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Archive for August 24th, 2015

Madigan: Begin Statewide Implementation of Crime Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on Madigan: Begin Statewide Implementation of Crime Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan highlighted a new state law that will protect the rights of survivors of crime, and ensure they can be heard in court. House Bill 1121, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and Senate President John Cullerton (D Chicago), was passed by the General Assembly nearly unanimously and signed into law Aug. 20.

The new law reconciles the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act with the Constitutional Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment that voters adopted in November 2014. The law defines who is considered a crime victim. It also provides procedures for victims to assert their rights, procedures for prosecutors and courts to ensure that victims are afforded their rights, and outlining procedures for victims seeking a remedy in the event their rights have been violated.

“Survivors of crime deserve the right to seek justice and to be heard in court, and last November, the people of Illinois agreed and amended our Constitution,” said Madigan. “Now, with this law, we have detailed procedures to ensure our criminal justice system is protecting the constitutional rights of individuals who have survived violent crimes, helping them rebuild their lives.”

The Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment, also known as Marsy’s Law, was passed last year by over 78 percent of voters and amended the Illinois Constitution to ensure survivors have comprehensive, meaningful and enforceable rights, including:

  • The right to be treated with fairness and respect and to be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process;
  • The right to receive notice and to participate in a hearing when there is a request for access to the victim’s confidential or privileged records;
  • The right to timely notification of all court proceedings;
  • The right to communicate with the prosecution;
  • The right to be heard at any court proceeding involving the rights of a victim, a post-arraignment release decision, plea or sentencing;
  • The right to be notified of the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused;
  • The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused;
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process;
  • The right to have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered when determining bail and conditions of release after conviction;
  • The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings;
  • The right to have an advocate and other support of the victim’s choice present at all court proceedings; and
  • The right to restitution.

Under the amendment, victims are also able to seek appellate review of court decisions that impact their ability to exercise their rights.

“People who survive violent crimes should have the right to take an active role in making sure the perpetrators of those crimes are held accountable,” said Lang. “I am proud of this new law that enables survivors to be involved in the process, which will hopefully assist them in obtaining some closure.”

“When prosecutors enter the courtroom, they are speaking for the victim, and it is important that the victim’s voice is amplified,” said Cullerton. “To encourage victim participation in the justice process, we must make sure that doing so does not add to the trauma survivors have already overcome.”

Under HB 1121, victims will provide prosecutors and judges with a checklist of the rights they want to assert. Prosecutors are charged with asserting those rights on victims’ behalf, and victims may also retain an attorney to protect their rights. At the start of a court proceeding, judges will be required to determine whether a victim has been properly notified of the proceeding.

In addition to outlining how other victims’ rights will be asserted and preserved, the law also sets forth the factors a judge must consider when deciding what the remedy will be for a violation of a victim’s constitutional right. It also allows for victims to appeal a trial court’s decision regarding their rights.

“This is a tremendous victory for victims of crime. Illinois voters overwhelmingly voted ‘yes,’ and the governor’s signature is the final hurdle in giving crime victims the rights they deserve,” said Polly Poskin, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “ICASA commends the Illinois legislature, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and victim advocates for this courageous action on behalf of victims’ rights.”

The Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment and HB1121 were both supported by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Association, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and numerous victims’ rights organizations.

Attorney General Madigan’s Crime Victim Services Division manages several programs that provide assistance to crime victims and service providers. For more information about the Crime Victims Services Division or the rights afforded to survivors of crime, please visit the Attorney General’s website or call her office’s toll-free Crime Victims’ Assistance Line: 1-800-228-3368 or 1-877-398-1130 (TTY).

House Bill 1121 goes into effect immediately.

