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Archive for September, 2015

Publisher’s Son Shot and Killed on Chicago South Side

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On September - 28 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Neal A. Bratcher, Jr., son of Juanita Bratcher, Publisher of CopyLine Magazine, and the late labor leader Neal A. Bratcher, Sr., has died. Neal Jr. died Thursday, September 24, 2015.

“Words cannot adequately express my hurt after losing my only son, Neal A. Bratcher, Jr. to gun violence,” Bratcher stated, through hurt and tears. “For a while now I have read the statistics on gun violence and crime in Chicago, but it never occurred to me that I would lose my son through gun violence.

“My son, Neal, was shot on September 23, 2015 at about 11:30 p.m. He died at 12:06 p.m. on September 24, 2015. My heart hurts. Our family hurt. We’re truly grateful to our friends and colleagues who’ve voiced sympathy and offered their support during our bereavement. Obviously, this is a trying time for our family,” Bratcher concluded.

Funeral and Burial services for Bratcher are private. Condolences can be sent to www.copylinemagazine@yahoo.com or juanitabratcher@yahoo.com.

Clifford Law Offices Files Federal Class Action Complaint for Deceptive and Fraudulent Business Practices Against Volkswagen in “Clean Diesel” Scam

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Clifford Law Offices, a leading mass tort/class action firm in Chicago, today (Monday, Sept. 21, 2015) filed a class action complaint in federal district court on behalf of two people who own Volkswagens that are affected by the recent “clean diesel’ scandal that has rocked the automaker.

The complaint, filed on behalf of Micah Dorn and Peter Haralovich, individually and as representatives of the class, alleges that since at least 2008 Volkswagen represented and sold certain models as “clean diesel engine,” but “they were not clean.”

The CEO of the German car maker has publicly apologized for misleading  the public in selling cars that were able to outsmart official emissions test and register lower numbers during testing but when, in fact, the cars were driven on the road, they could emit the pollutant nitrous oxide as much as 40 times over the legal limit.  That pollutant is a reactive gas that combines with volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere to produce ozone and its emission is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA uncovered the scheme to the public days ago and is now reportedly conducting a full investigation.  Fuel mileage increases also were impacted by these emission control devices, according to the complaint.

Dorn of Cook County, Illinois, and Haralovich of Monroe County, Indiana, contacted Clifford Law Offices to file a lawsuit on their behalf as well as all others similarly situated, which is said to be as many as a half million cars owned and leased in the U.S.  Dorn purchased a new 2013 Jetta and Haralovich purchased a new 2010 Jetta, both relying on the “clean diesel engine” aspect of the cars that were touted as “green” cars and environmentally friendly vehicles.  They both still own the vehicles but said they would not have purchased the cars or would have paid much less had Volkswagen not advertised that feature prior to the sale.

The 20-page complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago specifically alleges violations of the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations.  It goes on to state that Volkswagen “intentionally designed the ‘defeat device’ into the software” and that it was not revealed nor was it discoverable by any buyer or user of the car.  The complaint also alleges fraudulent concealment by VW, violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud statute and violations of the Indiana Deceptive Sales Act.

“When the software in the Affected Vehicles’ electronic Control Module (‘ECM’) detects environmental and vehicle parameters that resemble an emissions test, the ECM activates the pollution control devices installed on the car to enable an emissions test to be passed,” the complaint alleges.  When the emissions tests are not triggered, the emission control devices on the cars are partially turned off and bypassed, the complaint goes on to say.

Specifically, the complaint mentions that this software has been installed on models between 2009 to the present on the Jetta, the Jetta Sportwagen, the Golf, the Golf Sportwagen, the Audi A3, the Beetle, the Beetle Convertible and the Passat.  The EPA has recalled all of these vehicles for the years in question.

“Once again, we are privileged to represent consumer interests against corporate wrongdoing,” said  Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at the firm.  “Our firm has developed a reputation for complex litigation, and consumer class action matters in particular.  We have always been an advocate for consumers.”

Clifford recently was selected as co-lead counsel in the defective Pella windows class action matter in federal district court in Chicago.  He also has a number of other class action cases including representing dozens of people involved in the General Motors faulty ignition issue.  He was named this month as the 2015 top Mass Tort/Class Action lawyer in the Chicago metropolitan area by Best Lawyers, one of the top peer-review legal groups in the country.

The complaint alleges that the amount of harm to some half million potential plaintiffs exceeds $5 million.

To find out more about the case or to file an informational report with the law firm, go to www.CliffordLaw.comor email VWLawsuit@CliffordLaw.com

______________

For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909.
www.CliffordLaw.com

Ben Carson is wrong: Setting the Record Straight on American Muslims – Facts Vs. Fiction

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Letters to Editors
From: Daniel Tutt, Unity Productions Foundation

This week one of the leading GOP Presidential candidates, Dr. Ben Carson, announced that all American Muslims should be disqualified from ever becoming President of the United States simply based on their faith. In Texas, a 14-year old student was arrested for inventing a clock that his teacher mistook for a bomb. The student ³just happened to be² an American Muslim.

