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Archive for October 26th, 2015

ICYMI: ‘Stop the Cops to Fund Black Futures’

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Over 60 Black and allied organizers arrested for shutdown of IACP Conference

Fund Black Futures BYP.png


CHICAGO 10/25 – On Saturday, October 24th, members of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100),  We Charge Genocide, Assata’s Daughters, and Organized Communities Against Deportations, shut down the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference for over four hours. BYP100 and fellow organizers were chained together while they shut down four intersections surrounding the IACP’s conference location at McCormick Place. After 4 hours of protests, over 66 (47 women & 19 men) organizers were arrested. BYP100, allied-organizations and community supporters protested the IACP conference to demonstrate an urgency to divest from police departments and organizations and reallocate funds to programs and policies that keep Black communities safe.

Together, we’re organized to demand that our lives, our communities and our futures be made a priority. The police chiefs who belong to the IACP, and their local departments have a debt to pay for the lives and the resources they’ve stolen and we’re here to collect,” says BYP100 National Director, Charlene Carruthers. The list of demands BYP100 has called for include: a divestment of local, state, and federal funding from police departments; a reallocation of funding towards social services, job creation, and quality education; and reparations for chattel slavery.


In the City of Chicago, 40% of the city’s budget goes towards police departments, which is estimated to be over $4 million a day. Recently Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he wants to hire 300 more police officers and spend $200 million more on the police department. “Over the past few years, major cuts have been made to social services, education, and job creation in Chicago and abroad, which directly impacts the current and future prospects of Black people,” says BYP100 organizer Camesha Jones. “We need to fund Black futures, not more cops.”


BYP100 and fellow organizers received local and national support for their demonstration. The hashtag for the day, #StopTheCops, was used in over 25,000 tweets and the tag trended nationally and in cities across the US for hours. See the BYP100 Twitter Page for a recap of the action and updates including photos and video.

Image Credit: The Black Youth Project 100 (Twitter)


In the News:

Protesters Demand Changes in Policing During Police Chiefs Conference in Chicago


Hundreds Protest Meeting Of Police Chiefs At McCormick Place



Mass Arrests in Chicago Outside Meeting of US Police Chiefs


Local Police Association Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary With MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Eric Dyson

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Black Police Association of Greater Dallas to Host Building Bridges, Enabling Opportunities 40th Anniversary Gala

Dallas, TX (BlackNews.com) — The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas is hosting their 40th Anniversary Gala co-chaired by Senator Royce West and Toni Brinker Pickens, Founder and CEO of Operation Blue Shield, at the Hyatt Regency- Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas, November 7th, 2015. VIP Reception for dignitaries and special guests will be held at 6:30 p.m. with Dinner and Gala to follow at 7:30 p.m.

“We will be commemorating four decades of commitment to our members and community, and respectfully pay homage to our founding members and former presidents of our esteemed organization,” according to Cletus Judge, the Black Police Association President.
The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas will be honoring founding members of the organization as well as awarding community leaders who have made special contributions to the success of the organization over the past 40 years. The association is also proud to announce keynote speaker Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, Georgetown Professor, author, New York Times Contributing Opinion Writer and MSNBC Political Analyst.

Since 1975, the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas has worked to improve the working environment of law enforcement officers within the police and to enhance racial harmony and quality of service to all sections of the community. You can find the association carrying out its mission by volunteering to feed the homeless, providing thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students, hosting holiday toy giveaways, feeding needy families during holidays, mentoring children and young adults, hosting community events and being both advocates and activist for social and economic justice.

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas hopes to continue to bridge any gaps that remain between the police and the community striving forward for the next 40 years.
The BPA was founded and forged in the basic principles of fairness and equality. At a time when the disparate treatment of people of color and women was the open norm at the Dallas Police Department; our founders who were mocked and warned to not organize, pressed forward despite opposition and birthed the organization of which we are now the benefactors, says Cletus Judge, On this celebratory night we will be celebrating our theme Building Bridges, Enabling Opportunities. The ticket price for the Gala is $75 or $750 for a table of ten. Purchase tickets at http://bpa40.eventbrite.com.

