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Bob Fioretti's Reply to Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address Gov. Rauner’s State of the ...
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     (From the Better Business Bureau)     CHICAGO, IL -  Many Americans are looking forward to the expected ...
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Archive for March 23rd, 2016

President Obama’s Remarks on the Attacks in Brussels

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

34 people were killed in yesterday’s attacks, including three suicide bombers, and 270 injured. A massive manhunt is under way for a suspect in the deadly blasts.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch: “…An Appalling Assault on the People of Belgium…”

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement regarding the attacks in Brussels this morning:

“I stand with President Obama and the American people in condemning this morning’s horrific attacks in Brussels.  This was an appalling assault on the people of Belgium, on the European Union and on every nation that stands for peace and the rule of law.  The Department of Justice is in contact with our counterparts in Belgium and we have offered any and all assistance that we can bring to bear.  In the days ahead, we will continue to work with law enforcement abroad in order to help ensure those responsible are brought to justice.  And as we go forward, our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences will be with the victims and their loved ones.

“If the intent of this attack’s perpetrators was to sow conflict and discord – to stoke mistrust and spread fear – they have failed.  Today and every day, the people of the United States are joined with our friends in Belgium and around the world in love, compassion and resolve.  The words on Belgium’s coat of arms speak for us all: L’Union Fait La Force.  Unity Makes Strength.”

 

Dr. Boyce Watkins Leads “Black History Resurrection Black Wall Street: The Blueprint” Screen Discussion

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Resurrecting Black Wall Street Film Screening By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Dr. Boyce Watkins, one of the most sought after African-American entrepreneurial scholars in the world, leads a powerful panel discussion, delivering one of the most impactful, yet hidden stories in all of Black History, Resurrecting Black Wall Street: The Blueprint.

The discussion focuses on the film, Resurrecting Black Wall Street: The Blueprint that explores the foundations of the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma and the atrocity committed against black American citizens.

Scheduled to take place 6:00 PM, Saturday, March 26, 2016, at Harold Washington Cultural Center, (located at 4701 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, IL 60653), the red carpet premiere and discussion promises attendees a first look at a film that is being talked about worldwide.

Additionally, they will get the opportunity to hear a lecture from leading scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins, a panel discussion from members of the cast and also do a meet and greet with Dr. Watkins and other cast members of the film, said Micae Brown, Communications Director of the Watkins Media Group.

Resurrecting Black Wall Street: The Blueprint examines Little Africa of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1922, as a shining example of what black people can accomplish when we pursue our economic goals as a collective.

Resurrecting Black Wall Street: The Blueprint is the brainchild of award-winning film director, Dorian Chandler, and features leading financial scholars, historians and activists. The film provides viewers with an opportunity to study the body of knowledge left behind by our ancestors, in order to move on to a more empowered future. Principles of cooperative economics, wealth building, and black business development are addressed, along with the TRUTH about what happened to the people who had their wealth stolen and their story buried for more than 100 years.
About Watkins Media Group
Watkins Media Group was founded by The Watkins Brothers (Dr. Boyce & Lawrence) in 2011 as a way to empower and inform the African American community regarding issues of importance.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is one of the most highly sought after African-American entrepreneurial scholars in the world. Specializing in financial psychology, educational motivation, and black social commentary, Dr. Watkins has presented his message to millions, making regular appearances on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC News, and many more national media outlets. Dr. Watkins has impeccable credentials to support his financial advice. In college, Dr. Watkins earned BA and BS degrees with a triple major in Finance, Economics, and Business Management. He then earned a Masters Degree in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D in finance from The Ohio State University. During his year of graduation, he was the only African-American in the country to earn a PhD in Finance.

In 2012, Dr. Boyce Watkins became a full time entrepreneur focusing his talents on the betterment of the Black community in the United States and abroad. Through his role as CEO of WMG, Dr. Watkins provides the visionary leadership to help the organization fulfill their mission.

Lawrence Watkins is one of Americas leading entrepreneurship and personal achievement experts. His overall mission in life is to become a tycoon politically, socially, and economically so that he may have a positive impact on his community. As COO of WMG, Lawrences role is to form & execute the strategic objectives to move the organization closer to its vision.

