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Archive for November 17th, 2015

FBI Releases 2014 Hate Crime Statistics

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on FBI Releases 2014 Hate Crime Statistics
The FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2014, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation. Submitted by 15,494 law enforcement agencies, the data provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes; however, the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports. Highlights of Hate Crime Statistics, 2014 follow.
  • Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 5,479 criminal incidents and 6,418 offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity in 2014. The numbers are down from 2013 when 5,928 criminal incidents were reported involving 6,933 offenses.
  • There were 5,462 single-bias incidents involving 6,681 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type showed that 48.3 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ racial bias, 18.7 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias, 17.1 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, and 12.3 percent were victimized due to ethnicity bias. Victims targeted because of the offenders’ bias against gender identity accounted for 1.6 percent of victims of single-bias incidents; disabilities, 1.4 percent; and gender, 0.6 percent.
  • There were 17 multiple-bias hate crime incidents involving 46 victims.
  • Of the 4,048 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2014, intimidation accounted for 43.1 percent, simple assault accounted for 37.4 percent, and aggravated assault for 19.0 percent. Four murders and nine rapes (all nine from agencies that collected data using the revised rape definition) were reported as hate crimes.
    • Beginning with the 2013 data collection, the UCR Program’s revised definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” [This includes the offenses of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object as converted from data submitted via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).]
    • The UCR Program’s legacy definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”
  • There were 2,317 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (73.1 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 26.9 percent of crimes against property.
  • In the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement officers could also report whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as the suspect’s ethnicity when possible.
    • Of the 5,192 known offenders, 52.0 percent were white, and 23.2 percent were black or African-American. The race was unknown for 16.0 percent. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 1.1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; 0.8 percent were Asian; less than 0.1 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 6.9 percent were of a group of multiple races.
    • Of the 1,875 offenders for whom ages were known, 81.0 percent were 18 years of age or older.
    • Of the 975 offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 47.6 percent were Not Hispanic or Latino, 6.5 percent were Hispanic or Latino, and 1.7 percent were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 44.2 percent of these offenders.

• Most hate crime incidents (31.6 percent) occurred in or near residences/homes. Nearly 18 percent (17.8) occurred on highways/roads/alleys/streets/sidewalks; 8.6 percent occurred at schools/colleges; 6.3 percent happened at parking/drop lots/garages; and 3.6 percent took place in churches/synagogues/temples/mosques. The location was considered other/unknown for 11.9 percent of hate crime incidents. The remainder of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.

Full Report: Hate Crime Statistics, 2014
Related Story: Latest Hate Crime Statistics Available

Washington, D.C. November 16, 2015
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama named seventeen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards will be presented at the White House on November 24th.

President Obama said, “I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor. From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Yogi Berra (posthumous)

Yogi Berra spent over 40 years as a professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach. Widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history – and an all-time Yankee great – Berra was an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series Champion who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Always quick witted, Berra was famous for his “Yogi-isms,” teaching us all that we can observe a lot just by watching. Berra was also a lifelong ambassador for inclusion in sports. Berra put his professional career on hold to join the Navy during World War II, where he fought with Allied forces on D-Day and eventually earned a Purple Heart.

Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie Carroll is a life-long public servant who has devoted her life to caring for our military and veterans. After her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, died in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992, Carroll founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which provides comprehensive support to those impacted by the death of their military hero, bringing healing comfort and compassionate care to the living legacies of our nation’s service and sacrifice. Carroll is also a retired Major in the Air Force Reserve. She serves on the Defense Health Board, and co-chaired the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces.

Shirley Chisholm (posthumous)

Shirley Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress, beginning the first of seven terms in the House of Representatives. In 1969 she became one of the founding members of what would become the Congressional Black Caucus. Not satisfied, Chisholm went on to make history yet again, becoming the first major-party African-American female candidate to make a bid for the U.S. presidency when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972. She was a champion of minority education and employment opportunities throughout her tenure in Congress. After leaving Congress in 1983, Chisolm taught at Mount Holyoke College and frequently lectured and gave speeches at colleges and universities throughout the country.

