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Archive for January 28th, 2016

Raoul, Harper and Welch Speak Out on Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Raoul, Harper and Welch Speak Out on Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address

Raoul: Governor’s “actions matter far more than his words”
State Reps. Harper and Welch Call on Governor to Focus on Budget


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement after hearing Governor Bruce Rauner’s update on the state of Illinois earlier today:

It was good to hear the governor say that “we must cast partisanship and ideology aside.” I’m happy those words came from his lips, and I’m hoping someday they’ll make it to his ears, because during his first year in office, he’s allowed his ideology to hijack the budget and do costly, long-term damage to state services for those in greatest need.

His refusal to compromise also has kept us from achieving many of the worthy goals he mentioned today, including full and fair funding for education. Meanwhile, he’s gone on the warpath against Illinois’ public institutions of higher learning, a system our employers depend on for a skilled workforce, our young adults rely on to secure decent jobs and our communities count on for continued economic growth. In particular, the governor’s attack on Chicago State University is founded on a twisting of statistics, comparing this unique institution, which serves as a safety net for students whose backgrounds and biographies are nontraditional, to those with very different profiles.

I appreciate and applaud the governor’s recognition of the work of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform and its chairman, Rodger Heaton. This group’s recommendations should be given serious consideration during this legislative session. But as I sat in meetings with other members of the Commission, one clear truth emerged: success requires investment. Without a serious, deliberate investment of resources into community-based programs that deter youth from criminal involvement and prevent recidivism among ex-offenders, our best efforts will fall far short of the goal.

In the past year, the governor’s ideological intransigence has hijacked the kind of purposeful, sustained, data-driven investment Illinois needs – in education, criminal justice reform, economic development and social services. Now, after more than half a year without a budget, his actions matter far more than his words.

Statement by State Rep. Welch:

“When I talk to my constituents, they share with me how the budget impasse is affecting their lives. Day cares have closed, women haven’t been able receive cancer screenings and seniors are losing meals, rides to the doctor and health care services. This isn’t an abstract problem to people living in my district; they are suffering from the inaction from the governor to put in place a budget.

“I don’t disagree that reforms have to be made to make Illinois stronger and grow our economy, but this will not be done by decimating social services that our communities rely on and destroying the rights of workers. If the governor is serious about getting reforms he will work with legislators to create a budget.

“When a budget is in place, I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that encourages businesses to come to our communities, create jobs and invest in Illinois. However, these reforms must be a negotiated between all interested parties and balance the rights of workers, needs of businesses and future of Illinois. As we try to move Illinois forward, we cannot leave working families behind.”

For more information, please contact Rep. Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000 or repwelch@emanuelchriswelch.com.

Attorney General Madigan Sues Fraudulent Charitable Telemarketers Again

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Attorney General Madigan Sues Fraudulent Charitable Telemarketers Again

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a three-count complaint against professional fundraiser (PFR) and for-profit telemarketer Safety Publications, Inc., of Elk Grove Village, Ill., and its owners, Adam Herdman and Arthur Olivera, alleging violations of the charitable Solicitation Act and prior consent decrees with Madigan’s office. The Solicitation Act sets forth the laws governing charitable solicitation and fundraising activities by PFRs in Illinois.

The three counts in Madigan’s lawsuit include: 1) misleading the donating public as to who was making the solicitation and how the donations would be used; 2) acting on behalf of a charity without maintaining the required registration and failing to disclose or account for fundraising activities; and 3) violating the consent decrees Safety Publications and its owners had previously entered into with Madigan’s office.

“These fundraisers are brazen con artists who refuse to follow the law and continue to fundraise illegally in spite of a previous court order,” said Madigan. “I am filing this lawsuit to put an end to their serial fraud. When people donate their money to a worthy cause, their money should be used to further the mission of the charity.”

