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Archive for June 8th, 2015

NAACP Responds to McKinney Police Department Incident; Will Demand a Thorough Investigation

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, Maryland/McKinney, Texas – The NAACP released the following statement on the McKinney Police Department’s excessive use of force against teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16, including a 14 year old girl clad in a bikini, while attending a pool party in McKinney, Texas.

Tomorrow, Dallas/Fort Worth, state and national NAACP leadership will meet with McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley to demand a thorough investigation led by an independent police agency.

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:
“I am deeply disturbed by the McKinney Police Department’s treatment of these African American teenagers.  The excessive force  on an unarmed 14-year-old girl clad only in a bikini by an officer wearing a uniform and a gun, was particularly troubling.  The NAACP has reached out to the families of these young people and will be advocating on their behalf at our meeting with the Chief of Police tomorrow.  These teens appeared to be simply attending a pool party and deserved respectful treatment under the law.  We are calling for a full investigation of the McKinney Police Department officers and that they be held accountable to the full extent of the law.   We also join the community in wrapping our arms around these young people as they heal from the physical and mental scars this incident may have caused. “

From Gary Bledsoe, Texas State Conference President:
“From what we have seen on the video, the treatment is inhumane and especially since we are talking about teenagers. These are our children. If there is an explanation for this we would like to know what it is.”

From Ricky McNeal, President Garland Texas Branch:
“The NAACP is very concerned about what has occurred, and we have arranged meetings with the Police Department to obtain as much information as possible. Tomorrow NAACP leaders, including myself, National Board Member Bob Lydia and NAACP Arlington Branch President Alisa Simmons will meet with MPD Chief Greg Conley.”

From Alisa Simmons, President Arlington Texas Branch:
“The fundamental problem is the expectation that many officers have when they look at young African Americans.  They expect them to be more violent, more dangerous than any other race and they expect them to engage in criminal behavior.”

From Erin Gaddis, Texas Youth and College Division President:
“We will be working as part of the State conference to diligently investigate this matter, and will provide all the assistance we can to the young people in McKinney.”

Hillary Clinton: We Should Make it Easier to Vote

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

During a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Hillary Clinton called for expanding Americans’ voting rights while decrying Republican efforts to restrict them. The latest in her long history of fighting to expand voting rights, she called for universal, automatic voter registration for every American in every state when they turn 18. She called for a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. And she urged Congress to restore key sections of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court invalidated.

Hillary Clinton’s Speech (transcript) on Voting Rights June 4, 2015: Former Secretary of State and Candidate for President in 2016

Wow! Thank you so very much. I cannot tell you how personally honored I am to be here with all of you, to be at this historic institution. Let me start by thanking President Rudley, everyone at Texas Southern university. It’s a great treat to be here, to have heard just briefly from Dr. Rudley and others about the incredible programs and progress and the fact that you graduated more than 1,000 young people into the world not so many days ago. This institution is the living legacy, the absolute embodiment of Heman Marion Sweatt and the long struggle for civil rights. and for me, to be surrounded by so many here in Houston, Texas, and indeed from across our country, who were part of that movement is especially touching. I am delighted to be here with my friend, Sheila Jackson Lee, she has been a tireless champion for the people of the 18th District and state and the country.

I have to tell you though I thought she would tell you about the most important news coming out of Congress. And that is she is finally a member of the grandmother’s club. And as a member of now a little over eight months, it is the best club you will ever be a member of, Sheila. I have to tell you I was excited to come here and to talk about an issue that is important to Barbara Jordan and should be important to all of us. But to do so in front of Dr. Freeman is a little daunting. I mean anyone who knows what this man has meant, not only to Barbara Jordan but to so many who have studied here who have been in anyway effected by his brilliant teaching, elocution and delivery would be a little daunted too. I noticed that both Dr. Rudley and Dr. Sheila both got off before Dr. Freeman came up.

I also want to say my thoughts and prayers are with all the families in Houston and across Texas affected by the recent terrible flooding. And I am confident that this community will embrace them. I remember very well coming here after Katrina with my husband, and in fact we decided to invite along a young Senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama, along and with Sheila and other leaders in the community. We toured the facilities that Houston had provided to those who were fleeing that horrific storm. And I saw how people had opened their hearts and their homes. This is a city that knows how to pull together, and I’m confident you’ll do so again on behalf of those who are suffering from this latest terrible disaster.

And it is also a special moment to be here, knowing that Barbara Jordan was succeeded by Mickey Leland and the 18th District was so well represented for so long, and I am delighted to be here with Alison and to remember the pioneering work he did on behalf of children and the poor and hungry. So many issues that he was the champion of. And I want to thank Rosemary McGowan and all the friends and loved ones of Barbara Jordan here today. This is such a particular honor for me because the award is in memory of one of my true personal heroes—a woman who taught me and so many others the meaning of courage and determination in the pursuit of justice.

I first met Barbara Jordan when I was a young attorney and had been given a position working for the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee investigating Richard Nixon, and it was such a profound moment in American history. And there wasn’t anyone who was a more effective eloquent inquisitor than Barbara Jordan.

As a 26-year-old fresh out of law school, as some of you are perhaps now having graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School here at TSU, I was riveted and not a little intimidated to tell you the truth by this unstoppable Congresswoman from Texas. I got to talk with her, which was thrilling, I got to hand her papers, which was equally exciting, but mostly I got to watch and listen to her.

At a time of shaken confidence, she stirred the entire nation with her words.

Remember what she said: “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete; it is total.”

It was that passion and moral clarity that took Barbara Jordan from the TSU and the halls of Texas legislature all the ways to the halls of Congress. The first woman and the first African American ever elected to represent Texas in the House of Representatives.

And she defended and continued the civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her friend and mentor President Lyndon Johnson—and in particular she was a staunch advocate for the Voting Rights Act, which had helped make it possible for her to be elected.

In 1975, in the face of fierce opposition, Barbara Jordan led the fight to extend the special protections of the Voting Rights Act to many more Americans, including Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans as well.

And like every woman who has run for national office in this country in the last four decades, I stand here on the shoulders of Barbara Jordan and so does our entire country.

And boy do we miss her. We miss her courage, we also miss her humor, she was funny and most of all her irresistible voice.

