January , 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and members of the ...
Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins will host a public hearing ...
  By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu African American Images, Inc. A communications company     There is a three-year gap between Black and ...
Black History is back in style with these amazing black history bowties – ...
WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneursincluding ...
Sol Flores' Statement: “I congratulate Commissioner Garcia on his historic election as the Democratic nominee to ...
Rules provide relief for nearly 13,000 employers over the next six months CHICAGO, IL ...
New Orleans, LA (BlackNews.com) -- The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is being ...
Express the Importance of the Movie Red Tails Pilot Jonathan E. Neal, CFI/MEI Lanham, MD ...
America's Twentieth-Century Slavery (Part 1 of an 11-part Series on Race in America - Past and ...

Archive for February 24th, 2016

President Obama’s Plan to Close the Prison at Guantanamo Bay

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Roosevelt Room

President Barack Obama’s remarks in its entirety

Good morning, everybody.  In our fight against terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL, we are using every element of our national power — our military; intelligence; diplomacy; homeland security; law enforcement, federal, state and local; as well as the example of our ideals as a country that’s committed to universal values, including rule of law and human rights.  In this fight, we learn and we work to constantly improve.  When we find something that works, we keep on doing it.  When it becomes clear that something is not working as intended — when it does not advance our security — we have to change course.For many years, it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security — it undermines it.  This is not just my opinion.  This is the opinion of experts, this is the opinion of many in our military.  It’s counterproductive to our fight against terrorists, because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit.  It drains military resources, with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running, and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees.  Guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies and other countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism.  When I talk to other world leaders, they bring up the fact that Guantanamo is not resolved.

Moreover, keeping this facility open is contrary to our values.  It undermines our standing in the world.  It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.  As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law.  But 15 years after 9/11 — 15 years after the worst terrorist attack in American history — we’re still having to defend the existence of a facility and a process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks — not a single one.

When I first ran for President, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close.  This was not just my opinion.  This was not some radical, far-left view.  There was bipartisan support to close it.  My predecessor, President Bush, to his credit, said he wanted to close it.  It was one of the few things that I and my Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, agreed on.

And so, in one of my first acts as President, I took action to begin closing it.  And because we had bipartisan support, I wanted to make sure that we did it right.  I indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way, and that we had examined all the options.

And unfortunately, during that period where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support suddenly became a partisan issue.  Suddenly, many you previously had said it should be closed backed off because they were worried about the politics.  The public was scared into thinking that, well, if we close it, somehow we’ll be less safe.  And since that time, Congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this facility.

Now, despite the politics, we’ve made progress.  Of the nearly 800 detainees once held at Guantanamo, more than 85 percent have already been transferred to other countries.  More than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under President Bush.  Since I took office, we’ve so far transferred 147 more, each under new, significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield.  And as a result of these actions, today, just 91 detainees remain — less than 100.

Today, the Defense Department, thanks to very hard work by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, as well as his team, working in concert with the Office of Management and Budget, today, the Department is submitting to Congress our plan for finally closing the facility at Guantanamo once and for all.  It’s a plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national security team, so I especially want to thank Ash and his team at DOD.  This plan has my full support.  It reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture, and it is a strategy with four main elements.

First, we’ll continue to securely and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees — out of the 91 — that have already been approved for transfer.  Keep in mind, this process involves extensive and careful coordination across our federal government to ensure that our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another country.  So, for example, we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures.  And as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60 — and potentially even fewer — detainees remaining.

Second, we’ll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary.  Our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information, including current intelligence.  And if certain detainees no longer pose a continuing significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well.

Number three, we’ll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention.  Currently, 10 detainees are in some stage of the military commissions process — a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from Congress.  But I have to say, with respect to these commissions, they are very costly, they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution.  We’re therefore outlining additional changes to improve these commissions, which would require congressional action, and we will be consulting with them in the near future on that issue.

I also want to point out that, in contrast to the commission process, our Article 3 federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists.  These prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups.  It proves that we can both prosecute terrorists and protect the American people.  So think about it — terrorists like Richard Reid, the shoe bomber; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit; Faisal Shahzad, who put a car bomb in Times Square; and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who bombed the Boston Marathon — they were all convicted in our Article III courts and are now behind bars, here in the United States.

So we can capture terrorists, protect the American people, and when done right, we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons, and it works just fine.  And in this sense, the plan we’re putting forward today isn’t just about closing the facility at Guantanamo.  It’s not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened.  This is about closing a chapter in our history.  It reflects the lessons that we’ve learned since 9/11 –lessons that need to guide our nation going forward.

So even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees — which, given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult for them to be tried in Article 3 courts — this type of use of military commissions should not set a precedent for the future.  As they have been in past wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during battle.  But our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theaters, must be our strong, proven federal courts.

Fourth, and finally, we’re going to work with Congress to find a secure location in the United States to hold remaining detainees.  These are detainees who are subject to military commissions, but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to other countries or who we’ve determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continuing significant threat to the United States.

