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Archive for February 16th, 2016

Hillary Clinton to Meet With Civil Rights Leaders

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Opening ReMARCs
By Marc H. Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League

Civil Rights Briefings for Presidential Candidates Begin Tuesday with Hillary Clinton

A series of briefings by historic civil rights organizations for presidential candidates begins on Tuesday, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with the groups’ chief executives and millennial representatives at National Urban League headquarters.

All of the candidates have been invited, and future briefings will be announced in the coming weeks.

We will discuss on voting rights, urban poverty, unemployment, educational inequity and other topics addressed in the 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom, issued jointly by National Urban League, National Action Network, NAACP and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Joining me for this historic briefing will be:
Cornell Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP

Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
The Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Benjamin L. Crump, President, National Bar Association

Attorney General Lynch, Solicitor General Verrilli, NAACP and Sanders Statements on the Death of Justice Scalia

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Attorney General Lynch and Solicitor General Verrilli Statements on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“Justice Antonin Scalia was, and will always be remembered as, one of the most influential and eloquent Justices ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “His indomitable conviction and his fierce intelligence left a lasting imprint – not just on the way the Supreme Court resolves cases, but on the legal landscape that he helped to transform.  A lion of American law has left the stage, and it is up to all of us – every American – to keep our national constitutional dialogue as lively and as learned as he left it.”

“I am saddened by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia,” said Solicitor General Verrilli.  “He was a great jurist and a great man who served the Court and the country with honor and distinction.  We will miss him very much.  On behalf of my colleagues in the Office of the Solicitor General, I extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Scalia and to the rest of his family.”


NAACP Statement on the Death of Justice Scalia


BALTIMORE, MD – NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks released the following statement after the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“On behalf of the NAACP and the nation, we extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Justice Antonin Scalia as as well as the nation he served. Our prayers are with both our country and his family.
“The NAACP is committed to working with the President and the U.S. Senate to fill this vacancy and continue the important work of our nation’s highest court. We honor the service of all those who have served on the court by continuing its work unimpeded and realizing the constitutional values of the nation and NAACP.”


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Statement on Justice Scalia

DENVERU.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement on Saturday on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his colleagues on the court who mourn his passing.”

One Million Conscious Black Voters & Contributors Holds National News Conference

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Is the U.S. Constitution the “Supreme Law of the Land?”

Article VI of the United States Constitution says so, and reads in part:”This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”The article goes on to state that: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution;”

The foregoing excerpt from the U.S. Constitution is not “legalese,” it is plain old American English! NO states have a right to enact laws that contradict the U.S. Constitution, period! Should be end of story!!

The purpose of the National press conference, to be held February 25, 2026, 9:00 A.M. to 12 Noon,  at the African-American Civil War Memorial & Museum
1925 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC,  is to introduce the One Million Conscious Black Voters & Contributors and our Platform Planks to the National African-American community; to challenge the rights of states to pass laws that contradict the United States’ Constitution (especially ‘laws of attainder’); to lay claim to being the nation’s preeminent “Black Constitutional Patriots;” to remove the clause ‘…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…’ from the 13th Amendment to the U.S, Constitution; and to call on all like-minded believers in Black self-reliance to join our movement to empower African-Americans economically and politically!


How then has it happened that a majority of states have passed laws which allow police to violate citizens’ Constitutional protections with impunity? Why are police allowed to routinely commit acts of deadly aggression against American citizens with no fear of prosecution? If indeed “no person is above (or beyond the scope of) the law,” why are police, who are supposedly “sworn to protect and serve” citizens, allowed to maim and murder them in the streets and even in their homes?

The One Million Conscious Black Voters & Contributors (OMCBV&C) contends it is because an element among the populace has used its economic power to hijack control of the U.S. Government, and in the process seeks to divest the Constitution of its Bill of Rights. This act of treason has gone largely unreported on because the same unsavory elements have gained control of the so-called “fourth estate,” the public media.

Indeed, the “mainstream” or ‘major’ media have become mere propaganda tools used by the nation’s oligarchs to indoctrinate the public into submission to the interests of the ruling elites. As a result, for example, the “working class” has become anti-union; and many prominent blacks advanced the ridiculous premise that the word ‘nigger’ could become a “term of endearment!”

