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Former Playmate hits the road to help consumers reduce their debt AUSTIN, ...
Educators cite management failures in accountability, transparency, classroom support as basis for authorizing what would ...
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has named a law enforcement veteran with more than ...
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   U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez recently toured a ...
Dunkirk, MD (BlackNews.com) -- Didn't finish signing up for coverage? The Department ...
    Miguel Morales, who was tortured by Chicago Police officers Kenneth Boudreau,  James O'Brien, and John ...

Archive for April 23rd, 2016

Black Caucus Gets in Formation, Saves Chicago State University

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Both the House and the Senate sent legislation to the Governor’s desk to keep the doors open at Chicago State University and a host of other state universities. Senate Bill 2059, which was spearheaded by House Black Caucus Chairman Representative Rita Mayfield (D – Waukegan) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) , provides $600 million from the Education Assistance  Funds (EAF) for operations funding for all nine public universities, the Illinois Math and Science Academy and the City Colleges of Chicago.

 

“This is not the answer; this is just the start of the conversation,” said Rep. Mayfield. “We need to work together to put people first. People are suffering, and it’s our responsibility to pass a budget and keep universities open and keep social service programs operational.”

 

The measure provides base operation and equalization grants for community colleges and MAP Grants.

 

“We’ve been fighting the governor since last May to keep the doors of our great institutions of learning open,” said Trotter, the Senate Appropriations II chairman. “Chicago State, in my own backyard, would be on the brink of closure without this funding. I am glad that my Republican counterparts, and hopefully the governor, are finally on board with helping students graduate.”

The measure will now be sent to the Governor where he will either sign it into law or veto it.

Here is a video of the press conference which followed the passage of the bill.
Below is the breakdown of the funding

Speaker Madigan: House Passes Emergency Funding for Higher Education

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL– IllinoisHouse Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement Friday following House passage of a plan that will deliver emergency funding to the state’s public universiti es, community colleges and MAP recipients to avoid school closures:

“Governor Rauner has said that crisis creates opportunity and leverage, and that government may have to be shut down for a while. Now, he has forced a situation where some universities are on the verge of closing. The plan the House passed delivers emergency relief for the state’s colleges, universities and students as we continue pushing for a more comprehensive budget and full fiscal year funding.

“While the governor has said he would approve this small portion of funding for higher education, it’s unfortunate he was unwilling to approve any further funding for human services.  If he continues his unwillingness to assist our human service providers, he will be successful in destroying the safety net for those most in need and for critical state services, including services for women who need breast cancer screenings, victims of child abuse and victims of sexual assault.

“I am hopeful the governor sees the funding in this higher education package not as a solution, but as emergency assistance to those most in need. Time will tell if Governor Rauner has further intentions of destroying our state institutions and human service providers, or if he will begin working with us to craft a full-year budget that is not contingent on passage of his demands that will destroy the middle class.”

Evans Passes Legislation to Open Up More Job Opportunities for Individuals with Prior Misdemeanor Convictions

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, knows good-paying jobs are key to revitalizing our neighborhoods, and he says his measure to help give local residents a second chance is a step in the right direction.

 

“Everyone deserves a second chance, and those individuals who make real changes in their lives deserve a chance to keep improving,” Evans said. “Denying good job opportunities to people who have made mistakes keeps communities from becoming stronger, and I’m working to end policies that prevent us from moving forward.”

 

Evans’ legislation provides that the state cannot consider a prior misdemeanor conviction alone to prevent someone from seeking a professional license for certain jobs, including barbering, cosmetology, esthetics, roofing and funeral services, unless the crime committed was closely related to the occupation sought.

 

“This is a measure to bring job opportunities to our community and allow for individuals to better themselves in a criminal justice system that too many times doesn’t allow for redemption,” Evans said. “People in my community sometimes depend on jobs that require a professional license. I am focused on helping local families move beyond mistakes of the past, improve their lives and obtain good-paying jobs. When we can help end the cycle of recidivism by allowing more qualified people to find work, our neighborhoods benefit.”

 

House Bill 5973 passed the House with bipartisan support and now awaits consideration in the Senate.

Get Smart About Planning for College During Money Smart Week®

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 Learn how a College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program plan can help you lock in the cost of college tuition

CHICAGO, IL – Money Smart Week® (April 23 – 30) kicks off next week, and with it a great opportunity to learn how planning for college early through the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program can help families across Illinois make college possible for their child or grandchild. Purchasing a College Illinois! plan allows parents and grandparents to lock in the cost of tuition at today’s plan rates—so no matter how high tuition rates climb by the time their student is ready to attend, tuition and mandatory fees will be covered for colleges in the plan they purchased.