For more information on the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, please visit www.BPADallas.org

About the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas
The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, POA consists of 650 sworn officers/deputies, whom have taken an oath to maintain law and order for Dallas citizens, and represent the finest element of the community. You can be assured that each and every day, the BPA is working diligently to build a safe and prosperous environment for everyone; especially Dallas children. The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas is proud of the various communities, regional, state and national charities who benefit from their support and involvement.

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas has proudly served the community of Dallas for the last Forty years. They are committed to not only the safety of our citizens and business but to providing charitable contributions to those in our community who need our help the most.

Race & Justice News: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

From: The Sentencing Project


Latinos Underrepresented Among California State Prosecutors

According to a report by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, California is “stuck in the 1970s” when it comes to the demographics of the state’s prosecutors. Whites comprise almost 38% of the state’s population but nearly 70% of its prosecutors. The researchers explain that “the last time 70% of Californians were white was in 1977.” Latinos, on the other hand, constitute almost 39% of the state’s population but represent only 9% of state prosecutors. African Americans and Asians, the report notes, are ​fairly ​well represented among California prosecutors relative to their share of the state’s population.
The researchers note that the “pipeline problem,” which is the underrepresentation of minorities throughout the legal profession, is the most important obstacle in increasing workforce diversity. They conclude that more research is needed to understand the impact of Latino prosecutorial underrepresentation on Latino defendants, in particular, now that Latinos have surpassed whites as California’s largest ethnic group.

Where Police Don’t Mirror Communities and How to Change That

While people of color remain underrepresented, to varying degrees, in nearly all law enforcement agencies serving at least 100,000 residents, police departments are least likely to reflect the racial and ethnic makeup of communities that have experienced major demographic shifts. Writing in Governing, Mike Maciag reports that practitioners contend police diversity is important because a racial/ethnic gap between a department and its community erodes trust and poses language and cultural barriers. Maciag notes though: “Research examining effects of police demographics on officer-involved shootings and use of force is mixed.”
To improve diversity, departments should set measurable recruiting goals and develop a strategic plan to reach these goals, such as by placing recruiting centers in communities of color and building relationships with police advisory boards. Departments should also have proper training and protocols in place, and mechanisms for addressing misconduct. “Agencies enjoying good reputations in the law enforcement profession and in their communities also benefit from larger, more diverse applicant pools.”


Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

In Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, Talitha LeFlouria recounts the underexplored history of incarcerated black women in Georgia’s convict leasing and chain gang systems in the post-emancipation South. Unlike neighboring states that exclusively used incarcerated women for domestic roles, Georgia’s incarcerated female population was decisively integrated into the male workforce and black women became a counterpart in the building of the New South (1865-1920). “Their presence in convict leasing and chain gang systems of Georgia helped modernize the postbellum South by creating a new and dynamic set of occupational burdens and competencies for black women that were untested in the free labor market.”
LeFlouria’s book describes the socioeconomic conditions (such as extreme poverty and sexual and/or physical abuse by a family member) in Georgia that contributed to many black women committing acts of violence, and highlights the demoralizing living conditions and inhumane violence that black women were forced to endure once incarcerated. In an interview with Ms., LeFlouria notes: “This book gives us a historical reference point to better understand black women’s travails against the carceral state today.”

African Americans’ Role in the Creation of Mass Incarceration

In Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment, Michael Javen Fortner highlights the active role that African Americans played in the creation of mass incarceration, focusing in particular on drug policy formation in New York State. He argues that during the late 1960s to early 1970s, New York’s black community shifted from seeking reform on economic and racial inequality to urging heightened policing to avert the criminal brutality plaguing hard-working black residents. New York’s Rockefeller drug laws were, according to Fortner, the greatest legislative victory for crime-concerned black leaders and working- and middle-class African Americans.
Fortner’s book has been critiqued in The New York Times and the Boston Review, and featured in The New Yorker. In a recent Op-Ed, the author argues: “As we rightly rethink punishment, it would be a mistake to ignore crime, both its origins and its effects.… In the short run, we need the police. We need aggressive law enforcement methods that do not harass or brutalize the innocent.”


Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in Prison in Australia and Canada

The youth incarceration rate for Australia’s Indigenous population has reached its highest point in two decades, according to a new Amnesty International report featured in the Guardian. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth make up 5% of the Australian population of 10 to 17-year-olds, but make up more than half of those in detention. The report provides 16 recommendations on how the Australian government can reduce youth incarceration around the country and meet the international standards set forth by The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Australia has signed and ratified.
In Canada, Aboriginal women now make up over 35% of the female prison population, even though they represent just 4% of the general population. According to CBC News, Howard Sapers, the outgoing Correctional Investigator of Canada, explained that Aboriginal prisoners are also more likely than their counterparts to be assigned to higher security levels, to spend more time in segregation, and to have their parole supervision revoked. Dawn Harvard, interim president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, attributes this over-representation to racism and poverty.

Congressional Black Caucus Applauds the Federal Communications Commission’s Decision to Cap Rates of Prison Phone Calls

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Black Caucus applauds the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to lower rates for inmate calling services (ICS). The FCC’s decision ensures calling rates are reasonable and fair for families who want to stay in touch with incarcerated loved ones. CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement following today’s FCC announcement:

“For several years, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the CBC Prison Telecom Working Group have regularly introduced legislation calling upon the FCC to regulate exorbitant calling rates for prisoners.  And, earlier this year, our members met with the director of the Federal Bureau of Prison where we had a comprehensive and candid discussion about the excessive rates prisoners and their families are charged simply for trying to stay in touch with their loved ones.  Prior to today’s announcement, these prohibitively expensive phone calls could range up to nearly $14 dollars per minute and often force families and individuals to forgo contact with loved ones while they are incarcerated.  The new caps reduce the average rates for phone calls substantially and lessen the additional hardship that many families are faced with while their loved ones are imprisoned.

“As we continue our work to decrease mass incarceration, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction to find solutions that help keep families connected, reduce recidivism, and get lives back on track.”

For the past decade, Members of the CBC and the CBC Prison Telecom Working Group have appealed to the FCC to find market-based solutions to curb the skyrocketing phone rates that prisoners and their families must pay.  Earlier this month, CBC Members sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to urge an end to predatory practices and encourage a comprehensive solution to lowering calling rates.  The CBC Prison Telecom Working Group includes Reps. Holmes Norton, Bobby Rush, Bobby Scott, G. K. Butterfield, Donald M. Payne, Jr., John Lewis, and Hank Johnson.

Get Covered Illinois and IDPH Announce 10 Organizations Selected for Federal Grants in Year 3 of Get Covered Illinois Navigator Program

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

 Local Agencies Tapped to Assist Consumers Explore Health Care Options During Third Open Enrollment Period


CHICAGO, IL – Get Covered Illinois (GCI) and The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have announced a list of 10 organizations that will receive almost $5 million in federal funding to participate in the third year of Get Covered Illinois’ In-Person Counselor (IPC) Program, the state-run outreach and education arm of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Illinois.

The selected organizations (found at the end of this release) will take part in an intensive training program leading up to the launch of the third enrollment period. Open enrollment begins November 1, 2015, and ends January 31, 2016. The federally funded program establishes a network of “Navigators” across the state whose job is to educate consumers about the financial assistance available under the ACA for those who qualify based on their income, and help them navigate through their healthcare options.


“As Get Covered Illinois enters its third open enrollment phase, a large part of its success is due in part to the robust network of grantees,” said Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Anne Melissa Dowling. “The grantee organizations will continue to carry out effective outreach and education efforts to provide support to the uninsured of Illinois. More than 150 full-time assisters will be available to help individuals choose coverage options that best fit their needs.”

The grantees were chosen through a competitive scoring process administered by IDPH. Each proposal was evaluated based on the ability to meet the requirements of the work, including organizational capacity, quality of the submission and scope of work. Regional and cultural needs were also considered to ensure proper statewide distribution of funding.