Lawrence holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville and an MBA in entrepreneurship from Cornell University. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneurship Council, Business Leadership Council Emerging Leaders Program, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
About the Harold Washington Cultural Center
The Harold Washington Cultural Center (HWCC), a 501(c) 3 a non-profit organization located in Chicago, Illinois. HWCCs mission is to preserve and protect African American Culture. HWCC utilizes performing and media arts to deter at risk behavior in youth. HWCC partners with community based organizations as well as national and internationally recognized historical arts institutions in content and audience development.

 

 

At AIPAC Conference, Kirk Ahead of the Curve as Defender of Israel

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) responded to the top priorities the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced at its annual policy conference this week. As a staunch defender of Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, Senator Kirk has already taken the following steps to address AIPAC’s most pressing issues, including fully funding U.S-Israeli cooperative missile defense, keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran, and blocking funding for anti-Israel organizations that grant membership to the non-state actor of ‘Palestine.’ 

 

“Israel is America’s greatest ally in the Middle East and it is in our national security interest to empower and protect this great nation from those who seek to incite violence and harm those within her borders,” said Senator Kirk.  “I have always been a staunch defender of Israel and her people, and will continue to lead the way in Congress with bipartisan solutions that fully fund U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation, punish Iran for violating the international nuclear agreement and press those responsible for the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror attacks to end the violence and return to bilateral peace negotiations with the Israeli people.”

AIPAC delegates will urge House and Senate members to support the reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act.

AIPAC will also call on House and Senate members to support a tough response—including the imposition of sanctions targeting Iran’s ongoing ballistic missile program—if Iran violates its international obligations.

  • Last week, Senator Kirk introduced two bills—the Iran Terrorism & Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016 (S. 2726) and the Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act of 2016 (S. 2725)—to punish Iran for international violations outside the nuclear realm.

AIPAC delegates will also urge members of Congress to oppose efforts to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the U.N. and other international bodies.

AIPAC will call on House and Senate members to support $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel for FY 17 and support an increase in future aid to Israel to ensure its growing defense needs are met. AIPAC delegates will urge their senators to sign a letter to the president co-authored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) supporting a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel that includes robust levels of security assistance and the existing terms of aid.

Real Estate Brokers Imprisoned for Scheme to “Wash” Title to Million-Dollar San Diego Homes

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

SAN DIEGO – Brothers and former San Diego real estate brokers Adel Afkarian and Atef Afkarian were sentenced to prison for their role in a fraudulent “debt elimination” scheme that purported to eliminate the mortgages on several million-dollar homes in San Diego.

U.S. District Judge John A. Houston sentenced Adel Afkarian to serve 18 months in custody and Atef Afkarian to serve 13 months.  In addition to the time in custody, the brothers were both ordered to pay more than $5.5 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.

To implement the scheme, the Afkarians identified underwater homeowners—including themselves—and began a process to make it appear as though the homeowners’ debts had been satisfied.  To do so, they recorded fraudulent deeds that purported to extinguish the large mortgage loans encumbering each property.  They then sold the properties to innocent purchasers, deceiving the buyers into paying the full purchase price to the Afkarians or their co-conspirators.  The mortgage lenders, unaware of the fraudulent documents recorded on title or unable to prevent the sale in time, were left unpaid.

With regard to their own underwater home, the Afkarians pretended that $1.4 million in mortgage debt had vanished. They used the “debt elimination” method to successfully arrange the fraudulent sale of a total of four properties in and around San Diego, generating more than $4.3 million in proceeds which went directly into bank accounts owned by the brothers and their co-conspirators.  In some cases, they sold this fraudulent “debt elimination” program to existing clients of their mortgage business.

In addition to the “debt elimination” scheme, Adel and Atef Afkarian also conspired to arrange fraudulent short sales for underwater clients through a simultaneous “double escrow” scheme.  Rather than selling an underwater home at a pre-approved short sale price, the defendants arranged two simultaneous sales of the same property at two different sale prices, using a straw buyer as the intermediary and purported seller in the second transaction. This way, the short sale lender would believe that the property was being sold for initial first-escrow price, rather than the higher second-escrow price (which was in fact the arms-length market sales prices).  The defendants and their co-conspirators would then pocket the difference, diverting money from the lenders.

The Afkarians each pleaded guilty in September 2013, admitting their participation in these schemes.  As part of their guilty pleas, they also agreed to forfeit a home on Santa Fe Canyon Place, which they had purchased using approximately $715,000 in proceeds of the fraud, and an additional $388,000 recovered from bank accounts where they had transferred proceeds.