Emilio Estefan

Emilio Estefan is a passionate and visionary music producer, entrepreneur, author, and songwriter who has won nineteen Grammy Awards and influenced a generation of artists. As the founding member of the Miami Sound Machine, and later through a decades-long career producing and shaping the work of countless stars, Estefan has helped popularize Latin music around the world.  He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Emilio Estefan is an inductee to the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan is a singer, songwriter, actor, and entrepreneur who introduced Latin music to a global audience. The Cuban-American lead singer of the Miami Sound Machine has had chart topping hits such as “Conga,” “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” and “Anything for You.” Estefan has won seven Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. She is an inductee to the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Estefan became one of the first mainstream Hispanic artists to crossover between English and Spanish language music paving the way for countless other Latin artists to follow.

Billy Frank, Jr. (posthumous)

Billy Frank, Jr. was a tireless advocate for Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship, whose activism paved the way for the “Boldt decision,” which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state of Washington. Frank led effective “fish-ins,” which were modeled after sit-ins of the civil rights movement, during the tribal “fish wars” of the 1960s and 1970s. His magnetic personality and tireless advocacy over more than five decades made him a revered figure both domestically and abroad. Frank was the recipient of many awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award for Humanitarian Achievement. Frank left in his wake an Indian Country strengthened by greater sovereignty and a nation fortified by his example of service to one’s community, his humility, and his dedication to the principles of human rights and environmental sustainability.

Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton has been one of the most influential voices on international relations and American national security over the course of his more than 40 year career. From 1965 to 1999, he served Indiana in the United States House of Representatives, where his chairmanships included the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran. Since retiring from Congress, Hamilton has been involved in efforts to address some of our nation’s most high profile homeland security and foreign policy challenges. He served as Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission and Co-Chairman of the Iraq Study Group. He was Co-Chairman of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, which issued a report in 2006 calling for reform of the nation’s immigration laws and system. And through the founding of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, he has also been a leading advocate for bi-partisanship and effective governance.

Katherine G. Johnson

Katherine G. Johnson is a pioneer in American space history. A NASA mathematician, Johnson’s computations have influenced every major space program from Mercury through the Shuttle program. Johnson was hired as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that preceded NASA, after they opened hiring to African-Americans and women. Johnson exhibited exceptional technical leadership and is known especially for her calculations of the 1961 trajectory for Alan Shepard’s flight (first American in space), the 1962 verification of the first flight calculation made by an electronic computer for John Glenn’s orbit (first American to orbit the earth), and the 1969 Apollo 11 trajectory to the moon. In her later NASA career, Johnson worked on the Space Shuttle program and the Earth Resources Satellite and encouraged students to pursue careers in science and technology fields.

Willie Mays

Willie Mays was a professional baseball player, spending most of his 22 seasons as a center fielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants. Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, making him the fifth all-time record-holder. Known as “The Say Hey Kid,” Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 and landed on MLB’s All-Time team. In 1951, Mays became one of the first African-American players in Major League Baseball history and won the Rookie of the Year award. Mays also served his country in the United States Army. In his return to Major League Baseball, Mays won the MVP award, and in the 1954 World Series Mays led the Giants to a surprise victory, while making one of the most spectacular plays in sports history, later known simply as “The Catch.”

Barbara Mikulski

Barbara Mikulski is a lifelong public servant, who has held elected office since 1971. She became the longest serving female Senator in 2011, the longest serving woman in Congress in 2012, and the first female Senator to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2012. Applying what she witnessed in her early career as a social worker and community activist in Baltimore, Maryland to her time in office, Senator Mikulski championed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and helped establish the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to include women in federally-funded health research protocols. She also helped to make college more affordable by reforming and increasing Pell grants and student loans and wrote the law that prevents seniors from going bankrupt while paying for a spouse’s nursing home care. She championed investments in research and innovation, most notably saving the Hubble Space Telescope. She is dean of the bipartisan Senate women, serving as their mentor.

Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman is a treasured conductor and sought-after teacher. Among his many achievements are four Emmy Awards, 16 Grammy Awards, and the 2008 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2000 and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003. A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18. In addition to performing internationally and recording the classical music for which he is best known, Perlman has also played jazz, including an album made with jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. Perlman has been the soloist for a number of film scores such as Schindler’s List, which subsequently won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.  Alongside his wife Toby, Mr. Perlman teaches talented young musicians through the Perlman Music Program.  Through his advocacy and his example, he has been an important voice on behalf of persons with disabilities.