“We want to build on the success of the program we’ve seen during the last two years,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “By increasing the number of people who are insured, more people will have the opportunity to get routine check-ups and preventive care, which will improve the overall health of the state and decrease health care costs.” 


Coupled with enrollment of approximately 622,673 people to date in Medicaid under the ACA, more than 972,160 Illinois residents have received coverage as a result of the state’s enrollment efforts.


Navigators are currently available to provide enrollment assistance to those who have experienced a qualifying change-in-life circumstance (such as change in marital or job status) during our Special Enrollment Period and for Medicaid (which has no fixed enrollment period), until the Marketplace opens on Nov. 1.

For more information about the state’s implementation of the ACA, go to: www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov.

Follow Get Covered Illinois on:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CoveredIllinois
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoveredIllinois
Twitter: @CoveredIllinois

List of Lead Grantees:

  • Asian Health Coalition

  • Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center, Inc.
  • Greater Elgin Family Care Center
  • Howard Brown Health Center
  • Lake County Health Department

  • Pilsen-Little Village Community Mental Health Center

  • Project of the Quad Cities

  • Sinai Community Institute

  • United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Inc.

  • Winnebago County Health Department


Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Opening Remarks at White House Conversation on Criminal Justice Reform

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Washington, DC

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch:

Good afternoon.  It is a pleasure to help welcome you all to this important discussion.  I want to thank President Obama for making this event possible; for his extraordinary leadership on criminal justice reform; and for his dedication to addressing the challenges we face.  I want to thank the Marshall Project for moderating this forum and for their tireless focus to address this vital issue in this country. And I want to thank all of you here today for being an integral part of this crucial conversation about the mission that we share: promoting public safety, protecting our communities and defending the rights of everyone who calls America home.

These are serious issues – and I am proud to say that, over the course of the Obama Administration, we have made real and critical progress.  Through the Smart on Crime initiative, launched by my predecessor, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice is fundamentally reorienting the way we approach criminal justice issues by diminishing the use of harsh mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenses; investing in rehabilitation and reentry programs that can reduce the likelihood of recidivism; and supporting vulnerable communities to prevent them from being caught up in the criminal justice system.  Through partnerships with agencies like the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, we’re taking an evidence-based, holistic approach to problems that obstruct opportunity and lead to crime in the first place – from poverty to substandard schools; from homelessness to inadequate mental health services.  Through our work with state and local law enforcement agencies on constitutional policing, projects like the Violence Reduction Network and grant initiatives from the Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, we are promoting community policing approaches that foster trust, strengthen communities and save lives.  And as we continue this effort, conversations like this one could not be more important – because they remind us that even in the midst of great challenges, we share the same basic goals.

When I took office earlier this year, I began a six-city tour to highlight some of the most promising work that citizens and law enforcement are doing together to build trust, respect and mutual understanding, specifically visiting cities that had faced significant challenges in this area.  I spoke with civic and public safety leaders in Cincinnati, Ohio, who talked about the way their collaboration has transformed the city into a more welcoming and inclusive place.  I heard from community members in Birmingham, Alabama, who praised their police leadership and were excited about its new approach.  And I had conversations with young adults in Richmond, California, who understand that we have a long road ahead, but who also fundamentally believe that we can find a path forward and make progress together.

In all these towns – as well as East Haven, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington – I took part in conversations like the one we’re having today.   And what I found most striking was that everywhere I went, I heard the same refrain from residents and public servants, from community officials and young people: “I love my city.  I love my town.  I love my community – and I want to make it better.”  That should give us all hope – because that is the fundamental priority of all of us here today: to make the nation we love more safe, more protected and more free.

Of course, it is clear that we have a great deal of work to do.  We face stubborn challenges and complex issues that have their roots in America’s earliest days.  But I strongly believe that, thanks to leaders like you and your colleagues and counterparts across the country – we can create the safer, more secure, more empowered communities that all Americans deserve.  I want you to know that, as we go forward, this administration, this Department of Justice and I personally will remain committed to working with you to build that brighter future together.

