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Archive for June 25th, 2015

Madigan Announces Settlement With IHSA

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Madigan Announces Settlement With IHSA

Settlement Ensures Equal Opportunity for Student Athletes with Disabilities at State Meets

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a settlement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to ensure student athletes with disabilities have full and equal opportunities to compete and earn points for their teams at state meets held by the IHSA.

Under the settlement, student athletes with disabilities can now compete and earn points toward a team state championship in swimming and diving and track and field. The settlement resolves a 2012 lawsuit brought by Madigan, Equip for Equality and Mary Kate Callahan, a former high school student athlete at Fenwick High School in west suburban Oak Park, Ill.

“This settlement is an important step forward in our continued efforts to ensure people with disabilities have equal access and opportunity in all areas of life,” Madigan said. “I am hopeful that this agreement will inspire more student athletes with disabilities to join their schools’ sports program and that the IHSA will continue to add more opportunities for these students as they proceed with implementing the terms of the settlement.”

The agreement seeks to foster increased participation of all student athletes with disabilities in sports in Illinois. IHSA will promote and educate its member schools, staff and students about its new accommodations policy by adding a new accommodations page to its website where student athletes with disabilities can access information on how to request an accommodation for any sport. The IHSA will also provide member schools with information about opportunities for students with disabilities that schools can post to the school website and at the school.

The IHSA must maintain all results and records for student athletes with disabilities in the same manner that it maintains records for all sports and activities. The settlement also requires the IHSA to create an annual road race event open to all Illinois high school students that recognizes the top five finishers in each gender in both the wheelchair division and open division.

In addition, the IHSA must adopt a revised accommodations policy for student athletes with disabilities and provide a trained Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator to assist with requests for accommodations. The ADA Coordinator can also work with IHSA member schools to develop ways to allow student athletes with disabilities to earn team points in swimming and diving, track and field, and bowling during the regular season.

The settlement also establishes ongoing monitoring by Madigan’s office to oversee IHSA’s responses to requests for accommodations from students with disabilities for any sport or activity. IHSA administrative staff and board members must complete training in ADA compliance, and coaches and officials will be trained in the IHSA’s new accommodations policy during their annual required rules presentations.

Equip for Equality, a legal advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Illinois, represented Callahan in the lawsuit after IHSA failed to address her requests for an accommodation to compete with her swim and track teams at the state level. Callahan previously settled with the IHSA.

“I’m so grateful for everything Equip for Equality and the Illinois Attorney General did for high school athletes with disabilities,” Callahan said. “I’m happy other athletes will gain the experience and great memories of competing for their school and with their teammates. My hope is that opportunities will continue to increase for athletes like myself here in Illinois.”

“Equip for Equality applauds the Attorney General’s Office for reaching this agreement which significantly expands opportunities for all high school student athletes with disabilities in Illinois,” said Equip for Equality Senior Attorney Amy F. Peterson, one of the attorneys who represented Callahan.

Madigan’s lawsuit charged the IHSA with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act, both of which require that no person be excluded from equal participation in any program or activity of a public entity because of their disability. The laws also prohibit discrimination based on a person’s disability.

The Attorney General’s Disabilities Rights Bureau enforces state and federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities. Madigan’s Bureau works to ensure compliance with the ADA and other laws that mandate access and opportunity for people with disabilities. Disability discrimination complaints can be filed by contacting the Bureau at (312) 814-5684 or (217) 524-2660.

Division Chief Cara Hendrickson, Deputy Division Chief David Buysse, and Assistant Attorneys General Sarah Smith and Judith Levitan were among the attorneys who handled the case for Madigan’s office.

Illinois Department of Human Rights Announces Civil Penalties in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois Department of Human Rights Announces Civil Penalties in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Complaint

Human Rights Commission Orders $30,000 from Fair Housing Violator

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has ordered over $30,000 in penalties and damages from a Chicago-based housing company in a sexual orientation discrimination complaint brought by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), both state agencies announced today.

