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Archive for April 3rd, 2015

Healthcare Industry is Booming but Diversity Lags, New NAACP Report Finds

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, MD – The NAACP released findings from its Opportunity & Diversity Report Card: Healthcare Industry.  Details in the report highlight that while the industry is experiencing rapid growth there are key areas where the healthcare industry can improve diversity, in particular positions of leadership and contracting with minority owned businesses.

“The Opportunity & Diversity Report Card: The Healthcare Industry is the third in a series of NAACP economic report cards on corporate diversity and inclusion,” states Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors.  “With the healthcare industry being one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, it is important for us to highlight opportunities in this industry and where we can strengthen people of color’s full participation.”

Read the report here.
The NAACP’s Report Card graded the six largest healthcare systems (Dignity Health, Tenet Healthcare, Ascension Health, Hospital Corporation of America, Catholic Health Initiative, and Community Health Systems). The highest score was a B and the lowest score was an F.

“Economic inequality will persist as long as equal opportunity for people of color in the United States remains an unrealized goal,” states NAACP President and CEO Cornell Williams Brooks. “The healthcare industry, however, can be a leader in reversing the tide. The healthcare industry will add nearly five million jobs with living wages and wealth generating opportunities over the next decade. The NAACP is excited to partner with the leading healthcare systems in connecting more communities of color to these opportunities and moving our nation towards achieving economic parity.”

The report card, which is based on 2012 data, reveals top management positions remain firmly dominated by white employees, despite the establishment of diversity and inclusion programs and a significant increase in minority college graduates entering the workforce over the past 20 years. The report also found poor performance in the area of contracting minority owned businesses.  Information submitted by healthcare systems during the survey period revealed that three of the six systems did not track supplier diversity spends and the remaining three indicated that they struggle with diversification in their supplier purchasing.

Major other findings of the report include:
• For the foreseeable future, the healthcare industry in the United States is expected to be a significant source of well paid jobs, including a number of occupations which do not require a college degree.
• Diversification of upper management remains a challenge, despite the long history of diversity in areas related to patient care.
• Areas of the healthcare workforce which are diverse are under pressure to reduce costs through automation, closing off a critical pathway to skilled and leadership employment for diverse candidates.
• The monitoring of procurement diversity is lacking or rudimentary at best, and reflects a blind spot that is more pronounced in the healthcare industry than any other the NAACP has surveyed to date.

“During this period of high unemployment and declining wealth, which is even more pronounced for African Americans and other people of color, Americans need living wage jobs with long-term career tracks,” states Dedrick Asante – Muhammad, NAACP Senior Director of Economic Department. “People of color are projected to be the majority of the nation’s population by 2043. Ensuring economic fairness and equal opportunity for people of color is imperative to strengthening our businesses and our global economy in the future.”

The NAACP’s Report Card graded the six largest healthcare systems (Dignity Health, Tenet Healthcare, Ascension Health, Hospital Corporation of America, Catholic Health Initiative, and Community Health Systems) on two main criteria: 1) workforce and job advancement; and 2) contracting and procurement.  Dignity received an overall B grade—the highest ratings out of all the systems while Community Healthcare Systems received an F grade for its failure to participate in the survey.

U.S. Citizens and NGOs Join World Leaders in Call for President Obama to Retract Executive Order Against Venezuela

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

New York – In an Open Letter addressed to President Barack Obama, over 121 U.S. academics, activists and NGOs called on their head of state to rescind his Executive Order declaring Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security”. On March 9, 2015, President Obama invoked his executive powers to decree a national emergency based on the alleged “threat” represented by Venezuela. The Executive Order also imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials with potentially far-reaching consequences.