Thank you again for being a part of this conversation and for the work you do every day.  And now, I am delighted to introduce today’s next speaker, Dr. Ronal Serpas – a professor at Loyola University, a former New Orleans Police Department Superintendent with more than three decades of experience in criminal justice and a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.  Dr. Serpas is a thoughtful leader and a steadfast partner in our shared effort to promote equality and improve lives and I am very pleased to have him here with us today.

Breaking Silence: Pierce College Students on Depression

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
From: New America Media
On Wednesday, over 100 students at Pierce College in Los Angeles gathered for a NAM forum on struggling with depression as a college student. In the spring and summer of 2015, NAM partnered with the Pierce College Media Arts Department and the Pierce Health Center on a storytelling project to break silence around depression among students in college. A cohort of journalism students conducted a survey of 200 of their peers on depression, stigma, and mental health treatment, and then produced a series of stories about Pierce students dealing with depression in their own lives or in the lives of their friends and families. The stories were collected in a journal that was distributed at the forum, and are also being posted to http://feelbetterca.org/tag/pierce-college/

At the forum, the journalism students spoke about their experiences participating in the project, and several of the students who were profiled in the stories gave personal testimonies on their experiences with depression. There was also a panel of experts, including Dr. Niaz Khani of the Pierce Health Center, Dr. Andrea Letamendi of Hathaway-Sycamores, attorney Nancy Shea of Mental Health Advocacy Services, and Michelle Rittel and Terica Roberts of the LA County Department of Mental Health.

City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection Offers FREE Business Workshops

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) offers FREE business workshops every Wednesday and Friday at City Hall, 8th Floor. To register for a workshop call 312-744-2086. You also can register by emailing BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org.

November 2015 Workshop Calendar
11/4     City Inspections – Ask Questions, Get Answers    
3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by the City of Chicago
To operate a successful business in Chicago you must know what it takes to maintain compliance. Officials from several City departments will provide insight to operate safely, stay compliant, help prepare for inspections and highlight the do’s and don’ts of operating a healthy business.11/6     How Social Media Works For Your Business
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago
There are a billion reasons to be on social media, which allows you to speak directly to your audience. Susy Schultz, President of the Community Media Workshop, will give an overview of social media’s part in your communication strategy. She’ll also discuss two of the more popular platforms, Twitter and Facebook, in detail.11/11     NO WORKSHOP DUE TO VETERAN’S DAY HOLIDAY11/13     How to Use Blogging to Build Your Business  
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Smart at the Start
Blogging is one of the best ways to build authority and traffic on the Internet. As the Internet continues to grow, consumers have an insatiable need for content. The company blog has become one of the most reliable forms of providing that information. The biggest challenge most small business owner’s face is not whether they need a blog, but how to build a blog that brings in business.11/18     Instagram 101: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by Laura Sanchez, CEO of SWATware LLC
Discover how Small Businesses are using Instagram to tell their story, connect with new prospects, and network to create meaningful relationships. Learn multiple tips and tricks to use on Instagram to create brand recognition, boost your online presence as well as your revenue.11/20      Steering Through the Social Media Landscape
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Lema Khorshid, Fuksa Khorshid, LLC

Given the rapid rise of social media in our culture, business owners are often at a loss about what social media uses they can and can’t restrict as well as how their employees’ use of social media may affect their image and their bottom line. The workshop imparts business owners with best practices regarding their employees’ use of social media and how to limit their liability online, while maintaining a positive image for their business.

11/25     No Workshop Due To Thanksgiving Holiday

11/27    No Workshop Due To Thanksgiving Holiday

Click here to view full monthly calendar. All workshops are free and are located at the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection – City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, Room 805.
Small Business Expo – Saturday, 11/14

Hyde Park School of Dance’s The Nutcracker Returns December 11-13

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

New Holiday Bazaar Adds to Festivities
Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) once again offers ballet fans its annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, featuring 175 dancers—from four-year-olds to grandparents—supported by more than 100 volunteers. Performances are December 11–13 at Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th Street, Chicago.

Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the 90-minute narrated production follows Clara, Fritz and the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer from the family holiday party and the midnight battle with the Mouse Queen and her troops through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.

