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Bush appointee is first of fifteen federal district judges to do so                                                                                                         (From the Campaign ...
Dozens of Rogers Park tenants are gathering this morning at 1246 W. Pratt in an ...
New York, NY (BlackNews.com) -- Bravo Media's "Thicker Than Water" season two will premiere ...
  Staged readings by Noah Haidle, Laura Jacqmin and Christopher Shinn announced   Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre ...
NAACP National Board of Directors Elects New Members, Passes Resolution on Flint Water Crisis at Annual ...
Backlog expected to grow by up to $2 billion SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy ...
CHICAGO, IL –  Better Business Bureau is telling consumers and businesses not ...
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Archive for July 17th, 2015

Rock Island County Court Imposes $610,000 Default Judgment Order Against Individual Owner

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced that on July 14, 2015, a Rock Island County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order against Baldev Singh for $610,000. The order came in response to Singh’s failure to empty and secure an abandoned underground petroleum storage tank at a closed gasoline station, along with other violations of the Gasoline Storage Act. This judgment is the largest ever awarded to the OSFM against an individual owner of an underground storage tank facility.

“Gasoline tanks left unattended with remaining fuel pose a significant risk to the public,” said Deputy Director Les Albert. “The Office of the State Fire Marshal remains vigilant in its mission to ensure the protection of lives and property.”

The abandoned gasoline station is located in Silvis, Illinois, and was last in operation sometime in late 2011. At the time of the judgment the unsecured underground storage tank still contained a significant amount of fuel, with the potential to cause soil and water contamination, posing a threat to human health and the environment. Singh failed to respond to multiple OSFM enforcement notices directing him to empty and maintain the underground storage tank, as well as provide the required documentation for the underground storage tank and facility.

The OSFM requested that the Office of the Attorney General file a civil lawsuit against Baldev Singh in May 2014. A lawsuit was filed and Singh failed to file an appearance notice. A Default Judgment Order was subsequently entered, imposing $610,000 in penalties and fines against Singh as the owner of record. The penalties and fines were assessed for the ongoing violations of OFSM rules concerning technical and safety requirements for the operation and proper temporary closure of underground storage tanks.

A copy of the Default Judgment Order is available upon request.

State Senator Raoul Votes for Legal Authorization to Pay State Workers

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Measure also keeps essential services operational during budget impasse


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage yesterday of a one-month essential services budget that also pays state workers in full:

This stopgap measure keeps government going while budget negotiations continue. It will allow us the breathing room to reach a thoughtful, bipartisan agreement if all parties participate in good faith. Unfortunately, the governor’s threat to veto the emergency budget is one more effort to hold vulnerable people hostage to his Scott Walker-esque demands.

The action we took this week also provides a legal means of fairly compensating state workers for their continued service to the public. While I share the comptroller’s desire to pay state employees, I believe she went about this laudable purpose in an illegal manner. I encourage the governor to follow through on his commitment to make sure state workers don’t miss a paycheck and to do it the right way by signing this urgently needed legislation.

BBB Alert: MasterCard Phone Scam Hits Northern Illinois

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Another phone scam has resurfaced in northern Illinois. Consumers have reported that they are receiving automated messages stating their MasterCard has been hacked and that they need to call and verify their information so that a new card can be issued. The Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers to these calls and warns that if an automated system calls asking for credit card information it’s probably a scam.

Caroline Whaley of Stillman Valley, IL says that she, her husband, daughter and son-in-law have all received separate calls. “It’s a recorded message that gave instructions to press “1” to speak to an operator, but because the number on the caller I.D. showed as 000-000-0000 I didn’t feel comfortable and hung up.” Mrs. Whaley also says she does not even have a MasterCard.
The scammers are after the card number and expiration date but more importantly the security code, making it possible for them to use the card for online purchases.

“It’s difficult to say who will get the calls; some of them are probably random or robo-calls,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is also possible that the scammers purchased the numbers off mailing lists or from a hacked database.”

The scam works two ways. The consumer is asked to “press 1” to speak to an operator who will then ask for the information on the card. In other instances, the request will be to “press 1” to fix the issues with the card and a pre-recorded voice will give instructions to enter the 16-digit card number, the expiration date, and finally the security code.

“Under no circumstances should you do provide any information,” stated Bernas. “If you fear there is a possibility that your card may have been hacked, hang up and call your credit card provider.”

