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Archive for October 9th, 2015

International Peacemakers to Hold Public Memorial with Arrestable Actions to Demand Investigation into Hospital Bombing

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
 

Marching from the British Consulate, stopping at the Consulate General of Canada and Arriving 12:30 at Federal Plaza.

CHICAGO, IL – On October 9th, international Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) trainees will march through downtown Chicago demanding that the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada formally request an #IndependentInvestigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) into the October 3rd bombing of the Doctors Without Borders’ #Kunduz Hospital.

CPT trainees will carry a coffin and hold a public memorial at Federal Plaza mourning lives lost in the bombing. At Federal Plaza, CPT trainees will pray for peace and blockade doors at the Kluczynski Federal Building, risking arrest.

The United States has acknowledged responsibility for the brutal bombing in Afghanistan killing 22 people – twelve staff and ten patients, including three children – and has stated it will conduct an “internal investigation.” This response is inadequate. The United States military cannot serve as its own prosecutor, judge, and jury.

CPT condemns the bombing, a war crime as defined by the Geneva Conventions, and joins the call of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for an independent investigation to be conducted by the IHFFC, the only permanent body for the purpose of investigating violations of international humanitarian law. We urge Canada and the United Kingdom to use their positions as signatories to the IHFFC to demand an investigation into this deadly bombing, and the United States to consent and cooperate.

Christian Peacemaker Teams has ongoing peace teams in Canada, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, and Colombia, building partnerships with local peacemakers to transform violence and oppression.

Opening ReMARCs – National Urban League Voter Suppression Alert: Alabama

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

 

In what appears to be a case of racially motivated voter suppression, strict Voter ID state Alabama is shuttering drivers’ license bureaus in eight of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of registered voters of color.

Historically, those who lack a photo ID overwhelmingly tend to be people of color, poor, elderly or students. In Alabama, about a quarter million people don’t have drivers licenses or an acceptable form of identification. Now it will be impossible to obtain one of those forms of ID in 28 of the state’s 67 counties.

A total of 31 bureaus were closed – including those in every county where 75% of the registered voters are people of color. A majority of African-Americans in Alabama, 62 percent, rely on public transportation – twice the percentage of white Alabamans who do.

The Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, clearing the way for this kind of egregious voter suppression, originated in Shelby County, Alabama. Alabama was one of nine states previously covered by Section 5, requiring the Justice Department to approve any changes to voting law.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced in Congress in June, would restore federal approval to changes in voting laws in states that have had 15 or more voting rights violations in the last 25 years. Alabama is one of the 13 states that would be affected.

The very idea of democracy is mocked by Alabama’s tactics. Congress must take quick action on the Voting Rights Amendment Act. Unless the right to vote is equally protected among all citizens, we cannot call ourselves a free society.

Madigan: Gov. Rauner’s Failure to Focus on Budget has Led to Crisis for Countless Families Across Illinois

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement in response to comments made by Gov. Bruce Rauner on the state budget:

“As I have stated since January, the number one issue facing the state is the budget deficit. The governor, however, has refused to focus on solving our budget deficit, instead focusing on other issues. That decision has led to dangerous consequences by forcing the defunding of breast and cervical cancer screenings, child care assistance for struggling families, meals for homebound elderly residents and services for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

“I’ve stated all year that I will work with the governor cooperatively and professionally, but we will not devastate Illinois’ middle class and struggling families by furthering an agenda aimed at driving down their wages and their standard of living.

“I have repeatedly urged the governor to focus on the budget deficit through a balanced approach of reductions in state spending and new revenue. The budget passed by the House included reductions in state spending, and we passed a bill that included $400 million in savings through the Medicaid program. However, a wide range of human service providers, education advocates, and even business groups like the Civic Federation have stated that Illinois cannot cut its way to prosperity.

“The governor can end the damage he has done to women who rely on life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, children with autism and other developmental disabilities, elderly residents, struggling families and other vulnerable populations in need of crucial state support by turning his focus away from issues that would result in lower wages and a lower standard of living for middle-class families and instead work with the Legislature to pass and implement a state budget with a balanced approach that protects the middle class.”

