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Archive for May 4th, 2015

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Speaks About the Impact of Persistent Poverty in the African American Community

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Speaks About the Impact of Persistent Poverty in the African American Community

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and members of the CBC took to the House Floor where they spoke on how persistent poverty in the African American community fosters feelings of hopelessness and called for the need for Congressional action and law enforcement accountability.

Representative G. K. Butterfield

Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus on the

Impact of Persistent Poverty in the African American Community

Today, our hearts go out to the family of Freddie Gray, and all affected by his unfortunate death.  Too often we are seeing these incidents occur, and I assert black America is in a state of emergency.  We see this emergency every day.  But what we see happening in Baltimore is not just about police misconduct, it’s about poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity, hopelessness and despair.

Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, more than 25 bills have been introduced by members of the Congressional Black Caucus that address the need for increased law enforcement accountability.  One such bill is the End Racial Profiling Act, introduced by the Dean of the Democratic Caucus and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman John Conyers.  The bill has been cosponsored by nearly all CBC members and enforces the constitutional right to equal protection under the law by changing the policies and procedures underlying the practice of profiling.

We call on ALL members of Congress to take a bipartisan path to legislation that ensures law enforcement accountability.  While the gap in accountability disproportionately affects black and brown people, this has an impact on us all.  This is everyone’s issue.

A second issue that must be addressed is that of the economic disparities that African Americans face in communities across our nation.  The civil unrest we are seeing in Baltimore comes as no surprise to those who experience the reality of inequities in their daily lives.

The economic climate in black America and the divide that has persisted for generations is due largely to our country’s history of racial divide, oppression and lack of access to opportunity.

While much of the country has experienced an economic recovery over the last six years, it has not reached every community.  There is still much work that remains and nowhere is this more evident than in the Black community.

Recently, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Joint Economic Committee released a report on the economic challenges facing the African American Community.  African Americans are struggling and continue to face high rates of persistent poverty, unemployment and long-term unemployment as well as significantly lower incomes and slower wealth accumulation than white households.

The following stats are illustrative of what we had already surmised:

•           The median income of African American households is $34,600—nearly $24,000 less than the median income of white households ($58,300).

•           The median net worth of white households is 13 times the level for black households.

•           Black Americans are almost three times more likely to live in poverty than white Americans.

•           At 10.1 percent, the current unemployment rate for black Americans is double the rate for white Americans.

•           Black Americans currently face an unemployment rate higher than the national unemployment rate reached during the peak of the recession.

•           African Americans are less likely to obtain education beyond high school than white students, and they are less likely to earn a college degree.

•           Even among college graduates, blacks face worse job prospects than whites.

•           The unemployment rate for black workers with at least a bachelor’s degree is 5.2 percent compared to just 2.9 percent for white workers.

•           Only 44 percent of Black Americans own a home compared to nearly 74 percent of Whites.

In my home state of North Carolina, the unemployment rate for African Americans is 9.9% based on an unemployment rate of 3.2% for whites.  The poverty rate for African Americans is 27.5% while for whites it is 12.6%.  And right here in the District of Columbia, our Nation’s Capital, the median household income for African Americans is $38,300 while for whites it is $115,900.  Yes, that’s right.  That is a gap of $77,600.  And the poverty rate here in the Nation’s Capital is 27.4% for African Americans compared to 7.6% for whites.

Colleagues, the stats tell the story and these numbers are staggering, troubling and highly problematic.  It’s time for a renewed focus on blacks in America and a need for real solutions on issues that have persistently plagued our communities for generations.

America is not working for many African Americans and we, as members of Congress, have an obligation to fight harder and smarter to help repair the damage. We must work thoughtfully and collaboratively to rectify these persistent inequities.  It’s time for real solutions and policies that work to reduce wealth inequality and help build economic stability and mobility for all, particularly for African Americans.  I yield back the balance of my time.

