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Archive for June 19th, 2015

Clergy Pray for Peace and Healing for Families of Charleston Shooting Victims

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Blame murders on twin evils, hate and violence

By Chinta Strausberg

Having known all of the Charleston, S.C., victims especially the pastor, Rev. Dr. Albert Tyson, III, pastor of the St. Stephens A.M.E Church, Thursday held a prayer vigil at the Greater Institutional A.M.E. Church, 7800 So. Indiana, headed by Rev. Dr. Walter Johnson, to pray for peace and healing for the families of the slain members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston and the healing of that town.

Joining Tyson and Johnson were Rev. Paul Jakes, New Tabernacle of Faith MBC, Thurston, Rev. Myron McCoy, First United Methodist,  Rev. Dr. Walter Turner, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Chicago and Vicinity, Rev. James Moody, Quinn Chapel A.M.E., Rev. Dr. Stephen Thurston, New Covenant MBC, Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch, New Mt. Pilgrim MBC, Pastor Ira Acree, Greater St. John Bible Church, Rev. Dr. Janette Wilson, Rainbow PUSH, Bishop Jerry Jones, Apostolic Assembly of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev. Dr. Cecelia Bryant from the Episcopal Supervisor of the Fourth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church and wife of Bishop John R. Bryant, who heads the A.M.E. churches, who was in Charleston. There were other clergy there from other faiths as well.

His heart heavy, Tyson called several of his peers to participate in a prayer vigil for his friends who were killed by 21-year old Dylann Roof who sat inside of the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston for nearly an hour before shooting his victims.

According to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, those victims are: Myra Thompson, 59, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45,  Cynthia Hurd, 54, Susie Jackson, 87, Ethel Lance, 70, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, Rev. and State Senator Clementa Pinckney, 41, Tywanza Sanders, 26, and Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., 74.

Dr. Tyson, who knew the slain church members, said he especially knew Rev. Pinckney who was also a state senator. “I worked with Rev. Pinckney on committees and attended his annual conferences,” said Tyson. “

When asked what kind of man was Pinckney, Tyson said, “He was a great guy who rose rapidly. He entered the ministry early sometimes in his 30’s. He became pastor of the largest church that we (A.M.E.) have in our denomination in S.C. He has been a state representative and state senator.” Tyson said his career was based on his career and his personality. “He was a nice guy.”

Tyson also knew Rev. Simmons. “We developed a fellowship, a kinship and attended the same meetings.

Asked about the shooter who wore a jacket with an apartheid flag, Tyson said that is what is troubling about this whole incident. “What bothers me is that this is a 21-year-od person who did this. I can understand somebody 66-years old doing this, but that means he (Roof) has been taught some very evil things and as a result he made a decision to do this dastardly deed.

“He’s 21-years-old,” said Tyson. “What does he know about life’s living and the world? What could possibly have been taken from him at 21 that would cause him to be filled with this kind of hatred. It means some folks responsible with his upbringing had something to do what ever had been instilled in him or he’s an absolute nut.”

When asked to react to what CNN is reporting that Roof said before shooting his victims, “You raped our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,” Dr. Tyson said, “He’s got that way backwards. He’s 21. He hasn’t seen anything…hasn’t done anything…. That is why you have to be in charge of educating your children. Who ever was responsible for educating him filled his head with that kind of foolishness.”

Tyson said, “Our bishop, John Bryant, who is he senior bishop of the A.M.E. church, flew down to Charleston. He will be returning this evening and will give us some direction as to what he and other bishops talked about to let us know how we can be helpful to the Emanuel congregation…. We are waiting to hear from our bishop to provide some healing and restoration.”

Dr. Johnson said, ‘we decry the random senseless act of  (gun) violence…. Many of us have already been on the forefront including Father Michael Pfleger trying to address this random gun violence that permeating and plaguing America as a whole….” Johnson said that could have happened to any one of his peers.

