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Archive for January 13th, 2016

Grassroots Collaborative Lauds City Council Progressive Caucus for Standing Up to Mayor’s Massive Borrowing Scheme

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, made the following statement regarding the Chicago City Council Progressive Caucus announcement of their opposition to the Emanuel Administration’s plan to voluntarily pay $106 million in interest rate swap termination penalties as part of a massive borrowing plan:

“I commend the Progressive Caucus for siding with Chicago working families over Wall Street banks. For our democracy to function, we need elected officials who do their due diligence. We have seen what happens when they don’t – we still live with the parking meter deal every single day.

“For years, Chicago mayors have entangled Chicago taxpayers in losing deals with Wall Street banks with little to no oversight. The City Council should not sign off on any voluntary payouts to big banks.  At a time when our neighborhoods have even less resources, why does the Emanuel administration want to siphon even more money to Wall Street?

“We should be fighting to get every dollar possible back for our city.  We support filing a claim with the Securities Exchange Commission, stopping doing business with banks who refuse to negotiate these toxic deals, and suing the banks to recover our losses from these fraudulent deals.

“Grassroots Collaborative supports the Progressive Caucus and their colleagues working to ensure that in tomorrow’s City Council vote, Chicagoans will get the transparency, accountability, and full exploration of our financial options that we deserve.”

Grassroots Collaborative is Action Now, American Friends Service Committee – Great Lakes Region, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, ONE Northside, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana

Kirk’s Statements on President Obama’s SOTU Address and Iranian Detainment of 10 American Sailors

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Kirk Statement on State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the below statement following President Obama’s final State of the Union address. Senator Kirk invited Mark Filler of Highland Park, who founded the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation after losing his 23-year-old son Jordan to a heroin overdose, to attend the address as his guest.

“My guest tonight was Mark Filler of Highland Park, who lost his son Jordan to a heroin overdose two years ago today. Mark is a reminder that no family is safe from the heroin epidemic taking lives across the country. Programs like the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation and my Anti-Heroin Task Force are shining a light on drug abuse and the life-saving drug naloxone so we can prevent more families from losing a child.

“Our bipartisan responsibility in 2016 is to keep Americans safe. Just last week, two more men – admitted through the Iraqi refugee program – were arrested for terrorist ties. Until our flawed screening process can be fixed, including reviewing social media posts, the security of the American people requires a pause in the Syrian refugee program.”

Anti-Heroin Background: 

  • In 2014, Senator Kirk and local county leaders in Illinois launched a Suburban Anti-Heroin Task Force to tackle the ongoing problem of heroin addiction and abuse in the Chicago suburbs.  Attending the launch was Felicia Meceli, who lost her son Louie at age 24 to a heroin overdose.
  • In DuPage County, the Senator met with local leaders like County Coroner Rich Jorgensen and County Board Members to discuss the rising issue of heroin abuse in DuPage.
  • In 2014, Senator Kirk wrote to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg to approve the development of intranasal naloxone, a drug that can save lives during an overdose. For example, the spray costs DuPage County $16 per unit compared to $290 per unit for the intravenous form of the drug. Unless fast-tracked, approval for the nasal spray would have taken 7-8 years, a delay that according to current trends would have risked  more than 1,000 lives in the Chicago suburbs due to heroin addiction. In July, the FDA accepted nasal naloxone for fast-track approval, and since the device requires minimal training, countless more lives will be saved once naloxone is made more widely available.
  • Last year, Live 4 Lali, a group Senator Kirk has been working with to raise awareness about the threat of heroin, had more than 3,000 auto-injectors of naloxone and teamed up with a local clinic to train individuals on how to use them.
  • Senator Kirk and a bipartisan group of senators also recently wrote a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell calling for increased access to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) to treat opioid abuse. One month later, HHS complied with their request and raised the number of patients physicians can treat using this proven method. MAT typically involves a combination of medications, including buprenorphine, and therapy to treat opioid abuse while curbing the side effects of withdrawal.
  • Last August, Senator Kirk met with the Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli to discuss heroin and prescription drug abuse, and the suburban success of naloxone and increasing access to this medication was discussed.
  • In November, Senator Kirk and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.-10) sent a letter to Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS, urging the company to make Illinois one of the states that the pharmacy makes narcan available to consumers without a prescription. It was announced that 20 additional states would be eligible to have naloxone available over the counter at CVS stores – 12 states had already been chosen by the company.
  • Last month, Senator Kirk worked with his colleagues on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to include $123 million, an increase of $91 million or 284 percent, for programs targeted to combat opioid abuse at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

National Security Background:

  • Senator Kirk, with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), introduced the Defend America Act (S. 2435) to prevent terrorist infiltration of the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs by thoroughly screening all refugee and immigrant visa applicants for any pro-terrorist social media or other support to terrorist groups like ISIS.
  • At least two of the ISIS terrorists involved in the November 13th attacks in Paris, France, entered Europe by infiltrating refugee flows.