Six New Members Appointed to Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Six New Members Appointed to Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the appointment of six new members to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.  The following appointments became effective April 29, 2015:

  • U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly for the District of Connecticut;
  • U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio;
  • U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge for the Western District of Arkansas;
  • U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman for the District of New Jersey;
  • U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin II for the Southern District of West Virginia; and
  • U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

“The distinguished women and men who serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee provide invaluable advice and wise counsel that help shape the Justice Department’s approach to combating crime, violence, and injustice in every community across the country,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “They help introduce new ideas, formulate innovative policies, and design fresh strategies.  They foster collaboration across our U.S. Attorney’s Offices and with Main Justice.  And, in all of their work, they seek to strengthen and improve law enforcement efforts at every level.  As a former chair of the AGAC, I am proud to welcome six outstanding new members to the Committee, and I look forward to all that we will achieve, with their help, in the days ahead.”

Attorney General Lynch also thanked U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe for the District of the Virgin Islands for serving on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee for the past two years.

A brief bio on each new appointee is below:

Deirdre Daly was presidentially appointed and sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut on May 28, 2014.  Daly previously served as the U.S. Attorney in an acting or interim capacity since May 14, 2013.  Between July 2010 and May 2013, she was the First Assistant U.S. Attorney during which time she assisted in the oversight of both the Criminal and Civil Divisions.  From 1985 to 1997, Daly was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted a wide range of cases from racketeering and murder to corruption and fraud and later served as the Assistant-In-Charge of White Plains Office for three years.  After leaving the Justice Department, Daly was a partner at Daly & Pavlis LLC, a Connecticut law firm with a practice focused on corporate and commercial litigation, white-collar criminal investigations, SEC enforcement actions and corporate internal investigations and monitoring.

Steven Dettelbach was presidentially appointed and sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in September 2009.  Dettelbach previously served for over 12 years as a career federal prosecutor.  During those years, he worked at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section, U.S. Attorneys Offices in Maryland and Washington, D.C. and from 2003 to 2006 in the Northern District of Ohio, as a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Strike Force.  Dettelbach also was detailed to serve as Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 2001 to 2003.  Formerly, Dettelbach was a partner at the law firm of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

Conner Eldridge was presidentially appointed and sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas on December 21, 2010.  Eldridge is the youngest U.S. Attorney in the country.  Eldridge serves as co-chair of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which is composed of twenty law enforcement agencies and Department of Justice components and works to increase collaboration in addressing the threat of Domestic Terrorism.  While serving as U.S. Attorney, Eldridge has tried five cases to jury verdict.  He previously served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Arkansas, as Counsel and, later, Chief Executive Officer of Summit Bank, a community bank then serving central and southwest Arkansas, also in Arkadelphia, as a clerk to federal District Judge G. Thomas Eisele and as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln and former U.S. Congressman Marion Berry, both of Arkansas.

Paul Fishman was presidentially appointed and sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey on October 14, 2009.  Fishman previously served as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorney’s (AGAC) from 2009-2013.  He served as Vice-Chair of the AGAC from 2009-2011 and Chair from 2011-2012. After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Honorable Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1983 to 1994.  From 1994 to 1997, he was a senior adviser to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. on a variety of law enforcement, policy, legislative, national security and international matters, as well as on specific investigations and prosecutions.  In addition to his public service, from 1998 – 2009 Fishman was a partner in the law firm of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman.

Booth Goodwin II was presidentially appointed and sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia on May 27, 2010.  From January 2001 until he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney, Goodwin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.  Prior to that, Goodwin practiced for five years with the Charleston law firm of Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP where he engaged in commercial and personal injury litigation, closed multi-million dollar bond transactions, filed reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and handled numerous commercial and residential real estate transactions.

Kenneth Polite was presidentially appointed and sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana on September 20, 2013. Polite currently serves as a member of the AGAC’s Violent and Organized Crime Subcommittee and Smart on Crime Working Group. Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney, Polite was a shareholder at Liskow & Lewis, where he headed the white collar criminal defense group and served as the Firm’s hiring partner.  From 2007 to 2010, Polite served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  There, he prosecuted a wide range of federal criminal offenses, including organized crime, public corruption, narcotics and firearms trafficking, money laundering and identity theft.  Polite was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, first in the Delaware office’s corporate litigation practice from 2000 to 2001, and later, in the New York office’s white collar criminal defense group from 2002 to 2006.