These two unfortunate events are only the most recent examples of a rising tide of suspicion and fear distorting the views of a segment of the general public. Confusion created in the mainstream press and social media about American Muslims is having a profoundly negative impact on our community.

We’ve produced a ground-breaking short film to set the record straight — American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction.

This eleven-minute film is the result of thousands of conversations with hundreds of different communities over the past several years, in which we have heard our American neighbors ask the same bias-skewed questions about their Muslim neighbors over and over. The assumptions embedded in these questions, assumptions instilled by the mainstream media, don¹t match up with the facts on the ground‹who American Muslims are, what they represent, and how they live their lives here.

We invite you ­ and the readers of http://www.copylinemagazine.com/news/2011/08/23/³my-fellow-american²-an-online-film-and-social-media-project-urges-concerned-americans-to-pledge-and-spread-a-message-that-muslims-are-fellow-americans/ — to write about and to share this new film, and help us set the record straight. Faced with so much misinformation about American Muslims, we need to work together to educate our neighbors and engage in real conversations. A lot is at stake. 

Thanks for your consideration,

Daniel Tutt

Producer, American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction

Unity Productions Foundation

www.americanmuslimfacts.com

Aiming Property Tax Increase Downtown is a Good Start, But More Fundamental Shift Needed to Fix Chicago Budget

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Grassroots Collaborative Responds to Mayor Emanuel’s Budget Address

CHICAGO, IL – This morning Mayor Emanuel delivered his first budget address since being forced into a runoff election.  Emanuel laid out various taxes, fees and fines to address the city’s budget deficit, with a focus on a property tax increase.  The Mayor estimated 1 out of 4 dollars of his proposed property tax increase would come from the central business district. This is the right direction. For Chicago to be financial sound we need to put a greater burden on downtown and commercial interests, a group that has not had to pay their fair share in previous Chicago budgets.

However, regressive revenue solutions such as the $9.50 garbage collection fee and more privatization such as outsourcing 311 service are exactly what we have seen in previous city budgets that have led to devastation in Chicago neighborhoods. Mayor Emanuel and his predecessors have built Chicago’s budget on disinvesting in black and brown neighborhoods and targeting working families with fines and fees. Meanwhile Chicago has refused to go after the big banks and Wall Street that have taken over $803 million in Chicago taxpayer money through city toxic swaps as of spring 2015.

Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative responding to the Mayor’s budget address stated, “The last few Chicago budgets have been a one-two punch aimed at our communities. One hand closes schools, shutters mental health clinics, and dismantles affordable housing. The other hits with increased utilities, red light cameras, and taxes aimed at those least able to pay. This has proven to be a disaster for both Chicago’s neighborhoods and Chicago’s finances.”

“We need a truly progressive property tax, one that shifts the burden from longtime homeowners and renters to commercial property owners that have not been paying their fair share. To do this, we need an alternative minimum property tax to close the backdoor to huge tax breaks that clouted downtown corporations enjoy. Mayor Emanuel should drop regressive revenue like the proposed garbage collection fee and instead pursue new bold solutions like suing Bank of America to get our money back and work with other cities to collectively bargain a reduction in fees paid to the banks.”

Congressional Black Caucus Recognizes National Voter Registration Day

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement recognizing National Voter Registration Day

“Today is National Voter Registration Day and nationwide voter registration has never been as important.  Civic engagement and participation have always been important facets of our democracy, but not every American has always enjoyed the right to fully participate and engage in the Democratic process.

“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped to remove some of the barriers that once prevented African Americans from voting.  Yet, we have witnessed over the two years since Shelby County v. Holder, a systematic reversal of voting rights designed to hinder voter participation through the implementation of discriminatory policies.

“For more than forty years, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have worked tirelessly to protect civil rights and the right to vote for all Americans.  Now more than ever, we remain committed to ensuring that no eligible voter is turned away from the ballot box.  Every American deserves unfettered access to exercising one of their most basic rights – the right to vote.  So this National Voter Registration Day, be sure to register to vote or make sure your voter registration status is current and up to date.

“Let’s celebrate democracy to its fullest and ensure every eligible American voter is able to engage and participate in the upcoming election so that they are heard at the ballot box.”

Prosecutors Secure 100-Year Sentence in 2010 Murder and Sexual Assault Case

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

A Chicago man believed to be a serial murderer and rapist who preyed upon women in violent sexual attacks on the South Side has been sentenced to 100 years in prison in the second of multiple cases against him, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Michael Johnson, 30, was sentenced today after having been previously convicted in this case of one count of Murder and two counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. Johnson was convicted and sentenced in another case and is still facing charges of murder and sexual assault of three other women who were slain in attacks by Johnson between 2008 and 2010. He is also facing attempted murder and sexual assault charges in connection with a fifth case in which the victim survived.

