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Archive for May 28th, 2015

“Body Cameras: Can Technology Increase Protection for Law Enforcement Officers and the Public?”: Marc Morial Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee

Posted by Admin On May - 28 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Marc H. Morial statement before the House Judiciary Committee May 19. 2015

March H. Morial is President & CEO, National Urban League

Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Whitehouse, members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of the National Urban League, I am encouraged by this opportunity to present our qualified support for body-worn cameras as an extremely important component of a multi-faceted strategy for police reform. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you, Chairman Graham, to Ranking Member Whitehouse and to Senator Tim Scott for holding this most important hearing.

I am Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League and former Mayor of New Orleans. It is my hope and expectation that this hearing will mark the beginning of legislative action to address the ongoing pattern and practice of racial violence and systemic discriminatory treatment by law enforcement in so many of our communities of color.

Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, few times in a nation’s history is the conscience of its citizens shocked and awakened across racial, economic, generational and even ideological lines. In this catalytic moment driven by cataclysmic circumstances—the deaths of Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Marlene Pinnock, Rekia Boyd, Levar Jones and too many others— the collective consciousness of this nation screams—and demands without apology—that it’s time for a change.

The use of excessive force—deadly force—by law enforcement against unarmed African Americans has no place in our democracy. Police should not fear the communities they have sworn to protect and communities should not fear those who serve to protect them. We as a nation must and can do better. The challenges before us are great, and we all—legislators, civil rights

Click here to read the full statement.

President Obama to Host White House Conference on Aging

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WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, July 13, President Barack Obama will host the White House Conference on Aging.  The White House has held a Conference on Aging each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.  The conference is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs while bringing together older Americans, caregivers, government officials, members of the public, business leaders, and community leaders to discuss the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans in the next decade.  This year’s regional forums in Tampa, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Seattle, WA; Cleveland, OH and today’s event in Boston, MA provided opportunities for Americans across the country to engage in policy discussions, submit input on their priorities and share their stories ahead of the White House event.

Additional details about the conference will be released at a later date.

NAACP Statement on DOJ Agreement with Cleveland Police Department & Officer Brelo Acquittal

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The NAACP has released the following statement in response to the DOJ’s Agreement with the Cleveland Police Department & Officer Brelo’s Acquittal:

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:
The NAACP is deeply saddened that the Cleveland police officer who fired 15 shots into a car with two unarmed people has been acquitted. The 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams represent two more tragedies in a series of others who have senselessly lost their lives at the hands of those who swore to protect and serve.  We understand the anger and frustration being felt among the community and stand in solidarity with peaceful protestors who seek justice. It is essential that police must respect the community before they can protect the community.   Therefore, we are very encouraged by the Cleveland Police Department’s agreement with the Department of Justice to overhaul its criminal justice system. This agreement calls for many of the reforms that the NAACP has advocated for, including body worn cameras and community policing and signals a turning point for police accountability in this country.  The NAACP will continue to advocate for federal policy change that works to assure that racial profiling ends today.

From Sybil Edwards – McNabb, NAACP Ohio State Conference President:
We are appalled by the decision to acquit Officer Michael Brelo and our sincerest thoughts and prayers go to the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during this difficult time. The Ohio State Conference will continue to double down for justice. We applaud the Department of Justice on exacting standards over how and when the Cleveland Police Department can use force, and ensuring that these rules are not ignored.  This agreement is not only a road map for criminal justice reform in Cleveland, but can the beginning of a national model for all police departments looking to restore community trust and build a fairer criminal justice system in the 21st Century.  The NAACP Ohio State Conference will continue to monitor the activities of the police department and will continue the fight to end racial profiling throughout the state of Ohio.

From Rev. Hilton Smith, NAACP Cleveland Branch President:
We are proud of our work with the Department of Justice and the consent decree with the Cleveland Police Department. The Cleveland Branch of the NAACP will continue to persistently monitor police and community relations and stand steadfast in our commitment to ensure accountability by working closely with the city’s leadership to bring systemic criminal justice reform to Cleveland, developing ordinances prohibiting racial profiling and advocating on behalf of our community, especially our most vulnerable.

140+ Physicians from State’s Leading Pediatric Health Organization Endorse the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Act

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CHICAGO, IL – More than 140 physicians from Illinois’ leading pediatric health organization, the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP), announced their endorsement today of the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Act. The HEAL Act invests in community prevention and Medicaid, through a small tax on sugary drinks.

The group includes pediatric chairs from the state’s academic medical centers, researchers, medical school faculty, subspecialists, pediatricians in training, and primary care physicians who see the adverse health impacts of sugary drinks on patients and their families every day. Nearly one in three children in Illinois is overweight or obese.