U.S. citizens and NGOs are joined by leaders from over 138 countries and prestigious multilateral organizations worldwide in their demand for President Obama to rescind his measures against Venezuela. Latin American and Caribbean nations have unanimously rejected President Obama’s Executive Order against Venezuela and have firmly called for its reversal. A powerful statement issued March 26, 2015 from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which represents all 33 countries in the region, expressed “its rejection of the Executive Order issued by the Government of the United States of America on March 9, 2015,” considering “that this Executive Order should be reversed.”

The United Nations G77+China group, which represents 134 countries, also issued a firm statement opposing President Obama’s Executive Order against Venezuela. “The Group of 77+China deplores these measures and reiterates its firm commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…The G77+China calls on the Government of the United States to evaluate and put into practice alternatives of dialogue with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, under principles of respect for sovereignty and self-determination. As such, we urge that the Executive Order be abolished.”

In addition, regional organizations — such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) representing 12 South American states, the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) representing 11 Latin American and Caribbean nations, and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) — issued powerful condemnations of President Obama’s measures against Venezuela. One hundred  British parliamentarians have also repudiated the Executive Order and called on the U.S. government to rescind its actions against Venezuela.

More than 6 million people have signed a petition in Venezuela and online calling on President Obama to retract his Executive Order of March 9, 2015 and to cease interference in Venezuelan affairs. Even prominent members of the Venezuelan opposition have rejected Obama’s designation of Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security.

In a letter to the U.S. president by Venezuela’s Lara State Governor Henry Falcon, known for his anti-government position, he writes, “Let me express to you clearly that Venezuela can’t be considered a threat to any other nation on the planet. We have serious internal problems but we will solve them between Venezuelans.”

This overwhelming international support for Venezuela comes just days before Latin American leaders will meet with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City on April 9-10. While originally the summit was staged to be a historical event where Cuba would reunite with the organization after its forced exclusion by the U.S. over 50 years ago, now the forum will be overshadowed by Obama’s latest move against Venezuela.

Heads of state from the region have made clear that they will not stand for U.S. government aggression against one of their neighbors. Bolivian President Evo Morales warned, “These undemocratic actions of President Barack Obama threaten the peace and security of all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa scoffed, “It must be a bad joke, which reminds us of the darkest hours of our region, when we received invasions and dictatorships imposed by the U.S….Will they understand Latin America has changed?”

Despite being the aggrieved party, President Maduro has repeatedly expressed his desire for “respectful dialogue on equal terms” with the Obama administration and has requested Ecuador, as chair of CELAC, play a key role in mediating these efforts. The upcoming Summit of the Americas may just provide the type of environment that could enable such a dialogue.

In this letter to President Obama, U.S. citizens and NGOs encourage their head of state to improve regional relations and show “our Latin America neighbors that the U.S. can relate to them in peace and with respect for their sovereignty.”

Open Letter to President Obama

President Barack Obama

White House

Washington, DC 20500

April 2, 2015

Dear Mr. President:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, met your December 17, 2014 joint announcement with President Raul Castro of steps to normalize relations with Cuba with cautious optimism.  For decades the US has been isolated in its policy on Cuba, both from the rest of the hemisphere and the rest of the world. For the 23rd year in a row, the UN General Assembly voted last October (188-2) to condemn the US embargo of Cuba.

The UN called on the US to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and regulations which violate the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction, and the freedom of trade and navigation.

We were pleased that the US was finally taking steps to come into compliance with international law. Yet our optimism turned to renewed concern the following day, December 18, when you signed a sanctions bill against Venezuela which appears to perpetuate the same failed policy toward Venezuela that you had just rejected toward Cuba. You hardened that policy on March 9 when you issued an executive order declaring a national emergency with respect to the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.” This action also verified that the US is stepping up its support for regime change in Caracas.