Kirk Statement on Iranian Detainment of 10 American Sailors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today issued the following statement after Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy boats and detained 10 sailors:

“Even Americans who support the nuclear deal with Iran can agree that implementation should be contingent on the release of all U.S. Navy personnel and the additional American citizens detained – Pastor Saeed Abedini, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Robert Levinson and Siamak Namazi. One hundred billion dollars to the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism only emboldens Iran to harm more Americans.” 

BACKGROUND 

(1) Prior to today’s incident, Iran also wrongfully imprisoned American citizens Pastor Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, Robert Levinson, Jason Rezaian and Siamak Zamazi.

(2) Moreover, Iran-sponsored terrorists and militants are responsible for the death of more than 700 Americans. 

During the 1980s, Iran-backed attacks killed over 290 Americans in Lebanon, including 13 from Illinois:  GySgt Alvin Belmer, USMC; LCpl David D. Gay, USMC; CAPT Paul A. Hein, USMC; PFC Melvin D. Holmes, USMC; Cpl Joseph R. Livingston, USMC; Sgt John A. Phillips, Jr., USMC; PFC Eric A. Pulliam, USMC; Cpl Gary R. Scott, USMC; 1st Lt William S. Sommerhof, USMC; LCpl Eric D. Sturghill, USMC; Cpl Eric R. Walker, USMC; James F. Lewis; and William R. Sheil. 

During the 2000s, Iran-backed attacks killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As General Joseph Dunford, incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Senators on July 9, 2015:  “I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed by Iranian activities [in Iraq and Afghanistan], and the number has been recently quoted as about 500.”

(3) In response to a request from Senator Kirk, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) produced a research memo laying out public estimates of how much Iran annually spends to support terrorism and militancy.  (See CRS memo and related chart.)  CRS found that Iran funds Hezbollah with $100-$200 million, Hamas with “tens of millions,” and Syria’s Assad regime with $6-$15 billion annually. 

Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Pay for Economic Agenda to Rebuild the Middle Class

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 WASHINGTON, DCMichael Briggs, a spokesman for Bernie Sanders, issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Clinton’s attack on Sanders’ health care plan:

“Every proposal Senator Sanders has introduced in this campaign has been paid for. We hope the Clinton campaign will stop engaging in false and misleading attacks and instead provide similar clarity on how their proposals will actually be paid for.”

Plan Payment Mechanism
Rebuild America Act
Sen. Sanders has proposed a $1 trillion plan to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and put 13 million Americans to work.
Paid for by making corporations pay taxes on all of the “profits” they have shifted to the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens, which the Congressional Research Services estimates may currently create losses that approach $100 billion annually, and other loopholes.
College for All
Sen. Sanders has proposed making public colleges and universities tuition-free and substantially reducing student debt, in a plan that would cost about $75 billion a year.
Paid for by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculators that would generate about $300 billion in revenue.
Expand and Extend Social Security
Sen. Sanders has proposed expanding Social Security and extending the solvency of this program until 2065.
Paid for by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000 so that the wealthy pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security as working people.
Youth Jobs Program
Sen. Sanders has proposed a $5.5 billion youth jobs program to create 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans.
Paid for by ending the carried interest loophole that allows billionaire hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than nurses and truck drivers.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Sen. Sanders has proposed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to all workers.
Paid for by a payroll tax that would total $1.61 a week for the typical American worker. According to Sen. Gillibrand’s office, this would be “a self-sufficient program that would not add to the federal budget.”
Protect Pensions
Sen. Sanders has introduced a plan to prevent cuts to the pensions of over 1.5 million Americans.
Paid for by closing two tax loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid taxes on money they inherit and expensive artwork they collect.
Renewable Energy and Clean Jobs Transition Plans
Sen. Sanders has a plan to invest in clean, sustainable energy sources powered by the sun, wind and Earth’s heat. He also has a plan to provide comprehensive benefits to workers as they transition to making the solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries of tomorrow.
Paid for by stopping taxpayer-funded giveaways to oil, gas and coal companies.