In an effort to cement their anti-Constitution gains to date, the far-right-wing of the Conservative/Republican party has for at least two decades been busily at work seeking to convene a Constitutional Convention. Their intent is to remove those provisions from the ‘Supreme Law of the Land” which protect the rights of citizens. It is reported that Ted Cruz, contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, is proposing a bill to strip the 5th and 6th Amendments from the U.S. Constitution! By way of illustration, pertinent excerpts from those two amendments are stated here:

Amendment V

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…: …nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…;”


Amendment VI

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; …to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

Why would Ted Cruz or any other citizen who claim to be patriotic, be opposed to the foregoing provisions? Do they hate the American Constitution that much? If so, why?

Insofar as the conservatives have become anti-constitution, and the Democrats are moving aggressively to join them on the right-wing political fringe, someone needs to step up and defend the U.S. Constitution as the foundation for providing and protecting the rights of America’s citizens!

In view of the foregoing, the OMCBV&C is staking claim to the title:


Insofar as both “major” political parties have become anti-Constitution, we have determined to step into the breach and declare ourselves the defenders of all that is right and good about, and in, the Supreme Law of the Land, and will henceforth speak loud and strong in its defense. It follows logically, that if we are to assume such an important role and responsibility in and for America, our once-enslaved people must at long last be provided with every full measure of citizenship. Toward that end, we hereby call for the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to be corrected to read:”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” In the words of Paul Ryan, Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, as he spoke on the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
For more information, contact: AMEFIKA D. GEUKA
(561) 228-1120

Virginia Black Business and Civic Leaders to Celebrate Black History Month by Hosting Expo in Honor of Carter G. Woodson

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Seko Varner and Bert Bergan

Norfolk, VA (BlackNews.com) — Business and education workshops, vendors and exhibits, stage shows, and African dances. They are all part of this year’s Black History Month Celebration and Business and Education Expo in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach region. Positive Vibes, Inc. and Whereblackbiz.com, two locally prominent and African-American owned businesses, are hosting the event in honor of Carter G. Woodson.

“We will celebrate the legacy of Mr. Woodson, who was the architect of Negro History Week,” said Seko Varner. The manager at Positive Vibes points out that Negro History Week was a precursor to Black History Month. “Woodson was an educator and businessman that advocated for a more robust community by teaching about the unknown historical contributions of African-Americans.”

A large part of the this year’s expo will focus around business and educational workshops — including financial literacy, marketing, business coaching, and healthy credit score. “Mr. Woodson dedicated his life to education — especially to the education of blacks,” said Berthram Bergan — expo organizer and co-founder of Whereblackbiz.com. “African Americans, especially in today’s competitive world, need to do the same collectively in order to become financially successful.”

How to Attend:
The Black History Month Business and Education Expo will be held at Military Circle Mall at 880 N. Military Hwy. in Norfolk on February 27th, 2016, from noon 6pm. For more details, visit www.facebook.com/events/1718621808359435/
(Interview opportunities with Seko Varner and Bertham Bergan are limited. Call now to book your media availability.)



About Carter G. Woodson:
Mr. Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia in 1875 and was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard. He was able to establish Black History Month by lobbying to make it a historical celebration and nationwide institution. Woodson chose February to recognize this event to honor Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. The two historical figures were both born that month. Woodson died on April 3rd, 1950.



Photo Caption: Entrepreneurs Seko Varner and Berthram Bergan, organizers of the Black History Month Celebration and Business and Education Expo

NAACP Releases 20-Point List of Priorities to Address the Needs of Flint Residents

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Association Requests a Clear Timeline, Deadline and Cost for
Replacement of Water Infrastructure

FLINT, MI – NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, joined by leadership from the NAACP Michigan State Conference and Flint, Michigan branch, today held a press conference to address the latest developments in the Flint water crisis and release the Association’s 20-point list of priorities to address the needs of Flint residents.



“The residents of Flint have suffered irreparable harm due to the poor decisions made by government officials,” said Cornell William Brooks.  “The NAACP is expecting significant progress on the 20-point list of priorities to give residents a timely and clear resolution to this man-made crisis. In the absence of significant progress over the next 30 days, the NAACP will embark on an intense, broad-based campaign of direct action until progress is made and the residents of Flint receive measurable relief.”



The NAACP’s 20-point list of priorities includes the request for a clear, detailed timeline for the replacement of the water infrastructure, a deadline for completion of construction of the new infrastructure, and the cost of replacing the infrastructure.



