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Archive for July 14th, 2016

Electronics Smuggler Sentenced – Sensitive Equipment Illegally Exported to Russia

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

For more than six years, a New Jersey man who owned four microelectronics export companies skirted U.S. export laws enacted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). These laws are in place to help protect U.S. national security and make sure that items made in the U.S. don’t help strengthen another country’s military without proper licensing and careful consideration.

Alexander Brazhnikov, Jr., a 36-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Russia, admitted that, between January 2008 and June 2014, he smuggled $65 million worth of sensitive electronics components from the U.S. to Russia, where much of it eventually ended up in the hands of Russia’s Ministry of Defense and Federal Security Service.

In June 2015, Brazhnikov plead guilty in federal court—after a multiagency investigation by the FBI, the Department of Commerce, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—to the smuggling charges and to a charge of conspiring to commit money laundering to hide the illegal proceeds of his criminal activities. According to then-Newark FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel, Brazhnikov “significantly undermined the national security of the national security of the U.S.” and “enhanced the capabilities of both the Russian Military Service and the Russian Nuclear Weapons Program.” Last month, he was sentenced to more than five years in prison.

Investigators believe that Brazhnikov conspired with his father, Alexander Brazhnikov, Sr., owner of a Moscow-based procurement firm who brokered the purchasing of electronics components from U.S. vendors and manufacturers for their clients, mostly Russian defense contractors licensed to procure parts for the Russian military, security service, and other entities involved in the design of nuclear weapons and tactical platforms.

The case began in 2012, when another Bureau field office—investigating a similar matter—sent a lead to the Newark FBI Office concerning one of Brazhnikov’s companies. Joining forces with Commerce and DHS, investigators began looking into Brazhnikov and his New Jersey companies. Through a variety of investigative methods, including following the money trail, here’s what they found:

Brazhnikov received requests for certain electronics components from co-conspirators in Russia. Funds for those components were deposited into Russian bank accounts, transferred to the offshore bank accounts of dozens of shell companies created specifically to facilitate the movement of the money and to hide its origin, and then shifted to U.S. bank accounts controlled by Brazhnikov and his companies.

Using the money from these bank accounts, he would place orders for the electronics components he needed with U.S. manufacturers and vendors. But because of U.S. export laws, he knew that many of these components—having to do with areas like advanced communications, avionics, weapons testing, and encryption applications—would have been denied export to Russia’s military and security services. So after receiving the components (often misleading the manufacturers and vendors about his intentions), he purchased and repackaged the goods for their journey to Russia. Brazhnikov also intentionally misled the shipping companies he dealt with by undervaluing the cost of what he was shipping and directing that the shipments be sent to front addresses in Russia—all in an effort to evade the legal requirements of obtaining the proper export permissions from the Department of Commerce.

Once the items were delivered in Russia, they were rerouted by members of the Moscow-based conspiracy to their true destination. Brazhnikov was responsible for more than 1,900 illegal shipments like this.

The FBI and its federal partners take safeguarding our national security very seriously—no matter what form those threats take—and we will continue to vigorously and lawfully investigate anyone whose criminal activities threaten that security.

Source: FBI

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Work to Create Bipartisan Group on Policing Strategies to Address Gun Violence in America

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C.CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) issued the following statement after CBC Member discussions with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lead to the creation of a bipartisan working group to address police relations in the African American community.

“Last week was exceedingly sad as we as a nation watched in horror the senseless murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five Dallas police officers,” said Chairman Butterfield. “Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have long called for legislation to address gun violence in America, and over the past week, we met with House Republican leadership and encouraged a bipartisan working group to examine police accountability, community relations among law enforcement, and public safety concerns.

“Racial tensions among the police and African American community must be addressed, and as members of Congress, we must act and find a workable legislative solution that addresses the issue of community relations with law enforcement in the hope of preventing more senseless killings in America.”

The bipartisan working group will be led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and will include CBC Members Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Republican Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Doug Collins (R-GA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Will Hurd (R-TX).