What is US hemispheric policy given this belligerent stance toward Venezuelan democracy? That is the question being asked by the world media and particularly by the sovereign States and multinational institutions of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which represents every country in South America, said your executive order constitutes a “threat of interference” against Venezuela’s sovereignty and calls on you to revoke the order. While politics in Venezuela is polarized and economic disruption caused primarily by the falling price of oil have caused long lines and falling poll numbers for President Nicolas Maduro, we see nothing that could conceivably be described as an “extraordinary threat” to the US or even to Venezuela’s closest neighbors. We note that Colombia, the US’s closest ally in South America and even the Venezuelan opposition have rejected US sanctions.

Compared to Mexico and Honduras where state violence is endemic and the rule of law tenuous at best, Venezuela is not at all outside the norm among nations. Venezuela is not at war with any nation, does not have military bases outside its borders, and is helping to mediate an end to the war in Colombia; it is a champion of peace in the region. To call it a national security threat to the US diminishes the credibility of your administration in the eyes of the world.

To those who know the dynamics in democratic Venezuela, this US policy stance is dangerous and provocative. To set the record straight, the Venezuelan government is democratically elected.  Presidents Chavez and Maduro were both elected in what former President Jimmy Carter declared to be the best election process in the world. (The Carter Center monitors and reports on elections worldwide.) Your executive declaration, however, is likely to be taken as a green light to the most hard line and anti-democratic forces in the country to continue to commit anti-government violence.

We call on you, President Obama, to rescind your executive order naming Venezuela a US national security threat. We call on you to stop interfering through funding and reckless public statements in Venezuela’s own democratic processes. And most of all, we encourage you to show to our Latin American neighbors that the US can relate to them in peace and with respect for their sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Full Text Available Online:

http://afgj.org/u-s-citizens-and-ngos-join-world-leaders-in-call-for-president-obama-to-retract-executive-order-against-venezuela

Kirk Announces Support for Loretta Lynch Nomination

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

States Shared Goals for Combatting Chicago Gangs


CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced he will support Loretta Lynch when her nomination to be the next Attorney General comes to the Senate floor for a vote.

“I am confident from my conversation with Loretta Lynch that she will be a valuable partner in confronting the gang violence that is robbing families of their children every day in Chicago. We need the help of the Attorney General to fight gangs of national significance through federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and to address organized crime like drug and child sex trafficking,” Senator Kirk said.

Background:

  • Senator Kirk recently met with Loretta Lynch to discuss her nomination and the ongoing efforts by state, local, and federal law enforcement to combat the violent gangs.
  • Chicago is the only major city in the United States to rank in the top 5 for the four major drugs distributed by Mexican cartels, including ranking number 1 in heroin, number 2 in both cocaine and marijuana and number 5 in methamphetamine.
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, there has been a 40% increase of shootings in Chicago since this time last year, and a 26% percent increase in homicides.

In fiscal year 2015, Senator Kirk secured $13 million to continue the fight against gangs of national significance in Chicagoland:

  • $5 million for U.S. Marshals Service to continue operating its anti-gang investigative units using their Regional Fugitive Task Force network. In fiscal year 2014, Senator Kirk recommended and secured funding for the creation of these units. Chicago is home to the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lake Regional Task Force Headquarters.
  • $5 million for Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction account (Project Safe Neighborhoods) under State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, “aimed at reducing homicides and gun-related violence crime in communities overwhelmed by gangs of national significance, and illegally trafficked and purchased guns.”
  • $3 million in Gang and Youth Violence Education and Prevention in the Office of Juvenile Justice Programs.

Senator Kirk also spoke with Loretta Lynch to discuss employing RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) to criminally prosecute gang leaders:

* Criminal RICO makes makes it unlawful for a person to use an enterprise to launder money generated by a pattern of racketeering activity.

*Senator Kirk wants the Department of Justice to make maximum use of the criminal RICO statutes (18 USC 1961-1968) to target the management hierarchy of the criminal gang networks that are terrorizing Illinois.