“Flint, Michigan is an example of the result of disinvestment in the local economy and the disinvestment in democracy,” said Francis Gilcreast, president of the NAACP Flint branch.  “The 20-point list of priorities is a result of our listening to the community’s concerns and we will remain in service to the community as we use those priorities as our marching orders to ensure the goals of the 20-point plan are achieved and implemented.”



“The appointment of emergency managers, primarily in communities of color, continues to extend an oppressive and unjust form of governance that takes away local control and power from Michigan’s most vulnerable residents,” said Pamela L. Pugh, Michigan State Conference NAACP Health Chair. “Flint’s poisonous water has shed light on callous decisions that continue to risk the health and well-being of our most vulnerable Michigan citizens. In addition to this atrocity, after more than six years under a failed state takeover, the same emergency manager has been at the helm of the Detroit Public Schools, resulting in a destabilized education system, marred by decreased academic outcomes, and increased deficit of $3.5 billion.”



President Brooks traveled to Flint on January 26th to convene a public mass meeting and listen to the community’s concerns. Based on community input received at that meeting and several others hosted by the Flint branch, the NAACP finalized a 20-point plan that details necessary steps to address the needs of the citizens of Flint and the resources required for remediation. At those meetings, residents expressed frustration over multiple issues but one of the concerns heard repeatedly was the need to repeal the Emergency Financial Manager Law – the implementation of which set off the string of decisions that brought Flint to this crisis.



President Brooks also met with Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during his trip to Flint last month.  Since that meeting with the Governor two weeks ago, there has been insufficient progress to resolve the crisis other than offering a bargain Band-Aid to the high-impact trauma wound called the Flint Water Crisis. The response to date has been a largely unproven, untested and uncertain response to a long-standing environmental tragedy.  Hence, our uncompromising demand for a timeline, deadline and price tag.


Flint Water Crisis – NAACP 20-Point Community Priorities Plan

An effective and lasting action plan must be comprehensive, multisector, and include short term mitigation goals as well as a long term redevelopment and economic development plan.  This plan must be guided by the following principles:
1) Equity and Justice
2) Self-Governance/Democracy
3) Inclusiveness
4) Transparency
5) Accountability




