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Archive for May 27th, 2015

Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Defendants Include Two Current FIFA Vice Presidents and the Current and Former Presidents of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); Seven Defendants Arrested Overseas; Guilty Pleas for Four Individual Defendants and Two Corporate Defendants Also Unsealed

A 47-count indictment was unsealed early this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were also unsealed today.

The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella.  Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States – are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.  The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Director James B. Comey of the FBI, Assistant Director in Charge Diego W. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-CI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Also earlier this morning, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants charged in the indictment, the defendants Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and José Maria Marin, at the request of the United States.  Also this morning, a search warrant is being executed at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami, Florida.

The guilty pleas of the four individual and two corporate defendants that were also unsealed today include the guilty pleas of Charles Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of CONCACAF and former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee; José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil; and two of Hawilla’s companies, Traffic Sports International Inc. and Traffic Sports USA Inc., which is based in Florida.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.  Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”

Attorney General Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the authorities of the government of Switzerland, as well as several other international partners, for their outstanding assistance in this investigation.

“Today’s announcement should send a message that enough is enough,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie.  “After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world, increasingly so here in the United States.  Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Currie extended his thanks to the agents, analysts and other investigative personnel with the FBI New York Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office, as well as their colleagues abroad, for their tremendous effort in this case.

“As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” said Director Comey.  “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.  I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors around the world who have pursued this case so diligently, for so many years.”

“When leaders in an organization resort to cheating the very members that they are supposed to represent, they must be held accountable,” said Chief Weber.  “Corruption, tax evasion and money laundering are certainly not the cornerstones of any successful business.  Whether you call it soccer or football, the fans, players and sponsors around the world who love this game should not have to worry about officials corrupting their sport.  This case isn’t about soccer, it is about fairness and following the law.  IRS-CI will continue to investigate financial crimes and follow the money wherever it may lead around the world, leveling the playing field for those who obey the law.”

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Enterprise

FIFA is composed of 209 member associations, each representing organized soccer in a particular nation or territory, including the United States and four of its overseas territories.  FIFA also recognizes six continental confederations that assist it in governing soccer in different regions of the world.  The U.S. Soccer Federation is one of 41 member associations of the confederation known as CONCACAF, which has been headquartered in the United States throughout the period charged in the indictment.  The South American confederation, called CONMEBOL, is also a focus of the indictment.

As alleged in the indictment, FIFA and its six continental confederations, together with affiliated regional federations, national member associations and sports marketing companies, constitute an enterprise of legal entities associated in fact for purposes of the federal racketeering laws.  The principal – and entirely legitimate – purpose of the enterprise is to regulate and promote the sport of soccer worldwide.

As alleged in the indictment, one key way the enterprise derives revenue is to commercialize the media and marketing rights associated with soccer events and tournaments.  The organizing entity that owns those rights – as FIFA and CONCACAF do with respect to the World Cup and Gold Cup, their respective flagship tournaments – sells them to sports marketing companies, often through multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments.  The sports marketing companies, in turn, sell the rights downstream to TV and radio broadcast networks, major corporate sponsors and other sub-licensees who want to broadcast the matches or promote their brands.  The revenue generated from these contracts is substantial: according to FIFA, 70% of its $5.7 billion in total revenues between 2011 and 2014 was attributable to the sale of TV and marketing rights to the 2014 World Cup.

The Racketeering Conspiracy

The indictment alleges that, between 1991 and the present, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering.  Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks.  All told, the soccer officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

Most of the schemes alleged in the indictment relate to the solicitation and receipt of bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialization of the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer matches and tournaments, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, the jointly organized CONMEBOL/CONCACAF Copa América Centenario, the CONMEBOL Copa América, the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil, which is organized by the Brazilian national soccer federation (CBF).  Other alleged schemes relate to the payment and receipt of bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of CBF by a major U.S. sportswear company, the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

The Indicted Defendants

As set forth in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators fall generally into three categories: soccer officials acting in a fiduciary capacity within FIFA and one or more of its constituent organizations; sports media and marketing company executives; and businessmen, bankers and other trusted intermediaries who laundered illicit payments.