*These gangs’ patterns of racketeering activities include extortion, bribery, loan sharking, murder, illegal gun and drug sales, human sex trafficking, prostitution, and numerous other crimes.  Further, criminal RICO convictions will help the victims of the gangs – such as families of murder victims, business owners who were extorted, debtors of loan sharks, victims of human and sex trafficking – to civilly sue the gang members to recover the economic losses they sustained due to the gangs’ pattern of racketeering.

Springtime Equals Scam-time, Warns BBB

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – People look forward to spring with its warmer weather and greening foliage. Unfortunately, these changes also are hallmarks of new scams that use springtime events, such as tax time, home improvements and outdoor activities, to entrap consumers warns the Better Business Bureau.

“Scams tend to change with the seasons,” explains Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Scammers change their pitches because people’s interests and attention change with the seasons.”

“April is tax time and consumers should be on guard to protect their personal identity information,” Bernas says. “Use established methods for preparing your taxes or tax preparers, and watch out for any schemes that appear to promise you something that is too good to believe.”

Bernas also cautioned about home improvement scams that take advantage of homeowners wanting to fix-up their homes, as well as travel-related scams, such as grandparents receiving calls from their supposedly traveling grand kids pleading for quick money.

“Many of these scams have been around for quite some time and they continue to surface because consumers are always seeking ways they can better their lives,” the BBB president noted. “Scam artists are good at playing on the emotions.”

To protect yourself from springtime scammers, the BBB being aware of what scammers want:

  • They want personal information – Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you unexpectedly. If someone claims to be from a government agency or organization, find the number of the agency yourself and call to verify their claims. If you have already given someone your financial information, call your bank or credit card company immediately to stop any transaction.
  • They want you to send money right away – If someone calls and asks you to wire money via MoneyGram or Western Union or buy a prepaid debit card such as Green Dot, hang up. That’s a sign of a scam.
  • They keep talking – The more questions they ask, the more likely they are to get personal information from you. If someone won’t take no for an answer, just hang up.
  • They’re threatening you – Government agencies won’t call and threaten to arrest you. Debt collectors can’t threaten you. If a caller starts threatening you, hang up. If you’re concerned about your safety, call your local police department.
  • They want you to make a decision fast. — This should be a clear warning sign. Always check out a business with the BBB at www.bbb.org/chicago

For more tips on scams, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Black/Chinese Chamber to Host Lantern Festival

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Chamber to celebrate upcoming traditional Chinese holiday by hosting the Xilin Performing Arts Academy 10th Annual Lantern Festival

Executive Director Rasaan Liddell set to make history as the first African-American to host thousand year old festival.

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — The Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce and partner Xilin Performing Arts Academy today announces the Xilin Performing Arts Academy 10th Annual Lantern Festival, featuring Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rasaan 华山Liddell as Master of Ceremonies. The event will take place at the Compass Auditorium 1551 E. Hobson Road, Naperville, Illinois on Sunday April 19th beginning at 5:30pm.

The Lantern Festival began in 206 B.C.E. during the Han Dynasty and is observed by the lighting of lanterns and also marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Festival is especially celebrated by cities in Asia with large Chinese communities. From releasing floating lanterns in Taiwan to massive lantern displays in Singapore, each city has its own take on the event. This years festival is remarkable as it will feature its first African-American Master of Ceremonies Mr. Rasaan Liddell, whom will showcase his understanding of Chinese culture and mastery of the Chinese language in both song and dance to the delight of all in attendance.

The Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce, founded in order to build and cultivate business, social and cultural ties between Chicagos African-American and the global Chinese community provides Chicago-area individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses an opportunity to interact and engage with each other and the local, national and internationally Chinese community. The recent partnership with Xilin Performing Arts Academy is an extension of the Chambers recently launched Chinese Cultural Initiative (http://southsideweekly.com/afro-sino-chamber-seeks-to-close-a-culture-gap/) which bridges cultural gaps while cultivating business, social and cultural ties between Chicago area students studying the Chinese language and the global Chinese community.

