18
October , 2017
Wednesday

New America Media By Andre F. Shashaty On the surface, the unrest in Ferguson, ...
Action Alert! Alberta's tar sands produce some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet. President ...
All event proceeds benefit education and community engagement programs, celebrating "One Enchanted Decade"   (Chicago, IL - ...
Board to gather feedback, set priorities and hear suggested changes to the K-12 funding method SPRINGFIELD, ...
WASHINGTON, DC - Following the tragic killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager ...
  By Chinta Strausberg No song or movie can capture the love between a father and a ...
Probation Challenge and the PCC Network present an Internet TV Broadcast Taping of the Chicago ...
Names New Associate Artists and Elects Leadership for 2014-15 Board of Directors CHICAGO, IL — TimeLine Theatre ...
Insurers will now have the choice to extend transitional policies for an additional year to ...
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, President Obama called on Republicans in Congress to ...

Archive for April 26th, 2016

Report: African Americans, Latinos, Low Income Americans Pay up to Three Times More Than Others for Household Energy

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Low-Income Households in Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, Providence, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Cleveland Suffer Heaviest Energy Burden 


Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — An energy burden review of 48 major U.S. metropolitan areas finds that low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as do other, higher-income households. The new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition also finds that African-American and Latino households spend disproportionate amounts of their income on energy and that more energy efficiency measures would help close the gap by at least one-third.

Key findings from Lifting the High Energy Burdens in Americas Largest Cities: How Energy Efficiency Can Improve Low-Income and Underserved Communities (www.aceee.org/press/2016/04/report-energy-burden-low-income) include the following:

* On average, low-income households pay 7.2 percent of household income on utilities more than three times the amount that higher income households pay (2.3 percent).

* Energy burdens were found to be greatest for low-income households in the following 10 major cities: Memphis (13.2 percent of income), Birmingham (10.9 percent), Atlanta (10.2 percent), New Orleans (9.8 percent), Providence (9.5 percent), Pittsburgh (9.4 percent), Dallas (8.8 percent), Philadelphia (8.8 percent), Kansas City (8.5 percent), and Cleveland (8.5 percent).

* For African-American households, the cities with the greatest energy burdens were: Memphis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Kansas City, Birmingham, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.

* Latino households experience the greatest energy burdens in: Memphis, Providence, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Atlanta, Birmingham, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Detroit.

* If low-income housing stock were brought up to the efficiency level of the average US home, this would eliminate 35 percent of the average low-income energy burden of low-income households. For African-American and Latino households, 42 percent and 68 percent of the excess energy burden, respectively, would be eliminated.

* The five cities with the lowest median energy burdens for all households were San Francisco (1.4 percent), San Jose (1.8 percent), Seattle (2.1 percent), Washington, DC (2.1 percent), and San Diego (2.3 percent).


Jacqueline Patterson, director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP, said: For the communities we serve who are disproportionately plagued by pollution from energy production, for families who have to make choices between proper nutrition and keeping the lights on, and for unemployed persons for whom retrofitting and weatherization may provide a pathway out of poverty, this report illuminates the challenges and provides guidance on solutions that will result in healthier and more economically vibrant communities.

Ariel Drehobl, research analyst and lead report author, ACEEE, said: We found that the overwhelming majority of low-income and households of color in major US cities experienced higher energy burdens when compared to the average household in the same city. Families who face higher energy burdens experience many negative long-term effects on their health and well-being. These families are at greater risk for respiratory diseases and increased stress, and they can experience increased economic hardship and difficulty in moving out of poverty.

Adrianna Quintero, executive director, Voces Verdes, said: Increasing the energy efficiency of Latino households to the median level could cut their excess energy burdens by as much as a whopping 68 percent, putting more money in their pockets for things like food and, medical expenses.


Khalil Shahyd, representative, Energy Efficiency for All coalition (which includes the Natural Resources Defense Council where he is a project manager of the Urban Solutions Program), said: Increasing investments in energy efficiency can help improve energy affordability for all of Americas households, renters and owners alike, and this is especially critical for low-income renters whose energy burdens are more than three times higher. Cutting energy waste by improving energy efficiency leads to more comfortable homes; healthier, more prosperous communities; and is the quickest and most cost-effective way to reduce the dangerous carbon pollution fueling climate change. Energy efficiency is a practical solution for climate change, one that all people can participate in directly and experience direct benefits from.