Johnson said the shooter ‘s ranting amounted to a “vitriolic, hateful, fear-mongering statements…but the sadder part of this is that his father bought him a gun for a 21st birthday as a present…. Evidently, he grew up in a household that not only embraced guns and violence but also embrace some sense of racial hatred towards black….” He said racism “is a learned behavior….”

Pastor Turner, who prayed at the press conference, later said, “We needed to pray as one body in Christ for peace and for God to bring about a healing of our nation.”

When contacted and in solidarity with the clergy, Father Pfleger called the shooting a “tragedy.” He posted this message on his Facebook page: “That tragedy in Charleston, SC reminds us of that our country suffers still from the reality of racism, hate, violence, easy access to guns and the refusal to deal with mental illness

“We mourn with our brothers and sisters in South Carolina. .I am glad that they captured the man who executed this evil act, but now I pray as Dr. King would say that we have the courage to arrest the evils of hate, racism, violence and our love affair of guns that produces such individuals,” said Pfleger.

Explaining, Father Pfleger added, “For the guilt belongs not only to the man who pulled the trigger but also to the culture of a society that produced the man.”

“Non-violence is a choice, and unfortunately,” he said violence has become a way of life. “Dr. King said non-violence is a way of life. However, Pfleger said, “We have chosen as a country violence over non-violence from our government down to our neighborhoods.”

Pfleger said until that scenario changes, “we will continue to see the effects of violence destroy us. What is unique about Charleston shooting is that you had the marriage of two of our greatest sins, hate and violence, two issues we have lacked the courage to face and address….

“Until we value non-violence, we will make the choice for violence as a way of life from the government down to the street.”

Rev. Jakes who also led a prayer, told this reporter, “It’s very unfortunate and ashamed that this young man received a gun for his 21st birthday and that he used it on people praying to God. It is appalling, very hurtful, and it has made many of us Christians especially in the African ‘American community very concerned. It is ashamed that racism has become an issue. It is quite clear that this young man read extremist magazines and that may have poisoned his mind.”

“I am hoping that America will wake up to these gun shops that are causing a lot of problems especially in inner city communities,” said Jakes

Later Thursday evening, Rev. Moody held his own prayer vigil from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. to allow the community to pray for the victims.  Moody said he is glad that the shooter was quickly arrested and that calm is prevailing in Charleston.

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.

President Obama and Vice President Biden Statements on the Shooting in Charleston, South Carolina

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama: Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, I spoke with, and Vice President Biden spoke with, Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.

Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church.  We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night.  And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families, and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.

Any death of this sort is a tragedy.  Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy.  There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.

Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church.  This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty.  This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery.  When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret.  When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps.  This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.

The FBI is now on the scene with local police, and more of the Bureau’s best are on the way to join them.  The Attorney General has announced plans for the FBI to open a hate crime investigation.  We understand that the suspect is in custody.  And I’ll let the best of law enforcement do its work to make sure that justice is served.

Until the investigation is complete, I’m necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case.  But I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise.  I’ve had to make statements like this too many times.  Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.  We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.  Now is the time for mourning and for healing.

But let’s be clear:  At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.  And it is in our power to do something about it.  I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now.  But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it.  And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history.  This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked.  And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

The good news is I am confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today, from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.  That, certainly, was Dr. King’s hope just over 50 years ago, after four little girls were killed in a bombing in a black church in Birmingham, Alabama.

He said they lived meaningful lives, and they died nobly.  “They say to each of us,” Dr. King said, “black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution.  They say to us that we must be concerned not merely with [about] who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.  Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.

“And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him, and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.”

Reverend Pinckney and his congregation understood that spirit.  Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation, or to members of their own communities, but to all in need.  They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.

Mother Emanuel church and its congregation have risen before –- from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times -– to give hope to generations of Charlestonians.  And with our prayers and our love, and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.

Thank you.

