Country reentry programs which will be launched in May of this year.  Prosecutors also partner with BIA to train tribal, local and state officers so that they may be commissioned as special federal officers of the BIA and enhance public safety in the District’s tribal communities by enforcing federal law.

The AGAC was created in 1973 to serve as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys and to advise the Attorney General on policy, management, and operational issues impacting the offices of the U.S. Attorneys.  The NAIS is made up of U.S. Attorneys from across the U.S. whose Districts contain Indian Country or one or more federally recognized tribes.  The NAIS focuses exclusively on Indian Country issues, both criminal and civil and is responsible for making policy recommendations to the Attorney General of the U.S. regarding public safety and legal issues that impact tribal communities.

Source: Office of Attorney General

Are we Really Going to Put the Image of Racism on the $20 Dollar Bill?

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Are we Really Going to Put the Image of Racism on the $20 Dollar Bill?

Margaret Sanger on $20 Bill

By Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr.

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Can there be anything more insidiously proposed; is there anything more ironically insane then this narrative? Let us look at this for what it is. Millions in America, and I do mean millions, thought their vote for Barack Obama would once-and-for-all deal a death blow to our past slavery and segregation stigma and signify to the world that racism is dead in America.

Rasmussen reported recently, “Despite high hopes to the contrary, voters continue to believe the racial picture in this country has gotten worse since the election of the first black president. A national telephone survey finds that only eight percent (8%) of likely U.S. Voters think race relations are better since President Obama’s election six years ago. Forty-two percent (42%) believe race relations are worse now, while slightly more (48%) say they have stayed about the same.” But it doesn’t end there, for now under the administration of the first black president you have the suggestion of putting the notorious eugenic, Margaret Sanger, on the 20 dollar bill! So much for… “Black Life Matters!”

Margaret Sanger, who was perhaps the most diabolical racist of our times said in, Pivot of Civilization, referring to African-Americans, immigrants, and poor people, that they were “…human weeds,” “…reckless breeders…,” “…spawning… human beings who never should have been born….” Moreover in her letter to Clarence Gamble, of Proctor and Gamble soap company, himself a staunch advocate of birth control and eugenics, Margaret Sanger further most succinctly stated,

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members…”

I would certainly be considered a “more rebellious member” and I vehemently protest and find it outrageous in these times of “Political Correctness” that she should even be considered for the 20 dollar bill. Remember Jimmy the Greek’s comments about African-American athleticism and future coaching positions? Career over even after receiving support from player union representatives, Gene Upshaw and Ahmad Rashad… Or more recently with Donald Sterling’s comments to his mistress in private about bringing black players to his games (who was more jealous about their athleticism with her than their color) resulting in being banned from basketball. Bruce Levenson, who was blaming African-American fans for the lack of corporations and white people from buying season suite purchasers. Or Rodner Figueroa, who is openly gay, and whose father is half Africa-American, who was fired after a call from the White House (oh the hypocrisy, it’s killing me) for comparing Michelle Obama to a character in the movie, “The Planet of the Apes.” All of the above mentioned, profusely offered up apologies, but received no pardon and now you are going to put on the 20 dollar bill the image of an individual who called African-Americans, human weeds, reckless breeders and accused them of spawning persons that should have never been born… On the 20 dollar bill!

Now to all the African-American readers of this article, watch for the response from the NAACP… The Congressional Black Caucus… The National Action Committee (Al Sharpton)… The Rainbow Coalition (Jessie Jackson)… Or, Barack and Michelle Obama… ‘…three or four colored ministers…’all. You will not see them say one word of protest nor contrary response to the name of Margaret Sanger due to the fact that they all are in bed with the leading killer of African-Americas: Planned Parenthood. They find it acceptable for America’s leading abortion provider not only to get your tax dollars, but are free to cast racially derogatory slurs against you and your ancestry. Ask any of these organizations how they feel about Margaret Sanger being on the Twenty Dollar Bill, and for the record, request it in writing.

And please don’t forget Barack and Michelle in your request for a response.

Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. is the founder of www.BlackGenocide.org – a website designed to reach the Afro-American community with the truth about abortion.

Photo Caption: Margaret Sanger on the $20 Bill

“…No One made the Senate Come Alive like Ted Kennedy” – President Obama, at Dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on “…No One made the Senate Come Alive like Ted Kennedy” – President Obama, at Dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute

Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Boston, Massachusetts

President Barack Obama Remarks: Thank you. Thank you so much.  To Vicki, Ted, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, Ambassador Smith, members of the Kennedy family — thank you so much for inviting me to speak today.  Your Eminence, Cardinal O’Malley; Vice President Biden; Governor Baker; Mayor Walsh; members of Congress, past and present; and pretty much every elected official in Massachusetts –  it is an honor to mark this occasion with you.