One of the Afkarians’ clients, Mehran Abazary, was also charged in connection with this case, and pleaded guilty on December 15, 2015.  Abazary admitted that he owed more than $2 million in mortgage debt when he hired the Afkarians and their co-conspirators to help him “eliminate” this debt and sell the property. When the sale closed, Abazary received $250,000 in proceeds of the sale. Abazary pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return omitting to disclose this income to the Internal Revenue Service. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Houston on September 6, 2016, at 8:30 am.

DEFENDANTS & CHARGES

Adel Afkarian, 13CR1469-JAH (1)               Age: 42           Carlsbad, California

Atef Afkarian, 13CR1469-JAH (2)                Age: 40           Slidell, Louisiana

Conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371

Maximum Penalties: 5 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the pecuniary loss or gain, $100 special assessment, 3 years’ supervised release, restitution

ADDITIONAL DEFENDANT & CHARGES

Mehran Abazary, 15CR3073-JAH                 Age: 64           San Diego, CA

Subscribing to a false tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1)

Maximum Penalties: 3 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, 1 year supervised release, restitution

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation

Source: FBI

Organization Helping Black Women Get Leadership Roles in Healthcare Industry

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago International Television Awards Announces Expanded Programming for 2016

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 
 
Special Screenings and Panel Discussions Feature Season Premiere of HBO’s “Veep,”

Pilot Episode of Amazon’s “Patriot” and FOX’s “Empire”

CHICAGO, IL — Celebrating the importance and excellence in work being created for television, as well as the abundant amount of television work being produced in Chicago, the Chicago International Television Awards expands its programming April 18 – 20, 2016. In addition to the annual Awards Ceremony, this year’s three-day event features premiere screenings, panel discussion and a special insider’s look into the intricate world of creating television. All events take place at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.).“Chicago has become one of the top locations for television production over the past few years, and our expanded programming of the Chicago International Television Awards highlights and celebrates the incredible work that is being made in Chicago and by Chicagoans,” said Cinema/Chicago Television Coordinator Sam Flancher. “These special screenings and panel discussions delve into all aspects of television production, giving attendees a special behind-the-scenes look into the multi-faceted process of creating a television show.”The festivities kick off on Monday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. with a special panel discussion featuring local content creators speaking about what it takes to break into the TV business and unveiling never-before-seen clips from their new works.

At 8 p.m. The Television Awards pays tribute to FOX’s hit series “Empire” with a special screening of the show followed by a panel discussion including key crew members giving guests an inside look into the making of the Chicago-filmed sensation.

Programming continues on Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. with a screening of the newest episode from HBO’s “Veep,” followed by another engaging panel discussion featuring actor Gary Cole speaking about the show, now in its fifth season, as well as his Chicago roots.

At 8 p.m. the Television Awards will host a screening of the pilot episode from Amazon’s new series “Patriot,” followed by a panel discussion with Writer-Director and Chicago native Steve Conrad (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), line producer Marc David Alpert, and production designer Judy Rhee. An audience member will also have the chance to win a walk-on role in one of the upcoming episodes, filming soon in Chicago.

The expanded programming culminates on Wednesday, April 20 with the annual Chicago International Television Awards at the AMC River East 21. The celebratory evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception at the Lucky Strike Lounge followed by the Awards Ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

Complete details about Awards Ceremony, including hosts and honorees, still to be announced.

The Television Awards’ mission is to recognize the enormous technical and creative energy behind Television commercials and productions and to highlight their importance in communications.

Chicago International Television Awards Sponsors
The Chicago International Television Awards is presented by Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival. Led by Major Partner Sound Investment AV and WTTW11 with Media Partners SCREEN magazine and ReelChicago.com. Evening Partners include Stella Artois and Wansas Tequila.

Tickets ($20 screening passes, $15 members/students; $35 screening and Awards Night Ceremony; $75 screenings and Awards Night Ceremony/Reception) are on sale now. Visit ChicagoFilmFestival.com to purchase tickets or for more information.

About Chicago International Television Awards
When the Chicago International Film Festival was founded over 50 years ago by Artistic Director Michael Kutza, advertising agency heads Leo Burnett, Fairfax Cone and Dick Needham suggested that, with budgets and craftsmanship equal to the feature films being screened, the Festival should showcase the art of television commercials and productions. Five decades later, this simple idea has evolved into an international celebration of the best in television, and encompasses television commercials, productions, series and the innovative realm of online television programming.