William Ruckelshaus

William D. Ruckelshaus is a dedicated public servant who has worked tirelessly to protect public health and combat global challenges like climate change. As the first and fifth Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, under Presidents Nixon and Reagan, he not only shaped the guiding principles of the agency, but also worked diligently to bring the public into the decision making process. Among the EPA’s key early achievements under his leadership was a nationwide ban on the pesticide DDT and an agreement with the automobile industry to require catalytic converters, which significantly reduced automobile pollution. He also demonstrated his commitment to public service and integrity as Deputy Attorney General. During the Watergate crisis, Ruckelshaus and Attorney General Elliot Richardson chose to resign rather than fire the Watergate special prosecutor. Their principled stance was a pivotal moment for the Justice Department and galvanized public opinion for upholding the rule of law. He continues to advance his legacy of collaborative problem solving in his current role at the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim is one of the country’s most influential theater composers and lyricists. His work has helped define American theater with shows such as Company, West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. Sondheim has received eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards, an Academy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Sondheim also founded Young Playwrights, Inc., to develop and promote the work of American playwrights aged 18 and younger.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is an American film director, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.  Spielberg’s films include blockbusters such as Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and the Indiana Jones series, as well as socially conscious works Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, and his newest film Bridge of Spies.  A three-time Academy Award winner, Spielberg is widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His films have grossed over 8.5 billion dollars worldwide.  Spielberg is the co-founder of DreamWorks Studios as well as the founder of the USC Shoah Foundation, an organization dedicated to overcoming intolerance and bigotry through the use of visual history testimony.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand is one of our Nation’s most gifted talents. Her body of work includes extraordinary singing, acting, directing, producing, songwriting, and she is one of the few performers to receive an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony. Her performance in 1968’s Funny Girl endeared her to Americans for generations, and she won her first Academy Award for her role in that film. In 1984, she became the first woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director, which she won for the motion picture Yentl. Streisand is also a recipient of four Peabody Awards, in addition to the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. In 2009, she endowed the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, which works to correct gender inequality in the research of a disease which each year kills more women than men.

James Taylor

As a recording and touring artist, James Taylor has touched people with his warm baritone voice and distinctive style of guitar-playing for more than 40 years, while setting a precedent to which countless young musicians have aspired.  Over the course of his celebrated songwriting and performing career, Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums, earning gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards for classics ranging from Sweet Baby James in 1970 to October Road in 2002.  In 2015 Taylor released Before This World, his first new studio album in thirteen years, which earned him his first ever #1 album.  He has won multiple Grammy awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Minoru Yasui (posthumous)

Minoru Yasui was a civil and human rights leader known for his continuous defense of the ideals of democracy embodied in our Constitution. A graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, Yasui challenged the constitutionality of a military curfew order during World War II on the grounds of racial discrimination, and spent nine months in solitary confinement during the subsequent legal battle. In 1943, the Supreme Court upheld the military curfew order. Yasui spent the rest of his life appealing his wartime conviction. At the time of his death in 1986, he had successfully convinced a trial court to vacate his arrest, and a case challenging the constitutionality of his conviction was pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Yasui also spent his life fighting for the human and civil rights of all people.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

1,000 Chicagoans Sign Petition Overnight for Emanuel to Declare Chicago a Welcoming City for Refugees, Distinguish from Governor Rauner’s Fearmongering

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on 1,000 Chicagoans Sign Petition Overnight for Emanuel to Declare Chicago a Welcoming City for Refugees, Distinguish from Governor Rauner’s Fearmongering

In response to the news that Governor Rauner will attempt to reject Syrian refugees from finding safety in Illinois, more than 1,000 Chicagoans have signed a petition calling on Mayor Emanuel to distinguish himself and do the opposite.

When asked at a press conference about the Governor’s declaration, Emanuel avoided criticizing the Governor and though he affirmed the US as a welcoming country in principle, he added “Obviously if the governor of Illinois says something, Chicago is not a separate entity from that.”

The petition reads:

Do not allow Governor Rauner’s fearmongering to impact Chicago. Pledge to maintain a welcoming city and stay open to refugees from Syria and anywhere people are fleeing for safety.

As of 9:40am there were 1,054 signers calling on the Mayor, explaining, “Chicago is better than the fear and anti-refugee platform Illinois’ governor is taking. We will not close the door in the face of people seeking safety no matter what Gov. Rauner says.”