Nine of the defendants were FIFA officials by operation of the FIFA statutes, as well as officials of one or more other bodies:

  • Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president.
  • Eduardo Li: Current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president.
  • Julio Rocha: Current FIFA development officer.  Former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president.
  • Costas Takkas: Current attaché to the CONCACAF president.  Former CIFA general secretary.
  • Jack Warner: Former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.
  • Eugenio Figueredo: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member.  Former CONMEBOL president and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president.
  • Rafael Esquivel: Current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president.
  • José Maria Marin: Current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments.  Former CBF president.
  • Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.

Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives:

  • Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
  • Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc. (Traffic USA).
  • Hugo and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

And one of the defendants was in the broadcasting business but allegedly served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and soccer officials:

  • José Margulies:  Controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd.

The Convicted Individuals and Corporations

The following individuals and corporations previously pleaded guilty under seal:

On July 15, 2013, the defendant Daryll Warner, son of defendant Jack Warner and a former FIFA development officer, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.

On Oct. 25, 2013, the defendant Daryan Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions.  Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing.

On Nov. 25, 2013, the defendant Charles Blazer, the former CONCACAF general secretary and a former FIFA executive committee member, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a 10-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).  Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.

On Dec. 12, 2014, the defendant José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, the Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.  Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.

On May 14, 2015, the defendants Traffic Sports USA Inc. and Traffic Sports International Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

All money forfeited by the defendants is being held in reserve to ensure its availability to satisfy any order of restitution entered at sentencing for the benefit of any individuals or entities that qualify as victims of the defendants’ crimes under federal law.

* * * *

The indictment unsealed today has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Eastern District of New York.

The indicted and convicted individual defendants face maximum terms of incarceration of 20 years for the RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.  In addition, Eugenio Figueredo faces a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years for a charge of naturalization fraud and could have his U.S. citizenship revoked.  He also faces a maximum term of incarceration of five years for each tax charge.  Charles Blazer faces a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years for the FBAR charge and five years for the tax evasion charges; and Daryan and Daryll Warner face maximum terms of incarceration of 10 years for structuring financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements.  Each individual defendant also faces mandatory restitution, forfeiture and a fine.  By the terms of their plea agreements, the corporate defendants face fines of $500,000 and one year of probation.

The government’s investigation is ongoing.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan M. Norris, Amanda Hector, Darren A. LaVerne, Samuel P. Nitze, Keith D. Edelman and Brian D. Morris of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Organized Crime and Gang Section.

The Indicted Defendants:


Age:  50

Nationality: Argentina


Age:  44

Nationality: USA


Age:  68

Nationality: Venezuela


Age:   83

Nationality: USA, Uruguay


Age:   70

Nationality: Argentina


Age:   40

Nationality: Argentina


Age:   86

Nationality: Paraguay


Age:   56

Nationality: Costa Rica

JOSÉ MARGULIES, also known as José Lazaro

Age:   75

Nationality: Brazil


Age:   83

Nationality: Brazil


Age:   64

Nationality: Nicaragua


Age:   58

Nationality: United Kingdom


Age:   72

Nationality: Trinidad and Tobago


Age:   50

Nationality: Cayman Islands

The Convicted Defendants:


Age:   70

Nationality: USA


Age:   71

Nationality: Brazil


Age:   46

Nationality: Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada


Age:   40

Nationality: USA, Trinidad and Tobago


Registered:  British Virgin Islands


Registered:  USA

E.D.N.Y. Docket Numbers:

United States v. Daryll Warner, 13 Cr. 402 (WFK)

United States v. Daryan Warner, 13 Cr. 584 (WFK)

United States v. Charles Blazer, 13 Cr. 602 (RJD)

United States v. José Hawilla, 14 Cr. 609 (RJD)

United States v. Traffic Sports International, Inc., 14 Cr. 609 (RJD)

United States v. Traffic Sports USA, Inc., 14 Cr. 609 (RJD)

United States v. Jeffrey Webb et al., 15 Cr. 252 (RJD)

Source: Department of Justice

Civil Rights Cold Case Victim Elbert Williams to be Honored on 75th Anniversary of His Murder

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Elbert Williams

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Elbert Williams, the first known NAACP official killed for his civil rights activities, will be honored on the 75th anniversary of his death at a special memorial service on June 20, 2015. The service will be held at 9:00 am at the Haywood County High School gymnasium in Brownsville, Tennessee, featuring NAACP President Cornell William Brooks as principal speaker. The memorial service will include video remarks by the renowned Reverend Clay Evans, co-founder of Operation Push, and by legendary civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis (D Georgia).

