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Archive for May 19th, 2016

NAACP Files Lawsuit Over Flint Water Crisis

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on NAACP Files Lawsuit Over Flint Water Crisis

State officials, companies named in class action civil suit


BALTIMORE, Md.— Attorneys with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of people and businesses affected by the failure to provide safe drinking water to the city of Flint, Michigan.

The civil suit filed in U.S. District Court alleges that the state of Michigan, many city and state officials and two engineering firms hired to evaluate water quality in Flint failed to detect problems and properly treat water that caused extensive lead contamination in the city while Flint was under supervision of state-appointed emergency managers.

The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit include Flint residents and members of the local branch of the NAACP, whose national attorneys are working with the firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll of Washington, D.C. and the Houston-based firm of Susman Godfrey.

The complaint seeks property damages, pain and suffering damages, emotional distress damages, medical monitoring, and other injunctive relief for affected city residents and businesses to be determined by the court.

“The people of Flint have been harmed through the failure of state officials to provide professional and accountable basic services mandated by federal law and expected by any person living in a major city,” said Cornell William Brooks, the national president and CEO of the NAACP. “Our organization stands with the citizens of Flint to demand a clear timeline, deadline and price tag for fixing this crisis as well as effective remedies for the harms that have already occurred and complete compensation for each and every victim of this unimaginable tragedy.”

Governor Rick Snyder is named as an individual defendant in the suit, along with six former high-ranking officials with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and three men who were emergency managers during the prolonged exposure period. Two engineering firms hired to analyze water in the city, Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam Inc. and Veolia North America, also failed to satisfy their professional duties and affirmatively worsened the extent of the lead exposure, according to the complaint.

The 103-page complaint alleges that the officials and companies supervising the water system failed to properly treat the water supply for salt and other chemicals, which caused lead to leech from corroded pipes into the drinking water for years. Officials repeatedly denied and dismissed reports of poor water quality and pipe corrosion before acknowledging widespread failures to act.

The NAACP’s Flint Branch and Michigan State Conference have diligently worked over the last two years to inform the public about the poisoned water and its potential effects on city children and residents, and called for federal and state action to provide relief.

The NAACP and attorneys in the case are planning to host Town Hall meetings with residents in the near future in Flint to discuss further action.

With Voting Rights Restored, Former Richmond City Councilman Makes Moves to Run for Mayor

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on With Voting Rights Restored, Former Richmond City Councilman Makes Moves to Run for Mayor

By Hazel Trice Edney


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Former Richmond, Va. City Councilman Henry W. “Chuck” Richardson, who resigned from office after a non-violent drug conviction in 1995, was among the more than 200,000 people with felony records whose voting rights were recently restored by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.


Richardson, who served for 18 years after his election as a member of the city’s first majority Black City Council in 1977, says he is not only elated that his voting rights have been restored, but he is also circulating petitions to possibly run to become the city’s next mayor.


“I have now secured my declaration of candidacy form, filled out the necessary papers and I am getting petitions signed in order to qualify my candidacy for the mayorship of Richmond,” said Richardson in an interview this week.


Richardson is aware of an obscure Virginia law that prohibits anyone convicted of a drug offense from running for public office. However, the governor’s letter appears to give him explicit rights to run.


The May 12 letter to Richardson from McAuliffe says the governor has “restored his rights to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury and to be a notary public”. The restoration was effective April 22, 2016, according to the letter.


Richmond lawyer Vinceretta Taylor Chiles, who assisted Richardson and others in the voting rights restoration process, said while she has not researched the state law as it pertains to Richardson, the law appears to be problematic given the governor’s sweeping restorations.


She described the law as “arbitrary and capricious because why single drug offenders out opposed to people who are involved in other morally corrupt activity?” she asked. “You mean you can molest a child or sexually offend a child or get convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and that does not disqualify you from running for public office? My goodness.”