Boston, know that Michelle and I have joined our prayers with yours these past few days for a hero — former Army Ranger and Boston Police Officer John Moynihan, who was shot in the line of duty on Friday night.  I mention him because, last year, at the White House, the Vice President and I had the chance to honor Officer Moynihan as one of America’s “Top Cops” for his bravery in the line of duty, for risking his life to save a fellow officer.  And thanks to the heroes at Boston Medical Center, I’m told Officer Moynihan is awake, and talking, and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

I also want to single out someone who very much wanted to be here, just as he was every day for nearly 25 years as he represented this commonwealth alongside Ted in the Senate — and that’s Secretary of State John Kerry. As many of you know, John is in Europe with our allies and partners, leading the negotiations with Iran and the world community, and standing up for a principle that Ted and his brother, President Kennedy, believed in so strongly:  “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

And, finally, in his first years in the Senate, Ted dispatched a young aide to assemble a team of talent without rival.  The sell was simple:  Come and help Ted Kennedy make history.  So I want to give a special shout-out to his extraordinarily loyal staff — 50 years later a family more than one thousand strong.  This is your day, as well.  We’re proud of you.  Of course, many of you now work with me.  So enjoy today, because we got to get back to work.

Distinguished guests, fellow citizens — in 1958, Ted Kennedy was a young man working to reelect his brother, Jack, to the United States Senate.  On election night, the two toasted one another:  “Here’s to 1960, Mr. President,” Ted said, “If you can make it.”  With his quick Irish wit, Jack returned the toast:  “Here’s to 1962, Senator Kennedy, if you can make it.”  (Laughter.)  They both made it.  And today, they’re together again in eternal rest at Arlington.

But their legacies are as alive as ever together right here in Boston.  The John F. Kennedy Library next door is a symbol of our American idealism; the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate as a living example of the hard, frustrating, never-ending, but critical work required to make that idealism real.

What more fitting tribute, what better testament to the life of Ted Kennedy, than this place that he left for a new generation of Americans — a monument not to himself but to what we, the people, have the power to do together.

Any of us who have had the privilege to serve in the Senate know that it’s impossible not to share Ted’s awe for the history swirling around you — an awe instilled in him by his brother, Jack.  Ted waited more than a year to deliver his first speech on the Senate floor.  That’s no longer the custom.  It’s good to see Trent and Tom Daschle here, because they remember what customs were like back then.

And Ted gave a speech only because he felt there was a topic — the Civil Rights Act — that demanded it.  Nevertheless, he spoke with humility, aware, as he put it, that “a freshman Senator should be seen, not heard; should learn, and not teach.”

Some of us, I admit, have not always heeded that lesson. But fortunately, we had Ted to show us the ropes anyway.  And no one made the Senate come alive like Ted Kennedy.  It was one of the great pleasures of my life to hear Ted Kennedy deliver one of his stem winders on the Floor.  Rarely was he more animated than when he’d lead you through the living museums that were his offices.  He could — and he would — tell you everything that there was to know about all of it.

And then there were more somber moments.  I still remember the first time I pulled open the drawer of my desk.  Each senator is assigned a desk, and there’s a tradition of carving the names of those who had used it before.  And those names in my desk included Taft and Baker, Simon, Wellstone, and Robert F. Kennedy.

The Senate was a place where you instinctively pulled yourself up a little bit straighter; where you tried to act a little bit better.  “Being a senator changes a person,” Ted wrote in his memoirs.  As Vicki said, it may take a year, or two years, or three years, but it always happens; it fills you with a heightened sense of purpose.

That’s the magic of the Senate.  That’s the essence of what it can be.  And who but Ted Kennedy, and his family, would create a full-scale replica of the Senate chamber, and open it to everyone?

We live in a time of such great cynicism about all our institutions.  And we are cynical about government and about Washington, most of all.  It’s hard for our children to see, in the noisy and too often trivial pursuits of today’s politics, the possibilities of our democracy — our capacity, together, to do big things.

And this place can help change that.  It can help light the fire of imagination, plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of future generations.  Imagine a gaggle of school kids clutching tablets, turning classrooms into cloakrooms and hallways into hearing rooms, assigned an issue of the day and the responsibility to solve it.

Imagine their moral universe expanding as they hear about the momentous battles waged in that chamber and how they echo throughout today’s society.  Great questions of war and peace, the tangled bargains between North and South, federal and state; the original sins of slavery and prejudice; and the unfinished battles for civil rights and opportunity and equality.

Imagine the shift in their sense of what’s possible.  The first time they see a video of senators who look like they do — men and women, blacks and whites, Latinos, Asian-Americans; those born to great wealth but also those born of incredibly modest means.