The Attorney General’s Advisory Committee will now include the following individuals:

  • U.S. Attorney John F. Walsh for District of Colorado, Chair;
  • U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian for the Northern District of New York, Vice Chair;
  • U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter for the District of Montana;
  • U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly for the District of Connecticut;
  • U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty, II for the District of Maine;
  • U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio;
  • U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge for the Western District of Arkansas;
  • U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon for the Northern District of Illinois;
  • U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida;
  • U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey;
  • U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II for the Southern District of West Virginia;
  • U.S. Attorney Barry R. Grissom for the District of Kansas;
  • U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey for the Eastern District of Kentucky;
  • U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade for the Eastern District of Michigan;
  • U.S. Attorney Zane D. Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania;
  • U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson for the District of Idaho;
  • U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite for the Eastern District of Louisiana;
  • U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen, Jr. for the District of Columbia, ex officio
  • Criminal Chief Thomas Eicher for District of New Jersey, ex officio
  • Appellate Chief Sandra Glover for District of Connecticut, ex officio; and
  • Civil Chief Thomas Walsh for the Northern District of Illinois, ex officio

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.

Ensuring Every Child Gets a Great Education: President Obama Weekly Address

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Ensuring Every Child Gets a Great Education: President Obama Weekly Address

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President reiterated his commitment to expanding access to education, and to spreading the joy of reading to more children and young adults.  Earlier this week the President announced two new efforts that, building on the progress already made by his ConnectEd initiative, will do just that: a challenge to mayors, libraries, and school leaders to help every student get a library card; and commitments from libraries and major publishers to provide more than $250 million in free e-Books for low-income students.  In his address, the President also previewed his upcoming commencement speech at Lake Area Tech, in Watertown, South Dakota, where he will discuss his plan to make two years of community college as free and universal for every American as high school is today. The President is working to ensure every child has the access to the education and resources they need to be successful.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, May 2, 2015.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
May 2, 2015

Hi everybody.  I’m speaking with you from the DC Public Library in Anacostia, where I just met with a group of promising middle school students.

We spent some time talking about their lives, and how we all care about their success – and how that starts with a good education.

So one thing I announced here in Anacostia is a new project by libraries and major publishers to provide more than $250 million in free e-Books for low-income students.

We also issued a challenge to mayors, libraries, and school leaders to help every student get a library card, so they can expand their horizons in a place like this.

It’s all part of our ConnectED initiative to connect 99% of America’s students to high-speed Internet.  Because no matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you’ve got, you should be able to access the world’s knowledge and information just like anyone else.

In a global economy, we’ve got to help ensure that everyone, of every age, in every zip code – urban and rural – has the chance to learn the skills that lead directly to a good job.

That’s also why I’ve put forward a plan to make two years of community college as free and universal for every American as high school is today.  It’s something I’ll talk about in my commencement address next week at Lake Area Tech, in the small town of Watertown, South Dakota.  It’s a community college with a graduation rate that is nearly twice the national average.  They’re proving that a great education can be within everyone’s reach.

All of us have a responsibility to not only make sure our own children have pathways to success but that all children do.  And a great education is the ticket to a better life like never before.  Making sure all our kids receive one is the surest way to show them that their lives matter.  And it’s the smartest way to prove to them that in communities like this, and in a country like ours, we believe in opportunity for all.

Thanks, everybody.  And have a great weekend.

Youth Guidance Announces 2015 Gala Celebration to Benefit Chicago Youth

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Youth Guidance Announces 2015 Gala Celebration to Benefit Chicago Youth

CHICAGO, IL – On Saturday, May 9th many of the most generous hearts in Chicago will come together to celebrate 90 years of supporting city youth.  The Annual Youth Guidance Gala Event will be held at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel and co-chaired by Diane and Paul C. Reilly.   With a goal of $350,000, the 2015 gala will be emceed by NBC 5 broadcast personality Zoraida Sambolin.

The funds raised will support the organization’s mission of providing counseling, mentoring and after-school support to youth from at-risk communities across Chicago.   Youth Guidance prides itself on meeting youth where they are – both within schools and socially and emotionally – so that they might overcome obstacles and focus on their education.

Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) and Working on Womanhood (W.O.W.) programs serve young men and women in grades 7-12 in some of the city’s most violent and disadvantaged neighborhoods.  The B.A.M. program in particular has received national recognition from President Obama as an effective intervention for young men of color who are at-risk for being involved in violent crime or dropping out of high school.

“This year’s gala theme ‘Celebrating Bright Futures’ represents a major milestone for Youth Guidance,” notes Chief Executive Officer Michelle Adler Morrison.   “We are deeply grateful to our supporters whose generosity allowed us to directly serve more than 8,000 youth last year.  Our programs reach at-risk youth early and provide positive solutions to the challenges they face so that, ultimately, they can succeed in school and in life. ”

Each year, Youth Guidance selects special gala honorees.  Bank of America (BofA) will be this year’s Organization of the Year Award recipient.  BofA has been a Youth Guidance supporter since 2010, demonstrating a strong commitment to preparing middle and high school students for graduation, post-secondary completion and the workforce.    Youth Guidance will also present its Kurt L. Schultz Individual Service Award to Richard Logan of the Reva & David Logan Foundation in recognition of his numerous contributions to the agency and his tireless championing of Chicago youth.

The gala event will feature a cocktail reception, silent auction, seated dinner and program, and entertainment from renowned DJ Steve “Silk” Hurley.  To learn more about Youth Guidance or to purchase tickets to the Annual Gala, please visit https://www.youth-guidance.org/donate/2015-gala-registration.

About Youth Guidance:

Founded in 1924, Youth Guidance is a leader in outcomes-driven, school-based programs and capacity-building initiatives.  The agency directly served more than 8,000 students in FY14, while touching the lives of 14,000 underserved youth in 78 Chicago schools through a portfolio of comprehensive programs.  Youth Guidance’s specific and strategically developed delivery areas are Community & After-School, Counseling & Prevention, and Youth Workforce Development. Ninety percent of students served are low income. More than 95% are African American and Hispanic/Latino. For more information, call 312-253-4900 or visit http://www.youth-guidance.org.

Madigan Files Lawsuits Against Student Loan Debt Relief Scammers

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Madigan Files Lawsuits Against Student Loan Debt Relief Scammers
Attorney General Continues Crackdown on Scam Artists Preying on People Struggling to Repay Student Loans & Launches Student Loan Helpline for Borrower Assistance

CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed five lawsuits against companies targeting people struggling to repay their student loan debt. The Attorney General alleged that the scam operators charge borrowers hundreds to thousands of dollars in upfront fees with the false promise that they can relieve borrowers’ debt loads or have them forgiven entirely under programs endorsed by President Obama’s administration.

Madigan’s lawsuits are her latest crackdown on a new wave of scams leveled at the growing numbers of Americans who hold student loan debt. Student loan debt levels have grown to historic proportions, now affecting nearly 40 million Americans with $1.2 trillion in outstanding debt. Scam artists have taken notice, soliciting borrowers to pay large upfront fees for so-called debt relief options and programs that do nothing to reduce their debt loads or, in many cases, are options already available to these borrowers free of charge. Madigan was the first state attorney general to file lawsuits against these new scams in July 2014.

“These scams are proof that the rate of student loan debt in this country has skyrocketed, and it has already destabilized the financial security of millions of people across the country,” Madigan said. “When people cannot make their loan payments, they don’t get to build the future that they dreamed about when they went to college. We cannot allow these scams to continue.”

Madigan filed suit today against the following companies: Consumer Financial Resources LLC, of Texas, which operated as Student Loan Resolve; Federal Student Loan Alliance LLC, based in California; Interactiv Education LLC, based in Florida, that operated as Direct Student Aid; the Chicago-based Nationwide Student Aid; and Student Consulting Group Inc., based in Georgia, that solicited consumers as University of One and Help Assist Me Default Resolution Services.