Other key findings include the following:

* The Southeast and Midwest regions had the highest average energy burdens across all groups.

* Overall, low-income households experienced the highest median energy burden (7.2 percent), followed by African-American households (5.4 percent), low-income households living in multifamily buildings (5.0 percent), Latino households (4.1 percent), and renting households (4.0 percent).

* In 17 cities which is more than one-third of the cities studied a quarter of low-income households experienced an energy burden greater than 14 percent, substantially higher than the 3.5 percent median for all households.

* On average, African-American and white households paid similar utility bills, but African-American households experienced a median energy burden 64 percent greater than white households (5.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively). Latino households paid lower utility bills, on average, than African-American and white households did, yet they experienced a median energy burden 24 percent greater than white households (4.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively).

* Renter households also experienced higher energy burdens (4.0 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively). Renters pay almost 20 percent more per square foot than home owners, indicating that they live in less efficient homes.

* Experiencing high energy burdens can greatly affect the mental and physical health of families by increasing financial stress, cases of asthma, respiratory problems, heart disease, arthritis, and rheumatism. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to these health impacts caused by improperly heated or cooled homes.

* Increasing investment in energy efficiency programs is an underutilized strategy that could compliment bill assistance and weatherization programs to help reduce high energy burdens in underserved communities. Suggested approaches include: targeting multifamily buildings with energy efficiency investments; using demographic data in program evaluation; and strengthening low-income targets and goals for utility programs.

* States also could prioritize increasing energy efficiency programs in their plans to comply with the EPAs Clean Power Plan to limit power plant emissions, and could opt in to the Clean Energy Incentive Program, which offers early credit for efficiency projects in low-income communities during the two years prior to the start of the compliance period.

The Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development to Award $1.75 Million to Help Justice-Involved Youth Find Jobs and Housing

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program Will Reduce Barriers to Housing, Jobs and Education

In an effort to help young people involved in the justice system find jobs and housing, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced $1.75 million for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and nonprofit legal service organizations to address the challenges justice-involved individuals face when trying to find work and a place to call home.  The grantees are listed below.

Under the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP), funded through the department’s Second Chance Act funds, HUD and the Department of Justice are teaming up to help young Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.  JRAP funding was awarded to Public Housing Agencies who have a partnership with a nonprofit legal service organization with experience providing legal services to juveniles.  Read local summaries of the grants.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced the funding during a news conference with local leaders in Philadelphia today.

“The future of our nation depends upon the future of our young people – including young people who have become involved with our justice system,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “By helping justice-involved youth find decent jobs and stable housing after they return home, these critical grants provide a foundation for a fresh start and offer a path towards productivity and purpose.  In the months ahead, the Department of Justice will continue helping justice-involved youth enrich their lives and improve our country.”

“Reconnecting young people who’ve paid their debt to society to decent jobs and housing allows them to turn the page and become active, productive members of their communities,” said Secretary Castro.  “These grants offer a helping hand to those who deserve a second chance so they have a real opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Having a juvenile or a criminal record can severely limit a person’s ability to seek higher education, find good employment or secure affordable housing.  Today, there are nearly 55,000 individuals under age 21 in juvenile justice facilities, and approximately 185,000 young adults aged 18 to 24 in state and federal prisons.  These collateral consequences create unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity.  President Obama and members of his Cabinet, via the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, continue to take impactful steps to ensure those exiting the justice system become productive, law-abiding citizens.  Today’s announcement is consistent with HUD’s recently released guidance on the application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the use of criminal records by providers of housing and real estate-related transactions, and the recent guidance for public housing authorities and owners of federally-assisted housing on excluding the use of arrest records in housing decisions.

