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Archive for March 7th, 2016

#OscarsSoWhite Becoming More Than a P.R. Headache for Hollywood

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on #OscarsSoWhite Becoming More Than a P.R. Headache for Hollywood
By Marc H. Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League

I didn’t watch the Oscars on television this year. Apparently, a lot of people didn’t.

As the nation’s scrutiny focuses ever more sharply on racial exclusion in Hollywood, Sunday’s television broadcast of the Academy Awards suffered its lowest rating in eight years. The Academy needs to take this drop very seriously.

#OscarsSoWhite is quickly becoming more than just a public relations headache for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which rakes in a reported $70 million a year from the domestic and international television rights to the ceremony. Without eyeballs to sell to advertisers, the networks won’t be so quick to pony up such huge sums in the future. The loss of revenue represents a dire threat to the Academy’s very existence, much less its annual awards ceremony.

As we have repeatedly warned over the last two years, unless the Academy takes affirmative steps to address racial exclusion not only in its awards nominations, but in the motion picture industry as a whole, the Academy Awards will become irrelevant. So far, we haven’t seen a much effort. In a letter to Academy leaders earlier this year, we offered to help develop a comprehensive diversity plan but so far, they have not responded.

This year’s boycott of the Oscars broadcast was more than a symbolic gesture. African-Americans represent a disproportionately high share of box-office revenue, spending more than $1.1 billion a year on movie tickets. If Hollywood wants people of color to tune in – to its movies or to its awards broadcast – then Hollywood must tune in to the legitimate concerns of its consumers.

County Board President Preckwinkle Sets ‘Holdback’; Expected to Save Millions

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on County Board President Preckwinkle Sets ‘Holdback’; Expected to Save Millions

Concerned about the harmful impact of a continued state budget stalemate, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is taking proactive steps and requesting that all Cook County offices and agencies implement cost-savings.

“The continued lack of a state budget is jeopardizing crucial services to Cook County residents,” President Preckwinkle said. “Important programs are in peril because we do not have a state budget. We are initiating further cost savings this fiscal year, on top of the $112 million in cuts and positions we eliminated during our budget process, to ensure funds to continue providing critical programs that help Cook County residents.”

With the state’s budget impasse impacting County finances and no clear resolution in sight, President Preckwinkle instructed her budget office to begin a thorough search for additional ways to reduce costs shortly after passing the County budget in November. As part of this savings directive, the County is planning to institute a 0.5 percent holdback on personnel. An additional 3 percent in the holdback for non-personnel accounts will also be implemented.

The holdback falls under the statutory discretion of the County’s budget director and serves as a savings mechanism by retaining, or holding back, dollars allocated to County departments in the budget. Applied to County bureaus, departments and independently elected offices, the holdbacks will be effective March 15 and extend until the end of the County’s fiscal year on November 30.

The state remains in arrears for FY 15 grant payments to the County, and Preckwinkle noted the state also now owes more than $100 million to the Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS) for payments associated with the County’s managed care network, CountyCare.

“My concern is for the people in Cook County who are being dramatically and unfairly harmed as this budget impasse continues,” Preckwinkle said. “I am again calling on our state’s leaders to pass a budget so we can ensure these and other important services and programs can continue operating.”

Former Jail Administrator from Stone County, Arkansas, Pleads Guilty to Instructing Inmates to Assault Another Prisoner

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Former Jail Administrator from Stone County, Arkansas, Pleads Guilty to Instructing Inmates to Assault Another Prisoner

The Justice Department announced that Randel Branscum, 56, a former chief deputy and jail administrator with the Stone County Sheriff’s Office in Mountain View, Arkansas, pleaded guilty late yesterday to violating the civil rights of a prisoner when he instructed two other inmates to beat that prisoner and then arranged for the beating to occur.  One of those inmates, Matthew McConniel, also pleaded guilty late yesterday to the same charge as Branscum, while the other inmate, James Beckham, pleaded guilty to the same civil rights offense on Feb. 26, 2016.

During his guilty plea before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller of the Eastern District of Arkansas, Branscum admitted that while acting under his authority as jail administrator, he approached the inmates in their cell and asked them to “handle” the victim.  Branscum then forced the victim into the cell and allowed the victim to be beaten by Beckham and McConniel as instructed.  During the assault, the victim was repeatedly struck and his head was punched into a windowsill causing a laceration and other injuries.  Branscum admitted that after the beating, he gave Beckham and McConniel tobacco.