About Cinema/Chicago
Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is one of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include its Chicago International Television Awards, CineYouth Festival, International Screenings Program and Education Program. More information at ChicagoFilmFestival.com.

About Fox’s “Empire”
From its jaw-dropping storylines to its chart-topping hip-hop soundtrack, “Empire” took TV audiences by storm in its record-setting first season, instantly gaining a legion of die-hard fans, creating a social media frenzy and making “Cookie” a household name. Starring Academy Award®-nominee Terrence Howard and Academy Award® and Emmy Award®-nominee Taraji P. Henson, and featuring music by prolific producers Timbaland, Jim Beanz and Ne-Yo, “Empire” is from Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series is created by Academy Award®-nominee Lee Daniels (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Precious”) and Emmy Award®-winner Danny Strong (“Game Change,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”). The series is executive-produced by Daniels, Strong, Academy Award® and Emmy Award®-winning producer Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “24”), Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”), Francie Calfo (“Those Who Kill,” “Gang Related”) and Sanaa Hamri (“Shameless”).

About Amazon’s “Patriot”
Intelligence officer John Tavner’s latest assignment, to prevent Iran from going nuclear, requires him to forgo all safety nets and assume a “non-official cover” as a mid-level employee at a Midwestern industrial piping firm. A bout with PTSD, the government’s incompetence and the intricacies of keeping his day job cause a barrage of ever-escalating fiascos that jeopardize the mission.

About HBO’s “Veep”
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfrus as President Selina Meyer, this HBO series follows Selina and her staff as they struggle to navigate through Washington politics. Season 5 of “Veep” premieres on Sunday, April 24th.

Active Trans Lauds City Plan to Make it Easier and Safer to Use Lakefront Trail

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Improving the Lakefront Trail has been one of Active Trans’ top priorities since our founding more than 30 years ago 

 

CHICAGO, IL — After many years of advocating to create separate lakefront trails for people on bikes and people on foot, Mayor Emanuel has revealed that the Chicago Park District will do just that on two of the most congested portions of the Lakefront Trail.

 

According to the Chicago Tribune, the trail will be widened and split into separate lanes for bikes and people on foot between Fullerton and Ohio Street on the North Side and between 31st Street and 51st Street on the South Side.

 

On WBEZ radio, the mayor said these improvements will occur over a three year period. He also said three new miles of a crushed stone running/walking path will be added, although he didn’t specify where this would be during the interview.

 

Over the past year, Active Trans has been providing advice and recommendations to the park district on how to ease congestion and conflicts on the trail, with a focus on creating separate trails.

 

The plans announced by the mayor are among the ideas that Active Trans has recommended for near- and medium-term improvements, and we’re excited about new trail construction in the longer term that could accompany reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive. Bike/Pedestrian separation and other trail issues have risen to the top of the conversation about the long-term reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive.

 

“One of the most common concerns we hear about is congestion on the Lakefront Trail, and many people say they avoid the trail all together on summer weekends because it is so crowded,” said Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke. “With tens of thousands of people moving at very different speeds crammed into a narrow trail, the summer Lakefront Trail experience can be hectic and prone to conflicts and crashes.”

 

The news came on the heels of the mayor’s exciting announcement Sunday that the city is moving ahead with its next rails to trails project in Pilsen and Little Village.

Creating a continuous, quality Lakefront Trail has been one of Active Trans’ top priorities since our founding more than 30 years ago.

 

In 2011, we worked with the Chicago Park District on a study of trail usage that featured the most in-depth trail user counts to date. The study found more than 30,000 people accessed the trail daily at the busiest points, and we estimated more than 100,000 used the trail on a typical summer weekend, making it one of the busiest trail in the U.S.

 

Those counts became the foundation for our 2013 People on the Trail Report with the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) and Friends of the Parks. The report analyzed results from a survey of more than 1,500 trail users, bringing attention to the highest conflict segments of the trail and identifying separation as the top priority for users.

 

More than 1,700 people signed our 2014 petition to the Chicago Park District in support of separation and we worked with Lakefront Trail crash victim Megan Williams to call for separating the trail at park district budget hearings and in local media.

 

Active Trans cannot fully evaluate the city’s plans as we have yet see them in detail, but we’re optimistic and will continue to work with the city to ensure leaders effectively implement these improvements and continue to upgrade trail infrastructure.