Statement by Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden

Hate has once again been let loose in an American community. And the senseless actions of a coward have once again cut short so many lives with so much promise. Our hearts ache with sorrow with the entire Emanuel AME Church family as they seek solace and comfort in the shadow of a gunman’s act of pure evil and hatred. Our love and prayers are with them.

We last saw Reverend Clementa Pinckney less than a year ago at a prayer breakfast in Columbia. He was a good man, a man of faith, a man of service who carried forward Mother Emanuel’s legacy as a sacred place promoting freedom, equality, and justice for all. We pray for him and his sister as we do for the seven other innocent souls who entered that storied church for their weekly Bible study seeking nothing more than humble guidance for the full lives ahead of them.

We have no doubt the coward who committed this heinous act will be brought to justice. But as a nation we must confront the ravages of gun violence and the stain of hatred that continues to be visited on our streets, in our schools, in our houses of worship, and in our communities.

As Mayor Riley made clear, all of Charleston’s heart bleeds today—but the overwhelming display of unity will bring forth the city’s healing. We will never forget those innocent souls who lost their lives. We will be there with all the strength and support and prayers we can offer to the families who now grieve. And as a nation we will come together.

U.S. Attorney General Lynch Delivers Remarks on the Shooting Incident in Charleston, South Carolina

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Remarks as delivered


Good morning. Before we begin today’s announcement, I want to take a moment to address the heartbreaking and deeply tragic events at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina – a crime that has reached into the heart of that community.  The Department of Justice has opened a hate crime investigation into this shooting incident.  The FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office are working closely with our state and local partners, and we stand ready to offer every resource, every means and every tool that we possess in order to locate and apprehend the perpetrator of this barbaric crime.  Acts like this one have no place in our country.  They have no place in a civilized society.  And I want to be clear: the individual who committed these unspeakable acts will be found and will face justice.

As we move forward, my thoughts and prayers – and those of our entire law enforcement community, here at the Department of Justice and around the country – are with the families and loved ones of the victims in Charleston.  Even as we struggle to comprehend this heartbreaking event, I want everyone in Charleston – and everyone who has been affected by this tragedy – to know that we will do everything in our power to help heal this community and make it whole again.

I encourage the people of Charleston and the wider area to continue circulating the photos of the alleged perpetrator and report any tip, no matter how minor, to the tip line, which can be reached at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

National Black Church Initiative Calls the Black Church Shooting in Charleston an Assassination

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Victims Killed Because They Were Black

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans is decrying the nine murders of black church-goers as hatred and a violent affront on Christ’s Church. This horrendous act follows a litany of brutal attacks on African American over the past several years across the United States.

NBCI President Rev. Anthony Evans is travelling to South Carolina to personally direct 682 churches on security measures for congregants and families. The dangerous unknowns of the murders, their intent and their allies still remain, and allies must rally together against those who are intent on silencing the black church and its members.

Rev. Anthony Evans, NBCI President, reflected on this tragedy with great emotion.

“What is this world coming to? Why do they hate black Christians? I do not understand why Dylann Roof of South Carolina hates black people. We are convinced that Roof’s killing spree was purely because these innocent victims loved Christ and were black. Roof likely assassinated Rev. Clements Pinckney specifically because he is a preacher of the Gospel and a Civil Rights Leader. The black church was the specific target for this horrendous act, chosen because of what it represents for all oppressed people.

About NBCI

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.

NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.

A Massacre. A Hate Crime

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

From: Cornell Williams Brooks

President & CEO, NAACP


You’ve likely heard the news: Nine parishioners were murdered last night while attending Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

They were killed in cold blood by Dylann Roof, a white man who sat among them during their worship for more than an hour, then opened fire, declaring “You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”

There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.

In these times we feel distraught—but we will not cower when attacked. I am on my way to fellowship with the Emanuel AME Church community. As we wait for the facts and ponder how anyone could act with such hate, we must stand together and show our support for the Charleston community.

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Now that Dylann Storm Roof has been apprehended, we look forward to justice being served—to him being held accountable, punished swiftly and severely.

Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims. This small gesture can console and unite our community—and our nation—as we grapple with the weight of this tragedy.

Save the image above as your social media profile photo, or click below to share on Facebook:

http://action.naacp.org/Charleston

In mourning,

Cornell

Cornell Williams Brooks on the Arrest of Dylann Storn Roof

Dylann Storm Roof, the man accused of shooting and killing nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.,  has been arrested. Subsequently, the NAACP has released the following statement:

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:

“We are as thankful for the apprehension of the alleged Charleston shooter as we are horrified by the blood curdling heinousness of this act.  We appreciate the swift work of federal, state, and local authorities in apprehending the alleged shooter. We commend, encourage, and will continue to support the ongoing investigation and prosecution of the person responsible for the deaths of nine students of scripture in a beloved sanctuary.  The NAACP family continues to pray for the family of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the late pastor, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, and those who lost their lives in the Bible study.  As we mourn their senseless deaths, we remain resolved to continue facing evil and fighting for justice in every corner of America.

Our century-old, ongoing work of confronting violence with nonviolence, hate with love, and racism with the highest ideas of our democracy yet continues.  The mayor, police chief, and witnesses describe this shooting as a hate crime. The coward who murdered nine parishioners in a church set a new and depraved standard of inhumanity.  We, as Americans, by our resolve, determination, and commitment, through our faith, will set an infinitely higher standard of humanity.”

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Responds to Shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Representative G. K. Butterfield, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), issued the following statement in response to the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina:

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of the tragic shooting that took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Emanuel AME has long stood as a place of refuge in times of distress and comfort in times of sorrow.  It is where congregants joined together to worship, celebrate and find peace.  It is difficult to comprehend that a house of worship known for joy and tolerance could become a scene of hate and tragedy.

“My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences are with the families of the nine parishioners who lost their lives to cowardly and despicable violence.  Last night’s shooting is inexcusable, senseless and will not be tolerated in our country.  I ask that we come together in prayer for the victims’ families and the entire Charleston community, and hope that the swift pursuit of justice will provide some comfort in this time of unimaginable grief.”

Draft Biden 2016: Vice President Biden Could Announce Run by August

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Vice President Joe Biden is seriously considering a run for president in 2016, according to two people close to him, and he could announce a decision as soon as Aug. 1

Vice President Biden told one acquaintance he was likely to make up his mind in July, according to a report in The Run 2016, a political blog on the U.S. News and World Report website. The report comes as more and more national calls have been made for Biden to enter the race, and momentum is building in the grass roots effort to support him in advance of a rally in Davenport, IA this weekend.

“As the Vice President might say, this is a big deal,’’ said Will Pierce, executive director of Draft Biden 2016, an organization dedicated to laying the groundwork for a Biden presidential run. “We have been very pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming interest in a Biden campaign, and people all want to know when he’ll decide and what they can do to help.’’

In a little more than two months Draft Biden has collected more than 80,000 petitions across the nation urging the Vice President to run. Draft Biden is in the process of opening offices in Iowa and New Hampshire expected to be running with full-time state directors early next month. Chapters have been forming in South Carolina as well as other states, too.

Draft Biden has a rally planned at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa this weekend and Pierce said this will make the event even more exciting. Draft Biden already has held events and meeting with elected officials in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and in Chicago where it is headquartered. Pierce will be in New York next week.

Vice President Biden still is tied for second in most national polling, and very likely would see a surge in his support after announcing his candidacy.

“People feel a very personal connection with the Vice President. They are aware of his decades of experience and the very hard work that he has done in the Obama-Biden administration, improving our economy and world standing,’’ said Pierce.