The activities honoring Mr. Williams will include the unveiling of a state historical marker at 11:00 am in downtown Brownsville. The concluding event will be a brief 1:00 pm service at Taylor Cemetery, where he is buried. All events are free, and the public is invited.

Mr. Williams was murdered in Brownsville, Tennessee on June 20, 1940. Local authorities ordered an immediate burial without a post mortem or a determination of the cause of death. There was neither a funeral nor the presence of his family at his burial.

Elbert Williams and his wife, Annie, became charter members of the Brownsville NAACP Branch, formed in 1939, to regain the vote which had been denied to African Americans for decades. In 1940 a white terror campaign to destroy the Branch by kidnapping its leaders and expelling them from the county was led by local police. On June 20, 1940, Mr. Williams was overheard planning an NAACP Branch meeting to be held in his home. This plan was reported to police who that night kidnapped him from his home. His corpse was found three days later in the nearby Hatchie River. His widow identified his body and saw what looked like two bullet holes in his chest.

The US Department of Justice initially ordered the case presented to a federal grand jury, but mysteriously reversed itself and closed the case in early 1942. Thurgood Marshall, then special counsel to the NAACP, gathered evidence in Brownsville and became a lifelong critic of the Justice Departments failure to prosecute Mr. Williams assailants. In December of 1942, the United States entered World War II, and the memory of Elbert Williams was lost to time. The memorial service will restore the historical memory of one of the many unsung heroes of the quest for human and civil rights.

For further information regarding memorial events go to www.elbertwilliamsmemorial.com, Facebook Page: Elbert Williams Memorial Commemoration, email: info@elbertwilliamsmemorial.com or contact John Ashworth 731-277-9352.

Photo: Elbert Williams

Attorney General Madigan Announces $11 Million Settlement With Classmates Inc., FTD for Deceptive Marketing

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with the Attorneys General of 21 states announced an $11 million settlement with Classmates, Inc., along with Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Inc. and its online counterpart FTD.com Inc. (FTD), in response to allegations that the companies engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing.

Madigan and her counterparts allege Classmates and FTD allowed third-parties to utilize negative option marketing practices to sell membership programs to consumers. Negative option marketing is a sales practice in which a seller interprets a consumer’s failure to reject an offer or cancel an agreement as approval to charge the consumer for goods or services.

These third-party marketers offered programs, such as discount buying clubs and travel reward programs, often immediately following consumers’ online transactions with Classmates or FTD.  Classmates and FTD would share consumers’ personal information, including credit card account numbers without consumers’ knowledge, which enabled third parties to bill consumers for the advertised offers unless the consumer proactively canceled the service or product delivery. Federal law bans such data sharing practices.

“These companies’ practices were deceptive,” Madigan said. “After customers made a purchase, they were also charged for goods and services they never requested or wanted.”

Today’s agreement includes a number of terms to ensure that consumers knowingly consent to the purchase of any membership program offered by a marketing partner of Classmates or FTD. The agreement also:

  • Prohibits the companies from misrepresenting the reason for requesting a consumer’s account information;
  • Prohibits third-party marketers from using FTD and Classmates’ names or logos in the title of a membership program, and any offer must be made after the consumers have concluded their transactions with Classmates or FTD to ensure that buyers understand they are receiving a separate and distinct offer from a different company;
  • Requires companies to clearly and concisely inform consumers that they will be transferred to another site to receive a membership offer, and consumers must consent to the transfer before they are sent to the new site;
  • Prohibits Classmates/FTD and its marketing partners from stating an offer is “free” or “risk free” if the offer will convert to a paid subscription; and
  • Prohibits Classmates/FTD from making misrepresentations or omissions concerning the reason or purpose for which a consumer is receiving an offer for enrollment in a membership program.