Imagine what a child feels the first time she steps onto that floor, before she’s old enough to be cynical; before she’s told what she can’t do; before she’s told who she can’t talk to or work with; what she feels when she sits at one of those desks; what happens when it comes her turn to stand and speak on behalf of something she cares about; and cast a vote, and have a sense of purpose.

It’s maybe just not for kids.  What if we all carried ourselves that way?  What if our politics, our democracy, were as elevated, as purposeful, as she imagines it to be right here?

Towards the end of his life, Ted reflected on how Congress has changed over time.  And those who served earlier I think have those same conversations.  It’s a more diverse, more accurate reflection of America than it used to be, and that is a grand thing, a great achievement.  But Ted grieved the loss of camaraderie and collegiality, the face-to-face interaction.  I think he regretted the arguments now made to cameras instead of colleagues, directed at a narrow base instead of the body politic as a whole; the outsized influence of money and special interests — and how it all leads more Americans to turn away in disgust and simply choose not to exercise their right to vote.

Now, since this is a joyous occasion, this is not the time for me to suggest a slew of new ideas for reform.  Although I do have some.  Maybe I’ll just mention one.

What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy?  What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?  To his harshest critics, who saw him as nothing more than a partisan lightning rod — that may sound foolish, but there are Republicans here today for a reason.  They know who Ted Kennedy was.  It’s not because they shared Ted’s ideology or his positions, but because they knew Ted as somebody who bridged the partisan divide over and over and over again, with genuine effort and affection, in an era when bipartisanship has become so very rare.

They knew him as somebody who kept his word.  They knew him as somebody who was willing to take half a loaf and endure the anger of his own supporters to get something done.  They knew him as somebody who was not afraid.  And fear so permeates our politics, instead of hope.  People fight to get in the Senate and then they’re afraid.  We fight to get these positions and then don’t want to do anything with them.  And Ted understood the only point of running for office was to get something done — not to posture; not to sit there worrying about the next election or the polls — to take risks.  He understood that differences of party or philosophy could not become barriers to cooperation or respect.

He could howl at injustice on the Senate floor like a force of nature, while nervous aides tried to figure out which chart to pull up next. But in his personal dealings, he answered Edmund Randolph’s call to keep the Senate a place to “restrain, if possible, the fury of democracy.”

I did not know Ted as long as some of the speakers here today.  But he was my friend.  I owe him a lot.  And as far as I could tell, it was never ideology that compelled him, except insofar as his ideology said, you should help people; that you should have a life of purpose; that you should be empathetic and be able to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, and see through their eyes.  His tirelessness, his restlessness, they were rooted in his experience.

By the age of 12, he was a member of a Gold Star Family.  By 36, two of his brothers were stolen from him in the most tragic, public of ways.  By 41, he nearly lost a beloved child to cancer.  And that made suffering something he knew.  And it made him more alive to the suffering of others.

While his son was sleeping after treatment, Ted would wander the halls of the hospital and meet other parents keeping vigil over their own children.  They were parents terrified of what would happen when they couldn’t afford the next treatment; parents working out what they could sell or borrow or mortgage just to make it just a few more months — and then, if they had to, bargain with God for the rest.

There, in the quiet night, working people of modest means and one of the most powerful men in the world shared the same intimate, immediate sense of helplessness.  He didn’t see them as some abstraction.  He knew them.  He felt them.  Their pain was his as much as they might be separated by wealth and fame.  And those families would be at the heart of Ted’s passions.  Just like the young immigrant, he would see himself in that child.  They were his cause — the sick child who couldn’t see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looked like or where she came from or who she loves.

He quietly attended as many military funerals in Massachusetts as he could for those who fell in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He called and wrote each one of the 177 families in this commonwealth who lost a loved one on 9/11, and he took them sailing, and played with their children, not just in the days after, but every year after.

His life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or connections; they already had enough representation.  It was to give voice to the people who wrote and called him from every state, desperate for somebody who might listen and help.  It was about what he could do for others.

It’s why he’d take his hearings to hospitals in rural towns and inner cities, and push people out of their comfort zones, including his colleagues.  Because he had pushed himself out of his comfort zone.  And he tried to instill in his colleagues that same sense of empathy.  Even if they called him, as one did, “wrong at the top of his lungs.”  Even if they might disagree with him 99 percent of the time.  Because who knew what might happen with that other 1 percent?

Orrin Hatch was sent to Washington in part because he promised to fight Ted Kennedy.  And they fought a lot.  One was a conservative Mormon from Utah, after all; the other one was, well, Ted Kennedy. But once they got to know one another, they discovered certain things in common — a devout faith, a soft spot for health care, very fine singing voices.