Richardson is not unfamiliar with the mayoral candidacy. He was nominated for the position in 1982 by then Councilwoman Caroline C. Wake, who was then one of four White members of the Council. At that time, the mayor was elected by the nine-member city council. However Richardson voted against himself that year; thereby thwarting the nomination. Richardson explained that he declined then because the other four votes would have come from the White members who he said was attempting to divide the five-member Black regime.


Richardson said the position was offered to him again by the Black members of council in 1994, but “the time wasn’t right.” In the early 90s, Richmond changed its City Charter to create an at large, city-wide elected mayor.


Richardson would enter a crowded non-partisan field of at least 17 other candidates for the position. The filing deadline is June 14.


“I had no intentions of running for the mayorship. But it seems to me that providence has come to bear on my life,” Richardson said. “In the moment of the mayorship’s ripeness, the governor has given me my rights back and, to me, it’s a message to say run Chuck run. The events are in the saddle and they ride mankind.”


Richardson, 68, said among his most prevalent issues will be running “an open government” with transparency so that citizens will always know what’s going on; a citizen-friendly City Hall; creating a city jobs bank and strengthening the city school budget process. He said he will also dispense of “wasteful spending” such as the heavy security detail employed by current Mayor Dwight Jones.


As the historically longest serving member of the Richmond City Council, Richardson said his legacy was always one “to get the job done. I worked hard and I was known to get the job done.”


Richardson credits his history as a decorated Marine machine gunner for his ability to work hard and remain focused on the tasks required by public service. However, it was also during his tour of Vietnam that he became addicted to heroin; an addiction that followed him on to City Council. Nevertheless, he continued to be re-elected even four times after he was convicted of possession of dangerous drugs – cocaine and heroin – in 1988.


He ultimately resigned in 1995 after delivering a small amount of cocaine to a personal friend, who turned out to be a police informant. When the informant gave him what Richardson said was a simple reimbursement, he was arrested and charged with cocaine dealing.


Twenty-one years later, Richardson says he is completely free of drugs and – with rights restored – is looking forward to the mayoral campaign.


Richardson said he doesn’t see his past as a stumbling block for a successful race and that he could even be an inspiration to young people.


“Young people should be inspired by my message about never giving up,” he said. “You can do a lot of things in life. You can have your falls, your ups and your downs. But, I am a testament to the fact that if you keep the faith and never give up, there is no telling what God has in store for you.”


Richardson stressed that despite his past troubles, he was always an extraordinary public servant as indicated by his repeated re-elections. He concludes, “Today, more than any other time in Richmond’s history, it needs a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine. It needs Chuck Richardson because I get the job done.”

Photo Caption: Henry W. “Chuck” Richardson


Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield Unveils New GAO Report on Modern-Day Segregation in Public Schools

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield Unveils New GAO Report on Modern-Day Segregation in Public Schools

Remarks by CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield at Press Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) gave remarks at a press conference to commemorate the 62nd Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and unveil a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on contemporary racial and socioeconomic segregation and disparities in K-12 public schools.  Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-03), along with retired Congressman George Miller, first requested this report in May 2014 to identify actions needed to reduce segregation and disparities in public schools.  The GAO gathered data from the U.S. Department of Education and found that inequities in public schools are the result of race, poverty, and housing segregation patterns.

Remarks by CBC Chairman Butterfield, as prepared for delivery, follow:

62 years ago today the Supreme Court took a monumental step to correct the precedent established in Plessy v. Ferguson of “separate but equal.” The landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision struck Plessy down and held that “separate was inherently unequal.”  At that time, segregation was the law and subjected generations of students of color to inferior education, dilapidated facilities, and significantly reduced resources in order to fulfill a racist and oppressive agenda.

After the Brown v. Board decision, it took years of resistance and federal action to integrate schools.  But now six decades later, we have seen public schools seemingly regress back to the segregated state we saw during the Jim Crow era.  Overt racism has now turned to institutional racism creating structural barriers that have countered the positive impact of the Brown v. Board decision. 