According to prosecutors, on January 11, 2010, the body of the victim was found in an abandoned building near 119th and Wentworth. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be strangulation. DNA evidence taken from the victim matched Johnson, who was arrested in 2010 after a computerized law enforcement data base search of his DNA identified him as the attacker in this case and linked him to the other attacks.

Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski sentenced Johnson today to 40 years for the Murder and 30 years for each Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault charge. All charges are to run consecutively, for a total of sentence of 100 years. The remaining cases against Johnson are pending.

Johnson was sentenced to 90 years in March of 2014 for another case where the victim survived the attack. In that case, Johnson met the victim near a gas station in the area of 111th and State Street and the victim agreed to have sex with Johnson for money at his residence. After the two engaged in sex, the defendant requested an additional sex act, which the victim refused. As the victim was getting dressed to leave Johnson’s residence, prosecutors said Johnson grabbed her and began to choke her until she lost consciousness. As the victim drifted in and out of consciousness, Johnson continued to choke and beat her before sexually assaulting her. Afterwards, Johnson threw the victim off a second story balcony and then dragged the naked victim through a vacant lot and left her in the alleyway causing second degree friction burns on her back. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where a rape kit was collected and DNA evidence was eventually matched to Johnson.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Mercedes Luque-Rosales and Alex DelCastillo and the Chicago Police Department for their work on this case.

Urban League, Community Leaders Announce Major Expansion of Landmark Jobs Initiative

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

NEWARK, N.J. – The National Urban League marked the two-year anniversary of its landmark, $100 million private-public partnership, Jobs Rebuild America, with the announcement of a $2 million, multi-year expansion in Essex County, New Jersey.

“Through Jobs Rebuild America, the Urban League of Essex County has served hundreds of job-seekers, from teens to senior citizens, and is poised to serve at least 500 more in the coming year,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Essex County has shown that public-private-nonprofit partnerships can drive job creation and the program innovation required to revitalize struggling communities.”

Vivian Cox Fraser, President and CEO of the Urban League of Essex County, said, “We believe that jobs provide much more than money.  Work brings purpose, pride and dignity – assets that support our will and determination to lead productive lives.  Working in partnership with our parent organization, as well as city and county government and local businesses, we’ve been able to put hundreds of people on the path to stable, family sustaining jobs.  We’re gratified to be able to continue this incredibly important mission.”

The National Urban League in 2013 launched Jobs Rebuild America, a solutions-based, comprehensive approach to the nation’s employment and education crisis, brings together federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 communities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network.

The community investment component is a $100 million, five-year multi-platform effort designed to reach job-seekers, vulnerable youth and entrepreneurs.  The initiative uses a comprehensive community development model that includes program offerings such as job-training for youth (18-24) and mature workers (55+), college preparation, a jobs network, entrepreneurship support, small business financing and resources, and tax credits, among others.

Since the initial Jobs Rebuild America launch in 2012, Urban League of Essex County received nearly $2 million dollars in subgrants to expand their programs serving formerly incarcerated young adults and high school drop outs as well as unemployed seniors 55 years and older.  Participants receive case management support, job readiness and placement services, mentoring, restorative justice and education and training opportunities as well as paid community service assignments and paid summer jobs/ internships.

Morial also announced an expansion of the National Urban League’s sector-based work through the National Supply Chain Skills Initiative (NSCSI).  NSCSI will provide education and job placement support to over 3,000 individuals in nine cities in the supply chain sector for eight occupations.  Specifically, the grant will address issues faced by the long-term unemployed/dislocated worker and prepare them for jobs in the supply chain industry.

The Urban League of Essex County, along with nearby Union County Urban League and seven other urban league affiliates,  will partner with the National Urban League on this grant to support local community colleges efforts in connecting those individuals affected by trade adjustment layoffs with industry recognized credentials and jobs.

The Urban League of Essex County has received a two-year, $780,000 grant for its Urban Youth Empowerment Program, focused on formerly incarcerated young adults and high school dropouts.

Shonique Banks, Director of Youth and Young Adult Services at the Urban League of Essex County, expanded on the impact of the program.

“Our program has literally reshaped the lives of many young people in this community,” she said.  “Participants come to us with a myriad of challenges, and we meet them where they are.  We have created a program that tailors education and the workforce experience to meet immediate and long-term needs of our students.  Building on that – there is also mentoring from positive and caring adults, service learning and leadership development that engages them in ways that lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.

“UYEP is really a game changer for them,” Banks said. “They come with insecurities and leave with self-confidence.  Where there was doubt that anyone cared or would give them a shot to succeed; now they have hope and determination to reach their goals.  Through programs like UYEP, we are creating the next generation of leaders—and for that, we are proud.”

The affiliate also has received a one-year, $1.1 million grant for the Mature Worker Program, which serves unemployed seniors age 55 and older.

Alice Frazier, Director of the program at the Urban League of Essex County, spoke about the importance of the program.

