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Archive for April 20th, 2015

Kirk Delivers Weekly Republican Address on Iran

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

First Weekly Address Since Recovering From Stroke

Warns of Iran’s Nuclear Threat and Need for Strong Economic Pressure from U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) gave the Weekly Republican Address about the threat posed by Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and about his efforts in Congress to remove the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East by imposing economic pressure on the Iranian regime.

Senator Kirk gave the Republican Address in 2009 when he was a U.S. Representative. This is the first Weekly Republican Address Kirk has given since returning to the Senate in January 2013 after suffering a stroke.

The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here and you may download the address here. A full transcript of the address follows:

“Hello I’m Senator Mark Kirk, I’m honored to represent the people of Illinois in the Senate.

“I’m here today to talk about my work to ensure that the next generation of Americans never has to hear about a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf.

“Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror.

“Iran’s Aytatollah’s are now trying to build their own nuclear weapons.

“Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to annihilate Jewish families across the state of Israel.

“Four years ago I authored a bipartisan Iran sanctions Legislation that passed the Senate by a vote of 100-0.

“These sanctions forced Iran back to the negotiating table.

“They were so effective that they dropped the value of Iran’s currency by ¾.

“This was probably the entire reason why the Iranians even showed up at the negotiations.

“Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama.

“Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted which would fund Iran’s terror subsidiaries with billions.

“Secretary Kerry recently testified before the Senate and said it would only take two more months for Iran to build a bomb.

“We must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.

“Stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons is the greatest challenge to peace in our time.

“After the Holocaust we promised ‘never again.’

“We must keep terrorists from hurting our allies and our nation.

“Thank you for listening and God Bless the United States of America.”

Dunkin Bill Protecting Civil Liberties in Cases of False Arrest Passes House

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – To protect the rights of Illinoisans arrested without cause, state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, recently passed legislation that will require law enforcement agencies to destroy arrest records of individuals who were apprehended as a result of mistaken identity.

“Too often, people are mistakenly arrested for simply matching the description of someone who committed a crime, and then these innocent individuals are forced to live with a cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads,” Dunkin said. “My bill will help ensure that people who were wrongfully accused are not punished for mistakes made by law enforcement.”

Under current law, police and other law enforcement agencies are prohibited from destroying arrest records without the consent of either the Local or State Records Commission or a court order directing them to do so. Dunkin’s House Bill 169 would require law enforcement agencies to delete the record  of individuals who were mistakenly arrested and against whom no charges were filed. The Illinois State Police, the Cook County Public Defender, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Illinois African American Family Commission support the measure and agree with Dunkin that people wrongfully accused of a crime should bear no responsibility for that crime.

“A bedrock principle of our democracy is that people are innocent until proven guilty,” Dunkin said. “This fundamental protection from government overreach must include shielding the innocent from suspicion in the future.”

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support and is now up for consideration in the Senate.

Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) Declares #BlackWorkMatters at Protests in Chicago, New Orleans & New York City

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Hundreds of young Black activists across the country engaged in national day of action, drawing national attention to Black worker’s rights issues

CHICAGO, IL – The Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) championed the voices of Black people and lifted up the struggles of Black workers during yesterday’s Fight For $15 global day of action, the nation’s largest low-wage worker mobilization effort in history. Spearheading activities in three major U.S cities to draw attention to the plight of Black fast food and service sector workers, BYP100 has helped spark a national discussion about the unique challenges faced by Black workers and why social justice movements should amplify the experiences of Black people.

On April 15, local BYP100 chapters in Chicago, New Orleans and New York City spearheaded a series of concurrent public rallies, marches and direct action protests to amplify the experiences of Black fast food workers that are often devalued or disregarded.

“The Fight for $15 is a Black issue because racial justice is economic justice,” said Charlene Carruthers, National Director of BYP100. “In my hometown of Chicago, Black folks make up nearly half of all fast food workers and our families deserve wages that allow them to live with dignity and the right to form a union.”

In addition to capturing the stories of Black workers on the ground, BYP100 pioneered the #BlackWorkMatters hashtag on social media, an ode to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to articulate the link between the racial and economic justice issues highlighted by the Fight For $15 campaign. .

“Black people often don’t get the opportunity to tell the stories of the injustices we experience. Our actions across the nation yesterday illustrate the impact Black people can have when we dare to reclaim our own narratives and speak truth to power,” added Carruthers.