The lawsuits allege the companies advertise heavily, offering borrowers a number of options to ease their debt burden based on the companies’ alleged expertise. In reality, Madigan alleges, the companies sought to scam desperate people into paying as much as $1,250 upfront for bogus services or free services, including assistance enrolling in loan forgiveness programs for public service employees, including teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and employees of non-profit organizations. Often these companies employ a one-size-fits-all approach to student loan debt relief, promising complete loan forgiveness without analyzing borrowers’ individual situations to determine whether they are eligible for the programs and without explaining all the required steps borrowers must take to qualify for loan forgiveness.

The companies advertise that they can stop wage garnishments, prevent or remove tax liens, reduce monthly payments, or remove default status. Borrowers from around Illinois filed complaints against Interactiv Education, Consumer Financial Resources, Federal Student Loan Alliance, Nationwide Student Aid and Student Consulting Group, but none received the help promised by the companies’ advertisements.

Madigan’s lawsuits allege that the five companies are violating an Illinois law that she wrote to ban companies from charging people upfront fees for so-called debt settlement services.

The lawsuits allege the companies are in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Credit Services Organizations Act, and the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act. In 2010, Madigan crafted and helped pass the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act to ban companies from charging upfront fees to consumers for help with debt relief. Today’s lawsuits allege the companies are not complying with the requirements of the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act and in addition are not providing any meaningful assistance to reduce consumers’ student loan debt.

In announcing the lawsuits, Madigan also announced a new helpline within her office to assist borrowers who hold student loans. Madigan’s Student Loan Helpline, 1(800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1 (800) 964-3013), will be answered by trained staff in her office who can assist borrowers understand their repayment options and how to avoid default. Callers to the helpline can also file complaints with Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau if they have problems with their loans or complaints of similar student loan debt relief scams.

Information about the helpline and legitimate student loan debt relief can also be found on Madigan’s website.

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. She has pursued litigation against national for-profit colleges for fraudulent marketing practices, and she is leading a multistate investigation into the student loan provider Sallie Mae, now Navient. Madigan has also testified about the role of states in higher education before the U.S. Senate, including a call for stronger protections under federal law for student loan borrowers.

Assistant Attorneys General Erin Grotheer, Paul Isaac, Joseph Pham, Rebecca Pruitt and Connor Tubbs are handling the cases for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

Father Pfleger Offers $5,000 Reward for Murderer of Peacekeeper’s Brother

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Father Pfleger Offers $5,000 Reward for Murderer of Peacekeeper’s Brother

By Chinta Strausberg

Flanked by parents who have lost their children to gun violence and with tears in his eyes and his voice cracking with anger and sadness, Father Michael L. Pfleger Saturday announced he is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderer of Brian Pridgeon, the brother of Saint Sabina’s Peacemaker team.

“Twenty-miles North of here people are standing and shouting about the NFL Draft. Twenty miles South of here people are screaming and yelling people are dying. Four kill, 15 shot last night and this morning.” Looking at his supporters, Pfleger told reporters, “These parents have lost their children. They fight every day…,” said Pfleger during a press conference held outside of the Saint Sabina Rectory.

Turning to Brandon Jackson, one of his Peacemakers, Father Pfleger said, “This man lost his brother last night. When in the hell is this going to stop…? When in the hell are we going to be outraged enough…to say this is not acceptable in the city?  “People mad about the title Chiraq. Be mad about the damn murders and the shootings going on. This is madness,” he said.

Pfleger said two young men were shot on the corner of 79th and Carpenter. “I’m standing on the spot where my son (Jarvis Franklin) was shot and killed in1998,” he said referring to Jackson’s brother, Brian Pridgeon, who was murdered.

Last night, Pfleger watched Brandon’s brother, Brian Pridgeon’s, body lying on thegrass in the 7900 block of South Aberdeen.

While Pfleger said he will help any young man, but he made it clear that “We will not tolerate killing in this community. It’s not going to happen. We’re going to fight it, and we will put up a bounty like we are doing today.”

“We want people to come out, speak and talk…. We got to break the code of silence. There is a code of silence not just in this community but in the country…a code of silence of police officers in Baltimore, and there is a code of silence on Aberdeen and on Carpenter and all over the city of Chicago.

“There is a code of silence with the police. There is a code of silence on the street. We got to break it everywhere. This murder is not acceptable whether it is by police or whether it is by the community. It’s not acceptable, and we’re not going to tolerate it.” Pfleger begged the city “to do something” to stem the escalation of violence.