In 1986, when Republicans controlled the Senate, Orrin held the first hearing on the AIDS epidemic, even hugging an AIDS patient — an incredible and very important gesture at the time.  The next year, Ted took over the committee, and continued what Orrin started.  When Orrin’s father passed away, Ted was one of the first to call.  It was over dinner at Ted’s house one night that they decided to try and insure the 10 million children who didn’t have access to health care.

As that debate hit roadblocks in Congress, as apparently debates over health care tend to do, Ted would have his Chief of Staff serenade Orrin to court his support.  When hearings didn’t go Ted’s way, he might puff on a cigar to annoy Orrin, who disdained smoking. When they didn’t go Orrin’s way, he might threaten to call Ted’s sister, Eunice. And when it came time to find a way to pay for the Children’s Health Insurance Program that they, together, had devised, Ted pounced, offering a tobacco tax and asking, “Are you for Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, or millions of children who lack adequate health care?”

It was the kind of friendship unique to the Senate, calling to mind what John Calhoun once said of Henry Clay:  “I don’t like Clay.  He is a bad man, an imposter, a creator of wicked schemes.  I wouldn’t speak to him, but, by God, I love him!”

So, sure, Orrin Hatch once called Ted “one of the major dangers to the country.”  But he also stood up at a gathering in Ted’s last months, and said, “I’m asking you all to pray for Ted Kennedy.”

The point is, we can fight on almost everything.  But we can come together on some things.  And those “somethings” can mean everything to a whole lot of people.

It was common ground that led Ted and Orrin to forge a compromise that covered millions of kids with health care.  It was common ground, rooted in the plight of loved ones, that led Ted and Chuck Grassley to cover kids with disabilities; that led Ted and Pete Domenici to fight for equal rights for Americans with a mental illness.

Common ground, not rooted in abstractions or stubborn, rigid ideologies, but shared experience, that led Ted and John McCain to work on a Patient’s Bill of Rights, and to work to forge a smarter, more just immigration system.

A common desire to fix what’s broken.  A willingness to compromise in pursuit of a larger goal.  A personal relationship that lets you fight like heck on one issue, and shake hands on the next — not through just cajoling or horse-trading or serenades, but through Ted’s brand of friendship and kindness, and humor and grace.

“What binds us together across our differences in religion or politics or economic theory,” Ted wrote in his memoirs, “[is] all we share as human beings — the wonder that we experience when we look at the night sky; the gratitude that we know when we feel the heat of the sun; the sense of humor in the face of the unbearable; and the persistence of suffering.  And one thing more — the capacity to reach across our differences to offer a hand of healing.”

For all the challenges of a changing world, for all the imperfections of our democracy, the capacity to reach across our differences is something that’s entirely up to us.

May we all, in our own lives, set an example for the kids who enter these doors, and exit with higher expectations for their country.

May we all remember the times this American family has challenged us to ask what we can do; to dream and say why not; to seek a cause that endures; and sail against the wind in its pursuit, and live our lives with that heightened sense of purpose.

Thank you.  May God bless you.  May He continue to bless this country we love.  Thank you.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Attorney General, Prosecutors & Advocates Announce Joint Working Group to Combat Sexual Assault Crime in Illinois

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Attorney General, Prosecutors & Advocates Announce Joint Working Group to Combat Sexual Assault Crime in Illinois

Madigan, Alvarez, Kelly & ICASA Joint Forces to Improve Sexual Assault Prosecution Rates

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today, joined by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, announced a new joint working group seeking to improve prosecution rates of sexual assault cases throughout Illinois.

The Sexual Assault Working Group was created to address troubling statistics that show survivors of sexual assault are not reporting these crimes to authorities in Illinois. Studies suggest that only between 5 percent and 20 percent of all rapes are reported to law enforcement. The Working Group will seek to address challenges in the criminal justice and health care systems that discourage victims from reporting cases of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Working Group will also focus on efforts to improve the response to sexual assault cases that are reported with the goal of improving victim safety as well as offender accountability.

“Victims do not report these crimes because they do not believe they will receive justice,” Attorney General Madigan said. “But each of us has a legal and moral obligation to take these cases seriously and to treat victims with compassion and dignity. It is only after we build a better, more responsive criminal justice system that we will begin to see more people coming forward and ensure that justice is being served.

State’s Attorney Alvarez noted that the collaboration is bringing together the most important agencies across Illinois that deal with crimes of sexual assault and advocate for victims.

“The most influential and effective agencies that combat sexual assault are going to have a seat at the table and will have a voice in this process,” Alvarez said. “We all want victims to have confidence in the criminal justice system and we are all committed to increasing our efforts to achieve this goal by increasing dialogue and promoting transparency in every step of the process.”

Members of the joint working group include the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, the Illinois Associated of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs Association, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Hospital Association, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the Chicago Police Department, Rape Victims Advocates, The Center for the Prevention of Abuse, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly noted the need for consistent approaches to investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault cases throughout the state.