Branscum is expected to receive a sentence of 12 months and a day in federal prison.  He will be sentenced at a later date.

“Branscum abused his authority as a law enforcement officer by facilitating the assault of an individual in custody,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously pursue and hold accountable members of law enforcement who violate their oath and the civil rights of others.”

“Branscum’s actions undermine the credibility of all law enforcement officers, and he must be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Thyer of the Eastern District of Arkansas.  “We will not tolerate the violation of anyone’s rights, and law enforcement officers who break the law and violate their oath to protect the public will continue to face the consequences of their actions.”

This case was investigated by the FBI, and was prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan, and Trial Attorneys Gabriel Davis and Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters of the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Source: FBI

Growing Number of Illinois Graduates Excel on AP Exams

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Growing Number of Illinois Graduates Excel on AP Exams


Illinois’ Class of 2015 exceeds the national average of students scoring a 3 or higher on college-level tests


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois ranks 11th in the nation for the percentage of 2015 graduates – 25 percent – who scored at least a 3 on the rigorous College Board Advanced Placement exams during their high school career. The national average is 22.4 percent, according to the latest AP Cohort Data Report.

“Illinois continues to move up the ladder of state performance as record numbers of high school students are taking these challenging, college-level exams,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D.  “AP exams have a proven track record of giving students a valuable head start in their college coursework and can save time and money toward earning their degree.” 

AP exams measure a student’s content mastery of college-level studies in specific academic disciplines. A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam demonstrates that a student is capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject in college. Last year, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Public Act 99-0358, which requires all public universities and public community colleges in Illinois to award college credit to students who submit scores of 3 or higher on AP exams starting in the 2016-17 school year.

Illinois also continues to report record numbers of graduates taking AP exams, with a total of 48,627 graduates (nearly 38 percent) taking at least one AP exam, more than double the amount of graduates who took the exam in 2005. The percentage of Illinois graduates who scored a 3 or higher grew by 11.7 percentage points from 13.3 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2015. Illinois is fourth in the nation for the largest percentage point increase over the last decade.

Additionally, 15 Illinois school districts have been named to the AP Honor Roll, which recognizes districts that increase access to AP coursework while also increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams. These districts are:

·         Aurora West School District 129*

·         Barrington Community Unit School District 220*

·         Carterville Community Unit School District 5*

·         Chicago Public Schools*

·         Community High School District 155*

·         Dunlap Community Unit School District 323*

·         Huntley Consolidated School District 158*

·         J. Sterling Morton High School District 201

·         Kaneland Community Unit School District 302*

·         Lyons Township High School District 204

·         McLean County Unit District No. 5*

·         Proviso Township High School District 209

·         Sycamore Community Unit School District 427*

·         Wauconda Community School District 118*

·         Woodstock Community Unit School District 200*

*District has achieved the honor for multiple years.

President Obama on the Economy

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on President Obama on the Economy

Remarks by President Obama on the economy

Oval Office

President Barack Obama:  Well, I thought it might be useful to take a small break from the spectacle of the political season — and now, I gather, O.J. — to focus on something that really matters to the American people, and that is how is the economy doing and how is it affecting their lives.

This morning, we learned that the U.S. economy had created 242,000 jobs last month.  That’s two months in a row at the unemployment rate of below 5 percent.  And over the past three months, our workforce has grown by 1.5 million people.  That is progress.

Overall, America’s business has now created new jobs for 72 straight months, six straight years of job creation — 14.3 million new jobs.  In fact, our businesses have created jobs every single month since I signed that job-killing Obamacare bill.  (Laughter.)

Think about this — if somebody had told us seven years ago that we’d get to this point at a time when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate hit 10 percent, we wouldn’t have believed them.  But today, America’s businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s.  America’s workforce is growing at the fastest pace since the year 2000.  It is showing the kind of strength and durability that makes America’s economy right now the envy of the world despite the enormous headwinds that it’s receiving because of weaknesses in other parts of the world.