I remember talking to her and Ann Richards one time. And between the two of them, forget trying to get a word in at all. And they were telling me about how they would love to go to the University of Texas women’s basketball games. Right, and Barbara would be there by that time in her wheelchair, and Ann would be holding court right next to her. And Barbara would be yelling directions like she was, you know, the coach. “Why are you doing that? Jump higher! That’s not a pass!” You know, all of those kinds of sideline comments. And so Ann was telling me this, with Barbara right there and I finally turned to her and said, “Barbara, encourage these young women, don’t just criticize them.” And Barbara turned around and said, “When they deserve it, I will.”We sure could use her irresistible voice. I wish we could hear that voice one more time.

Hear her express the outrage we feel about the fact that 40 years after Barbara Jordan fought to extend the Voting Rights Act, its heart has been ripped out.

And I wish we could hear her speak up for the student who has to wait for hours for his or her right to vote. For the grandmother who’s turned away from the polls because her driver’s license expired. For the father who’s done his time and paid his debt to society but still hasn’t gotten his rights back.

Now we know, unfortunately, Barbara isn’t here to speak up for them and so many others. But we are. And we have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country—because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.

Because since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote.

North Carolina passed a bill that went after pretty much anything that makes voting more convenient or more accessible. Early voting. Same-day registration. The ability of county election officials to even extend voting hours to accommodate long lines.

Now what possible reason could there be to end pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and eliminate voter outreach in high schools?

We should be doing everything we can to get our young people more engaged in democracy, not less.

In fact I would say it is a cruel irony—but no coincidence—that Millennials, the most diverse, tolerant, and inclusive generation in American history, are now facing so much exclusion.

And we need look no further than right here in Texas. You all know this far better than I, but if you want to vote in this state, you can use a concealed weapon permit as a valid form of identification—but a valid student ID isn’t good enough?

Now, Krystal Watson found out the hard way. She grew up in Louisiana but came to Marshall, Texas, to attend Wiley College. Krystal takes her responsibilities as a citizen so seriously that not only did she register to vote in Texas, where she was living and would be for a number of years, she even became a deputy registrar to help other people vote as well. But this past year, when she showed up at her local polling place with a Wiley College ID, she was turned away.

Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Texas may face similar situations.

And while high-profile state laws like those in Texas and North Carolina get most of the attention, many of the worst offenses against the right to vote actually happen below the radar. Like when authorities shift poll locations and election dates. Or scrap language assistance for non-English speakers—something Barbara Jordan fought so hard for.

Without the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, no one outside the local community is likely to ever hear about these abuses, let alone have a chance to challenge them and end them.

It’s not a surprise for you to hear that studies and everyday experiences confirm that minority voters are more likely than white voters to wait in long lines at the polls. They are also far more likely to vote in polling places with insufficient numbers of voting machines.

In South Carolina, for example, there’s supposed to be one machine for every 250 voters. But in minority areas, that rule is just often overlooked. In Richland Country, nearly 90 percent of the precincts failed to meet the standard required by law in 2012. Instead of 250 voters per machine, in one precinct it was more than 430 voters per machine. Not surprisingly, people trying to cast a ballot there faced massive delays.

Now there are many fair-minded, well-intentioned election officials and state legislators all over this country. But this kind of disparity that I just mentioned does not happen by accident.

Now some of you may have heard me or my husband say one of our favorite sayings from Arkansas, of course I learned it from him. “You find a turtle on a fence post, it did not get there on its own.” Well, all of these problems with voting did not just happen by accident. And it is just wrong, it’s wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans’ rights to vote. Its counter to the values we share. And at a time when so many Americans have lost trust in our political system, it’s the opposite of what we should be doing in our country.

This is the greatest, longest-lasting democracy in the history of the world. We should be clearing the way for more people to vote, not putting up every roadblock anyone can imagine.

Yet unfortunately today, there are people who offer themselves to be leaders whose actions have undercut this fundamental American principle.

Here in Texas, former Governor Rick Perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters. He applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted, and said the lost protections were “outdated and unnecessary.”

But Governor Perry is hardly alone in his crusade against voting rights.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote.

In New Jersey, Governor Christie vetoed legislation to extend early voting.

And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000.

Thankfully in 2004 a plan to purge even more voters was headed off.

So today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?

I believe every citizen has the right to vote. And I believe we should do everything we can to make it easier for every citizen to vote.

I call on Republicans at all levels of government with all manner of ambition to stop fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they’re so scared of letting citizens have their say.

Yes, this is about democracy. But it’s also about dignity. About the ability to stand up and say, yes, I am a citizen. I am an American. My voice counts. And no matter where you come from or what you look like or how much money you have, that means something. In fact, it means a lot.

I learned those lessons right here in Texas, registering voters in south Texas down in the valley in 1972.

Some of the people I met were, understandably, a little wary of a girl from Chicago who didn’t speak a word of Spanish. But they wanted to vote. They were citizens. They knew they had a right to be heard. They wanted to exercise all the rights and responsibilities that citizenship conveys. That’s what should matter because when those rights are denied to anyone, we’re all the worse for it. It doesn’t just hold back the aspirations of individual citizens. It holds back our entire country.

That’s why, as a Senator, I championed a bill called the Count Every Vote Act. If it had become law, it would have made Election Day a federal holiday and mandated early voting opportunities. Deceiving voters, including by sending flyers into minority neighborhoods with false voting times and places, would have become a federal crime. And many Americans with criminal convictions who had paid their debts to society would have finally gotten their voting rights back.

Well today, with the damage to the Voting Rights Act so severe, the need for action is even more urgent.

First, Congress should move quickly to pass legislation to repair that damage and restore the full protections that American voters need and deserve.

I was in the Senate in 2006 when we voted 98 to zero to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act after an exhaustive review process.

There had been more than 20 hearings in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Testimony from expert witnesses. Investigative reports documenting continuing discrimination in covered jurisdictions. There were more than 15,000 pages of legislative record. Now that is how the system is supposed to work. You gather the evidence, you weigh it and you decide. And we did 98 to nothing. We put principle ahead of politics. That is what Congress needs to do again.

Second, we should implement the recommendations of the bipartisan presidential commission to improve voting. That commission was chaired by President Obama’s campaign lawyer and by Governor Mitt Romney campaign’s lawyer. And they actually agreed. And they set forth common sense reforms, including expanding early, absentee, and mail voting. Providing online voter registration. Establishing the principle that no one should ever have to wait more than 30 minutes to cast your vote.