Founded by Xilin Association in January 2003, Xilin Asian Community Center is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization committed to serve Asian populations needs in the Greater Chicago area and its mission is to encourage interest and active involvement of the Asian community in the US political process, economic development and cultural affairs.

“After living, working and running a business in China for nearly a decade I have returned to the United States to share my experiences, as well as to speak and act on behalf of the African-American community as relates to China and Asia as a whole,” says Founder and Executive Director Rasaan 华山 Liddell. “This collaboration is a quintessential example of how differing cultures with varying customs and ideologies can absolutely cultivate close, rewarding relationships and simultaneously impact local, national and international relations with China and even other parts of the globe.”

He continues, “Here at the Chamber, we encourage all to learn more about China and international trade in its entirety. We provide a forum for China related discussions which naturally serve as a bridge between these very diverse communities which will hopefully impact in a positive way the advancement of US-Sino relations. With more than 12,000 students studying Mandarin in the Chicago public school system right now, this organization provides a locale, setting and stage for exploration, while taking classroom knowledge from the theoretical to the applied. We expect tremendous support of this non-profit organization.
About the Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce
The Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce is an innovative institution that takes a fresh approach to conducting local, national and international business by providing a hybrid of business and social services to its members.

The Chamber is headed by Rasaan华山Liddell, who holds a Masters Degree in Asian Studies and is also fluent in Mandarin. Hes a graduate of from Loyola University-Chicago Quinlans Business School and holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree in Marketing. The Chamber has a leadership staff that has masters degrees in international business, accounting and social work. The Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce is located at 2929 South Wabash in Chicago, Illinois.

The Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for membership. For more information, please visit www.AfroSinoChamber.org or contact them at Membership@AfroSinoChamber.org or (773) 809-3630.
Links to Mr. Liddells time and efforts while in China:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJXj-ZWa07U
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zh6Pj9L8mE
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYt6kh0T0xY

Photo Caption: Executive Director Rasaan Liddell (center) with members of the Afro-Sino Chamber of Commerce

Photo credit: Byron Rivers

Top 15 Little Known Scholarships for Women and Girls in 2015/2016

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Top Women Scholarships

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Every year, billions of dollars in scholarships are given away to students all over the world. These scholarships can be used to pay for college tuition, boarding, books, and more. Every scholarship has different criteria to be eligible, but all are not required to be repaid as long as the scholar continues to meet the guidelines.

Here are the top 15 scholarship programs for women and girls in the year 2015:

#1 – Executive Women International Scholarship Program: Offers scholarships to both male and female outstanding high school seniors who plan to pursue a four-year college degree program. Scholarships are based on academics, extracurricular activities, leadership and communication skills.

#2 – Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women: For women age 25 or older who want to complete their education. Candidates must complete a 500-word essay that explains the reasons for applying for the scholarship, how the funds will be used, and how the scholarship award will help them with their education and career goals.

#3 – Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships: For women pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in the areas of engineering, engineering technology and computer science. Female students must be attending accredited colleges or universities and preparing for careers in technical fields.

#4 – Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship: Named after Joe Francis (1933-1994), the founder of several hair care franchises, this scholarship is for women (and men) applying for entrance into Cosmetology/Barber School, OR actively enrolled in a Cosmetology/Barber program. An application must be submitted, as well as a one-page essay, and one or two letters or recommendation.

#5 – NFRW’s Betty Rendel Scholarship: These awards go to three female undergraduates each year who are attending a four-year accredited college or university and majoring in political science, government or economics. It is open to women across the nation.

#6 – Women’s Independence Scholarship Program: Helps women who have survived domestic violence to return to school and become self-sufficient. The primary candidates are single mothers with young children who lack the resources to attend college. It is based on financial need.

#7 – Young Women in Public Affairs Award: For young women age 16 to 19 with an interest in public affairs who plan to enroll in college. Interested students must be knowledgeable about Zonta, have experience in local or student government, and generally be active in volunteer work.