In other words, the numbers, the facts don’t lie.  And I think it’s useful, given that there seems to be an alternative reality out there from some of the political folks that America is down in the dumps.  It’s not.  America is pretty darn great right now, and making strides right now.  And small businesses and large businesses alike are hiring right now, and investing right now, and building this country brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, all across the country.

And I don’t expect that these facts and this evidence will convince some of the politicians out there to change their doomsday rhetoric, talking about how terrible America is.  But the American people should be proud of what they have achieved, because this speaks to their resilience, innovation, creativity, risk-taking, and grit.

The fact of the matter is, is that the plans that we have put in place to grow the economy have worked.  They would work even faster if we did not have the kind of obstruction that we’ve seen in this town to prevent additional policies that would make a difference.  And there is going to be a debate going on around the budget in the coming months.  Republicans in Congress are, sadly, trying to cut some of the investments that could spur additional growth.  They are blocking things like an increase in the minimum wage, or more robust investment in jobs training, infrastructure, education that can continue to lift up wages and incomes — an area, by the way, where we are not seeing the same kinds of pace that we want to see, and where, if we’re working together, we could be making a difference.

That’s what we should be debating.  That’s the debate that is worthy of the American people.  Not fantasy.  Not name-calling.  Not trying to talk down the American economy, but looking at the facts, understanding that we’ve made extraordinary progress in job growth; how can we continue to advance that, how can we make sure that people are successful in climbing the ladder of wage and income growth over the coming years; how do we make sure that we make this economy grow even faster.

And the kinds of proposals that we’ve put forward repeatedly in terms of rebuilding our infrastructure, improving our job-training system, lifting the minimum wage, dealing with things like family leave and paid leave, making sure that retirement accounts are more helpful to middle-class families and working families, making college more affordable — those are all the things that are really going to make an enormous difference.  We’ve got to continue to push that agenda.  That’s what we should be talking about.  And that’s what I’m going to be talking about with my economic team here in the coming months.

The notion that we would reverse the very policies that helped dig us out of a recession, reinstitute those that got us into a hole — plans that are being currently proposed by Republicans in Congress and by some of the candidates for President — that’s not the conversation we should be having.  That’s not the direction America should take.  And I’m looking forward to very forcefully making clear that what we have done has made a difference, and that there’s a huge gap between the rhetoric that’s going on out there and the reality of success that we’re seeing in America’s economy, even as we acknowledge that there’s more work that can be done to make sure that everybody is benefitting from that success.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Have a good weekend.

Kirk Shares Story of Deceased Illinois Veteran Failed by Crisis Hotline, Demands Accountability from VA at Hearing

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Kirk Shares Story of Deceased Illinois Veteran Failed by Crisis Hotline, Demands Accountability from VA at Hearing

30-Year-Old Des Plaines Veteran Took His Own Life in July After He Couldn’t Reach 24/7 VA Suicide Hotline

Kirk Asks VA’s Top Health Official Why Dr. Ira Katz, Who Covered Up Vets Suicide Rate in 2008, Still Works at VA

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) chaired a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and shared the story of an Illinois veteran who took his own life after he was unable to reach the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), demanded accountability from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the reported failures of the VA’s crisis hotline, and asked why a mental health official who was caught covering up the rising veteran suicide rate in 2008 was later put in charge of overseeing the hotline and still works at the VA.

“We need to talk about the VA’s culture of corruption, about results, and about performance,” Senator Kirk said in his opening statement. “We need to talk about accountability, and putting veterans first, not bureaucrats.”

Senator Kirk told the story of Army SPC Tom Young, an Iraq War veteran from Des Plaines, Ill., who called the hotline but was unable to have his call answered by a hotline operator. Afterward, on July 23, the 30-year-old father of Vivienne and Maggie lay down on Metra tracks near Prospect Heights and was struck and killed by a train. The next morning, his family answered a call from the VCL  returning Tom’s call. Senator Kirk earlier this week met with members of Tom’s family in Illinois.

“Just last week, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said that the report was based on old data and that the VA had taken steps months ago,” Senator Kirk said. “If the changes occurred months ago, how could Tom Young have been sent to voicemail just seven months ago?”

On February 11, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report that outlined numerous failures of the VCL, including calls that were sent to voicemail or went unanswered and inadequate training of staff.