The complaint, filed after an IDHR investigation and determination, alleged that an agent of TempHomes Realty, LLC acted in a discriminatory manner towards a same-sex couple during a real estate transaction. After renting an apartment through a corporate housing agency (the complainant), the couple found numerous issues that made the unit not suitable for occupancy. During an email exchange, the agent made discriminatory statements in reference to the couple’s sexual orientation and denied them a refund. In its final order and decision, IHRC agreed that these actions and statements represented a civil rights violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

“I am proud that our department has taken such a proactive role in investigating and representing this complaint before the Human Rights Commission,” said IDHR Director Rocco Claps. “This outcome reaffirms our strong commitment to enforcing the laws that protect against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

An IHRC Administrative Law Judge has ordered that the complainant be awarded approximately $20,000 in damages and attorney fees. Additionally, both respondents are required to pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the Illinois State Treasurer. They have been further ordered to cease and desist from any further Fair Housing violations and to publicly post the requirements of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

“The Commission is dedicated to securing for all Illinois citizens freedom from discrimination, and we are proud to be a part of this process,” IHRC Chair Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias said. “The case demonstrates the importance for all citizens who have been victims of discrimination to step forward and file a charge and work with the Department and Commission to ensure their rights are vindicated.”

If you are suspicious of housing discrimination, IDHR suggests keeping a record of any meetings and phone calls, including names, addresses, receipts, and notes on what was said. For more information, please contact IDHR’s Fair Housing Division at (312)-814-6229 or visit http://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/FilingaCharge/Pages/Housing.aspx.

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), national origin, ancestry, age (40 and over), marital status, disability, military status, familial status, sexual orientation (including gender identity) or unfavorable military discharge.  Further information is available at www.illinois.gov/dhr

Medicaid Mason-Dixon Line

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Medicaid Mason-Dixon Line

Op-Ed By LeeAnn Hall, Alliance for a Just Society and Glenn Harris, Center for Social Inclusion

There’s a new Mason-Dixon Line being drawn in our country – and it runs right through Medicaid, one of the country’s most important health insurance programs. Historically, the Mason-Dixon Line marked the division between states that embraced slavery and states that rejected it. Today it marks states that are accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion, and those choosing to leave millions of people without health care.

Medicaid expansion comes with almost full federal funding, which means that the decision to expand Medicaid – or not – isn’t a money decision.  Really, it’s a decision about whose lives are valued and protected in the United States.

The map of the United State showing where low-income families are denied access to quality health care looks eerily like one of the old Confederacy.

Most states have accepted Medicaid expansion and they are enjoying the benefits. However, 21 states continue to reject it – and 13 of those are in the Old South. The blatant racial implications can’t be ignored. As with other questions concerning racial equity, the decisions before state lawmakers now follow a long history of racial struggle. Health care, in particular, remains a stark and shameful example of the failure to overcome persistent racial disparities in our country.

Those left without access to quality health care are disproportionately people of color. According to the Kaiser Family Fund, 26 percent are African American and 24 percent are Latino.

In Texas, people of color account for 74 percent of those being deprived of health care in that state – that includes more than half a million Latinos and 160,000 African Americans.

By refusing as much as $100 billion over 10 years in Medicaid expansion money for Texas, Republican Gov. Rick Perry is sending a strong message that some lives just don’t matter.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is suing the Obama administration for “coercion tactics” that he says are forcing the state to expand Medicaid to 800,000 people who can’t afford health insurance. Florida is also giving up about 20,000 new jobs, including 10,000 good paying medical jobs, by rejecting Medicaid expansion.

By rejecting Medicaid expansion, states are leaving 3.8 million low-income adults with no health insurance and no benefits. These are workers with incomes too high for regular Medicaid programs, but too low to afford the health insurance premiums. Florida and Texas, by the way, have the highest health insurance costs in the country.   Behind all those numbers are real people whose lives depend on the health coverage that Medicaid provides. They need the routine care that encourages health and vitality, as well as critical treatment and care that could save their lives.