Racial and socioeconomic segregation in public schools has nearly doubled since 2000 and has occurred primarily in schools where more than 75 percent of the students are Black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced lunch.  What’s more alarming is that three out of five high-poverty schools have high concentrations of students of color.  Folks, there is a problem with our education system and we need to take immediate action to restore our promise to provide equal access to educational opportunity. 

The CBC has been fighting to address not only the racial wealth gap, but also the achievement and opportunity gaps that continue to widen.  These gaps pose dire economic consequences for communities of color—we must work to counter these disparities and also to address the school-to-prison pipeline which disproportionately affects African American students.  Friends, we have work to do.

I want to thank my colleagues Ranking Member John Conyers and Ranking Member Bobby Scott for their leadership in calling for this GAO report.  It will require deliberate decisions and efforts to achieve true equity in education and equality for all students in our schools.  I call on my colleagues in the House and the Senate to join us in our efforts to create better schools for our youth.

To learn more about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit http://cbc-butterfield.house.gov.

MPower Change Members Demonstrate at Southwest Airlines Shareholder Meeting

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on MPower Change Members Demonstrate at Southwest Airlines Shareholder Meeting

Demonstrators call on CEO Gary Kelly to respond and implement reforms at the airline in the wake of a trend of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incidents on Southwest Airlines flights


CHICAGO, IL – With Southwest Airlines unresponsive to weeks of community pressure, MPower Change members, along with supporters and allies, demonstrated  at the airline’s annual shareholder meeting at the Congress Plaza Hotel.


After a string of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incidents on Southwest flights, Arab, Muslim, and other communities, including South Asians and others often perceived as Muslim, have significant concerns about policies and practices at the airline. In several cases, passengers have been delayed, barred, or removed from Southwest flights, seemingly for no reason other than speaking Arabic or appearing to be Muslim. In a recent case, Southwest staff initially failed to detain a man after he assaulted a woman and pulled off her headscarf on a Southwest flight.


Demonstrators voiced concerns about whether customers of Arab, Muslim, or perceived Muslim backgrounds are safe on Southwest flights and called on CEO Gary Kelly to formally respond to community requests. Demonstrators also expressed solidarity with Southwest pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics, who were picketing outside the shareholder conference.


The demonstration follows an open letter issued by MPower Change and 40 organizations to Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, as well as an MPower Change petition that has gathered over 20,000 signatures.


Requests outlined in the petition and letter call for the airline to: apologize to affected passengers; review policies and standards for removing passengers from planes; and implement anti-bias training for front-line staff.


“While Southwest continues to ignore the growing outcry from Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities and allies, we continue to be concerned about our safety while flying with the airline. Shareholders and CEO Gary Kelly need to know: business as usual can’t continue while our communities are unsafe on Southwest flights,” said MPower Change Director Linda Sarsour.

MPower Change is a grassroots movement rooted in diverse Muslim communities throughout the United States who are working together to build social, spiritual, racial, and economic justice for all people.

State Senator Raoul Sponsors Elected School Board For Chicago

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on State Senator Raoul Sponsors Elected School Board For Chicago


“Chicago’s children deserve parity in funding and in democratic governance”


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) announced that he is sponsoring a plan to bring the Chicago Public Schools into line with every other district in Illinois by making its school board a democratically elected body. He will hold hearings in Chicago to gather input from parents and other community members to ensure fair representation in the transition to elections, which will first be held in 2018 if the measure becomes law.

“Chicago’s children deserve nothing less than full equality with the rest of the state – parity in funding and in democratic governance of their school district,” Raoul said. “It’s time to get this right, and I look forward to working with our parents and advocates to give CPS the government our schools so desperately need.”