Since the problems were first discovered in 2013, there have been three different directors at the VA’s Office of Mental Health Operations, which until recently oversaw the VCL. Last week, Deputy Secretary Gibson announced the VA was shifting oversight of the VCL from Mental Health Operations to Matthew Eitutis, the VA’s Acting Director of Member Services, saying he “wasn’t pleased with the pace of the work. It had to be done quicker.”

Senator Kirk asked VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin why Dr. Ira Katz, a VA mental health official, was put in charge of overseeing the VCL as Acting Director of Mental Health Operations in 2014. In April 2008, Senators Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called for the resignation of Dr. Katz after CBS News reported he sought to cover up the rising rate of suicide among veterans. Dr. Shulkin confirmed Dr. Katz remains employed by the VA.

VA Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Danny Pummill also testified at the hearing on the FY17 budget requests for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).


  • July 2007: Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) created.
  • November 2007: CBS News reports an epidemic of veteran suicides, with more than 6,500 veteran suicides in 2005, far higher than the VA claims.
  • December 2007: In internal email, Dr. Ira Katz, VA’s top mental health official, confirms CBS News report, saying evidence shows 18 veterans commit suicide each day.
  • February 2008: In internal email, Katz discusses hiding the fact that 1,000 veterans who receive VA care attempt suicide each month.
  • May 2010: OIG report on widespread problems with VA call centers finds 24 percent of callers to VBA call centers in FY 2009 either received a busy signal or hung up while on hold
  • 2011: Dr. Mary Schohn becomes Director of Mental Health Operations, overseeing the VCL.
  • June 2013: Denver veteran calls VCL but is repeatedly transferred and put on hold and never receives a return call.
  • October 2013: Review period of VA OIG investigation into VCL begins.
  • March 2014: Suburban Chicago veteran Dedra Hughes calls VCL and hangs up after several minutes on hold.
  • May 2014: VA OIG receives complaint alleging calls to VCL were sent to voicemail or went unanswered.
  • 2014: Dr. Ira Katz becomes Acting Director of Mental Health Operations.
  • September 2014: Texas veteran William Fuzi posts a video online showing him on hold with the VCL for 36 minutes after calling during an anxiety attack.
  • December 2014: VA OIG report on problems with the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans finds 27 percent of homeless and at-risk veterans who called the hotline were sent to voicemail, and many of those who did reach someone at the call center never received the services they needed.
  • December 2014: Review period of VA OIG investigation into VCL ends.
  • January 2015: VCL Program Manager resigns and is replaced by an Acting Program Manager.
  • February 2015: VA OIG receives allegations from U.S. Office of Special Counsel that VCL staffers and backup center staffers did not receive proper training.
  • February 2015: VA OIG launches investigation into Veterans Crisis Line failures.
  • February 2015: VCL Acting Program Manager Julianne Mullane says the backup system is not broken and extra calls are being sent to trained staffers.
  • 2015: Dr. David Carroll becomes Executive Director of the Office of Mental Health Operations.
  • July 2015: Army Veteran Tom Young of Illinois commits suicide after calling Veterans Crisis Line but being unable to reach an operator. His family says they answered a return call from the VCL returning his call the following morning.
  • February 2016: VA OIG releases report on Veterans Crisis Line failures, finding some calls directed to backup call centers were sent to voicemail or went unanswered, and VCL staff and backup center staff did not receive adequate training.
  • February 2016: VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson says OIG report is based on old data and the VA took steps to fix problems with the VCL months ago.
  • February 2016: VA Deputy Secretary Gibson announces shift of oversight of the Veterans Crisis Line to VA’s Member Services, saying, “I wasn’t pleased with the pace of the work. It had to be done quicker.” Acting Director for Member Services Matt Eitutis will oversee the VCL.

Sanders at Southern Illinois University Calls for Tuition-Free Public Colleges and Universities

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Sanders at Southern Illinois University Calls for Tuition-Free Public Colleges and Universities
EDWARDSVILLE, IL – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday focused on college affordability as he appealed to St. Louis-area voters on both sides of the Mississippi River in Illinois and Missouri.