The Attorneys General also investigated Classmates’ renewal and cancellation practices in connection with social network subscription services offered to consumers through its website, Classmates.com. They allege Classmates failed to adequately inform consumers that their subscriptions would automatically renew and made cancellation difficult. Under today’s settlement, Classmates has agreed to make significant changes to its business practices, including more clearly stating that Classmates subscriptions will automatically renew and making it easier for consumers to cancel their subscriptions.

Classmates and FTD denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay $8 million, and Classmates is establishing a $3 million restitution fund to provide refunds to consumers who were enrolled into the company’s subscription service without authorization or who experienced difficulty when trying to cancel subscriptions. Illinois’ share of the $8 million is $487,775.35. Those seeking refunds from Classmates who have not previously filed a complaint have 90 days following the settlement’s execution date of May 25 to call Attorney General Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Hotline:

Chicago: 1-800-386-5438

Springfield: 1-800-243-0618

Carbondale: 1-800-243-0607

Individuals who previously filed complaints regarding Classmates’ renewal and cancellation practices may qualify to receive restitution under the settlement.

The states included in the settlement are Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Assistant Attorneys General Cassandra Halm and Matthew Van Hise handled this case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau, which protects Illinois consumers and businesses that have been victimized by fraud, deception and unfair business practices.

Fifth Circuit Immigration Ruling Delays Justice, Keeps Americans and Immigrant Families in Limbo

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Statement by Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center

CHICAGO, IL – Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is disappointed by today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denying the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay in the anti-immigrant lawsuit Texas v. United States of America. A Texas judge issued an injunction in the lawsuit in mid-February which temporarily halted the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.Despite today’s ruling, NIJC believes that the president’s program has solid legal footing and that the U.S. legal system is strong enough to withstand politically motivated anti-immigrant attacks. We have faith that ultimately the DACA expansion and DAPA will not be stopped by one Texas judge who has repeatedly mischaracterized immigration law and failed to grasp the reality of immigration in our country.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, more than four million immigrants are forced to wait and live in fear that they could be deported and torn from their families at any moment. NIJC client Nery has lived in the United States since 2007 and is the father of two U.S. citizens, including a son who was born in Chicago with severe developmental disabilities. In 2011, Nery was taking his son to the emergency room when a police officer pulled him over and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was detained in immigration custody for 51 days at a county jail in Wisconsin before NIJC lawyers won his release and secured prosecutorial discretion, which has now expired.

“I was so relieved when President Obama announced the DAPA program because it would mean I would be able to stay in the United States, care for my sons, and support my family, without constantly worrying about whether I might be deported and permanently separated from my wife and children,” Nery said. “Every day that DAPA is delayed is a day I leave the house knowing I may not return.”

NIJC encourages immigrant families to continue to gather documents, learn about DACA and DAPA, and seek legal consultations to answer questions about whether they will be eligible once the programs are allowed to proceed. A 2014 Center for Migration Studies survey of immigration legal service providers found that 14.3 percent of unauthorized immigrants who sought legal consultations for the original DACA program found out they were potentially eligible for more permanent immigration benefits that included paths to lawful permanent residence and citizenship.

Link to this statement: http://immigrantjustice.org/press_releases/fifth-circuit-stay-denial

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org.

Living Up to the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Marc Morial

President $ CEO, National Urban League

“Education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments … it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” – U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Brown B. Board of Education, May 17, 1954.

As we mark the 61st anniversary of the landmark anti-segregation case, “separate and unequal” remains a pervasive reality in America’s classrooms. Public school students of color are even less likely now than they were shortly after Brown to share classrooms with white students. There is separate and unequal distribution of resources and – perhaps most damaging of all – of expectations.

Progress has been made. Graduation rates are at an all-time high, and achievement gaps are narrowing. But America has not yet lived up to the promise of Brown. The court’s ruling was to be, as Martin Luther King, Jr., called it, “a great beacon light of hope to millions of colored people throughout the world who had had a dim vision of the promised land of freedom and justice.”

If we are to fulfill that promise, we need a federal education policy that holds school districts to high, consistent standards, and requires equitable, adequate levels of funding. The original intent of the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act – enacted almost a decade after Brown ­- was to level the playing field for disadvantaged students by offering grants to districts serving low-income students, federal grants for text and library books, creation of special education centers, and scholarships for low-income college students.