Without insurance, these families also face devastating financial consequences. More than half of all bankruptcies are due to insurmountable medical bills. Denying health insurance has a snowball effect impacting economic opportunity. The Affordable Care Act – our country’s greatest health care accomplishment in fifty years – is a boon to nearly 11 million Americans who were previously shut out of the health insurance system.

The cruel irony is that those who were most likely to be helped by Obamacare are still being denied access.   It’s not enough to regret the racism of the past. We have to renounce and reject policies that exacerbate it today. It’s not too late for state lawmakers to erase the Medicaid Mason-Dixon Line.

LeeAnn Hall is the executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society, a national policy and organizing network that has produced pivotal reports for 20 years on national health issues. Glenn Harris is president of the Center for Social Inclusion. The center is dedicated to finding policy solutions that promote structural equity and an inclusive democracy.

Photo Caption: (From Left) LeeAnn Hall and Glenn Harris

Forum Points to Why The American Dream is on Hold For Many in the African American Community

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Forum Points to Why The American Dream is on Hold For Many in the African American Community

BALTIMORE, MD – Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) heard from Baltimore clergy, community leaders, and academics on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at a forum to discuss the vast disparities in economic conditions for African Americans and whites.

The forum titled: The American Dream on Hold: Economic Challenges in the African American Community, was hosted by Congressman G. K. Butterfield, Chairman of the CBC, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Ranking Democrat on JEC and Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Members of the CBC and Congressional Representatives of Maryland were also in attendance.

At the heart of the forum was a JEC report that found striking disparities between blacks and whites in employment, wealth, housing and education.

“Today’s forum was designed to take a closer look at some of the most pressing issues facing African Americans in Baltimore and throughout the country,” Rep. Butterfield said. “Our work still remains and nowhere is this more evident than within the African American community.  From persistent poverty, double digit unemployment, and lower wages, in addition to inequitable access to justice and treatment under the law – in order to resolve these issues, we first must confront the underlying cause and have a strong dialogue on racism and how it is so ingrained in American culture, both consciously and otherwise. Let today’s conversation serve as a way to recharge our focus on what we each must do to ensure that all Americans, but particularly African Americans, have a fair shot at achieving the American dream.”

“The data from the JEC report won’t shock the people of Baltimore because they live these numbers every day. But it may surprise many others in America who are insulated from some of the problems we face,” Rep. Maloney said. “The numbers are stark: African Americans are three times as likely to live in poverty than whites. The current employment rate for blacks is more than double the rate for whites – higher even than white unemployment at its peak during the recession. And the median white household has 13 times the wealth of the median black household. The recent racial tragedies in Baltimore, Ferguson, New York, Charleston and elsewhere have opened new dialogue about race. Let us seize that opportunity to make sure that every American has a real opportunity to succeed.”

“So much work remains to be done to help African Americans overcome the economic hurdles intentionally thrown up in their paths,” Rep. Cummings said. “This forum allowed us the opportunity to hear from experts about the decades of policies and decisions that created these disparities and what must be done to eliminate them.”

Panelists included:

  • Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO, Global Policy Solutions
  • James Carr, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and Distinguished Scholar, The Opportunity Agenda
  • Dr. William Darity, Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, Duke University
  • Michael Cryor, Chairman, One Baltimore
  • Stokey Cannady, Founder/CEO, The Stokey Project
  • Darius Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harbor Bank
  • Sheridan Todd Yeary, Pastor, Douglas Memorial Community Church
  • Dr. Louis Wilson, Pastor, New Song Community Church
  • Munir Bahar, COR Health Institute
  • Tessa Hill-Ashton, President, NAACP (Baltimore City Chapter)

Kirk to Hold Hearing on Global Impact of Greek Debt Crisis

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Kirk to Hold Hearing on Global Impact of Greek Debt Crisis

Banking Subcommittee Will Examine Greek Fiscal Crisis, Impact on Global Economy if Greece Defaults on Debt

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, will lead a hearing Thursday to discuss ongoing developments associated with the Greece debt crisis and to explore the potential impact on the global economy of a Greek default.