We are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan.  We are outlining what options look like.  As Congress has imposed restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the United States, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge.  And we’re going to keep making the case to Congress that we can do this is a responsible and secure way, taking into account the lessons and great record of our maximum-security prisons.

And let me point out, the plan we’re submitting today is not only the right thing to do for our security, it will also save money.  The Defense Department estimates that this plan, compared to keeping Guantanamo open, would lower costs by up to $85 million a year.  Over 10 years, it would generate savings of more than $300 million.  Over 20 years, the savings would be up to $1.7 billion.  In other words, we can ensure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and save American taxpayers a lot of money in the process.

So in closing, I want to say I am very clear-eyed about the hurdles to finally closing Guantanamo.  The politics of this are tough.  I think a lot of the American public are worried about terrorism, and in their mind the notion of having terrorists held in the United States rather than in some distant place can be scary.  But part of my message to the American people here is we’re already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the United States because we threw the book at them.  And there have been no incidents.  We’ve managed it just fine.

And in Congress, I recognize, in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned oftentimes by misinformation, there continues to be a fair amount of opposition to doing closing Guantanamo.  If it were easy, it would have happened years ago — as I wanted, as I have been working to try to get done.  But there remains bipartisan support for closing it.  And given the stakes involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing.  Even in an election year, we should be able to have an open, honest, good-faith dialogue about how to best ensure our national security.  And the fact that I’m no longer running, Joe is no longer running, we’re not on the ballot — it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics.

Let us do what is right for America.  Let us go ahead and close this chapter, and do it right, do it carefully, do it in a way that makes sure we’re safe, but gives the next President and, more importantly, future generations, the ability to apply the lessons we’ve learned in the fight against terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn’t raise some of the problems that Guantanamo has raised.

I really think there’s an opportunity here for progress.  I believe we’ve got an obligation to try.  President Bush said he wanted to close Guantanamo despite everything that he had invested in it.  I give him credit for that.  There was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen.  But he didn’t get it done and it was passed to me.  I’ve been working for seven years now to get this thing closed.  As President, I have spent countless hours dealing with this — I do not exaggerate about that.  Our closest allies have raised it with me continually.  They often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly.

I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next President, whoever it is.  And if, as a nation, we don’t deal with this now, when will we deal with it?  Are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years, another 20 years, another 30 years?  If we don’t do what’s required now, I think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and of justice, and our best American traditions was clear.

So, again, I want to thank Secretary Carter.  You and your team did an outstanding job, and you’ve shown great leadership on this issue.  With this plan, we have the opportunity, finally, to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, enhance our national security, and, most importantly, uphold the values that define us as Americans.  I’m absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo.  I’m going to continue to make the case for doing so for as long as I hold this office.  But this is a good moment for everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have been most committed to fighting terrorism and understand this stuff — our operatives, our intelligence officials, our military.  Let’s go ahead and get this thing done.

Thanks very much, everybody.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Senator Kirk: Gitmo Prisoners Belong in Gitmo, Not in the U.S. with Constitutional Rights

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement after President Obama announced plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and transfer as many as 60 terrorist detainees to U.S. soil. The administration last month released 16 detainees and today announced plans to release an additional 35 detainees in the next few months.

“A bipartisan majority in Congress will stop the transfer of terrorists to the U.S. and will not allow these prisoners to gain the same legal rights as American citizens. Over the last decade, American taxpayers have spent more than $5 billion to safely and humanely house foreign terrorist detainees captured on the battlefield – Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, bomb makers, terrorist trainers, recruiters, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and the terrorists involved in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors. I held up Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2010 until Congress included the prohibition of Gitmo detainee transfers to the U.S. and blocked the use of Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois, and now I stand with Senators Scott, Gardner and Roberts in support of keeping terrorists out of our constituents’ backyards.”


Blocking the Transfer of Gitmo Detainees

  • The FY16 omnibus contained Senator Kirk-driven language to block the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S. and to prohibit the construction of any facility on American soil to house Gitmo detainees. These Kirk provisions have been included in annual appropriations bills since FY11.
  • Senator Kirk wanted this language in order to block the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense from acting on a 2009 Presidential memorandum to relocate detainees to Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.
  • The omnibus also requires notification of any agreement reached between the U.S. and another country regarding the transfer or release of Gitmo detainees.