“Technology and our global economy have changed the fabric of the workforce in ways that we never could have imagined,” she said.  “Workers in every sector and every industry have been impacted.  Relevant skill sets are necessary to enter and succeed in the workplace – education, industry-recognized certifications, and computer skills as just the start.  For many mature workers, these requirements add to multiple pressures and barriers they experience in obtaining livable wage employment.

“Mature workers have a lot to offer employers – maturity, dependability, dedication and enthusiasm to say the least.  They are ready to add value to businesses and our economy and are hungry for opportunity.

Frazier pointed to the success of Ms. Ernestine Norris, who after being unemployed for five years, joined our Mature Worker Program.

“In just a year, she was able to meet her education goals, earn an industry recognized SORA certification, and really ‘wow!’ her host agency leadership,” Frazier said, noting that the human resources director at the Lennard Clinic, where Norris was hired as a full-time receptionist and security officer said, “Ms. Norris has proven to be a valued staff member.  She maintains a professional image at all times.  She has great human relation skills…She is dependable, punctual and a team player.”

“Creating jobs and economically strengthening communities must be a collaborative effort among the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors,” Morial said. “We’re shifting the debate about the problem of unemployment to comprehensively doing what is required to solve it, and strong affiliates like the Urban League of Essex County are primed to do just that.”

Remarks by President Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus 45th Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama:  Hello, CBC! I guess I get the fancier lectern here.  Everybody please have a seat.  Have a seat.  I know it’s late.  You’re ready for the after parties.  I should have ditched the speech and brought my playlist. Everybody looks beautiful, handsome, wonderful.  Thank you, Don, for that introduction.  Thank you to the CBC Foundation.  And thank you to the members of the CBC.
On the challenges of our times, from giving workers a raise to getting families health coverage; on the threats of our time, from climate change to nuclear proliferation — members of the CBC have been leaders moving America forward.  With your help, our businesses have created over 13 million new jobs. With your help, we’ve covered more than 16 million Americans with health insurance — many for the first time. Three years ago, Republicans said they’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent by 2017.  It’s down to 5.1 right now. You didn’t hear much about that at the debate on Monday — on Wednesday night.

The point is, though, none of this progress would have been possible without the CBC taking tough votes when it mattered most.  Whatever I’ve accomplished, the CBC has been there. I was proud to be a CBC member when I was in the Senate, and I’m proud to be your partner today.  But we’re not here just to celebrate — we’re here to keep going.  Because with the unemployment rate for African Americans still more than double than whites, with millions of families still working hard and still waiting to feel the recovery in their own lives, we know that the promise of this nation — where every single American, regardless of the circumstances in which they were born, regardless of what they look like, where they come from, has the chance to succeed — that promise is not yet fulfilled.

The good thing about America — the great project of America is that perfecting our union is never finished.  We’ve always got more work to do.  And tonight’s honorees remind us of that.  They remind us of the courage and sacrifices, the work that they’ve done — and not just at the national level, but in local communities all across the country.  We couldn’t be prouder of them.  The heroes of the Civil Rights Movement whom we lost last month remind us of the work that remains to be done.  American heroes like Louis Stokes, and Julian Bond, and Amelia Boynton Robinson.

Ms. Robinson — as some of you know, earlier this year, my family and I joined many in Selma for the 50th anniversary of that march.  And as we crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I held Ms. Amelia’s hand.  And I thought about her and all the extraordinary women like her who were really the life force of the movement.  Women were the foot soldiers.  Women strategized boycotts.  Women organized marches.  Even if they weren’t allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day — doing the work that nobody else wanted to do.  They couldn’t prophesize from the pulpits, but they led the charge from the pews.  They were no strangers to violence.  They were on the front lines.  So often they were subject to abuse, dehumanized, but kept on going, holding families together.  Mothers were beaten and gassed on Bloody Sunday.  Four little girls were murdered in a Birmingham church.  Women made the movement happen.

Of course, black women have been a part of every great movement in American history — even if they weren’t always given a voice.  They helped plan the March on Washington, but were almost entirely absent from the program.  And when pressed, male organizers added a tribute highlighting six women — none of them who were asked to make a speech.  Daisy Bates introduced her fellow honorees in just 142 words, written by a man.  Of course, Marian Anderson and Mahalia Jackson sang.  But in a three-hour program, the men gave women just 142 words.  That may sound familiar to some of the women in the room here tonight.  The organizers even insisted on two separate parades — male leaders marching along the main route on Pennsylvania Avenue, and leaders like Dorothy Height and Rosa Parks relegated to Independence Avenue.  America’s most important march against segregation had its own version of separation.

Black women were central in the fight for women’s rights, from suffrage to the feminist movement — and yet despite their leadership, too often they were also marginalized.  But they didn’t give up, they didn’t let up.  They were too fierce for that.  Black women have always understood the words of Pauli Murray — that “Hope is a song in a weary throat.”

It’s thanks to black women that we’ve come a long way since the days when a girl like Ruby Bridges couldn’t go to school.  When a woman like Amelia couldn’t cast her vote.  When we didn’t have a Congressional Black Caucus — and its 20 women members.