President Preckwinkle Appoints New Chief for County’s Bureau of Asset Management

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s nomination of Elaine Lockwood Bean as new chief of the County’s Bureau of Asset Management was approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Lockwood Bean brings significant public and private sector experience including facilities and construction management, and implementation of capital plans.  She is a registered architect who has worked both domestically and internationally and holds degrees from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and University of California, Berkeley.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Elaine’s credentials join our management team,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Her rich and diverse background makes her a perfect fit to lead our Bureau of Asset Management, given its multiple responsibilities.”

The Bureau of Asset Management includes the Departments of Capital Planning and Policy, Real Estate Management, and Facilities Management. The Bureau oversees an annual capital budget of 180 million dollars and manages 19 million square feet of real estate.

The Bureau provides service to all Cook County departments and elected officials – including the Department of Corrections and Health and Hospitals System — so they may serve the public and perform their duties in an environment that fosters efficient, convenient and cost-effective delivery of public services.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as President Preckwinkle’s Bureau Chief of Asset Management,” Lockwood Bean said. “I look forward to ensuring the Bureau’s team is able to implement initiatives set forth by the President’s office which will enhance the County’s real estate portfolio including, the redevelopment of the Cook County Health and Hospital System’s Central Campus, and development of a master plan for the County Department of Corrections.

“The Bureau will improve efficiencies and services through the establishment of Countywide ADA and energy reduction programs, space consolidation and continued modernization of Facilities Management.”

Lockwood Bean most recently was Senior Director-Learning Market for BSA Life Structures. In that role, she was responsible for a team of architects, engineers and planners who worked on projects for clients including the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University.

Previous experience includes Vice President and Business Unit Leader for Lend Lease, Associate Vice President for Facilities at the University of Chicago, and Senior Vice President at Tishman Construction Corp. of Illinois.

A resident of Hyde Park, she has been a juror at the Illinois Institute of Technology and UIC, and is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations.

Father Pfleger Rips Carson and Trump for ‘Racist,’ Inappropriate Remarks

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg
Father Michael L. Pfleger voiced disgust at Republican presidential hopefuls Dr. Ben Carson for saying he wouldn’t want a Muslim in the White House and Donald Trump for his anti-Latino immigration remarks Pfleger called “racist.”

 
“That is what is so dangerous to me about these two men called Trump and Carson. While they can be crazy and cartoon-like, the reality is when somebody is using that pulpit to speak about whole masses of people…when Trump can say things like they’re (Mexicans) bringing in all the drugs, murderers, crime…across the border…,” that’s unacceptable, Pfleger said.

 
“There are a whole bunch of people who already think like that who now you give affirmation to” and others who want to blame them as well.

 
Pfleger was outraged over Trump’s describing Latino’s as “rapist who are bringing their crime to the U.S.” Trump’s anti-Hispanic remarks infuriated Pfleger who said, “Although he may be naming Mexicans, let’s not forget he’s also talking about Africans and people from Haiti and from South America. Let’s make sure we just understand how racist he is.”

 

“As the Pope said so well in Congress” during the discussions about immigration, “I see some immigrants out here.” Pfleger added, “Unless you are Native Americans, we’re all immigrants.”

 

“When Mr. Carson gets up and says we should never have a Muslim to be president. You just judged all Muslims? Really? Doc, you’re a great surgeon. Go back to the surgery room…,” said Pfleger.

 

Father Pfleger was referring to Carson saying, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
“The danger of folks when they begin to judge masses of people is that they give affirmation to the worst in us,” Pfleger told his congregation.

 

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.

State’s Attorney Alvarez Takes “Chicago Approach” on Human Trafficking to New York City for National Trafficking Summit

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is participating in a national summit on human trafficking in New York City this week to share strategies and information about Cook County’s groundbreaking efforts to combat sex and labor trafficking in Illinois.