One Year After #MikeBrown: Response of Some Police, Politicians Not Maturated

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on One Year After #MikeBrown: Response of Some Police, Politicians Not Maturated
By Nicole Lee
Anticipation for the commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the killing of Mike Brown Jr. by then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was high. Clergy community and civil leaders, gathered to remember “Mike-Mike”‘s life, death and aftermath that sparked a movement.
While Mike Brown’s death unfortunately was not wholly unique, the response from the community was. Community members stayed in the street publicly protesting and never went home. Open defiance lasted hundreds of days. Even after the police brought out dogs and tear gas, the community refused to back down. These acts of civil disobedience inspired people around the country to defy the initial storyline of “looters” and “rioters” and to look to the deeper issues at play in Ferguson.

This anniversary was met with protests and renewed calls for justice but it was also greeted by music, concerts, prayer vigils and strategy sessions. While the goals remained steadfast among demonstrators and concerned folks, there was diversity in approach and tactics. Activists, artists and religious leaders were retrospective with a keen eye toward all that still must be won. The future of a movement was in the hands of not just Ferguson but the nation and as a movement, it must be prepared to act locally and nationally.

Yet the response of the police and some politicians in St. Louis County has not maturated. Once again, vehicles and armament reminiscent of war scenes, rolled onto West Florrisant in Ferguson. On the anniversary of Mike Brown’s death while a concert headlined by Talib Kweli and Common rocked the night in Ferguson, the police ordered a group of protesters to disperse. Moments later, they teargassed the very path the police ordered protesters to take. A 12-year-old girl was put in handcuffs. A handicapped veteran was maced and tackled to the ground. Armed white vigilantes roamed the streets of Ferguson while once again black protesters found themselves public enemy #1.

The next day, protesters took to Highway 70 shutting it down for 15 minutes. Those demonstrators who were nearly run over by an angry driver were charged with assault. Demonstrators and onlookers were arrested, many kept in handcuffs for up to 12 hours.

These actions are merely a manifestation of the deeper structural issues that remain in St. Louis County. The entrenched system, never improved by the civil rights movement, continues to fight reform and punish those calling for it. St. Louis County’s municipalities had a banner year in terms of arrests and fines collected from its residents. Ferguson has rejected the first draft of the consent decree presented by the Department of Justice in order to ameliorate its racist policing practices.

In an equally brazen move, the county executive for St. Louis County has decided to pursue criminal charges against protesters. These charges go as far back as last August and our cases that the state prosecutor and the municipalities chose not to pursue.

I think of the ways in which St. Louis County continues to defy conventional wisdom treating its own citizens as enemy combatants every time I hear criticism of the tactics of Black Lives Matter activists. From colleagues to comment sections, there is a constant refrain citing tactics over substance. Critiques of political targets over the terror black communities are facing calls to question our priorities as a nation.

One year out, I the tactics of disruption coupled with strong policy recommendations that quickly evolved into reform is the only way to manifest that black lives matter. The Butcher’s Bill is growing with so many dead black men and women at the hands of law enforcement it is difficult to keep track of the hashtags. If a 12-year-old in handcuffs or in a body bag is not enough to shake the entire country from its complacent slumber, perhaps it is not so extreme that people continue to utilize tactics that bring them face-to-face with military vehicles and disapproval from political parties.

One year out, something must give. Not just in Ferguson, but in the hearts, minds, and actions of Americans everywhere. The truth: many of us simply can’t go home hoping that the protests will abate and things will go back to normal. Many of us are fighting this system like our lives depend on it. Because for some of us, they do.

Nicole Lee is the co-founder of the Black Movement Law Project and the immediate past president of TransAfrica.

This article is seventh of an op-ed series on behalf of the Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform. The coalition, convened and led by the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is comprised of over 30 national civil and human rights organizations, faith and community leaders working to address the nationwide epidemic of police brutality and lethal shootings, claiming the lives of Black men, women and youth; and provide necessary reforms to change the culture of policing in America. For more information, please visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.
Photo: Nicole Lee

Hunger Strike Enters 2nd Week, Appeals to Little Black Pearl & WPACA to Withdraw Proposals

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on Hunger Strike Enters 2nd Week, Appeals to Little Black Pearl & WPACA to Withdraw Proposals

The eighth day of the hunger strike for Dyett begins at Little Black Pearl. The hunger strikers will deliver a letter to Monica Haslip of Little Black Pearl asking her to withdraw her organization’s proposal for Dyett High School. The same ask will also be made of Charles Campbell to withdraw the WPACA proposal.