 

Our People on the Trail report outlines additional strategies to improve the trail experience, including better access to the trail, public education, directional signage, limiting conflicts associated with special events, and trail maintenance.

 

If you’re a regular user of the Lakefront Trail, Active Trans monitors trail conditions year-round with our @activetransLFT Twitter account and #ChiLFT. The hashtag tracks the many events happening on the trail and generates activity from the growing number of people who use the trail for commuting and other uses.

 

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers.

 

For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

 

Madigan Calls on Peabody Energy to Publicly Disclose Financial Information to Ensure Reclamation of Illinois Mines

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

Attorney General Issues Demand Over Significant Concern That Peabody Cannot Fulfill $92 Million Financial Commitment to Reclaim Mines in Southern Illinois

 

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent a letter to Peabody Energy Corporation and Peabody Investments Corporation (collectively “Peabody”), calling on the companies to publicly disclose financial information to state legislators, local officials and community residents to address whether the company can meet its $92 million commitment to reclaim and clean up several active and inactive coal mines in Southern Illinois.

 

Madigan’s letter urges Peabody to release information publicly on its financial condition to sufficiently address its ability to meet its reclamation commitment at the Illinois mine sites. Madigan said reclamation at those sites is necessary to protect the public water supply in surrounding communities from any future risk of contamination.

 

The Attorney General’s letter follows Peabody’s disclosure last week in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the company “may not have sufficient liquidity to sustain operations and to continue as a going concern,” leading to serious questions about its ability to clean up its mine sites to avoid the risk of ground or surface water contamination and the risk of the project’s cost being forced upon the state.

 

“Because Peabody’s $92 million in mine reclamation commitments are critical to the state and many communities in Illinois, I am requesting that Peabody publicly disclose financial information to allow legislators, local officials, and residents in potentially impacted communities to assess whether Peabody can fulfill those financial responsibilities,” Madigan said.

 

In addition to Madigan’s letter, the Environmental Law & Policy Center has issued a similar demand to Peabody calling for the release of its financial information.

 

“Peabody Energy management’s poor business decisions leave the company teetering on bankruptcy, and Illinois taxpayers shouldn’t be left holding the financial bag for Peabody’s mine reclamation costs and clean-up responsibilities,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Peabody should not be allowed to hide the ball on its financial data that would show whether or not Peabody can meet its self-bonding promise to cover its mine reclamation costs. Peabody is required to clean-up its mine sites and is accountable for these environmental responsibilities.”

 

To be allowed to operate mines in Illinois, mining companies must make a commitment to the state to have sufficient funds available to clean up and reclaim the land when the mine is closed. Many companies buy surety bonds to ensure funds will be available to pay the reclamation costs. Peabody has long relied on “self-bonding,” a process through which Peabody commits that it has enough assets to cover the $92 million cost of reclaiming and cleaning up the land at its Illinois mines. The self-bonding process allows Peabody to avoid the cost of obtaining third-party surety bonds through private insurers. But Madigan said that if Peabody is not financially solvent, the state will be stuck with the $92 million reclamation costs.

 

The Peabody mines included in the reclamation commitment are:

 

 

  • Cottage Grove Mine (active), Wildcat Hills Mine, (active), Big Ridge Mine (inactive), Eagle Valley Mine (inactive), and Willow Lake Mine (inactive), all based in Equality, Ill., in Saline County.
  • Gateway Mine (active) in Coulterville, Ill. in Randolph County; and
  • Riola/Vermilion Grove Mines (inactive) in Georgetown, Ill. in Vermilion County.

 

Black Attorney/Author Reimagines Reconstruction in New Book, “Deo Vindice: The Resurrection”

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

New novel by Michael A. Jefferson reimagines the President Andrew Johnson era and Benjamin “Bluff” Wade, who would have become president if Johnson was impeached. Wade, was known for publicly saying that Blacks or ex-slaves should arm themselves for their own protection. Jefferson’s story asks and answers the question, “What would have happened if Benjamin Wade became President during reconstruction?” 