 
State’s Attorney Alvarez is attending the National Summit on Human Trafficking and the State Courts which is being held today and tomorrow in New York. She is moderating discussions and meeting with leaders from the legal, law enforcement and social justice communities to examine the issues surrounding both labor and sex trafficking and to identify best practices from existing court programs at the state level.

 
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has become a nationally recognized leader on what has become known as the “Chicago Approach,” a strategy developed by Alvarez and her criminal justice and social service partners that not only increases penalties for human traffickers, but also places a heavy emphasis on rescuing victims of human trafficking and aiding them in their recovery.

 
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share information about our ‘Chicago Approach’ on a national stage and also to exchange ideas with other leaders and look for new strategies to build upon our efforts.”

 
More than 250 people are attending the summit including teams from each state, the District of Columbia, and each of the U.S. territories.

Encouraging Daily Attendance for all students is More Important Than Ever

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

ISBE shares federal guidance and toolkit to address chronic absenteeism  

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education is sharing valuable federal guidance, including a toolkit, to help school districts encourage daily attendance for all students.

“Research is clear that students who are chronically absent from school are much more likely to struggle academically and eventually drop out,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “We want to share best practices and give school districts the tools and resources they need to address these students’ needs and prevent others from missing precious instruction time.”

On Friday, Superintendent Smith sent Illinois superintendents a letter from Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that discusses the need to address chronic absenteeism. Chronic absence is typically defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days in a year for any reason, excused or unexcused. With an estimated 5 to 7 ½ million students chronically absent each year, chronic absenteeism is a national problem that seriously undermines collective efforts to improve education and life outcomes among our youth, the letter states.

On Oct. 7, leaders of the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice announced their long-term commitment to building capacity across the federal government to support states and local communities in the work of addressing and eliminating chronic absenteeism. These agencies called upon states and local education, health, housing, and justice agencies and organizations, in partnership with community stakeholders, to join forces and commit to creating or enhancing coordinated, cross-sector systems for identifying and supporting students who are, or are at risk of becoming, chronically absent, with the goal of reducing chronic absenteeism by at least 10 percent each year, beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

In order to support communities in addressing and eliminating barriers to students’ daily attendance at, and meaningful engagement with, school – particularly for students who are low income, of color, homeless, highly mobile, juvenile justice-involved, and/or who are students with disabilities – these federal agencies released “Every Student, Every Day: A Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism.” The toolkit is available at www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/chronicabsenteeism/index.html.

The toolkit will provide information and resources to help ensure that all young people are in school every day and benefitting from coordinated systems of support. To help achieve the goal of reducing chronic absenteeism by at least 10 percent per year, State Superintendent Smith and other leaders of state and local education, health, housing, and justice systems have been asked to immediately address and collaborate on the following action steps:

Action Step 1: Generate and act on absenteeism data. Prioritize the development of early warning prevention and intervention systems that identify students who are, or are at risk of becoming, chronically absent before they miss enough school that it is nearly impossible for them to catch up. Data from such systems should be shared – in a manner consistent with applicable state law and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – between school districts and other key public and private organizations to ensure coordinated systems of support for students who are chronically absent.

Action Step 2: Create and deploy positive messages and measures. Focus on developing positive messages for youth and families as well as implementing supportive engagement strategies. For instance, these strategies may include mentoring, counseling, and creating safe and supportive school climates through approaches such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to improve students’ attendance at, connection to, and success in school. Punitive messages and measures are often ineffective and can lead to disproportionate suspensions and expulsions from school and inappropriate referrals of students and families to law enforcement.

Action Step 3: Focus communities on addressing chronic absenteeism. Launch local initiatives to raise public awareness about the causes and effects of chronic absenteeism, including awareness among families and youth. Prioritize training within communities and across sectors to conduct root-cause analyses of local absenteeism trends. Implement research and evidence-based strategies and programs – such as “Check & Connect” – that effectively engage and support students who are, or are at risk of becoming, chronically absent.