Anyone who has a credit card is a potential victim of this scam. If you should receive one of these calls you should:

  • Not return a call from a pre-recorded message.
  • If speaking to a live “operator” ask for his/or her name, department and extension. Then hang up call the number on the back of your card and ask for that person.
  • Never provide personal or financial information to someone you do not know.
  • Feel free to just hang-up.
  • Using the number on the back of your card or on your statement call the credit card company that issued your card if you have security questions or concerns.

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

President Obama Statement on the Shooting in Chattanooga, TN

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama: I just received a briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as my White House team, about the tragic shooting that took place in Chattanooga today.  We don’t know yet all the details.  We know that what appears to be a lone gunman carried out these attacks.  We’ve identified a name.  And at this point, a full investigation is taking place.  The FBI will be in the lead, working closely with local law enforcement.

We’ve also been in contact with the Department of Defense to make sure that all our Defense facilities are properly attentive and vigilant as we sort through exactly what happened.  And as details of the investigation proceed, we’ll make sure that the FBI, as well as local law enforcement are providing the public with all the information that’s involved.

My main message right now is, obviously, the deepest sympathies of the American people to the four Marines that have been killed.  It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion.

And although the families are still in the process of being contacted, I want them to know that I speak for the American people in expressing our deepest condolences, and knowing that they have our full support as they try to overcome the grief that’s involved here.

I also want to say that there are reports of injuries to Chattanooga local law enforcement officials.  Thankfully, as far as we know at this point, they have survived the assault.  And we want to make sure that they know that we’re thinking of them.  They’re in our thoughts and prayers.

We take all shootings very seriously.  Obviously, when you have an attack on a U.S. military facility, then we have to make sure that we have all the information necessary to make an assessment in terms of how this attack took place, and what further precautions we can take in the future.  And as we have more information, we’ll let the public know.

But in the meantime, I’d ask all Americans to pray for the families who are grief-stricken at this point.  And I want everybody to understand that we will be thorough and prompt in figuring out exactly what happened.

International Civil Rights Center & Museum Announces Plans for Pride of HBCU Exhibit

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

john_swaine

Greensboro, NC (BlackNews.com) — In July 2015, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (ICRCM) announced plans to launch a “Pride of the HBCU” exhibit in the museum next year, in honor of the significant contributions made by Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of the civil rights movement. The planned exhibit will feature historical documents, photographs, textbooks, classroom materials, paraphernalia and mementos from these institutions that educated primarily black students during segregation.

“We simply cannot place a value on how much our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have contributed to students, families and communities across this nation as part of the civil rights movement. HBCUs single-handedly educated generations of leaders within communities of color,” said John Swaine, CEO of the museum. “This planned Pride of the HBCU exhibit at the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro is a way to make sure we educate the next generation of leaders and to remember the role that HBCUs played in supporting and strengthening the civil rights movement.”

The ICRCM is in the process of establishing a steering committee and advisory board to coordinate the exhibit with HBCUs across the country. Swaine said, “Our plan is to reach out to every HBCU and ask that these priceless institutions share their history and provide memorabilia to be included in the exhibit.” North Carolina – the state where the museum is located – has 11 HBCUs.

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum – founded in 1993 and opened in 2010 – is located in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in Greensboro, North Carolina, known for the iconic non-violent protests of the “sit-in movement” that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement of the South. The Museum complex includes 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, and features 14 signature exhibits devoted to chronicling the struggle for human and civil rights. The Museums focal point is the original lunch counter and stools where North Carolina A&Ts students, the “Greensboro Four” began their protest against racial segregation on Feb. 1, 1960, in Greensboro, NC.

For more information, visit www.sitinmovement.org and follow the museum on Twitter @sitinmuseum.

Photo: John Swaine, CEO
International Civil Rights Museum


Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Keynote Address at the 106th NAACP Annual Convention Freedom Fund Dinner

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Thank you, President [Cornell] Brooks, for that kind introduction and for your outstanding leadership of this distinguished organization.  I also want to recognize Roslyn Brock, Chair of the NAACP’s Board of Directors.  And I want to thank all of you for such a warm welcome tonight, as we close out what has been a truly exciting and deeply inspiring convention.  It’s a pleasure to join so many committed partners, passionate advocates and good friends in Philadelphia this year.  And it’s a privilege to stand with the NAACP’s leaders, members and supporters – including the many extraordinary speakers you’ve heard from over the last five days – as we celebrate the proud history and enduring legacy of this remarkable organization.