With Greece days away from a key debt payment deadline – €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on June 30, followed by €3.5 billion ($3.9 billion) due to the European Central Bank (ECB) on July 20 – the threat of the first Eurozone government default is increasingly real.

The subcommittee hearing, “Economic Crisis: The Global Impact of a Greek Default,” will include testimony from several prominent experts on the global economy, who will discuss the path that led to the current Greek debt crisis, the status of ongoing negotiations between Greece and its creditors, and the potential global economic repercussions if Greece defaults on its debt. This will be the first Congressional hearing this year on the Greek debt crisis.

The hearing will be held Thursday, June 25, 1:30 p.m., at 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.


Desmond Lachman, Ph.D., is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. An expert in global macroeconomics and currency issues, Dr. Lachman has worked at the IMF as deputy director in the Policy Development and Review Department, and he was chief emerging market economic strategist at Salomon Smith Barney.

Carmen Reinhart, Ph.D., is the Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Professor Reinhart worked for several years at the IMF and was chief economist and and vice president at Bear Stearns in the 1980s. She co-authored the New York Times bestselling book, “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”

Matthew Slaughter, Ph.D., is the incoming dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is the founding Faculty Director of Tuck’s Center for Global Business and Government and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2005 to 2007, Professor Slaughter held the international portfolio as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He previously worked with the Danish Ministry of Defense, the United Nations in Iraq, and in the private sector. The focus of his current research includes European economies and foreign direct investment trends.

National Urban League: Voting Rights Advancement Act is Vital Defense Against Discrimination

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on National Urban League: Voting Rights Advancement Act is Vital Defense Against Discrimination

Civil Rights Leaders Travel to Roanoke To Urge Congress and Rep. Goodlatte to Restore VRA

NEW YORK — National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement following today’s introduction of the Voting Rights Advancement Act by Senators Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, and Chris Coons and Representatives John Lewis, Terri Sewell, Linda Sanchez and Judy Chu:

“There is no right more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s deplorable decision in Shelby County v. Holder to gut Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act led states and localities across the country to enact discriminatory voter suppression laws.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would help put a stop on this modern-day assault on the right to vote.

In the two years since elimination of Section 4 – which determines which jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance provision – we’ve seen widespread evidence of voting discrimination. Yet, Congress has failed to restore this crucial protection of the Voting Rights Act. Tomorrow, on the two-year anniversary of the Shelby decision, civil rights leaders  will travel to Roanoke, Virginia, to join hundreds of concerned Americans in a rally for voting rights and democracy.

Congress and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte will hear our message that they can’t continue to let voting discrimination run rampant throughout our country unchecked. Voting discrimination weakens our democracy and Congress has been remiss in allowing it to fester for the last two years.

When he signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson said ‘the heart of the act is plain.’ Wherever states and counties are using regulations, laws or tests to deny the right to vote, they will be struck down. We have lost the heart of the act. With this legislation, we can restore it.”

Statement by President Obama on the U.S. Government’s Hostage Policy Review

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Statement by President Obama on the U.S. Government’s Hostage Policy Review

President Barack Obama: Good afternoon.  Since 9/11, more than 80 Americans have been taken hostage by murderous groups engaged in terrorism or piracy.  For these innocent men and women — tourists, journalists, humanitarians — it’s a horror, and cruelty, beyond description.  For their families and for their friends, it’s an unrelenting nightmare that the rest of us cannot even begin to imagine.

As a government, we should always do everything in our power to bring these Americans home safe and to support their families.  Dedicated public servants across our government work tirelessly to do so.  Our military personnel risk their lives in dangerous missions, such as the operation I authorized last year that attempted to rescue Americans held in Syria and Yemen.  And there have been successes, such as the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, held by Somali pirates, and Jessica Buchanan, rescued from Somalia.

Of these more than 80 Americans taken hostage since 9/11, more than half have ultimately come home, some after many years. Tragically, too many others have not.  And at this very moment, Americans continue to be held by terrorist groups or detained unjustly by foreign governments.  For them, the nightmare goes on — and so does our work, day and night, to reunite them with their loved ones.