“It’s increasingly difficult for parents to rely on the availability of scholarships and other financial aid to help pay for college, and the state’s current budget delay has made that even more uncertain,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the state agency that manages the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program.  “Now more than ever, having a College Illinois! plan can give families a lot of peace of mind.” 

Indeed, this year alone over 10,000 students are going to college using College Illinois! benefits. College Illinois! funds are held in a trust fund at Northern Trust Company, separate from state funds, and by law can only be used to pay benefits and run the program.

 

“We purchased College Illinois! plans for our three children when they were young—one is a freshman and two have already graduated college debt-free,” said Angela Kamely of Homer Glen, Illinois.  “You never know what tomorrow holds for you, except perhaps a good education if you plan ahead.”

Perhaps the most important advice to parents, according to Zarnikow, is to start planning early for college, and start with what you can afford. Getting into the habit of putting money away for college—no matter how much– is the first step.

 

Zarnikow offers a few additional tips for parents in planning for the cost of college:

 

Look for flexibility. Many people don’t realize that the value of College Illinois! tuition benefits can actually be used at almost any private or public college or university in the country. And with a College Illinois! prepaid plan, you can purchase college semesters through installment or lump sum payments.  Consider tax benefits. As a qualified 529 plan, College Illinois! offers significant tax benefits.

 

Attend a Money Smart Week workshop. Money Smart Week events encourage financial literacy. Find and attend an event that interests you in your area.

 

It’s never too early to start planning for college. College Illinois! general enrollment runs through May 31st. Newborn enrollment, for children born between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016, runs through August 31, 2016. For more information, visit www.collegeillinois.org. For information about Money Smart Week, visit www.moneysmartweek.org.

 

About College Illinois!

Since its inception in 1998, College Illinois! has been focused on providing an affordable option to help make college a reality for Illinois families. Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the state’s 529 prepaid tuition plan offers a unique set of benefits, including tuition inflation protection, flexibility, and significant tax benefits. Program assets, which are held in the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund and kept separate from other state public money or funds, are professionally managed by an experienced team led by a Chief Investment Officer and established third party asset managers. More information on plan options and benefits, as well as a complete description of terms and conditions of, and risks associated with the purchase of a contract, is available at www.collegeillinois.org. Follow us on social media: https://www.facebook.com/CollegeIllinois/

Violent Home Invasion Case Illustrates Threat Posed by Gangs

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Violent gangs pose a significant threat to communities throughout the United States. You don’t have to live in South Central Los Angeles or Chicago’s inner city to feel the impact of gang violence, as a recent case from Washington state illustrates.

On a Tuesday evening in November 2014, three teenagers from Seattle’s Down with the Crew Gang—a violent affiliate of the Black Gangster Disciples gang—set out from Seattle for a 50-mile drive south to the community of Lakewood. Their intention was to rob a large-scale drug house they had received information about.

Around 9:30 p.m., a 66-year-old Lakewood man answered a knock at his door and was confronted by the three youths, who forced their way into the home. The gang members had picked the wrong house, but that didn’t matter to them. What happened next was 20 minutes of terror for an innocent couple.

The gang members pistol-whipped the man until he was unconscious, tied his hands, and placed a blanket over him. They broke down a bathroom door and dragged out his 61-year-old wife, stabbed her, tied her hands, and placed her under the blanket with her husband, who was bleeding severely.

“They brutalized the couple,” said Special Agent Kelly Smith, who supervises the South Sound Gang Task Force—one of more than 160 FBI-led Safe Streets tasks forces nationwide—which handled the investigation out of the Bureau’s Seattle Division. “The level of violence and complete disregard for human life was astounding in this case,” he added.

That disregard for life became even more apparent as the home invasion continued. The robbers were in and out of the house carrying stolen items to their car when the husband regained consciousness. He was able to free himself and his wife, and with all three assailants temporarily outside, he locked the front door and the couple retreated to their bedroom, where he called 911 and retrieved his handgun.

The robbers forced their way back inside, firing a gunshot through the front door. Then they kicked down the locked bedroom door where the couple had barricaded themselves behind their bed. Confronted again by the attackers, the man fired two shots, hitting 19-year-old Taijon Vorhees both times.