President Obama Announces Key Administration Post, More Posts, Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:

  • Constance Smith Barker – Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:

Constance Smith Barker, Nominee for Member, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Constance Smith Barker is currently serving her second term as Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Prior to her initial appointment in 2008 and re-appointment by in 2011, Ms. Barker was a shareholder at the law firm of Capell & Howard, P.C. in Montgomery, Alabama.  Prior to that, Ms. Barker was General Counsel to the Mobile County Public School System.  She also previously served as a part-time municipal judge for two municipalities in Mobile County, Alabama and was active in Mobile County’s juvenile justice system.  Ms. Barker began her legal career as a criminal prosecutor for the State of Alabama as an Assistant District Attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit, and later for the 13th Judicial Circuit.  In 2007, she was awarded the Alabama State Bar’s Award of Merit for outstanding service to the legal profession.  Ms. Barker served as President of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra in 2001.  She received a B.A. from Notre Dame University and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.


President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts


President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Janette L. Dates – Member, Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Mary Ellen Barbera – Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • John D. Minton, Jr. – Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
  • Joseph R. Donovan, Jr. – Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia, Department of State
  • Pepón Osorio – Member, National Council on the Arts
  • John A. Herrera – Member, National Credit Union Administration Board
  • Grant T. Harris – Member, United States Institute of Peace Board

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • David Chard – Member, National Board for Education Sciences
  • Larry Hedges – Member, National Board for Education Sciences
  • Jeannie Oakes – Member, National Board for Education Sciences
  • Michael B. Filler – Member, National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations
  • Cindy Simon Skjodt – Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council

President Obama said, “I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service.I look forward to working with them.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Dr. Jannette L. Dates, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Dr. Jannette L. Dates is the Dean Emerita of the Howard University School of Communications, a position she has held since 2012.Dr. Dates served as Dean of the Howard University School of Communications from 1996 to 2012, Acting Dean from 1993 to 1996, and Associate Dean from 1987 to 1992, having first joined the University as an Assistant Professor in 1981.She was a Freedom Forum Media Studies Center Fellow at Columbia University from 1992 to 1993, an Associate Professor at Coppin State College from 1985 to 1987, and an Assistant Professor at Morgan State University from 1977 to 1980. Dr. Dates was Anchor and Co-Producer for the series The Negro in U.S. History from 1973 to 1974, and Producer, Writer, and Anchor on the weekly television program North Star from 1972 to 1973.She served as a member of the Baltimore Mayor’s Cable Communication Commission from 1990 to 1994. Dr. Dates was first appointed to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2013.Dr. Dates received a B.S. from Coppin State College, an M.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mary Ellen Barbera, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
Mary Ellen Barbera is Chief Judge Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, a position she has held since 2013.She was appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2008 for the Seventh Appellate Judicial Circuit, Montgomery County.Prior to that, she served as a Judge for the Maryland Court of Special Appeals from 2002 to 2008.From 1998 to 2002, she served as Deputy Legal Counsel and then Legal Counsel in the Office of the Maryland Governor.Previously, Ms. Barbera was Deputy Chief of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division from 1989 to 1998 and an Assistant Attorney General from 1985 to 1989.Ms. Barbera is an Adjunct Faculty Member at the American University Washington College of Law.In 1998, she was awarded the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Outstanding Teaching by an Adjunct Faculty Member Award.Ms. Barbera was Chair of the Judicial Institute of Maryland’s Board of Directors and a Member of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission from 2009 to 2014. She has served as Chair of the Maryland Judicial Conference since 2013.Ms. Barbera received a B.S. from Towson State College and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

John D. Minton, Jr., Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute
John D. Minton, Jr. is Chief Justice of Kentucky, a position he has held since 2008.He has served on the Kentucky Supreme Court since 2006.Previously, Mr. Minton served as a Judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2006.From 1992 to 2003, he was a Circuit Judge in Kentucky’s Eighth Judicial Circuit. From 1996 to 2003, he also served as Chief Administrative Judge for the 21-county Green River Region.He is currently a Member and President-Elect of the Conference of Chief Justices.He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts.Mr. Minton received a B.A. from Western Kentucky University and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia, Department of State
Joseph R. Donovan Jr., a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Managing Director of the Washington Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, a position he has held since 2014.Previously, Mr. Donovan served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon from 2012 to 2014, Associate Professor at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. from 2011 to 2012, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State from 2009 to 2011.He was the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2009, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2005 to 2008, and Director of the Department of State’s Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs from 2003 to 2005.Prior to that, Mr. Donovan was Political Section Chief at the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan from 2000 to 2003 and Political/Military Unit Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 1997 to 2000.Earlier assignments in the Foreign Service include posts in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Qatar.Before joining the Foreign Service, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Seoul, South Korea.Mr. Donovan received a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an M.A. from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Pepón Osorio, Nominee for Member, National Council on the Arts
Pepón Osorio is a Laura Carnell Professor of Community Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, a position he has held since 2004. Mr. Osorio is a visual artist with a number of installations featured in galleries, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio,and Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.In 1999, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.Mr. Osorio received a B.S. from the City University of New York, Herbert H. Lehman College and an M.A. from Columbia University.