Third, we should set a standard across our country of at least 20 days of early in-person voting everywhere—including opportunities for weekend and evening voting. If families coming out of church on Sunday before an election are inspired to go vote, they should be free to do just that. And we know that early in-person voting will reduce those long lines and give more citizens the chance to participate, especially those who have work or family obligations that make it difficult to get to the polls on Election Day.

It’s not just convenient—it’s also more secure, more reliable, and more affordable than absentee voting. So let’s get this done.

And I believe we should go even further to strengthen voting rights in America. So today I am calling for universal, automatic voter registration. Every citizen, every state in the Union. Everyone, every young man or young woman should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18—unless they actively choose to opt out. But I believe this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy. Between a quarter and a third of all eligible Americans remain unregistered and therefore unable to vote.

And we should modernize our entire approach to registration. The current system is a relic from an earlier age. It relies on a blizzard of paper records and it’s full of errors.

We can do better. We can make sure that registration rolls are secure, up to date, and complete. When you move, your registration should move with you. If you are an eligible vote and want to be registered, you should be a registered voter—period.

Now, Oregon is already leading the way modernizing its system, and the rest of the country should follow. The technology is there. States have a lot of the data already. It’s just a matter of syncing and streamlining.

Now, all of these reforms, from expanded early voting to modernized registration, are common sense ways to strengthen our democracy. But I’ll be candid here, none of them will come easily.

It’s going to take leadership at many levels.

Now more than ever, we need our citizens to actually get out and vote for people who want to hear what is on their minds.

We need more activists working to expose abuses, educate Americans about their rights, and hold authorities accountable for protecting them. Some of the worst provisions in recent laws have been blocked or delayed by tireless advocates raising the alarm and filing legal challenges. But they can’t do it alone.

We need more grassroots mobilization efforts like the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina to build momentum for reform.

We need more Justices on the Supreme Court who will protect every citizen’s right to vote, I mean the principle underlying our Constitution, which we had to fight for a long time to make apply to everybody, one person, one vote and we need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person than the right to buy and election of a corporation.

But of course, you know what we really need? We need more elected leaders from Houston to Austin to Washington who will follow in the footsteps of Barbara Jordan and fight for the rights and opportunities of everyday Americans, not just those at the top of the ladder. And we need to remember that progress is built on common ground, not scorched earth.

You know, when I traveled around the world as your Secretary of State, one of the most frequent questions I was asked was, “How could you and President Obama work together after you fought so hard in that campaign?”

People were genuinely amazed, which I suppose is understandable, considering that in many places, when you lose an election or you oppose someone who wins you could get imprisoned or exiled—even killed—not hired as Secretary of State.

And it’s true, I was surprised when the President asked me to serve. But he made that offer, and I accepted it, because we both love our country.

So my friends, here at this historic institution let us remember that America was built by people who knew that our common interest was more important than our self-interest. They were fearless in pursuit of a stronger, freer, and fairer nation.

As Barbara Jordan famously reminded us, when the Constitution was first written, it left most of us here out. But generations of Americans fought and marched and organized and prayed to expand the circle of freedom and opportunity. They never gave up and never backed down.

And nearly a century ago on this very day, after years of struggle, Congress finally passed the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote in the United States.

So that is, that is the story of progress, courageous men and women, expanding rights, not restricting them. And today we refuse, we refuse to allow our country or this generation of leaders to slow or reverse America’s long march toward a more perfect union.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to fight just as hard as those who came before us did. To march just as far. To organize just as well. To speak out just as loudly. And to vote, every chance we get for the kind of future we want.

That’s what Barbara Jordan would do. That’s what we should do in honor of her.

Thank you, and may God bless you.

Dance Free-4-All! American Rhythm Center Hosts Free Classes June 8-14

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
The American Rhythm Center (ARC), the innovative, collaborative dance/arts facility operated by the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), invites Chicagoans to kick off summer with a DANCE Free-4-All,a week of free dance classes on the third floor of the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. The event takes place June 8-14, 2015.

The DANCE Free-4-All features free classes for all ability levels in a range of genres and styles, including tap, modern, ballet, Zumba, flamenco, musical theatre, capoeira, West African, hip hop, Afro-contemporary, break dancing, soul swing, Bollywood, Tai Chi, parent-child classes and more. Teaching the classes are professionals representing the ARC’s diverse community partners and other affiliated groups, including Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts, Ayodele Drum & Dance, Calm Chicago, Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, DMX Dance Company, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Esoteric Dance Project, Gang of Toes, Natya Dance Theatre, Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company, Mandala Arts,M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Movement Revolution Dance Crew, as well as independent artists including Jimmy Payne Jr., Tammy Mader, Matt Crowle, Charles “Poppin’ Chuck” Bledsoe, Sarita Smith Childs and more.

The ARC is Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s collaborative initiative to provide a shared, affordable and sustainable education, rehearsal and administrative facility for small and mid-sized Chicago arts organizations, which also serves as an incubator for emerging companies and independent artists. The aim is to offer diverse, high-quality dance and movement classes to the general public while centralizing the education programs, rehearsal space and administrative offices of several core groups. The session of summer classes begins June 8, 2015 with the week-long Free-4-All, then continues through August 16.

Also, on June 12, the ARC will host its monthly Tap Jam, which takes place on the second Friday of each month. MADD Rhythms’ Bril Barrett hosts the June Tap Jam. Tap Jams are open to the public. No prior experience is necessary.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Summer DANCE Free-4-All takes place Monday-Sunday, June 8-14 at the American Rhythm Center at the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., 3rd floor, Chicago. For information or an updated class schedule, visit arcchicago.org or call 312-922-1272.

Photo: Lane Alexander teaching at the American Rhythm Center. Photo by Timothy Bowser.


CHRP’s ARC has raised more than $1.3 million to date as part of a multi-phased $2.2 million comprehensive start-up campaign. Major funding for capital, capacity and/or start-up operations has been provided by Elaine Cohen and Arlen Rubin, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Charles Gardner and Patti Eylar, The Boeing Company, Northern Trust, The Jane Ellen Murray Foundation, Phil and Marsha Dowd, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Pamela Crutchfield, with additional support from The MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, the James. S. Kemper Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, matching funds from the Polk Bros. Foundation through IFF and many generous individuals. Pro bono contributions have been made by Jenner & Block LLP and Baxter Insurance.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project

For 25 years, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) has helped to foster the revival and nascent renaissance of American tap dance throughout North and South America, Australia, Europe and Asia. CHRP presents the oldest and largest annual festival of American tap and percussive dance in the world-Rhythm World-and has expanded through community outreach, commissioning the creation of new work, tap community development, innovative conferences for the field and a commitment to social reconciliation, economic justice and local investment. Unlike any other festival in the nation, the development of a local community has been fundamental to the mission of the organization. CHRP has consistently presented and promoted Chicago artists alongside visiting guest artists and has made a huge investment in the local dance community, working to make Chicago hospitable to sustainable, long-term careers in Chicago for percussive dance companies and soloists. CHRP has led the national and international tap movement by building an international network of performance venues that encompass preservation, presentation, education, innovation and investment. The Human Rhythm Project is dedicated to the recognition of tap dance as the American contribution to the millennia-old art of percussive dance and as a high art form alongside European ballet and modern dance. One of the most vibrant and creative artistic communities in the world today lives in the percussive dance community, and one of the most, if not the most, vibrant percussive dance community in the world exists in Chicago.