Race & Justice News: Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Race & Justice News

The Sentencing Project


Reforms

Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law

The Connecticut legislature was unable to move forward with a vote on Governor Dannel Malloy’s proposed Second Chance Society reforms, reports the Hartford Courant. The bill would have downgraded certain felony drug possession offenses to misdemeanors, reduced parole hurdles for people with non-violent convictions, and increased re-entry opportunities for those with non-violent convictions. Legislators balked at the bill’s initial attempt to eliminate all sentencing enhancements for drug possession within 1,500 feet of schools and day care centers. As the Wall Street Journal demonstrated, this law disproportionately impacts people of color, who are more likely than whites to live in dense areas such as Bridgeport, which are nearly blanketed by the sentencing enhancement.
In advocating for the reform, Gov. Malloy stated that “treating those folks differently because they live in those communities is patently unfair and, if not racist in intent, is racist in its outcome.” Legislators did not support the original version of the bill, which sought to downgrade all drug possession offenses within drug-free-zones from a felony to a misdemeanor. An amended bill restricts the felony classification to within the grounds of schools and day care centers and removes the two-year mandatory minimum sentence. The House is expected to convene a special session this summer and push for a vote on the bill.

JJDPA Reauthorization Would Require Reductions in Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) have introduced S.1169, which would reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) for the first time since 2002. A House version, H.R. 2728, is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia). The JJDPA sets federal standards for the treatment of detained and committed youth. States are required to make progress addressing the racial and ethnic disparities in their juvenile justice systems as one of the four core requirements of the law. Under the Grassley-Whitehouse measure, states must identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their juvenile justice systems; current law only requires that states “address” those disparities.
Racial and ethnic disparities pervade the juvenile justice system. African American youth are nearly two-and-a-half times as likely as white youth to be arrested; these disparities grow at nearly every step in the juvenile justice system. While a modest amount of this difference can be attributed to higher rates of violent offenses among African American youth, most arrests of all youth are for non-violent or low-level offenses. Nationwide, African American youth are more than four times as likely as white youth to be committed to secure placement.

Policing

Minneapolis Police Disproportionately Enforce Low-Level Offenses Among People of Color

In Picking Up the Pieces – Policing in America, a Minneapolis Case Study, the ACLU reports startling disparities in the way Minneapolis police enforce low-level offenses, particularly in the black neighborhoods of North Minneapolis, South Minneapolis, and the city center. Out of more than 96,000 low-level arrests analyzed, the ACLU found blacks and Native Americans were 8.7 times and 8.6 times, respectively, more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses than whites. Further, the ACLU reports that black/white racial disparities in active driving violations were worst during daylight hours, when officers were more likely to identify the driver’s race before pulling them over, and were lower when it was dark and the visibility of the driver’s race was limited.
“This disparity contributes to longstanding mistrust between communities of color and the Minneapolis Police Department,” the report concludes. The ACLU lists several recommendations for reform, including ensuring officers are not rewarded for the number of stops and arrests they make and keeping public data on all civilian interactions with the police.
To address some of these racial disparities, the Minneapolis City Council recently voted to repeal spitting and lurking ordinances. Between 2009 and 2014, blacks accounted for 59% of the 392 arrests for lurking. “These two ordinances are antiquated, unnecessary and unfairly affect people of color in our community,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “It’s about time we got them off the books.”

Black Drivers in Missouri 75% More Likely to be Stopped Than Whites

Statewide, black drivers were 75% more likely to be stopped than white drivers in Missouri, according to the 2014 annual report of the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Black Missourians were also more likely than whites to be searched and arrested in traffic stops, despite having a lower “contraband hit rate.” Hispanics were far less likely to be pulled over than blacks or whites, but were searched at rates comparable to blacks. The report reveals that some of the patterns highlighted by the Department of Justice report in Ferguson are prevalent throughout the state.
In St. Louis County, many small municipalities use traffic ticketing and ordinance violation fines to generate revenues. The Missouri legislature passed a bill this session capping the amount of revenue that municipalities can make from traffic violation fines at 20% of their general operating revenue, except in St. Louis County, where it would be capped at 12.5%. Currently awaiting the governor’s signature, the bill also requires accreditation for municipal law enforcement agencies, limits fines, and eliminates confinement and failure to appear charges for minor traffic offenses. Although hailed as an important first step, the bill only addresses traffic fines and not other minor ordinance violations. Some critics also worry that it will primarily target black-led municipalities, potentially threatening black political power in St. Louis County.

