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Archive for August 6th, 2015

Governor Rauner Signs Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL –Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) Director Candice Jones commended Governor Bruce Rauner for signing a package of local and state juvenile justice reform bills into law yesterday as part of the administration’s plan to support comprehensive criminal justice reform.

“These measures greatly improve our ability to right-size juvenile justice in Illinois,” said Director Jones. “Along with our partners, we are taking significant steps to support rehabilitative opportunities for Illinois youth.”

Director Jones thanked Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office and applauded the General Assembly for their bi-partisan support of the reforms. The approved legislation will take effect January 1, 2016.

The legislative reforms are as follows:

SB 1560 (Chief Sponsors – Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Elaine Nekritz) – Amends Illinois law to “right-size” the IDJJ population and to improve departmental efficiencies in four ways:

  • Misdemeanants – Redirects juvenile misdemeanants from IDJJ commitment and clarifies the prohibition of commitment for low-level offenses.
  • Pending criminal case youth – Retains pending criminal case individuals at the county level following a new adult criminal charge.
  • Length of aftercare supervision – Adjusts the length of time a youth will be on aftercare to be proportional to the offense under adult sentencing guidelines.
  • Court documents – Expands which documents must be provided by the courts upon commitment to IDJJ, ensuring consistency in reporting.

HB 3718 (Chief Sponsors – Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Elaine Nekritz) – Reduces the number of juveniles who are automatically transferred to adult court by allowing a juvenile court judge to have flexibility in their decision for youth ages 15 and younger.

HB 2567 (Chief Sponsors – Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Robyn Gabel) – Increases the minimum age that youth can be held in a county detention facility unless other services are not available.

HB 3141 (Chief Sponsors – Sen. Dale Righter and Rep. Chad Hays) – Clarifies and consolidates the reporting requirements of IDJJ to the Governor and General Assembly to ensure transparency and accountability.

The Congressional Black Caucus Recognizes the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965.

“The Voting Rights Act (VRA) is the most successful piece of civil rights legislation in American history and it changed the political landscape for African Americans.  The VRA was enacted during the height of the civil rights movement and prohibits racial discrimination in voting to ensure all Americans have an equal opportunity to participate in our country’s Democratic process.

“In the two years following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Section 4 of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights have come under a renewed assault and we continue to see an ongoing persistence of voter discrimination and disenfranchisement in states across our country.  Fifty years since passage of the VRA, it remains clear that the struggle for the right to vote is not over.  Today, it’s more imperative than ever that Congress pass a comprehensive legislative proposal that restores the Voting Rights Act and improves our nation’s voting system in a way that guarantees access to the ballot box and protects the fundamental right to vote for every American once and for all.”

President Preckwinkle and Commissioner Garcia Announce New $500,000 Fund for Restorative Justice

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Funding is meant to stop violence and provide alternatives to jail

CHICAGO, IL – Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Chuy Garcia will visit the offices of the Woodlawn Restorative Justice Hub, a project of Southside Together Organizing for Power’s, to announce her new $500,000 investment in restorative justice organizations. President Preckwinkle committed to the Reclaim Campaign which includes STOP and the Community Renewal Society last year to support restorative justice as an alternative to incarceration and a strategy to stop the violence. The $500,000 will be released as grants which organizations will be eligible to apply for later this month.

“Through our Justice Advisory Council, we invest in locally based initiatives that emphasize restorative justice, recidivism reduction and violence prevention,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I view the programs we support as key components in the network of services we are building to reach everyone who experiences violence, whether they are characterized as victims or offenders.”

Darrius Lightfoot, a youth organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth and a participant in the Woodlawn Restorative Justice Hub, says that “the Restorative Justice Hub has engaged street involved youth to give them an alternative path, to engage them as peacemakers. This work is real, we have young people helping to mediate a street conflict going on right now. Restorative Justice Hubs invest in long term relationships to provide peace circles, mentorship, jobs and other services that people caught up in the streets need.”

Father Larry Dowling, the priest of St. Agatha’s Parish in North Lawndale and a member of the Community Renewal Society, says that “building the community’s restorative justice capacity has been key to stopping countless conflicts from escalating, we building the capacity of our community to be peacemakers.”