Additional Kirk Actions

  • Senator Kirk led a group of senators in a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to reduce foreign aid to Ghana if the country is unable to hold and monitor the two detainees transferred there and ensure they do not reengage in terrorist activities.
  • Senator Kirk co-sponsored S. 165, Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, to prohibit the transfer or release of Gitmo prisoners.
  • Senator Kirk requested language in the FY12 CJS Appropriations bill to prohibit the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
  • In the 112th Congress, Senator Kirk authored S. 209 to prohibit the use of funds to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S.
  • In 2011, Senator Kirk wrote Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the reversal of efforts to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Thomson, Ill., but to allow the federal government to operate Thomson Correctional Center as a maximum-security federal prison.
  • Senator Kirk led Illinois Republicans in the House in successfully inserting language in the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act to block the transfer of Gitmo detainees into the U.S.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Annual Justice Department African American History Month Observance Program

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Remarks as prepared for delivery

U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch: Thank you, Richard [Toscano], for that kind introduction and for your outstanding leadership of JMD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Staff.  I also want to thank all of the Equal Employment Opportunity staff – not only for organizing this commemoration of Black History Month here at the Department of Justice, but also for the work that you do every day to ensure that this Department receives the benefit of a diverse workforce.  I am pleased to see so many students in the Great Hall this morning.  One of the main reasons we study the past is so that we can build a brighter future and you – the young people of our country – have the greatest stake in that future.  I’m glad you could join us for this important celebration.  Finally, I want to mention one very special guest: Dorie Ann Ladner.  Ms. Ladner was involved in some of the most pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, from her work with the Freedom Riders to her leadership in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC.  The story of progress that we celebrate today was made possible because of Americans like her and I want to thank her, once again, for the extraordinary gift she has given us all.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Hallowed Ground: Sites of African American Memories,” and it commemorates 25 places of great significance to the African American experience, from stops along the Underground Railroad, to the birthplace of the blues on Memphis’s Beale Street.  These are places of pride and hope, of activism and action and they are deeply important to the story of our country.  This morning, I want to focus on a place that isn’t on the official list of Black History Month sites, but that has nevertheless played a vital role in the history of black Americans’ struggle for equality: the building in which we stand today.  It was here in Main Justice that our predecessors determined that the department had both the ability and the obligation to challenge discrimination and defend civil rights.  It was here, in the very conference room that I now use, that they made the decision to send U.S. Marshals south to protect the Freedom Riders.  It was here that they organized the integration of the universities of Alabama and Mississippi.  And it was here that they drafted significant portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Because of what was done in this building, at that time, I am able to stand before you as the 83rd Attorney General of these United States and sit in the office where the work was done that saved the soul of our nation.  The inscription on the north side of this building reads, “The place of justice is a hallowed place.”  But that is not made so by the stones that construct it but by the work that inhabits it – the pursuit of the more perfect union that is the birthright of us all.

Today, we have the privilege of occupying this place – and we have the responsibility to protect and expand on the work of those who came before us.  I am proud to say that we are doing just that.  Under the Obama administration, we’ve convicted more defendants on hate crimes charges than at any other time in history, because no person should be targeted for threats or violence because of what they look like, how they worship, or whom they love.  We’ve stood against jurisdictions attempting to curb voting rights, because when we consider those hallowed places for African Americans, surely the voting booth must be one of them.  We’re supporting a number of initiatives to keep our young people in school and out of the justice system, because school should be a place of opportunity, not a pipeline to prison.  And we’re at the forefront of efforts to build positive relationships of trust between law enforcement officers and the people we serve, because the place next to our law enforcement officers should be a place of safety and security for every American.

This is just some of the vital work we are doing at the Department of Justice not only to continue our department’s illustrious history, but to build upon it.  Of course, government and law enforcement officers can only do so much on our own.  As President Lincoln so famously said, ours is a government of the people, by the people, for the people and it is the people – our voices and our votes – that ultimately determine the course of our nation.  That means it is up to all of us in this country – no matter who we are, where we work, or where we live – to stand up and speak out for what is right and to make ourselves heard in the fight for justice.

For more than a century, few organizations have been more effective at lifting up those voices than the NAACP.  From waging a thirty-year campaign against lynching to convincing President Franklin Roosevelt to open thousands of jobs to African Americans in the New Deal; and from successfully arguing the historic Brown v. Board of Education case to marshaling public opinion on behalf of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the NAACP has long been at the vanguard of the drive for equal rights and equal opportunity in the United States.  And today, their work continues – their work as a voice for comprehensive criminal justice reform; for voting rights; for affordable health care; and for an end to racial discrimination.

Since 2014, the NAACP has been led by Cornell Brooks, our keynote speaker today.  A minister, a trial attorney and an activist, Mr. Brooks is one of the preeminent civil rights leaders of our time.  He has devoted his life to public service, serving as a senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, a trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington and an attorney in our own civil rights division.  And now, as president and CEO of the largest and oldest grassroots civil rights organization in the country, he is spearheading campaigns to resolve some of the most pressing problems of the 21st century.  He is a standard bearer of the ongoing work to bring our actions into ever closer alignment with our ideals and it is a privilege to have him with us today.  You know, you never really leave the Department of Justice.  You take that commitment and dedication with you wherever you go.  So it gives me such pleasure today to be able to say to our eminent speaker, welcome home.  Please join me in welcoming Cornell Brooks.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice


Speaker Madigan Announces Bipartisan Special House Committee on Public Private Partnerships

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – To ensure integrity within any public-private partnership created in Illinois and that all ethical and transparency requirements are met, Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan on Wednesday announced the creation of a bipartisan special House committee to review Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to establish a private company that will work with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to dole out state money and tax breaks to corporations.

