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Archive for June 16th, 2016

Kirk, Nelson Introduce Legislation To Alert FBI If Terror Suspect Buys Guns

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced legislation to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a new tool to detect and prevent such attacks before they happen.

 

“Terrorists should not be able to buy weapons. And the FBI should be notified if a suspected terrorist buys a weapon.” said Senator Kirk. “This commonsense legislation equips the FBI with a new tool to stop threats on American lives.”

The Kirk-Nelson legislation ensures that any individual who is, or has been, investigated for possible ties to terrorism is entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  If and when a background check is conducted for a prospective gun buyer who is, or has been, investigated for potential ties to terrorism, the Kirk-Nelson bill would require that the NICS system automatically notify the appropriate division of the FBI.

The FBI conducts a background check for every gun purchase made through a federally-licensed dealer using NICS. The purpose of these checks is to screen potential buyers for felony convictions, mental illness, and a history of domestic violence or drug abuse.

 

The Kirk-Nelson bill would not automatically bar someone previously investigated for possible ties to terrorism from purchasing a firearm. It would, however, require that such individuals be entered into the NICS system and that the FBI be notified if any of those individuals attempt to purchase a firearm.

In addition to this legislation, Senator Kirk has expressed continued support for No Fly-No Buy measures that would prohibit known or suspected terrorists on government watch lists from purchasing firearms and explosives.

Text of the Kirk-Nelson Bill is available here.

NAM Editorial: Bring Back the Assault Weapons Ban

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Editorial: New America Media

There are moments when as a member of the ethnic press we must leverage our collective voice, to push our nation’s leaders to act in the interest of the communities we serve. This is one of those moments.

In the early morning of June 12, a gunman in Orlando, Florida entered a gay nightclub and massacred 49 people in what is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Most of the victims were still in the prime of their youth, individuals – many of them from the LGBTQ community – who represented the hopes and dreams of the diverse communities from which they came. Those dreams have now been cruelly snuffed out.

As the New York Times Editorial board put it, the United States is the only nation where the term “mass shooting” is preceded by the phrase “yet another.”

It need not be this way.

FBI authorities had tracked Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old Afghan American born in New York, months before the attack. He was nevertheless able to purchase a cache of weaponry including an AR15, an assault style rifle carried by members of the U.S. military, in the week prior to his killing spree.

The military-grade AR15 fires 800 rounds-per-minute or 13 rounds-per-second. The semi-automatic version carried by Mateen and other perpetrators of mass shootings has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds and can fire bullets as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger.

Assault style weapons like the AR15 have but one purpose, which is to kill en masse. They have no place on America’s streets.

Much has been made of Mateen’s professed allegiance to terror groups, his history of domestic violence, and his alleged homophobic leanings. All of these must be and indeed are being investigated as possible factors fueling his rampage.

But what made the Orlando tragedy all too possible – in fact likely – was the ease with which guns like the AR15 are bought and sold in this country.

Data show that up to a million AR15s are purchased every year by U.S. civilians. Estimates put the number of assault style weapons now in circulation as high as 8 million. A reporter in Philadelphia chronicled her experience in acquiring an AR15, noting it took all of 7 minutes between when she showed her driver’s license, passed her background check and walked out gun in hand.

Prior to Orlando, the AR15 – which the NRA has dubbed “America’s Gun” – was used by shooters in San Bernardino, California (14 dead, 22 wounded); Newtown, Connecticut (26 dead, 2 wounded); and Aurora, Colorado (12 dead, 70 wounded).

“We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents,” said President Obama in televised remarks Tuesday. The president angrily noted that individuals who can be placed on a no fly list are able to purchase the kind of weaponry one normally associates with a war zone.

While an assault weapons ban will not prevent future tragedies, and while it will not address the daily violence that is a tragic hallmark for far too many Americans, it will help begin to turn the bloody tide of mass shootings that is all too quickly becoming the norm in this country.

Such bans already exist in California and several other states, though the lack of similar bans in neighboring states undermines efforts to curb their presence.

Which is why action is needed at the federal level.

Already leaders in Congress, including California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, are beginning to call for a return of the 1994 ban on assault weapons sales that was allowed to expire in 2004.