House Bill 557 is currently under consideration in the Senate after passing in the House. Raoul expressed his intention today to hold open meetings this summer to hear from the public and work out details of the plan. Known for his ability to bring stakeholders together to achieve landmark reforms, including the abolition of the death penalty, the overhaul of workers’ compensation, landmark law enforcement reform and an open redistricting process that respects minority communities, Raoul looks forward to tackling the issue of CPS governance.

“The families who trust CPS with their children’s futures know our schools have entered trying times, and they rightly demand accountable leadership,” Raoul said. “Chicago should be a flagship, not an outlier, and thoughtful self-government can achieve this for the good of our children and our city.”

Rally Against Alderman Joe Moreno and Luxury Development May 21

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on Rally Against Alderman Joe Moreno and Luxury Development May 21

U.S. Attorneys Neronha and Huber Appointed to Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on U.S. Attorneys Neronha and Huber Appointed to Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the appointments of Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, and John Huber, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC), effective immediately.

“The Attorney General’s Advisory Committee plays a crucial role in shaping the Justice Department’s approach to fighting crime, countering national security threats and securing equal justice under the law and I am pleased to welcome two new members to its ranks,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “U.S. Attorneys John Huber and Peter Neronha have spent their careers tackling some of the most high-profile and difficult challenges we face, from political corruption and terrorism to gun violence and organized crime.  I have come to know them both as outstanding law enforcement officers and devoted public servants and I look forward to drawing upon their insight and expertise in the months to come as we continue our work to create a stronger, safer, and more equal nation for all Americans.”

U.S. Attorney Neronha will fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steven Dettelbach, who resigned on Feb. 5.

U.S. Attorney Huber will fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, Barry Grissom, who resigned on April 15.

U.S. Attorney Neronha was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 31, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 15, 2009, as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island.  In 2002, U.S. Attorney Neronha joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island.  As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he  prosecuted criminal cases involving political corruption, white collar crime, drug and firearm offenses.  When he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was named coordinator of the District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department of Justice initiative against gun crimes.  Prior to being named U.S. Attorney, he was Chief of the District’s Organized Crime Strike Force.  U.S. Attorney Neronha previously served on the AGAC during 2009-2011.

U.S. Attorney Huber was nominated by President Barack Obama on Feb. 4, 2015, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 10, 2015, as U.S. Attorney for Utah.  Prior to confirmation as the U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney Huber prosecuted a number of high profile federal cases and coordinated task forces that focused on violent crime and counter-terrorism.  He also served as chief of the National Security Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office before being asked to serve as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, a member of the office’s executive management team.

The AGAC was created in 1973 to serve as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys and to advise the attorney general on policy, management and operational issues impacting the offices of the U.S. Attorneys.

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted 2nd Annual Civic Engagement Day

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted 2nd Annual Civic Engagement Day

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted over 750 students at the Capitol for their 2nd Annual Civic Engagement Day. The event introduced youth to matters of government to promote the development and growth of future leaders.

Students met with legislators, presented their civic topics and learned about state government to prompt their civic engagement.

The  Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ 2nd Annual Civic Engagement Day was held
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at the Illinois State Capitol & Illinois State Fairgrounds, Illinois Building, beginning at 9:00 A.M.

Group A – Howlett Auditorium (on Capitol Complex) – Welcome, Roll Call and school spirit chant or song.

Group B – Rally at the Lincoln Statue located on the east side of Capitol complex in front of 2nd street. Student leaders present their civic topic & take a group photo with legislator.


10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.


Group A – Rally at the Lincoln Statue located on the east side of Capitol complex in front of 2nd street. Student leaders present their civic topic & take a group photo with legislator.

Group B – Howlett Auditorium (on Capitol Complex) – Welcome, Roll Call and school spirit chant or song.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lobby Legislators at the state Capitol/ Break


12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Lunch/Award Ceremony at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Illinois Building (801 E. Sangamon Ave, Springfield, IL 62706), State Farm Presentation



Two Illinois Students Selected for the First Class of U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on Two Illinois Students Selected for the First Class of U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education

A total of four Illinois high school seniors named 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Two Illinois high school students are among a group of 20 students selected nationwide as the first U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education (CTE).