During the last 25 years, CHRP has educated and performed for millions of people; received an Emmy Award nomination, as well as national airings, for JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance, which was co-produced with ITVS and WTTW/Channel 11; earned an NEA American Masterpieces grant administered by the Illinois Arts Council Agency; curated the first full-length tap concert in any of the Kennedy Center’s three largest theaters for a sold-out audience of 1,100 in the Eisenhower Theater; provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in tap dance scholarships to deserving, talented teens; and, most recently, led a collaborative effort to establish a shared dance/arts space in the center of the Chicago Cultural Mile: the American Rhythm Center. CHRP’s vision is to establish the first global center for American tap and percussive arts, which will create a complete ecosystem of education, performance, creation and community in a state-of-the-art facility uniting generations of diverse artists and the general public. For information, visit chicagotap.org.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director to Visit DuPage County for Roundtable Discussion

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

DUPAGE COUNTY – The recently appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. will be visiting the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) on June 10 to hear from local leaders about how to improve the health of Illinois residents.

“Improving our public health infrastructure is vital to helping the citizens of Illinois live longer, healthier lives.  But public health cannot do it alone, especially when people are faced with challenges like poverty, poor education, housing and environmental factors,” said Director Shah.  “The public health community must expand its partnerships to collaborate with city planners, education officials, public, private and for-profit organizations – everyone who plays a role in fostering good health.  That is why I’m traveling the state to meet with different officials – to help expand our partnerships and improve the lives of our citizens.”

“Our Health Department is excited to host Director Shah’s visit as we are anxious to share our successes and challenges as a region.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with IDPH and our community partners to promote health, prevent disease, and achieve healthier communities throughout our county and the region,” said Karen Ayala, DCHD Executive Director.

WHAT: Community Public Health Roundtable Discussion – Healthy Illinois Communities

WHO: IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah

DCHD Executive Director Karen Ayala

Local Health Professionals and Partners

WHEN: Wednesday, June 10, 2015

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE: DuPage County Health Department

111 North County Farm Road
Wheaton, Illinois  60187

UChicago Alum Arrested for Kicking and Punching Peaceful #TraumaCenterNow Activists

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
150 Supporters March to UChicago Main Quadrangles for Die-In Protest after Shutting Down Alumni Awards Ceremony

CHICAGO, IL -Trauma Center Now Activists, including members of Fearless Leading by the Youth and University of Chicago students, disrupted UofC President Robert Zimmer’s speech at the Alumni Awards Ceremony at Rockefeller Chapel. They successfully shut down the Awards Ceremony, forcing it to end early.

An alum walking out of the disrupted awards ceremony punched one faith leader, charged at and kicked a current student organizer, and pushed our student videographer’s camera into her face. Activists were forced to block traffic to stop the alum from fleeing the scene and to ensure that he was arrested.

The arrested alum is Russ Zajtchuk, who graduated from the College in 1960 and from the Medical School in 1963. He has occupied the position of President of the Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association.

Student activist Sydelle Keisler remarked, “I am horrified that the simple demand for a trauma center to save black lives on the south side would provoke such extreme and unwarranted violence from an alum who is so highly esteemed by the university. It’s obvious to me whose lives matter to the University.”

The die-in is the climax of the Trauma Care Coalition’s week of actions coinciding with the UofC’s Alumni Weekend celebrations, which marks a high point of fundraising. This year’s alumni weekend also coincides with the UofC’s $4.5-billion capital campaign.

“The University of Chicago has shown that they do not not care about black lives,” says Veronica Morris-Moore, a Woodlawn resident and youth organizer with the trauma center campaign. “We want to make sure alumni know where their donation dollars are going, and we want to say we can’t live with [UofC President] Robert Zimmer’s definition of ‘business as usual’ any more. University of Chicago needs to open a trauma center now.” Morris-Moore has been arrested for civil disobedience at past trauma center protests.
Organizers are demanding that:

The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Woodlawn youth leader Damian Turner, and is led by the Woodlawn-based Fearless Leading by the Youth, along with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Students for Health Equity at the UofC, National Nurses United and many faith groups including the United Church of Christ.

The South Side is currently a trauma desert for adults, meaning that victims of shootings and other serious injuries must be taken over ten miles away, to the Near North Side or south west suburbs. The call for trauma care is also supported by a new study by the Illinois Department of Public Health which states that longer travel times to a trauma center increases the likelihood of dying, the study also states that the U of C is best positioned to expand access to trauma care, and that the U of C could further raise the age limit of their pediatric trauma center.

Rep. Flowers Prayer in Classroom Bill Passes Both Houses

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Clergy urge Rauner to give green light

By Chinta Strausberg

In an effort to restore morals and values for life, a bill introduced by Illinois State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st) that puts prayer back into the state’s public schools has passed both the House and the Senate and Gov. Bruce Rauner is being urged by a myriad of religious leaders to sign the legislation.

Passage of this bill has been a dream of Spencer Leak, Sr., president/CEO of Leak & Sons Funeral Home and chairman of the Black-on-Black Love, Inc. initially formed by former chairman Ed Gardner.

Leak said it was the decision of the board to push for this bill. “I want the governor to sign the legislation. I am seeking to put the bible in the classroom as a teaching tool…as part of the curriculum so that our young people would have the bible as a foundation for teaching them morals and character that is required by state law one-hour a day to our public school children.

“That law is not being followed, and I’d like to reinforced this bill and then add the additional curriculum that includes the bible,” said Leak. “I believe by having the bible as a part of the curriculum morals, characters and values can be taught better to our children since by law they have to teach it by using the bible as a text book….”