The allegations stem from Safety Publication’s work soliciting donations for VietNow National Headquarters (VietNow), a Rockford, Ill.-based charity that pledges to help veterans overcome joblessness and post-traumatic stress disorder. VietNow hires Safety Publications to raise money, but records show only a fraction of the contributions Safety Publications collected actually went to pay for charitable programs. When making solicitation calls to the public, Safety Publications failed to disclose that it was a paid fundraiser. Safety Publications also failed to disclose or account for its paid fundraising activities on behalf of VNH in annual financial reports filed with Madigan’s office. Records also show that Safety Publications was not registered with Madigan’s office for a portion of the time that is was soliciting donations. In addition, Olivera did not disclose a previous felony conviction on registration documents filed with Madigan’s office.

Madigan has pursued Herdman and Olivera multiple times for violations of the Solicitation Act. As a result, as part of today’s lawsuit, Madigan is also seeking to enforce a 2007 consent decree that her office obtained against Herdman and Olivera, banning them from soliciting contributions in Illinois without complying with all requirements of the Solicitation Act. All three counts seek a permanent injunction prohibiting Herdman and Olivera from soliciting for charities in Illinois, an accounting of all funds raised and the forfeiture of any compensation paid to them.

Assistant Bureau Chief Barry Goldberg and Assistant Attorney General Pasquale Esposito are handling the case for Madigan’s Charitable Trust Bureau.

Kirk Receives Highest Score from Top Public Education Association

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Kirk Receives Highest Score from Top Public Education Association

Received an “A” Rating from National Education Association for His Work on Education 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced he received a perfect score, an “A” rating, from the National Education Association. This announcement follows enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan bill including Kirk-driven policies to expand Pre-K, promote year-round schools, increase accountability for charter schools and improve education for military families. 

“After years of failed policies through No Child Left Behind, Congress finally got the hint – teachers and parents are best equipped to help students – not the federal government,” Senator Kirk said.  

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he is the only Illinois delegation member that oversees education policy in Congress. He served as one of 39 conferees to shepherd ESSA through the committee and conference process. ESSA was signed into law on December 10, 2015.

It is heartening to see the strong bipartisan support that’s been given the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. We are especially grateful for Sen. Mark Kirk’s support of ESSA, which strikes the right balance between the respective roles of federal, state and local governments in formulating education policy, Illinois Education Association Vice President Kathi Griffin wrote in the Joliet Herald-News.

Improving Access to Resources

  • The final law contains some of the indicators states and districts can use to help struggling school districts improve student performance, language derived directly from an amendment Senator Kirk offered based on an “opportunity dashboard of indicators for student success.”
  • Whether its access to paraprofessionals or school counselors, these metrics will help states prioritize assistance for the neediest students.

Expanding Pre-K Options for Parents and Districts

  • The Senator championed a change in policy that increases current Pre-K grants and expands districts’ abilities to coordinate with Head Start. 
  • Under current law, school districts can’t coordinate with Head Start or use federal funds for Pre-K programs. Building on the success of Head Start in Illinois, where 60 percent of four-year-olds are already enrolled, these new grants will allow for coordination of existing programs and provide children in need access to Pre-K. 
  • This new funding is authorized under the Department of Health and Human Services and does not use funding from existing K-12 programs.  

Extending Learning Time Through Year-Round Calendars

  • Under the bill, Title I funds can now be used to extend a school’s learning time and move to a year-round calendar. Also included are funds for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provide academic support during non-school hours. 
  • These funds echo the priorities outlined in Senator Kirk’s All-Year School Study Act, which promotes year-round elementary and secondary school programs and would utilize existing funds through the Fund for the Improvement of Education.


  • Under previous testing requirements, educators and families were hamstrung by federal overreach and unnecessary testing.
  • Now, if a state or district allows a student to opt out, they and their parents are free to make that choice.
  • More importantly, testing no longer results in excessive, arbitrary penalties, such as losing critical funding.

Atlantic Beach Attorney Charged With Embezzling From Bankruptcy Estate

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Atlantic Beach Attorney Charged With Embezzling From Bankruptcy Estate

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging William Reid Penuel (37, Ponte Vedra Beach) with embezzlement from a bankruptcy estate and making a false statement. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison on each count. Penuel was arraigned in federal court today and was released on a $50,000 bond.