With several parents speaking including Tommie Bosley, the father of Terrell Bosley who was killed April 4, 2006. He too called the murder of Pridgeon “unacceptable.”“They are killing everyday…. The person who took this man’s life is running around. Somebody knows who did this…. Don’t wait until it becomes your son or your daughter before you get involved. This killing has to stop….”

Curtis Toler, a Peacemaker, said, “We don’t want any more lives to be lost. We beg for no retaliation….”

Brandon thanked everyone for coming out, but he was too grieved to take questions about his brother.

Chanting “put the guns down,” “stop the shooting, stop the killing, stop the violence…,”the group, led by Pfleger and Jackson, marched East on 79th Street to the 7900 block of South Aberdeen where they passed out reward flyers lstopping at the site where Pridgeon’s body was found.

Falling to his knees by the blood that still stained the grass where Pridgeon was shot, Father Pfleger said he hopes the stain stays. “We bind the evil spirit of violence. We bind the use of guns that are proliferating all over the city, all over the country. It has become a part of our wardrobe. We come against it, God. We don’t need guns. We have minds. We can talk to each other. We can reason with each other…. God hear our cry. We’re asking for wisdom and strength….”

Pridgeon’s body was found by a tree that had a white Rest In Peace (RIP) sign tacked onto the trunk and signed by his friends. Blue and white balloons also adorned the tree.

After the group said a collective prayer, Glenda Franklin sang, “Lord We Need you….”

The group then marched back to the church.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

mRelief Brings Transparency to Food Stamps

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on mRelief Brings Transparency to Food Stamps

CHICAGO, IL — Launched in partnership with the Sunlight Foundation, mRelief has taken the next step in making eligibility determination more accessible to Chicagoans in need of food stamps. Families can now learn not just whether they qualify, but why – or why not.

While food stamp eligibility requirements are available in the DHS policy manual, it can be difficult to access and understand for low-income people already burdened with the stressful circumstance of poverty. “Food stamp applicants can arrive at in-person interviews with more information about what policies favor their eligibility and ineligible users can make a more precise assessment on whether it is worth it to invest the time in appeals, ” said Rose Afriyie, co-founder of mRelief.

In a recent user testing session of mRelief conducted by the Smart Chicago Collaborative, 82 percent of Chicagoans eligible for public benefits felt it was “very important” to know why they did or did not qualify. “I’ve seen first-hand the devotion mRelief has to meeting the needs of the people who use their service. This change in the core features of their product, based on our CUTGroup test, is a great indication of success”, said Daniel X. O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative.

The new interface – available in both English and Spanish – will show how a user’s household income compares with the maximum limit. Users who are living in extreme poverty – down to less than a $100 – will be notified of the reduced application wait times they enjoy. Additionally, Qualified Member Households, students and non-citizens are also given further information about how the state’s policies govern their eligibility. The new responses to forms are also available for printing for users to bring with them to interviews or share with friends.

“Sunlight is proud to support mRelief’s work helping to make government information more easily accessible to everyone,” said Scott Wells, Operations Director of the Sunlight Foundation. In December, mRelief was the recipient of Sunlight Foundation’s Open Gov Grant, a $10,000 grant to help organizations make government more transparent and accountable. With this approach, relevant components of state food stamp policy will become more accessible to the people most affected by it, creating an opportunity for open discussion about eligibility guidelines. mRelief is a nonprofit organization that receives it’s status through fiscal sponsor Good City and provides access to community resources through Purple Binder.

Illinois Senate Confirms Tom Tyrrell to Lead the Department of Central Management Services

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois Senate Confirms Tom Tyrrell to Lead the Department of Central Management Services

Tyrrell brings vast private, public, and military sector experience to lead CMS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Senate confirmed Tom Tyrrell as the Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS). Tyrrell brings nearly 40 years of combined experience in the military, public and private sectors to head the agency.

“The Department of Central Management Services’ ability to be the trusted provider of products and services at the highest quality and best value to state agencies is more critical today than ever before, and I am honored to be confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency at this critical time,” said Tyrrell. “I look forward to working with Governor Rauner and members of the General Assembly toward the transformation of a more effective, more efficient, and more transparent state government.”