Incarceration

Nearly Half of Black Women Have a Family Member in Prison

A recent study in the Du Bois Review, “Racial Inequalities in Connectedness to Imprisoned Individuals in the United States,” finds that 44% of black women have at least one family member in prison in contrast to only 12% of white women. Similar disparities were evident in other categories of connection: 35% of black women have an acquaintance in prison (vs. 15% for white women), 22% have a neighbor in prison (vs. 4%) and 17% have someone they trust in prison (vs. 5%). The authors, Hedwig Lee, Tyler McCormick, Margaret Hicken, and Christopher Wildeman, calculate that black women have a larger share of family members and neighbors in prison than both whites and black men relative to the estimated size of their social networks.
These findings “show just how pervasive contact with prisoners is for Black Americans—especially Black women—and, in so doing, suggest that mass imprisonment may have fundamentally reshaped American inequality not only for the men for whom imprisonment has become so common” but also for their family members, neighbors, and friends. The findings are based on General Social Survey questions from 2006, which asked respondents how many people they know are currently in state or federal prison.

School-to-prison pipeline

Black Students Disproportionately Arrested in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish

The Times-Picayune reports the Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a complaint against Jefferson Parish, Louisiana alleging the parish discriminated against black students by arresting and making other in-school referrals to law enforcement at a substantially higher rate than for white students. Filed with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the complaint supplements a previous filing with the Department of Education in 2012 and contends that the disparity in arrests and referrals has gotten worse.
Data from the 2013-2014 school year demonstrated that 80% of all school-based arrests and law enforcement referrals were of black students, even though they made up only about 42% of Jefferson’s enrollment. This is up from three years ago when 76% of all arrested students were black, compared to 46% of enrollment. One of the four plaintiffs, a 15-year-old boy, was detained in a juvenile detention center for six days following his arrest for throwing Skittles candy at another child. Jefferson Parish has a significantly higher rate of school-based arrests and referrals than other school districts of a similar size in Louisiana, and attorneys contend that most of these incidents could be handled without involving the criminal justice system.

2015 College Changes Everythingâ„¢ Conference to Highlight College Access and Completion Efforts in Illinois

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Register now for July 16th Conference

CHICAGO, IL – College affordability and the rising cost of tuition are in the news almost every day, but helping more students attain a degree or certificate involves more than adjusting college sticker price. Join Illinois educators, government, business and non-profit leaders at the fifth annual College Changes Everything™ Conference in Tinley Park for in depth discussion and workshops on the collaborative efforts underway in Illinois to make college—and a degree or certificate—possible for all Illinoisans. Sponsored by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) in collaboration with several other statewide governmental and non-profit organizations, the annual conference brings together a capacity crowd of committed individuals working together to help make college a reality for families throughout Illinois.

The conference grew out of the College Changes Everything™ (CCE) college access movement, which is designed in part to help advance the state’s goal of increasing the proportion of adults in Illinois with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

“To reach our state goal we will need to address all of the factors that contribute to accessibility and completion,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC.  “One of the reasons this conference is so effective is that it brings together talented individuals from diverse sectors to share effective practices and resources that can move the needle in college preparedness and access, as well as help to improve on time completion with a minimum of debt.”

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti will provide the conference welcome, and Dr. Elizabeth Purvis, Illinois Secretary of Education, will share remarks with attendees. As part of the “Year of the Volunteer” in Illinois, a special panel discussion will highlight the importance and impact of volunteers in helping to improve college access and student success. Breakout sessions will focus on critical topics such as college readiness, student support services, retention, remediation, career development, after school programs, special supports for undocumented students, student veteran supports and services, and more.