As Illinois faces a budget crisis, the HEAL Act can raise an estimated $600 million to prevent cuts in Medicaid and invest in healthier kids. “In our view, these revenues should be targeted to critical clinical prevention and treatment services in Medicaid for childhood obesity and oral health that would lower state spending on health care,” said Alejandro Clavier, a Co-Chair of ICAAP’s Health Care Advisory Group on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages.

Additionally, funds raised from the HEAL Act should be invested in community prevention. These efforts would include, for example, improving access to affordable fruits and vegetables and providing kids more options for safe places to play so that all youth can be active and healthier.

“The contribution of sugary drinks to obesity in children is now clearly established,” stated Goutham Rao, a Co-Chair of ICAAP’s Health Care Advisory Group on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages. Sufficient scientific evidence demonstrates that decreasing consumption of these drinks reduces the prevalence of childhood obesity and costly obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Further, sugary drinks cause cavities, behavioral problems, and the risk of poor bone health.

The physicians endorse the Healthy Eating and Active Living Act because it will promote healthier children, families, and communities in Illinois.

The War Against ISIS Fails in Ramadi

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The War Against ISIS Fails in Ramadi

Arab American News, News Report

A setback.” That’s how President Obama described the fall of Ramadi to ISIS, after nine months of bombing the terrorist group.

But a quick look at the geo-military map, specifically at the vast swaths of land seized by ISIS in Anbar, tells a different story. The strategic location of the city— which is the capital of Anbar Province— and the successive advances of ISIS spell a more serious situation than a “setback.” ISIS victories in Ramadi and a few days later in Palmyra could be an all out defeat to the U.S. war on terror.

Meanwhile, there is a theory that the frightening rise of terrorist groups in the Middle East after what became known as the “Arab Spring” is intended to dismantle the central authorities in Arab states. The “creative chaos” that George W. Bush started would open the door to further partitioning of Middle Eastern countries.

Regardless of the accuracy of that theory, it has become clear from the contradictory reactions by different officials in Washington and Baghdad that the fall of Ramadi was unexpected. Despite the attempts to play down the ISIS advance in Anbar Province, the withdrawal of the Iraqi army’s 8th Division from Ramadi is a major victory for ISIS. Ramadi will be the passageway to link and strengthen the militants in Syria and Iraq.

Ramadi put ISIS on the doorsteps of Baghdad, making it the first Arab capital under imminent threat from the terrorist group. It also enables ISIS to attack the Shi’a holy shrines in Karbala, raising warning for an all out sectarian war.

The fall of Ramadi comes at a time when the Pentagon is claiming that jihadists are on the defensive after the U.S.-led coalition’s air strike against ISIS.

Iraq is already ripe for a sectarian conflict, especially since Shi’a paramilitaries, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), have been fighting alongside the Iraqi security forces against ISIS. The Iraqi army’s defeat in Ramadi will lead to greater intervention from the PMF in the mostly Sunni Anbar Province.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, acknowledged that the Iraqi army was not driven away, but it “drove away” from Ramadi.

It is not clear why this happened. Some observers see a conspiracy aimed at highlighting the weakness of the official Iraqi forces and their reliance on the PMF. Analysts who support this theory say Iran encouraged the army to pull out of the city to impose the PMF on the people of Anbar. But why would the Iraqi government, which is the biggest loser from the defeat, appoint the general who withdrew from Kirkuk to lead its forces in Ramadi? And more importantly, why didn’t the U.S.-led coalition bomb ISIS positions in Ramadi to foil this alleged Iranian plot?

On the other hand, PMF supporters provide a different theory. They accuse the Americans and their Iraqi patrons of working to partition Iraq and other countries in the Levant, especially since the fall of the city was coupled with calls for arming the Sunni tribes of Anbar.

But no matter which theory— if either— is true, it has become clear that the American strategy in fighting ISIS has failed.

ISIS captured Ramadi at the same time that the Iraqi Parliament passed a law to arm and give autonomy to Kurdish and Sunni factions. Simultaneously, the Saudi-Qatari-Turkish push to bolster Islamist rebels in Syria has intensified and Shi’a pilgrims clashed with the Sunni community in Baghdad last week.
We cannot separate what happened in Ramadi from the state of Arab nations, which seem to be facing plans to partition and dismantle them.

-Nabil Haissam is The Arab American News correspondent in Beirut. This article was translated from Arabic and edited for space.

State’s Attorney Hosts Law Day for Local Students

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More than 30 students from Bouchet Math and Science Academy in Chicago spent the day at the George Leighton Criminal Courts Building, getting a firsthand look at the criminal justice system, including a presentation from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The students were participating in Law Day, an annual event sponsored by the American Bar Association that celebrates the rule of law in our society.  The 2015 theme for Law Day, which was May 1st, was “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under the Law.”