“At the impressionable age of 8-10-years old, if young people receive this teaching of morals, values and character on a daily basis, they would think twice about destroying each other after or during school,” said Leak. “Black young people were destroying each other. They were all products of the Chicago Public schools. Had this been in place, then it may have prevented some of the homicides we see on our newscasts.”

“Our children are lost,” Flowers said. “Not only do they need education, healthcare, jobs, mother and father’s love, but they need to have somebody to believe in and the bible teaches the Ten Commandments and values. The bible is the Book of Life Before Leaving Life. All of the concerns are right there in the book, and if they keep it up, it would be revealed.

“We have lost that extended family,” said Flowers. “Thank God we grew up believing…. Our grandparents took us to church on Sunday and these children need the same thing,” Flowers told this reporter.

One of the first religious leaders supporting the bill, which was co-sponsored by Rep. LaShawn Ford, was Deacon Leroy Gill, from St. Dorothy’s Church, who quoted 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.”

Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger said, “The removal of prayer and God from our classrooms is one of the contributing factors that find us living in this day of madness. When you take God out of our children’s lives, you open the door to evil.”

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Bible Church, supported the bill saying, “I commend our legislators for giving our students the freedom to pray in our classrooms. This was the kind of freedom the framers of our constitution envisioned and which our country was founded.

“We are grateful that this legislation has passed in both houses, and we urge our Governor to sign it,” Dr. Lutzer told this reporter.

Dr. Gale B. Frazier, associate minister at the Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church, a former principal and teacher for 20-years at the Evangelical Christian School (closed last year after 53 years in operation), said, “Prayer is the backbone and structure to any successful program.

“Schools, in particular, must and should return to the foundation of prayer. Strategic prayer can curtail the pandemic levels of violence among our youth and assist in reinstituting moral grounding that no longer exists within this country. Prayer is the life source, without which destructive behaviors continue to escalate,” said Dr. Frazier.

Both houses passed HB 165, introduced by Rep. Mary E. Flowers (31st-D) and co-sponsored by a number of elected officials including Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th), Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-83rd, Senator William Delgado (D-2nd), Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5TH), Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) and others, allowing students in public schools to voluntarily engage in individually initiated “non-disruptive” prayer

HB 165 amends the ‘Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. In a provision allowing students in the public schools to voluntarily engage in individually initiated, non-disruptive prayer, provides that such praying may take place at any time during the school day.” Upon signature of the governor, it becomes effective immediately.

The legislation included a House amendment that amends the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. I provides that students in the public schools may, during the school day, voluntarily engage in individually or collectively initiated, non-disruptive prayer or religious-based meetings, including without limitation prayer groups. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE) clubs, or ‘meet at the flagpole for prayer’ days (instead of providing that students in the public schools may voluntarily engage in individually initiated, non-disruptive prayer).

The Senate’s amendment replaces everything after the enacting clause. It “reinserts the contents of the engrossed bill with the following changes: Provides that students in the public schools may, during non-instructional times, voluntarily engage in prayer. Defines ‘non-instructional time’ as time set aside by a school before actual classroom instruction begins or after actual classroom instruction ends.” The bill passed on May 31, 2015.

Senator Collins, who is one of the co-sponsors, said, “I support this bill. We open daily sessions with prayer; so I find nothing amiss about offering a moment of silence, meditation or prayer.” Collins said this nation is a “multi-religious nation where everyone should have the right to meditate or pray or whatever their faith requires.”

Agreeing Bishop Dr. R.J. Saffo, pastor of the United Faith MB Church in Maywood, who said, “I think this is an important piece of legislation. It will create ministry opportunities, and allow the students of faith the opportunity to openly exercise a critical tenet of their faith, which is prayer.

“Furthermore, with strategic planning and collaboration between the local school officials and the local churches, programming can be developed that would help to harmonize the moral tones of the students,” Saffo stated.

Dr. Wynetta A. Frazier, assistant pastor at the Life Center Church of God In Christ, who said, “I support this bill. Our children need to know that a higher power is always present.”

Also supporting the bill is Pastor Derrell Gray, Anointed Whole Gospel FGBC, who said, “I support this bill because I believe that in every area of society where we allow a disregard for God we are opening the door to all manner of evil. Prayer will give children who may otherwise have no reference to God a minimum of an introduction to Him; and like anything else in life, often times an introduction is all that’s needed to establish long-term relationships.”

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.

Private Red Carpet Screening of Local Access Cable Show “Dana’s Lane”

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Much of today’s television programming lacks substance with few audiences seeing anything that goes beyond the tabloid antics of reality television stars. But celebrity producer and entrepreneur Dana Dayne’s 60-minute talk show “Dana’s Lane” stands as an exception, offering fun, informative content that captivates viewers.

“Dana’s Lane” will debut on June 14th at 6 p.m. at the Old Fire 12 Restaurant (1626 North Capitol Street NW) during a private red carpet screening hosted by mega-entrepreneur Dwight Turbodillard. “‘Dana’s Lane’ is fresh and captivating,” said Dana Dayne. “I can promise viewers that my show will be a welcome addition to television.”

The first episode is an hour-long special that will include interviews with:
  • Reality TV star and Grammy Award-winning producer Chink Santana of VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop
  • Former NBA basketball star and entrepreneur Steve Francis
  • Hollywood actor and stuntman Tim R. McAdams; he served as Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges’ stunt double in the hit film “Furious and the Furious 7”
“My show consists of fun, thought-provoking interviews with local and national figures,” Dana Dayne said. “I also give my guests a chance to enter ‘Dana’s Lane’ to ask me any question they want. This keeps the show entertaining and spontaneous. I love taking selfies during my show and I constantly take selfies with my guests!”

Dana’s media empire is growing quickly. In addition to hosting and producing her own television talk show, she produces and co-hosts “DMV SOCIALITES,” a weekly online radio show, with Doc Robinson. The self-taught media professional also has projects in the works with local film teams Mpower Group and MalaCom Productions, including two major network television series and a film.

Dana has also shown her talents as an event planner. In the fall of 2014, she launched Capitol Life LLC, marketing, promotion and entertainment company under which she hosts large-scale gatherings in the D.C. metropolitan area.

As director of marketing at Megalodon Sports & Entertainment, Dana Dayne helped coordinate the Official Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao afterparty at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas.

It doesn’t stop there. Dana, a budding playwright, plans to finish writing her first stage play by September 2015.

“Dana’s Lane” will air on local cable access channels in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Check your local listings for times.