On Saturday, immigrant rights groups were already planning a march from the Pilsen neighborhood to 101 W. Congress as part of a national week of action on the anniversary of the stalled executive action by the President and in protest of what they call on-going harsh enforcement.

Read the reaction to the Governor’s announcement from Organized Communities Against Deportation and Arab American Action Network Here

Organized Communities Against Deportations works with immigrant communities to fight harmful immigration enforcement practices and create better living conditions for all immigrants through community organizing, direct action and mobilization. It is part of the Not1More deportation campaign.

Five Arrested after blockading Koch Carbon Petcoke Terminal in Chicago; Calling for Green Jobs Instead of Dangerous Fossil Fuels

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Five Arrested after blockading Koch Carbon Petcoke Terminal in Chicago; Calling for Green Jobs Instead of Dangerous Fossil Fuels

CHICAGO, IL— Five community members and concerned citizens have been arrested following a blockade of the only two entrances to the Koch Carbon Transfer Terminal (KCBX) on Chicago’s Southeast side Monday morning. Operations at the facility were shut down for over four hours this morning in an attempt to stop the continued toxic petcoke particulate handling in their neighborhood, the dirty greenhouse gasses released in the process, and the adverse health impacts stemming from both. Blockaders were also joined by 10th ward Chicago alderwoman Susan Garza who sat in support of the blockaders.

Petcoke is a fine dust that is a byproduct of refining oil. Sixty foot tall piles of the substance began appearing on Chicago’s SE side near the Calumet River two years ago. Community action won the closure of two storage sites, but one transfer site remains open, menacing the health and wellbeing of residents.

“In the two years our community has been fighting the open storage of petcoke, I have had a baby. I live in constant fear of my seven month old son have respiratory problems. I am disgusted by corporations putting their profits over the health of our community. I feel like we have gone through all of the formal complaint processes and it is time to take direct action. I don’t know what else to do to protect the health of my baby,” said Kate Koval, a local mother and longtime community resident, who is sitting in the blockade.

A recent study from Johns Hopkins has linked cardiovascular hospitalizations to same day exposure to particulates in the air that are between 2.5 to 10 microns, implicating exposure to petcoke in the cause of heart disease.

Not only is petcoke bad for human health, but it’s dangerous for global climate. Petcoke is shipped to countries like China and India and burned in power plants producing 5-10% more greenhouse gases than burning coal. 

Reverend Jim Galuhn, Pastor of nearby East Side United Methodist Church, spoke from the blockade: “This action is a witness for environmental justice on behalf of the people who live here, who breath the air polluted by petcoke. We think of our children, especially our neighborhood schools that asthma vans that must regularly come to treat. This action is for them. It is a non-violent witness to seek support from our politicians and those interested in the growth and development of this part of the city.”

Instead of dirty industry like petcoke transfer sites, community residents call for green jobs that put people to work and don’t harm health and climate.

Racism on Campus is Nothing New. But New Student Movement Is

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Racism on Campus is Nothing New. But New Student Movement Is
By Libero Della Piana

As a first-year student at Brown University, twenty-five years ago, I was detained by campus security for trespassing. In my own dorm. In sock feet.

You see, I’d left my room to go to the bathroom and didn’t bring my college ID along. I guess I should have known better. As a black student it was always an unstated expectation that I justify my presence on campus. Black students were a small minority on campus and we were often seen as interlopers, even after admission.

I was reminded of this incident during the past weeks as protests escalated at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) over a string of racist incidents there, culminating in the ouster of the state university System President Tim Wolfe. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and using a wide range of tried-and-true and cutting edge tactics, Mizzou students won one of their main demands, something many observers had said was impossible.

This example of the power of protest was met with rightwing media ridicule, attack by the Missouri Lt. Governor and even death threats against students. Just a day after the jubilation at the resignation of Wolfe, fear of violence turned the campus into a ghost town.

Many white students, professors, community supporters and even the head of the country’s trade union movement all came out in support of the students. The hashtag #BlackOnCampus began documenting student experiences with racism around the country.

Missouri students were not alone. Students at Yale University were in motion as well in response to a racist incident on campus and reports of a “white girls only” fraternity party.

More joined the fight on Nov. 12, when the already planned Million Student March – demanding the elimination of all student debt (which has reached $1.2 trillion nationally), free college education for all, and $15 minimum wage for campus workers – stood in solidarity with besieged Mizzou students.