So I’m focusing on women tonight because I want them to know how much we appreciate them, how much we admire them, how much we love them.  And I want to talk about what more we have to do to provide full opportunity and equality for our black women and girls in America today.

Because all of us are beneficiaries of a long line of strong black women who helped carry this country forward.  Their work to expand civil rights opened the doors of opportunity, not just for African Americans but for all women, for all of us — black and white, Latino and Asian, LGBT and straight, for our First Americans and our newest Americans.  And their contributions in every field — as scientists and entrepreneurs, educators, explorers — all made us stronger.  Of course, they’re also a majority of my household. So I care deeply about how they’re doing.

The good news is, despite structural barriers of race and gender, women and girls of color have made real progress in recent years.  The number of black women-owned businesses has skyrocketed. Black women have ascended the ranks of every industry.  Teen pregnancy rates among girls of color are down, while high school and four-year college graduation rates are up. That’s good news.

But there’s no denying that black women and girls still face real and persistent challenges.  The unemployment rate is over 8 percent for black women.  And they’re overrepresented in low-paying jobs; underrepresented in management.  They often lack access to economic necessities like paid leave and quality, affordable child care.  They often don’t get the same quality health care that they need, and have higher rates of certain chronic diseases — although that’s starting to change with Obamacare.  It’s working, by the way, people.  Just in case — just in case you needed to know.

And then there are some of the challenges that are harder to see and harder to talk about — although Michelle, our outstanding, beautiful First Lady talks about these struggles. Michelle will tell stories about when she was younger, people telling her she shouldn’t aspire to go to the very best universities.  And she found herself thinking sometimes, “Well, maybe they’re right.”  Even after she earned two degrees from some of the best universities in America, she still faced the doubts that were rooted in deep social prejudice and stereotypes, worrying whether she was being too assertive, or too angry, or too tall. I like tall women.

And those stereotypes and social pressures, they still affect our girls.  So we all have to be louder than the voices that are telling our girls they’re not good enoug — that they’ve got to look a certain way, or they’ve got to act a certain way, or set their goals at a certain level.  We’ve got to affirm their sense of self-worth, and make them feel visible and beautiful, and understood and loved. And I say this as a father who strives to do this at home, but I also say this as a citizen.  This is not just about my family or yours; it’s about who we are as a people, who we want to be, and how we can make sure that America is fulfilling its promise — because everybody is getting a chance, and everybody is told they’re important, and everybody is given opportunity.  And we got to do more than just say we care, or say we put a woman on ten-dollar bill, although that’s a good idea.  We’ve got to make sure they’re getting some ten-dollar bills; that they’re getting paid properly. We’ve got to let our actions do the talking.

It is an affront to the very idea of America when certain segments of our population don’t have access to the same opportunities as everybody else.  It makes a mockery of our economy when black women make 30 fewer cents for every dollar a white man earns. That adds up to thousands of dollars in missed income that determines whether a family can pay for a home, or pay for college for their kids, or save for retirement, or give their kids a better life.  And that’s not just a woman’s issue, that’s everybody’s issue.  I want Michelle getting paid at some point.  We’ve got an outstanding former Secretary of State here who is also former First Lady, and I know she can relate to Michelle when she says, how come you get paid and I don’t?  How did that work?

When women of color aren’t given the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential, we all lose out on their talents; we’re not as good a country as we can be.  We might miss out on the next Mae Jemison or Ursula Burns or Serena Williams or Michelle Obama. We want everybody to be on the field.  We can’t afford to leave some folks off the field.

So we’re going to have to close those economic gaps so that hardworking women of all races, and black women in particular can support families, and strengthen communities, and contribute to our country’s success.  So that’s why my administration is investing in job training and apprenticeships, to help everybody, but particularly help more women earn better-paying jobs, and particularly in non-traditional careers.  It’s why we’re investing in getting more girls, and particularly girls of color interested in STEM fields — math and science and engineering — and help more of them stay on track in school.

It’s why we’re going to continue to fight to eliminate the pay gap. Equal pay for equal work.  It’s an all-American idea.  It’s very simple.  And that’s why we’re going to keep working to raise the minimum wage — because women disproportionately are the ones who are not getting paid what they’re worth.  That’s why we’re fighting to expand tax credits that help working parents make ends meet, closing tax loopholes for folks who don’t need tax loopholes to pay for.  It’s why we’re expanding paid leave to employees of federal contractors.  And that’s why Congress needs to expand paid leave for more hardworking Americans.  It’s good for our economy.  It’s the right thing to do.  No family should have to choose between taking care of a sick child or losing their job.

And just as an aside, what’s not the right thing to do, what makes no sense at all, is Congress threatening to shut down the entire federal government if they can’t shut down women’s access to Planned Parenthood. That’s not a good idea.  Congress should be working on investing things that grow our economy and expand opportunity, and not get distracted and inflict the kind of self-inflicted wounds that we’ve seen before on our economy.  So that’s some of the things we need to do to help improve the economic standing of all women; to help all families feel more secure in a changing economy.