This event is being organized by the Reclaim Campaign a coalition which includes the Community Renewal Society, Southside Together Organizing for Power / Fearless Leading by the Youth, and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization.

Collins Votes to Release Federal Funds and Keep WIC Offices Open

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Also funds cancer screenings, LIHEAP, job training, addiction services and more

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on budget legislation the Senate passed  to allow $4.8 billion federal funding to be used for purposes such as energy bill assistance, infant nutrition, cancer screenings, substance abuse treatment, developmental disabilities services and job training:

As a public servant, I uphold and fight for the democratic values that define this state and nation. Justice and equality demand that the people and their representatives not ignore the needs of those who cannot care for themselves or advocate for themselves.

Yet in the ongoing state budget impasse, their needs have been ignored in shocking ways – frail senior citizens denied home care services, at-risk youth with nowhere to go after school but the streets, a day care center for children with HIV/AIDS threatened with closure and families whose medically fragile infants must have expensive, specialty formulas told that at the end of this week, they will be on their own.

I was proud to vote my values today as the Senate, in an encouraging show of bipartisanship, passed legislation that releases federal funding for a wide variety of state programs, including those that serve our most vulnerable populations. I urge my colleagues to continue to push for a budget resolution that recognizes our shared moral responsibility to assist and uplift those in need.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2042, must now be approved by the House before going to the governor’s desk.

NAACP Statement on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – The NAACP has released the following statement applauding President Obama for his historic proposal to curb US carbon pollution as a key component of his comprehensive climate change plan. Power plants are the country’s single biggest source of carbon pollution – responsible for up to 40% of the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases. According to the plan, these measures will reduce the pollutants that contribute to life-threatening soot and smog by 70% which would have significant implications for communities of color. Three out of every four African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. These communities are disproportionately represented among those with respiratory illnesses, such as lung cancer and pulmonary disease. In fact, African American children are 3 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for an asthma attack and twice as likely to die of asthma.

From Cornell Williams Brooks, NAACP President and CEO:

“As we enter the third day of America’s Journey for Justice, I applaud President Obama’s introduction of the Clean Power Plan. Just as we march to preserve our right to vote and to ensure that our children have access to good schools and a quality education, we also march to preserve our rights to clean air, clean water and to communities less impacted by climate change. The NAACP will continue to advocate for safer, cleaner, healthier energy alternatives and the job opportunities that result from innovative energy solutions. We stand with President Obama’s efforts to establish the protections our communities need.”

From Jacqueline Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice:

“We stridently refute the contentions of those who have used an equity and civil rights frame to oppose regulations on carbon pollution by claiming undue cost burden on vulnerable communities. The cost these communities are paying from their close proximity to polluting plants and from choking down toxins daily is the toll that compromised health, negative educational outcomes and challenged work performance takes on community well-being and growth potential. Still others see the devastating climate change impacts from pollution including disasters, rising sea levels, and decreasing availability of affordable nutritious foods, all of which disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities. While further comment is forthcoming on the contents of this extensive plan as our focus is ensuring that it is a strong rule with a robust environmental justice analysis, we commend President Obama for finalizing carbon pollution standards and for advancing efforts to protect the environment on which we all depend for our very existence. We will work with the Administration and with the states to ensure that the state implementation plans prioritize energy efficiency and clean energy sources of solar, wind, and geothermal, while advancing community solar ownership models and job and entrepreneurship opportunities for low income communities and communities of color in the new energy economy.”

Arise Above Abuse: President Obama’s 2014 Grammy Speech Inspires Release of Independent Artists’ Compelling New Spoken-Word & Music Album

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Produced by a team of independent artists the nation over, ‘Arise Above Abuse, Artists Speak Out For Women’ uses spoken-word and music to tell the collective story of what it means to be a victim of sexual and domestic abuse; a microcosm of the plight almost five-million women are forced to endure each year. Contributors include Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, some of the country’s most talented artists and a team of a producers who know what it means to be one of the statistics. The album has a bold goal – to convey messages of hope, healing, understanding, forgiveness, and positive change for those suffering in their darkest days.