Racism on campuses both private and public is nothing new. Neither is student protest around the issues affecting their lives.

What is new is the national scope of the protest and the breadth of the support. Some 115 campuses took part in the protests. More than 1,000 students gathered at the University of California at Berkeley. It’s the kind of student action not seen in a generation.

Ultimately the protests at Mizzou and elsewhere are not so much about this administrator or that, as they are about demanding that institutions of higher learning create a space for students of color. It’s the same issue we were struggling with years ago.

When I was detained as a student it was not an isolated incident. Police harassment of black students in particular was commonplace. There were also acts of bigotry against students of color by a few white students, reminders that to some we were unwelcome.

So it was no accident then that graduation rates for black students lagged behind those of our peers. So we organized meetings, issued demands, and protested to make a change, just like students today. Unfortunately little has changed. Black enrollment and graduation rates at Mizzou and colleges around the country are disproportionately low.

Some commentators seem to think these students are protesting because they are young and naive or involved in an intellectual exercise. But students today – as always – are largely motivated to action by the pressing issues impacting their lives and educations. They are fighting to learn and survive. It’s not academic.

Libero Della Piana is a senior organizer and digital director at Alliance for a Just Society. He lives in East Harlem, New York.
Photo: Libero Della Piana

Gov. Cuomo, Toyota and State Farm to Receive Top National Urban League Honors

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Gov. Cuomo, Toyota and State Farm to Receive Top National Urban League Honors

Grammy Nominee Raheem Devaughn, NBC Anchor Sheinelle Jones Take The Stage For Equal Opportunity Dinner

NEW YORK – New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, along with longtime corporate partners State Farm and Toyota, are among the honorees for the National Urban League’s 59th annual Equal Opportunity Dinner (EOD), Thursday, Nov. 19, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Each year, the National Urban League marks the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address by presenting the EOD Award – its highest commendation – to stellar corporations, individuals and organizations that have championed the principles of equal opportunity, civil rights and social justice.  Proceeds from the dinner allow the Urban League Movement to serve over 2.8 million people annually through its network of 94 affiliates nationwide.

Actor Stephan James, who portrays Olympic champion Jesse Owens in an upcoming biographical film, will introduce an exclusive sneak preview of Race.

Partners Marriot International, Inc., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, MetLife and the MetLife Foundation will be inducted into the Urban League’s Hall of Fame

Journalist Sheinelle Jones, anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today, is master of ceremonies for the event which will feature a performance by Grammy nominated singer Raheem Devaughn and after-dinner entertainment from renowned DJ D-Nice. EOD Chair David L. Steward, Urban League Board Chair Michael F. Neidorff and President and CEO Marc H. Morial are among the featured speakers.


National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial
New York Gov.  Andrew M. Cuomo
Weekend Today anchor Sheinelle Jones
Grammy-nominated artist Raheem Devaughn
DJ D-Nice
James Colon, Vice President, African American Business Strategy, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Duane Farrington, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer,  State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company


59th Annual Equal Opportunity Dinner


Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
7:30 p.m.


New York Marriott Marquis
1535 Broadway, New York, NY


Kirk, Ayotte Lead Bipartisan Letter to President on Potential ISIS Infiltration of Syrian Refugee Flow

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Kirk, Ayotte Lead Bipartisan Letter to President on Potential ISIS Infiltration of Syrian Refugee Flow

ISIS Terror Attacks in Paris Claimed 129 Lives

At Least One Attacker Reportedly Infiltrated Syrian Refugee Flow to Enter Europe 

WASHINGTON, DC  – In the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds more, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) led a Senate letter to President Barack Obama urging the Administration to ensure that no members, supporters or sympathizers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are infiltrating Syrian refugee movements to enter the United States.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the synchronized terror attacks in Paris, and French and other European officials said at least one of the attackers used the flow of Syrian refugees to enter the European Union. 

In September 2015, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned of the U.S. intelligence community’s “huge concern” that ISIS may attempt to infiltrate Syrian refugees to enter Europe and possibly the United States.  In October 2015, FBI Director James Comey cautioned about the U.S. government’s limitations in thoroughly vetting all Syrian refugees for national security risk.  Since 2012, the United States has reportedly admitted 1854 Syrian refugees into the country.