Low wage work and lack of access to union rights is a national problem, but presents a unique challenge to Black workers. Black people are over-represented in low wage work throughout the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 Black people made up only 11.4% of the national employed population, but represented 20.5% of fast food workers. All workers deserve a living wage and access to collective bargaining rights, and Black workers (including Black women and LGBT workers) are disproportionately impacted by falling wages and lack of access to union rights. However, big corporate powers like McDonald’s are busy profiting billions while their workers struggle to pay their rent and support their families. [WATCH BYP100’s new video highlighting the impact of fast food and other low wage jobs on Black youth]

“Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to pass the buck on this, and we will stay in this fight until we win,” stressed Carruthers.

In addition to standing in solidarity with thousands of Black fast food and service sector workers on strike, BYP100 members called for large, profitable fast food corporations like McDonald’s to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $15 an hour and allow their workers to form a union without retaliation.

More than 500 young Black people and allies joined members of the BYP100 Chicago chapter during a march and rally in solidarity with Black workers on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago. Janae Bonsu, Co-Chair of BYP100 Chicago and a former fast food employee, spoke of the hardships she experienced trying to take care of her basic needs as a fast food worker:

“As a student needing to work my way through school, I was dependent on my minimum wage fast food job to support myself. I had a set amount I needed to pay for bills every month, but I never had set amount to look forward to when I opened my paycheck. The hours I worked was always a luck of the draw that determined whether or not I’d be late on paying my rent or putting food in my refrigerator. My experience is not uncommon, and there are so many other people – particularly Black mothers, formerly incarcerated people, and LGBTQ folks – who are struggling to survive on inadequate pay and no mechanism to collectively bargain a living wage, health care benefits, and a safe work environment. “

– Janae Bonsu, BYP100-Chicago Co-Chair

Standing shoulder to shoulder with Black workers in New Orleans, members of BYP100’s New Orleans chapter drew approximately 200 activists to march on McDonald’s restaurants in protest of the company’s unjust treatment of Black workers. In response to their local protests, artist/activist and Co-Chair of BYP100 New Orleans Mwende Katwiwa spoke about the connection between Black labor and the #BlackLivesMatter movement:

“Too often Black youth are trapped in a singular narrative about their lived experience that does not address the structural and social conditions they have The #BlackLivesMatter movement goes beyond a call to end police brutality and murder against Black people — it is a recognition that Black life is valuable while it is still being lived. Valuing Black life means Black people should have access to their basic human dignity at their workplace — especially Black youth who are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and are over-represented in low wage jobs.”

– Mwende Katwiwa, BYP100-NOLA Co-Chair

BYP100 leaders in New York City staged multiple actions in coordination with local allies to demand a fair wage and collective bargaining rights for Black workers. Karl Kumodzi, Organizing Co-Chair of BYP100’s NYC chapter, shared his thoughts on the importance of yesterday’s actions:

“Yesterday’s actions all across the country and the convergence of the #BlackLivesMatter & #FightFor15 movements show that people are fed up with the devaluation and destruction of entire communities in this country, whether it manifests itself in killer cops walking free or killer corporations keeping their employees on poverty wages.”

– Karl Kumodzi, BYP100-NYC Organizing Co-Chair

Attorney General Holder’s Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing:

“Twenty years ago, domestic terrorists struck at the heart of all that this country stands for – liberty, democracy and the rule of law.  The toll of their heinous and cowardly act – in lives lost and families shattered – devastated our public servant community and shook the confidence and faith of our nation.  But through the resilience of Oklahomans and the strength of the American people, we recommitted ourselves to the fundamental values that make this country a beacon of freedom, fairness and opportunity.  In the years since, the Department of Justice has rededicated itself to the fight against homegrown threats and has been aggressive in going after those who would inflict violence on their fellow citizens.  Our measures have been effective and our record is strong, but we must remain vigilant – public servants and citizens alike – in our efforts to identify potential threats before they cause harm.

“To that end, last year, I relaunched the Justice Department’s Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which had originally been established by Attorney General Janet Reno in response to the bombing in Oklahoma City.  Through its meetings and ongoing efforts, the committee serves as a vital forum for members of the Justice Department, the FBI and a number of other law enforcement agencies across the federal government to assess and share information about domestic terror threats and developments.  It is a part of the critical progress we have made in the wake of Oklahoma City.  And it is one of the many ways in which we pay tribute to the lives and the legacies of the 168 men, women, and children who were taken from us on that tragic day two decades ago.