#8 – At the Well Young Womens Leadership Academy Scholarship: These scholarships are available to help students attend a summer program at Princeton University, and is geared towards building leadership skills for minority girls entering the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grades of high school.

#9 – Miss America Scholarship Fund: Offers scholarships to over 12,000 young women who compete in the state and local competitions as well as Miss America first place winner, four runners-up, semi-finalists and non-finalists.

#10 – Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund For Women: This program champions greater inclusion of multicultural women in the nursing and medical industries, address important gaps in treatment, and ensure that all Americans have an opportunity to work with their healthcare providers to make the best choices that lead to good health.

#11 – National Student Nurses Association Scholarships: Awarded to students currently enrolled in a nursing degree program. Eligible students must be enrolled in a state-approved nursing program that leads to a LPN or RN licensing.

#12 – Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Scholarship Program: Open to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate female students interested in a career in law enforcement. Eligible students may major in criminal justice, social sciences, public administration, computer science, finance, chemistry, and physics.

#13 – Sara Scholarship: Available to female high school seniors who plan to attend college and are active in golf. The renewable scholarship is awarded to 12 deserving female students each year. Students must have excellent academic skills and demonstrate financial need.

#14 – Job’s Daughters Supreme Scholarships: Offers several different scholarships for single female students who are members of Job’s Daughters or whose parents are Job’s Daughters members. Applicants can be high school seniors, graduates or currently attending technical school or college.

#15 – Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: Open to female undergraduate seniors or female students enrolled in a graduate program and studying Computer Science or Computer Engineering.
To learn how to apply for these scholarships and hundreds of others, visit www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

Opening ReMARCs: What’s the Delay? #ConfirmLynch

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

The confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the first African American woman to be nominated to be U.S. Attorney General, has been delayed longer than any Attorney General nominee in history.

Few individuals in history have been as qualified for the office as Ms. Lynch. Nearly 25 years ago, she began her legal career as a drug and violent-crime prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1990. She later served as the chief of the Long Island office and focused on political corruption. In 1999, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and oversaw the prosecution of New York City police officers in the Abner Louima case. After several years in the private sector, she returned to the position of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and served two years on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Her personal story is quintessentially American; born into the pre-Civil Rights Era South to a librarian and a minister, she grew up hearing stories of her grandfather helping people migrate north to escape persecution under the Jim Crow laws. From humble beginnings, she went on to earn both a Bachelor of Arts in English and American literature and Juris Doctor from Harvard University.

Last month, Urban League executives gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Urban League’s annual Legislative Policy Conference. We met with our elected leaders and Administration officials to share the concerns of the people we serve. Among our most urgent requests: Confirm Loretta Lynch.

Ms. Lynch’s experience and expertise are not in question. As partisan a Republican figure as former New York Mayor and Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said, “If I were in the Senate, I would confirm her.”

The necessity for the Senate to proceed with her confirmation cannot be overstated. The Justice Department is one of the nation’s most vital agencies and needs her strong leadership and expertise.

Two More Weeks of August Wilson Events

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Two weeks remain to see Two Trains Running plus four readings of August Wilson’s plays in the Goodman’s Citywide Celebration of the late playwright

An April 11-13 Summit Weekend for African American Artists and Educators Culminates in a “Black Theater in America” Panel on Monday, April 13

CHICAGO, IL – Two weeks filled with special events and programs remain in Goodman Theatre’s citywide celebration of the late playwright known as “America’s Shakespeare”—August Wilson. Two Trains Running, the Celebration’s centerpiece production directed by Chuck Smith, has been extended to April 19; still to come are script-in-hand readings of The Piano Lesson (April 4), Radio Golf (April 6), Jitney (April 14) and King Hedley II (April 18). Two panel discussions remain—August Wilson in St. Paul (April 7) and August Wilson in New York (April 12). For ticket reservations for the free Celebration events, visit The August Wilson Celebration; to purchase tickets for Two Trains Running ($37-$79) call 312.443.3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org/TwoTrains.