Both states will hold primary elections on March 15 to vote on their choice for the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Nearly 5,200 people surrounded Sanders in the jam-packed Sam M. Vadalabene Center at Southern Illinois University. Before the rally, the senator went outdoors to address another 2,000 supporters who were still waiting in a mile-long line when the doors were closed.

Sanders’ stop at the public university in downstate Illinois came as state lawmakers remained gridlocked with the Republican governor over a higher education budget crisis. In his remarks to the mostly-student audience at SIU, Sanders focused on his proposal for tuition-free public colleges and universities.

In the U.S. Senate, Sanders is the chief sponsor of legislation to make 4-year public colleges and universities tuition-free. Under his bill, $70 billion a year in assistance – two-thirds from the federal government and one-third from states – would replace what public colleges and universities now charge in tuition and fees.

The federal share of the cost would be offset by imposing a tax on Wall Street transactions by investment houses, hedge funds and other speculators. Read more here. Sanders said the tax on speculation also would help reverse a decades-long trend in the United States where the middle class has shrunk and the wealth and income gap has grown.

“In the past 30 years in this country there has been a massive redistribution of wealth,” Sanders told the university audience. “The middle class has shrunk. Trillions of dollars have left the middle class and gone to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.”

KC Man Pleads Guilty to Throwing Molotov Cocktails at Congressional Office

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on KC Man Pleads Guilty to Throwing Molotov Cocktails at Congressional Office

Self-proclaimed anarchist faces 10 years in prison


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to throwing Molotov cocktails at the local congressional office of U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II.


Eric G. King, 29, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge of using explosive materials to commit arson, contained in an Oct. 7, 2014, federal indictment.


On Sept. 11, 2014, at 2:52 a.m., a window was broken and two Molotov cocktails were thrown at Cleaver’s congressional office located at 101 W. 31st Street, Kansas City, Mo. The office was unoccupied at the time of the incident. A hammer used to break the window was recovered from the scene, as well as two broken Molotov cocktails. There was no fire damage to the building.


Video footage shows King, wearing a large backpack, walking to the congressional office. King retrieved two Molotov cocktails from his backpack, then walked around the parking lot for a few minutes in an apparent effort to hide from cars that were passing by. The video footage shows King throwing a hammer through the west window then lighting the two Molotov cocktails. The first Molotov cocktail bounced off the side of the building. King threw the second Molotov cocktail through the window then sprinted away from the office.


Detectives with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department were investigating King in connection with a series of anti-government related incidents of vandalism in the immediate vicinity of the congressional office. The incidents occurred over the Labor Day weekend in 2014 and involved the spray painting of anti-government/anarchy graffiti. One of the incidents was at a Bank of America, from which investigators obtained video surveillance footage that showed King spray painting the bank.


Investigators reviewed social media and Facebook posts by King and noted one post from Sept. 3, 2014, that read, “KC Fight Back celebrated its first labor day with a lovely variety of action, action and more action against a series of government and Financial properties.” Other posts included King posting “KC Fight Back Insurrectionist Collective is alive,” and “these cops aren’t going to kill themselves, get to the streets.” On Aug. 10, 2014, King posted “I want to leave kc better than I found or an ashes.” A social media post by King on the day before the congressional office was attacked read, “KC Fight Back has been in serious in its Insurrection activity, and that is the thing that is giving me the most pride in my life.”


King was arrested as he was leaving his apartment on Sept. 16, 2014. When officers opened the backpack King was carrying at the time, they found a can of red spray paint, Kingsford Charcoal Lighter fluid, and a clear plastic soda bottle (containing a clear liquid) with a tube sock placed over it.


Officers searched King’s apartment and found a hand-written letter entitled “Operation House Committee.” The letter, in part, was a list that contained the following: “(1) Paint thinner/alcohol, (2) face cover/hand cover/all tattoos covered, (3) Three bottles glass, (4) paper towels, old rags/lighter, (5) drive/driver, must be someone trust with.” The letter then mentioned the steps to light the devices, then said to “use hammer/sledgehammer to break door,” “light bottles, throw them, light curtains,” and repeat these steps on “government buildings, all things police, certain law firms, corporations…” The first part of the backside of the letter read, “The arsons committed on Sept 11, 2014 were committed solely by the KC FIGHT BACK Insurrectionist Collective.”