Cost and Revenue of Proposed Plans

Plan Cost Funding Revenue
Rebuild America Act $1 trillion/ 10 years Taxing corporate offshore income
[Congressional Research Service, 1/15/15]
$100 billion/year
College for All $75 billion/year Wall Street speculation tax
[Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 3/2/12]
About $300 billion / year
Social Security Expansion Act $1.2 trillion / 10 years Remove payroll tax cap for earnings above $250,000
[Office of the Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration, 3/26/15]
$1.2 trillion / 10 years
Employ Young Americans Now Act $5.5 billion / 2 years Closing carried interest loophole
[Joint Committee on Taxation, 9/16/15]
$15.6 billion / 10 years
Offer 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave Additional 0.2% Payroll Tax
[Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand]
$319 billion / 10 years
Keep Our Pension Promises Act $29 billion / 10 years Closing tax loopholes on estate taxes and artwork
[Pension Rights Center, 7/7/15]
$29 billion / 10 years
Responsible Estate Tax Act Progressive estate tax on inheritances over $3.5 million; closes estate tax loopholes. $214 billion /10 years
End Polluter Welfare Act $110 billion /10 years Ends tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies $135 billion /10 years

Quincy Man Sentenced To 15 Years For Two Bank Robberies

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard today sentenced Kenneth Lamar Ellington (47, Quincy) to 15 years in federal prison for committing two bank robberies. He was also ordered to pay $4,105 in restitution. A federal jury found Ellington guilty in July 2015.

According to evidence presented at trial, on the morning of April 9, 2014, Ellington robbed a branch of TD Bank in Live Oak, Florida using a demand note and indicating that he had a weapon in his waist, which was not recovered. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a hat and a fake beard. Upon exiting that bank, Ellington dropped the cash after a dye pack exploded.

Approximately three hours after the first robbery, Ellington entered the First Federal Bank of Florida, also in Live Oak, wearing the same disguise. He again presented a demand note to a teller, and stated “Hurry up and no one will get hurt.”  Ellington escaped from the second bank with $4,105.

Soon after the robbery, a witness in a nearby business’s parking lot found a garbage bag containing Ellington’s disguise and the shirt that he had worn during both robberies. Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysts located Ellington’s fingerprint on the garbage bag, along with his DNA on the disguise and shirt. In addition, a witness recalled seeing a black Dodge Charger parked before the robbery at the location where Ellington’s disguise was later recovered. When Ellington was arrested on April 14, 2014, he was driving a black Dodge Charger.

Ellington also faces a separate criminal proceeding in federal court in Tallahassee for violating his supervised release. In April 2014, at the time of the Live Oak bank robberies, Ellington was on federal supervised release in the Northern District of Florida for prior felony convictions.

This case was investigated by the Live Oak Police Department, the Suwanee County Sherriff’s Office, the Perry Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Jacksonville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dale R. Campion and Michael J. Coolican.

Source: Department of Justice

Seven Black History Month Scholarships for African American Students in 2016

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

African American students

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Every year, many organizations give away scholarships in celebration of African American history. These scholarships are usually given to African American students, and are designed to inspire the next generation of Black history makers.

Here are the top 7 Black history month scholarships for 2016 (Some have deadlines in January, but most are in February!):

#1 – Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship: In addition to a financial scholarship, this foundation also provides its scholars with mentoring and leadership development opportunities, and internships. Only for minority high school students in the United States. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/03/jackie-robinson-foundation-scholarship.html

#2 – Steve Harvey/ Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program: Under the umbrella of the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, this program offers scholarship awards and once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship experiences to African American youth looking to pave the way for their futures. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/coca-cola-pay-it-forward-scholarship-program.html

#3 – Ron Brown Scholar Program for African Americans: Provides scholarship awards to African-American high school seniors who are excelling in their academics, exhibiting exceptional leadership potential, and actively serving in community service activities. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04/ron-brown-scholar-program.html

#4 – Frito-Lay Create to Celebrate Black History Month Art Contest: Applicants have to submit online an original piece of art created in any medium (video, song, photo, sculpture, painting, etc) that celebrates African American achievement. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/frito-lay-create-to-celebrate-black-history-month-art-contest.html

#5 – Buick Achievers Scholarship Program: Awards scholarships to students who excel in the classroom and give back to their communities. Special consideration is given to students who are female, minorities, first-generation college students, military veterans and military dependents. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04/buick-achievers-scholarship-program.html

#6 – Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride” Scholarship: Awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with high academic records. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/12/tom-joyner-foundation-full-ride.html

#7 – Congressional Black Caucus Foundation/ General Mills Health Scholarship Program: Open to both undergraduate and graduate students who plan to major in health-related studies. Academic achievement, leadership qualities and service to the community are required. Preference will be given to African-American students. For more details, visit www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/02/congressional-black-caucus-general-mills-health-scholarship.html

To find hundreds of other 2016 scholarships, visit www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

Call For Entries: 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

For over 51 years, the Chicago International Film Festival has been committed to discovering some of the most exciting films the world has to offer. In 2015, we presented over 200 films from 60 different countries. For our 52nd year, we want to discover something new, and that all starts with you!