New America Media, which for more than two decades has worked with ethnic media to highlight the issues most important to America’s diverse communities, supports these efforts. We call on our leaders in Washington on both sides of the political aisle to come together and act now to pass sensible gun control legislation that removes these weapons of terror from our streets.

Members of the CBC Stand in Support of Senate Democrats & Senator Chris Murphy in Filibuster for Commonsense Gun Violence Legislation

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) and members of the CBC joined in support of current efforts by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (CT) and Senate Democrats to pressure Republicans to address gun violence in America.

“The CBC joins our colleagues and Senator Chris Murphy to say ‘enough is enough’ in response to gun violence in communities across the country,” said Chairman Butterfield.  “It will require each of us to work together, Republicans and Democrats, to address the epidemic of gun violence that continues to destroy families and sends shockwaves through our neighborhoods.  Now is the time for commonsense solutions to guns in America.”

“The Orlando shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history.  Our country’s future depends on the important discussion taking place on the Senate floor on how we address our gun violence epidemic,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly.  “It’s a conversation that I have been committed to pushing to the forefront in the House and I commend Sen. Murphy for forcing the issue in the Senate and for taking a stand for the right of all Americans to live free from the threat of gun violence.  Saving American lives should be at the top of Congress’ agenda.”

“Hate crimes in America far too often involve the use of guns or firearms accessed by those already suspected of terrorist activity,” said Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence.  “We must strengthen our laws to protect all Americans from the painful crimes of mass gun violence.  I stand with Senator Murphy and my fellow Democrats in the Senate and request swift action in the House to combat the horrific attacks of gun violence in America.  We must never forget the impact of gun violence in Urban America.  The thousands of senseless deaths in America must come to an end.”

New Report by the Sentencing Project, “The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons”, Finds That African Americans are Incarcerated in State Prisons Across the Country at More Than Five Times the Rate of Whites

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

From: Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Project logo
Dear Friends,

I’m pleased to share with you a new study on race and incarceration by The Sentencing Project. The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, authored by Ashley Nellis, finds that African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites.

 

New Jersey tops the nation in terms of disparity in its incarceration rates, with a black/white ratio of more than 12 to 1. Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont follow closely behind, incarcerating African Americans at more than 10 times the rate of whites. Even states with the lowest black incarceration rates report higher figures than states with the highest white incarceration rates.

 

Hispanics are incarcerated nationally in state facilities at a rate that is 1.4 times the rate for non-Hispanic white­s, but at a much higher rate in Massachusetts (4.3), Connecticut (3.9), Pennsylvania (3.3), and New York (3.1). In raw numbers, Hispanic incarceration is highest in border and southwestern states.

 

The report identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment: criminal justice policies and practices, implicit bias, and structural disadvantages. Combined or separately, these pervade the criminal justice system and undermine support for law enforcement in neighborhoods where it often is most needed, tarnishing the credibility of the legal system across the country.

Regards,

Marc Mauer

 

 

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Stands Against Senseless Violence in Orlando & Reaffirms its Promise to Care for Communities

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Jonathan A. Mason

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., has issued the following statement:

“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated stands in solidarity with the community of Orlando, Florida, and our country, as we mourn the tragic act of violence during which at least 100 people were shot, and 49 of those victims were brutally murdered on Sunday, June 12, 2016. Once again, our country is face to face with the realities of how to effectively address the issues of differences between races, religions and those whom society deems different, as well as what to do about the issue of gun ownership. This horrendous attack upon the LGBT community is more than a reminder that we must change our approaches to these issues – it is a clarion call to action!”

“There are no words which can adequately describe the pain inflicted upon the victims of this latest act of destruction and their families; there is nothing which can provide logical answers as to why someone believes it is their right to destroy others in response to what they personally believe.”

“We live in a country founded upon the principles that each of its citizens is endowed with certain unalienable rights . . .life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, there are those who believe it appropriate to deny certain members of our society these God-given rights.”

“Now is not the time for complacency; the future of our country is affected by the intolerance of a few who believe it to be their right to destroy anyone and everyone who dont share their ideas and beliefs. As members of this Fraternity, we will not be interpreted as supporting such ideology, especially by being silent. We continue to answer the call to build on the legacy begun by our Founders, to promote the building of better communities through positive action.”