That history is long and your successes are legendary.  They are taught in schools, studied by activists and celebrated as defining triumphs in the improvement of the United States of America.  But the power and the passion of the NAACP and all its achievements are not confined to books nor consigned to the pages of history.  They live on today and they remind us that the best way to honor a century’s worth of progress is to ready ourselves for the progress we must make as a new century unfolds; to fight on to  build the more equal, more secure, more just future that has been the NAACP’s goal since its inception; to not only help our fellow citizens “pursue liberty in the face of injustice,” but to root out the injustice that confines liberty, limits opportunity and restricts the ability of any citizen to secure what President Lyndon Johnson called “the full blessings of American life.”

That goal is not only the cause of this organization – it is the mission of this country and the animating ideal of the Department of Justice.  I am proud to say that we at the Justice Department are taking a comprehensive approach to stamping out inequality and ending discrimination whenever and wherever it may occur – from classrooms to voting booths, from boardrooms to border areas.  Our attorneys and investigators, led in part by our outstanding Civil Rights Division, are present on the ground and fighting on all fronts to bring equal rights and equal justice to all Americans – no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like.  Just last month, the Supreme Court affirmed our view that the Fair Housing Act encompasses disparate impact claims, enabling us to continue bringing legal challenges based on unfair and unacceptable discriminatory effects.  And we are proud to stand with Secretary [Julian] Castro at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to enhance enforcement of the Fair Housing Act in order to remedy the entrenched segregation that afflicts too many of our communities.

Of course, advancing liberty and justice also requires that we look critically at the Justice Department’s own role – and its own responsibility – as a central player in the federal criminal justice system.  Two years ago, my predecessor, Attorney General Eric Holder, launched the Smart on Crime initiative – a groundbreaking effort designed to reorient the way we approach criminal justice issues by diminishing the use of harsh mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenses; investing in rehabilitation and reentry programs that can reduce the likelihood of recidivism; and supporting vulnerable communities to prevent them from being caught up in the criminal justice system in the first place.  We convened the Federal Interagency Reentry Council in 2011 to reduce barriers to successful reentry, directed every United States Attorney to designate a Prevention and Reentry Coordinator in his or her district and asked our law enforcement partners and state Attorneys General to reconsider policies that create overly burdensome collateral consequences while doing little to improve public safety in a meaningful way.

The early results of these efforts have been extremely promising.  I am not just hopeful, but excited about where these reforms will lead us in the years to come.  But as President Obama said yesterday, there is no question that there is more we can do – and more that we must do.  I commend the President for his action this week to commute the unduly long sentences of 46 individuals, the vast majority of whom were convicted of relatively minor drug crimes – a striking illustration of the unfairness in some of our sentencing laws – and I welcome his charge to reexamine the use of solitary confinement as a form of incarceration.  I also look forward to working with Congress to advance a broader reform effort on the federal level and building on the bipartisan support we’ve seen around the country for making our criminal justice system more efficient, more effective and more fair.

Nowhere are these efforts more vital than in our work with young people – because they are the ones whose entire lives can be forever altered when the criminal justice system ensnares them or their parents – and the ones who stand to benefit most from early interventions that put them on a more promising path forward.  We need children – particularly children of color – to turn towards the law enforcement officers in their neighborhoods; to view them as partners, helpers and members of the community; and to aspire to become guardians themselves.  We need children to experience schools that are places to learn and to grow and not zero-tolerance institutions or pipelines into the criminal justice system.  Ultimately, we need children to see possibilities for themselves beyond the cycle of criminality and incarceration that has too often become a tragic and familiar fact of life.  America is a land of second chances – but it must also be a land where we give opportunities to young people who haven’t gotten a chance at all.

That’s why we need to make clear to the youth of this nation – not only with our words, but with our actions – that we value them, that we care about them, that we will stand with them, and that America is their country, too.  It’s why we need to invest in initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper, which is designed to help all children fulfill their potential.  It’s why we need to renew our focus on alternatives to prison, like drug courts and treatment and probation programs that can help keep young people and their parents out of jail and on the right track.  And it’s why we need to work in partnership with cities across the country, through programs like the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, to promote positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities we serve – to demonstrate what I know: that law enforcement can protect communities without breaking them and that communities can and must be partners in the effort to ensure public safety.