1) Emergency Financial Manager Law Must Be Repealed:  Dissolve any and all oversight appointments which negate the authority of the elected mayor of the City of Flint, the Honorable Dr. Karen Weaver.  Support the efforts of the Mayor as she moves forward in overseeing the business of the city.
2) The City of Flint Must Have a New, State of the Art, Water Distribution System:  Build a state-of-the-art infrastructure water distribution system, including damaged pipes from the city street/curbs leading into the homes of the citizens of the City of Flint, schools and small, privately owned businesses.
3) Responsibility for the Crisis Must Be Investigated and Accountability Measures Must Be Imposed:  All persons who played an active part in decision-making process of the switch to Flint River as a drinking water source should be investigated.  A strategy for implementation of programs/systems specifically designed for righting the wrongs suffered by the citizens of Flint may include financial compensation for loss of life, loss of quality of life, education, employment, decreases in property value, and increases in insurance rates.
4) A Dedicated Fund for Support Systems Must Be Established to Address Impacts of Lead and Other Toxic Exposure: Through this dedicated fund, support systems must be established to address social, criminal and health issues arising from the water crisis, i.e. early childhood education programs, special education programs, counseling/mental health programs, medical care, community-based, rehabilitation focused policing programs, etc., to accommodate those in need of these services from early childhood throughout adulthood.
5) The Environmental Justice Plan for the State of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality, as established by Executive Order 2011-1, Must Be Instituted:  The plan includes measures to identify, address and prevent discriminatory public health or environmental effects of state laws, regulations, policies and activities on Michigan residents, while balancing productive economic growth with the high quality of life that is important to all people. In implementing the plan, there must be cooperation, across various federal and state agencies and programs, to address environmental justice concerns and ensure meaningful engagement of residents.
6) Fairness/Justice Must Be Examined in Rate Hikes and Continued Billing for Poisonous Water:  Provide immediate relief for Flint residents by lowering and/or providing water credits to a more reasonable level for residents who are experiencing some of the highest water bill rates in the country, while some of the most toxic water in the country flows from the taps where over 40% of the households are below the poverty line.
7) An Independent Community Oversight Board Must Be Established: To ensure community driven review of processes and decision making, trusted community members must examine research findings and proposed plans, and evaluate outcomes of programming and policies, as well as act as stewards of accountability.
8) All Flint Citizens Must Be Provided Free Home Inspections:  Free city-wide home inspections for citizens of Flint must be conducted to determine the extent of damage and estimated cost for repair or replacement of pipes, plumbing, appliances, and water tanks damage due to corrosion.
9) All Flint Residents Must Be Provided Federally Funded Replacement of Damaged Systems/Appliances:  There must be federally funded replacement of plumbing systems and/or water tanks or any other appliance i.e. refrigerators with ice makers, washing machines, etc., which may have been damaged as a result of the water crisis.
10) A Flint-Wide Environmental Assessment Must Occur to Determine and Address Other Risks:  Throughout the City of Flint, there are other environmental issues including the residual contamination from prior industrial operations that are still underground. A thorough assessment and implementation of a remediation plan are essential.
11) Pro-Bono Legal Advice Must Be Available to All:  Provide free legal guidance and support residents engaged in cases from custody issues surrounding parental rights when the home is deemed unsafe by another parent, to future cases with people engaged in crimes due to effects of lead on behavior, or children whose future is truncated due to learning problems.
12) Multi-Disciplinary Studies Must Be Conducted to Assess Impacts and Needs Related to the Crisis:  Concerns have arisen regarding chemicals/substances in addition to the lead in the water, which could have both short-term and long-term harmful health effects on the well-being of the citizens of Flint. Impacts must be assessed and remediation needs must be identified.
13) All Academic Reports Arising From the Water Crisis Must Be Available to Flint Residents:  To ensure transparency and accountability, as well as ensuring that residents have full access to information, all academic reports that detail the findings regarding the effects of lead and other chemicals in the water of Flint, must be provided to the citizens of Flint.
14) Risk Advisories and Mitigation Instructions Must Be Factual, Timely and Consistently Delivered to All Residents:  Ongoing, credible communication on most current fact-based information must be provided routinely and proactively by relevant authorities.
15) Information Sharing and Service Delivery Must Be Accessible to All:  Methods of delivering information and services must be linguistically and culturally appropriate for various populations, including racial and ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, undocumented persons, formerly incarcerated persons, persons with low literacy, and non-English speakers.
16) Water Distribution by the National Guard Must Be Replaced by Local Youth Labor:  Supervised youth must be given this opportunity to receive no less than minimum wages rate for delivering water to homes during daylight hours as well as collecting and recycling the extensive water bottle waste that will result.
17) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Must Be Accessible for All Residents:  In the short term, to mitigate the damage of lead in human systems, all residents must have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  For the long term the city should have institutionalized access to fresh fruits and vegetables through locally owned grocers/famers markets.
18) Equitable Redevelopment Must Include Anti-Displacement Measures:  In the context of redevelopment of Flint in the aftermath of this crisis and as part of the Master Plan as a working document, and with the threat of 80% of homes slated to be demolished on North Side of Flint where the majority of African Americans reside, there must be a re-evaluation and revision of the Master Plan through an inclusive process that prioritizes stability and avoids displacement. Community Benefits Agreements must be negotiated with all developers.
19) Jobs, Contracts, and Other Economic Benefits Must Go toLocal Residents:  In Flint, there are multiple business and educational institutions, workers, entrepreneurs, expertise, with resources capable of re-designing and rebuilding Flint to become a city of the future. Local hire and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) provisions/ordinances must be established in advance of the coming wave of redevelopment projects.
20) Small Business Owners and Prospective Workers Must Have Access to Capacity Building:  Free skilled trades training should be provided for the citizens of Flint, with guaranteed provision of employment opportunities for youth and other interested persons in civil engineering, pipefitting and plumbing. Local contractors must receive support for certifications, equipment/supplies, and back office functions needed to be competitive.





“Michelle Obama: A Life” Makes Pen Awards Shortlist

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Peter Slevin’s biography of first lady a finalist for distinguished prize
Michelle Obama: A Life” named finalist in biography for PEN Award
$5,000 prize honors the best in new literature, ‘scrupulous research’
‘There was never a day when I did not look forward to working on this’
Most PEN winners announced March 1, 2016
“Michelle Obama: A Life” by Northwestern University journalism professor Peter Slevin has been named to the shortlist of the prestigious 2016 PEN Literary Awards, which honors the best in new literature.Slevin’s book is one of five biographies in contention for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award and its $5,000 prize. The finalists will be judged on their literary, narrative and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

A former Washington Post correspondent and faculty member at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Slevin chronicled Obama’s trajectory from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side to Princeton, Harvard, and ultimately, the White House.