Having engaged in a multi-year process by which the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School academic plan was developed, the Coalition responsible for submitting the proposal feels as though the broader community has already spoken. “Each day that passes is another day of uncertainty, and ultimately a waste of time,” says Dr. Rico Gutstein, a UIC professor and co-facilitator of the Dyett design team who was also a design team member and co-founder of the School of Social Justice at the academically-strong open enrollment neighborhood Little Village-Lawndale High School. “The Board needs to vote now in favor of the proposal that has demonstrated extensive community support through town halls, petitions, post cards, and phone calls.”

WHERE: Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy, 1060 E. 47th St.

WHEN: Monday, August 24, 2015 at 10 A.M.

WHO: Jitu Brown, spokesperson

Monique Redeaux, spokesperson

Irene Robinson, spokesperson

Jeanette Taylor-Ramann, spokesperson

Prudence Browne

Cathy Dale

Anna Jones

Marc Kaplan

Nelson Soza

April Stogner

Dr. Aisha Wade-Bey

In the News:

Rev. Jesse Jackson joins parents in hunger strike over new Dyett school

Dyett Hunger Strikers Weakened and Emotional, But Still Fighting 5 Days In

Dyett High School Parents Plan Hunger Strike

U.S. Black Chamber Pressing Auto Dealers for Fair Return on Black Dollars

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on U.S. Black Chamber Pressing Auto Dealers for Fair Return on Black Dollars

African-Americans  Projected to Spend $24 Billion on Automobile Industry This Year

By Hazel Trice Edney

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This year alone, African-Americans are projected to spend as much as $24 billion on new cars and other vehicles from America’s auto industry. Yet, research shows that, commensurate with their spending, Black consumers have little to show for their support of car dealerships, except the shiny new purchases in their driveways.

That’s the reason that a new agreement between the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers was established to start solving that problem. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed late last month, is to forge relationships with Black vendors and suppliers with hopes to “open millions of dollars of opportunity to Black businesses across the nation,” says Ron Busby, president/CEO of the USBC. “The end goal of these agreements is to leverage USBC’s professional relationships to provide more tangible contracting opportunities for our small business members and to facilitate collaboration in the Black community.”

The announcement of the MOU took place at a press conference sponsored by Hyundai North America during the USBC’s recent 2015 School of Chamber and Business Management, an annual gathering with a goal of fostering growth of small Black businesses and economic development across the country. In a recent interview, Busby explains what the new Memorandum means to Black auto dealers and the Black community as a whole.

“The amount that African-Americans spend on vehicles is inappropriately unequal as it relates back to the number of dealerships that we own as well as the amount of money that those particular brands market to the African-American consumer,” he says. “And so what we hope that this does – this new relationship that we’ve established – is we want to showcase the power of the African-American dollar and recirculate that dollar so that our Black dealers can now increase the number of employees that they have working on their staffs.”

Busby points out that “The number of dealers that are owned by African-Americans is decreasing at a high rate. We have fewer dealers that are owned by Black folk now than we’ve ever had in history. But, yet we have more Black consumers who are buying vehicles than we ever had. We just got to support them like we have to support our Black banks as well as our Black media.”

NAMAD President Damon Lester says there’s been a drastic decrease in Black-owned dealerships. There were only 252 at the end of 2014. That’s down from a peak ownership of 795 in 2005, Lester said. That’s a 31 percent reduction in ownership in less than 10 years.