Wailuku, Hawaii – When Cindy Paulos sat in the audience of the 57th Grammy Awards, she had no idea that a video speech from President Obama – part of the White House’s ‘It’s On Us’ campaign – was about to change her life. As President Obama asked the musicians in the theater to use their power to raise awareness of domestic violence and rape against women, Paulos was filled with the repressed memories of her own abuse as a youngster, and she vowed to do something to reach out to women.

Now, that mammoth project has come to fruition as ‘Arise Above Abuse, Artists Speak Out For Women’. This passionate, poignant and uplifting collection of spoken word pieces and music is set to raise vital awareness for victims of rape, abuse and domestic violence – with many pieces created by those who have suffered their wrath.

“Most of the stories narrated in this album come from real life experiences and convey messages of hope, healing, understanding, forgiveness, and positive change,” explains Rev. Paulos, who has personal experience of leaving the trauma of abuse unaddressed. “We wish to let women know that there is help available and that there are people who do care.  We hope that you will feel the need to do something about this issue. If just one person is helped by this effort, it is all worthwhile.”

Continuing, “The album’s Producers all are members of the National Academy of Recording Artists (NARAS), and the team behind Arise Above Abuse, Artists Speak Out For Women is comprised of talented and dedicated artists who also believe in the need to put a stop to domestic violence, rape and abuse. These artists donated countless hours of their time and expertise to make this album possible.”

According to a 2013 study, over 1/3 of the world’s women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. ‘Arise Above Abuse’ and those behind the project are now on a mission to reach out to women who feel their voice has been stolen by their abusers.

“This CD exists to offer help to those who can resonate with its message; those looking to be healed, uplifted and ultimately understood by others who know what they are going through. Help exists for every woman, but knowing it is there is easier said than done. Our artists have a unique and often intense way of getting this message across. It’s a message for millions.”

All profits from sales will be donated to Women Helping Women, a non-profit who have helped thousands of women whose lives have been threatened.

‘Arise Above Abuse, Artists Speak Out For Women’ will be released on August 18th, 2015, and will be available from Amazon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arise-Above-Abuse

Official website: http://www.ariseaboveabuse.com

Those wishing to have albums donated to domestic violence facilities should contact Paulos at:  KAOI 808-244-9145 or via http://www.CindyPaulos.com.

Contact Rev. Cindy Paulos- Author / (808) 283-2488 / cindy@tiki.net

Fathers Incorporated Launches “The Honorable Man” Campaign to Encourage 20,000 Black Fathers to Represent at the Upcoming Million Man March

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Fathers Incorporated Honorable Man Campaign

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) – It has been nearly 20 years since the historic Million Man March in October of 1995. Much has transpired over this time with the nations Black Men and Families. Recent Pew research indicates that black fathers are engaged more than any other population of fathers in the day-to-day activities and rearing of their children. “We have a long way to go, however we have made some significant progress in challenging and disproving the societal view of black fathers,” says Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated.

Beginning the first week in August and up until the march, the Atlanta based not-for-profit will encourage at least 20,000 black fathers across the nation to sign the Honorable man pledge on its website (www.millionblackfathers.com) in order to represent the new 21st Century dad at the October 10th, twentieth anniversary celebration of the Justice or Else Million Man March in Washington, DC.

“In the first couple of weeks (pre-launch) we already have signatures from fathers in 33 cities in 13 states presenting nearly 100 children. This is a clear indicator that black fathers understand both the significance and importance of having their voices represented on the platform of this historic and memorable occasion,” says Braswell.

For eleven weeks leading up the march, activities will include a comprehensive social media campaign to generate conversation around the principles of the “Honorable man”, to include “word of the week,” video of the week and contest challenges to sign up fathers to take the pledge. The hashtag #honorableman will be used to capture the excitement created by the effort.