“The quality of sex assault investigations is very inconsistent from department to department. Justice for sex assault victims shouldn’t be different for those who live in a suburban jurisdiction versus an urban or rural jurisdiction struggling for resources,” said Kelly.

The Working Group will identify and seek to implement strategies such as supportive training or statutory changes that will, among other goal

Ensure that medical providers are trained in evidence collection;

Increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners throughout the state;

Improve the efficiency of evidence processing by forensic crime labs;

Ensure survivors are not billed for sexual assault forensic exams and have access to follow-up medical care;

Train first responders and investigators to initiate and properly conduct victim-sensitive interviews and investigations;

Identify strategies to ensure follow-up investigations on sexual assault kits that return a DNA match;

Establish and provide training in best practices for reviewing and charging of sexual

assault cases;

Improve communication between investigators, victims and advocates; and

Develop protocols for communication with victims in compliance with the Crime Victims Bill of Rights.

“ICASA is excited that this collaborative effort has begun. Working with the Attorney General, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and related allies to improve the medical and criminal justice response for sexual assault survivors is a goal whose time has arrived.  Survivors will be the winners in this effort,” said Polly Poskin, executive director of ICASA.

Attorney General Madigan has worked for more than a decade to protect survivors of sexual violence and strengthen their rights. In her latest effort, Madigan is working with state lawmakers to pass legislation to prohibit survivors of sexual assault from being billed for sexual assault evidence kits. Madigan is also working to pass the Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, which will set standards for colleges and universities to prevent and respond to sexual violence in the face of studies that show one in five undergraduate women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape.

In previous years, Madigan has led an effort to significantly increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in hospitals throughout Illinois. SANEs are registered nurses who are specially trained to collect physical evidence following a sexual assault and to respond to the psychological needs of a survivor, and they are also trained to testify in court. In 2010, Madigan worked to pass legislation to make Illinois the first state in the country mandate the testing of sexual assault evidence kits after a backlog of 4,000 kits was discovered. Madigan has also funded dozens of organizations during her tenure that provide critical victim services to survivors, and she has strengthened Illinois law to protect victims of stalking, a crime that is more likely to occur on college campuses that can lead to sexual violence and other crimes.

Over the last six years, crimes of violence against women have been a top priority for State’s Attorney Alvarez and the practices that have been implemented by her administration will be used as a model for the working group committee that will evaluate the criminal prosecution of sex assault cases.  Alvarez has worked consistently to improve training and to bolster services for victims, creating the Special Division on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence to ensure a consistent and broad-based response for these most vulnerable victims.  She has also dedicated additional resources to these cases and mandated training in sexual assault for all attorneys in her office.  Alvarez has also implemented the practice of supervisory review for charging on sex cases as well as designating specially trained attorneys to handle sexual assault from the victim’s earliest point of interaction with the criminal justice system.

International Black Reparations Summit to Meet in New York

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on International Black Reparations Summit to Meet in New York

Organized by The Institute of the Black World (IBW)

New York – The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), a leading research, policy and advocacy group with offices in New York and Baltimore, announced today that it is holding an International Reparations Summit at various sites across New York City, from April 9 to 12, 2015.

Speakers at the conference include Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and chair of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Reparations Commission; civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Prof. Charles Ogeltree of Harvard University and Mireille Fanon Mendes France, President of the Frantz Fanon Foundation and Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African descent and daughter of Frantz Fanon, the Black liberation theoretician and psychiatrist from Martinique.

During the Summit, U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the most senior member of Congress and the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will be honored for authoring HR 40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act” and for his 50 years of service on Capitol Hill.

“We are delighted that the Institute of the Black World can be a clearinghouse for ideas and strategies on how to pursue reparations for historical crimes and injustices against people of African descent in the US and across the Americas,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, the Institute’s President. “The courageous decision by nations in the Caribbean to demand reparations from the former European colonialists for Native Genocide and African enslavement and the formation of a CARICOM Reparations Commission is re-energizing the Reparations Movement in the U.S. and throughout the Pan African world.”

Scores of reparations advocates, Pan-Africanists and social justice activists from across the USA, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean will take part in the New York summit. Leaders of national reparations commissions, committees and task forces from 11 CARICOM nations will interface with leaders of the recently formed European Reparations Commission and with members of the National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC) which will be formally launched during the conference.

The NAARC will comprise of some of the leading scholars, activists, attorneys, economists and historians in Black America. In the months ahead, the NAARC will hold a series of town hall meetings across the country designed to solicit ideas from African-American communities on what should constitute a comprehensive program that advocates for reparations for the historical crimes of slavery and segregation.