Now accepting entries in the following competitions and categories:
International Feature Film Competition
New Directors Competition (feature films)
Documentary Competition
Short Film Competition
Out-Look Competitionk
World Cinema
After Dark
City & State
Click here for more information and submit your film today!
Festival dates: October 13-27, 2016
Regular deadline: June 17, 2016

Bakersfield Man Pleads Guilty to Laser Strikes on Sheriff Helicopter

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

FRESNO, Calif. —Pablo Cesar Sahagun, 26, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to aiming the beam of a laser pointer at a Kern County Sheriff’s helicopter, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

In pleading guilty, Sahagun acknowledged that on February 26, 2015, he repeatedly struck and tracked a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air-1, with the beam of a green laser pointer. According to court documents, the laser pointer was key activated and labeled as a Laser 301, a device that purports to emit a one-watt laser beam, which is 2,000 times more powerful than what is legally permissible for a laser pointer.

Reports of laser attacks on aircraft have increased dramatically in recent years as powerful laser devices have become more affordable and widely available to the public. From 2011 to 2015, there have been over 23,000 laser illumination incidents in the United States reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 2015, in the Eastern District of California, which encompasses 34 counties in the eastern portion of California, there were 213 reported laser incidents. Lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations, endangering their crew members, passengers and people on the ground.

Sahagun is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on April 4, 2016. Sahagun faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The case against Sahagun was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If you have information about a lasing incident, or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call your local FBI field office or dial 911.

IEMA Encourages People to Resolve to be Prepared in 2016

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Will Highlight Preparedness, Safety Topics Each Month

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As communities around the state deal with record and near-record winter flooding, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are encouraging people to ‘Resolve to be Ready’ for emergencies in 2016.

 

“The floods we’ve seen over the past week are the types we usually expect in spring or summer,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “It shows how important it is for people to be ready for any type of emergency, any time of year. With that in mind, we’re encouraging people to ‘Resolve to be Ready’ for emergencies in 2016 so that when the unexpected occurs, they’re able to stay safe.”

Joseph said IEMA will help people increase their personal preparedness by focusing on a different preparedness or safety topic each month this year, including earthquakes, severe weather, pets, school and campus, cyber security and more. 

One of the first steps toward emergency preparedness is having an emergency supply kit stocked with basic survival items that are critical during an emergency, such as:

  • One gallon of water per person per day (a minimum of a three-day supply)

  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

  • First-aid kit

  • Battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries

  • Items for children, seniors, pets and household members with health or medical needs

    IEMA maintains the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop location for preparedness information on a variety of hazards.  In addition to information about steps people can take before emergencies happen, the Ready Illinois website also provides guidance on what to do during and after a disaster. 

    Preparedness information is also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.

Broadway’s Kristine Nielsen and Chicago Favorite Allen Gilmore Lead The Matchmaker, Thorton Wilder’s Rarely-Revived Uproarious Romp at Goodman Theatre

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Directed by Henry Wishcamper with a set by Neil Patel and comtumes by Jenny Mannis, The Matchmaker appears March 5 – April 10 in the Albert Theature; tickets go on sale
CHICAGO, IL – Casting is complete for Henry Wishcamper’s contemporary take on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker—the inspiration for the musical Hello, Dolly!, praised as “one of the sweetest and smartest romantic farces ever written” (The Wall Street Journal)—revealing social truths through mistaken identity, outrageous misbehavior and spontaneous romance. Tony Award nominee Kristine Nielsen is Dolly Gallagher Levi, the vivacious matchmaker who is recruited to find a wife for the wealthy yet prickly widower, Horace Vandergelder, portrayed by Chicago favorite Allen Gilmore. Little does Horace know that Dolly is plotting to become the next Mrs. Vandergelder herself! Joining Nielsen and Gilmore are a cast of acclaimed talents and rising stars, including Theo Allyn (Ermengarde), Behzad Dabu (Barnaby Tucker), Larry DiStasi (Cabman/Rudolph), Marilyn Dodds Frank (Flora Van Huysen), Sydney Germaine (Minnie Fay), Marc Grapey (Malachi Stack), Anita Hollander (Cook/Gertrude), Ronobir Lahiri (Ambrose Kemper), Elizabeth Ledo (Mrs. Malloy), Postell Pringle (Cornelius Hackl) and Ron Rains (Joe Scanlon). The creative team includes: Neil Patel (sets), Jenny Mannis (costumes), David Lander (lights) and Richard Woodbury (sound). Alden Vasquez is the Production Stage Manager. The Matchmaker appears in the Goodman’s 856-seat Albert Theatre, March 5 – April 10, 2016. Tickets ($25-$82, as well as a special $10 ticket price for students) go on sale Friday, January 22; visit GoodmanTheatre.org, call 312.443.3800 or purchase in person at the Box Office at 170 N. Dearborn. For images and bio information for the company, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/PressRoom. Ernst & Young LLP and Interactive Health are the Corporate Sponsor Partners.