As I’ve said before, the terrorist threat is evolving.  The world has been appalled by ISIL’s barbaric murder of innocent hostages, including Americans.  Moreover, the families of hostages have told us — and they’ve told me directly
— about their frequent frustrations in dealing with their own government:  How different departments and agencies aren’t always coordinated.  How there’s been confusion and conflicting information about what the government is prepared to do to help. How they’ve often felt lost in the bureaucracy.  And how, in some cases, families feel that they’ve been threatened for exploring certain options to bring their loved ones home.

That’s totally unacceptable.  As I’ve gotten to know some of these families and heard some of these stories, it has been my solemn commitment to make sure that they feel fully supported in their efforts to get their families home, and that there is a syncing-up of what I know to be sincere, relentless efforts within government and the families who obviously have one priority and one priority only, and that’s getting their loved ones back.

These families have already suffered enough, and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government.  Diane Foley, whose son Jim was killed by ISIL last year, said, “As Americans, we can do better.”  I totally agree.  We must do better.  And that’s why I ordered a comprehensive review of our hostage policy.

I want to thank everybody who contributed to this review — inside and outside of government, some of whom are here today.  I especially want to thank the former hostages and families who contributed.  I’ve come to know some of these families, often under the most heartbreaking of circumstances.  When her son, Peter — also known as Abdul-Rahman — was being held in Syria, his mother Paula Kassig wrote me a letter.  And in it, she described how on clear nights she and her husband would look up at the stars and the moon and wonder if, perhaps, their son might be able to see them, too — a reminder of the bond they might still share.

I’ve called these families to offer our condolences after they’ve received gut-wrenching news no parents ever want to hear.  I’ve visited with them.  I’ve hugged them.  I’ve grieved with them.  I just spent time with some of the families, as well as some former hostages here at the White House.  And needless to say, it was a very emotional meeting.  Some are still grieving.

I thanked them for sharing their experiences and their ideas with our review team.  In fact, many of the changes we’re announcing today are a direct result of their recommendations.  I acknowledged to them in private what I want to say publicly — that it is true that there have been times where our government, regardless of good intentions, has let them down.  I promised them that we can do better.  Here’s how.

Today, I’m formally issuing a new presidential policy directive to improve how we work to bring home American hostages and how we support their families.  I’ve signed a new executive order to ensure our government is organized to do so.  And we’re releasing the final report of our review, which describes the two dozen specific steps that we’re taking.  Broadly speaking, they fall into three areas.

First, I’m updating our hostage policy.  I’m making it clear that our top priority is the safe and rapid recovery of American hostages.  And to do so, we will use all elements of our national power.  I am reaffirming that the United States government will not make concessions, such as paying ransom, to terrorist groups holding American hostages.  And I know this can be a subject of significant public debate.  It’s a difficult and emotional issue, especially for the families.  As I said to the families who are gathered here today, and as I’ve said to families in the past, I look at this not just as a President, but also as a husband and a father.  And if my family were at risk, obviously I would move heaven and earth to get those loved ones back.

As President, I also have to consider our larger national security.  I firmly believe that the United States government paying ransom to terrorists risks endangering more Americans and funding the very terrorism that we’re trying to stop.  And so I firmly believe that our policy ultimately puts fewer Americans at risk.

At the same time, we are clarifying that our policy does not prevent communication with hostage-takers — by our government, the families of hostages, or third parties who help these families.  And, when appropriate, our government may assist these families and private efforts in those communications — in part, to ensure the safety of family members and to make sure that they’re not defrauded.  So my message to these families was simple:  We’re not going to abandon you.  We will stand by you.

Second, we’re making changes to ensure that our government is better organized around this mission.  Every department that is involved in our national security apparatus cares deeply about these hostages, prioritizes them and works really hard.  But they’re not always as well coordinated as they need to be.  Under the National Security Council here at the White House, we’re setting up a new Hostage Response Group, comprised of senior officials from across our government who will be responsible for ensuring that our hostage policies are consistent and coordinated and implemented rapidly and effectively.  And they will be accountable at the highest levels; they’ll be accountable to me.