And before I go tonight, I also want to say something about a topic that’s been on my mind for a while, another profound barrier to opportunity in too many communities — and that is our criminal justice system.

I spoke about this at length earlier this year at the NAACP, and I explained the long history of inequity in our criminal justice system.  We all know the statistics.  And this summer, because I wanted to highlight that there were human beings behind these statistics, I visited a prison in Oklahoma — the first President to ever visit a federal prison. And I sat down with the inmates, and I listened to their stories.  And one of the things that struck me was the crushing burden their incarceration has placed not just on their prospects for the future, but also for their families, the women in their lives, children being raised without a father in the home; the crushing regret these men felt over the children that they left behind.

Mass incarceration rips apart families.  It hollows out neighborhoods.  It perpetuates poverty.  We understand that in many of our communities, they’re under-policed.  The problem is not that we don’t want active, effective police work.  We want, and admire, and appreciate law enforcement.  We want them in our communities.  Crime hurts the African American community more than anybody.  But we want to make sure that it’s done well and it’s done right, and it’s done fairly and it’s done smart.  And that’s why, in the coming months, I’m going to be working with many in Congress and many in the CBC to try to make progress on reform legislation that addresses unjust sentencing laws, and encourages diversion and prevention programs, catches our young people early and tries to put them on a better path, and then helps ex-offenders, after they’ve done their time, get on the right track.  It’s the right thing to do for America.

And although in these discussions a lot of my focus has been on African American men and the work we’re doing with My Brother’s Keeper, we can’t forget the impact that the system has on women, as well.  The incarceration rate for black women is twice as high as the rate for white women.  Many women in prison, you come to discover, have been victims of homelessness and domestic violence, and in some cases human trafficking.  They’ve got high rates of mental illness and substance abuse.  And many have been sexually assaulted, both before they got to prison and then after they go to prison.  And we don’t often talk about how society treats black women and girls before they end up in prison.  They’re suspended at higher rates than white boys and all other girls.  And while boys face the school-to-prison pipeline, a lot of girls are facing a more sinister sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline. Victims of early sexual abuse are more likely to fail in school, which can lead to sexual exploitation, which can lead to prison.  So we’re focusing on boys, but we’re also investing in ways to change the odds for at-risk girls — to make sure that they are loved and valued, to give them a chance.

And that’s why we have to make a collective effort to address violence and abuse against women in all of our communities.  In every community, on every campus, we’ve got to be very clear:  Women who have been victims of rape or domestic abuse, who need help, should know that they can count on society and on law enforcement to treat them with love and care and sensitivity, and not skepticism.

I want to repeat — because somehow this never shows up on Fox News. I want to repeat — because I’ve said it a lot, unwaveringly, all the time:  Our law enforcement officers do outstanding work in an incredibly difficult and dangerous job.  They put their lives on the line for our safety. We appreciate them and we love them.  That’s why my Task Force on 21st Century Policing made a set of recommendations that I want to see implemented to improve their safety, as well as to make sure that our criminal justice system is being applied fairly.  Officers show uncommon bravery in our communities every single day.  They deserve our respect.  That includes women in law enforcement.  We need more of you, by the way.  We’ve got an outstanding chief law enforcement officer in our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. We want all our young ladies to see what a great role model she is.

So I just want to repeat, because somehow this never gets on the TV:  There is no contradiction between us caring about our law enforcement officers and also making sure that our laws are applied fairly.  Do not make this as an either/or proposition.  This is a both/and proposition. We want to protect our police officers.  We’ll do a better job doing it if our communities can feel confident that they are being treated fairly.  I hope I’m making that clear. I hope I’m making that clear.

We need to make sure the laws are applied evenly.  This is not a new problem.  It’s just that in recent months, in recent years, suddenly folks have videos and body cameras, and social media, and so it’s opened our eyes to these incidents.  And many of these incidents are subject to ongoing investigation, so I can’t comment on every specific one.  But we can’t avoid these tough conversations altogether.  That’s not going to help our police officers, the vast majority who do the right thing every day, by just pretending that these things aren’t happening.  That’s not going to help build trust between them and the communities in which they serve.

So these are hard issues, but I’m confident we’re going to move forward together for a system that is fairer and more just.  We’ve got good people on both sides of the aisle that are working with law enforcement and local communities to find a better way forward.  And as always, change will not happen overnight.  It won’t be easy.  But if our history has taught us anything, it’s taught us that when we come together, when we’re working with a sense of purpose, when we are listening to one another, when we assume the best in each other rather than the worst, then change happens.

Like every parent, I can’t help to see the world increasingly through my daughters’ eyes.  And on that day, when we were celebrating that incredible march in Selma, I had Ms. Amelia’s hand in one of my hands, but Michelle had Sasha’s hand, and my mother-in-law had Malia’s hand — and it was a chain across generations.  And I thought about all those women who came before us, who risked everything for life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so often without notice, so often without fanfare.  Their names never made the history books.  All those women who cleaned somebody else’s house, or looked after somebody else’s children, did somebody else’s laundry, and then got home and did it again, and then went to church and cooked — and then they were marching.