While our country has a long history of welcoming refugees and has an important role to play in the heartbreaking Syrian refugee crisis, our first and most important priority must be to ensure that any refugee who comes to the United States does not present a threat to the American people,” the Senators wrote.  “We believe that an essential component of that effort is ensuring that no refugee related to the Syrian crisis is admitted to the United States unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that they are not members, supporters, or sympathizers of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Daesh or ISIL.”

Senators Kirk and Ayotte were joined by Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).

A copy of the letter is below.

November 16, 2015

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We stand in solidarity with the people of France and against the terrorists who carried out the horrific attacks of November 13th that clearly were designed deliberately to kill as many innocent people as possible.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.  As we mourn the loss of life and provide France all the support and assistance it needs, the U.S. government must redouble its efforts to keep the American people safe.  We believe that an essential component of that effort is ensuring that no refugee related to the Syrian crisis is admitted to the United States unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that they are not members, supporters, or sympathizers of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Daesh or ISIL.

It is already clear that ISIS is responsible for the barbaric attacks.  Reports indicate that at least one of the attackers apparently utilized the flow of refugees to infiltrate into Europe.  These facts require a serious and objective reexamination of the Administration’s policy toward Syrian refugees to avoid unnecessary risks.

While our country has a long history of welcoming refugees and has an important role to play in the heartbreaking Syrian refugee crisis, our first and most important priority must be to ensure that any refugee who comes to the United States does not present a threat to the American people.  Compassion for Syrian refugees is important, but a fierce determination to protect the American people is also important.

The fact that ISIS may have utilized the flow of refugees to infiltrate Europe and potentially the United States is not a surprise.  In September, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, publicly warned the U.S. intelligence community has a “huge concern” that ISIS may seek to infiltrate Syrian refugees who are flowing into Europe and potentially the United States.  “As they [refugees] descend on Europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about, and in turn as we bring refugees into this country, is exactly what’s their background?”  DNI Clapper added:  “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. 

On October 21, 2015, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey told the House Committee on Homeland Security that the U.S. government may not have the ability to vet thoroughly all Syrian refugees coming into the United States.  He explained that if a Syrian person is not already in the FBI’s database, that person is unknown to the agency, leaving an inadequate basis for the person’s background to be screened for terrorism risk.  “We can only query against that which we have collected,” Director Comey cautioned.  He also said, “So if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home but we are not going to—there will be nothing … because we have no record on that person.”

Given DNI Clapper’s stated concern that ISIS may try to infiltrate Syrian refugee movements as well as FBI Director Comey’s public acknowledgment of the U.S. government’s limitations in thoroughly vetting all Syrian refugees, we respectfully request your Administration:

  • List comprehensively the challenges, prior to the November 13th terrorist attacks, in the process for checking the background of Syrian refugees and checking potential risks to national security, including potential terrorism risks;
  • Detail what special or enhanced measures will be added to the screening process for Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks; and
  • Describe how it plans to address the vetting challenges that Director Comey describes.

We ask that your Administration immediately share this information with the American people. We look forward to a timely response.  We cannot imagine a more urgent or higher priority. 


Bridge Program to Develop Leadership in Black Communities Announced by Amara Enyia, Rep. Davis

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Bridge Program to Develop Leadership in Black Communities Announced by Amara Enyia, Rep. Davis

Chicago Community organizer and Austin Chamber of Commerce Director Amara Enyia announced an African American leadership development program for Chicago’s West Side and beyond in a joint event with Rep. Danny Davis, D-7th District, on Sunday.

The Bridge Program will launch early next year under Enyia’s guidance and with the support of Rep. Davis’ office, leading its members on a year-long journey to get to know their communities and one another, and develop a deep familiarity with the most pressing issues while cultivating a philosophy of servant leadership.

“These changes require visionary leadership, a willingness to move away from the status quo,’’ Enyia told a crowd of more than 60 people at the Northwest Austin Council. “We constantly have to be thinking about what kind of future we want.

Enyia had established an exploratory committee while considering a run for Davis’ seat. But the two came together for a series of long conversations and discovered they both believed the African American community needs to develop a deeper bench of leadership talent rooted in progressivism and service. She announced on Sunday the closing of her exploratory committee and would instead instead focus her efforts to developing the Bridge Program

“If you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail,’’ said Rep. Davis, nothing the community will benefit in terms of safety, prosperity and representation from the Bridge program. “Those guys you see play football on Sunday don’t just play on Sunday. They practice all week.’’