“As we mark this somber anniversary and as many gather at what is now a beautiful and inspiring memorial in Oklahoma City, our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost lives and loved ones.  We will continue to honor their memory.  And in the days, months and years ahead, we will continue to uphold the values of this nation – a nation that stands strong, a nation that overcomes and a nation that moves forward, inexorably, toward that more perfect Union our founders imagined for us all.”

Now What? How to Create Fair Companies After the Ellen Pao Verdict

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Op-ed By Freada Kapor Klein






Last month, during the height of the Ellen Pao trial, I met with a number of social entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.

I raised the idea that the lack of diversity in tech is a byproduct of the lack of diversity among funders and investors. This must have hit a nerve. A senior partner from a top-tier VC quickly got defensive.

“Quotas,” he said, “would ruin everything.” Nobody had been talking about quotas.

Afterwards, an older white woman spoke up in a strange defense of the VC. “Oh that’s just how he always reacts,” she said. “He’s not really a bigot.” She continued:

“It’s a good thing you don’t need him to invest in your companies. He doesn’t like being challenged.”

This encounter highlights the central problem of why it is so hard to fix biases: Those in power think that they’re being fair. They also believe they’ve reached the top of their field because they are better and smarter than others. Any challenge to these beliefs feels like a personal attack, and is met with a circular logic that reinforces the comfortable assumption that they sit atop a meritocracy.

Challenging these prevailing assumptions can bring retaliation. Even in the room full of powerful entrepreneurs, no one spoke out against the VC. Imagine how it must be for employees – whose job may be at risk – or a startup whose funding would be threatened.

For years* I’ve conducted research on hidden bias, workplace culture, and the daily slights that accumulate over time, and ultimately drive many women and people of color out of the workplace. Here’s what I’ve found:

HR Departments Don’t Help

A recurring theme from employees is the absence of a safe place to go for problem solving, advice, and informal resolution. Human Resources or People Ops departments are alternately seen as spineless, on the side of management, or, in the worst-case scenario, as the place you go when you want to end your career. This was laid bare when, in a recent meeting with CEOs of Kapor Capital portfolio companies, I asked if any of them had worked with an HR person they thought was really helpful. No one was able to name a single person whom they thought could be a valuable colleague to help them think through issues of culture, diversity, and inclusion at their growing companies.

“A recurring theme is the absence of a safe place to go for problem solving and informal resolution”

Equally unhelpful are outmoded diversity policies that have dominated – and failed – corporate America. Policies that require employees to report behavior they consider inappropriate, triggering an automatic HR investigation often exacerbate the problem. More often than not, they ensure that no one comes forward. Who would file a formal complaint against her CEO for making a sexist or racist comment? Outdated approaches mean that day-to-day exclusionary and offensive practices stay hidden, along with their cumulative effect of driving women, LGBT employees, and employees of color out the door in disproportionate numbers. Then, when reviewing turnover data, senior managers ask in disbelief, “Why didn’t they stay?”

“Innovation in people practices has lagged behind every other dimension of business”

It would be a major mistake to recommend that VCs and tech companies adopt the policies and practices that have simply not worked in corporate America.

Innovation in people practices has lagged behind every other dimension of business. Even in Silicon Valley, tech has been leveraged less when applied to people ops than to product development, financial operations, manufacturing, and sales. It makes no sense, in a world where the purpose of a startup is to upend an established business or an entire industry, that every company has the same boilerplate policy. For an industry built on innovation, tech has shown a remarkable lack of creativity when it comes to tackling issues of culture and people.

It’s Possible to Build Better People Ops

The good news is there are some decent models out there that work. One of the most innovative approaches to handling bias complaints was developed by MIT. Their ombuds (man)’s office, a confidential body consciously populated by people from different backgrounds, is provided as an alternative for employees and students alike. People who believe they have experienced bias have a choice of using this informal resolution system or a traditional complaint channel. One wonders how such a system could have acknowledged, identified, and addressed the toxic culture described by Ellen Pao in her lawsuit.