John A. Herrera, Nominee for Member, National Credit Union Administration Board
John A. Herrera is the Senior Vice President for Latino and Hispanic Affairs at Self-Help, a nonprofit community development financial institution, a position he has held since 1999.From 2003 to 2010, he served as a Commissioner for the North Carolina Credit Union Commission.He was twice elected as a Town Alderman in Carrboro, North Carolina in 2001 and 2005.Mr. Herrera has served on the Board of the Latino Community Development Center in Durham, North Carolina since 2001 and also cofounded the state-charted Latino Community Credit Union in 2000. Mr. Herrera received a B.S. from the University of Delaware and an M.S. from North Carolina State University.

Grant T. Harris Nominee for Member, United States Institute of Peace Board
GrantT.Harrisis the Chief Executive Officer at Harris Africa Partners LLC, a position he has held since 2015.Mr. Harris wasSpecial Assistant to the President andSenior Director for African Affairson the National Security Council stafffrom2011 to 2015.Heserved at the U.S. Mission to the United Nationsas Deputy Chief of Staffand Counselorfrom 2010 to 2011 and asaSeniorPolicy Advisorfrom 2009 to 2010.From 2005 to 2009,Mr. Harris wasan attorney at ClearyGottlieb Steenand Hamilton LLP.Hepreviously served in theAfrican AffairsDirectorate ofthe National Security Councilstafffrom 2000 to 2001,andat the U.S. Mission to the United Nationsfrom 1999 to 2000.Mr. Harris received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.P.A. from Princeton University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Dr. David Chard, Appointee for Member, National Board for Education SciencesDr. David Chard is the President of Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts, a position he has held since July 2016. He was the Leon Simmons Endowed Dean and a Professor at the Southern Methodist University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development from 2007 to 2015.Dr. Chard served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Special Education at the University of Oregon from 2003 to 2005.He also served as Associate Dean of the College of Education at the University of Oregon from 2005 to 2007, Director of Middle-Secondary Education at the University of Oregon from 2000 to 2003, and Director of Research and Evaluation of the Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts from 1997 to 2000.From 1986 to 1990, Dr. Chard served as a classroom teacher for the Peace Corps in Lesotho, Africa.He has served on a number of boards supporting high quality educational opportunities for children, including the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, the American Mathematical Association, and President for the Division for Research and the Division for Learning Disabilities at the Council for Exceptional Children.Dr. Chard received a B.S.from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.

Dr. Larry Hedges, Appointee for Member, National Board for Education Sciences
Dr. Larry Hedges is a Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics and Social Policy at Northwestern University, a position he has held since 2005.Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, he was a faculty member in the Department of Education at the University of Chicago from 1980 to 2005, where he was named the Stella M. Rowley Distinguished Service Professor. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Statistical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Educational Research Association.He is also a former President of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness.He was elected 2013-2014 Statistician of the Year by the Chicago chapter of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Hedges received a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Dr. Jeannie Oakes, Appointee for Member, National Board for Education Sciences
Dr. Jeannie Oakes is a Senior Fellow in Residence at the Learning Policy Institute, a position she has held since its founding in 2015.Prior to this, she served as Director of Educational Opportunity and Scholarship at the Ford Foundation and Presidential Professor in Educational Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.At UCLA, Dr. Oakes directed the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access and the University of California’s All Campus Consortium on Research. She is the author of Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality.Dr. Oakes is the recipient of the California Educational Research Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s Margaret Lindsey Research Award, the National Association for Multicultural Education’s Multicultural Research Award, the Educational Press Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Ralph David Abernathy Award for Community Service.She is also immediate past President of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the National Academy of Education. Dr. Oakes received a B.A. from San Diego State University, an M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles.