According to the indictment, between March 2015 and July 2015, Penuel, while serving as the Chapter 7 Trustee in a business bankruptcy case, embezzled estate funds held in a BB&T bank account. The indictment further alleges that, on August 19, 2015, Penuel lied to an FBI agent when he claimed that he had transferred the estate funds to his account at Ameris Bank. In fact, Penuel did not have an account at Ameris Bank.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dale Campion.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Fioretti to Gov. Rauner: Stop Blaming Unions, Working Families!

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Fioretti to Gov. Rauner: Stop Blaming Unions, Working Families!

Bob Fioretti’s Reply to Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address
Gov. Rauner’s State of the State address identified many of the problems we have in Illinois, but it frequently misrepresented the source of our problems.


Fioretti, a candidate for state senator in the 5th District, said Rauner “insists on blaming unions for our financial mess, but this old saw isn’t the problem now, and it hasn’t been the problem for the decades anti-union business interests have claimed as much. More and more economic research shows unions are good for workers and good for the surrounding economy by raising wages.


“When working people earn more money, they spend more money on homes, food, music lessons and college education for their children. When businesses keep more money by not paying good wages, the money is paid in bonuses to executives or sent overseas.


“But we agree on a lot. Reducing our prison population, adding vocational training, rehabilitation services and addiction treatment are vital steps toward restorative justice, a very important issue in Illinois and around the nation.


“We agree on schools: they are broken. Earlier this month General Electric passed on putting its headquarters in Chicago not because of unions, but because of our failing schools.


“We don’t agree on the solutions.


“The solution in Illinois, in Chicago and in the 5th State Senate District isn’t to break unions, it’s to invest in our schools. Fix the disparities that deny impoverished neighborhoods a fair share of funding and require Chicago teachers to contribute more to their pensions than teachers anywhere else in the state.


“Fix the crime problem by restoring the quickly deteriorating social services being lost every day due to lack of a budget. A budget needs to be our first priority.


“Once we have that budget it should include the enhanced mental health care so essential as the first line of defense against crime and mayhem in our neighborhoods. No longer should Sheriff Tom Dart run the largest mental health facility in the state.


“One other item where Gov. Rauner and I agree is on the overcompensation of government officials. But let’s start with the ridiculously high salaries being paid to his advisers. Gov. Rauner is willing to pay high salaries to help him win partisan fights in Illinois, but he doesn’t want workers, especially our public employees, to benefit from good wages.


“I look forward to working with Gov. Rauner as the State Senator from Illinois’ 5th District, and there is a lot of fertile ground for progress.


“For now, I call on him to pass a budget first. Let’s ensure the important wrap-around services our people desperately need, and then we can talk where and if we need major structural changes.”

Los Angeles’ Oldest African American Bar Association Celebrates Landmark Scholarship and Awards Gala Honoring Shining Legal Stars for their Service and Action

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Los Angeles’ Oldest African American Bar Association Celebrates Landmark Scholarship and Awards Gala Honoring Shining Legal Stars for their Service and Action

ABA President Paulette Brown Joins Social Activist & Media Personality Areva D. Martin in a Select Group of 2016 Langston Honorees Commemorating 40 years of Scholarship Awards
Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — The John M. Langston Bar Association will host their 40th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on Saturday January 30, 2016 from 6:00 – 9:30pm at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. The theme of this years Anniversary Gala is Continue the Legacy and Advance the Vision. The evening provides a special opportunity for an underrepresented segment of the legal profession to honor and support one another in a meaningful way.

In 2016, we endeavor to advance our founding vision of inclusion and empowerment by implementing greater service initiatives and strategically partnering with other community-based organizations to provide support in areas in which our members are distinctly experienced to serve, said Langstons 2016 President, Kimberly Willis. Now, more than ever, we understand the critical importance of ensuring excellence and diversity in the bar and on the bench.

The Langston Gala serves as the primary fundraiser for the organization and also provides an opportunity to recognize lawyers, judges, and leaders from corporate, community, and academic sectors who have exhibited service to the legal community and the community-at-large in ways that are consistent with the Langston mission of service, inclusion, education and leadership. Recent honorees include Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, basketball legend and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Earvin Magic Johnson and actor Blair Underwood.