Also exciting is a number of new tech companies founded specifically to address hidden bias in all aspects of people ops: everything from flagging exclusionary language in job descriptions, to removing bias from performance review structures, to simply removing gender and race indicators from résumés.

Put simply, policies and complaint practices ought to reflect and enable the culture, not stifle it.

Employment Law Needs a Reboot

When Silicon Valley really wants regulations or laws changed, they go after them aggressively. Don’t like PIPA or SOPA? Undo them. Need to import more talent from other countries because one thinks it’s easier than fixing the leaky pipeline here at home? Expand H1B visas. Net neutrality? Innovating around hotel taxes or taxi licensing fees? It’s all underway. Don’t like Indiana’s or Arkansas’ new “religious freedom” laws? Speak out with gusto and get the laws changed. All of this is in stark contrast to the silence of Silicon Valley leaders when it comes to updating U.S. employment laws on bias, harassment, and discrimination.

Just about every so-called “disruptive” startup sends out the same basic offer letter that says, in essence, “Welcome aboard! We’re going to change the world together. But remember, you’re an at-will employee and we can fire you at any time with no reason. Hope you’ll give us your all!”

There is no excuse to keep operating this way.

The Time Is Now

While VCs like the one I encountered may have been encouraged by the jury’s verdict in the Pao case, he would be wrong to get too comfortable. The status quo is on the verge of change, as it was in 1991.

Twenty-four years ago, the entrenched “boys club” of Washington, DC breathed a similar sigh of relief when Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court, despite the jaw-dropping harassment disclosures of Anita Hill. As it turned out, his confirmation almost immediately sparked an avalanche of change.

Just one month after Justice Thomas joined the Court, federal sexual harassment laws were dramatically strengthened. The next year, more women than ever sought and won seats in the U. S. House and Senate. Thomas and the last gasp of antiquated patriarchy he came to represent had won the battle, but lost the war.

There is no doubt that Ellen Pao has put the issues of bias, discrimination, and workplace culture in Silicon Valley at the top of the tech conversation. Thanks to Pao and many others, the problem is no longer disputable.

Fortunately, Silicon Valley is in the business of creating innovative solutions.

Freada Kapor Klein is a venture partner at Kapor Capital , the founder of the Level Playing Field Institute and author of “Giving Notice: Why the Best and the Brightest Leave the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay.”

*In 1984, my doctoral dissertation examined, in part, the differing ways men and women view the continuum of unwanted sexual attention at work. Men saw jokes, touching, requests for dates all clustered together, and attempted or actual sexual assault at the other end of the continuum. Women saw all the behaviors in an escalating continuum from sexual comments through attempted and actual sexual assault.

National Veterans Art Museum to Observe Memorial Day 2015 with New Exhibition

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Joe Bonham Project, Drawing the Stories of America’s Wounded Veterans, Features Artwork by Combat and Civilian Artists

Chicago, Ill (May 2015) — On Monday, May 25, 2015, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will honor Memorial Day with the opening reception of The Joe Bonham Project. The Joe Bonham Project aims to keep the dedication, sacrifices and indomitable spirit of our wounded warriors present and accounted for with more than a hundred drawings and illustrations created during the time spent patients at VA Hospitals throughout the United States. Admission to the NVAM will be free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with light refreshments offered from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Keynote speakers will commence at 2 p.m. and include Michael D. Fay, a former Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer and Combat Artist and Founder of The Joe Bonham Project, and Dr. Anna Stachyra, Chief of Education Services at Edward Hines, Jr., Veterans Affairs Hospital.

The Joe Bonham Project is named after the central character in Dalton Trumbo’s 1938 novel Johnny Got His Gun. Joe loses all his limbs and his face to an artillery explosion, yet survives only to be eventually ‘warehoused’ beyond human interaction. Featuring artwork created in a variety of media by fifteen combat and civilian artists, The Joe Bonham Project seeks to show the real face of war and its aftermath to the public with images that portray the realities and human consequences of combat.

Several of the artists in The Joe Bonham Project are seasoned war artists including Michael Fay, Richard Johnson, Steve Mumford, Kristopher Battles, Victor Juhasz, Roman Genn, and Robert Bates. Other artists, such as Jeffery Fisher, Fred Harper, Jess Ruliffson, Ray Alma, Bill Harris, and Josh Korenblat, have friends and family who have, or are currently serving in the armed forces. Working primarily at in-patient surgical shock-trauma wards, these artists have spent significant amounts of time with some of the most physically battle damaged soldiers, sailors and Marines. Most have endured multiple traumatic amputation injuries and disfiguring facial wounds, and will endure months of operations and challenging physical therapy. With them on this journey back to wholeness are often equally traumatized family members. All have volunteered to be sketched.