The Bridge program will focus on people from 20 to 45 years old, immersing them in issues and policy, connecting them with education and subject experts, and educating in effective forms of leadership and action. An outline of the program will be available soon.

Enyia is a noted organizer on the West Side and around Chicago who heads the Austin Chamber of Commerce, is a former City Hall policy analyst, and currently a public policy consultant. She holds multiple degrees, including one in law and a Ph.D. in Education Policy.

Davis has served as the 7th District Congressional Rep since 1996 and has been in public service most of his life, including time in the Chicago City Council.

For more information, contact: Tony Boylan, BoylanMedia@gmail.com


Photo Caption: Austin Chamber of Commerce Director Amara Enyia and Rep. Danny Davis, D-7th District.

Madigan Announces Settlements With For-Profit Education Management Corporation

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Madigan Announces Settlements With For-Profit Education Management Corporation

Operator of Argosy University & Illinois Institute of Art to Provide Multimillion Dollar Student Loan Debt Relief Over Recruiting & Enrollment Practices

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced two settlements with for-profit education company Education Management Corporation (EDMC) that will significantly reform its recruiting and enrollment practices, forgive more than $3 million in loans for Illinois students, and return money fraudulently obtained from the state of Illinois.

A consumer fraud settlement that was reached with EDMC by Madigan, attorneys general in 39 states and the District of Columbia will provide $102.8 million in outstanding student loan debt relief held by more than 80,000 former students nationwide. The settlement also requires EDMC to provide disclosure to students about the true cost of the school and expectations for job placement after graduation. It bans the school from making misrepresentations to prospective students, prohibits enrollment in programs that lack the programmatic accreditation required for state licensure or required for employment by the bulk of employers, and institutes an orientation period when new students can withdraw with no financial obligation.

The second agreement is a global agreement with Madigan, the federal government, attorneys general in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and whistleblowers. It requires EDMC to pay a total of $95.5 million, including $1.9 million to the state of Illinois to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act, as well as claims by the Consumer Protection Consortium. The agreement resolves allegations that EDMC illegally paid incentives to its admissions recruiters for the number of students they enrolled.

“EDMC will be held accountable for deceptive recruitment and enrollment practices that were unfair and misleading to Illinois students,” Madigan said. “The settlements will provide former students with debt relief, recoup money that was fraudulently obtained from the state, and help ensure the company will make substantial changes to its practices for future students.”

EDMC operates 110 schools in 32 states and Canada through four education systems, including Argosy University, The Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College and South University. In Illinois, EDMC operates the Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg, the Illinois Institute of Art — Tinley Park, Argosy University Chicago, and Argosy University Schaumburg.

Attorney General Madigan began investigating EDMC after a former EDMC employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit, U.S. ex rel. Lynntoya Washington, et al., v. Education Management Corporation, et al., in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit alleged that EDMC knowingly violated a ban on compensating its recruiters based on the number of students the recruiters enrolled, and fraudulently induced the federal government and the state of Illinois into providing financial assistance to EDMC students. Based on an extensive investigation, Madigan’s office filed a joint lawsuit with the United States, California, Florida and Indiana against EDMC in 2011. Minnesota subsequently joined the case.

After receiving numerous complaints from current and former EDMC students, Madigan and other state attorneys general also initiated a multistate consumer investigation, including a review of consumer complaints and company documents and interviews with former EDMC employees.

EDMC Must Reform Its Practices

Under the consumer agreement, EDMC must:

  • Not make misrepresentations concerning accreditation, selectivity, graduation rates, placement rates, transferability of credit, financial aid, veterans’ benefits, and licensure requirements. EDMC shall not engage in deceptive or abusive recruiting practices and shall record online chats and telephone calls with prospective students.
  • Provide a single-page disclosure to each prospective student that includes the student’s anticipated total cost, median debt for those who complete the program, the default rate for those enrolled in the same program, warning about the unlikelihood that credits from some EDMC schools will transfer to other institutions, the median earnings for those who complete the program, and the job placement rate.
  • Require every prospective student utilizing federal student loans or financial aid to submit information to the interactive Electronic Financial Impact Platform (EFIP) in order to obtain a personalized picture of the student’s projected education program costs, estimated debt burden and expected post-graduate income.
  • Reform its job placement rate calculations and disclosures to provide more accurate information about students’ likelihood of obtaining sustainable employment in their chosen career.
  • Not enroll students in programs that do not lead to state licensure when required for employment or that, due to lack of accreditation, will not prepare graduates for jobs in their field.
  • Require incoming undergraduate students with fewer than 24 credits to complete an orientation program prior to their first class.
  • Permit incoming undergraduate students at ground campuses to withdraw within seven days of the beginning of the term or first day of class (whichever is later) without incurring any cost.
  • Permit incoming undergraduate students in online programs with fewer than 24 online credits to withdraw within 21 days of the beginning of the term without incurring any cost.
  • Require that its lead vendors, which are companies that place website or pop-up ads urging consumers to consider new educational or career opportunities, agree to certain compliance standards. Lead vendors shall be prohibited from making misrepresentations about federal financing, including describing loans as grants or “free money;” sharing student information without their consent; or implying that educational opportunities are, in fact, employment opportunities.

The consumer agreement will also put in place a significant interactive online financial disclosure tool required for all prospective students who utilize federal student aid or loans. The impending online system, called the Electronic Financial Impact Platform (EFIP), is currently under the final stages of development by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state attorneys general. Based on a prospective student’s individual data, EFIP will produce a detailed financial report that includes the student’s projected financial commitment, living expenses and potential future earnings.

As part of the settlement, Thomas Perrelli, former U.S. Associate Attorney General, will independently monitor the company’s settlement compliance for three years and issue annual reports.

Students who will receive automatic relief related to outstanding EDMC institutional loans must have been enrolled in an EDMC program with fewer than 24 transfer credits, withdrawn within 45 days of the first day of their first term, and their final day of attendance must have been between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2014.

The cases were handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jennifer Zlotow, Kate Costello, Harpreet Khera, and Jim Cummings of the Special Litigation Bureau and Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Sanders and Samuel Levine of the Consumer Fraud Bureau.


Sec’y of State Jesse White Announces Family Reading Night Set For November 19

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2015 Comments Off on Sec’y of State Jesse White Announces Family Reading Night Set For November 19

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is encouraging families in Illinois to read together this Thursday, November 19th for the annual Family Reading Night. This year’s theme is “Camp Out with a Good Book!”

“This is a night when parents and children are urged to turn off televisions, computers, phones, video games and other electronic devices to spend time reading together,” White said. “Reading together creates a positive learning environment and helps children develop language skills, reading comprehension and a love for books that can last a lifetime.”

For 24 years, the Secretary of State’s office has sponsored Family Reading Night. White identified several Family Reading Night programs taking place across the state on Thursday. All are free and open to the public.

• Highland Park Public Library
The library will host an event that begins with Police Chief Paul Shafer’s reading of “Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Families will put on puppet shows based on their favorite books, add to a collaborative story and make a book of their own to take home. Family photos will be taken with one of five famous world library backgrounds. The event will kick off at 5 p.m.
• Litchfield Public Library District
The library is sponsoring an event at Madison Park Elementary School where attendees can make a s’more and read a book with their family under the stars projected on the ceiling of the school gymnasium. Family photos will be taken at a photo booth with a tent, campfire, fishing poles and other camping gear. Each child will be given a free book. The program will take place from 6-8 p.m.
• Mississippi Valley Library District, Collinsville Memorial Library Center
The library will host a community bonfire storytelling event. The festivities, which begin at 6 p.m., will be held behind the historic Blum House. Families will share their favorite stories around the bonfire while enjoying snacks. All ages are welcome.
Sherrard Public Library District
The library will be hosting crafts and games as well as providing campfire snacks. In addition, attendees should bring a clean peanut butter jar to make a lantern. The program will take place from 5-7 p.m.
Streator Public Library
The Library and the Starved Rock Reading Council will sponsor “Sense & Nonsense,” a reader’s theatre performance created by Donna Stone and enacted by the Woodland High School speech students. Attendees will participate in a family craft project. The program will be hosted from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

For more information about Family Reading Night, go to: http://illinoiscenterforthebook.org/frn.html or contact Bonnie Matheis, coordinator of the Illinois Center for the Book, at bmatheis@ilsos.net.

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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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