“As a fraternity founded on the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service, we are called upon to stand up and speak out on the issues which affect all of us. We must strengthen our commitment to working for better, safer and stronger communities. I ask you to join us in supporting the city of Orlando, Florida as it works to become stronger and better in spite of this tragedy. Prayer is always in order. We all must follow those prayers with actions to make a difference in our communities and our world.”
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated is one of nine predominantly African American Greek-Lettered organizations, founded on January 9, 1914 at Howard University. Its Founders believed in the principles of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service, which are exhibited in the Fraternity motto Culture for Service and Service for Humanity. Phi Beta Sigma has a membership of over 150,00 men in over 750 chapters throughout the continental United States, Africa, Asia and Europe. For more details, visit www.phibetasigma1914.org

 

Photo Caption: Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

 

Tom Joyner Foundation Leads Delegation of HBCU Presidents on Mission to Havana, Cuba to Explore Global Exchange and Research

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Tom Joyner, chairman and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO, led a group of HBCU presidents to Havana, Cuba for a historic series of meetings.

Tom Joyner in Havana, Cuba

Dallas, TX (BlackNews.com) — Tom Joyner, chairman of the Dallas-based nonprofit that helps support historically black colleges and universities, led a historic trip to Havana, Cuba where he led a group of HBCU presidents who explored global exchange and research opportunities for students and faculty in Cuba.

Joyner, the nationally syndicated radio personality, and his son, Thomas Joyner, Jr., the foundations president and CEO, lead the four-day mission that took place from May 28 to June 1. Presidents of the following HBCUs participated: John Rudley, Ph.D., Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas; Raymond Burse, Ph.D., Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky.; Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, Ph.D., Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D. Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C.; and Lester Newman, Jr., Ph.D., Jarvis Christian University, Hawkins, Texas. Michael O. Adams, Ph.D., director, Executive Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Administration also participated. Texas Sen. Royce West, a member of the Foundations board, also joined the delegation. During a series of presentations, conversations and meetings, the group visited with representatives from the Ministry of Education, the University of Havana and the Superior Polytechnic School Institute.

This trip was a major step forward in helping these HBCUs learn about how they could play a role in the new Cuba, said Thomas Joyner, Jr., president and CEO of the Foundation. I think the representatives of these schools picked up some very valuable information that theyll be able to use to create some new opportunities for their students and faculty.

Joyner said he is in the midst of planning a second mission to Cuba in the fall. The participants of the program said the experience offered them firsthand experience of what is going on in Cuba.

“It’s important for us to partner with your education system, providing opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, James-Hammond said. The more knowledge we have about Cuba, the more we can build relationships. It is better when we personally try to understand each other rather than relying solely on the media or what we hear about Cuba.”

Jarvis Christians Newman added, This venture was truly a learning experience. It brought to light the impact of the trade embargo on the Cuban culture and lives of the Cuban people. Shaws Dubroy said, One of Shaw University’s goals is to strengthen the collegiate journey by exposing our students to the positive aspects of multi-cultural experiences. Partnering with countries like Cuba in a global exchange program will heighten the authenticity of our academic programs.

HBCU participants interested in traveling will have to pay their own round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport. Once in Havana, Joyner and Cuban experts lead the administrators and educators in a series of interactive discussions and tours.

For media interviews, contact Neil Foote, media relations, Tom Joyner Foundation, neil.foote@tomjoynerfoundation.org. For more information about participating in the mission, email the Tom Joyner Foundation, tjf@tomjoynerfoundation.org, 972-789-1058.

 

Photo Credit: Maggie Kloss/Maggie Kloss Photography

 

 

Young Organizers, Activists of Chicago Votes Celebrate Automatic Voter Registration Friday, June 17th at 7 P.M.

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL –  On Friday, June 17th, Chicago Votes will be hosting “Automate It: Chicago Votes’ in Celebration of Automatic Voter Registration” from 7PM-10PM at NYCH Gallery in Pilsen, 634 W. 18th St. Tickets can be purchased online.