Soon I’ll be designating, as well, a senior diplomat as my Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who will be focused solely on leading our diplomatic efforts with other countries to bring our people home.

At the operational level, we’re creating for the first time one central hub where experts from across government will work together, side-by-side, as one coordinated team to find American hostages and bring them home safely.  In fact, this fusion cell, located at the FBI, is already up and running.  And we’re designating a new official in the intelligence community to be responsible for coordinating the collection, analysis and rapid dissemination of intelligence related to American hostages so we can act on that intelligence quickly.

Third — and running through all these efforts — we are fundamentally changing how our government works with families of hostages.  Many of the families told us that they at times felt like an afterthought or a distraction; that, too often, the law enforcement, or military and intelligence officials they were interacting with were begrudging in giving them information.  And that ends today.  I’m making it clear that these families are to be treated like what they are — our trusted partners and active partners in the recovery of their loved ones.  We are all on the same team, and nobody cares more about bringing home these Americans than their own families, and we have to treat them as partners.

So, specifically, our new fusion cell will include a person dedicated to coordinating the support families get from the government.  This coordinator will ensure that we communicate with families better, with one clear voice, and that families get information that is timely and accurate.  Working with the intelligence community, we will be sharing more intelligence with families.

And this coordinator will be the family’s voice within government — making sure that when decisions are made about their loved ones, their concerns are front and center.  Everyone who deals with these families on a regular basis will be given additional training to ensure families are treated with the dignity and compassion that they deserve.  In particular, I want to point out that no family of an American hostage has ever been prosecuted for paying a ransom for the return of their loved ones.  The last thing that we should ever do is to add to a family’s pain with threats like that.

So the bottom line is this:  When it comes to how our government works to recover Americans held hostage and how we work with their families, we are changing how we do business. After everything they’ve endured, these families are right to be skeptical, and that’s why it’s so important — as I told them today — that we will be setting up mechanisms to ensure accountability and implementation.  I’ve directed my national security team to report back to me, including getting feedback from the families to make sure that these reforms are being put in place and that they are working.

And in the course of our review, several families told us they wanted to spare other families the frustrations they endured.  Some have even created new organizations to support families like theirs or to honor their loved ones, such as the memorial foundation for Steven Sotloff, who wrote, “Everyone has two lives.  The second one begins when you realize you only have one.”  As a government, and as a nation, we can learn from the example and the strength of their lives — the kind of strength we’ve seen in all these held hostages, including Kayla Mueller.

Kayla devoted her life to serving those in need around the world.  To refugees in Syria who had lost everything, she was a source of comfort and hope.  Before her tragic death, she was held by ISIL in Syria for a year and a half.  And during her captivity, Kayla managed to smuggle a letter to her family.  She said, “None of us could have known it would be this long but I know I am also fighting from my side in the ways that I am able, and I have a lot of fight left in me. I am not breaking down and I will not give in no matter how long it takes.”

Today, my message to anyone who harms Americans is that we do not forget.  Our reach is long.  Justice will be done.  My message to every American being held unjustly around the world who is fighting from the inside to survive another day, my message to their families who long to hold them once more, is that the United States of America will never stop working to reunite you with your family.  We will not give up — no matter how long it takes.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

Chicago Sinfonietta Appoints New Principal Bassoon

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Chicago Sinfonietta Appoints New Principal Bassoon
Project Inclusion Fellow Takes On A Leadership Role With The Nation’s Most Diverse Orchestra
Chicago, IL Chicago Sinfonietta, a professional orchestra focused on promoting diversity, inclusion, and innovative programming in the field of classical music, is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra Bailey as Principal Bassoon for the coming 2015-16 season. Bailey won the appointment through blind auditions that took place on Wednesday June 10, 2015.  She recently graduated from the Sinfonietta’s industry-leading professional development program, Project Inclusion.

“Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion,” explains Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, “is a special two-year program that works to prepare and mentor musicians of diverse backgrounds as they pursue careers as professional classical musicians. A serious, intense, and inspiring program, Project Inclusion provides musicians with professional experience and guidance they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.“

Chen recommended Bailey apply for the Project Inclusion Fellowship while a freshman at Northwestern University. Previously she worked with Bailey as part of the prestigious Boston University Tanglewood Institute program in Massachusetts. Chen speaks about her time with Bailey,

“…During her time as a Fellow, my colleagues and I were pleased to witness Sandra’s growth and maturing musical personality on and off the stage.  Sandra’s accomplishments on bassoon to date makes her an ideal example of Project Inclusion’s impact on the professional orchestral scene. The Chicago Sinfonietta is proud to have played an important role in helping Sandra find her true voice as an extremely gifted performer.”

“I am honored that such experienced players have invited me in their music making,” Bailey commented. “I’m looking forward to giving my all. There’s nothing that can replace professional experience and I’m honored to have the opportunity. The Project inclusion program has allowed me the space to grow professionally, giving me the confidence to strive for my highest musical goals.”

Bailey will begin performing as principal bassoon in October as part of the 2015-16 season of the Chicago Sinfonietta. “All of us in the Chicago Sinfonietta are thrilled and excited to continue working with Sandra in her new role as our new Principal Bassoon,” Chen states. “It is with great pleasure that I congratulate her.”

Sandra Bailey Sandra Bailey, 21, studies with David McGill at Northwestern University. In 2011 she won the Jack Kent Cooke Artist Scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to appear and perform on From The Top, a nationally syndicated radio show. With the guidance of From the Top staff, she has done musical outreach projects and fundraising performances with Christopher O’Riley, under hosts such as Joshua Bell and the WGBH Studios in Boston, Massachusetts. In the summer of 2012 she attended the Castleton Music Festival under conductor Lorin Maazel. She became a Chicago Sinfonietta member in 2013. In the summer of 2013 Sandra attended the Brevard Music Festival where she won the Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition. She attended the ‘Musik Akademie Westfalen 2013′ under conductor Krzysztof Penderecki and recently the Orchestra De La Francophone 2014 under Jean Philippe.  She was one of three winners of the Evanston Music competition and was a finalist Northwestern University Concerto Competition, Skokie Valley Concerto Competition and Hellam Concerto Competition. She won second place in the national 2014 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and was a first place winner in the American Protégé International Concerto Competition 2014, where she performed Hummel Bassoon Concerto in F Major in December at Carnegie Hall.

More about the Chicago Sinfonietta The Chicago Sinfonietta is a professional orchestra that forms unique cultural connections through the universal language of symphonic music. For over 27 years, the Sinfonietta has pushed artistic and social boundaries to provide an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra.  Each concert experience fuses inventive new works with classical masterworks from a diverse array of voices to entertain, transform and inspire. The Chicago Sinfonietta performs five subscription concerts in both downtown Chicago at Symphony Center and in Naperville at Wentz Concert Hall. The Sinfonietta has a proud history of having enriched the cultural, educational and social quality of life in Chicago under the guidance of Founding Music Director Paul Freeman.  Mei-Ann Chen succeeded Paul Freeman as the Chicago Sinfonietta’s Music Director beginning with the 2011-12 season. In 2012 the Sinfonietta was honored with two national awards for excellence from the League of American Orchestras, one for adventurous programming and one recognizing Maestro Chen with the Helen M. Thompson Award for an Emerging Music Director.

For more information on the Project Inclusion Conducting Fellowship program, visit http://www.chicagosinfonietta.org/education/project-inclusion/.

Girl’s Advocacy Group Celebrates 30 Years With Debutante Cotillion

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Girl’s Advocacy Group Celebrates 30 Years With Debutante Cotillion

Teenshop Debutante Cotillion Waltz

Philadelphia, PA (BlackNews.com) –  On Saturday, June 13, 2015, Teenshop Inc. celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a Debutante Cotillion. The formal gala mirrored traditional African American cotillions that place an emphasis on community service, achievement, manners, fashion and etiquette.