Gallery Coordinator Destinee Oitzinger notes that this exhibit is not only a series of portraits of wounded veterans, but collectively represents a side of combat that is too-often overlooked or misunderstood. Oitzinger states, “The awe-inspiring power of this exhibit lies in the fact that the artists are bringing recognition to an aspect of war that is often inconceivable to those who haven’t experienced these realities first hand. More importantly they humanize the veterans by capturing their individual personalities, and their strength and perseverance rather than equating them to merely the sum of their wounds.”


NVAM Executive Director Brendan Foster applauded the show, “The Joe Bonham Project exemplifies the heart of the National Veterans Art Museum’s mission to foster a greater understanding of the real impact of war.  This exhibit brings to the forefront the conversations that society must have about the tangible cost of war.  We are proud and honored to exhibit The Joe Bonham Project, and provide a venue in which, for many people, these conversations can begin. For those already impacted by the cost of war, this exhibition will provide an opportunity to continue these conversations.”

Artist and founder of the project, Michael Fay states, “Art and war have been interwoven with culture since man began articulating his experiences. From epic poems, myths and the earliest cave art, images and tales of warriors have shaped human consciousness through artistic expression. Today the National Veterans Art Museum continues that tradition by highlighting artistic expressions by, of and for America’s warriors. The Joe Bonham Project, a group of artists and illustrators dedicated to capturing the experiences of some of our Nation’s most profoundly physically and psychically impacted Soldiers and Marines, is honored to exhibit our work at the National Veterans Art Museum in America’s Second City.”

-more-

The exhibit will be display from Monday, May 25th through August 28th, 2015.

About the National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from and artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.

The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312-326-0270 or visit www.nvam.org.

Tri-Caucus Chairs and Ranking Member Scott Push for Stronger Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Bill

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) considers the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, a bi-partisan education proposal put forth by Chairman Lamar Alexandra (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released the following statements calling for needed improvements to the current proposal:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Today, the Senate HELP Committee has an historic opportunity to fulfill the intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—to guarantee that every child has the unequivocal right to an equitable education. While the bi-partisan Senate proposal is an important step forward, more must be done to address the inequities that continue to exist in our current education system. Subgroup accountability must be strengthened, and schools with low-performing subgroups must be identified and supported. Data must be meaningfully disaggregated, and resources must be equitably distributed, including closing the comparability loophole. These measures will ensure that the civil rights of our all nation’s children—regardless of their zip code, family wealth, race, or background—are protected.”

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), CBC Chair:

“Education is a vital key to success in our country and serves as a great equalizer, yet African Americans continue to lag behind when it comes to educational attainment. We must work to ensure that states set high standards and goals so that students graduate from high school college- and career-ready to compete in the 21st Century workforce. We have a responsibility to work to close the achievement gap, which continues to persist in our communities. We need a strong ESEA as it is vital to ensuring schools are held accountable to all students.”

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38), CHC Chair:

“The education bill brought forward by Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander is a good first step towards reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Latino community has a big stake in this conversation given that more than one in five students enrolled in our nation’s classrooms are Latino. As this legislation advances, we must ensure that Latino, English-language learners, and migrant students are not cheated out of a quality education and that educators are well supported. From accountability to data collection and resource equity, ESEA should be reauthorized in the strongest and most comprehensive way possible.”

Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member of House Committee on Education and the Workforce:

“While we recognize this bill as an important step in the process, improvements must be made to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable students are met. ESEA represents the single largest federal resource for schools and school districts that teach our most vulnerable students, and yet resources alone won’t close achievement gaps. ESEA must require action to improve academic achievement of low-income and minority students, students with disabilities, and students who do not speak English when achievement gaps persist.”

Illinoisans Receive Governor’s Volunteer Service Award

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

6thAnnual Awards Ceremony to be Held on April 20thin Springfield


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service will present 24 Illinoisans and four businesses with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award during a special reception at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on April 20, 2015 at 1 p.m.  The award recognizes volunteers and volunteer programs that have made a difference in Illinois and highlights the importance of volunteerism and community service.