On May 31, the Illinois General Assembly passed SB 250, also known as Automatic Voter Registration, with bipartisan super majorities. Sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), the bill reforms current registration laws so that when an eligible Illinois resident receives services at a designated state agency such as Drivers Services, he or she will be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out.

The fundraiser celebration will highlight local businesses: Oxtail Filipino Inspired, Revolution Brewery, and Warrior Vodka, performances by local artists, testimonies from Chicago Votes’ young organizers who advocated for Automatic Voter Registration, and appearances by Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers, and Illinois Representative Robyn Gabel. The event is open to the public, and is non-partisan in nature. For more information, see the event’s Facebook page.

It is projected that the Automatic Voter Registration process could add over 2 million voters to the roster over several years. The bill is now moving to Governor Rauner’s desk for his signature. Instrumental in the effort to pass the bill was the Just Democracy Coalition – a group of non-partisan, non-profit organizations dedicated to democratic policy reform – of which Chicago Votes is a member.

“Young people from all communities across the state will benefit from a modern electronic voter registration system that saves the state time and money and makes our voter rolls more accurate. We want to see the world’s greatest democracy live to its fullest potential and we’re moving closer to that,” said Chicago Votes executive director Christian Diaz.

Chicago Votes engages young Chicagoans, specifically those from underrepresented communities, in the civic process – focusing specifically on voter registration, leadership training/education, and legislative issue campaigns committed to voter modernization and campaigns that amplify the voices of young people.

NAACP’s Khyla D. Craine Named as One of National Bar Association’s “Top 40 Under 40” Advocates

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE – NAACP Assistant General Counsel Khyla D. Craine has been chosen as a recipient of the National Bar Association’s (NBA) “Top 40 Under 40 Advocates,” an annual award recognizing the nation’s top young lawyers who exemplify a broad range of high achievement in the legal field, including social advocacy, innovation, vision, leadership and overall legal and community involvement.

“Khyla truly exemplifies the diligence, expertise, and work ethic needed to achieve the goals and socially-conscious endeavors of the NAACP,” said Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO. “As President of the NAACP college chapter at South Carolina State, youth representative on the NAACP National Youth Works Committee and as a 2011 NAACP Kellogg Law Fellow, her long and passionate commitment to the NAACP and civil rights advocacy is an invaluable asset to the Association. We are proud of this recognition of her outstanding work and appreciate the hope and enthusiasm she embodies as a member of the next generation of civil rights leaders.”

“Khyla is a superstar civil rights lawyer whose commitment to the cause of equality is obvious to everyone who works with her,” said Bradford Berry, NAACP General Counsel. “She is a tremendous asset to the NAACP Legal Department and is entirely deserving of this high honor.”

As an attorney and activist, Khyla seizes every opportunity to engage her peers and advocate for youth involvement in civil rights and the NAACP.  A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Khyla is a graduate of Howard University School of Law and South Carolina State University.  As an undergraduate student at South Carolina State University, she was known for being politically and socially active and for encouraging her fellow students to be engaged citizens.  While at Howard Law, Khyla focused on civil rights and non-profit work while interning with the U.S. Department of Justice–Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

In May 2014, Khyla delivered the keynote address at The Maryland State Bar Association and the Citizenship-Law Related Education Program’s annual Law Day conference – an event aimed at bringing students from across the state together to educate and inspire them in participating in the democratic process.  Additionally, she has taken part in events sponsored by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Howard University School of Law, and the National Bar Association – for which she also currently is Chair-Elect of the Young Lawyers’ Division (NBA YLD).

As counsel in the NAACP’s legal department, she travels across the nation as a guest speaker and panelist on a wide range of socially-conscious topics, including voting rights, criminal justice, police brutality, community participation and engagement, and Stand Your Ground Laws.

Recipients of the National Bar Association’s 40 Under 40 Awards will be honored at a special celebration on July 18 during the association’s 91st Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO.

Early Black Chicago: New Research Points to Age of Intellectualism Taking Root Before Great Depression

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Historians to discuss findings of two-year National Endowment for the Humanities project at Roosevelt University on June 26

A national research project led by noted Black Chicago historian Christopher R. Reed at Roosevelt University is turning back the hands of time on the rise of arts, culture and intellectualism in Chicago’s African American community.