A few weeks ago, I began traveling to cities across the country to showcase some of the innovative work that law enforcement agencies and community groups are doing, together, to strengthen police-community relations and foster mutual trust and respect.  I have been encouraged by what I have seen so far and by the conversations I’ve been a part of – especially with young people.  And I have been particularly excited by the youth activism that has taken root, not only in these cities but nationwide, as young Americans use new forms of communication like social media to bring attention to vital issues that have been too long ignored.  Some of these young people are members of local chapters of NAACP.  Others are newcomers to social action.  But all are engaged in the challenges of our time and all are committed to using new approaches, new methods and new energy to ensure that we as a nation can strengthen our society and live up to our values.

In so many ways, our movement has always been inspired by young people.  And they have often borne the brunt of those efforts with a grace and fortitude well beyond their years.  During the dark days of fire hoses and police dogs, the marches in Birmingham were led by young people.  Of course, four little girls were targeted as retribution.  Fifty years ago, John Lewis walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge towards the full measure of equality promised to us all, and received blows to the head instead.  But he continued to stand as the definition of “bloody, but unbowed.”  In my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, the sit-in movement was started by students at A&T University, who withstood the derision and physical assaults heaped upon them, setting off a wave of nonviolent resistance to segregation across the South.  Young people all, committing their energy, their innovation and their resolve – insisting, even in difficult times, that there were brighter days ahead if only we all had the courage to do our part.

During those days of the North Carolina sit-ins,  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed young activists at the Durham church that my father would go on to pastor several years later.   Dr. King praised “the spectacular example of determined and dedicated young people demanding their rights.”  He imagined that, “one day, historians of this era might be able to say, there lived a great people…who injected new meaning into civilization.”  And he reminded his audience that, “[W]hen you have found…a correct course, a morally sound objective, you do not equivocate, you do not retreat – you struggle to win a victory.”

Today, in this city of Brotherly Love, we celebrate the greatness of that people.  We call on their spirit to fortify us as we build the more just society that they always imagined.  And we commit to this struggle – without equivocation or retreat – for our children, who too often bear the consequences of our imperfection and for generations to come, who will inherit the world that we design.  Tonight, as we celebrate the triumphs of our past, let us also plan for the days to come.  Let us summon the energy of the young people who were the foot soldiers of our movement.  Let us take inspiration from the long road we’ve traveled as we look forward to the journey that lies before us.  And let us recommit ourselves to truths that were held to be self-evident nearly two and a half centuries ago in a meeting hall not far from here: that all are created equal.  That all are endowed with unalienable rights.  That all are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The road ahead will not be easy – it never has been.  We will face difficult times – we always have.  But the beauty of America, the glory of America and the history of America tells us that many of our greatest accomplishments in civil rights, in human rights, come after some of our darkest days.  Dr. King also spoke in Greensboro during the days of the sit-ins.  My father remembers him speaking there, and saying, “If God had asked me when I wanted to be born, I’d want to be born now.”  Even in those times of adversity, he saw the opportunity for this country to become the beacon of hope envisioned by its founders.

My friends, I’m glad I was born now.  I’m glad the NAACP is here now.  I’m glad I have the chance to work with all of you now, all of you who are motivated by faith in the promise of this country and steeled with the determination to make that promise real.  And because we are all here now, I have the utmost confidence that, together, we will continue to spread dignity, fairness and equality to every corner of this nation.  And out of a long night of injustice, a brighter day will come.

Thank you and keep up the great work.

June Jobs in Illinois Decrease -7,500

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Unemployment Rate Declines to 5.9 percent

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that Illinois’ unemployment rate in June declined to 5.9 percent and nonfarm payroll employment shed -7,500 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for June, which fell from the prior month to 5.3 percent.  The BLS revised May data, which showed a smaller increase in Illinois’ job gain from a preliminary +9,200 to +7,400.

According to the Department, Illinois’ labor force has decreased by 33,600 people and the number of Illinois residents employed from that time has declined by 17,600, since January 2015.  IDES analysts estimate that the number of jobs in Illinois will not reach pre-recession levels until approximately September 2016.

“The drop in the number of unemployed Illinois residents since the beginning of this year is not entirely attributable to people finding jobs, rather to people leaving Illinois’ workforce altogether,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays.  “This factor must be considered when highlighting lower unemployment numbers.”

In June, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,500), Financial Activities (+2,200) and Educational and Health Services (+1,000).  The three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were Construction (-4,700); Other Services (-3,200); and Leisure and Hospitality (-3,100).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +47,500 jobs with the largest gains in Professional and Business Services (+23,500); Education and Health Services (+15,800); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+14,500).  Three key sectors posted over-the-year declines in June: Manufacturing (-6,300); Financial Activities

(-2,600) and Government (-2,600).