The USBC has researched several national industries to find ways to recirculate dollars back into Black businesses and the community at large. Last year the organization focused on travel and tourism “and we said we were going to spend more money with Black hotel owners,” Busby recalls. The year before that, it was Black-owned banks.
But, the automobile industry is a special challenge given the comeback of the industry, which nearly collapsed seven years ago. A multi-billion dollar government bailout largely saved the industry, but Black-owned dealerships have continued to struggle having lost thousands of employees.
Marc Bland, vice president for diversity and inclusion for IHS Automotive, which provides statistics and information on the automobile industry among others, says the USBC has the right strategy to deal with the issues – not only as they pertain to the automobile industry, but others as well.

“Activity based on facts and data…creates awareness and education, which leads to proper action and engagement,” Bland says. The USBC, NAMAD and Hyundai are playing out this strategy, he said.

“Collectively, what they did is say, ‘Hey, here’s some information that says the African-American consumer is helping to drive a lot of growth in the U.S. auto industry.’ Hyundai came and showed up, which is the initial action,” Bland recounted. “They invited me to come out as a leader from IHS to provide some fact-based data; and together the three of us, along with Ron, had a conversation which provided awareness and proper education to the attendees. And then NAMAD took the additional step of signing the MOU which says that NAMAD is going to work with Ron Busby to collectively say how can we work together to identify potential growth opportunity for Black auto dealers. And then you have Hyundai, which says they’re going to support the efforts as well.”

Bland said African-Americans represent about 8 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States. By April of this year, Blacks had bought 373,901 vehicles, which, at a conservative
$25,000 per vehicle, could end up at $24 billion by the end of this year. He listed the eight top brands selling most to African-Americans as the following in order of sales: Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Hyundai and Dodge.

Bland applauded Hyundai for having one of its executives present at the U. S. Black Chamber School of Management, “which I think is the first step.”

But, Hyundai is just a start, Bland says. “The data that we have so far is a good foundation for Ron to now have really solid conversations with pretty much all the auto manufacturers; those that are doing great – ‘Hey how can you further expand your platform today and make it even greater?’ And those that are maybe trailing behind, ‘Hey, how can you get up to par, get up to speed and then further expand that platform?'”
Busby not only has that issue, but other critical Black business issues on his plate. “The number one concern is access to capital,” he said in an interview. “And Black businesses in particular feel like it is more challenging this year to get access to the funds to grow and start businesses than they ever have before.”
Another issue often discussed in USBC circles is the question of how to convince African-American consumers to support Black-owned businesses. With an estimated spending power of $1.1 trillion, African-American economic power continues to grow exponentially. But, the average African-American dollar only stays six hours within the Black community, the USBC stated in a release.
Busby, whose non-profit USBC has a membership of 240,000 Black-owned businesses and 115 chambers in 28 states, said he found it ironic that a recent Gallop poll revealed that Hispanic and Asian business-owners say they have not felt as much economic pressures as African-Americans.

“They have not felt the discrimination or the challenge of being a minority as much as African-Americans have,” he said. “But yet we still have a very positive outlook for our future as business owners.”

Photo Caption: U. S. Black Chamber President/CEO Ron Busby signs Memorandum of Understanding with NAMAD President Damon Lester. Marc Bland, IHS vice president of diversity and inclusion, looks on.

Pfleger: Killings are “Epidemic,” Warns “Genocide” is Taking Out the Children

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on Pfleger: Killings are “Epidemic,” Warns “Genocide” is Taking Out the Children

Mother of Tamir Rice Seeks Justice for Son’s Murder

By Chinta Strausberg

Calling the violence in Chicago and in America an “epidemic,” Father Michael L. Pfleger, who Friday night was flanked by Samaria Rice, the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Friday called the daily killing “genocide” he says “is taking out our children, families and our future” and that it appears the shootings are becoming the norm which is troubling.

With several dummies lying on the steps of Saint Sabina’s Rectory dressed in male clothing and splattered with red paint, Pfleger said the shootings “are an epidemic that I don’t think is being addressed. I look at all the violence going on in Chicago, and I don’t hear people talking about it” or the solutions. It makes me angry.”