The conference will be held at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park, Illinois on Thursday, July 16 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee of $40 includes a light breakfast, lunch, and all conference materials. Space is limited. For more information and to register online, visit CCE 2015 Conference.

The CCE Conference is a collaborative effort of volunteers including ISAC, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois College Access Network, Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, Advance Illinois, Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University, Generations Serving Generations, Voices for Illinois Children, and Women Employed.

About College Changes Everythingâ„¢

College Changes Everythingâ„¢ is a college access movement that recognizes that college can be a life changing experience not only for students, but also for families and communities. In Illinois and across the nation, those who obtain education beyond high school not only see a significant impact on their potential career prospects and future salary, but also change levels of poverty, life expectancy, crime and obesity rates in their communities. Join the conversation and help make college relevant and possible for everyone by sharing your story about how college changed, is changing or can change everything for you. Find out more and share your story at www.collegechangeseverything.org.

About ISAC

The mission of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is to help make college accessible and affordable for students throughout Illinois. ISAC provides comprehensive, objective, and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families–giving them access to the tools they need to make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state’s flagship Monetary Award Program and other scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers—totaling more than $380 million in academic year 2014-15—ISAC can help students make those choices a reality. www.isac.org

PBS Affiliate WHUT-TV Premieres Kirk Whalum’s “The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter IV” Docu-Musical

Posted by Admin On June - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Celebrating June Black Music Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In celebration of Black History Month, WHUT-TV will air The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter IV docu-musical that will take music lovers deep into the heart and soul of Grammy Award winner, renowned jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum. First known for his memorable solo on Whitney Houston’s megahit “I Will Always Love You,” Whalum will delight longtime followers while winning over a host of new fans when Howard University PBS affiliate airs this internationally acclaimed docu-musical on Sunday, June 21st (9pm EST) and Friday, June 26th (8pm EST).

The GATJ IV film offers refreshing inspirational music collaborations while taking viewers on a journey inside the hearts of such gifted icons and versatile artist that include Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, George Duke, Wayman Tisdale, John Coltrane, and Whalum’s own mother as he pays homage to those whose influence helped to shape his life.

WHUT’s original programming has won numerous awards, including 13 Emmys. The debut broadcast of Kirk Whalum’s exciting film is a continuation of the PBS commitment to providing entertaining, relevant and informative programming for its viewers.

The Gospel According To Jazz IV companion live two-disc, 19-song CD is the latest addition to the award-winning series that launched in 1998. Each release has earned critical acclaim, and “It’s What I Do” from “The Gospel According to Jazz III” took home a Grammy for Best Gospel Song in 2011. While this exciting new music was recorded live at Pastor A. R. Bernard’s Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kirk Whalum again shares the stage with gifted family members, including brother Kevin and nephews Kenneth III and Kortland, along with talented friends: bassist Gerald Veasley, drummer Marcus “Stix” Finnie, vocalist/Stevie Wonder protégé Shelea, and returning co-producer, keyboardist and vocalist John Stoddart.

In Kirk’s own words, “‘The Gospel According To Jazz’ embraces the talent God dishes out,” and the series always features special guests not associated with gospel music. The new recording and film also include guitarist Norman Brown, trumpeter Rick Braun and legendary percussionist Doc Gibbs.

The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter IV will air on WHUT TV on June 21, 2015, at 9pm EDT and on June 26, 2015 at 8pm EDT. :60 sec clip of “Keep On Pushing” http://bit.ly/1dN0yEX

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About WHUT: The only HBCU-licensed public television station, WHUT/Howard University Television is located in Washington, D.C., on the Howard University campus. The station adheres to the University’s commitment to excellence, leadership and public service. During its 30-plus years on air, WHUT has become a leader in broadcast communications and an integral part of the community by providing entertaining, relevant and informative programming for its viewers. WHUT has received numerous awards, including 13 Emmys.

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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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