Probing deep into her family history — dating back to slavery – Slevin explored the myriad forces that shaped, challenged and inspired her along the way.

Michelle Obama “comes across in this thoughtful biography as constantly
searching and frequently torn between different worlds — not just black and white but also working-class and elite,” said the New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Slevin began reporting on the Obamas during the 2007 presidential campaign while working as the Washington Post’s Chicago bureau chief. During more than seven years of research for the book, Slevin interviewed Obama’s relatives and friends, mentors and former colleagues. He drew on unpublished or largely unknown interviews with Obama, her mother and her husband.

“Whether I was trying to solve a riddle of the reporting, the thinking or the writing, it was very energizing to work on,” Slevin said. He wrote in the acknowledgements, “Truth be told, there was never a day when I did not look forward to working on this project.”

The five finalists for biography include:

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects by Deborah Lutz
Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art by Nancy Princenthal
John le Carré: The Biography by Adam Sisman
Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin
Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

Spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essays, translation and more, this year’s PEN awards will confer over $200,000 to some of the best writers and translators working today.

Other finalists for the eight categories of PEN prizes include poet and essayist Susan Howe for her book of uncollected essays “The Quarry,” Ta-Nehisi Coates for “Between the World and Me,” Marilynne Robinson for “The Givenness of Things: Essays” and Angela Flournoy for her debut novel, “The Turner House.”

The winners for all 2016 awards will be announced on March 1, with the exception of those for Debut Fiction, Art of the Essay, and Literary Science Writing awards, as well as the PEN Open Book and the PEN/Fusion Prize, which will be named live at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on April 11 at The New School in New York City.

For the last 90 years, PEN American Center has been working to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.

The complete list of finalists can be found on the PEN website.
Slevin’s upcoming appearances include:

Highland Park Library, Wednesday, Feb. 17.
Literary Feast, Broward County Library, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Saturday, March 5
Tucson Festival of Books, Sat. March 12, “Powerful Women in Washington,” with Linda Hirshman
Sun. March 13, “The Obamas,” with David Maraniss


Young People Can Impact the World by ‘Standing on the Shoulders’ of Mentors

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
By Edna Kane-Williams

When Jajuan Chain, a history major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, needed to interview someone for a class assignment, he reached out to 1960s civil rights icon Lonnie C. King Jr., a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and founding chairman of The Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.

After their first encounter, neither King, 79, nor Chain, 22, ever expected that within weeks they would become mentor and protégé working on an organizational project involving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other universities in Atlanta that Chain believes will impact the rest of his life.

Chain says that King is taking the time to share his experience to train him as a young leader. And their collaboration is working. “We want more than a movement,” Chain says. “We want something that’s going to last for generations, something that’s going to have substance that will not only have a national impact, but an international impact.”

Unlike King and Chain, clarity and understanding between young and older generations has not always been the case during recent uprisings against police killings of unarmed African Americans over the past several years. Photographer Sheila Pree Bright, who documented recent demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, has been an eyewitness to the friction.

“Based on my experience from being on the ground, a lot of young people are angry at the elders from the civil rights movement,” she says. “They said that it seems that after Dr. King got assassinated they dropped the ball and they feel like they are fighting the same fight that their parents and grandparents were fighting.”

Bright recently organized a forum featuring young activists on a panel and elders in the audience. She discovered that the youth needed to be heard. But when young people also listen, they are sometimes “lost for words when asked how they are going to do certain things…We don’t know how powerful we are together.”

That’s where the wisdom of the elders come in, Chain says. “If you want to go far, you really have to learn from someone who’s done it before you. They may not be caught up in the same social evolution as you with technology and other things. But they understand the principles, and that’s something that I’ve been adopting in my life.”

So far, King says he has taught Chain and his co-leaders key battle strategies and how to organize people to make lasting change. “Marches and rallies don’t solve problems, but basically raise people’s awareness of what’s going on,” King says. “You’ve got to have that backdrop of organization if you’re talking about institutional change.”