On one of the dummies, the sign said, “Chicago spends $2 billion in reaction to gun violence, but funds very little for violence prevention. “Fund our lives instead of funding our death.”

Saying the violence that is going on occurs on many levels, Father Pfleger said, “Some of it happens in the hands of law enforcement…some in the hands of trigger-happy vigilantes like George Zimmerman” who killed black unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. “Some of it happens on black-on-black crime that takes place in our neighborhood.”

No matter where crime occurs, Pfleger said,  “We have to address it. We’ve got to eradicate it. We’ve got to stop it…. America cannot continue to turn its head and ignore the violence because it’s mostly black and brown people that are being killed.”

He warned if people are looking towards the government for an answer they “are delusional. We’re going to have to force America to deal with it because America has made it clear they are not going to deal with this,” said Pfleger. “We cannot get overwhelmed. We can’t get immune. That is why we’re out here every single Friday night during the summer.”

Looking at the current crime statistics, Pfleger said just the first 21-days of August there have been 28 people killed and 205 people shot. “That is more than one a day killed. We should be outraged.” Yet, he said there is more talk about Lolapaloza and the NFL coming back to Chicago and other downtown events, but there is killing going on in the West and South Sides of Chicago. “We’d better talk about that too.”

In introducing Rice, whose son did a Cleveland, Ohio policeman who described the shooting incident on his radio as “shots fired, male down, kill. Black male, maybe 20, black revolver, black handgun by him. Send EM.S. This way, and a roadblock,” Pfleger said Rice is here “because there is this growing group of family in America that keeps growing that nobody wants to grow—parents who lost their children.”

The irony the Tamir Rice incident is the “gun” he was playing with in the park was fake as Cleveland’s 911-system operator had explained. The operator clearly said it was “probably fake” and that the offender “was probably a juvenile.” However, the responding officer allegedly never received that message.

Rice said she came to Chicago “to connect the dots,” to build up national platforms she feels will help her find justice for her son. “It has been nine-months, and I don’t have justice for my son yet. She said life is still “a nightmare.”

The mother of three other children, Rice said, “I struggle every day, but I do know there is a God….” Rice vowed to start a foundation to mentor and educate youth as well as give out scholarships for college-bound students. “I’m also here to create policy and to create new laws.

“One thing about me is that I cannot be bought and sold and I know my voice means something,” she said. “I am the voice for my son.”

Pfleger was also joined on Friday night’s peace walk by Nation of Islam Brother Thomas Muhammad, Rev. Gregory Greer, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Chicago, Judge Robin D. Shoffner (5th Judicial Subcircuit), Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Pam Bosley, with the Purpose Over Pain group who lost her son, Terrell, to gun violence, the Brave Youth Leaders, activist Camiella D. Williams, and a very large, diverse group of supporters.

Several youth leaders spoke about the violence including those who said, “We do not stand for black crime. Black lives matter….” “Every three-hours someone is murdered in Chicago. Every 18-hours someone is murdered in Chicago. What are you going to do to change” this? “If you witness a murder and say nothing, you are an accomplice to murder. #breakthecode. We don’t stand for the code of silence….”

Referring to Gov. Bruce Rauner brief term in office, another youth said, “Over 1800 people have been shot and over 300 people have been murdered; yet he still doesn’t fund anti-violence programs. We do not stand for Bruce Rauner’s budget cuts. We are the Brave Youth Leaders, and we are affected by violence every day yet we still don’t have funding. We can’t create a positive impact in this community like we would like to unless we get funding,” he said.

Supporters then marched to 79th and Racine going east to Halsted and throughout the community calling for the end of violence and chanting, “Put the guns down,” “No more shooting.” “Save a life, right now.” “Black lives matter.” “No more guns.” “No more funerals.” One peacemaker held up a sign saying, “Blow your horn” for peace and at times cacophony reigned as motorists responded.