“The main purpose of the International Summit is to advance the public discussion and debate around reparations issues and to provide a platform for advocates from around the world to dialogue, learn from each other, strategize collectively, support and reinforce each other’s campaigns, build bridges across geographical and linguistic barriers and co-ordinate action plans,” said Don Rojas, IBW’s director of communications. “The international nature of this summit is unprecedented in the long (and all too often ignored and marginalized) history of the reparations movement in the Americas.”

The conference, whose opening and closing public sessions are to be Webcast and audiocast live by WBAI-Pacifica Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, will be held in three of New York City’s five boroughs-Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The conference begins at the historic Mother AME Zion Church in Harlem, the oldest black church in New York State and a center for the Underground Railroad back in the 19th Century. The business sessions will be held at York College in Queens and the summit will conclude with a public rally at the First AME Zion Church in Central Brooklyn, home to the largest Caribbean community in the United States.

One of the highlights at the closing rally will be inspirational music sung by a newly formed ‘Reparations Choir’, composed of members from several black churches in Brooklyn.

The three-day meeting will honor pioneers in the fight for reparations for Black Americans, including Callie House (1861-1928), a former slave who demanded that $68 million in taxes on Confederate cotton seized by the North be given to Blacks as reparations, and Queen Mother Moore (1898-1997), a longtime Harlem activist who popularized the reparations idea in the middle 20th century. It will also pay tribute to the tireless work over many years of The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).

“Reparations is not an issue of the distant past,” said Dr. Daniels. “The Japanese-American community demanded-and got-reparations in the late 1980s for how they were treated by the American government-their own government-during World War II,” he said, referring to the internment of those Japanese by the United States.

“And in 2015, the parliaments of Russia and Greece are voting to demand Germany pay them for the damage inflicted on them by the Nazis,” he added. “So this issue is not, and should not, go away, particularly when African-descended people are concerned.”

Reparations is an issue that has occasionally flared up in Black political circles since the end of slavery in the mid-19th Century. It has been publicly opposed by several U.S. Presidents and dismissed by most white Americans but it has always found a place on the Black political agenda.

At the UN’s Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, the Atlantic slave trade and chattel slavery was declared a “crime against humanity” and was described as the greatest holocaust in human history. Hundreds of reparations activists from the USA and the Caribbean participated actively in the Durban conference, which helped to infuse the reparations movements with new energy at the beginning of the 21st Century. But that energy petered out in the first decade of the new century.

IBW, however, believes that today this pattern is changing. A June 2014 cover story in The Atlantic magazine, “The Case for Reparations,” by prominent journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, generated much discussion in African-American communities as well as within elite white American intellectual and political circles.

IBW maintains that the work of the National African-American Reparations Commission will have to be resourced by black communities across the country. “Black people and those sympathetic to the cause will have to finance this initiative,” Dr. Daniels explained. “We can’t expect corporations or foundations to underwrite a campaign for Reparations for Black people. In the spirit of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, IBW is counting on contributions from the people to finance the work of the commission.”

The IBW International Reparations Summit comes two years after the 15-nation CARICOM group decided unanimously to form a reparations commission and to demand that the former European colonial and slave-trading powers pay the debt owed to African people in the Caribbean region for the enormous wealth made off of their forced and uncompensated labor during the centuries of African enslavement.

And in January 2014 CARICOM issued a 10-point program for “Reparitory Justice” that frames their reparations demands as a “development strategy”. The program’s stated goal is “to use reparations payments to deal collectively with pressing economic and educational problems facing the citizens of the Caribbean that trace their origins to the underdevelopment imposed by slavery, slave trading, native genocide, and economic exploitation by the European nations”.

CARICOM’s 10-Point Program enjoys the unanimous support of all the member countries in the Community of Caribbean and Latin American States (CELAC) and the Bolivarian alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA).

For more information on IBW’s International Reparations Summit, please visit www.ibw21.org.

About The Institute of the Black World

The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people. The Institute was conceived as a resource center and engine for capacity-building and empowerment of Black organizations and communities, utilizing cooperative and collaborative methods and strategies.

The group emerged as an outgrowth of the State of the Black World Conference which attracted some 2,500 African American scholars, activists, organizers and concerned individuals to Atlanta in 2001. Convened by a core group of veteran social and political activists led by Dr. Ron Daniels (former Executive Director, National Rainbow Coalition; Deputy Campaign Manager, Jesse Jackson for President, 1988 and Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights), the birth of IBW was more than a decade in the making.

Black Churches Partner To Raise Prostate Cancer Awareness

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Black Churches Partner To Raise Prostate Cancer Awareness

Churches Nationwide Partner With Phen to Raise Awareness of Prostate Cancer Within African American Communities

Father's Day Prostate Cancer Rally

Quincy, MA (BlackNews.com) – The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) is partnering with churches nationwide to host Prostate Health Educational Symposiums and the 7th Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer. These events will raise awareness of prostate cancer, educate men about their prostate health and focus on the importance of spiritual faith for those facing prostate cancer or living as survivors. Since 2009, the Father’s Day Rally has touched many lives and awakened churches to address the prostate cancer crisis within their communities.