“These 28 awardees represent the work that 2.57 million Illinoisans do each year,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director.  “The work these individuals and businesses do make the lives of thousands better. We are honored to have the opportunity to highlight their service.”

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards focus on five areas: Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Conservation, Disaster Preparedness/Response, Health, and Veterans’ Affairs.

Individual awards in each of the commission’s five service regions (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central and Southern Illinois) are presented in three categories: youth ages 18 and under, adult ages 19-54 and seniors ages 55 and older.  Additionally, National Service Awards are presented to one Senior Corps, AmeriCorps member in each region.  This year marks the third time that the Business Volunteer Engagement Awards will be presented in each region.

The following are the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award recipients. Recipient biographies can be found on Serve Illinois’ website at www.Serve.Illinois.gov.

Southern Illinois Award Recipients

  • Adult: Dominic Goggin – Greenville
    • For service to: Bond County Health Department Hospice Program
  • AmeriCorps Member: Maria Madrid – Fairfield
    • For service to: Wayne County Health Department
  • Business: Mt. Vernon Outland Airport
    • For service to: Mt. Vernon Outland Airport
  • Senior: Bev Virobik – Centralia
    • For service to: City of Centralia Recycling Center
  • Senior Corps Member: Judie Louden – Belleville
    • For service to: RSVP Station Memorial Hospital
  • Youth: Savannah Beck – Mt. Vernon
    • For service to: Cove Connection

East Central Illinois Award Recipients

  • Adult: Ed Maubach – Peoria
    • For service to: Holy Family Parish School
  • AmeriCorps Member: Cecilia Montesddeoca – Normal
    • For service to: McLean County Health Department
  • Business: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage – Springfield
    • For service to: United Way of Central Illinois
  • Senior: Trisha Horner – Bloomington
    • For service to: Fibers of Love
  • Senior Corps Member: Vera Bright – Clinton
    • For service to: Friends in Action & DOVE, Inc. RSVP
  • Youth: Allison Schmidt – Altamont
    • For service to: University of Illinois Extension

West Central Illinois Award Recipients

  • AmeriCorps Member: Nick Swope – Macomb
    • For service to: McDonough County Health Department
  • Business: Keller Williams Realty – Peoria
    • For service to: South Side Mission Camp Kearney
  • Senior: Cindy Schuford – Washington
    • For service to: Threads of Hope and Love
  • Senior Corps Member: Alan Kulczewski – Monmouth
    • For service to: 1st Street Armory/RSVP
  • Youth: Alexis Grace Lawson – Colchester
    • For service to: McDonough District Hospital

Northwest Illinois Award Recipients

  • Adult: Scott Brouette – Moline
    • For service to: WIU/WQPT & regional pre-schools
  • AmeriCorps Member: Etta LaFlora – Kewanee
    • For service to: LVI Jumpstart Program
  • Senior: Sharon Kersten – Dixon
    • For service to: Sauk Valley Community College
  • Senior Corps Member: Barbara Novak – Moline
    • For service to: RSVP of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois
  • Youth: Ashlee Werkheiser – Kewanee
    • For service to: Sunshine Community Services Center

Northeast Illinois Award Recipients

  • Adult: Kenneth Jennings – Chicago
    • For service to: Gridiron Alliance
  • AmeriCorps Member: Dylan Mooney – Wayne
    • For service to: Northern Illinois Food Bank
  • Business: Groupon, Inc. – Chicago
    • For service to: Chicagoland
  • Senior: Dan Kenney – DeKalb
    • For service to: DeKalb County Community Gardens
  • Senior Corps Member: Rita Murphy – Yorkville
    • For service to: Senior Services Associates
  • Youth: Nicole Harrington – Winthrop Harbor
    • For Service to: Live Out Loud Charity/ Girl Scouts

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.

State Board of Education names Dr. Tony Smith new State Superintendent of Education

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Longtime educator and former Oakland, California, superintendent selected to lead Illinois’ K-12 education agency


SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education named longtime educator and administrator Dr. Tony Smith as the 28th Illinois State Superintendent of Education at its regular April meeting. Smith currently works as the executive director of the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, which annually awards more than $5 million in grants that support children’s development and education. Prior to joining the Stone Foundation, Dr. Smith led the Oakland Unified School District in California, where he helped improve academic outcomes, district finances, family engagement and organizational coherence during his four-year tenure.