They met Moms on Patrol, headed by Tamar Manasseh, president of Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), at 75th and Stewart who said they are out in the street every night trying to curb the violence. Faye McCullough said they are trying to “take back the streets.”

At the end of the march, Samiria Rice called the peace walk “a great movement. It was powerful.” Asked how was she managing life without her son, she said, “It’s a struggle.”

Brother Muhammad said the march was “very inspiring” and that the march “is definitely making an impact, and we’ll continue to support Father Pfleger and his efforts to stop the violence.” Asked the importance of the Nation of Islam supporting Pfleger ‘s peace walks, Muhammad said, “It shows with unit, there is power and with unity we know there is a victory….”

Pfleger spoke outside of the rectory thanking his supporters for coming but also giving them some very bad news. “While we were marching east, someone got shot to the west…on Laflin. We have to let the devil know we’ll out last him…. We’ll win….”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

2015 Equal Voice Fellows and Scholars Announced

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on 2015 Equal Voice Fellows and Scholars Announced

New America Media

NEW YORK — Marguerite Casey Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2015 Equal Voice Fellowship and Scholarship.

Sixty journalists nationwide competed this year for six journalism grants to support at least one or a series of investigative and exploratory reporting projects on critical poverty issues in underserved communities. These include projects on faces of poverty in the southern Appalachian region; economic struggles that Latino families face in Los Angeles; and the interface between poverty, race, gender and HIV.

Selected fellows will receive a stipend of $2,250, plus up to $1,000 in travel reimbursement, while $500 and up to $800 in travel reimbursement for the scholars.

The fellowship and scholarship will provide the journalists from ethnic and mainstream media with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of critical issues of poverty in communities that they serve and to increase the public’s understanding of poverty in the United States.

This year New America Media oversaw the application and selection process.

Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private, nonprofit grantmaking organization, seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the issues and policies that affect families living in poverty. The goal of its journalism fellowships and scholarship on poverty is to support a cadre of journalists who, through their reporting, can document the intersection of policy and poverty and dispel the myth that people are poor by choice.

The Fellows are:

Araceli Martinez Ortega, La Opinion, Glendale, CA
Araceli will look at economic challenges that confront Latino families in the Los Angeles area. Her five-part series of stories will focus on Latinos who live in overcrowded dwellings, parents who make a living from collecting garbage or street hawking, and families who survive on fast food meals.

Beth Walton Braaksma, Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC
Beth will explore the demographics and different faces of poverty in southern Appalachia, highlighting the diversity of the region’s poor. Her two multimedia stories will include interactive features such as maps, video and photo slideshows.

Jacob Anderson-Minshall, Plus Magazine, Valle Vista, CA
Jacob will examine the intersections between poverty, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV. His investigative series will focus on the criminalization of HIV, the role incarceration plays in HIV transmission, the link between depression and HIV, and trans women with HIV.

Merdis “Penny” Dickerson, Florida Courier and Daytona Times, Tallahassee, FL
Penny will give voice to Florida’s poor by reporting from four-quadrants of the state: Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona and Miami. Through profiles, vignettes and features, her four-part series hope to shift public perception and broaden awareness in areas that critically affect the definition of poor people of color throughout Florida.

The Scholars are:

Justine May Calma, The Ground Truth Project and Columbia University-New York, Brooklyn, NY
Justine will examine how teen pregnancy, reproductive health and family planning are factors in economic inequality in the United States. Her fellowship stories will have accompanying video that follows the lives of young parents, showing what happens when teen moms and dads grow up with a family in tow.

Rachel Hinton, The DePaulia, DePaul University-Chicago, Chicago, IL
Rachel will focus on redlining — the practice of drawing red lines on a map to determine which neighborhoods would receive approved mortgages — and its effects on Chicago neighborhoods, contributing to segregation of the city. Her series will also look at the policies that allow redlining and how its presence can still be seen in today’s communities.