And because of them, Michelle could cross that bridge.  And because of them, they brought them along, and Malia and Sasha can cross that bridge.  And that tells me that if we follow their example, we’re going to cross more bridges in the future.  If we keep moving forward, hand in hand, God willing, my daughters’ children will be able to cross that bridge in an America that’s more free, and more just, and more prosperous than the one that we inherited.  Your children will, too.

Thank you CBC.  God bless you.  God bless this country we love. Thank you.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

Six Performances Added to Run of DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar, Directed by Kimberly Senior, Extended Through October 25 at Goodman Theatre

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Discuss DISGRACED and more at an October 6 conversation about identity and artistic representation, hosted by Civic Leader Eboo Patel 

CHICAGO, IL -  Due to high demand for tickets, Goodman Theatre adds six more performances of Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, directed by Kimberly Senior—extending the show through October 25. Newly named the 2015 “most-produced play in the country” (American Theatre magazine), Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play has been hailed as “breathtaking, raw and blistering” (Associated Press) and “terrific, turbulent, with fresh currents of dramatic electricity” (New York Times). Senior’s cast remains intact for additional performances, including Bernard White (Amir), Nisi Sturgis (Emily), Zakiya Young (Jory), J. Anthony Crane (Isaac) and Behzad Dabu (Abe). Photos and video can be found in the Goodman Theatre Press Room. Tickets ($25-$82; subject to change) are on sale now by phone at 312.443.3800, at GoodmanTheatre.org/Disgraced or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

Performances in the extension week include:

Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30pm

-Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm

-Friday, October 23 at 8pm

-Saturday, October 24 at 2pm and 8pm

-Sunday, October 25 at 2pm (CLOSING)

In response to audiences’ desire for dialogue around Disgraced, the Goodman offers discussions following each performance, moderated by a member of the artistic team. In addition, a special panel discussion hosted by Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, focuses on the ethnic, racial, social and religious points of view in art—and how art can enlighten controversial topics. The discussion takes place on October 6 at 7pm at the Goodman. Tickets ($10 for general public; $5 for Subscribers, donors and students) can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Disgraced or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. Author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, Patel is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio and CNN. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Disgraced will be produced at 10 major American regional theaters this season and have 32 productions in the next 24 months, as well as numerous productions overseas; in addition, a film version with HBO is in the works. Young, upwardly mobile Wall Street attorney (and lapsed Muslim) Amir Kapoor (Bernard White) and his beautiful, idealistic (and Caucasian) artist wife Emily (Nisi Sturgis) are throwing a small dinner party for a similarly successful couple, Isaac (J. Anthony Crane), a Jewish art curator who’s about to feature his hostess’s paintings in a new show, and his African American wife, Jory (Zakiya Young), also a rising young lawyer, who works in the same office as her host.  At first, the talk is mundane but cordial; but slowly, the Scotch-fueled discussion ventures into more complicated territory—musings about race and culture, power and privilege and the tensions triggered by religious tenets and practices from antiquity to today.  As theoretical discussion morphs into personal revelation and private concerns become public, a celebratory dinner among four smart, engaging and personable friends becomes, perhaps inevitably, something dramatically different. The cast also includes Behzad Dabu as Amir’s nephew, Abe.

Following its 2012 world premiere production at Chicago’s American Theater Company, Disgraced went to New York’s Lincoln Center Theater, subsequently winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and Obie Award for Extraordinary Achievement, and later transferred to Broadway, where it earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Akhtar’s other plays include The Who and the What (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and La Jolla Playhouse) and The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop/The Repertory Theater of St. Louis). Also a novelist, Akhtar is the author of American Dervish, published in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company, also in 20 languages worldwide. He co-wrote and starred in The War Within (Magnolia Pictures), which was released internationally and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. As an actor, Akhtar also starred as Neel Kashkari in HBO’s adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book Too Big to Fail.

SPECIAL EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES


College Night, September 29 –6pm pizza party with artists, 7:30pm show ($10 promo COLLEGE w/valid student ID)

PlayBacks, Every Wednesday & Thursday eve –Discussions with actors, artistic staff & special guests after the show

Artists Represent, October 6 –7pm; panel discussion about identity and representation, hosted by Eboo Patel ($10 general public; $5 for subscribers, donors and students)

ACCESSIBILITY AT GOODMAN THEATRE

Sign Interpreted Performance, September 30 –7:30pm performance; professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played. All tickets to the Disgraced signed performance include a pre-show reception in the Goodman’s Lounge.

Touch Tour, October 10 –12:30 – 1 p.m.; a presentation detailing the set, costume and character elements

Audio Described Performance, October 10 –2pm; the action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset

Open Captioned Performance, October 17 – 2pm; an LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance
Visit Goodman Theatre.org/Access for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.