At that point, all three robbers fled and drove away. And the two uninjured gang members—Duprea Wilson and Qiuordai Taylor, ages 19 and 17, respectively—decided to help themselves rather than their wounded friend.

“They didn’t want anything to do with taking him to a hospital,” said Jeff Martin, a Lakewood Police Department detective assigned to the South Sound Gang Task Force. “They drove around until he was unconscious, then dumped his body and left him to die. They basically pushed him right out of the car.”

The wounded teen did, in fact, die. The two other subjects were apprehended within 72 hours of the crime. At trial in February 2015, the two surviving defendants faced 11 state felony charges. One of the charges was manslaughter—for allowing their friend to die without seeking medical attention.

In March 2016 a jury found Wilson and Taylor guilty on all counts, and later that month a judge sentenced them each to 56 years in prison.

Smith, who has supervised the task force since 2012, credits his local, state, and federal partners, along with experienced Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office attorneys, with bringing the case to a successful conclusion.

As for the victims, Martin said they have mostly recovered from their physical injuries, but there are still emotional issues to contend with. “There are definitely lasting effects from the attack,” he said, “maybe effects that will last the rest of their lives.”

Source: FBI

Collins’ Legislation Will Help Human Trafficking, Torture Victims Build a New Life

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) secured passage this week of legislation allowing foreign-born victims of torture or human-trafficking to become eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and food stamps (SNAP) while waiting on the federal government to process their asylum applications. The process to obtain a visa to remain legally in the U.S. can take months or even years for these individuals, and while they wait, they are not authorized to work or access federal benefits.

“America can take pride in opening her arms to individuals who have been victims of horrific crimes and are seeking a land of safety and opportunity,” said Collins, who has sponsored numerous laws aiding human trafficking victims during her service in the Senate. “We can carry on this welcoming tradition here in Illinois by assisting those affected – many of them women and children – while their cases are being evaluated.”

The average processing time for a T Visa (issued to foreign-born victims of human trafficking) is five months; for a U Visa (issued to those who have been victims of torture or other serious crimes, as well as their immediate family members), the average wait time is 16 months.

Collins worked with the Heartland Alliance, EverThrive Illinois, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan to draft and pass the legislation, which now goes to the House for its members’ consideration.

City of Chicago Offers Financial Incentives to Increase Number of Wheelchair-Accessible Taxicabs in Chicago

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

New Incentive Programs Will Benefit Chicago’s Disability Community with Rideshare Industry Funds

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) today announced new city incentives to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxicab vehicles by the end of 2016. The city’s goal is to add an additional 100 of these taxicabs by the end of 2016, and move the city closer to quickly reaching the mandate of putting 400 wheelchair-accessible taxicabs on Chicago’s streets by 2018.

 

“The city of Chicago is committed to working with advocates, consumers, and aldermen to improve the accessibility of the public passenger vehicles throughout the city,” Mayor Emanuel said. “I encourage the taxi industry take advantage of these incentives to quickly add more wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the streets.”

The following seven incentives will be supported by the City’s Accessibility Fund, which is funded by fees paid by the taxi and transportation network provider (TNP), also known as rideshare, industries. Similar to the taxis, TNPs pay a fee into the fund for all trips taken by non-wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

 

These incentives will encourage taxicab owners to convert to WAVs early and incentivize drivers to use the city’s WAV taxicab fleet by covering their gas costs for one year.

 

  1. Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle (WAV) medallion holders will no longer be charged a fee for dispatch service: Centralized WAV Taxicab Dispatch is now being fully supported by the Accessibility Fund. As a result, WAV medallion owners will no longer be charged a monthly fee dispatch service. Anyone needing a WAV taxicab in Chicago can call 1-855-WAV-1010 or request a WAV taxicab via the Open Taxis app. The fee currently adds up to $2,500 annually.
  1. Monetary incentive for WAV conversion: The city is offering medallion owners a $15,000 subsidy for the conversion costs of a WAV and a $20,000 subsidy toward the purchase of a factory-built WAV.
  1. Supporting mandated WAVs: The monetary incentives listed above are now available to the medallion owners that are required to place WAV taxicabs into service.
  1. “Early Bird” financial incentives: The city is offering a $10,000 “early bird” incentive for medallion owners that place WAV taxicabs into service by Dec. 1, 2016, ahead of the deadline in 2018 (for the owners required to put WAVs into service).
  1. Voucher incentive: The city is expanding the current reimbursement program for WAV taxicab conversion costs to include a voucher that would not require upfront payment for medallion owners who cannot secure the financing or fund the upfront costs.