Michael B. Filler, Appointee for Member, National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations
Michael B. Filler is the Director of the Public Services Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), a role he has held since 2010.He was appointed by President Obama to the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations in 2010 and again in 2012.Previously, Mr.Filler was Associate Director of the Public Services Division from 2006 to 2009, and Associate Director of the Teamsters Education Department from 2003 to 2005.Before joining IBT, Mr. Filler was an official at the National Treasury Employees Union from 1985 to 1997, a 12 year tenure that included the positions of Director of Negotiations, Northeast Regional Director, and National Field Representative.From 1976 to 1985, Mr. Filler worked at the Federal Election Commission, first as a Reports Analyst and then as a Branch Chief.He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Public Sector Industry Council of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.Mr. Filler received a B.A. from American University.

Cindy Simon Skjodt, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Cindy Simon Skjodt is the Chairman and Founder of the Samerian Foundation, Inc., a position she has held since 2003.Ms. Simon Skjodt is also Chair of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and Vice Chair of the Pacers Foundation, positions she has held since 2014 and 2011 respectively.She serves on the Board of Directors of Riley’s Hospital for Children Foundation, Indiana University Foundation, Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention, and the Advisory Board for Schools on Wheels – Indianapolis.In 2014, she was named Leading Philanthropist of the Year by Indiana University. Ms. Simon Skjodt received a B.A. from Indiana University and an M.S. from Butler University.

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate


Mary Ellen Barbera, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2018, vice Jonathan Lippman, term expired.

Constance Smith Barker, of Alabama, to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a term expiring July 1, 2021.  (Reappointment)

Jannette Lake Dates, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a term expiring January 31, 2022.  (Reappointment)

Joseph R. Donovan, Jr., of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Indonesia.

Grant T. Harris, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace for a term of four years, vice John A. Lancaster, term expired.

John A. Herrera, of North Carolina, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board for a term expiring April 10, 2021, vice Deborah Matz, resigned.

John D. Minton, Jr., of Kentucky, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2016, vice James R. Hannah.

Benjamin Osorio, of Pennsylvania, to be a Member of the National Council on the Arts for a term expiring September 3, 2022, vice Maria Rosario Jackson, term expiring.

Chicago City Council Violates Illinois Open Meetings Act; Activists Sue City Council

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Activists to Sue City Council. State Law Says Meetings Must Be Open to the General Public and Decisions Made at Closed Meetings Could Be Voided
A Press conference will be held today in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th Floor, to discuss a new lawsuit against the Chicago City Council for barring the general public from its meetings of the full Council and barring public comment at same.
Activists have documented that at the start of the May and June meetings of the City Council, no members of the general public were allowed inside despite being first in line to attend an hour and a half before the meetings were set to begin. Instead, numerous apparent guests and employees of the Council and/or Mayor were allowed to “jump the line” and occupy the chamber, effectively barring the general public.
While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged “the most open, accountable, and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen,” activists with decades of experience in attending City Council meetings note that under Mayor Emanuel, the council meetings are even less accessible than under Richard M. Daley.
The Open Meetings Act states that “[C]itizens shall be given advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way… The provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.” 5 ILCS 120, Sec. 1
“The court, having due regard for orderly administration and the public interest, as well as for the interests of the parties, may grant such relief as it deems appropriate, including granting a relief by mandamus requiring that a meeting be open to the public, granting an injunction against future violations of this Act, ordering the public body to make available to the public such portion of the minutes of a meeting as is not authorized to be kept confidential under this Act, or declaring null and void any final action taken at a closed meeting in violation of this Act.” Sec. 3. (c)
Copies of the lawsuit are available by sending an email to LGBTliberation@aol.com with “Send City Council / OMA Lawsuit” in the subject line.
When:    12:30 PM, Thursday, July 14
Where:   In front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th Floor
Who:      Attorney Alan Mills, Director of Uptown People’s Law Center, named plaintiffs and longtime activists Andy Thayer and Rick Garcia, and activists representing North Side Action for Justice, Uptown Tent City Organizers, and the Gay Liberation Network.