Pols and Community Leaders Mourn the Loss of Rep. Esther Golar

Posted by Admin On September - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus mourns the loss of Rep. Esther Golar
 
SPRINGFIELD – Earlier today, Illinois lost one of its fearless leaders State Representative Esther Golar.  Representative Golar began serving in the General Assembly in 2006 and led several initiatives to expand education, lower recidivism and bring jobs to the residents of the 6th House District.
 
“On behalf of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, it is with a heavy heart that we send our condolences to the family of State Representative Esther Golar. Her statesmanship truly exemplified how elected officials should fight for the communities they represent. She was a tireless champion of improving educational opportunities, reducing crime, bringing good jobs to her community and making healthcare available to those in need. Representative Golar’s final legislative effort put her life in harm’s way to ensure working families could have access to childcare. This speaks volumes to her entire career as a community advocate. She is a legislator who was loved by her colleagues, and she will truly be missed.”
– Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Senate Assistant Majority Leader– Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus
“A giant has gone home to be with the Lord. Representative Esther Golar was a true warrior for the people. She risked her life to travel to Springfield to vote on issues that were important to low income and middle class families. She literally put her life on the line for others. And she knew it. Esther was willing to die for what she believed in. That’s rare and should be appreciated. Esther was not just my colleague. She was my friend. She was my mentor. She was my confidant. Often times in Springfield, if you saw me, you saw me with Esther. Esther has walked with me and held my hand through almost every major event in my adult life. When my mother died.  When my brother died. When my stepson died. When I was married and when I had my daughter… Esther was always there. Those are the things that matter to me most. She prayed for me and with me and that I will forever miss that. Esther was a friend and colleague who always had a word from the Good Book to make everything that goes on in the Capitol and in life make a little more sense. Esther was a true child of God that loved everyone else as she loved herself. Our loss is heaven’s gain. Praying for Esther’s daughter Tiffany Golar and family today.”
 
– Representative Jehan – Gordon – Booth, House Assistant Majority Leader
 
“The 6th House District gained a guardian angel today along with the countless people whose lives Representative Golar has impacted. She stood for the voiceless in her district by reminding legislative leaders of the most vulnerable in our community. She was a fighter and her loss is to the detriment of our state.”
-State Representative Camille Lilley
“The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will truly miss our colleague and friend Representative Esther Golar. We send our condolences to her family and friends.”
~ Representative Carol Ammons, Representative Monique Davis, Representative Will Davis, Representative Ken Dunkin, Representative John Anthony, Representative Marcus Evans, Representative Mary Flowers, Representative LaShawn Ford, Representative Jehan Gordon – Booth, Representative Rita Mayfield, Representative Christian Mitchell, Representative Pamela Reaves-Harris, Representative Al Riley, Representative Elgie Sims, Representative Andre Thapedi, Representative Art Turner, Representative Litesa Wallace, Representative Chris Welch, Senator Jacqueline Collins, Senator Napoleon Harris, Senator Toi Hutchinson, Senator Emil Jones III, Patricia Van Pelt, Kwame Raoul, Senator James Clayborne, Senator Kimberly Lightford, Senator Donne Trotter, Senator Mattie Hunter.

Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle On the Death of State Rep. Esther GolarI am saddened to hear of the death today of state Rep. Esther Golar. For almost 10 years Rep. Golar has represented her constituents honorably and has been a selfless advocate for their interests. She understood that government is a vehicle of service, and operates at its best when it is collaborative. She was a believer in the strength of neighborhoods and communities, and was an ally on issues I hold dear: schools, public safety  and healthcare. My sympathies go out to her family and close friends.

Statement from the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention’s Board of Directors “Deeply saddened by the passing of the Honorable Esther Golar”
On behalf of the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention’s Board of Directors, our member organizations, and the constituents we serve, we are deeply saddened by the passing of The Honorable Esther Golar, State Representative for Illinois’ 6th Legislative District.

Representative Golar, a six-term legislator, was a dedicated community leader for some of Chicago’s most under-served neighborhoods. She was a champion and advocate for seniors and people with disabilities, quality classroom education, equal access to healthcare, economic development, and public safety. As a demonstration of her commitment and passion for her communities, just two weeks ago, while hospitalized in Chicago, she demanded and received an escort to Springfield so that she could cast her vote to override the Governor’s veto of a bill that would have restored over $300 M to the Illinois Childcare Assistance Program. Representative Golar also possessed a gifted voice and wouldn’t hesitate to launch into song to help us better understand the importance of passing legislation that supports safe, healthy, and resilient children, families, and communities.  

A Chicago native, Golar attended Malcolm X College. She was also a member of Alternative Policing Strategy, Robert Fulton Elementary Local School Council (1999-2006), and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc. (1998-2006). She received the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Leadership Award and was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ.

Representative Golar, you fought the good fight and you will be dearly missed. May you rest in eternal peace.

Sincerely,

Malik S. Nevels, J.D.
Executive Director

Photo of the Honorable Esther Golar courtesy of the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention

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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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