NAACP to Host 106th Annual National Convention in Philadelphia July 11th – 15th

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Convention to Unite Thousands of Social Justice Activists Around Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Opportunity, Health Equity and Education Equality

BALTIMORE, MD – From July 11th to the 15th, the NAACP will host its 106th Annual Convention in Philadelphia, PA.  This year’s convention theme is “Pursuing Liberty In the Face of Injustice.” In the wake of the social and economic unrest across the country, the NAACP will focus on building a broad based agenda around voting rights, criminal justice reform, health equity, economic opportunity and education equality ahead of the 2016 presidential election.  Click here to see the schedule of events; click here to register for press credentials.

“Under the banner of ‘Pursuing Liberty In the Face of Injustice,’ the NAACP looks forward to convening thousands of civil rights, human rights and social justice activists to network and develop measurable strategies that inspire courage in participants to implement sustainable political and economic changes in vulnerable neighborhoods throughout the country” said NAACP Board Chairman Roslyn M. Brock.

This convention occurs a few weeks ahead of the kick off of the NAACP’s America Journey for Justice – a series of direct actions that will take place along the 850 mile route from Selma, Alabama to Washington, DC–through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to highlight vulnerable communities subject to regressive voting rights tactics.

“Our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter,” said Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO. “I look forward to meeting with citizen leaders in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American liberty, who share these values and our unyielding commitment to protecting the lives of Americans, the sustainable jobs of our citizenry, our right to vote and the integrity of our democracy. As we head into the 2016 election, we must secure unfettered access to the ballot box for every American. The ballot box is our most powerful way to raise our voice.  Join us in Philly as we work together to find the solutions, strategies and inspiration for what yet ails our nation.”

This year’s convention speakers include well-known as well as the next generation of civil rights leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, actors and community activists.

“We are honored to welcome the NAACP to Philadelphia this July for its 106th National Convention,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.  “As the birthplace of liberty, our city is the perfect location to host the NAACP, one of the leading organizations for social change in the world for more than a century.  We are thrilled that some of the most pressing social, economic and civil rights issues of the 21st century will be addressed at this convention here in Philadelphia.”

“The NAACP continues to be on the frontlines in the fight for social justice,” stated NAACP Vice Chairman Leon Russell. “Civic engagement and turning out the vote must be at the forefront of our work as we move into this presidential election year. We could not have picked a better place to reaffirm voting as the bedrock of our democracy than Philadelphia. We thank Pennsylvania State Conference President Dwayne Jackson Sr. for marshaling the support of all of our units in Pennsylvania for the success of this convention. We are particularly grateful to the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP for working with us to help ensure the success of this 106th Annual Convention. We will continue to lead the charge for liberty in the face of injustice, just as we have done since our founding.”

“The Pennsylvania State Conference looks forward to hosting the NAACP’s 106th National Annual Convention in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Dwayne Jackson Sr., president of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. “Our expectations and excitement are high as we prepare for civil and human rights advocates to visit our great state. The NAACP is moving forward more energized than ever and this convention will ensure attendees leave with a renewed commitment to being champions for human and civil rights.”

“The Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP was founded in 1912, and for more than a century, our branch has been fighting to protect the civil and human rights of every Philadelphia resident, especially those in communities of color,” said Rodney Muhammad, president of the NAACP Philadelphia Branch. “Our hope is that this 106th annual national convention will cause the entire Association to attack the social ills of poverty, racial profiling, police brutality, health disparities and income inequality, with more vigor than ever before.”

In addition to the primary convention schedule, the NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week. Emerging youth from across the nation will be featured in the annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition beginning July 8. Students will compete in 26 categories including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the event. Celebrity hosts will be serving as guest judges throughout the competition and hosting the closing awards ceremony.

13th Annual African Diaspora INTERNATIONAL Film Festival – Chicago June 12-18, 2015

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

New York, NY – The Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is back to celebrate 13 years of consecutive work in the Windy City. To be held from June 12-18, hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productions, the festival will showcase 17 documentary and fiction films set in The United States, Angola, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Haiti, St Vincent, New Zealand, the UK, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Uruguay, and Honduras.

The festival will open with the US Premiere of Black (NWA), a fiction film that chronicles the lives of four people living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness.  “This gritty look at gang culture in Montreal North is incredibly timely in that central to the drama are the tense relations between the police and the black community. This has become a hot-button issue in recent months following a number of controversial high-profile cases of police officers in the U.S. shooting unarmed black men.” – Montreal Gazette.  Lead actor Remy St Eloi will be in attendance for a discussion after the screening.

Several films in this year’s ADIFF had their premiere in major international film festivals.  Based on a novel by “Whale Rider” writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film and Toronto International Film Festival official selection – is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, bleaching and abortion.

First presented at the Montreal World Film Festival is the Chicago Premiere of the impressive epic drama based on a true story, Njinga Queen of Angola about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism.

Screened at the Toronto and Venice film festival in 2000 is the epic drama Adanggaman, a provocative retelling of the African slave experience, based on facts.  ADIFF will also bring back The Pirogue (Cannes Film Festival, 2012), a powerful immigration drama about a group of African men and one woman who leave Senegal for Europe on a fishing boat at the risk of their lives.  The pirogue by Moussa Toure is part of the Great African Films collection, a DVD series that celebrates great African filmmakers. The Pirogue can be found in Great African Films Vol. 4 with the work of Khady Sylla, a renowned Senegalese filmmaker.

The strong African retention in New World cultures as expressed through music, dance, and religious traditions is celebrated in four documentaries screening in ADIFF 2015. The program Candomble & Santeria with the screening of Oggun: an Eternal Presence & Summer of Gods explores African based religions. Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango moves in and out of Uruguay and Argentina as it illustrates the ever present African component in Tango, Candombe, Milongon and other African based musical styles found in the Rio de la Plata region.  In Candombe, musician Fernado Nunez sees himself as the heir to “candombe,” a dance and musical expression initiated by his enslaved ancestors.

For its CENTERPIECE, the festival will present the GARIFUNA CELEBRATION program with two documentaries: Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital and Homeland (Yurumein) both about the Garifuna people in Honduras and St. Vincent respectively. The screenings will be followed by a discussion with local members of the Garifuna community.