Smith has summoned leading artists and educators from African American theater companies and Historic Black Colleges and Universities for a weekend discussion of the state of black theater in America—and including August Wilson’s work in the schools’ curricula—April 11-13. The weekend culminates in a public panel discussion on April 13 about the history, achievements and current challenges in the theater. Congo Square Theatre Company presents the panel, which includes Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo Theatre; Sarah Bellamy, Penumbra Theater; Lydia R. Diamond, Playwright; Ron OJ Parson, Director; Derrick Sanders, Director; Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theatre. Tickets are free, but reservations are required: 312.443.3800 or GoodmanTheatre.org.

CONCERT READINGS (FREE)

The Piano Lesson | Saturday, April 4 | 2pm at Evanston Public Library (1703 Orrington Ave.)
Presented by Fleetwood-Jourdain, Directed by Aaron Todd Douglas
Reserve tickets: 847.448.8620 or EPL.org/pianolesson

Wilson’s Depression-era drama pits Boy Willie against his sister, Berniece, when he appears at her Hill District home with plans for their family heirloom piano. Berniece hopes to pass its legacy on to her young daughter, while Boy Willie hopes to sell it and use the money to build a new life. Ghosts from the family’s troubled past emerge as brother and sister clash over the piano’s future.

Radio Golf | Monday, April 6 | 7pm at Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis Ave.)
Presented by Court Theatre, Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Reserve tickets: 773.753.4472 | CourtTheatre.org

Steeped in the spirits and dreams of the past, Radio Golf tells the story of Harmond Wilks, an ambitious real estate developer whose plans for a slick new venture will likely make him Pittsburgh’s first black mayor. Everything proceeds smoothly until the arrival of a mysterious stranger forces Wilks to reconsider his path to (and definition of) success. Wilson’s final work for the stage, Radio Golf marks a triumphant conclusion to his extraordinary “20th Century Cycle.”

Jitney | Tuesday, April 14 | 7pm at South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. South Shore Dr.)
Presented by eta Creative Arts Foundation, Directed by Kamesha Khan
Reserve tickets: 708.926.4641

August Wilson’s first play, demonstrating his gift for capturing the rhythms and power of language, Jitney provides a window into the world of Pittsburgh’s jitney cab drivers. Becker manages the cab station where Turnbo, Youngblood, Fielding and Doub struggle to make ends meet and work their way out of hustling Pittsburgh’s streets. But the unexpected twists and turns of life work against the men, complicating their escape from the jitney station.

King Hedley II | Saturday, April 18 | 2pm at DuSable Museum (740 E. 56th Pl.)
Presented by Congo Square Theatre Company, Directed by Daniel Bryant
Reserve tickets: 773.296.1108 | CongoSquareTheatre.org

The eighth play in Wilson’s “20th Century Cycle,” King Hedley II paints a vivid, almost operatic portrait of a neighborhood struggling to come to terms with the harsh realities of life in the mid-1980s. After his release from prison, King Hedley II, son to the troubled Hedley of Wilson’s Seven Guitars, returns home to find himself humiliated by his father’s memory. Adrift in the face-paced era of Reaganomics, his attempts to lift himself out of the poverty-stricken Hill District do more harm than good.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

August Wilson in St. Paul, MN | Tuesday, April 7 | 12noon at Northwestern University (1949 Campus Dr.)
Moderated by Lou Bellamy
Reserve tickets: Wirtz.Northwestern.edu/Special_Events

Before beginning work on his “20th Century Cycle” and establishing himself as one of the United States’ leading writers, Wilson worked in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lou Bellamy, founding Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre and an early collaborator with Wilson, leads a conversation with theater professionals and scholars about Wilson’s early career as an unknown playwright.