The Molotov cocktails recovered from the congressional office were analyzed by the ATF crime lab in order to identify any DNA that might be present and a profile was developed from one of the bottles and one of the wicks. A sample of King’s DNA was obtained via a search warrant; King’s DNA matched the DNA found on both the wick and bottle.


Under federal statutes King is subject to a sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Edwards. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Protective Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Goodman Theatre’s Education and Engagement Artists Present “Create To Change: Artistic Practice As pedagogy” at South by Southwest® Education Conference in Austin, TX, March 7-10

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Goodman Theatre’s Education and Engagement Artists Present “Create To Change: Artistic Practice As pedagogy” at South by Southwest® Education Conference in Austin, TX, March 7-10

Closer to home, The Goodman’s “Louder Than A Bomb” team – the only LTAB Team from a professional theater – advances to quarterfinals of the world’s largest youth poetry festival


CHICAGO, IL –  Artists/educators/activists Willa J. Taylor and Bobby Biedrzycki of Goodman Theatre’s Education and Engagement team have been invited to present an interactive workshop at South by Southwest Education® (SXSWedu®)  an internationally renowned convergence of creative artists and educators, in Austin, Texas, next week. The workshop, “Create to Change: Artistic Practice as Pedagogy,” explores how artistic praxis (the what, how and why of what artists do) can be used by teachers to differentiate instruction and activate student engagement—a model used in the Goodman’s award-winning teacher training series, the Student Subscription Series. The Goodman is the only theater to present an interactive workshop at the conference, which more than 300 educators are scheduled to attend. The SXSWedu® Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education. The four-day event affords registrants open access to sessions, interactive workshops, hands on learning experiences, film screenings, early stage start-ups and a host of networking opportunities. By providing a platform for collaboration, SXSWedu® works to promote creativity and social change.

In addition, the Goodman’s Louder Than A Bomb team, “Team Good Eddy”—will participate in the quarterfinals on March 5.  Coached by Biedrzycki and team captain Kristyn Zoe Wilkerson, herself a former Goodman LTAB participant, the 10-member team is led by Tina Calhoun, a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Goodman Youth Art Council member. Team Good Eddy competed against more than 120 Chicagoland teams in the February 25 preliminary round and was one of 32 teams to advance to the next round. This marks the second year that the Goodman has participated in the annual youth poetry festival; tickets ($3-6) are now available for purchase at YoungChicagoAuthors.org. Hosted annually by Young Chicago Authors during February and March, LTAB attracts more than 1,000 participants from 120 schools and community organizations. Of the 4,000 young Chicagoans served through the various year-round Young Chicago Authors programs in writing, publication and performance education, approximately 68% are African American and 18% are Hispanic/Latino. More than 10,000 audience members and participants attend the month long festival programming across Chicagoland, now in its 16th year.


For three decades, Goodman Theatre has endeavored to bring the transformative power of theater to individuals through a host of Education and Engagement programs, which promote literacy and learning, inspire self-confidence and empowerment, and effect change in the Chicago community. Walter Director of Education and Engagement Willa J. Taylor and her team of associates—Bobby Biedrzycki (Curriculum and Instruction Associate), Elizabeth Rice (Education Programs Associate) and Brandi Lee (Education and Community Engagement Assistant)—oversee the nationally-renowned, arts-centered programs for Chicago teachers, students and lifelong learners. The Goodman believes that theater is more than a play or a place: it is an inspiring, expansive lens on the world that can profoundly engage communities and expand minds. Visit goodmantheatre.org/education for more information.


Willa J. Taylor began her career in arts education at Arena Stage where, under Founding Director Zelda Fichandler, she established the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program—one of the first theater-run apprenticeships designed to increase participation by people of color in professional theater. She then went to Lincoln Center Theater, where she created The Urban Ensemble, a multidisciplinary project that served at-risk youth. This collaboration between Lincoln Center and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and The Public Theater was cited by President Clinton’s Council on the Arts and Humanities in its 1996 report, Coming Up Taller. At Lincoln Center, she consulted for New Victory Theatre, where she designed the arts education program for their inaugural season. Taylor also served as cultural director for Gay Games IV, where she oversaw the production of more than 200 cultural events, including the Broadway production of Sir Ian McKellen’s A Knight Out. For 12 years she served as a Russian and Arabic linguist in the US Navy. While overseas, she oversaw productions for the United Service Organization in Greece and managed Armed Forces Radio and Television in Turkey where she created the Profiles in Black history series. Following her graduation from Kendall College’s culinary program in 2001, Taylor opened Taylor-Made Cuisine, a gourmet catering company as well as Home Café, a neighborhood bistro. In 2005, she helped open and served as the catering chef for Chicago’s EatZi’s Easygoing Gourmet, a chain of gourmet bakeries, take out markets and restaurants based out of Dallas, Texas.