Also premiering in the festival this year are Obama Mama, a documentary about Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of the nation’s first black president, Reshipment, a documentary by Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando about the historical connection between Cubans and Haitians, and the U.S. premiere of Ken Bugul – Nobody Wants Her, a powerful documentary who leads us into the secret world of an assertive African woman artist and writer and her brave fight for freedom and acceptance.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

The 13th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival-Chicago is made possible thanks to the generous support of the following institutions: Facets Cinemateque, ArtMattan Productions, the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, The Dusable Heritage Association; TV5 Monde, The Quebec Government Office – Chicago and the Embassy of Switzerland – Washington DC.

Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For a full schedule and to order advance tickets online please call 773-281-4114 or 212-864-1760 or visit http://www.facets.org or http://www.NYADIFF.org.  Tickets are $15 for Opening Night, $12 for the Centerpiece, $10 general admission, and $8 students and seniors.

For screeners, press information, and interviews for the 13th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival- Chicago, contact ArtMattan Productions at  (212) 864-1760 / Fax (212) 316-6020 or E-mail PR@NYADIFF.org.  Festival web site: www.NYADIFF.org.



6:30pm CANDOMBLE & SANTERIA PROGRAM  – Chicago Premiere


The Summer of the Gods revolves around Lili, a six year old Afro-Brazilian who unites with her native religious ancestry on a summer visit to her family’s rural village. Soon after arriving in Northeast Brazil, where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions still endure, Lili encounters Orishas. As these African deities help her cope with a gift that has previously vexed her, Lili’s grandmother upholds Afro-Brazilian religious practices as a revered local priestess. To ensure that these customs carry on after her grandmother passes, the gifted Lili is led on a mystic and supernatural adventure of initiation. Directed by Eliciana Nascimento, 2014, Brazil/USA, Drama, 21mins, Portuguese with English subtitles.

Shown with

Gloria Rolando relates the patakin or mythical story of Oggun, the tireless warrior who, enamored of his mother, decided as punishment to imprison himself in the mountains. Only Ochun, goddess of love, succeeded in captivating him when she let fall a few drops of honey on the lips of the god of metal, war, progress, and civilization. Oggun is the first effort of the team known as Images of the Caribbean, now chartered as an independent video group. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 1992, Cuba, Documentary, Spanish, 52 min, Spanish, English subtitles.


Sponsored by the Délégation du Québec à Chicago/Quebec Government Office in Chicago
6:30pm to 7:30pm reception
7:30pm Black – US Premiere

BLACK chronicles the lives of four people living in a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, aspiring to freedom and happiness. KADHAFI, a 26 year-old aspiring Algerian rapper and ex-member of a street gang, just out of prison, wants to steer clear of troubles. FLEUR, a 17 year-old Haitian mother in an abusive and passionate relationship with her daughter’s father, dreams of leaving the ghetto and becoming a nurse. SUZIE, a 20-year-old white stripper who falls for a gang member. DICKENS, 16 year-old Haitian wants to be part of the street gang controlled by his older brother. Directed by Yves Christian Fournier, 2015, Canada, Drama, 110 min, French/Creole with English subt

Q&A with lead actor Kémy St Eloi after the screening.

Second screening SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 3:30PM – Q&A


SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 1:30 pm  The Pirogue

A group of African men and one woman leave Senegal in a pirogue captained by a local fisherman to undertake the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain where they believe better lives and prospects are waiting for them. Directed by Moussa Touré, 2012, Senegal/France/Germany, 86 min, French, Wolof, Spanish, English subt.


SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 3:30 pm  BLACK – Q&A



SATURDAY, JUNE 13 @ 6:30pm   Obama Mama – Chicago Premiere

Stanley Ann Dunham was an anthropologist with a Ph.D, a lifelong traveler and the mother of the first Black president of the United States. Her intelligence, progressive politics, and activism made for a profound life—one whose inspiration continues to resonate through her son, President Barack Obama. The “largeness of her heart,” as her son describes it, is the centerpiece of this inspiring documentary. Directed by Vivian Norris, 2014, 83 min, United States/Poland/France, Documentary, English.

Q&A with director Vivian Norris after the screening.

Special screening of Chicago Premiere

RESHIPMENT and reception
Sponsored by the DuSable Heritage Association and the the Quebec Government Office – Chicago

SATURDAY JUNE 14 @ 7:30pm to 8:30 pm Reception

8:30pm Reshipment – Chicago Premiere
The voices of prominent historians join the memories of Haitians and their descendants in Cuba to understand a chapter of the complex economic and social history of the Caribbean: the presence in the Island of Cuba of thousands of West Indian laborers, especially from Haiti. For many, it was a great bargain of cheap labor. For others, the realization of the dream of every immigrant: make money and return home. Reshipment demonstrates that despite the discrimination suffered by the Haitians since this period, the Creole language, religious and other musical and dance traditions remain in the cultural landscape of Cuba.  The film also recalls the Haitian generation who garnered years of stay in Cuba and were victims of a “reshipment” as if they were damaged goods–a forced repatriation to Haiti when they were no longer needed in the sugar cane fields or coffee plantations. As the life of Haitians in Cuba has moved between dreams and setbacks, this film is not only a fitting reminder of the often forgotten chapter in Cuban history but a tribute to the unsung Haitian heroes who wove an important passage between two Caribbean nations. Directed by Gloria Rolando, 2014, Cuba/Haiti, Documentary, 58 min, Spanish, English subt

Q&A after the screening


SUNDAY, JUNE 14 @ 2 pm  Njinga, Queen of Angola – Chicago Premiere
In the 17th century, a warrior woman fights for the independence of Angola. After witnessing the murder of her son and watching her people being humiliated by Portuguese colonizers, Njinga will become a Queen and struggle for the liberation of her people embodying the motto: those who stay fight to win. This epic drama is based on the real life story of Queen Anna Njinga(c. 1583 –1663), also known as Ana de Sousa Njinga Mbande, queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in Angola. Directed by Sergio Graciano, 2013, 109 min, Angola, Biography, Portuguese with English subt.
Second screening TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 6:30PM


SUNDAY, JUNE 14 @ 4:15pm Stories of Colorism Program – Chicago Premiere

A Mexican-American girl struggles to keep her identity when her mother forces her to bleach her skin. White Like the Moon is a revealing film about a dilemma not very well known outside Latino communities; that of the myth of the light skin superiority in Indigenous and Indigenous descendant communities. Directed by Marina Gonzalez Palmier, 2001, 23mins, USA, Drama in English

Based on a novel by “Whale Rider” writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film – is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, bleaching and abortion.  Paraiti is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people – she believes in life. But new laws in force are prohibiting unlicensed healers, making the practice of much Maori medicine illegal. She gets approached by Maraea, the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca, who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca’s position in European settler society. This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine. Directed by Dana Rotberg, 2014, New Zealand, 96mins, Drama, English and Maori with English subt.