“The formation of a public-private partnership could produce lasting benefits, but our obligation to taxpayers includes working to ensure transparency and integrity within the program,” Madigan said. “I support efforts to boost Illinois’ economy and create more good-paying jobs for middle-class and struggling families. That’s who should benefit from a public-private partnership, and the tax dollars given to any corporation should be spent wisely and with the proper oversight.”

Earlier this month, Rauner announced a plan to create a privately run economic development corporation that would partner with the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. While Rauner said the corporation would be funded with private donations, taxpayer dollars would still be at stake and DCEO would be required to approve any incentives or deals offered to companies.

Last spring, Madigan worked cooperatively with Rauner on the governor’s request to create a public-private partnership in Illinois. However, the measure failed to advance beyond passage in the House due to the governor’s opposition to Madigan’s belief that the partnership should be reviewed after three years to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and to determine if it is functioning as intended.

Similar public-private efforts in other states have experienced problems in recent years. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., for example, was criticized in an audit for, among other things, not requiring financial statements from companies receiving incentives, granting awards to ineligible businesses, failing to ensure jobs had been created by companies after awarding them with nearly $1 million in tax credits, and in some cases hiring firms with conflicts of interest. In Virginia, it was reported that a public-private infrastructure project, due to a lack of transparency, led to massive cost overruns and ultimately the state halted the project, but not before taxpayers had paid the contractor $290 million for the unfinished project.

The private corporation, as proposed by Rauner, would not be subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, as confirmed by DCEO director Jim Schultz. Madigan said that must change to permit greater transparency of how taxpayer dollars are being expended.

“Given what has happened in other states due to the lack of transparency and proper oversight, my belief today is the same as it was last year, and that is that a public-private partnership can be achieved, but with the proper safeguards and transparency in place,” Madigan said. “Illinois is facing unprecedented fiscal challenges, so taxpayer dollars must be used wisely and efficiently. Simply authorizing a public-private partnership without taking into consideration the controversy that has occurred in other states is not in taxpayers’ best interests.”

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, will chair the Special Committee on Public Private Partnerships, and House Democratic members will include Reps. Chris Welch of Hillside, Will Davis of Homewood, Carol Sente of Vernon Hills, Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates, and John Bradley of Marion. House Republicans are expected to name members to the committee.

Addressing the Word Gap Between Wealthy and Poor Children: The First Steps in Building a Child’s Brain

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Dana Suskind

America’s Wire Writers Group


More than 20 years ago, studies began appearing demonstrating that there is a vast vocabulary difference between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, a study by University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley even determined that at age three there is an incredible 30 million word gap between wealthy and poor children.

Clearly, with a higher percentage of poor children among minority families, initiatives must be directed to help all children, but particularly in communities of color. All parents can adapt measures that reduce the gap and encourage vocabulary development in their children.

Seven years ago, I launched the Thirty Million Initiative to counsel and partner with parents on what they can do to improve learning and development opportunities for their children. My recent book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain, explores the powerful science connecting parent talk to building a child’s brain and encourages parents to help their children reach their full potential.

It’s heartening to see the impact of parents who are adopting some of our recommendations.

Shurand Adams, 27, of Calumet City, Ill., has been working with her’ daughter, Teshyia, who is now five years old and just started kindergarten. From 2010 to 2012, the African American mother participated in a pilot study with other parents. Child development experts visited their homes and explained the science of children’s brain development. They discussed techniques that could be used in helping their children learn, such as the “Three Ts,” which encourage parents to “tune in, talk more and take turns.”

During the study, the children often wore recording devices that tracked every word spoken by the parent to the child, including the exchanges with the children. When the results were tabulated, it showed a marked increase in word counts and conversations. Adams discussed what the guidance has meant for her and Teshyia.

“Before the project, I did not know that a child’s learning process starts at 0-3 years, I always thought it started at five once they start school,” Adams said. “Once the project explained it to me, it dawned on me that yes, it starts earlier because that’s when they take in everything. They are like sponges. When the project started, it gave me a boost of confidence even though I wasn’t so good in school, it gave me a boost of confidence in teaching her…”

Moreover, Adams said she is still putting into action the things that she learned from the project. “If she says, ‘There is an airplane,” I respond by saying, ‘The airplane is in the sky with the clouds, the birds.’ I will bring out more things to say about that airplane…I try to stretch the senses more.”

Previously, Adams said she would read her daughter a book, but not give her a chance to respond to the book. “But that is not giving her a chance to learn and tell me what’s going on in her mind and in the book,” Adams said. “I was just telling her what it said.”

Adams said the most rewarding aspect is the time that she is spending with her daughter. “I am able to see all this growth,” she said. “What motivates me to keep talking to my child? I want her to do better in life. I don’t want her to have hardships. If I start this early, I have a better chance of seeing that goal come true.”