Following King’s advice, Chain is organizing a multiracial student group consisting of blacks, Latinos and forward-thinking white students who may have different perspectives on the same problem. Seeing his vision coming together, Chain says he is amazed at what he is achieving by listening to King.

“He’s showing us how to create a mass organization and how to organize people. And he’s shaping me on how to be a more profound leader and how to develop well thought-out ideas,” Chain says. “He’s actually molding me to become a leader. And I’m truly grateful for that.”

Edna Kane-Williams is senior vice president for multicultural leadership at AARP.
Photo Caption: Morehouse College student Jajuan Chain and Georgia State University student Samaria Muhammad listen as civil rights veteran Lonnie King explain principles of leadership and organization. Photo Credit: Sheila Pree Bright

JEC Dems & Congressional Black Caucus Updated Black History Month Report Shows Need for Congress to Act on Economic Issues Facing Black Community

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – In recognition of Black History Month, the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Thursday released an update to their 2015 report on the economic status of African Americans. The study finds that African Americans lag far behind white Americans in almost every measure of economic well-being in all 50 states.

“During Black History Month our nation celebrates the extraordinary achievements of African Americans,” CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield and JEC Ranking Democrat Carolyn B. Maloney said in a joint statement. “Our country has come a long way, and African Americans have made significant economic progress since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but so much more work remains ahead. We’ll never eliminate economic disparities based on race if Congress continues to ignore the issues facing the black community.”

Key findings of the report include:

•           The African American unemployment rate (8.8 percent) is more than twice the rate for white Americans (4.3 percent).

•           African Americans are twice as likely to live in poverty as whites – 26.2 percent compared to 12.7 percent.

•           The median income of African American households is $35,400 – nearly $25,000 less than the median income of white households ($60,300).

•           The median net worth of white households is 13 times greater than that of black households ($142,000 vs. $11,000).

•           Among those aged 25 and older, 36 percent of white Americans hold Bachelor’s degrees or higher compared to 22 percent of African Americans.

The JEC report also contains a chart that shows large differences between black and white unemployment over time, as well as a chart that compares median income for different races and ethnicities since 1980.

FBI Warns of Online Dating Scams

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Criminals Looking to Steal Your Money Through Promises of Love and Companionship Via Money Transfer Services; Report Scams to www.ic3.gov

Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate. But as Valentine’s Day gets closer, the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams.

These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. In reality, they often live overseas. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk.

Here’s how the scam usually works. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you. He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you. For weeks, even months, you may chat back and forth with one another, forming a connection. You may even be sent flowers or other gifts. But ultimately, it’s going to happen—your new-found “friend” is going to ask you for money.

So you send money…but rest assured the requests won’t stop there. There will be more hardships that only you can help alleviate with your financial gifts. He may also send you checks to cash since he’s out of the country and can’t cash them himself, or he may ask you to forward him a package.

So what really happened? You were targeted by criminals, probably based on personal information you uploaded on dating or social media sites. The pictures you were sent were most likely phony lifted from other websites. The profiles were fake as well, carefully crafted to match your interests.

In addition to losing your money to someone who had no intention of ever visiting you, you may also have unknowingly taken part in a money laundering scheme by cashing phony checks and sending the money overseas and by shipping stolen merchandise (the forwarded package).

In another recently reported dating extortion scam, victims usually met someone on an online dating site and then were asked to move the conversation to a particular social networking site, where the talk often turned intimate. Victims were later sent a link to a website where those conversations were posted, along with photos, their phone numbers, and claims that they were “cheaters.” In order to have that information removed, victims were told they could make a $99 payment—but there is no indication that the other side of the bargain was upheld.

While the FBI and other federal partners work some of these cases—in particular those with a large number of victims or large dollar losses and/or those involving organized criminal groups—many are investigated by local and state authorities.

We strongly recommend, however, that if you think you’ve been victimized by a dating scam or any other online scam, file a complaint with our Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).

Before forwarding the complaints to the appropriate agencies, IC3 collates and analyzes the data—looking for common threads that could link complaints together and help identify the culprits. This helps keep everyone safe.

Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of an online dating scam.