“I’m thrilled to collaborate with this diverse group of extraordinary artists on the play Thornton Wilder called ‘a farce with social implications’—and what I believe is his most unappreciated major play,” said Director Henry Wishcamper, who has earned critical acclaim for his productions of classic plays, including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, among others. “Effortlessly charming, funny and romantic, The Matchmaker also touches on many issues—economic inequity, diversity and the search for the authentic self—that feel relevant to our current cultural moment. Like the play, I hope our production will capture both levity and emotional depth.”
Broadway star Kristine Nielsen makes her Goodman debut.
“This will be my first time back in Chicago since I graduated from Northwestern University 30-odd years ago, and I can’t wait to unleash ‘Dolly Gallagher Levi’—crossing fingers for hijinks and hilarity results,” said Nielsen, who previously appeared as ‘Sonia’ in the Broadway sensation Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, earning her the 2013 Tony Award Nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play.

On the heels of his appearance in Wishcamper’s production of A Christmas Carol, Allen Gilmore joins Nielsen to lead the 13-member cast.

“I’m happy to return to the Goodman for this exciting reimagining of Thornton Wilder’s iconic play and am likewise overjoyed to reunite with Henry, Theo Allyn and Ron Rains, my buddies from A Christmas Carol,” said Gilmore, the 2015 recipient of the 3Arts Award, whose past Thornton Wilder credits include Our Town at Seattle’s Intiman Theater.

Black Media Company Releases First Animated Series that Teaches Children Authentic African American History

Posted by Admin On January - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Baltimore-based company, EdAnime Productions, produces “Meltrek” and creates worldwide buzz with this educational animated series which fosters self-esteem, self-awareness and solidarity. 
Jalen Bailey, inspiration of Meltrek

 

Baltimore, MD (BlackNews.com) – School age children are learning in the age of technology, i.e. internet, wireless devices and multi-dimensional imagery. Major conglomerates such as PBS Kids, Disney and Nickelodeon have met success with engaging children in programming for entertainment or educational purposes.

 

 

However, there are few educational shows that address the cultural and historical needs of children of color.

 
EdAnime Productions, co-founded by a host of African American teenagers and young adults, was created to address the aforementioned deficiencies. Their flagship animated series, Meltrek, is a collection of lessons designed to teach children about the history, culture and contributions of African Americans from 3000 BCE to 2008 using hip hop music as a teaching tool.

 
The first animated lesson of Meltrek, “Exploring Ancient Africa”, teaches children about the birthplace of humanity, Africa. Children are taught about the great black rulers, culture and defining landscapes of pre-diaspora Africa. The narrative involves a teacher (Ms. Loften) who sends her students (Bunchy, Percy, Michelle, Jesse and Chen) back in time to explore these civilizations. The students begin their journey in the Nile Valley, where they meet an Egyptian boy (Rameses) who guides them on a tour of Africa. They explore Kemet (Egypt), Nubia, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Congo, Zimbabwe and Zulu.

 
The objectives of Meltrek are to:

 
* Preserve African American history – Major publishing companies are altering African American history in textbooks by omitting and distorting facts.

 
* Foster self-awareness, self-esteem and solidarity – Studies have shown that the self-perception of African American children has been drastically affected by a Eurocentric education.

 
* To project positive images of African Americans into the national consciousness – For centuries the media has propagated racial caricatures of African Americans from bug eyed minstrels, watermelon eating pickneys, sly mammies and sambos to current images seen in rap music videos, reality television shows and nightly news reports.

 
Meltrek was officially released in October 2014. It has since sold in twenty-four states in the United States and six countries around the world. Meltrek themed products such as DVDs, coloring books, and unit plans for educators are available for purchase at www.edanimeproductions.com. You can also connect with EdAnime Productions on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

 

 

Photo Caption: Jalen Bailey, the inspiration of Meltrek, poses with the Meltrek DVD

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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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