Action Step 4: Ensure responsibility across sectors. Regularly communicate that chronic absenteeism is a problem that affects the whole community, not just those students who are chronically absent and their families. Drive and evaluate cross-sector performance, at least in part, based on that principle. Education, health, housing, and justice system leaders should work together to ensure shared accountability within and across sectors to successfully address the local, underlying causes of chronic absenteeism.

The letter to states emphasizes how frequent absences from school can be “devastating” to a student’s future:

For example, children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the third grade. Students who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. By high school, irregular attendance is a better predictor of school dropout than test scores. A study of public school students in Utah found that a student who is chronically absent in even a single school year between the eighth and twelfth grades is over seven times more likely to drop out of school than a student who is not chronically absent. Students who are homeless and those who reside in public housing are also particularly at risk of being chronically absent from school.

 

Research further demonstrates that completing high school is not only a strong predictor of adult success but also of adult physical and mental health outcomes and involvement with the criminal justice system. Students who do not graduate from high school have worse health and greater health risks as adults than their peers who graduate. They also have more frequent, negative contact with law enforcement, contributing to a cycle of poverty, poor health, homelessness, and incarceration. These data strongly suggest that the long-term consequence of chronic absenteeism is a population that is less educated, less healthy, underemployed, less financially stable, and more disenfranchised. 

 

We recognize that attendance tracking systems in many school districts across the country are not required or designed to measure chronic absenteeism among local youth.  In fact, efforts to improve average daily attendance often mask the extent of a school’s chronic absenteeism problem and fail to address its underlying causes. Adding to the challenge, educators, families, and youth are not sufficiently aware of the frequency and negative impact of chronic absence from school. In many school districts and communities, the focus is on “unexcused” absences or truancy at the middle and high school level, even though research shows that chronic absence in the early grades is also a major problem, whether excused or unexcused. Common interventions are often punitive in nature and blame is frequently placed on students and their families. Ultimately, such responses have the deleterious, if unintended, effect of making school less, not more, engaging for students and families, and these practices undermine efforts to assist our most struggling schools and students.

 

In spring 2016, ED will release the 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), including the first-ever school-level data on all students across the nation who missed at least 15 days of school for any reason, which translates into approximately 8.5 percent of a typical school year. We anticipate that the CRDC will shed new light on the scope of the chronic absenteeism problem, including where it is most prevalent and whom it most affects, and further catalyze efforts to engage students who are, or are at risk of becoming, chronically absent.

 

However, we can and must do more now to address the negative and disparate outcomes experienced by students who are chronically absent.  By acting early and effectively in a coordinated, cross-sector manner – from the federal government to every school and community in the country – we can dramatically improve the academic and life outcomes of millions of young people who have been disengaged from a daily, supportive school experience. The health and well-being of our nation demands that we do no less.

Distinguished Jazz Musician and University of San Francisco Performing Arts Instructor Releases New Edition of Celebrated Literary Offering

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Why Did the Washington Post Single Out Black Chamber Leader for Front-Page Criticism?