FESTIVAL CENTERPIECE: Garifuna Celebration Program and Reception
Sponsored by ArtMattan Productions and presented in collaboration with Garifuna Flava

5:30-6:30pm Reception

6:45pm  Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital & Homeland (Yurumein) – Chicago Premiere

The inspiring documentary tells the story of how the hospital’s alternative health model is transforming communities on Honduras’ Northern Coast and standing as an alternative to an increasingly privatized national health system. Could a remote hospital that runs on solar panels, in a community with no paved roads or electricity provide a new global model for health care? Directed by Jesse Freeston & Beth Geglia, 2013, 41 min, Honduras/Canada/ United States, Documentary in  Spanish with English subt.
This is the untold history of the indigenous Carabis/Garifuna of St. Vincent: their near extermination and exile by the British 200 years ago and their return to reconnect with those left behind. A powerful, untold story of Caribbean renaissance, rupture and repair in post-colonial St. Vincent. Directed by Andrea E. Leland, 2014, 50 min, St. Vincent/Garifuna, documentary, English.
Q&A after the screening


MONDAY, JUNE 15 @ 6:30pm Glorious Exit

Jarreth Merz, a Swiss-Nigerian actor living in Los Angeles, is summoned to Nigeria to bury his father. Nigerian tradition mandates the eldest child to take charge of a father’s burial. Although he accepts the responsibility, he struggles with why he feels morally responsible toward Nigerian tradition and a family whom he hardly knows. Jarreth starts a journey of self-discovery. Directed by Kevin Merz , 2008, 75 min, St. Nigeria/Switzerland, documentary, English and German with English subtitles.


MONDAY, JUNE 15 @ 8:30pm CANDOMBLE & SANTERIA PROGRAM  – Chicago Premiere



TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 6:30pm Njinga, Queen of Angola – Chicago Premiere

TUESDAY, JUNE 16 @ 8:30pm The Story of Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’ is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as ‘scrubbing’- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40). Menelik Shabazz, 2011, 96mins, UK, musical documentary, English


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 @ 6:30pm Ken Bugul – Nobody Wants Her – Chicago Premiere
An expressive aesthetic as rhapsodic as the written words of Bugul herself, Ken Bugul: Nobody Wants Her is a filmic ode to the brilliance of this revered Senegalese writer. Determined to set her own path in life, Ken Bugul (born Mariètou Mbaye Biléoma) left Senegal and spent 20 years living in Europe, only to feel an even deeper loneliness and alienation. She belonged neither here nor there. Encountering crushing rejection upon her return to Senegal, at her most destitute and desperate, Bugul sought refuge in her writing. Her debut novel, The Abandoned Baobab, already captured Bugul’s unique idiosyncratic style and cemented her position as a novelist. Painting a mosaic picture of Bugul’s life and times, this powerful documentary leads us into the secret world of an assertive African woman artist and her brave fight for freedom and acceptance.  Silvia Voser, 2013, 62mins, French/Swiss documentary, French with English subtitles.


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 @ 8pm Stories of Colorism Program – Chicago Premiere


THURSDAY, JUNE 18 @ 6pm Candombe & Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango


More than two hundred years ago, there was an influx of slaves from Africa into Uruguay. Long after their empancipation, these individuals continued to comprise the poorest and most marginalized strata in society. Musician Fernado Nunez sees himself as the heir to “candombe,” a dance and musical expression initiated these individuals, his slave ancestors. As the far-reaching, socio-cultural legacy of of candombe has yet to be acknowledged, Fernando Nunez and his friends from the back street quarter of Montevideo have taken on the responsibility of keeping these important cultural roots alive in the consciousness of the Uruguayan people. Directed by Rafael Deugenio, 1993, Uruguay, Documentary, 16 min, Spanish w/ English subt.


Tango Negro explores the expression of African-ness inherent in the dance of the “tango” and the contribution of African cultures to the dance’s creation. Angolan director, Dom Pedro, details the dance’s early cultural significance as a depiction of the social life of captured African slaves and provides an expansive compilation of musical performances and interviews from tango enthusiasts and historians alike.  Tango Negro provides a novel insight into the depth of tango’s sub-Saharan African musical influence, a presence that has crossed oceans and endured the tides of forced bondage. Directed by Dom Pedro, 2013, France, Documentary, 93 min, French, Spanish, English subt.

Sponsored by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University and
by the Embassy of Switzerland – Washington DC

7:30pm to 8:30pm reception
8:30pm Adanggaman

Set in the late 17th century, on the Western coast of Africa, “Adanggaman” is an epic fiction film about a rebellious young man, who refuses to marry his parents’ choice of a bride, flees his village one evening, only to return to find his father and girlfriend slain, his village destroyed and his mother captured by a tribe of Amazon warriors. His efforts to free his mother lead to the kingdom of Adanggaman, where captives are held before sale. Roger Gnoan M’Bala, 2000, 90mins, Ivorian, Burkinabé, French, Swiss and Italian historical drama film, Bambara, Baoulé and French with English subtitles.


WHAT 13th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival – Chicago

WHEN:  June 12-June 18, 2015

WHERE: Facets Cinémathèque – 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.



6:30pm Candomble and Santeria program – Summer of Gods & Oggun, An Eternal Presence


7:30pm to 8:30pm reception

8:30pm Black – Q&A


1:30pm La Pirogue

3:30pm Black – Q&A

6:30pm Obama Mama – Q&A

7:30pm to 8:30pm Reception

8:30pm Haitian program – Reshipment – Q&A


2pm  Njinga , Queen of Angola

4:15pm White Like the Moon & White Lies


5:30pm to 6:30pm Reception

6:45pm Garifuna Celebration – Revolutionary Medicine & Yurumein – Q&A


6:30pm Glorious Exit

8:30pm Candomble and Santeria – Summer of Gods & Oggun, An Eternal Presence


6:30pm Njinga , Queen of Angola

8:30pm The Story of Lovers Rock


6:30pm Ken Bugul – Nobody Wants Her

8pm Stories of Colorism: White Like the Moon & White Lies


6pm Candombe & Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tango


7:30pm to 8:30pm Reception

8:30pm Adanggaman

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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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