To help alleviate collateral consequences associated with a juvenile or criminal record, JRAP assists young people up to age 24 residing in public housing, or who would be residing in public housing but for their record, by:

  • Expunging, sealing, and/or correcting juvenile or adult records; as permitted by state law;
  • Assisting targeted youth in mitigating/preventing collateral consequences such as reinstating revoked or suspended drivers’ licenses;
  • Counseling regarding legal rights and obligations in searching for employment;
  • Providing guidance for readmission to school; and
  • Creating or modifying child support orders and other family law services, and more.

$22.7 million Verdict for Widow

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Kevin P. Durkin and Colin H. Dunn, partners at Clifford Law Offices, obtained a $22.7 million verdict on behalf of widow and son whose young husband was killed in a trucking accident four years ago.

A jury in Cook County Circuit Court reached the record result in favor of Theresa Swenson, now 31, of Chicago following a two-week trial in the Daley Center before Judge Thomas Lipscomb. The verdict of $10 million for grief and sorrow ties a previous record in Cook County set for that category, according to John Kirkton of the Jury Verdict Reporter. The jury also awarded $10 million for loss of society.  It is the largest wrongful death verdict in the county in more than a decade.

The case involved a speeding truck driver who had drugs in his system and slammed into the back of Aaron Swenson’s car stopped in a construction zone on Interstate 294 on May 22, 2012, crashing him into the truck in front of him. The speeding truck driver, Adam Troy, who worked for Hussmann Corporation of Missouri, had a history of speeding tickets.

“The case is a very sad one. The loss of this young husband and father was senseless,” Durkin said following the verdict.

The five-man-seven-woman jury deliberated just three hours before reaching the verdict.

“This incident occurred just before 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Dunn. “That means this driver most likely started out his day in an impaired condition and ended the life of an innocent man. It’s a devastating loss for his family.”

A press conference with Theresa Swenson, the plaintiff, and her attorneys will be held NOON TUESDAY, April 26, 2016, at Clifford Law Offices, 120 N. LaSalle St., 31st Floor, Chicago, IL.

Licensed Practical Nursing Survey Suggests Aging Workforce

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A shortage of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) may be on the horizon in Illinois, according to a recent study conducted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) – Illinois Center for Nursing.  The voluntary 2015 LPN Workforce Survey also finds that LPNs, in comparison to RNs, are a more racially diverse group, clustered in the urban areas of Illinois.  The survey was completed by nearly 22% of the total LPN population in Illinois.

 

“Similar to last year’s RN survey findings, the LPN workforce in Illinois appears to be aging with an insufficient population of younger nurses in the replacement pipeline,” said Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary.  “While not yet at crisis level, this survey should serve as a clarion call to our nursing workforce planners that a potential shortage is on the horizon.  This is particularly important as LPNs play a key role in our nursing homes, extended care facilities and home care settings.”       

 

Of the respondents polled, one-third of all LPNs (ages 55 to 65 years or older) intend to retire within the next five years.  LPNs, in comparison RNs, are a racially diverse group with 25% of respondents indicating African American heritage, while those of Hispanic/Latina heritage comprise the highest percentage of the younger age groups at 8%.  Illinois LPNs are most heavily centered in urban areas, with Cook County accounting for 26.4% of the population.   

 

“Certainly a looming issue for policy makers is the growing use of home and community-based services by the US elderly population,” said Maureen Shekleton, PhD, RN, Illinois Center for Nursing Advisory Board Chairperson.  “When you account for the data as a whole – workplace setting, age and intent to retire; clear implications exist for Illinois workforce planning groups as they strive to balance future demand with workforce capacities.”

 

Conducted during the 2015 Illinois LPN licensure renewal period, the workforce survey was structured to capture data on the demographics, education, workplace settings and state distribution of LPNs in Illinois.  Over 85% of individual LPNs completed licensure renewal via IDFPR’s online platform.  The survey was completed by 6,613 LPNs.

 

For the complete report, please visit: http://nursing.illinois.gov/ResearchData.asp

Black Caucus Effort Leads Governor to Fund MAP and Save Chicago State

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Several weeks ago Chicago State University administration canceled spring break to graduate their seniors early and sent layoff notices to staff. Students and staff at Chicago State University now have a glimmer of hope.

Last week, the Legislative Black Caucus took the lead in advancing a bipartisan solution to fund MAP grants, save Chicago State University and restore social service program funding.