For more information, please contact Anthony Advincula at

Oklahoma is About to Execute an Innocent Man: Sign The Petition Asking Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to Stop the Execution of Richard Glossip

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on Oklahoma is About to Execute an Innocent Man: Sign The Petition Asking Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to Stop the Execution of Richard Glossip

My dear friend Sister Helen Prejean, who I played in “Dead Man Walking,” is fighting her every waking hour to save an innocent man Oklahoma plans to execute in just 26 days. We need your help—and we need it right now.

Sign our petition asking Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to stop the execution of Richard Glossip.

Richard is scheduled to be executed on September 16. He was convicted of murder solely on the testimony of Justin Sneed, who confessed to the murder but claimed Richard had hired him to do it—even though there is not a shred of physical evidence to support his claim. By implicating Richard, Sneed avoided the death penalty himself and is serving a life sentence in a medium-security prison.1

Ten men on death row in Oklahoma have been exonerated in the past 35 years, four of them convicted based on the false testimony of criminals who had their sentences reduced in exchange for their testimony.2

Despite this, Gov. Fallin has said the state will go ahead with the execution.3 Our only hope is that a groundswell of public outrage forces the governor to issue a 60-day reprieve—giving Richard’s pro bono lawyers time to prove his innocence.

Add your voice to help save an innocent man’s life. Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends right away.

Sneed’s own daughter wrote to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last October that she “strongly believe[s]” Richard is innocent. “For a couple of years now, my father has been talking to me about recanting his original testimony,” she wrote. “I feel his conscience is getting to him.”4

Decades of research and investigations show that the death penalty is discriminatory and is used disproportionately against people who are low-income (like Richard), and Black, and in cases where the victim is white.5

As Reverend Adam Leathers of Oklahoma City said, “Sixty days is a small price to pay to avoid killing an innocent man.”6

Thanks for all you do.

–Susan Sarandon


1. “Save Richard Glossip!” Ministry Against the Death Penalty, accessed August 7, 2015

2. “What Happened in Room 102: Oklahoma Prepares to Execute Richard Glossip,” The Intercept, July 9, 2015

3. “Fallin says state is prepared ‘to hold [Richard Glossip] accountable,’ activists plead for his life,” The City Sentinel, August 10, 2015

4. “Clemency letter from O’Ryan Justine Sneed,” Scribd, October 23, 2014

5. “Death Penalty 101,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed August 14, 2015

6. “Fallin says state is prepared ‘to hold [Richard Glossip] accountable,’ activists plead for his life,” The City Sentinel, August 10, 2015

Want to support our work? MoveOn member contributions have powered our work together for more than 17 years. Hundreds of thousands of people chip in each year—which is why we’re able to be fiercely independent, answering to no individual, corporation, politician, or political party. You can become a monthly donor by clicking here, or chip in a one-time gift here.

Attorney General’s Bill to Allow Video, Audio Monitoring in Nursing Homes Becomes Law

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on Attorney General’s Bill to Allow Video, Audio Monitoring in Nursing Homes Becomes Law

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her proposal to help ensure the safety and well-being of nursing home residents was signed into law. House Bill 2462, sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), was passed by the General Assembly with overwhelming support and allows residents and their families to place video or audio monitoring devices in resident rooms.

“Deciding to place a loved one into a nursing facility is extremely difficult, and as Baby Boomers age, more families will be faced with that decision,” said Madigan. “This law makes Illinois one of the first states in the nation to give families peace of mind by allowing them to monitor their loved one’s care when they cannot be present.”

This legislation stemmed from complaints Madigan’s office received from nursing home residents and families who are concerned for their relatives’ care and security. The new law allows residents of nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities or their family members to purchase and install video or audio monitoring devices in their rooms.

“The vast majority of Illinois’ nursing homes provide high-quality services to their residents, but this law allows commonly used modern technology add another layer of care,” said Harris. “These recording devices will help families ensure that their loved ones are receiving respectful and compassionate care.”