All this proves that one of the most important things we can do as parents is have conversations with our children. Drawing from an array of disciplines, my book explains the importance of starting at birth, even before your sweet, lovable baby can talk. Why? How and how much you talk with your young child literally builds his or her brain. Parent talk can dramatically improve school readiness and lifelong learning in everything from math to art.

Indeed, parent-child talk is a fundamental, critical factor in building grit, self-control, leadership skills, and generosity. It is crucial to making the most in life of the luck you have with your genes. The book describes this new scientific perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Parents can discover how to create the best “language environments” for children by following the simple structure of the Three Ts-Tune In; Talk More; Take Turns.

Our team has worked with hundreds of families and impacted thousands; now TMW’s insights and successful, measured approaches are available to all.

Whether a parent is talking about the smell of a diaper, or the color of a flower, or the shape of a triangle, the Three Ts are designed to provide the foundation, from the first day of life, for the rich early language environment essential for building a child’s brain.

In the scenario designed by TMW, that’s exactly what hap¬pens. Parents learn to be aware of what their child is focused on, then to become part of it, enhancing the relationship, helping to im¬prove the skills being used in play and, through the ensuing verbal interaction, helping develop their child’s brain. The Three Ts encapsulate the strategies that teach parents:

 How talking with your child helps improves math and spatial reasoning, and prepares them for success in school and life.

 How to teach children determination and build morality. Engaging a child’s decision-making skills early in life helps your child develop his or her own sense of right and wrong, good and bad.

 How self-control is built. Communication gives your child a sense of control, allowing him or her to develop a sense of responsibility.

 Why it is important to tune in to your child and how to encourage your child to tune in to you.

 How narration and descriptive language help your child solve problems and build vocabulary.

The more familiar your child becomes with how words are used to give meaning, the more he or she begins to understand how basic communication works, and the more inclined he or she will be to respond. It’s important to engage in conversation with your child and provide open-ended questions-talk with your child, instead of to your child. The brain is closer to a muscle than a sponge: practicing interaction helps strengthen the ability to not only receive information, but formulate responses.

This book reveals how and why the key to nurturing successful lives is talking with children in ways that build their brains. Your family-and our nation-need to know.

Dana Suskind, MD, author of the book, Thirty Million Words: Building A Child’s Brain, (Dutton, September 2015), is Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program, and Founder and Director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative. Based on scientific research that shows the critical importance of early language exposure on the developing child, Thirty Million Words helps parents enhance their home language environment in order to optimize their child’s brain development and, therefore, his or her ability to learn.

America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources.

For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com.

Photo: Dr. Dana Suskind

Residents From Several Wards Unite to Stop Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Say crime will spill into other wards

By Chinta Strausberg


Fearful of crime spilling into their wards if a medical marijuana dispensary sets up shop in the 10th Ward, dozens of residents met late Tuesday night at the Bethany Lutheran Church where they planned legal and social actions against several aldermen they vowed to defeat at the next election.

Residents from the newly elected 7th Ward Aldermen Greg Mitchell, 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza and 8th Ward Ald. Michelle Harris met to discuss filing an injunction against the city of Chicago to block the planned marijuana medical dispensary earmarked for a vacant Laundromat located in the 10th Ward at 8554 So. Commercial.

Johnny Acoff, vice president of the South Shore Garden Government Association, and his members agreed to file an injunction against the city in order to stop the approval process. The members also agreed to go down to Ald. Mitchell’s office on Monday to let him know they did not like his voting against a bill that would have given the city’s inspector general the right to monitor how aldermen spend their $1 million discretionary funding.

A member of the Association, Dalandis Neely, who is a resident of the 7th ward and a retired special agent with the Illinois State Police, said, “One of the most stressing issues affecting us is the marijuana dispensaries that are trying to pop up all throughout our areas and we’re trying to stop them.”

“The one at 8554 So. Commercial is our next target,” Neely said referring to their successful efforts in preventing Mr. Lester Hollis, an African American from opening a dispensary in the 8th Ward headed by Ald. Harris. Hollis is now trying to open one in the 10th Ward and he has the political blessing of Ald. Raza who claims she had consent from the residents.

However, Neely and other Association members said that is not true. “They come into the community and not letting the residents know. They are not having any open meetings and getting the residents feelings about it,” said Neely.

“We’re going to the Zoning Committee and stop it from happening,” Neely said. Criticizing Raza for approving the plan, Neely said, “It was the same with Ald. Harris. These aldermen are working independently of their residents. They are supposed to represent us and that is not fair. We’re going to stop it and we are going to put the aldermen out.

“Ald. Mitchell just got in there and he’s already doing shady door politics which is pretty common in Chicago, but we’re not going to stop it,” said Neely referring to several aldermen who were either appointed or elected after the conviction of Ald. Sandi Jackson.

“We have a revolving door policy in the 7th Ward aldermen. He (Mitchell) should be very aware that if he doesn’t come to the residents, he won’t be there long,” said Neely.