While historians have long assumed Chicago’s Black Renaissance began with novelist Richard Wright and poet Gwendolyn Brooks around the time of the Great Depression, Reed and a team of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) researchers have traced the rise in Black Chicago’s arts and cultural scene to the late 19th century.

“There’s been an assumption that intellectualism among African Americans in Chicago was rare prior to the Depression, but we have found ample evidence of a black arts community being active nearly 50 years earlier,” said Reed.

Findings from the NEH project “Root, Branch and Blossom: Social Origins of Chicago’s New Negro Artists and Intellectualism,” which began in January 2014, will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26 in Roosevelt’s 10th floor library, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Among groundbreaking discoveries, research shows African Americans in Chicago were patrons of the arts prior to Chicago’s Black Renaissance, which historians have dated from 1932-1950.

“Not only did we  find evidence of affluent African American patrons of the arts, for instance, having their portraits painted 100 years ago; we also have been able to document that members of Chicago’s black working class supported the arts back then,” said Reed.

Featuring the stories of African Americans engaged in art, music and literature in Chicago from 1890 to 1930, the project presentation at Roosevelt is the culmination of many hours of interviews as well as research in archives all over the nation.

Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences and the region’s Black Chicago History Forum. The final public forum being held in conjunction with the NEH project, the event includes presentations by Reed and team researchers Richard A. Courage and Claudia Jacques.

Wrapping up in 2017, the NEH project also will include a written report, a book to be published by University of Illinois Press on the roots of African American culture in Chicago during the early 20th century and a public web site about the period’s African American intellectual and artistic figures and their work.

Cook County Bond Refunding Creates Millions in Long-Term Savings

Posted by Admin On June - 16 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Considerable investor interest credited to fiscal responsibility and strong management

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that a bond refinancing priced this week will garner $56.6 million in reduced interest cost savings over the next 15 years when measured in today’s dollars.

The refinancing generated intense interest from more than 50 institutional investors across the country following recent positive news from the three major bond rating agencies that highlighted the County’s strong management and willingness to confront its fiscal challenges

All three major ratings agencies — Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s — upgraded the County’s bond rating outlook to stable last week, recognizing County efforts to create financial stability and confront its legacy liabilities.  The agencies recognized the County’s efforts to confront the growing burden related to its unfunded pension liabilities as a stabilizing credit factor.

The bond market’s view of the County’s General Obligation credit spread – the interest cost above the tax exempt benchmark interest cost for a AAA bond — peaked shortly after the Supreme Court invalidated SB 1 and the associated state pension reforms that affected the market’s view of all bond issuers in the Illinois.  At that time, trading activity indicated a full 2% higher interest rate for County bonds versus AAA tax exempt bonds in June of 2015.

However with this week’s sale, the market cut the County’s credit spread in half from its peak a year ago.  This change generated $23.5 million of the $56.6 million in reduced interest costs from the refinancing, specifically attributed to credit improvements driven by Cook County’s one percent sales tax increase and the determination of President Preckwinkle and supportive commissioners to begin addressing the unfunded liabilities associated with the Pension Fund.

The remaining savings were generated by market timing as the County priced its offering during a week when the 10-year tax exempt municipal benchmark hit the second lowest value on record.  Ironically, the only week when interest rates were lower was in late 2012, the last time the County sold a sizeable bond offering.

“We received a great deal of interest from investors due to our willingness to face our challenges and stabilize our long-term financial position,” Preckwinkle said. “The bond market is recognizing our significant efforts to responsibly confront the Pension Fund’s unfunded liabilities.”
The refinanced bonds were subject to an average interest cost of 4.83%. Following the transaction, the new bonds will have a blended cost of 3.16%. This is expected to provide reduced interest cost savings of approximately $56.6 million in measured in today’s dollars (on a “net present value” basis) which the County will deploy to future years to manage its budget responsibly not just today, but in the years to come.

“Refinancing these bonds was a fiscally prudent measure that will provide important savings to Cook County,” Preckwinkle added. “Through our efforts to promote fiscal responsibility and the resulting interest from the bond market, we were able to save millions on interest costs and better manage our legacy debt. We will continue looking for financially responsible opportunities to reduce costs to taxpayers and encourage long-term stability.”

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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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