In addition to his work at the Goodman, Bobby Biedrzycki is a company member of 2nd Story and faculty Columbia College Chicago, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Excellence-in-Teaching Award. As a writer, performer, educator and human rights activist, Biedrzycki’s stories, poems, and performances have appeared on pages, stages and public spaces across the U.S. and beyond. His work is rooted in cross-disciplinary art-making that focuses on creating social change.


Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Supporter of Education and Community Engagement. Polk Bros. Foundation is the Principal Foundation Supporter of the Student Subscription Series. The Crown Family is the Major Supporter of the Student Subscription Series. Target is the Major Corporate Sponsor for the Target Student Matinees. The Efroymson-Hamid Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund are the Education and Community Engagement Season Sponsors. GCM Grosvenor, Northridge Group and Peoples Gas are Supporters of Education and Community Engagement. Edmond and Alice Opler Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Goodman Theatre Scenemakers Board are Supporters of the PlayBuild Youth Intensive. The Siragusa Foundation is the Supporter of Training for Teaching Artists. Dr. Scholl Foundation is the Supporter of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program.


About Goodman Theatre


Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925 by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth (an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s), Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre” in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls’ nationally and internationally celebrated productions of Death of a Salesman, Long’s Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Each year the Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs—including the innovative Student Subscription Series, now in its 30th year—serve thousands of students, teachers, life-long learners and special constituencies. In addition, for nearly four decades the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago.

Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.


Obama-Nominated Top Black Female Government Administrator to Speak at DC Women’s History Month Luncheon Event

Posted by Admin On March - 7 - 2016 Comments Off on Obama-Nominated Top Black Female Government Administrator to Speak at DC Women’s History Month Luncheon Event

Denise Turner Roth

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — On Thursday, March 24th, Sterling Women of Washington DC will host a special Womens History Month Luncheon featuring guest speaker Denise Turner Roth, Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA). In May 2015, Denise Turner Roth was nominated by President Obama to head GSA, the agency that serves as the governments supplier of goods, services and property to all federal agencies. She was sworn in and assumed office on August 5, 2015 and is the 21st Senate-confirmed Administrator of GSA.

When asked how GSA was changing during an interview on Leadership with Tom Fox for The Washington Post , Denise responded, “Our agency has made great strides over the last few years and there are still a number of opportunities to improve even more. This year, we will continue to build on our success and continue to explore paths that pushes our government forward, further providing the support and services our federal partners need in the 21st century.”

How to Attend

The luncheon will take place at The Hamilton Live located at 600 14th Street, NW starting at 11:00am and wrapping up at 1:30 pm and includes a plated lunch and plenty of time for networking. Early Bird Tickets are $59 (available until March 6th) and regular ticket cost is $75. Purchase tickets and get information on vendor opportunities online at http://bit.ly/SWOWDC_WomenInHistoryLuncheon

The Agenda
11am – Meet, Greet & Network
11:50am – Opening Remarks & Plated Lunch Service
12:20pm – Keynote Speech from Speaker
12:50pm – Closing Remarks & Door Prizes!
1 to 1:30pm – More Networking

About Sterling Women of Washington, DC
Sterling Women of Washington DC was launched in November of 2014 and is a dynamic monthly networking luncheon that offers corporate business women and men a space to make meaningful connections, collaborate and celebrate each others successes. Carolyn E. Howell, Founder, President and Owner of Fun Company Events, LLC is the Director and Host of Sterling Women of Washington DC. As the name suggests, the featured speaker each month is a successful business woman of sterling quality. Both men and women are invited to attend. Get more information on our website at www.sterlingwomenofdc.com

Photo: Denise Turner Roth, Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA)

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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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