For more information, contact: Andy Thayer, Uptown Tent City Organizers, 773.209.1187, LGBTliberation@aol.com

Alan Mills, Uptown People’s Law Center, 773.769.1411, alan@uplcchicago.org


Over 100 Black Women Participated in Historic Photo in Edward M. Kennedy Institutes’ Replica of the US Senate Chamber

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

“Visual protest” highlighted the anniversary of Barbara Jordan’s 
historic Democratic Convention keynote address; Photo took place after national week of racial tragedy and unrest

BOSTON-Despite the growing electoral and economic imprint of America’s 23 million Black women, they are still seriously underrepresented and underserved.

After a week of racial tragedy and unrest, Higher Heights and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley asked 100 Black women on Tuesday evening to “Take Your Seat” in the Edward M. Kennedy Institutes’ replica of the U.S. Senate chamber seeking to elevate Black women’s voices in the political process through a photo taken symbolically in a chamber that currently has ZERO Black women serving.

The epic and uplifting photograph shone a light at the end of a very dreary week. The photo also took place on the 40-year anniversary of Barbara Jordan historic 1976 Democratic Convention keynote. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, Jordan became the first African American woman to deliver the televised landmark address before that audience.

“I was overwhelmed by this event. Watching 100 women come through those Senate doors after a week where I felt disheartened was so inspiring for the possibilities that exist for Black women that lead to move this country foreword,” said Glynda Carr, Co-founder of Higher Heights. “This chamber and the lack of Black women representation in the US Senate is the most blatant example of us being shut out of the process and our voices not being heard. We are 7 percent of the population, yet we are 3.4 percent of congress, and out the 100

major cities in our country, there are only four black women mayors. There is work to be done, and we all have a role to play.”

According to Higher Heights and Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University’s 2015 Status of Black Women in American Politics, Black women are 7.4% of the U.S. population yet make up only 3.4% of Congress.

Only two women of color have ever served in the US Senate: Carol Moseley Braun, an African-American Democrat from Illinois who was elected in 1992 and served until 1999, and Mazie Hirono, an Asian-American Democrat from Hawaii who was elected in 2012.

“This is a visual protest …to affirm for ourselves and to the nation that Black women lead, Black women run, and Black women vote. Today we affirmed that Black women are leading, in this city, in this commonwealth, and I honor their contributions,” said Pressely. “The visual shot heard around the world today is merely snapshot of our contributions, but a visual protest and demonstration nonetheless as we take over a space we have historically been underrepresented in.”

Attendees of the event included Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts, and Sarah- Ann Shaw, the first female African-American reporter to be televised in Boston, amongst others.

Faith leader and Dorchester resident, Mariama White Hammond attended Tuesday’s event for encouragement and hope.

“Over the last week we have seen so many images of the ongoing issues of racism in our country. In the midst of so much strife and grief, I came to this event because my soul needed to be lifted by the image of 100 strong Black women claiming their leadership,” said Hammond. “It helped me to imagine the world that could be and to reinvigorate my commitment to working for justice. I took my seat because I know that I stand on the shoulders of amazing and courageous Black women. I took my seat to honor the legacy of my ancestors and in hopes that my life will allow another generation to rise to even higher heights.”

Pressley called Tuesday’s event, “the visual shot heard around the world”, that
will draw awareness of the gap in Black women’s political leadership but also inspire and empower Black women to imagine the possibilities that exist.

“We gathered over 100 diverse women who are leading every day in their communities to take a seat for the countless Black women across the country that do not think they have a seat or voice at the table”, said Kimberly Peeler-

Allen, Co-Founder of Higher Heights. “2016 is a movement building opportunity for Black women to truly harness our collective political power and leadership potential from the voting booth to elected office.”

For photographs or b-roll of this event, please contact Aprill O. Turner, at aprill@aprilloturnercommunications.com.

About Higher Heights

Higher Heights is the only national organization exclusively dedicated to harnessing, organizing and mobilizing Black women’s political power making sure they have the tools to effectively engage, advocate and lead. Higher Heights for America, a national 501(c)(4) organization, and its sister organization Higher Heights Leadership Fund, a 501(c)(3), is building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office.