PHEN will host Prostate Health Educational Symposiums in cities throughout the United States in partnership with its local church partners beginning in April at Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Virginia, and extending through the Fathers Day Rally on June 21, 2015. Each symposium will be a high visibility event within its city led by PHEN Survivor Network members, who are warriors in the fight against prostate cancer. Participation includes local community, medical and political leaders, and PHEN’s industry partners and other supporters.

2015 symposiums will also be hosted in: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Durham (NC), Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, Philadelphia, Raleigh (NC) and Richmond (VA).

Each symposium focuses on specific prostate health topics including: screening and early detection, treatment options, diet and nutrition, and managing treatment side effects. The program is structured for healthy men at high risk for prostate cancer, prostate cancer survivors, caregivers and family members. Free prostate cancer screening will be provided at certain symposiums. All the symposiums are free and open to the public and includes lunch for all attendees and participants. Registration is available online.

Attendees surveyed at the 2014 symposiums expressed a high level of satisfaction (more than 90%) with the topics covered, speakers and overall symposium organization.

The 7th Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer will be held on June 21, 2015 at churches across the country. The annual event raises prostate health awareness within churches of all denominations, during their regular worship services. Prostate cancer survivors, along with those who have lost loved ones to the disease, are recognized with a special prayer of healing and support during the service.

Survey responses from churches participating in the 2014 Father’s Day Rally showed that more than 90 percent indicated that a) the Rally was a success at their churches, b) the survivors and family members were pleased with the recognition and support they received, c) they will participate in the 2015 Rally and d) they want to participate in additional PHEN educational activities.

“Join us as we honor our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, and all the men in our lives,” says Thomas Farrington, PHEN president and founder. “Thanks to our amazing church partners, we are able to educate men and their families about a deadly disease that is needlessly causing havoc at a rate not experienced in other communities. Together we are saving countless lives.”

For churches that are interested in participating: PHEN provides free educational materials for distribution to all their members. In addition, throughout the year PHEN provides access to monthly webcasts and educational materials. All churches are invited to register and participate in the 2015 Father’s Day Rally here. If you are interested in hosting a future Symposium email Kimberly Rogers for more information.
About PHEN
The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) is the leading patient education and advocacy organization addressing the needs of African American prostate cancer patients and survivors. Prostate cancer is the most common major cancer in men. About 1 in 5 African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime; they have the highest prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in the United States. Based in Boston, PHEN, a 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 2003 by Thomas A. Farrington, a prostate cancer survivor. Initiatives throughout the year include monthly live educational Webcasts, the Annual Father’s Day Rally, educational symposiums, and the Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit. For more information, visit PHEN’s website: www.prostatehealthed.org.

Community Leader Buenrostro Calls for Crackdown on Rogue CPD Uniform Sales Potential Security Risk

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Community Leader Buenrostro Calls for Crackdown on Rogue CPD Uniform Sales Potential Security Risk

Letters to Editors

CHICAGO, IL – In light of recent terrorist threats in Aurora, former 2nd Ward aldermanic candidate and community leader Bita Buenrostro has called upon Chicago’s City Council to crack down on the public threat of Illegal transfer and misuse of the official uniforms of the Chicago Police Department.

The United States Department of Justice alleged Thursday that two Aurora, Illinois men were conspiring to misuse National Guard uniforms to gain access to and attack US military installations and share information with the terrorist group ISIS.

Buenrostro, who is also married to a decorated Chicago Police Officer, immediately recognized the threat that people of Chicago would face if terrorists were to attempt similar tactics with an official CPD uniform. Buenrostro states, “Our citizens must be able to trust the credentials of our Chicago Police Officers. It benefits everyone to have complete faith that a person presenting himself as a police officer is, in fact, a sworn officer, a trained professional, and not an imposter or a terrorist out to do harm.”

In 2009, a 14 year old boy was able to acquire a Chicago Police uniform and temporarily pose as an officer. More recently, during the 2nd Ward alderman election, Alyx Pattison, a candidate running against Buenrostro, was able to have a staffer don some regalia and impersonate a police officer for photos in a political mailer. Both Buenrostro and Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police cried foul at the blatant felony committed by Pattison and by her staffer. These examples, coupled with the Aurora arrests are troubling.

Like many large cities, Chicago does not “issue” police uniforms, but instead gives officers a quarterly uniform allowance. Officers must purchase their uniform and duty equipment with that allowance at one of a handful private suppliers in the metropolitan area. While these suppliers act in good faith, Buenrostro would like to ensure that no more misuse of the CPD uniform can occur.