And as far as Raza is concern, Neely said, “We’re going to work with the 10th Ward like we worked with the 8th Ward to make sure that type of business comes into our community. We don’t want it no way near our children. “

When told Ald. Raza told reporters she did get approval from the community, Neely said, “She’s not listening to the residents because we are against it. If she wants, we’ll be against her.”

Also angry at Ald. Raza is Al Sanchez, former Chicago Streets and Sanitation Commissioner under former Mayor Richard M. Daley who was also once key leader of the Hispanic Democratic Organization (HDO). Sanchez, who was convicted for rewarding jobs to HDO members—a hiring system he had said was in place for a long time, is also angry at Raza for approving the dispensary without consulting the residents.

When told that Raza claims she did her homework and had gotten approval from the residents, Sanchez, a known and respected community organizer, said, “Really, then why doesn’t anyone know about it”?

“I just found out about this,” Sanchez said. “This is a tragic thing.” Sanchez said the community needs to be revitalized. “They want to bring a marijuana dispensary. It doesn’t make sense. That’s a down right shame. Why can’t they do something to bring the community back?

“We need jobs…. We lost the steel mill…6,000 jobs. Is that what they are going to replace these jobs with a medical marijuana dispensary? We’re going to stop this. We are not going to let this go down,” vowed Sanchez. Several members said they are being taxed without representation and they’re fighting back.

Agreeing is Fred Carrizales, a member of the Association, who said, “Our concern is that this part of the community has never been informed. No one has reached out to that part of the community to discuss this dispensary. The alderman has not reached out to that part of the community.

“Our concern is that we have children, churches, seniors, disabled individuals. It is very dangerous because you have two gangs fighting with each other. It’s something that is negative for the community,” Carrizales. He said at a meeting held at the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce three-months ago and over 200 people objected to a medical marijuana dispensary in the 10th Ward.

Rev. A.J. Bailey, a resident of the 7th Ward, urged the members to sign up to ride on the bus when they go to the Zoning Board meeting to file their injunction. “Don’t tell me blacks can’t flourish in their own neighborhood.”

Bailey urged the committee to remain united in their fight to stop the medical marijuana dispensary from coming into the 10th Ward. Members fear the resultant crime will spill out into the surrounding wards.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Court Hearing Continues for Mike Siviwe Elliott, Activist Against Police Crimes, Falsely Charged for Filming Cop Assaulting Woman on Metra Train Platform

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 On December 29, 2015 Mike Siviwe Elliott, while riding on the Metra Train, observed a Metra police officer abusing LaTonya Ervin, a young Black woman, and he proceeded to video-record this police crime in progress. As a result of exercising his federally protected constitutional right to publicly record police crimes Mike was arrested and falsely charged with “simple battery” and “reckless conduct”. These are false, unfounded charges made against a veteran human rights activist, trade unionist and community organizer. We have correctly perceived this to be an attack on our growing movement for community control of the police. Shortly after Mike’s arrest the 12th District police station was flooded with hundreds of calls demanding his release.

The Press Conference for Mike Siviwe Elliott, longtime activist for police accountability, will be held Friday, February 26, 2016, 8:45 A.M., at the Cook County Circuit Court, District 1 Court House, 555 W Harrison St. Chicago, 3rd floor Room 303.

All this comes at a time when the City of Chicago is facing its most scandalous moral and political crisis in decades. Those who are responsible for this crisis precipitated by the failed attempt to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald are Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Anita Alvarez, members of the City Council, the Independent Police Authority and the Police Board. These are the same people, the same system, that would deny Mike Siviwe Elliott and our movement the right to videotape and expose police crimes, even while on public property! We see Mike’s arrest and subsequent frame up for what it is. It is an attempt to intimidate our movement, to curb and quash our vigilance in exposing police crimes and our just and rapidly building struggle for an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC).

* We call on all our people in the movement and in our communities to join us in making these demands to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez:

  • We demand that all charges against Mike Siviwe Elliott and LaTonya Ervin (the young woman who was attacked) be dropped immediately and that this harassment and infringement upon our right to monitor and expose police crimes cease immediately.
  • We demand full disclosure of why his cell phone was held for nearly a month and why both Anita Alvarez’s office and the Secret Service were involved in examining his cell phone.
  • We demand an explanation of why the white private security guard who pushed LaTonya Ervin was not also arrested for assaulting her?


  • We demand to know why so many of our tax dollars are being spent on Mike’s misdemeanor case.
A brief press conference will be held outside the District 1 Court House at 555 W Harrison 8:45AM prior to the hearing. Mike Siviwe Elliott will also be available for interviews after the hearing. The hearing will be attended by Mike’s supporters and allies from the movement for police accountability. 
For more information, contact Frank Chapman 312-513-3795 email: fchapman@naarpr.org  or Ted Pearson 312-927-2689 email: tpearson@naarpr.org


Comptroller Munger to Honor African American Leaders for Service to Communities

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller to host Black History Month celebration Wednesday

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Wednesday will honor 23 African American leaders from across Illinois for their dedication, philanthropy, and service to community organizations during a celebration at 12 p.m. on the lower level of the James R. Thompson Center.