We must stay true to the spirit of this law and provide adequate resources to help students and schools rise to challenges of the 21st century. A reauthorization of ESEA must build upon, not retreat from, equity, accountability, and federal oversight for the nation’s children.

MD Governor Vetoes Bill to Restore Voting Rights to 40K People

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Disenfranchisement News

From:The Sentencing Project


House approves bill that defines which offenses result in forfeiture of voting rights

The House of Representatives recently approved a bill that would create a definitive list of felony offenses that prohibit people from voting. Under current law, anyone convicted of a felony involving “moral turpitude” loses their voting rights, but Alabama’s Constitution does not define those crimes further. Some county registrars interpret the Constitution to mean any felony conviction prohibits voting, while other counties use a list of offenses identified in a previous court case.
Republican Rep. Mike Jones, sponsor of the bill, says the goal is “to make sure we’re not keeping people from voting who should be voting.” The bill identifies 38 offenses that would result in disenfranchisement, including drug trafficking, murder, rape, theft, bigamy, and terrorism charges. A person with a felony conviction not on the list would be eligible for rights restoration.


Governor vetoes bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people

Republican Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a bill that would have restored voting rights to people immediately after prison, rather than waiting until they’ve completed parole or probation. The bill would have impacted an estimated 40,000 disenfranchised Marylanders. The Senate passed the measure with the minimum votes needed to override a veto, but the House was two votes short for an override. In a letter to legislative leaders, Governor Hogan said that restoring voting rights to people after they have completed probation or parole “achieves the proper balance between repayment of obligations to society for a felony conviction and the restoration of the various restricted rights.”
Communities United, a social justice advocacy group that supported the measure, criticized the veto saying: “Governor Hogan has learned nothing from the uprising in Baltimore and what the city and state residents need. Freddie Gray’s West Baltimore neighborhood has the highest rate of disenfranchisement in the state. Former felons need a voice and the ability to influence what happens in their communities and lives.”
Democratic Sen. Joan Carter Conway says she needs to gather just a handful of votes in each chamber to override the veto when the General Assembly convenes next January.


Voting rights provision stripped from public safety bill

Due to strong Republican opposition, a provision to expand voting rights to people on probation and parole was dropped from a public safety bill negotiated by DFL Sen. Ron Latz and Republican Rep. Tony Cornish.
Sen. Latz expressed his disappointment and said, “I have been working… to find a pathway by which ‘Restore the Vote’ could be included in this conference committee report. Unfortunately I finally reached the conclusion that I could not see any pathway for that to happen.” Sen. Latz said House Republican leadership agreed to continue working on the issue and they will try to pass a bill next year.


Presidential candidates call for felony disenfranchisement reform

At a recent forum in Iowa, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said people with felony convictions “ought to get a second chance” to vote. In 2005, while she was in the Senate, Clinton introduced the Count Every Vote Act to restore voting rights to people who have completed their felony prison, probation and parole sentence. Clinton has yet to elaborate on whether she still supports the boundaries for felony re-enfranchisement from her previous bill.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has repeatedly advocated for restoring voting rights for people convicted of certain crimes, and has made criminal justice reform a central theme in his presidential campaign. Earlier this year, Sen. Paul introduced the Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act, which would restore federal voting rights for people convicted of non-violent crimes.
In The Washington Post, Philip Bump recently speculated on what could have happened in the 2012 election if the 5.8 million disenfranchised Americans were allowed to vote. Using data from University of Florida professor Michael McDonald’s United States Election Project, Bump reported that the biggest increase in voter turnout would have been in Texas, followed by Georgia and Florida. He noted that the always-contested state of Florida is interesting because “the number of people who could gain the right to vote and then actually vote is twice the margin of victory for Obama in the state.”

Black Non-Profit Org Launches Online Fundraiser to Host “Police Brutality Survival” Summer Camps for Teens in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Atlanta

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Orrin Hudson teaching teens

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) –  Orrin Hudson, founder of Atlanta-based non-profit organization Be Someone, says he is on a mission to teach teens how to survive police brutality and how to best interact with law enforcement officers. Via his online fundraising campaign, he is currently raising funds to bring his “Police Brutality Survival” workshops to Baltimore, Ferguson, Atlanta, and potentially other cities.