Senate Bill 2059 was signed into law today by the governor. Although there is still plenty of work to do toward passing a budget, this is a step in the right direction and brings much-needed relief to students, seniors and those most vulnerable.

There are still a number of measures the governor should recognize as core items to move our state forward—producing a budget is number one.

Black caucus members had the following statements about the signing of Senate Bill 2059:

Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)

“This is a small victory for our higher education system, but it means so much to the students throughout our state who were in jeopardy of losing their futures. We will continue the fight for the programs and services that our most vulnerable populations desperately need, and I’m ready to keep pushing forward.”

Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville)

“I commend my colleagues, in both chambers, for coming together to fund MAP and social service programs. We are headed in the right direction. It is our job as legislators to ensure no one goes without crucial services. Everyone deserves an opportunity to become a productive member of our state.”

Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)

“This emergency funding plan is the first step toward stabilizing our public universities. I am glad the governor is working with us but there’s more to be done. College students shouldn’t wait for piecemeal solutions. We should keep our economic engine strong by restoring the people’s trust in our education system and our state.”

Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

“Access to higher education is the key to propelling our state forward. The best way to uplift our youth and give them the opportunities we had is by protecting their scholarships and keep colleges open.”

Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey)

“It’s a relief to send our universities some of the funding they need in a bipartisan effort, showing that we can work together through tough issues to help stabilize education and the economy in Illinois. This is a step in the right direction, and more importantly, a step closer to implementing a full budget. We can now work on funding social services, which in many communities are just as important as accessibility to higher education.”

Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

“Students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education without having to worry about if their institution will be around when it’s time to graduate. This is a key step for our state. Students are one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Our works is not done—let’s now pass a budget that fully funds MAP, higher education and summer youth programs.”

Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)

“Last week’s compromise funding plan will keep the doors open at Illinois’ colleges and universities. It will allow students to receive their vital MAP grant funding. It will instill trust in the graduating high school student who wants to attend Governors’ State or Chicago State but was concerned about the lack of state funding.

“While our budget impasse is by no means over, a big step has been taken. We must continue our work, building off this moment of success and ensure our social service agencies receive the same kind of attention as our students.”

Jay-Z Scholarship – Just 5 Days Left Before the Deadline!

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The deadline to apply is April 30, 2016.

Nationwide — Rapper Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship provides financial support to high school students as well as undergraduate students entering college for the first time. The purpose of the scholarship is to help under-served students who may not be eligible for other scholarships.

Students who have either graduated from high school or earned their G.E.D. may apply. Minimum grade point average is 2.0. Students must have a strong desire to go to college and earn their degree. Students must also have a desire to give back to their communities.

The deadline to apply is April 30, 2016.

For more details and/or to apply, visit:
www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/05/shawn-carter-foundation-scholarship.html

To view hundreds of other 2016 scholarships, visit:
www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

 

Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Enacts Historic Voting Rights Restoration

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Disenfranchisement News

From: The Sentencing Project

Virginia

Governor restores voting rights to 200K people with prior felony convictions

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order to immediately restore voting rights to an estimated 200,000 people who have completed their felony prison, probation and parole sentence. Virginia is one of only four states in the nation – along with Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky – to disenfranchise all individuals with felony convictions for life, unless they can secure a pardon from the governor. McAuliffe’s decision will remain in effect until at least the end of his term in January 2018. The executive order does not cover people who are released in the future.  According to his aides, McAuliffe intends to issue similar executive orders each month to continue to restore rights to people as they complete their sentences.

“This will be the single most significant action on disenfranchisement that we’ve ever seen from a governor,” said The Sentencing Project’s Executive Director Marc Mauer in The New York Times. “It’s noteworthy that it’s coming in the middle of this term, not the day before he leaves office. So there may be some political heat but clearly he’s willing to take that on, which is quite admirable.”

The announcement drew criticism from Republicans, who viewed McAuliffe’s executive order as a way to help the Democratic frontrunner for president, Hillary Clinton. McAuliffe was the chairman of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. McAuliffe’s office denied that the move was political, saying the order builds off policies he’s already taken to restore voting rights to 18,000 Virginians since he took office.