Posted by Admin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Op-Ed By Khalil Abdullah                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Many in Washington who follow policy debates, particularly as those discussions and subsequent legislation would affect minority-owned businesses, are familiar with Harry Alford and the organization he leads, the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
From the organization’s inception in 1993, Alford has taken decidedly pro-business and pro-minority business stances on a host of issues: from a demand to include minority-owned accounting and financial firms to monitor the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008 in what was initially a sole-source contract to two non-minority firms to recent advocacy in opposition to legislation that would have terminated all affirmative-action programs inside DOD. This short list does not begin to do justice to the breadth of Mr. Alford’s concerns.
One can have well-grounded disagreements with aspects of Alford’s positions — or even reject them whole-cloth – but it seems easy to understand why he takes the positions he does. As the head of a business chamber, Mr. Alford represents the interests of his members. He has done so publicly and unapologetically.
This, in part, is what is so troubling about a front-page profile of Mr. Alford that Washington Post published on Tuesday.
The piece chronicles Mr. Alford’s campaign against new EPA rules to restrict ground-ozone emissions, or smog. Alford contends that the rules would undermine businesses and hamper employment, especially minority employment, in the process.
In and of itself, that hardly seems worthy of a front-page profile, particularly since other business groups raised similar objections and since the article itself acknowledged that Mr. Alford was “a veteran of multiple campaigns to quash regulations….”
So what makes Mr. Alford, a self-professed conservative, worthy of such coverage? The hue of his skin? “In smog battle, industry gets help from unlikely source: black business group,” blared the headline to the article by Joby Warrick.
Presumably, what made the National Black Chamber of Commerce’s support of industry so “unlikely” was not that it is business chamber. No, it is that this business chamber happens to represent African-American members.
Warrick is a seasoned journalist and a Pulitzer Prize winner, but this piece resonates with a disappointing tone-deafness. The absurd and offensive implication here is that it is somehow odd that an African-American business group would support the interests of businesses. The Washington Post thus demonstrates a kind of twisted double standard.
The Washington Post does not, for example, question that fact that Thomas J. Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposes the EPA rules for much the same reason that Mr. Alford opposes them. And why doesn’t it question Mr. Donohue’s position? Because Mr. Donohue is the head of a business chamber, and heads of business chambers protect the interests of their members against policies they view as hostile to business.
Readers are not well served by the glaring omission in the story’s opening paragraphs:
For years, the air over central Pittsburgh has ranked among the country’s dirtiest, with haze and soot that regularly trigger spikes in asthma attacks, especially among the urban poor. So it might have seemed odd that a black business group would choose this spot to denounce proposed restrictions on smog. But that’s exactly what the head of the National Black Chamber of Commerce did this month. Chamber President Harry C. Alford appeared before some of Pittsburgh’s African American leaders to urge opposition to a White House plan for tougher limits on air pollution.
Here is what Mr. Warrick dropped from his lead of the story: that the Pittsburgh event Mr. Alford attended and that the story apparently cites was jointly hosted by his organization and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Inclusion of this fact would have diminished the narrative that Mr. Alford and the NBCC are nothing more than window dressing for an industry cause – as opposed to an industry partner.
The story also implicitly sets up a kind of moral standard for African-American leadership and allows a rival of Mr. Alford’s to act as jury and judge.
Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chamber Inc., argues in the piece that smog contributes to health problems in African-American communities. That’s a fair enough point. But then he goes on to suggest that Mr. Alford has no standing. “Anyone who’s saying it’s not affecting our community isn’t speaking on behalf of black people,” Mr. Busby is quoted as saying.
Again, how could the author omit a crucially important fact about Mr. Busby? Not only is he a rival. He and Mr. Alford were entangled in a legal dispute. The Washington Post owed it to its readers to make clear that Mr. Busby was hardly a dispassionate analyst.
Finally, the story leaves the impression that Mr. Alford is the only significant African-American leader raising concerns about the EPA’s proposed regulations. Not true; has not been true for decades. In 1996, for example, lobbying by an American car manufacturer persuaded members of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to withdraw a resolution calling for strengthening air quality provisions. Why? Because of the fear of job loss to African-American workers in those members’ legislative districts were those plants to close.
Today, other African-American leaders have argued that the economic consequences of the regulations would be severe in urban communities, including Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana. Even President Obama decided to abandon a similar proposal around the time of his reelection, apparently concerned of the damage it would do to the economy. But none of this is mentioned.
Whether one agrees with Alford’s assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the EPA’s new rules proposal is not the issue. Readers are led to conclude that Mr. Alford stands alone on the margins in opposition to them.
Let’s set aside other critiques of the piece for the time being. The overarching point is that Mr. Alford, as the leader of a business group, has every right to join his industry partners in protesting what he views as bad policy. The hue of his skin has nothing to do with that.
Khalil Abdullah, a former executive director of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, is also a former editor/writer for New America Media and former managing editor of the Washington Afro Newspaper. This article has also been published by Maynard Institute’s “Diversity Headlines” and by New America Media.

 

 

 

Photo: Harry C. Alford, President, National Black Chamber of Commerce

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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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