Recognizing an Online Dating Scam Artist

Your online “date” may only be interested in your money if he or she:

  • Presses you to leave the dating website you met through and to communicate using personal e-mail or instant messaging;
  • Professes instant feelings of love;
  • Sends you a photograph of himself or herself that looks like something from a glamour magazine;
  • Claims to be from the U.S. and is traveling or working overseas;
  • Makes plans to visit you but is then unable to do so because of a tragic event; or
  • Asks for money for a variety of reasons (travel, medical emergencies, hotel bills, hospitals bills for child or other relative, visas or other official documents, losses from a financial setback or crime victimization).

Do not send money through any wire transfer service to someone you met online. The chances of recovering your money are very slim.

One way to steer clear of these criminals altogether is to stick to online dating websites with nationally known reputations. Finally, the FBI advises not to send money through any wire transfer service to someone you met online. The chances of recovering your money are very slim. If you believe you are the victim of an online dating scam or any Internet facilitated crime, please file a report at www.ic3.gov.

FBI San Diego February 11, 2016
  • Darrell Foxworth (858) 320-8302

Writer Jamie Kalven Wins Polk Award for Local Reporting on Laquan McDonald

Posted by Admin On February - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Chicago-based Invisible Institute founder uncovered autopsy report that countered police narrative of teen’s shooting death

CHICAGO, IL – Writer Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago, has been named the winner of the 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting. Kalven’s winning investigative article, “Sixteen Shots,” published February 10, 2015 by Slate, detailed the autopsy report of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot repeatedly by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Through a witness account, the story contradicted the official police narrative that Laquan had lunged at officers before he was shot, and it predicted Chicago’s implosion over video footage of the shooting.

“Jamie Kalven’s investigative persistence was essential in getting at the truth in the death of Laquan McDonald,” said John Darnton, curator of the George Polk Awards. “He worked his sources, obtained the autopsy and pressed for release of the all-important video.”

The George Polk Awards, announced by Long Island University, recognize the top journalism works each year. Past winners include some of the biggest names in journalism: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Seymour Hersh, Christiane Amanpour, Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Bill Moyers, Studs Terkel and the team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

“I’m deeply grateful for this honor,” Jamie Kalven said. “I share it with my colleagues at the Invisible Institute and the unnamed individuals whose courage made it possible to tell this story –the whistleblower who alerted us to the Laquan McDonald incident and the witness who shared his account of the shooting with me.”   

This award announcement comes on the heels of the Invisible Institute’s win of the Knight News Challenge on Data for its Citizens Police Data Project, the largest interactive database of police misconduct complaints — what the New York Times called “a rare look into the cloistered world of internal police discipline.” The data project, which contains more than 56,000 Chicago police misconduct complaints for more than 8,500 officers, reveals that less than 3% of allegations lead to disciplinary action, with even lower rates for officers charged with high numbers of complaints. The data also shows a significant pattern of racial bias, with black Chicagoans accounting for more than 60% of total complaints, but less than 25% of sustained complaints.

The Citizens Police Data Project has had a major impact on media coverage of police shootings, most notably the video release of McDonald’s death. Two weeks after the database launch, the City of Chicago, on a judge’s order, agreed to release dashcam video of the shooting. In the media storm that ensued, the Invisible Institute’s data tool created crucial context about Van Dyke’s record of undisciplined complaints, revealing an alleged pattern of excessive force and racial slurs. Since then, hundreds of news stories, radio and TV programs have called on Invisible Institute journalists as expert resources, who shifted the conversation from a single sensationalized incident to the systemic failures of the nation’s second largest police force.

The impact following the Laquan McDonald revelations has been significant: the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the head of the Independent Police Review Authority, the launch of a Department of Justice investigation, the creation of a police accountability task force, the release of thousands of emails from the mayor’s office and continuing nonviolent protests.

“Some very aggressive journalism happened in Chicago,” said MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow to Kalven during a November 25, 2015, interview for her show: “[The] reporting on this ended up being just world-changing in terms of this story. Congratulations on a dark achievement…it’s a very dark story, but you pushed it into the light.”

The Invisible Institute is a nonprofit Chicago-based journalistic production company that works to enhance the capacity of civil society to hold public institutions accountable. Toward that end, we develop strategies to expand and operationalize transparency. We seek to make visible perspectives too often excluded from public discourse. And we develop social interventions designed to leverage necessary reforms. Among the tools we employ are human rights documentation, investigative reporting, civil rights litigation, the curating of public information, conceptual art projects, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations.

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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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