Elleanor Jean Hendley, Teenshops founder and CEO, beamed with pride as the beautiful debutantes and handsome escorts waltzed to classical music, and the junior debs performed an inspirational song. “I am so proud of our girls and thrilled to watch them take steps both literally and figuratively toward becoming successful women as they pursue their goals,” stated Hendley, a former Debutante Cotillion Queen.

Mistress of Ceremonies, Cherri Gregg, Esq., Community Affairs Reporter for KYW News Radio and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and Master of Ceremonies, Solomon Jones, WURD Radio Host, Daily News Columnist, presented each young lady to a room of over 600 guests from across the country.

Debutante Cierra Beckett, who will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall said, “Not many girls can say that they were able to participate in a Debutante Ball. Teenshop has taught me how to be a productive member of society.”

The Teenshop program is an innovative series of workshops, field trips, college tours, and community service projects designed to encourage academic excellence and promote abstinence. Membership is limited to students thirteen to eighteen who are not parents. Workshops are held every two weeks on Saturday mornings from September to June under the direction of a five-member team of career women. The adult workshop presenters are experts in their diverse fields ranging from financial literacy, social graces, and health and fitness.

Next up for Teenshop is its 7th Residential College Prep Summer Program for Rising Senior Scholars held at Bryn Mawr College in Montgomery County, PA beginning July 12th. This year for the first time, the week-long program will be open to girls nationwide.
About Teenshop Inc.
The Philadelphia-based college prep program founded in 1985 by Elleanor Jean Hendley, an Emmy Award-winning former Philadelphia CBS 3 TV news journalist and talk show producer/host. More than six thousand girls have been enrolled and all graduates matriculate to college. A total of five chapters are located in Philadelphia, PA, Camden, NJ, and Los Angeles, CA.

For more details, visit www.teenshop.org or follow them on Twitter (@teenshop1985).

Photo Caption: Teenshop’s Debutante Cotillion Waltz

Help Protect Your Identity – FREE BBB Paper Shredding and Electronics Recycling Saturday, June 27th

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Help Protect Your Identity – FREE BBB Paper Shredding and Electronics Recycling Saturday, June 27th

CHICAGO, IL – For the 15th year in a row, identity theft was at the top of the national ranking of consumer complaints for the Federal Trade Commission.

The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, in conjunction with various government agencies, invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents FREE at the annual “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day at the United Center 1901 W. Madison St. Lot A in Chicago from 9AM-1PM on June 27th. Gates close at 12:45pm. Free electronics recycling will also be available.

Hosts of the annual event include the BBB along with the City of Chicago, Chicago Police Department, FTC, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and United States Postal Inspection Service. The Shred Day media sponsor is WBBM Newsradio 780AM & 105.9FM. Shredding and recycling services will be provided by Accurate Document Destruction, Beaver Shredding Inc., Chicago Shred Authority, Paper Tiger Shredding, PROSHRED and Vintage Tech Recyclers.

As of January 1, 2012 the Electronic Products Recycling & Reuse Act requires people to recycle their electronic devices including televisions, monitors, printers and computers, rather than allow them to be disposed of in a landfill.

TVs, monitors, laptops, PCs, servers, data storage devices, printers, fax/copy machines, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras and game consoles are among the types of electronic equipment that will be collected for recycling at the event. To learn more about the electronics you can recycle at this event, visit www.chicagoshreds.com
Participants are asked to limit the material they want shredded to 10 boxes of documents per vehicle. There will also be free home shredders given away during the event every 15 minutes. You can register online to win a free shredder at www.chicagoshreds.com

Below are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:

  • A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.
  • Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
  • Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
  • Be sure to keep bank statements and canceled checks for at least one year.
  • Bills should be kept for one year or until the canceled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
  • Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
  • Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
  • If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!

More information about the “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day event can be found at www.chicagoshreds.com

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org/chicago, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.

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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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