FI is also proud to announce its National Advisory Council. These progressive thought leaders from around the country will advise and assist the development and implementation of the campaign. “The Campaign for Black Male Achievement believes that Black men are assets to their families and communities, particularly as caring, loving fathers in the lives of their children. Thats why were are thrilled to partner with Fathers Incorporateds Honorable Man campaign to encourage 20,000 Black fathers to be engaged in the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. We envision that this campaign will revive and encourage thousands of Black fathers to elevate their impact in the lives of their families and community, says Shawn Dove, CEO, Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

National Advisory Council:
Joel Austin (Daddy University)
Thabiti Boone (White House Champion for Fatherhood)
Ali and Arlene Brathwaite (Brathwaite Publishing)
Matt Crews (United League of Hip Hop Fathers)
Shawn Dove (Campaign for Black Male Achievement)
Rev. Darren Ferguson (Starve The Beast)
Cheryl Ford (Black Butterfly)
Lamont Jones (The Furthering Fathering Corporation)
Franklyn Malone (100 Fathers Inc.)
David Miller (Dare to be KING)
Patrick Patterson (Global Partners for Fathers and Families)
Derek Phillips (Real Dads Network)
Stephen Powell (Mentoring USA)
Daryl Rolle (The Catalyst League)
Kimberly Sears Allers (Mocha Manual)
Ron Williams (Fathers Incorporated)

The campaign launched on Monday, August 3rd. For more information to support or promote the campaign, send an email to info@millionblackfathers.com. You can also join them on Twitter @millionblkdads, Facebook at www.facebook.com/millionblackfathers and their website at www.millionblackfathers.com
About Fathers Incorporated
Fathers Incorporated is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit (S) corporation and is dedicated to strengthening the community and family infrastructure by encouraging and enabling the positive involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.

Photo Caption: Fathers Incorporated Executive Director Kenneth Braswell on recent mission trip to Ghana, Africa to work with boys and men.
Photo Credit: Daniel Bonsu

Raoul’s Juvenile Justice Reforms Become Law

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) applauded the signing of two pieces of legislation he sponsored to reform the juvenile justice system, limiting the number of young people committed to Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and adult prisons and the average amount of time they spend there.

“For most juvenile offenders, especially those who have committed non-violent crimes, we see better outcomes and lower rates of recidivism when they are able to live in the community and attend school, rather than being detained in a facility far from home,” Raoul said. “I’m grateful to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her chief of staff, Kim Foxx, for working with me to eliminate the automatic transfer of minors to the adult court system, and to DJJ Director Candace Jones for helping me pass sweeping reforms within the Department of Juvenile Justice.”

House Bill 3718 will eliminate all automatic transfers of children charged with crimes from the juvenile system to adult criminal courts. It will also limit the number of cases in which “presumptive transfers” will be made, giving judges more discretion to decide the best setting for trying and sentencing minors based on the particulars of each case. Finally, the new law enumerates mitigating factors a judge may take into consideration when sentencing a person under 18; these include maturity level, presence of a developmental disability, home environment, history of childhood trauma, prior criminal record and potential for rehabilitation.

When Senate Bill 1560 takes effect, juveniles will no longer be committed to DJJ facilities for misdemeanor offenses. The law also ensures that no minor will be confined to a DJJ facility for longer than an adult would be incarcerated for the same offense and that no minor will be detained in a county jail for committing an act that wouldn’t be illegal if an adult engaged in it. The measure also sets maximum terms of aftercare (the juvenile equivalent of parole) for different types of offenses; currently there is no legal limit on the amount of time DJJ can be made responsible for supervising a young person following release. And it establishes parity by requiring that courts provide DJJ with the same information they provide to the Department of Corrections for adult offenders, to help them more effectively rehabilitate minors in their care.

The two laws will take effect in January of 2016.

Mumps Booster Shot Recommended for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Students

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Department of Public Health, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and University address mumps outbreak


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD), and McKinley Health Center are recommending students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receive a booster shot of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine as soon as possible, even if they have already received one or two previous MMR vaccinations.

“We continue to see new mumps infections in students at the University and are working to stop the spread,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah.  “While most cases on campus have already received two doses of MMR, a third dose may help control the outbreak.  Although the vaccine against mumps is extremely effective, it is not perfect.  This is why it is important for those who can be vaccinated, to take this extra step and potentially help protect those around them.”

IDPH, CUPHD and McKinley Health Center recommend that students planning to take classes on the Urbana-Champaign campus in the fall to receive the booster vaccine as soon as possible from their local healthcare provider, local health department, health clinic, or pharmacy.  Immunity takes two weeks to develop after receiving a vaccination.