Virginia previously had the fourth highest rate of felony disenfranchisement in the nation and the third highest for African Americans. “There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” said McAuliffe.

Kentucky

New law makes it easier for people with felony convictions to restore their civil rights

Republican Governor Matt Bevin recently signed a bill into law that will allow “tens of thousands of Kentuckians” to have their criminal records expunged and their voting rights restored. Under House Bill 40, a person with a non-violent, non-sexual felony conviction can apply for expungement five years after the end of their felony prison, probation or parole sentence. A court hearing would then decide whether or not to expunge the record. “It is critical that there is an opportunity for redemption that there is an opportunity for second chances because America is a land that was founded on these principles,” Bevin said. The law will go into effect in July.

Maryland

Communities United brings new voters to the polls

Earlier this year the Maryland legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto, extending voting rights to individuals currently on probation or parole supervision. Activists from Communities United have registered nearly 5,000 new voters since the law went into effect on March 10th — primarily targeting West Baltimore neighborhoods and housing projects. Two weeks before Maryland’s primary, Communities United held a forum for the city’s mayoral candidates to reach out and address the needs of Baltimore’s new voting population. The group offered free rides to polling locations during Maryland’s early voting period.

(Source: The Washington Post via Jokpeme News)

President Obama Weekly Address: Building a Fairer and More Effective Criminal Justice System

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President discussed his continued efforts to build a fairer and more equitable criminal justice system. The Department of Justice has designated the week of April 24-30 as National Reentry Week, during which the Administration will highlight how strong reentry programs can make our communities safer. In support of National Reentry Week, the President said his Administration will take additional steps to ensure applicants with a criminal history have a fair shot when competing for a federal job. Additionally, the White House will call on businesses to commit to hiring those who have served their time, and it will issue a report on the economic costs of high incarceration rates in this country. The President emphasized that this is about more than what makes economic and practical sense – it’s about ensuring we live up to our Nation’s ideals.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, April 23, 2016.

President Barack Obama Weekly Address
The White House

Hello, everybody.  Today, there are some 2.2 million people behind bars in America.  Millions more are on parole or probation.  All told, we spend 80 billion taxpayer dollars each year to keep people locked up.  Many are serving unnecessarily long sentences for non-violent crimes. Almost 60 percent have mental health problems.  Almost 70 percent were regular drug users.  And as a whole, our prison population is disproportionately black and Latino.

Now, plenty of people should be behind bars.  But the reason we have so many more people in prison than any other developed country is not because we have more criminals.  It’s because we have criminal justice policies, including unfair sentencing laws, that need to be reformed.

We know that simply locking people up doesn’t make communities safer.  It doesn’t deal with the conditions that lead people to criminal activity in the first place, or to return to prison later.  After all, there’s evidence that a 10 percent increase in the high school graduation rate leads to a nearly 10 percent decrease in arrest rates.  A ten percent wage increase for men without a college degree lowers crime by as much as 20 percent.  And a growing body of research suggests that the longer people stay in jail, the more likely they are to commit another crime once they get out.

Here’s why this matters.  Every year, more than 600,000 people are released from prison.  We need to ensure that they are prepared to reenter society and become productive, contributing members of their families and communities – and maybe even role models.

That’s why we’ve been working to make our criminal justice system smarter, fairer, less expensive, and more effective.  This week, the Department of Justice will highlight how strong reentry programs can make communities safer.  My Administration will announce new actions that will build on the progress we’ve already made.  We’ll release more details about how we are taking steps to ensure that applicants with a criminal history have a fair shot to compete for a federal job.  We’re issuing a new report that details the economic costs of our high rates of incarceration.  And we’re calling on businesses to commit to hiring returning citizens who have earned a second chance.

These are just a few of the steps we’re taking.  But there’s much more to do.  Disrupting the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails.  Addressing the disparities in the application of criminal justice, from arrest rates to sentencing to incarceration.  Investing in alternatives to prison, like drug courts and mental health treatment.  Helping those who have served their time get the support they need to become productive members of society.