A total of four Illinois students have been named to the 2016 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Sierra R. Day of Cerro Gordo High School and Madeline P. “Maddie” Poole of Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences were selected from 236 nominees in the 2016 inaugural category of Presidential Scholars in CTE. Sierra plans to attend Lake Land College in Mattoon, where she will be enrolled as an Agriculture Transfer student and member of the livestock judging team. She then plans to transfer to Iowa State University and major in Animal Sciences. Maddie plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and will major in Agriculture and Biological Engineering.

They will join Illinois’ two other honored scholars – Samuel H. Detmer of Walter Payton College Preparatory School in Chicago and Elizabeth H. Keller of Hinsdale Central High School – on an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., next month. Samuel will attend Harvard University after graduation while Elizabeth will attend Yale, where she plans to study Economics and Applied Math.

“Illinois is extremely excited and proud to have four graduating seniors who’ve earned one of the most prestigious honors a high school student can receive,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The fact that two of our students are among the elite first class of Presidential Scholars in CTE shows the tremendous value of high-quality CTE programs in our schools to prepare students to compete and thrive in the global marketplace.”                                                                                

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the country’s most distinguished graduating seniors. In 1979, the program was expanded to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts. Last summer, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to establish a U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE Program to honor up to 20 students each year on the basis of outstanding scholarship and demonstrated ability and accomplishment in career and technical education.

Each year, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects program scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Students may also qualify for the distinction through outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations from chief state school officers, and through other partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ competition.

The 2016 Presidential Scholars include one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE.

Each honored scholar will receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion during an award ceremony on June 19 in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, visit www.ed.gov/psp.

America’s Most Decorated Magician, Michael Dardant, Makes A Stop in Chicago At the Chicago Magic Lounge on Saturday, May 21, 2016

Posted by Admin On May - 19 - 2016 Comments Off on America’s Most Decorated Magician, Michael Dardant, Makes A Stop in Chicago At the Chicago Magic Lounge on Saturday, May 21, 2016

Internationally Award-Winning Magician and Comedian Michael Dardant makes one stop only at the Chicago Magic Lounge this Saturday, May 21, 2016.


For two decades, Michael has been an active force in several aspects of the entertainment industry. As an internationally award winning magician, comedian and emcee, he has been featured on stages across the globe accumulating an impressive client roster ranging from huge corporations to national sporting events.

Michael Dardant will take a break from his current “Lecture Tour of Middle Earth” to perform as the Featured Act on Saturday evening at the Chicago Magic Lounge located at 4707 North Broadway Street, Chicago, IL.

Michael Dardant Bio

Born in France, raised in South Louisiana, and finding his true home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this clever conjurer brings a lot to the table; including the silverware which often falls from his hat! His original style and creative effects are perfectly seasoned with a Cajun spice all his own, catching any crowd off guard with his engaging Southern charisma.

Recently, the world of magic witnessed a strive for stardom as New Orleans Comedy Magician, Michael Dardant, accumulated 20+ first place and championship awards in the last 2 years, making him, the most decorated magician in the United States and qualifying him for the World Championships of Magic, (FISM) in Italy, July 2015. The unique skill of sleight of hand combined with studies in improv comedy and various performance arts has also led to experience as a magic consultant. He has planned illusions for theater performances such as “Cats” and “Merlin”.

Michael choreographed magic routines for major box office films like “The Last Exorcism” and “The Lucky One” and had the pleasure of working with Master Pick Pocket, Apollo Robbins for the role of “Card Sharp” in the newest Will Smith movie, “Focus”.

About Michael Dardant:

Michael Dardant is an engaging and charismatic guest that audiences fall in love with at first look or listen. To book Michael for an interview, photo session or Q&A contact Shanna Forrestall or Becca Brubaker at lafilmresources@gmail.com or 310-744-1598 (Office).

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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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