The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.  An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.  IDES’ IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL) program, which helps jobseekers connect with hiring companies, recently showed that 172,550 help wanted ads were available and 58,542 resumes were posted.  The Department continues its efforts to help spur job growth in Illinois as many positions continue to remain unfilled.

In June, the unemployment rate stood 1.0 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 6.9 percent.  The number of unemployed workers decreased 2.5 percent from the prior month to 382,400 and was down -14.5 percent over the same month for the prior year.

“As jobs continue to leave Illinois, we need to focus on enacting reforms to reinvigorate our business climate and create greater economic opportunities for all Illinois families,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jim Schultz said. “Without lasting structural reform Illinois will continue to lag behind other states in job growth and our economic recovery.”

Seaonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

Notes:

  • Monthly 1976-2014 labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised using new, fourth generation state time-series models, as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs.  Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Census Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking.  For these reasons, comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials might no longer be valid.
  • Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available at: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/Illinois_Chicago_Metropolitan_Area_Unemployment_Rates.aspx
  • Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available at http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/CES.aspx “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: Personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations.  Seasonally adjusted employment data for subsectors within industries are not available.

Dunkin Helps Bring Happy Hour Back to Illinois

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, joined a bipartisan group of legislators to witness the governor’s signing into law a proposal Dunkin backed that will allow Illinois bars and restaurants to offer happy hour drink specials. Dunkin, who serves as chairman of the House Tourism and Conventions committee, believes happy hour specials will help make Illinois more attractive to tourists.

“Restaurants all over Illinois already offer excellent food and alluring dining environments,” Dunkin said. “Allowing happy hours will help attract vacationers, support local businesses and boost our state economy.”

Dunkin backed this legislation to return happy hours to Illinois after a multi-decade ban, with safety measures, including prohibiting drink specials that encourage excessive consumption and requiring all servers to participate in responsible alcohol service training. The new law is effective immediately.

For more information, contact:

State Rep. Ken Dunkin

773-363-1411

ken@repkendunkin.com

Photo Caption: Pictured from left to right: State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, state Rep. Ken Dunkin, Gov. Bruce Rauner, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and state Rep. Ron Sandack pose for a photo Wednesday as the governor signs legislation to re-instate happy hours in Illinois.


Congressional Tri-Caucus Statement on Senate Passage of the Every Child Achieves Act

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by a 81-17 vote. Due to the lack of substantive improvements to the underlying bill, the Congressional Tri-Caucus—which is comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)—maintains opposition to S.1177 and calls upon House and Senate leaders to make improvements as the reauthorization process moves forward. The Chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus issued the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“The Senate had the opportunity to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that every child—regardless of their race, wealth, or background—has the opportunity for a quality education. While the Senate’s bipartisan effort was a big step forward, I am disappointed that the needs of our students are still unmet. Subgroup accountability is not sufficiently addressed, leaving many vulnerable children to fall behind and slip through the cracks. Resources are not equitably distributed to ensure that federal dollars are going to the schools and students that need it the most. And, particularly for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, there is no disaggregated data that would allow lawmakers and other stakeholders to uncover the progress and needs of AAPI subgroups. While the Senate bill is an improvement from our current law, more must be done. As both chambers of Congress move to conference the ESEA bills, I urge my colleagues to put politics aside and fight for our nation’s children.”

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-1), CBC Chair:

“We oppose the Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177) in its current form as it falls short of the principles outlined by the members of the Tri-Caucus. We must ensure we have adequate safeguards in place to ensure states and school districts are held accountable for the education of every child. We are disappointed our colleagues in the Senate did not make the improvements needed to ensure the bill meets the needs of all students, but appreciate the work of Senator Murray and Senate Democrats to fight for all students and we look forward to rectifying the bill in conference.”

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), CHC Chair:

“I commend the Senate’s bipartisan effort in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, this week, the Republican-led Senate missed a critical opportunity to reauthorize and improve ESEA with the passage of the Every Child Achieves Act. Any final reauthorization bill must ensure that every child—regardless of zip code—has the chance to receive an equitable, quality education. This bill, unfortunately, falls short. As we move forward towards a conference, we must ensure states are held accountable to each and every child.”