 

  1. Vehicle maintenance incentive: To keep their vehicles on the road longer, WAV taxicab owners will be eligible for an up to $5,000 vehicle maintenance grant annually.
  1. Incentives for taxicab drivers who demonstrate accessible service commitment: The city will offer reimbursement credits or subsidies for taxicab drivers that lease WAV taxicabs. These credits will help offset fuel costs for WAVs, which are generally less fuel efficient.

“The Mayor’s plan to increase the number of WAVs is just one of the steps we have taken to support the transportation industry,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Lapacek. “It will also benefit the disability community that relies on these vehicles day in and day out to get around.”

There are currently 170 WAV taxicabs in the city of Chicago. Companies that own 20 or more medallions are currently required make 5 percent of their vehicles wheelchair-accessible. On January 1, 2018 the mandate will increase to cover companies that own 10 or more medallions, who will be required to make 10 percent of their vehicles wheelchair-accessible. This will put more than 200 additional WAVs on the road.

“We continue to make progress in our efforts to expand transportation options for people with disabilities who live or visit the city, said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley, “Accessible taxis are critical to the independence of our community.”

BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including TNPs, taxicabs, liveries, charter and site seeing buses, horse drawn carriages, ambulances, water taxis and tour boats. The department also oversees the purchasing of taxicab medallions, vehicle inspections and rates of fare. Learn more about BACP’s at www.cityofchicago.org/BACP.

Chicago Police Reform or Community Control of the Police?

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Early on in the Police Accountability Task Force Report a democratic principle is set forth, namely, that “The police need to know who they work for – the community. The authority that they have belongs to the people.” Yet nowhere does this report address the fundamental democratic right of the people to control the police and so we are left with suggested reforms and recommendations for policy changes that are left in the hands of the very people that created the problem in the first place. If the police in fact worked for the community then we wouldn’t be campaigning for community control of the police.

The document itself is called: “Police Accountability Task Force Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities They Serve.” The powers that be have been so poised, so prepared for a report such as this that they wasted no time in pumping it up in the media as a giant step forward in at least embarking on the long and torturous road of reform.

This is a long and detailed report that examines in detail particularity the institutionalized racist practices of the Chicago Police Department going back several decades, showing that the lack of accountability and the practice of excusing and justifying police crimes and misconduct is long standing. Also this Task Force declares at the outset that “The Police Accountability Task Force arose amidst a significant and historic public outcry. The outcry brought people into the streets, on social media and other venues to say in a very clear voice that they had reached a breaking point with the entire local law enforcement infrastructure. People were and are demanding accountability and real and lasting change. The outcry was not localized in any particular neighborhood or demographic, although communities of color and those ravaged by crime added some of the most poignant commentary.”

 

Obviously the Black Lives Matter Movement and the broad based Black-led peoples’ movement for community control of the police (known in Chicago as CPAC) are the driving forces demanding police accountability. Therefore, we must approach this Task Force’s report and recommendations from the standpoint of whether it contributes to the campaign for an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), and how it furthers the demands of Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union, BYP100, Assata’s Daughters, SEIU Locals 73 and SEIU HCII, Fight for 15, Trinity United Church of Christ, the Arab American Action Network, the Filipino Alliance, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and others calling for justice now.

 

The Task Force report purports to be a response to the people’s movement demands for police accountability, but if that was the case the Task Force would’ve recommended that all those complicit in the murder of Laquan McDonald be indicted and that Dante Servin be fired.

 

CPAC, unlike any proposal or recommendation on the table at this time, empowers the people to hold the police accountable for crimes they (the police) commit. CPAC takes the power of appointment out of the hands of the Mayor and puts it in the hands of the people. In other words, CPAC realizes the demands of the people for justice  by changing the system.

Justice now means first of all enacting the ordinance establishing community

control of the police, CPAC.  It also means:

  • Firing Dante Servin, the murderer of Rekia Boyd.
  • Firing and prosecuting the four police officers who lied in their reports to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald.
  • Department of Justice prosecution of all police in Chicago who murdered and/or tortured people in violation of their federally protected constitutional and human rights.
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel must resign.

We agree that we arrived at this point of distrust in the police and thecriminal justice system because of racism and racist practices. However, it is clear that the police cannot self-correct this problem through training. We must empower the people through CPAC to correct this problem.