Hudson is a chess champion, and will use the game of chess in his free-to-the-public summer camps to teach teens how to think ahead before making decisions. The camp will tackle the very delicate issue of police brutality survival, the do’s and don’ts of safe police/citizen interaction, critical thinking to forecast the consequences of actions, and so much more.

Other topics to be addressed during the summer camp are:

* How to think like a champion
* How to communicate effectively
* How to conduct yourself
* How to dress like a prospect not a suspect
* How to stay alive
* How to thrive
* How to be an asset, not a liability

Hudson recently told Fox News, “The young people of Baltimore are not thugs. They are potential champions. I know because I was once in a gang and called a thug.

He continued, “One thing that strikes me is that while many people have a lot to say, most do not offer solutions. Most don’t have any idea how to fix the underlying problems. It takes a very special person – one who can see the world through both the officer’s eyes, and the at-risk youth’s eyes.”

On Saturday, May 30th, from 1pm to 4pm, Hudson, will kick off his first summer camp in Atlanta at the Fairfield Inn and Suites at 7850 Stonecrest Square, Lithonia, Georgia. Both parents and their children are invited to attend for free.

“All that is required for our communities to be destroyed is for good people to do nothing. We must get in the game and give what we can,” he says.
To make a donation online to Hudson’s “Police Brutality Survival” summer camps/ workshops for teens, visit:

To learn more about his Be Someone non-profit organization, visit:

Photo Caption: Orrin Hudson, founder of Be Someone, teaching teens how to make better decisions in life

Call For Entries: 51st Chicago International Film Festival

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The 51st Chicago International Film Festival presents Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design.

In collaboration with the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial (October 2015-January 2016), the Chicago International Film Festival will present a program of architecture-themed and design-related films. The program will celebrate the remarkable spirit and outstanding representations of architecture and design in cinema and will include narrative features, documentaries, and short films.

The Festival is currently accepting entries for Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design.

Click here for more information and submit your film today!

Festival dates: October 15-29, 2015
Regular deadline: June 19, 2015

Program Partner




ISBE to Kick Off Summer Meals program

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Ensuring low-income students are well fed while school is out

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is making sure children are not forgotten over break by providing access to nutritious meals through the Summer Meals program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. School districts, local government entities and nonprofit organizations serve as summer food sites to ensure children have free, healthy meals and snacks all summer long.

“Hunger does not stop when summer vacation starts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “All children deserve access to nutritious meals year-round and we are delighted to continue to bring this program to Illinois communities.”

More than 2,300 sites are expected to serve free meals, including breakfast and lunch, to children and teens ages 18 and younger across Illinois during summer vacation. At more than half of the sites, children and teens will not have to apply or show any proof of family income in order to receive a meal.

“Poor nutrition during the summer months can affect children’s academic performance during the school year,” said Tim English, Midwest regional administrator for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “The USDA’s summer feeding programs help children get the nourishing food they need all year long so they come back to school in the fall ready to learn.”

Families can search for a nearby site offering free meals at www.summerfeedingillinois.org. Individuals also can text the words “FoodIL” in English or “AlimentosIL” in Spanish to 877-877. Upon texting, individuals will be prompted to send a ZIP code, after which they will receive the address and serving times of the closest summer meals sites. Residents can also call the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s hunger hotline at (800) 359-2163.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Summer Food Service Program and a kickoff event is scheduled for June 24 at Dunbar Park in Chicago in partnership with No Kid Hungry and several sponsors. Kids 18 and under can pick up a free lunch between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

During the summer of 2013, Illinois program sites served meals to nearly 107,000 children, which is only 14 percent of the almost 775,000 children who ate free or reduced-priced meals during the 2012-13 school year. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that nearly 3 million children received summer meals on an average day in 2013. The national goal this year is to serve 200 million meals to children during the summer months when school is not in session. This breaks down to each state increasing the number of its meals served by 7.3 percent.

It’s not too late if you are interested in becoming a meal site. Call the Summer Meals program at (800) 545-7892 to be referred to a local sponsor.