Dr. Smith will take his new post May 1, replacing Dr. Christopher A. Koch, who served as State Superintendent since 2006 and served in various leadership roles at the state’s K-12 education agency for 21 years.

“The Board selected Tony Smith for his proven track record of accomplishment and leadership in education,” said State Board Chairman James Meeks. “We know that Dr. Smith will move forward to improve and expand on the agency’s initiatives to improve teaching and learning on behalf of the more than 2 million kindergarten through 12th-graders in Illinois public schools.”

Chairman Meeks and other Board members took time during Wednesday’s announcement to thank and commend Dr. Koch for his contribution as a state and national education leader known for working collaboratively with education partners as he led initiatives ranging from improved teacher and principal preparation to more rigorous learning standards. Board members cited Dr. Koch’s passion for thoughtful and comprehensive policy that put children first, as well as his tenacity. Dr. Koch is one of the nation’s longest-serving education chiefs as he ends his nine-year tenure in Illinois.

“We have been very fortunate in Illinois to have had Dr. Koch’s strong leadership and drive to raise the bar for everyone involved in education, but particularly our students,” said Chairman Meeks. “His experience working with children with special needs made him a strong advocate for ensuring that all children have access to a quality education.”

Dr. Tony Smith, 48, has served in a wide range of leadership roles, primarily in his native state of California. Prior to being superintendent in Oakland, Dr. Smith served as Deputy Superintendent for the San Francisco Unified School District, where he led efforts to close the achievement gap. He also served as Superintendent of the Emery Unified School District. He previously led the Math, Science, and Technology Initiative at the Emeryville Citywide Initiative. He oversaw several major programs at the former Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, now known as the National Equity Project.

Dr. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1992 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was captain of the football team. He went on to earn his master’s and doctorate degrees in the Division of Language, Literacy and Culture from Cal’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Smith and his wife, Kathleen, an Oak Park native, and their two daughters, 12 and 10, reside in River Forest.

The PCC Network Travels to Greenville, SC

Posted by Admin On April - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president of Probation Challenge and The PCC Network, will travel to Greenville, South Carolina, to kick-off their ’Outside the Walls’ broadcasting.

Bailey, a respected minister of the gospel, has pioneered in his well documented work with troubled youth for over 37-years, said, “With the lack of comprehensive news reporting we give favor to an offender and thusly lend credibility! The victim is virtually all but forgotten!  He said, “Mere sound-bits regarding murder, acts of crime, drugs and violence in the eyes of the perpetrators are often considered moments of fame! The victim and family are left with an untold story!

Making a conscious decision to be on the right-side of history, Bailey and the PCC Network said they are compelled to speak as to truth… and each story in its totality.“

Bailey, who is listed with The History Makers, and received the distinguish Legends Award, is set-forth in the Nations Library of Congress.  Bailey, considered many a role-model for youth said, “I am not interested in fighting with those attached to the powers-that-be, but I interested in salvaging the lives of people… mainly African Americans and Hispanics, who have been socially deprived and misrepresented.”

The PCConnection Network, will highlight positive measures that are rendered in Chicago and various communities of the United States. They plan to bring to the forefront individuals and organizations that have mindsets to spare the lives of youth and adults through the spiritual and educational renewing of their minds. Citing education as vehicle of escape back into reality, he said, “Educations brings about an awareness. Awareness brings on the ability to think. When a person can think, prayerfully they can make rational decisions.”

Bailey’s visit to Greenville, South Carolina, will highlight the work of Pastor Lottie Woods Hall, a dedicated minister of the gospel, who has spiritually invested in the lives of those she is considered as servant leader.

Pastor Hall, during the civil rights struggle was arrested and went to jail with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham, Alabama. She has not forgotten her civil rights experience but coupled her learning with an educational dose of biblical truth.

General Information: Pastor Lottie Woods Hall and The Intercessory Health and Healing Center,  When: Sunday,  May 3, 2015, 5.00PM. Where: 1298 Pendelton Street, Greenville, South Carolina.  There is no admission. For further information Call: 1-864-420-1672.

The Broadcast Will Later Air On the Probation Challenge:

WWW.ProbationChallenge.org—The Truth Network

Contact person: Rev. Harold E. Bailey at: 773.978.3706.

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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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