Photo Caption: 100 Black women symbolically “Took Their Seats” this week in the Edward M. Kennedy Institutes’ replica of the U.S. Senate chamber, located in Boston, seeking to elevate Black women’s voices in the political process. Photo Credit: Eric Haynes

Today Marks One Year Since the Conclusion of the Iran Nuclear Deal—Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Statement by President Barack Obama on the one year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensie Plan of Action:

Today marks one year since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—by representatives of the United States, Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, and the European Union.  Over the last year, the Iran Deal has succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding further conflict and making us safer.

During the past year, Iran has implemented its nuclear-related commitments, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Iran has shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, dismantled two thirds of its centrifuges, filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete, and adopted the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated for a nuclear program.  IAEA reports have confirmed that Iran is complying with its commitments.  As a result, all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed, and Iran’s breakout time has been extended from two to three months to about a year.  The United States and our negotiating partners have also fully implemented our commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions, and we will continue to uphold our commitments as long as Iran continues to abide by the deal.

The JCPOA demonstrates what can be achieved by principled diplomacy and a sustained commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. America’s willingness to engage directly with Iran opened the door to talks, which led to the international unity and sustained engagement that culminated in the JCPOA.  We still have serious differences with Iran, but the United States, our partners, and the world are more secure because of the JCPOA.


Dr. Arunkumar Named as Cook County’s New Chief Medical Examiner

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Dr. Ponni Arunkumar was named as Chief Medical Examiner of Cook County following her appointment by President Toni Preckwinkle and approval by the County’s Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Arunkumar had been serving as interim chief since June. Before that, she had been the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner since September 2012.

“Dr. Arunkumar has been a leader at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and played an instrumental role in the office receiving national accreditation earlier this year,” President Toni Preckwinkle said. “Dr. Arunkumar is committed to the Medical Examiner’s office, its staff, our County and its residents, and I am proud to appoint her as our Chief Medical Examiner.”

Dr. Arunkumar has a long affiliation with Cook County and the ME’s office. In 1999 she began an anatomic and clinical pathology residency program at what was known then as Cook County Hospital (now John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County). She went on to a fellowship at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office and then was hired as an Assistant Medical Examiner in 2004.

In 2012, then-Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina vowed that the office would regain accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). Dr. Arunkumar was the point-person during the accreditation process and ensured that new policies and procedures required by NAME were implemented.

Earlier this year, the office was awarded full NAME accreditation for the first time since 2011.

Dr. Arunkumar succeeds Dr. Cina, who announced in May his intention to resign as Chief Medical Examiner and move away from Cook County.

“I am honored to be named Chief Medical Examiner for Cook County and I would like to thank President Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners,” Arunkumar said. “The office has made great progress under previous leadership and I will continue to make sure the office continues to make strides while serving the residents of the County.”


Kirk Applauds Passage Of FAA Reauthorization Protecting Air Travel Passengers

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 Bill Will Increase Security & Address Wait Times By Expanding TSA PreCheck, Adding More Canine Teams & Improving Secured Access Employee Screening


WASHINGTON, D. C.  – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) applauded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016, passing the Senate today in a broad, bipartisan 89-4 vote. In the wake of recent airport terrorist attacks abroad, the FAA Reauthorization provides critical security reforms, safety-related provisions and consumer protections. A Kirk priority, the bill optimizes Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) screening checkpoints by requiring the use of canine explosive detection teams and requires TSA to ensure that all trained screening personnel, including Behavior Detection Officers, are utilized for passenger screening and document verification. The re-authorization extends authority through September 2017 at current levels. 

“Americans should not have to wait in two hour lines to travel by air in this country as was the case at O’Hare and Midway earlier this year,” said Senator Kirk. “This legislation will help to solve these wait times while providing for increased security through canine teams, enhanced screening and vetting of all those working and entering airports.”


The FAA Reauthorization Act will also expand the TSA PreCheck Program which is designed to increase security and reduce screening wait times by identifying trusted travelers. TSA is now directed to work with private stakeholders to create new enrollment technologies including online enrollment, kiosks, tablets, and laptop stations at airports. Language is also included to require enhanced screening for individuals who have unescorted access to sensitive areas of airports. The enhanced screening includes vetting applicants against the terrorist database. 