34th Annual American Black Chiropractic Association Convention to be Held in Atlanta, June 25-27

Posted by Admin On May - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

American Black Chiropractic Association Convention

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) – The 34th Annual ABCA National Convention will be held at Life University in Atlanta, GA on June 25-27, 2015. All current and future DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic) and friends are invited to attend this awesome weekend of chiropractic! In previous years, hundreds of African American chiropractics have attended and benefited from the unique networking opportunities and powerful seminars.

This year’s event will consist of: Informative seminars catering to both current DC’s and students; More than 15 hours of clinical professional development/ continuing education credits available; Technique enhancement classes; and Special offers from various industry leading vendors.

CEU Approved States: AL, AR, CA, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA RI, SC, VA, WA.

To register online, please visit www.abcachiro.com/events/34th-annual-abca-national-convention/ or call 404-647-2225. Registration Forms can also be printed and mailed in.
About the ABCA
The ABCA was founded in 1981 by Dr. Bobby Westbrooks, a practicing Chiropractor in St. Louis, Missouri, who had a vision to empower African American doctors and students in chiropractic. Dr. Westbrooks recognized that many African Americans were unfamiliar with the benefits of chiropractic care, and that chiropractic colleges struggled to attract minority students into their programs. This caused schools to continually have significantly low enrollment of African American students. The result was a significantly low number of African American graduates, and ultimately communities of color underserved by the opportunities and benefit of chiropractic.

Dr. Westbrooks realized there was an immediate and ongoing need for minority supportive services in the chiropractic profession. He founded the American Black Chiropractic Association (ABCA) with just a handful of doctors of African American descent. He hoped to achieve some of his goals through the ABCA, and to share these goals with some of his colleagues and friends. For more details about ABCA, visit www.abcachiro.com
Here’s the conference’s weekend agenda:

Thursday June 25, 2015

ABCA Executive Board Meeting
Renaissance Hotel

Registration Opens
Life University

G. Kent Mangelson- 2 CEUs
Improved Patient Care through Lawsuit Protection and Prevention for Chiropractors
Sponsored by American Society for Asset Protection (ASAP)

Dr. Mark Charrette-2 CEUs
Extremity Adjusting
Sponsored by Foot levers

Welcome Reception
Sponsored by Life University

Friday June 26, 2015

Registration Open
Life University

Vendors Open
Life University

7:45am-8:00 am
Speaker Introduction

Dr. Kenneth Brown- 2 CEU
Nutrition for the Well Rounded Chiropractic Clinic

Vendor Break
(Please visit vendors during this time)

Dr. John Davilla 2 CEU
ICD-10 Coding for the Subluxation Based Chiropractor
Sponsored by Custom ChiroSolutions, LLC

Dr. Kenneth Brown- Reality Check
Dr. Jeremy Coleman- Persistence and Presence

Vendor Break
(Please visit vendors on your way to lunch)

Dr. Bobby Westbrooks Luncheon
Sponsored by Life University

Vendor Break
(Please visit vendors during this time)

Regional Meetings
Eastern: Dr. Shereffa Clarke
Central: Dr. Quentin Brisco
Western: Dr. Dionne McClain

Student Quiz Bowl
Dr. Valda Dawson, ABCA Vice-President

Saturday June 27, 2015

Registration Open

Vendors Open

Dr. Michael Ramcharan 2 CEU
The Evidence Based Chiropractor

Dr. John Downes-Extremities

Dr. Michael Ramcharan 2 CEU
Clinical Reasoning and Management of Advanced Conditions of the Spine

Dr. Rashida Cohen- Women/Pediatrics Chiropractic 11-12
Dr. Edgar Evette- Difference between success and survival as a Chiropractor 12-1

Lunch On Your Own (Please Visit Vendors)

Vendor Break (Visit vendors during this time)

Doctor/Student Panel
Dr. Valda Dawson

ABCA General Session

Harvey Lillard Scholarship Banquet

Sunday June 28, 2015

ABCA Executive Board Meeting
Renaissance Hotel

Photo Caption: African American doctors of chiropractic attending the 2014 American Black Chiropractic Association Convention

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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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