Good people from both sides of the aisle and across all sectors are coming together on this issue.  From businesses that are changing their hiring practices, to law enforcement that’s improving community policing, we’re seeing change.  Now we need a Congress that’s willing to send a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill to my desk.  This isn’t just about what makes economic and practical sense.  It’s about making sure that we live up to our ideals as a nation.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

Gordon Bitko Named FBI Chief Information Officer

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
FBI Director James B. Comey has named Gordon Bitko as the FBI’s new chief information officer. Mr. Bitko most recently served as the section chief of the Support Services Transformation Office (SSTO), where he was responsible for overseeing an enterprise-wide transformation in the FBI’s information technology strategy, resources, and processes.

Mr. Bitko joined the FBI in 2007 and was assigned to the Corporate Policy Office of the Resource Planning Office. In 2009, he created and led the Performance Management Unit of the Resource Planning Office. In 2012, while in the Resource Planning Office, Mr. Bitko was promoted to the senior executive service. During his time in the Resource Planning Office, Mr. Bitko led teams in performance and strategy, resource allocation, and business improvement projects. In 2009, he received the Director’s Award for Excellence.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Bitko worked for nearly 15 years in the private and non-profit sectors. Mr. Bitko has bachelor’s and master’s in 4rngineering  and a Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in California.

Mr. Bitko will assume this new role in April.

Source: FBI

Who Do You Serve?: Response to PATF “Recommendations for Reform”

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


BYP100 Op-ED by Cosette Hampton

The subtitle of the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) report, recently released on April 13, 2015 states: Recommendations for Reform – Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve. How can trust be “restored” when it did not exist? How can PATF’s recommendations really be trusted when not only was its’ constituency selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but its’ head, Lori Lightfoot, is also the president of the Chicago Police Board itself? This is the same president that frequently cuts off the microphones of families and victims of police violence expressing their trauma in hopes of receiving justice, like she did to the daughters of Bettie Jones, a Black woman “accidentally” murdered by CPD and considered collateral damage. How can PATF speak of trust when it throughout all 183 pages of its’ expensive, deceptive and ineffective reforms, it only references Rekia Boyd two times, though her family and young Black organizers in Chicago have been demanding justice for her murder since 2012?

BYP100 is not fooled by fluff-filled recommendations coming from an illegitimate team of Rahm’s puppets. The majority of the efforts made to draft this report were of a marketing-oriented mindset, developed to trick the public into believing that we’re getting what we asked for in order to improve the Chicago Police Department’s reputation. This is not the first publicity stunt used to save face that we’ve seen. Although he remained untouched even after failing to take disciplinary action against Officer Dante Servin, the officer that murdered 22-year old Rekia Boyd, it took Mayor Emanuel one day to fire former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy to save face after the cover up of Laquan McDonald’s murder. We are not fooled by promises of restorative justice from a punitive institution. We are not fooled by promises to increase transparency, when regardless, transparency does not matriculate into accountability. We are not fooled by promises of accountability, when the people are not given the power to control whether or not they want police in their neighborhoods and if so, how they want them to operate as public servants.

This movement against the brutality of CPD and the state has been and continues to be led by young Black people in BYP100, Assata’s Daughters, F.L.Y., Black Lives Matter Chicago, Let Us Breathe, Fight for 15 and countless others. They have done the work of supporting the families of those who have been victimized by CPD, holding their own trauma caused by state violence and building the legitimacy of this movement, but are still being ignored by this Taskforce report. Though the Taskforce lifts up that it’s very creation and the heightened visibility of police violence is due to, “a significant and historic outcry,” that “brought people into the streets, on social media and other venues,” it still failed to mention how, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s orders, CPD has been unconstitutionally surveilling the people who made it happen.

Be it IPRA to CPIA, or CAPS to CEED, the PATF report is filled with name-changes and more money for current programs and new programs that increase loopholes and bureaucracy and that the most vulnerable population, young Black people, did not ask for. The PATF said they listened, but in reality what they did was use rhetoric that looks good on paper, but is actually faulty in implementation and contrary to what Black communities have stated their needs are.

  • The community asked for a Civilian Police Accountability Council with hiring and firing power. PATF offered a “Community Safety Oversight Board” with audit and recommendation-making power only.