Increasing Consumer Protections For Passengers: 


The bill will require air carriers to provide a refund of paid baggage fees when items are lost or unreasonably delayed as well as ensure that children 13 years of age or under are seated adjacent to an adult or older child traveling with them. Training will also be required for flight attendants in recognizing and responding to potential victims of human trafficking.

Improving Unmanned Aerial Systems Safety:


The FAA Reauthorization will also create new opportunities for testing and promoting innovative uses of drone technology to boost our economy while protecting critical infrastructure and the flying public. Responsible regulation of Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones, has the potential to spur new economic drivers in key sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, disaster relief and the monitoring of critical infrastructure. The bill will: 

  • Streamline processes for approval and interagency cooperation to deploy unmanned aircraft during emergencies, such as disaster response and wildfires. 
  • Create new processes to detect, identify, and mitigate unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft around airports and critical infrastructure



Following reports of hours-long wait times at Chicago-area airports in May, Senator Kirk led efforts to include additional funding to boost TSA staff and security screenings through the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2017 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. That bill provides $7.7 billion for TSA, $79 million over the Administrator’s request. The bill also included an amendment authored by Senators Kirk and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that requires the TSA to consider passenger volume and airport risk assessments when distributing the 50 new canine teams in order to prioritize the nation’s busiest, like O’Hare.  

All-Female Playwrights Unit Presents July 21-23 Free Readings of Their Newest Works

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

City of Chicago Awards Taxicab Driver With Free Taxicab Medallion for Exemplary Service to the Disability Community

Posted by Admin On July - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Free Taxicab Medallion Offers Financial Freedom, Small Business Benefits for Driver


The City of Chicago presented the 2015 Taxicab Driver Excellence Award to licensed Chicago taxicab driver Bayo Aladesuru for his one of a kind customer service and dedication to the disability community. The taxicab medallion award was presented to Mr. Aladesuru during the 2016 Access Chicago expo, the city’s biannual event to showcase its offering of products and services created exclusively for individuals with disabilities.

The Taxicab Medallion Excellence Award was created for drivers providing services to passengers with disabilities. The ordinance allows for a free medallion to be awarded to one wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) chauffeur and the winner is chosen by the Taxicab Driver Excellence Committee. This year’s award was presented by committee members Karen Tamley of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).

“It is because of chauffeurs like Bayo who go above and beyond to provide quality service to the disabled community so they can navigate Chicago independently,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek. “The nominations for Bayo painted a very clear picture of the impact of the service he provides to his customers and what exemplary service looks like.”

Every year since 2012, the Taxicab Driver Excellence Award is awarded to a driver exemplifying superior service and a commitment to providing residents of all needs with access to quality transportation. The Taxicab Driver Excellence Committee reviews nominations by the general public and carefully considers each of them before selecting a recipient of the award, which includes a free taxicab medallion.

This year, the committee reviewed 4 nominees. Bayo secured this year’s award with over 40 nominations.  He’s been a licensed chauffeur for 18 years, but 2015 was his year. Throughout 2015 he responded to over 1,800 calls from Central Dispatch for his wheelchair accessible taxicab. One nominee wrote, “I wish I could request him every time I need to go to the doctor. He treated me like a person and not just a customer. I wish every taxi driver had the same courtesy.”

Another nominee wrote, “If my husband is not there, Bayo without being asked regularly clears the snow from the area between the garage door and the taxi ramp […]. Once he picked me up exactly as planned for an early morning trip to the airport even though a family members business had just gone up in flames.” 

The Taxicab Driver Excellence Committee is made up of three City of Chicago employees and four members of local non-profit organizations and one citizen at large. The committee is run jointly by BACP Commissioner Guerra Lapacek and Commissioner Karen Tamley of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). Additional committee members are Deputy Commissioner Rupal Bapat of BACP, Efrat Stein of Self Help Home, Carrie Kaufman of Access Living, Lisa Rosen of the Rehabilitation Institute Chicago, Rachel Weisberg of Equip for Equality, and Maureen Reagan, President of MRA Architects.

“Accessible taxicabs are critical to the independence of the disability community and we are proud to recognize the years of exemplary service that Bayo has provided,” said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley.

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

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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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