This year’s honorees are AREVA D. MARTIN, President of Special Needs Network & Managing Partner of Martin & Martin, LLP; PAULETTE BROWN, President of the American Bar Association & Partner at Locke Lord LLP; DENNIS S. ELLIS, Partner at Paul Hastings; JOHN E. PAGE, Senior Corporate Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer & Chief Legal Officer of Golden State Foods; and BRIAN K. WILLIAMS, President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Southern California. The evening will feature KTLA 5 Morning News Co-Anchor CHRIS SCHAUBLE as the Master of Ceremonies and special entertainment by one of Langstons community partners, A PLACE CALLED HOME.

Langston is the oldest and largest African-American Bar association in California and is a federally recognized 501(c)3 public-interest, nonprofit organization. The Langston legacy has been built through education, outreach and empowering its members to be leaders in the legal profession and the community. Each year Langston hosts numerous community outreach programs and activities, including law school scholarships, bar examination tutorials, election poll monitoring, junior and senior high school education programs, mentoring for law students and young attorneys, continuing legal education, job fairs, judicial officer candidate evaluation, and pro bono legal clinics.

For tickets, tables and sponsorship information email: gala@langstonbar.org or call 323-744-1140. All proceeds from the Gala will benefit the John M. Langston Bar Association. For more info, please visit www.langstonbar.org.



Photo Caption: 2016 Honoree, Paulette Brown, is the first African American woman to be elected President of the American Bar Association

Department of Justice Review of Solitary Confinement: FACT SHEET

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Department of Justice Review of Solitary Confinement: FACT SHEET

In July 2015, the President announced that he had asked the Attorney General to review “the overuse of solitary confinement across American prisons.”  Since that time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has undertaken a thorough review to determine how, when, and why correctional facilities isolate certain prisoners from the general inmate population, and has now developed concrete strategies for safely reducing the use of this practice, also known as “restrictive housing,” throughout our criminal justice system.  That review led to a Report to the President setting out Guiding Principles that would responsibly limit the use of restrictive housing at the federal, state, and local level, as well as specific recommendations for policies that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) can implement for federal prisons.  The Report identifies ways to further humane and safe conditions for both inmates and the correctional officers charged with protecting them.

Today, the President announced that he is adopting the recommendations in the Report, which is now available HERE and will be directing all relevant federal agencies to review the report and report back on their plan to address their use of solitary confinement.

“Guiding Principles” For All Correctional Systems

The Report sets out more than 50 Guiding Principles, which cover a range of important reform areas including the use of the restrictive housing as a form of punishment, the appropriate conditions of confinement in restrictive housing, and the proper treatment of vulnerable inmate populations, such as juveniles, pregnant women, LGBTI inmates, and inmates with serious mental illness.   These principles are informed by the best practices developed by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the American Correctional Association (ACA) and include:

  • Inmates should be housed in the least restrictive setting necessary to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of staff, other inmates, and the public.
  • Correctional systems should always be able to clearly articulate the specific reason(s) for an inmate’s placement and retention in restrictive housing.
  • For every inmate in restrictive housing, correctional staff should develop a clear plan for returning the inmate to less restrictive conditions as promptly as possible.  The plan should be shared with the inmate, unless doing so would jeopardize the safety of the inmate, staff, other inmates, or the public.
  • An inmate’s initial and ongoing placement in restrictive housing should be regularly reviewed by a multi-disciplinary staff committee, which should include not only the leadership of the institution where the inmate is housed, but also medical and mental health professionals.
  • All correctional staff should be regularly trained on restrictive housing policies.  Correctional systems should ensure that compliance with these policies is reflected in employee-evaluation systems.

New Policies Addressing BOP’s Use of Restrictive Housing

In recent years, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has reduced its use of restrictive housing by 25 percent without compromising the safety of its correctional officers and its facilities.  The Report makes concrete recommendations that will accelerate this trend and change the conditions for thousands of inmates through a multi-pronged strategy.   The recommendations that DOJ has proposed and the President has adopted include:

    • Ending restrictive housing for juveniles.  BOP is ending the practice of placing juveniles in restrictive housing—in line with the standards outlined in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, now pending in the U.S. Senate.
    • Diverting inmates with serious mental illness to alternative forms of housing.  BOP will be expanding “secure mental health units” for inmates with serious mental illness who cannot function in the general prison population, and hire additional staff psychologists to provide mental health services to inmates who require restrictive housing.  The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget will include a request for $24 million to support these efforts.
    • Diverting “protective custody” inmates to less restrictive conditions.  Currently, inmates who face legitimate threats inside the prison are placed in restrictive housing, often in conditions similar to those faced by inmates placed there for disciplinary reasons.  BOP will build “Reintegration Housing Units” at multiple prisons, providing additional space to house “protective custody” inmates in less restrictive conditions.
    • Limiting the use of punitive segregation.  BOP will undertake across-the-board reductions of maximum penalties when restrictive housing is used as a disciplinary sanction in prison, including an outright ban on the use of the practice for inmates who commit low-level infractions.
    • Holding the most dangerous inmates accountable through federal criminal prosecutions. Working closely with BOP, U.S. Attorney’s Offices will ensure that inmates who engage in serious criminal activity—especially those who assault or kill correctional staff—face criminal prosecution when appropriate.
    • Directing wardens to expand out-of-cell time.  Wardens at all BOP facilities will be directed to develop institution-specific plans for increasing the number of hours restrictive housing inmates spend outside of their cell, and allowing greater opportunities for rehabilitation and reentry services.
    • Limiting releases directly to the community.  BOP will be developing policies that specifically discourage the placement of inmates in restrictive housing during the final 180 days of their prison terms, making it easier for inmates to adjust when they return to the community.

Increasing transparency.

      BOP will begin publishing monthly system-wide restrictive housing data on its public website, and will finalize upgrades in data-collection software to improve tracking of restrictive housing inmates.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

Sanders Calls for More Debates

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Sanders Calls for More Debates

MASON CITY, IowaBernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, on Wednesday issued the following statement calling for additional debates among the Democratic Party presidential candidates:

“From the beginning of this campaign Senator Sanders has called for more debates. Secretary Clinton has not. Now she is asking to change the rules to schedule a debate next week that is not sanctioned by the DNC. Why is that? The answer is obvious. The dynamics of the race have changed and Sen. Sanders has significant momentum. Sen. Sanders is happy to have more debates but we are not going to schedule them on an ad hoc basis at the whim of the Clinton campaign. If Secretary Clinton wants more debates that’s great. We propose three additional debates. One in March, April and May and none on a Friday, Saturday or holiday weekend. And all of the three Democratic candidates must be invited. If the Clinton campaign will commit to this schedule, we would ask the DNC to arrange a debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 4.”


Illinois Department of Commerce Begins Review of Enterprise Zone Applications

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Illinois Department of Commerce Begins Review of Enterprise Zone Applications

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Commerce announced that it has received eighteen (18) applications for the second round of Enterprise Zone designations. Applications will be reviewed by the Department and then evaluated for selection by the state’s Enterprise Zone Board.

Enterprise Zones encourage job growth and investment in economically depressed areas. Companies within a zone, or that agree to move into one, can qualify for tax incentives that include sales tax exemptions on purchases of building materials and manufacturing equipment and an exemption for utility taxes. Each zone is administered by a local official under rules set by the state.

Illinois law provides that twelve (12) zones may be designated this year. The Department certified 49 zones to take effect on January 1, 2016.

Once designated, a community may remain an Enterprise Zone for fifteen (15) years, with a review by the Enterprise Zone Board after thirteen (13) years for a possible ten (10) year extension of the zone designation.

Current Applications for Enterprise Zones (in alphabetical order):

1. Beardstown

2. Bloomington/Normal/McLean/Gibson/Ford

3. Bureau Putnam Area

4. Calumet Region

5. Chicago VI

6. Flora/Clay County

7. Greater Centralia Area

8. Greenville/Bond County

9. Illinois Valley

10. Jersey/Greene Intermodal

11. Lee/Ogle

12. Lincoln/Logan County

13. Livingston County

14. Marshall County

15. Olney/Richland/Newton/Jasper

16. Peoria Royal County

17. Rantoul

18. Village of Hoffman Estates/Huntington 90

For more information on Illinois’ Enterprise Zone Program, and for more resources about doing business in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.

Nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend to Receive NAACP President’s Award at the 47th NAACP Image Awards During Live Broadcast on Friday, February 5 on TV ONE

Posted by Admin On January - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Nine-time Grammy® Award winner John Legend to Receive NAACP President’s Award at the 47th NAACP Image Awards During Live Broadcast on Friday, February 5 on TV ONE


Prestigious Honor Recognizes Philanthropic Work To Break Cycle of Poverty

LOS ANGELES, CA – The NAACP announced that John Legend will be presented with the NAACP President’s Award at the 47th NAACP Image Awards telecast LIVE from 9-11 p.m. ET (PT tape-delayed) on February 5 on TV One.

The NAACP President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.  Past honorees include Van Jones, President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, the Founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association, Kerry Washington, and last year, Spike Lee.

“John Legend is a passionate champion for both social justice and quality education for all,” stated Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP.  “His contributions to music and artistic creativity have been recognized by peers and fans worldwide, and he is greatly admired for his humanitarian efforts through his Show Me Campaign.  Legend remains a true inspiration through his philanthropic work, and I am truly proud to honor his altruistic efforts both domestically and internationally by bestowing upon him this year’s NAACP President’s Award.”

Nine-time Grammy® Award winner, Academy Award® winner, and Golden Globe® winner, Ohio-born John Legend is a critically acclaimed, multi-talented artist whose distinctive voice and songwriting style have earned him legions of worldwide fans along with a string of Top 10 platinum-selling albums.  From a young age, Legend aspired to use his position in the entertainment industry as a platform for social change.  In an essay competition Legend won at age 15, he wrote of his dream to become a star recording artist and to use his influence and resources to give back to his community.

Throughout his career, Legend has committed his time, energy, and resources to make a difference in the lives of others.  In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an organization committed to investing in solutions that have been proven to improve people’s lives and to give them the opportunities to survive, thrive and succeed.

The Show Me Campaign works to give every child access to a quality education as well as address systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities, and disadvantaged.  Through the promotion of proven solutions and programs in education Legend hopes to elevate and celebrate teachers, the single most important factor for student achievement in our schools.  Additionally, in 2014, Legend launched LRNG (innovate.lrng.org) in partnership with The MacArthur Foundation and The National Writing Project.  LRNG is a movement dedicated to inspiring innovation in the learning process to one that better reflects the world we live in today. LRNG Innovators invests in educators who are building tomorrow’s education system today.

Most recently, Legend launched #FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration. The purpose of #FREEAMERICA is to provide a cultural strategy to support the national movement aimed at ending mass incarceration. The #FREEAMERICA campaign sets intentionally ambitious goals – to return incarceration rates back to their historic levels prior to the massive expansion of jail and prison systems, and redirect savings to support concrete investments in education, rehabilitation, and re-entry. As a respected artist, John Legend is using his platform to engage stakeholders from all areas of the criminal justice system to provide the background and guidance necessary to achieve that goal.

Legend serves on the Board of Directors of Teach for All, Harlem Village Academies, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Stand for Children and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. In addition, Legend also serves as one of the principles for Get Lifted Film Co., a film and television production company based in Los Angeles.  Get Lifted Film Co. has sold several projects in television to networks including Showtime, NBC, HBO, USA, MTV, OWN and FOX.  Get Lifted Film Co. focuses on developing projects in both TV and film that tell stories that inspire and create dialog for the masses.

The NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishment of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. The multi-cultural show is one of the most respected events of its kind and is well attended by many of the top names in the entertainment industry. Winners will be voted upon by NAACP members and announced when the envelopes are opened on Thursday, February 4 during the Awards Ceremony for non-televised categories. The remaining categories will be announced LIVE on stage during the two-hour star-studded TV One telecast on Friday, February 5(9:00 p.m. ET/PT tape-delayed).  The telecast will also include a one-hour pre-show airing LIVE from the red carpet (8:00 p.m. ET/PT tape-delayed).

The 47th NAACP Image Awards is sponsored by AMC, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, Chrysler/UAW, FedEx, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, The Walt Disney Company, and Wells Fargo.

For all information and latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at http://www.naacpimageawards.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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