Buenrostro asks the Chicago City Council to pass an ordinance increasing penalties to a felony and fines for the sale or transfer of official police insignia/regalia to non-officers and for the use or possession of that regalia for unofficial purposes or for impersonation. Relevant section of the city code is 2-84-500.

“Impersonating a Chicago Police Officer is a serious and dangerous crime. Since Alyx Pattison wants to become a member of the city council, the people of Chicago and of our 2nd Ward deserve answers from Pattison. We want to know how Alyx was able to obtain and illegally use a Chicago Police uniform in campaign literature. The safety of Chicago’s citizens depends on it.”

“Trust in the CPD uniform is good for the people, it is good for the men and women of our police department, and it is good for the City of Chicago” -Bita Buenrostro


Preckwinkle Calls Resolution 15-2421 Being Introduced by Commissioner Tim Schneider “Ill-Conceived and Irresponsible”

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Preckwinkle Calls Resolution 15-2421 Being Introduced by Commissioner Tim Schneider “Ill-Conceived and Irresponsible”

County Board President Preckwinkle’s remarks on Resolution 15-2421

“The resolution being introduced to the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday by Commissioner Tim Schneider is ill-conceived and irresponsible.

“Under the past five years of my administration, we’ve overwhelmingly passed five budgets, solved for over $1.4 billion in deficits and cut over $465 million in expenditures while holding the line on property taxes and returning $1.5 billion to taxpayers by rolling back the sales tax.

“Because of pending debt service and pension payments and collective bargaining agreements, 2016 stands to be our most challenging budget to date.

“Since we completed our last budget, my team has been hard at work identifying savings, increasing tax compliance, and delaying hiring in order to respond to the challenges ahead. At the beginning of January, I sent a letter to all County agencies and elected officials, including our Commissioners, asking for help identifying cost savings measures and management efficiencies. While we received a number of useful ideas to streamline efforts, we have not heard anything from Commissioner Schneider.

“Let me be clear: any change to our property tax levy will only be considered as a last resort and we will continue to do everything in our power to avoid raising taxes. This has been my position all along and I’ve been very consistent in my communication with the members of the Board and the public on that account.

“But by pre-emptively ruling out any changes to our property tax levy before we determine how to meet all of our financial obligations, Commissioner Schneider is suggesting that the Board tie its own hands when it comes to solving our fiscal challenges.

“This is exactly the type of political stunt that bond rating agencies have raised concern over in recent years. If passed, this resolution could have a negative impact on how the County is viewed by rating agencies and bond markets, making it more expensive to borrow money and jeopardizing the long-term financial stability we have worked so hard over the past five years to create.

“Under the budget process I enacted when I was first elected as President of the County five years ago, the County issues a preliminary budget forecast each June. As we work towards that preliminary forecast, I will continue to partner with the members of the Board, as well as the public, to collaboratively identify for solutions to the fiscal challenges ahead.”

Atlanta Artist Ross Rossin, Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young and Other Notables to Dedicate Maya Angelou Stamp

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on Atlanta Artist Ross Rossin, Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young and Other Notables to Dedicate Maya Angelou Stamp
Maya Angelou 30

WASHINGTON, DC — The public has an opportunity to witness a historic event on Tuesday, April 7 when Postmaster General Megan Brennan will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young and other notables in dedicating the Maya Angelou Forever stamp in Washington, DC.

The 11 a.m. first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony will take place at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St., NW. The event is free and open to the public. The public is asked to RSVP as soon as possible as seating is not guaranteed. Please RSVP at usps.com/mayaforever or by calling 866-268-3243 before 5 p.m. ET April 3. Each RSVP is limited to two (2) seats. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Angelou fans are encouraged to share the news on social media using #MayaForever. The Maya Angelou Forever stamps may be pre-ordered now at this link for delivery shortly after April 7.

Also attending the ceremony will be Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson; Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL); poet Sonia Sanchez; author and journalist Sophia Nelson; Howard University English professor Eleanor Traylor; poet and civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni; civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton; and Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin, whose portrait of Angelou was used for the stamp. The backstory on the portrait and the connection to Young and Winfrey can be found here. Melissa Harris-Perry will serve as master of ceremonies.

As an author, poet, actress, and champion of civil rights, Angelou (1928–2014) was one of the most dynamic voices in 20th-century American literature. The book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” an autobiographical account of her childhood, gained wide acclaim for its vivid depiction of African-American life in the South.

The stamp showcases Rossin’s 2013 4ft. by 4ft. oil-on-canvas portrait of Angelou. The large hyper-realistic painting is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s collection, where it will be on display through Nov. 1. The stamp features this quotation by the pioneering author:  “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

The stamp pane includes a short excerpt from Angelou’s book, “Letter to My Daughter.” It reads: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the stamp.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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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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