“This is a good, common-sense measure that will help protect nursing home residents and enable families to remain active in their loved ones’ care,” said Link. “I would like to thank the Attorney General for bringing this legislation forward, and I am pleased to see it become law.”

In drafting this legislation, Madigan cited an increasing need for additional safety measures at Illinois nursing homes as the state’s population continues to age. Currently, Illinois has more than 860 nursing home facilities with more than 76,000 residents. The U.S. Census Bureau also estimates that by 2030, 22.3 percent of Illinois’ population will be aged 60 and older, an increase of more than 28 percent from 2012.

Madigan noted that video and audio monitoring can be used as an added tool to help resolve disputes about suspected abuse or negligence. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) receives more than 21,000 calls annually and responds to approximately 5,000 complaints, the majority of which involve long-term care facilities. In 2013, the IDPH found 106 allegations of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property against residents by facility staff to be valid. In addition, the video and audio monitoring allowed by this law can be helpful to nursing homes by alerting them to employees who may be involved in abusive or unacceptable behavior, and allowing them to take disciplinary measures.

The critical provisions of this new law will:

  • Allow for audio and video electronic monitoring devices in resident rooms;
  • Require resident and roommate consent;
  • Make nursing home residents or their representatives responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance expenses of the devices;
  • Prohibit facility retaliation against residents for the use of the devices;
  • Provide for recordings to be admissible into evidence in administrative, civil and criminal proceedings; and
  • Provide misdemeanor and felony penalties for any person or entity that intentionally hampers, obstructs, tampers with, or destroys a recording or an electronic monitoring device.

With the enactment of HB 2462, Illinois becomes the fourth state to explicitly allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in resident rooms in nursing home facilities. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

12-Year-Old Hip-Hop Sensation Frankie V Kicks Off Back-To-School Season With New Late Summer Release, “Say Something!”

Posted by Admin On August - 24 - 2015 Comments Off on 12-Year-Old Hip-Hop Sensation Frankie V Kicks Off Back-To-School Season With New Late Summer Release, “Say Something!”

Apple Music, Google Play Music and Amazon Music are all on board for the new Frankie V single

Frankie V Say Something Single

New York City, NY (BlackNews.com) – Hip-Hop Recording Artist, Frankie V is currently on a summer promotional campaign for his official solo debut and summer music release, Say Something!, released by DH Entertainment. The single is marketed, manufactured and distributed by GMUSIC… Powered by a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and is available now through Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and other major digital stores.

“Say Something!” ties in to Frankie Vs Back to School Campaign centered on inspiring other kids to study hard and get an education. Frankie Vs summer release is coordinated by Guion Partners, Inc. (GPI), a Los Angeles based management firm lead by Lindsay Guion, an industry professional best known for his work with Grammy Awardwinning and multi-Platinum recording artists Ginuwine, Mya and DAngelo.

We at GPI are excited to work with Frankie V. It’s rare to find a young artist with the next-level- performance of this special talent. We look forward to continuing work with him as he grows in all aspects, says Lindsay Guion.

Frankie V is a 12-year old Hip-Hop sensation and versatile talent on the rise. As a Hip-Hop recording artist, he is poised with character, exciting delivery and swagger. He focuses on lyrics with a positive message in the world of Hip-Hop. His influences include Meek Mill, the Game and TI. Frankie V embraces his education as a top priority, and fueled by his mother and father’s demand for excellence.

With his parents, family and friends encouragement and his own perseverance, Frankie V is moving steadily and rapidly growing his fan-base as one of Hip Hops brightest and entertaining New Young Stars. As a gifted recording artist, Frankie V has worked both live and in studio with top musical artists. He has opened for celebrity artists such as: Rick Ross, YG, French Montana, Kid Ink and Yo Gotti.

“Say Something!” is available now on Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, and other worldwide digital outlets.
Management Consultant:
Lindsay Guion
Guion Partners, Inc.

Photo: Single cover

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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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