Prior to joining CMS Tyrrell served as the Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Public Schools where he oversaw large cross functional projects and selected daily operations for the nation’s third largest school district, which educates 400,000 students; employs 42,000 teachers and support staff; and operates with a budget of more than $5 billion.

Tyrrell spent three years in the not-for-profit sector as the Executive Director and CEO of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where he oversaw the transformation of the well-respected, but underutilized museum, into a state-of-the art educational facility.

He was also Senior Managing Director of Business Services for Cantor Fitzgerald, LLP/BGC, where he oversaw the development of strategic projects designed to improve business services performance in Europe and Asia. He also had global management responsibilities for human resources, facilities, marketing and business continuity.

As an entrepreneur, he was a founding partner and Chairman of Via Novus Capital, a Connecticut based IT company focused on the Health Care sector. VNC provides revenue cycle consulting and recovery services for health care providers.

Tyrrell is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served our country for 26 years, retiring as a Colonel. He served in Commanding Officers assignments for 16 of his 26 years. His staff assignments included strategic planning roles at organizations ranging from Battalion level through the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He also served as the Director of Strategic Planning & Coordination for the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo. Prior to that, he was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tyrrell is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also earned post-graduate degrees from the National Defense University – Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Naval Postgraduate School.

CineYouth Festival Opening Night May 7!

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on CineYouth Festival Opening Night May 7!

The 11th annual CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival will offer its Opening Night presentation of SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE. Opening Night is FREE and open to the public of all ages!  RSVP here..

Film will be followed by a reception catered by Connie’s Pizza and featuring KIND Healthy Snacks, Action Booth and the Hometown Button Co. button bar!

6PM, Thursday, May 7
Columbia College Chicago’s Film Row Theater (1104 South Wabash)

Opening Night is FREE and open to the public of all ages! RSVP here..


When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for.  A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan, and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home. Learn more and watch the trailer here.

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE is a StudioCanal and Aardman Animations production, produced by Julie Lockhart and Paul Kewley from Aardman Animations [WALLACE AND GROMIT, CHICKEN RUN], written and directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak. The critically acclaimed, worldwide sensation, SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE will open domestically from Lionsgate on August 7, 2015 in wide release.

Follow Shaun on Twitter! @shaunthesheep #ShaunTheSheep

CineYouth continues through May 9 with FREE film screenings of 90 shorts films made by filmmakers 4-21 years old, a hands-on Film Challenge and more! Click here for the full CineYouth schedule! here.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Strengthen Federal Youth Justice Law

Posted by Admin On May - 4 - 2015 Comments Off on Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Strengthen Federal Youth Justice Law

From: Marc Mauer

The Sentencing Project

We applaud the bipartisan introduction of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (S.1169) by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The JJDPA provides vital leadership and support to states in carrying out key juvenile justice functions, especially in reducing racial and ethnic disparities.

More than seven years overdue for reauthorization, the JJDPA is the only federal statute that establishes national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements. The JJDPA also supports programs and practices that have significantly contributed to the reduction of youth offending. We are pleased to see strengthened directives to the states regarding compliance with the core requirements of the Act, including:

A phase-out of the problematic valid court order exception that currently allows young people to be detained for status offenses (e.g. truancy).

An extension of current law to keep young people awaiting criminal trial out of adult facilities and ensuring sight and sound separation from incarcerated adults in the rare instance they are confined in adult facilities.

A requirement that states identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities at all points of contact in the juvenile justice system. The bill lays out important steps that must be taken to achieve these reductions.

In particular, the requirement that states reduce racial and ethnic disparities is long overdue for reform. Until now, states have not been given sufficient guidance to understand the steps necessary to reduce racial inequality. Despite a drop in overall arrest rates nationally, black youth are still twice as likely to be arrested as white youth, and while black students make up 16% of all public school students, they make up 31% of all arrests. With this strengthened requirement, states will be motivated to take meaningful action to establish a fair system of justice for young people.

This bill embodies a partnership between the federal government and the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior, and to improve community safety.


Marc Mauer

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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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