Background: On June 10, 2015, over 80 Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus sent a letter to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, calling for stronger subgroup accountability, resource equity, and disaggregated data for Asian American and Pacific Islander students. A link to the letter can be found here.

New TV Platform Supports Marginalized Artists

Posted by Admin On July - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

OPEN TV: SUPPORT FOR INDIE ARTISTS
New Web series platform challenges traditional television

  • Creates opportunities for artists traditionally marginalized by gender and color
  • Trans-focused pilot to premiere in the fall
  • First original series, “You’re So Talented,” honored at the Tribeca Film Festival
  • Networks normalize marginalized characters “for fear of losing advertisers”

EVANSTON, IL -  Frustrated by the lack of diversity on commercial television, Northwestern University’s Aymar Jean Christian launched a platform to develop work from queer, transgender, women of color and other artists typically left out of mainstream production.

Called Open TV beta, the incubator is now both an experiment in community-based Web distribution for indie arts and artists and a research project by Christian, an assistant professor of communication at Northwestern’s School of Communication.

“Networks failed to realize they forgot to make shows for almost half the country,” Christian said of television programming throughout most of the early 21st century. On the rare occasion they do, “they tend to normalize these typically marginalized characters for fear of losing advertisers and a mass audience,” he said.

The project is designed to challenge the traditional method for developing television shows, collect media research data and showcase a typically overlooked population in a more nuanced light.

Open TV allows artists keep their intellectual property, and distribution agreements are non-exclusive, meaning they can sell, promote or show the piece elsewhere after it has appeared on the platform. Currently in beta, plans are to grow slowly, artist by artist and series by series.

“We believe television is an art but must also showcase different types of art outside of the competition format we see on reality TV,” Christian said. “We are not focused on ‘scale’ and ‘big data’ but rather on showcasing artists who have earned a few minutes of viewers’ time.”

By developing the shows, Christian is studying media production, consumption and distribution. His work and results will be summarized and, when possible, published on WeAreOpen.TV.

Open TV’s first original series, “You’re So Talented,” was honored at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring as part of its New Online Work program.  The program recently received a $19,000 grant from Chicago Filmmakers and the Voqal Fund to help fund season two.

The series is a “dramedy” about a young artist of color in Chicago. Created and written by Samantha Bailey, who also acts in the show, it was largely produced by a crew of Columbia College students and includes original music from producer Samantha Lee and her band, Whatever Spectrum, with partner Alistair Slaughter.

“At this point I don’t think there’s a place on commercial network television for You’re so Talented” right now,” Bailey said. “We’re moving closer but I don’t think the people that head those networks think there’s an audience for a black girl that looks like me and her stoner, artistic friends.”

During the traditional development process, Bailey would have been given “notes” from television networks, which can change the artist’s vision and make the stories less specific and sincere, Christian said.

“In this case, Sam has written season two without notes from me,” Christian said. “It’s a beautiful script with a vision of showing how a diverse group of artists live in Chicago’s many communities.”

Open TV is also working with trans artists. Shot in Los Angeles with Zackary Drucker, a co-producer on Amazon’s “Transparent,” the next original pilot should be premiering in the fall, Christian said. Major cable and web TV networks have been interested in trans stories to break into a competitive market for original programming.

But “unlike in most mainstream projects, our artists seem less focused on transition and more on how they live, survive and thrive in everyday life and creative endeavors,” Christian said.

Open TV grew out of a research project that Christian began back in 2008. As he studied the field, he realized that independent creators were feeling neglected by commercial television and were making and releasing their own shows via an open network. Producers piloted new shows in collaboration with fans and sponsors.

But web series had little visibility, and those who had seen a few weren’t impressed. Resources were scarce, budgets small, marketing and promotion a constant struggle, and sponsors were reluctant to support independent series, particularly from people of color, Christian said.  “Many went completely unnoticed by potential fans,” he said.

Christian began seeking out a wide range of sources to help artists pilot shows. The heart of the project is “Open TV Presents,” a series of experimental pilots about artists exploring alternative relationships.

For example, the first independent pilot, “Nupita Obama Creates Vogua,” follows three romantically entangled queer of color performance artists who must learn to live with one another during a stressful moving day. A teaser shows the first scene where star Erik Wallace, a hip hop artist and dancer, demonstrates how elements of “vogue” might mix with yoga, showing “a side of hip hop masculinity that we rarely see on television,” Christian said.

“Art is more than about men loving men. It’s about people loving people.”

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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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