Held in partnership with the Chicago Defender newspaper, the Comptroller’s first annual Vanguard Awards ceremony will spotlight individuals who have made a profound impact on African American culture. The awardees have gained success in their professional lives and channeled that success into giving back to their communities.

The ceremony will be emceed by Art “Chat Daddy” Sims, radio host at 1690 AM WVON Chicago. Speakers will also include Comptroller Munger and Clayton Muhammad, Communications Director at the City of Aurora and Founder of Boys II Men organization.

Schedule For Wednesday, February 24, 2016: 

Black History Month Vanguard Awards Ceremony

Time: 12 p.m.

WHERE: Concourse Level, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger

WVON Radio Host Art “Chat Daddy” Sims

Clayton Muhammad, Founder of Boys II Men organization

Vanguard Award recipients

TimeLine Theatre Receives Prestigious MacArthur Award, with $625,000 Grant for Extraordinary Creativity and Effectiveness

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — TimeLine Theatre Company was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The Award recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants.

“Since our founding, TimeLine has sought every day to fulfill our unique mission and to continue the legacy of Chicago theater companies that started small, dreamed big and matured into prominent organizations that enrich the cultural landscape of the city,” Artistic Director PJ Powers said. “To receive this award from the MacArthur Foundation is an extraordinary acknowledgment that we are succeeding in that goal, and provides invaluable financial support as TimeLine embarks upon ambitious plans for our future.”

TimeLine was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. To date over 19 seasons, the company has presented 66 productions, including nine world premieres and 26 Chicago premieres. Plays have explored everything from the AIDS epidemic to the war in Vietnam, to international arms negotiations, recent financial scandals and the Chicago police torture scandal. Creating an intimate, immersive theatre experience is one of the ways the company brings history to life, fostering conversation and inviting audiences to consider what our past experiences can teach us about our present circumstances and future choices.

TimeLine also brings theater and history education to Chicago Public Schools with its Living History Education Program, an arts integration residency that is closely in tune with the company’s mission. The curriculum is designed to teach theatre skills while fostering the capacity to think creatively, make connections, and understand history and the world at large. More than 3,000 students from eight Chicago schools have actively explored theatre and history since the program began in 2006.

TimeLine Theatre will use the majority of the $625,000 that accompanies the Award to establish a restricted, Board of Directors-managed reserve fund to provide additional long-term financial stability and support strategic goals. A portion of the funds will be used in the short-term to upgrade the company’s technology infrastructure.

“This is a significant moment in TimeLine’s history,” Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman said. “As we prepare for our 20th Anniversary season and continue to plan for a new home, this award gives us enormous encouragement and the ability to move forward in a much more secure way.”

“The confidence the MacArthur Foundation has shown in TimeLine Theatre by awarding this generous grant is truly humbling,” TimeLine Board President John M. Sirek said. “Running a mid-size arts organization is challenging. Making it thrive even more so. These funds will help TimeLine continue to build upon its already solid foundation while taking our art and organization to the next level.”

The Award has been presented annually since 2006 to organizations across the country and around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. This year’s 14 recipients are drawn exclusively from Chicago’s diverse arts and culture community in order to strengthen the city’s vibrant cultural life and underscore the Foundation’s commitment to its hometown. Each year, MacArthur supports more than 300 arts and culture group in Chicago, awarding more than $10 million in grants, mostly through general operating support.

“These superbly imaginative organizations exemplify Chicago’s thriving arts and culture community, which is vibrant and economically vital to the region,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Support for these diverse and leading organizations reflects our enduring commitment to Chicago and to its cultural life that enriches us all.”

According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. For these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.
Additional information about this year’s MacArthur Awards is at macfound.org/MacAward.


About TimeLine Theatre Company

TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®, 2011), Best Theatre in Chicago (Chicago magazine, 2011) and the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010), was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. To date over 19 seasons, TimeLine has presented 66 productions, including nine world premieres and 26 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its ninth year of bringing the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 52 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.
TimeLine Theatre’s 2015-16 season includes:
• Now playing through April 10, 2016: Chicago premiere of SUNSET BABY by Dominique Morisseau, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. SUNSET BABY is “the first great production of 2016” (Newcity) and “one of the more breathtaking performances you will see all season.” (Chicago Sun-Times).
• COMING SOON: Chicago premiere of the widely acclaimed 2014 Laurence Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, CHIMERICA by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, presented May 3 – July 31, 2016 at TimeLine Theatre.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President John M. Sirek. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Behzad Dabu, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.


Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and The Shubert Foundation. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.


TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.