The students heard from several individuals who work in various areas of the criminal justice system and took a tour of the courthouse.

Chicago Organizers Host Global Youth Peace Conference #ChicagoYouthPeace, June 4th – 6th

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Mobilizing, activating and empowering young people, in grades 5-12, to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.

CHICAGO, IL -  From June 4th to 6th, Chicago will host the first Chicago International Youth Peace Conference at Chicago Theological Seminary, 1407 E. 50th St, and at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell. The conference is being organized by Chicago International Youth Peace Movement and a coalition of faith-based groups and individuals led by Jessica Disu (@FMSupreme), who was recently chosen by Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the city’s “Summer of Faith and Action” program.

The conference’s global leadership training committee will facilitate enlightening discussions that motivate and empower students to become agents for social justice, nonviolence and education through peer to peer mentoring. This committee consists of accomplished social justice leaders who have the skills to help young people build creative solutions to combat violence and facilitate peace in Chicago and around the world. Over 350 Chicago youth and young adults from some of the City’s most impoverished neighborhoods are expected to attend.

Objectives of Chicago International Youth Peace Movement Conference:

  • Serve youth and provide Millennial role models of success
  • Educate and empower youth through organizing and activism workshops
  • Create a platform and space in which youth dominate and “own” their voices to create solutions to combat violence in communities
  • Improve the educational outcomes for Young Men of Color

Intended Audience:

  • JP Morgan Chase Fellows
  • Community Members
  • Civic Engagement Officials
  • Global Millennial Leaders

“If you’re looking for solutions to violence in Chicago and around the world, you should look to the young people who are the most disproportionately affected by it,” says Jessica Disu of Chicago International Youth Peace Movement. “The message of the Chicago International Youth Peace Conference is, if you want young people to put the guns down, you need to give them something else to pick up. Our goal is to mobilize, activate and empowering youth to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.”

The Chicago International Youth Peace Conference is supported by generous donations from community partners including: Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago Urban League, I Grow Chicago, R.A.G.E, Kids Off The Block, JP Morgan Chase Fellowship Initiative, Derrion J. Albert Scholarship Fund, Hyatt Corp, Mayor’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, and Casey Family Programs.

Despite generous community support, the Chicago International Youth Peace Conference is still greatly in need of donations and hopes to raise $20,000 by June 4th. Donation link: http://www.gofundme.com/ChicagoYouthPeace

Recognized members of the academic, faith and entertainment communities are supporting the conference, including: Dr. Iva Carruthers, Shawn Dove (Campaign for Black Male Achievement), Dr. Mahalia Hines (Think COMMON Entertainment), Isiah Thomas, Lil Herb and others.

Special guests at the conference will include: Dr. Michael Eric Dyson; Andrea Zopp, Chicago Urban League; The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Trinity United Church of Christ; Phillip Agnew, Dream Defenders; Isha Haley, Heart & Soul LLC; FM Supreme, Chicago International Youth Peace Movement.

In March, Jessica Disu and the group she founded, Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, partnered with ABC 7 Chicago to write and perform in “Still Believe, Yeah” a Public Service Announcement to promote peace and encourage conversations about nonviolence and hope: http://abc7chicago.com/entertainment/fm-supreme-launches-still-believe-psa-promoting-peace/539810/

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement is presently touring Chicago elementary and high schools, producing “Peace Talk Workshops” and screening their new PSA to empower young people and young adults to become the change they wish to see.

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, a peer to peer mentoring and youth leadership advocacy group, empowers, inspire and activate youth and young adult voices for nonviolence and social change. Our mission is to creatively promote peace and nonviolence through the arts, mentoring, civic engagement, and youth led and young adult facilitated programming.

Collins Votes Against Catastrophic Cuts and for a Budget That Meets Obligations

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted against budget reductions Governor Rauner proposed – cuts that would decimate core state functions including higher education, Medicaid, child care assistance for low-income working parents, breast and cervical cancer screenings and after-school programs for youth at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence. She was proud to support a budget Senate Democrats introduced to fully fund many essential services and meet the state’s obligations to retirees, residents with disabilities, students in need of financial assistance and wards of the state.

“As a legislator advocating for my constituents in Springfield, I view every proposed budget as a moral document that spells out the priorities of its supporters,” Collins said. “Today, I am honored to stand with a majority of the Senate in affirming our priorities: empowering working families, caring for the most vulnerable and breaking the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity. At the same time, we rejected the governor’s priorities: corporate privileges, lower wages and leaving behind the least of these.”

In February, the governor introduced a budget that would have eliminated anti-violence programs such as CeaseFire and Teen Reach, slashed funding for colleges and universities by one-third, limited access to cancer screenings and treatment for low-income women, terminated dental benefits for adult Medicaid clients, ended child care subsidies for children as young as six and those cared for by relatives and left 4,000 children with disabilities without the early intervention services they need to start school prepared. Without waiting for the legislature’s approval, he suspended grants that had already been awarded to youth employment programs and cut funding from autism services and other programs Illinois residents rely on to live independently.