Michael A. Jefferson, author and attorney
New Haven, CT (BlackNews.com) – Its traditional in black literature to rewrite history, and author Michael A. Jefferson did just that when he penned his book of historical fiction entitled Deo Vindice: The Resurrection (Watch the book trailer on YouTube). There are trailblazers and contemporary writers that have done this, said New Haven native Catina Bacote, a creative writing professor at Warren Wilson College in Ashville, North Carolina.What I respect about Michael A. Jeffersons work is hes using both history and the imagination in an effort to reimagine the past, (and) I believe the past impacts the present and what happens in the future, said Bacote.”This type of work is respected and most people seem to respond well to it; it has a place and lots of value.”Deo Vindice: The Resurrection is about one mans obsession to right the wrongs of a horrible racial injustice by empowering its victims to take matters into their own hands, according to www.deovindicethebook.comThe book takes the reader back to the year 1868, when Benjamin Bluff Wade is president pro tempore of the United States Senate. After the impeachment and subsequent conviction of President Andrew Johnson, Wade assumes the presidency due to a never-before-used constitutional quirk.

Jefferson said the idea of the book came from a response to a question asked while he was taking a civil rights course in law school.

The professor at the time posed the question If you were president at the time of reconstruction what would you do differently? said Jefferson, 51, a New Haven criminal defense attorney.

We had to write about this, and one of the things I talked about was arming blacks or the ex-slaves to protect their interest, which I thought was incredibly important, he said.

Jefferson said the reason he treats Wade as a hero in the novel is because he empowers the ex-slaves to take matters into their own hands.

This is not about white soldiers coming to the rescue of black people; this is about an armed struggle led by black people against a ferocious enemy determined to maintain the status quo, he said.

According to the book, Wade is determined to implement his newly drafted Fifth Reconstruction Act. This Act authorizes widespread reform in the social, political and economic life of citizens in the former Confederacy. This sweeping act also approves the militarization of blacks living in those states, the website said.

For too long, Jefferson said, Others have been writing our story, both fictional and nonfictional; I wanted to provide a black perspective. The book also is an opportunity to challenge certain aspects of black culture, according to Jefferson.

It was important for me to challenge the existing norms in our community, Jefferson adds. I wanted to challenge the standards of beauty and homophobia in our community; these are the essential elements of the book.

Attorney Robert Pellegrino said Jeffersons book is an incredible melding of American history and race.

As historical fiction, it is a fascinating account of what America could have become had blacks come into power after the Civil War, said Pellegrino, 58, who recently published a book called I See Color, which documents his journey educating himself on the issue of race from personal relationships and experiences.

Jeffersons vast knowledge of both American history and race relations provides a provocative story that both teaches and engages the reader and one comes away with a greater knowledge of American history and a deeper understanding of the role of race in that history.

Other characters in the book are Lisa Stewart, an exceptionally brilliant and strikingly beautiful change agent, and Aurelius Foginet, an unassuming military and political genius.

With Stewart at his side, the powerful and determined black duo, along with a black political organizer, Randall McArthur, and the elite troops of the feared southern guard attempt to establish a safe haven for blacks in the former Confederacy, according to the book.

While Jefferson was inspired to rewrite history, hell use some of the books proceeds as a philanthropic effort to help St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, the states NAACP Youth and College Division and undergraduate chapters of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Since Ive been in the fraternity, I havent seen an officer or district representative do something like this on such a big scale, said Anthony Kadri of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Kadri, who has been in the fraternity since 2010, said Jeffersons efforts are huge for undergraduate chapters. It shows he really cares for the undergraduates and the youth in the fraternity, he said. Our hope is that other Omega men who have books would follow his lead or do something similar.

Jefferson is a life member of the fraternity, a charter member of Epsilon Iota Iota chapter and serves on the supreme council as a district representative. Hes also the founder of the Kiyama Movement, focusing on self-improvement, particularly among black men.

State Conference NAACP Youth and College Division adviser Karrol-Ann Brown said Jefferson has always been a philanthropist. Its very hard for us at times to raise funds as a state (organization); its great for someone like attorney Jefferson to make a financial commitment to our young people, said Brown, a lawyer. Hes been very supportive of our unit and has been a role model for our young people, she added.

Although the book serves as alternate history, Jefferson believes high school and college students can learn valuable lessons.

There are a lot of real characters mentioned in the story, said Jefferson. I footnoted those individuals, so the reader has an understanding of whats real and whats fiction.

Deo Vindice: The Resurrectionis available on Kindle for $7.99 and $16.99 in paperback at www.deovindicethebook.com.
Jefferson is available for book signings and speaking engagements.

Follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Deo-Vindice-1130829873594724/
Watch the book trailer on YouTube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_xkDclPCek

Photo: Attorney and author Michael A. Jefferson, and his new book, “Deo Vindice: The Resurrection”

 

 

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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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