Each year, HPSD casts one or more Chicago VIPs as the honorary Mother Ginger. This year, Hyde Park Herald editor Daschell Phillips will play the role December 12 at 1 p.m., and Hyde Park Bank President Mike McGarry is taking on the role for the December 12 6 p.m. performance. Past Mother Gingers have included 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode, State Representative Kimberly DuBuclet, Ray Elementary School Principal Bernadette Butler and Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell.

Prior to each performance, the Pre-Ballet Holiday Show showcases 70 of HPSD’s youngest ballet students in performance.

New this year, a Hyde Park School of Dance Holiday Bazaar offers an opportunity to meet characters from The Nutcracker, make holiday crafts, finish holiday shopping from the wares of local vendors and indulge in a hot chocolate bar and other treats. The Holiday Bazaar takes place Saturday, December 12 from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 from 1 to 5 p.m.

On Friday, December 11, HPSD performs an abridged version for more than 800 school children, many who will be seeing their first ballet. The performance is part of HPSD’s community engagement program, STEPS (Serve, Train, Educate, Promote, Succeed).

The Nutcracker takes place Friday, December 11 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 12 at 1 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, December 13 at 2 p.m. at Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th Street in Chicago. Tickets, which go on sale November 2, are $30 for reserved seating (all ages); general admission tickets are $20 for adults; $15 for seniors; $10 for children ages five to 18 and students with ID; and free for children younger than five. Tickets and information are available at 773-493-8498 or hydeparkdance.org.

Photo by Marc Monaghan.

ISBE celebrates the Year of the Volunteer

Posted by Admin On October - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Effingham volunteer recognized at October Board meeting


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Kim Varner was honored by the State Board of Education for the month of October as part of Illinois’ “Year of the Volunteer” program. The initiative, established by a Senate resolution, aims to “engage all generations as participants, planners, organizers and leaders of the volunteer infrastructure.”

“As a tireless advocate for mentoring, it is an honor to be able to recognize Kim for her work in the community,” said Board member Craig Lindvahl. “The Unit 40 Mentoring Program at Effingham Community Schools would not be what it is today without her vision and dedication.”

During 2015, Board members are choosing to honor individuals within their communities for their dedication and volunteer service. Lindvahl selected Varner for her outstanding work with the Unit 40 Mentoring Program, which started in 2000 with funds from an urban grant. The goal of Unit 40’s Mentoring Program is to give support to students as well as their parents and caregivers so that students can be successful in both school and life. The program started with a goal of 10 mentor/mentee matches the first year at one school and ended that year with 30 matches. The program has now grown to 150 matches per year at five different sites, including alternative education settings.

Varner has served as the mentoring program director for the past 15 years in addition to her position as school social worker at Central Grade School in Effingham. Although Varner is now retired, she is still available as a problem solver and consultant for the program. She is also a member of the Effingham Advisory and Sustainability Mentoring Committee that funds 50 percent of the Mentoring Program yearly through fundraising.

“I am humbled, surprised, and honored to be recognized for my volunteer work and encouraging and facilitating others to volunteer,” said Varner. “This program would not have been possible without Effingham Unit 40 Schools’ support, the Advisory Sustainability group, and the loving community of Effingham.”

Varner has also served as a volunteer member of the Advisory Leadership Council for the Illinois Mentoring Partnership since 2013. The Illinois Mentoring Partnership has helped connect Unit 40’s Mentoring Program to current resources and research and offered extensive support as the program has continued to develop and grow.

The Senate established the Year of the Volunteer in response to the “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship that showed only about a quarter of Illinoisans volunteered in 2013. According to Senate Resolution 1002, research shows that “Illinoisans who do not volunteer would like to, but simply do not know how to get connected to service opportunities.” In cooperation with fellow organizations, ISBE urges community members of all ages to explore volunteer opportunities, particularly those related to children and their education.

ISBE supports the initiative in cooperation with Generations Serving Generations, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Illinois Department on Aging, the Serve Illinois Commission, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Senate via Senate Resolution 1002.

For more information on how to take part in the Year of the Volunteer, go to www.serve.illinois.gov.

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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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