“We are taking a stand today, because these are not mere numbers on a piece of paper; they are human lives,” said Collins, who sounded the alarm on the youth employment grant suspensions in January. “This process is far from over, but I will continue fighting to prioritize people, not profits.”

Identity Theft and Other Scams Are Issues Facing Summer Job Seekers, Warns Better Business Bureau

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CHICAGO, IL – Finding a summer job is always a top priority for college and high school students. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of seasonal job scams, which can lead to identity theft. Signs of these scams include fake postings that require little effort for the job or claim to be high paying. By falling for these scams, students can waste time, lose money, as well as be victims of identity theft.

“When your job search turns to desperation, a great posting can seem promising, but it can also lead to trouble,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It’s important to always take appropriate measures to not get scammed and to check companies you apply for with the BBB.”

The BBB offers summer job hunters these issues to look out for:

  • No interview or application. If you are offered a job without a formal interview or job application, it’s most likely a scam. Do not provide any personal or financial information, as it can lead to identity theft.
  • No job details. If the employer does not provide you with the details of the job in writing, be wary. When you have details in writing, be sure to read them carefully and ask questions.
  • No website or contact. If the employer does not have a website or contact information is missing, consider that a red flag.
  • Fees required. If the employer requires fees for training, background checks or drug tests, it is likely to be a scam. These costs are normally the responsibility of the employer.
  • Too good to be true. If an employer offers you a lot of money for simple work or to work at home, it is most likely too good to be true.

Job hunters should always do an internet search of the business for both positive and negative comments and then follow-up with the employer.Check the potential employer’s BBB Business Review to see if the employer has a good rating.

For more information on scams, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

One Performer and Five Characters in a Post – 9/11 World

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Written & Performed by Rohina Malik
Co-Directed by Wayne Maugans & Nick Westemeyer
With Live Music by Violinist Steven Gibons

Racism. Hate crimes. Love. Islam. Culture. Language. Life. Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in this compelling one-woman show.

“In her rich, upbeat and very enjoyable 70-minute collection of five character studies of Muslim women in modern-day America, Rohina Malik gives voice to characters from whom we hear far too little in the theater.” -Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“A compelling piece rich with illuminating surprises, drawing the audience into worlds that are both unique and truly universal. It is terrifically entertaining.” -Catey Sullivan, Chicago Examiner

Unveiled offers a provocative, insightful and uplifting theater experience.” -Tom Witom, Pioneer Press

Performance Schedule
Thursday, June 11th – 7:30pm
Friday, June 12th – 8:00pm
Saturday, June 13th – 4:00pm
Sunday, June 14th – 4:00pm

$15 Adults / $12 Students

Tickets sold online – no processing fee to buy online.

A note from playwright & performer Rohina Malik Growing up in London, as the daughter of South Asian immigrants, racism was intense.  When I turned fifteen, I moved to Chicago.  The racism of London was difficult, but nothing prepared me for the backlash after 9/11 in the US.

Everybody had a story, which ranged from silly to bone chilling.  People were murdered because they were Muslim or because they were mistaken for Muslim.  As ugly as the backlash was, it inspired me to write Unveiled.

The first story was personal; it was based on a painful incident at my friend’s wedding, where I was pushing my double stroller, with my baby and toddler, and a man began to insult me.  He had a problem with my veil.  The incident almost turned to violence and felt like one of the worst days of my life.

It’s interesting how that painful day became the seed that would later become Unveiled. Art can sometimes be inspired by the things that are ugly and scare us.

Listen: Radio Interview on St. Louis Public Radio Willis Ryder Arnold of St. Louis Public Radio, speaks with playwright and performer Rohina Malik about Unveiled. Listen >>
Kashmiri Tea Recipe from Unveiled One of the common elements in Unveiled is that each character is having a conversation with the audience over a cup of tea. One of the characters, Shabana, makes Kashmiri Chai. Here’s her recipe:

Kashmiri Chai
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):
3 cups of water
3 to 4 tablespoons of Noon Chai
2 tablespoons of salt
2 cups of Milk
½ a teaspoon of baking soda
Ground pistachio nuts

Using a medium size saucepan, boil the water and tea for one hour. Add some salt and watch the tea change color. Then add the baking soda and keep stirring the tea. Add the milk to the tea and watch it turn pink. Serve the tea with sugar and garnish with Ground pistachio nuts.

The image above is designed by local artist Michael Klaus Schmidt. Michael was inspired by Unveiled to create five unique posters, each representing the tea served by the five characters in the play.

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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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