In addition to the booster shot, it is important to practice good health habits to reduce the spread of disease, including washing your hands frequently with soap and water, not sharing eating utensils, drinking cups, or cigarettes, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and minimizing close contact with people when sick.

A two-day special MMR vaccine clinic for students, staff and faculty will be held at the ARC Building on Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th from 9 am to 3 pm.  During that time, University of Illinois students who present a valid ID card will be eligible to obtain the vaccine at no cost, and CUPHD will provide free vaccinations to staff and faculty.

Information about future vaccination opportunities through McKinley Health Center will be posted at the McKinley website http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu.  You can also “Like” Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and Champaign County Prepares on FACEBOOK to keep up with the latest information related to public health.  Information about mumps can be found on the IDPH website at www.dph.illinois.gov.

Free Jazz and Pop Concerts Take Center Stage at the MAC in August

Posted by Admin On August - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Music takes center stage this August in the McAninch Arts Center’s free Lakeside Pavilion Summer 2015 Series

New 90.9fm WDCB LIVE Jazz Concert Series Opens with the Hot Latin Jazz of Johnny Blas & His Afro-Libre Orquestra Aug. 6

The U.S. Air Force’s Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble Makes It’s Lakeside Pavilion Debut Sunday, Aug. 16

Glen Ellyn, IL —McAninch Arts Center (MAC), located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage (COD), continues its free Lakeside Pavilion Summer 2015 Series in August with an extraordinary selection of jazz and pop music events. Seating is first come-first served. Concerts are free and open to the public and will take place rain or shine. In the case of inclement weather concerts will be moved indoors to the Belushi Performance Hall, and a notice will be posted to the MAC website: AtTheMAC.org.

August marks the debut of the 90.9fm WDCB LIVE Jazz Concert Series. The series includes the sizzling hot Latin jazz of Johnny Blas & his Afro-Libre Orquestra (Thursday, Aug. 6); the big band sounds of the award-winning Chicago Jazz Orchestra (Thursday, Aug. 13) and Buckwheat Zydeco, hailed by The New York Times as “one of the best bands in America” (Thursday, Aug. 20). Admission is free and all performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Concerts are presented in partnership with 90.9fm WDCB, “Chicago’s home for Jazz!”

The 2015 Pop Music Series continues in August with an entertaining evening of pops music by the MAC’s resident symphony orchestra, New Philharmonic (Friday, Aug. 7). The series continues with the Magic of Motown recreating the incredible harmonies and smooth moves made famous by the Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind, & Fire and more (Friday, Aug. 14). A concert by The Hit Men, featuring former performing and/or recording members of the Four Seasons and other pop groups of the ‘60s and ‘70s completes the Friday evening series (Friday, Aug. 21). All concerts are free and begin at 7:30 p.m.

A special engagement of Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble from the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America has been added to the series and will take place Sunday Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. This 18-piece jazz band will perform selections ranging from traditional big band jazz, to bebop and swing, to modern jazz and will feature a Military Patriotic tribute at the end. This concert is sponsored by The McAninch Arts Center, Fund Me Events, and DuPage Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. This concert is free and open to the public

A variety of meals, snacks and drinks will be available starting 60 minutes before events including beer, wine, soft drinks, gourmet pizza, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, ice cream, popcorn and more. Vendors for the Lakeside Pavilion Summer 2015 Series include Weber Grill Restaurant, Copper Oven Pizza, Heavenly Hot Dogs, Chicago’s Own Pizza, Mona Lisa Pizza.(Dining Partners and menu items may vary and are subject to change. Visit AtTheMAC.org for updates)

McAninch Arts Center (MAC), located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage presents the Free Lakeside Pavilion Summer 2015 Series. Programming runs through Aug. 21. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and bring a blanket and picnic to enjoy at the event. Pets and outside alcohol are not permitted onto the property. For more information about any of these and other MAC events, call 630.942.4000 or visit AtTheMAC.org.

About the MAC
McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near
I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.

The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org. You can also learn more about the MAC on Facebook at facebook.com/AtTheMAC or on twitter at twitter.com/AtTheMAC.

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