August Wilson in New York | Sunday, April 12 | 6pm at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn St.)
Presented by Goodman Theatre
Moderated by Woodie King, Jr.
Reserve tickets: 312.443.3800 | GoodmanTheatre.org
Woodie King, Jr., founder of the New Federal Theatre and friend and colleague of August Wilson, has produced and championed African American theater for decades. Leading a public discussion with friends and colleagues, King shares memories of Wilson’s life and work in New York—and the influence Wilson had on a new generation of theater artists.

Amy Campanelli Sworn in for a 6-year Term as Cook County’s Public Defender

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Campanelli’s experience includes 23 years in the Public Defender’s Office

Amy Campanelli was sworn in as Cook County’s newest Public Defender by Appellate Court Justice Stuart Palmer during a ceremony held this afternoon in the Cook County Board Room.

Campanelli was nominated to serve a six-year term as Public Defender by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in March. Her appointment was unanimously approved by the Board of Commissioners during today’s Board Meeting.

Campanelli, a 23-year veteran of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, most recently served as the Deputy of Suburban Operations for the Law Office, where she managed more than 150 assistant public defenders, supervisors, chiefs, support staff and investigators and oversaw all specialty/therapeutic courts.

Campanelli also has experience in all divisions of the Public Defender’s Office, including Juvenile, Felony Trial, Capital and Homicide Cases. She served as the office liaison between all suburban police departments, the Cook County Department of Corrections and the Sex Offender Management Board for the State of Illinois. She is a mental health specialist and has conducted numerous trainings for attorneys. Campanelli received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and her JD from the Kent College of Law.

Campanelli is only the second woman to serve as Public Defender for Cook County.

“I have dedicated my life to representing the indigent accused and I know that fairness and justice are the most critical components of our criminal justice system,” said Campanelli. “I am humbled to be able to do this great work and am grateful to President Preckwinkle for trusting me to lead this office of well-trained, compassionate, and courageous attorneys, investigators and administrative staff who fight for justice every day.”

“I am grateful to Amy Campanelli for agreeing to take on this critically important position, and to our Board of Commissioners, who unanimously confirmed her appointment today. Throughout her nearly 30 years practicing law, Amy has proven herself to be a relentless advocate for her clients. She is passionate about the work of the Public Defender’s Office, and fully committed to our ongoing efforts to reform the County’s criminal justice system,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Outgoing Public Defender Abishi Cunningham was also recognized for his service as Public Defender with a resolution passed by the Board of Commissioners during today’s meeting.

Interlochen Announces 2014 Virginia B. Ball Scholarship Winner

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Gorham, Maine writer impresses with powerful and distinct voice

INTERLOCHEN, MI – The Interlochen Arts Academy is proud to announce that Gorham, Maine sophomore Elizabeth Lemieux has won the 2014 Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing scholarship contest.

According to Dave Griffith, Director of Creative Writing, Elizabeth’s portfolio stood out because “her writing has a strong and mature voice, and is filled with fresh, powerful, original, distinctive imagery, and a vivid sense of place.”

Elizabeth was chosen from a pool of applicants that spanned 15 different countries and 42 states. She will receive a $30,000 scholarship for each year she is enrolled at Interlochen Arts Academy.  Elizabeth, 16, had been a finalist in 2012 and attended Interlochen Arts Camp in 2014

The contest is a bi-annual contest generously endowed by the Virginia B. Ball Foundation. It is a way to encourage exceptional young writers to pursue the development of their craft. For more information about the contest, please visit write.interlochen.org/contest-home.

About Interlochen Center for the Arts

The nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the only organization in the world that brings together: a 2,500-student summer camp program; a 500-student fine arts boarding high school; opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs; two 24-hour listener-supported public radio stations (classical music and news); more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists; a global alumni base spanning eight decades, including leaders in the arts and all other endeavors. For information, visit Interlochen online at www.interlochen.org.

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

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