We agree that there is a need to address a mentality in the CPD that the end justifies the means. Again we can’t rely on the police and their politician friends to self-correct this problem.

 

The people must be empowered to hold the police accountable for their crimes and misconduct, that is, the people who are presently powerless over the police must have the power to tell the police how they want their communities policed. CPAC will empower the people to write the rules with regard to the use of deadly force, stop and frisk, and every other aspect of police conduct.

Failure to make accountability a core value and imperative is a direct result of the police policing themselves and placing themselves above the law. They see accountability as an impediment. Being held accountable by the African American community and other communities of color has thus far never even been considered. It is time to implement community control of the police.

The Task Force criticizes “Significant Underinvestment In Human Capital.” What this means is that racism has been allowed to dictate who polices our communities and how they police it. It means that from the training academy to the streets that police are given the mentality that they are to operate in our communities like an occupying army. There should be an intolerance for racist attitudes at all levels, but again this problem cannot be solved internally. It will only be correctly approached through community control of the police.

 

Basically this report is telling us that there are deep and abiding issues such as massive unemployment, debilitating poverty, untreated mental illness, drug addiction, etc., such conditions cause social unrest that in turn bring about mass protest, social rebellion, crime and mass incarceration. In our opinion the government’s failure to address these issues causes disorder and the police as a para-military organization, is called upon to maintain order and quell social rebellion. Police crimes represent a direct threat to any hopes of us living in a fair and democratic society. Police repression is an ever-present threat to all democratic struggles of the people and that is why we must fight for people power over police power

No police Board! No IPRA! No Monitors, Auditors, or Overseers! Only Community Control of the Police! CPAC!

Aislinn Pulley is a lead organizer with Black Lives MatterChicago. Frank Chapman is a Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.

For more information contact: Frank Chapman, CAARPR, 312-513-3795
Aislinn Pulley, Black Lives Matter, Chicago, (872) 395-8048

Munger to Begin Making Payments Immediately to Universities, Community Colleges, Students

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Comptroller thanks leaders, urges them to finish job and pass balanced budget
CHICAGO, IL  – Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger issued the following statement Friday following General Assembly passage of legislation to partially fund state universities and community colleges and avoid further cuts and potential closings. The legislation also includes funding for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for college students. Governor Rauner is expected to sign the legislation:

“It is heartening that the Governor and legislative leaders have come together to authorize funding for our universities, community colleges and student MAP grants. I have directed my staff to begin processing payments immediately, giving top priority to students and the institutions that are suffering the most.

 

“The $600 million in funding for this legislation comes from the state’s Education Assistance Fund, which today has $354 million on hand. Those dollars will allow us to immediately pay student MAP grants and work closely with our universities and community colleges to ensure they have the resources they need to avoid further cuts and closings. We will continue disbursing funds as they become available, with final payments being made in July. Our students and schools have paid a heavy price for this budget impasse, and we will do everything possible to provide long-overdue relief.

“It is my deep hope that the spirit of cooperation we saw today will continue and lead to the comprehensive balanced budget that our state so badly needs.”

 

FEMA Denies State’s Appeal for Flood Assistance to Local Governments

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Denial ends process for seeking federal assistance


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today denied the state’s appeal for federal assistance to help local governments in several counties recover from severe flooding and storms in late December and early January. 

“The process is supposed to take into account a multitude of factors, but this denial demonstrates that only the numbers really matter,” said James K. Joseph, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). “States with high populations concentrated in urban areas, such as we have in northeastern Illinois, often struggle to reach their thresholds, particularly when the impacts are in rural, sparsely populated areas of the state. Once again our poorest communities continue to suffer because of this unfair process.”

Illinois’ threshold for federal public assistance is $18.1 million, which is based on the state’s population of $12.8 million multiplied by $1.41.

On April 8, the state submitted an appeal of FEMA’s earlier denial of assistance to help local governments recoup some of their flood-related expenses. The appeal outlined nearly $16.8 million in local government costs and spelled out additional factors that justify Illinois’ request for federal assistance for local governments in Alexander, Bureau, Calhoun, Cass, Clark, Cumberland, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Menard, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Randolph, St. Clair and Vermilion counties.

Joseph pointed to severe localized impacts that should have been considered, such as in Alexander County where local government expenses totaled more than $4 million. That equates to more than $486 for every person living in the county.

Under federal rules, the state cannot submit another appeal for federal assistance.

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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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