TimeLine Theatre Company | 773.281.8463 | timelinetheatre.com

Racial Disparity in Florida’s Seatbelt Citations

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Race & Justice News
From: The Sentencing Project
Black motorists in Florida are stopped and ticketed for seatbelt violations nearly twice as often as their white counterparts statewide, and up to four times as often in certain counties, according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union. The study, featured in The Guardian, is based on the most recent seatbelt citation data produced since the 2005 Florida Safety Belt Law was enacted. The ACLU explains that while black motorists tend to wear seatbelts slightly less often than whites, this difference does not explain the substantial racial disparity in seatbelt ticketing. Black motorists’ higher rate of stops and tickets expose them to a disproportionate financial burden and risk of experiencing police use of force.
In response to these findings, the ACLU is asking for an investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights. The organization is also calling for the promotion of fair and bias-free policing and for legislation that would penalize agencies that fail to collect and report data.

San Francisco Police Department Implements Reforms to Root out Intolerance

The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a “comprehensive review” of the San Francisco Police Department in the wake of the recent high-profile police shooting of Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man. The review also comes shortly after the emergence of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged among several city police officers. Both San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr requested the review, which will focus on use-of-force practices and racial disparities in how officers treat suspects and community members.
Chief Suhr has already begun implementing changes to the department, including a “Not on My Watch” campaign to encourage police officers to report colleagues displaying racist and homophobic behaviors. He also recently instructed the department to put more of an emphasis on de-escalation during firearms training, and is requiring officers to file a use-of-force report whenever they point their gun at a person.

Juvenile Justice

Racial Diversity and Students’ Perceptions of Injustice

In Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, Carla Shedd examines the impact of police and physical surveillance on the school experience from the perspective of students themselves. Shedd, assistant professor of sociology at Columbia University, used quantitative and qualitative research to study four Chicago-area public high schools between 2001 and 2010. One of her more surprising findings is that students in schools with the least amount of diversity – where nearly all students are youth of color – were not as aware of the injustices around them as students in more diverse schools. She notes that, unlike some conclusions that community composition is the critical predictor, “the racial composition of a school’s student body overwhelmingly shapes students perceptions and experiences.”
Unequal City describes the schools’ systems of physical and personal surveillance in vivid detail, noting the differences across the four schools. Overall, Shedd concludes that heavy police and surveillance presence creates a feeling that the school space is “out of control,” a setup that is hardly conducive to learning, but instead acquaints youth early on with images and experiences similar to prison.

Collateral Consequences

Big Lots and Marshalls Agree to Ban the Box in New York

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced settlements with two major national retailers, Big Lot Stores and Marshalls, who had been violating Buffalo’s “ban the box” law. Buffalo’s law prohibits companies from asking job applicants about their criminal history on their initial employment applications. The companies will pay a combined $195,000 in penalties and agreed to “ban the box” in their nearly 140 stores statewide. In addition, Marshalls agreed to actively recruit applicants with criminal histories through an organization that specializes in job training for formerly incarcerated individuals.
“The impact of conviction-based discrimination is not evenly felt across all communities. Black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men, and Hispanic men are 2.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white men,” wrote Schneiderman. These recent settlements “put all employers on notice that they cannot slam the door on job seekers just because of their past conduct. Everyone deserves a fair shot and a second chance.”

Death Penalty

Florida’s Capital Sentencing Influenced by Race, Gender, and Geography

The great inequities within Florida’s administration of the death penalty call into question the fairness of the state’s use of capital punishment, according to a new report by University of North Carolina political science professor Frank Baumgartner. The study, featured in Florida Politics, examined all 89 executions from 1976 to 2014. During this period, nearly three quarters of all executions were for crimes involving white victims, considerably higher than the 56% white proportion of homicide victims. Female victims were similarly over-represented in cases that led to executions. And while most executions of black individuals were for homicides involving white victims, no white Floridian has ever been executed for a killing a black victim.
Baumgartner also found that just six out of Florida’s 67 counties were responsible for more than half of the state’s executions, while 36 counties have never carried out an execution. The Supreme Court recently found Florida’s use of the death penalty to be unconstitutional because it permitted judges, rather than juries, to find the facts necessary to sentence a defendant to death. Now that Florida must restructure its capital punishment procedures, its allowance of a non-unanimous jury to sentence a defendant to death is also under scrutiny.


Addressing Implicit Racial Bias During Jury Selection

In “A New Approach to Voir Dire on Racial Bias,” published in UC Irvine Law Review, Cynthia Lee argues that attorneys can strive for an impartial jury by calling attention to implicit bias through open-ended questions during jury selection. Lee, professor at George Washington University Law School, challenges the widely accepted view that jurors would be offended by a question about racial bias and would thus be unlikely to admit to a bias even if it existed. While close-ended questions promote simple yes or no answers that are more often politically correct than honest, Lee argues that open-ended questions – such as asking for reactions to the concept of implicit bias – allow jurors the opportunity to think, reflect, and realize if they would be able to overcome their implicit biases.
Lee’s argument is based on social scientific research demonstrating a reduction of bias in white jurors if attention is called to racial bias. She emphasizes that jurors should be sensitized to racial bias, not just simply to race or to the racial differences in the prison population.

Recent Comments

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

Recent Posts