In response to protests against racial profiling and bias during “routine” stop-and-search and stop-and-frisk in the wake of statistics that show white drivers have illegal contraband twice as often as Black drivers, PATF recommended that CPD simply collect better data on investigatory stops and pat-downs. Essentially, PATF is saying the continuation of discriminatory stop-and-frisk is O.K., as long as detailed data is collected on each stop.

  • The community asked for less police and more public resources that are human-capital building, offer youth safe alternative activities, and treat those living with mental illnesses. PATF recommended departments deploy more police into communities, though 20% of Chicagoans and only 6% of Black people believe CPD treats all citizens fairly.

The youth of the community said they are afraid of police and are traumatized by their negative experiences with the police, and would call them last in case of an emergency. PATF offered up more and better training as a solution though only 6.7% of 12,000 officers actually complete the Youth-Crisis Intervention trainings they already have.

  • The community asked for police officers to be removed from schools to impair the school-to-prison pipeline. PATF disagrees with the community, and suggests that CPD officers that “fail expectations” in CPS schools should just be reassigned instead of being fired.

The community asked for mental health care centers and for mental health professionals to be first responders to domestic issues instead of police. PATF recommends instead that 911-dispatchers be trained to deploy CPD officers trained in Crisis Intervention, knowing that even these officers still have the ability to shoot, use tasers, and kill if they so choose, regardless of their expensive training.

  • The community asked to be humanized through restorative justice practices instead of harmful policing strategies that contribute to the mass incarceration of Black people.

PATF recommended that instead of paying the certified restorative justice practitioners already working in schools and communities across the city, more money be directed to train officers (who still have arresting power) in restorative justice.

BYP100 knows that policing is inherently tied to a system of anti-Blackness that criminalizes and dehumanizes Black and Brown people, and thus police cannot practice restorative justice because they are tied to punitive-action through their racist, oppressive state-sanctioned positions.

PATF claims that police officers are here to serve and protect all people in Chicago, but they recommend yet another level of bureaucracy be instituted through the appointment of an Inspector General of Public Safety. If police were actually protecting us instead of hurting us, then PATF wouldn’t have recommended this new position.

  • The community asked for a participatory budget where they can decide where and how they spend their tax dollars.

PATF instead uplifted CPD’s general order that, “…all persons in each area of the City share the common need for protection and service through objective and impartial law enforcement.” Prescribing police to communities by force should only be understood as an authoritarian response to a collective call for democracy. Rahm, Lori, and the PATF Board should not have the power to determine what each community’s needs are when the community knows the real solutions, but needs the resources to carry them out.

The major issue with the PATF report is that it develops new policies and reforms that have little likelihood of being successfully implemented. CPD already has multiple policies that supposedly protect the human rights of minorities and defend against ever-present racial bias, so changing the wording of a few of these policies will not change how police decide to carry on in their execution—a way that we know is racist, murderous and unchangeable without their complete elimination. PATF wants to funnel more money into CPD, though Chicago has already had to pay over $662 million on police misconduct settlements since 2004 and CPD already receives 41% of the City Budget. The Chicago Police Department does not deserve another dime of taxpayers dollars to harass, terrorize, brutalize and murder young Black youth.  Time and time again, CPD has shown, historically and currently, that it cannot be trusted to have positive reform or actually be effective in protecting people from inter-community violence. It is nothing less than ignorant to continue to fund and prioritize an ineffective system over reforms and resources that Black communities have actually demanded.

We must continue to see through the shady efforts of the PATF to pacify us and coddle us into dormancy. We will not be fooled nor shaken, and we will continue the work of organizing for authentic Black liberation from state-violence instead of accepting this diluted version PATF is offering us. We will not allow the biggest, most violent gang in the city—CPD, to continue to trick our people.

In The News

Protesters shut down meeting of Chicago police task force

Protesters Call CPD Task Force a Sham, Meeting Erupts in Chaos & Ends Early

Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens. We are an organization affiliated with the Black Youth Project.

www.byp100.org – @BYP_100 –  facebook.com/BYP100

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts