April , 2019

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 Young performer auditions take place September 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.                                                                                                                       Chicago, IL - ...
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Says  "It's fair to say that the rollout has been rough so far" President Barack ...
By Juanita Bratcher   Mitt Romney has concentrated more on trying to define President Barack Obama and ...
From: WWW.DEFENDTHEVOTE.COM   On Friday, August 26th, during a meeting at the Illinois State Board of Elections, ...
Manuel Roman is a father of two U.S. citizens who is scheduled to be deported ...
A public display of the card is scheduled for April 18th to kickoff an online ...

Archive for September, 2016

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation to Host Criminal Justice Symposium

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation to Host Criminal Justice Symposium
ALORTON, IL – According to the NAACP, African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population while only accounting for 13 percent of the population. The numbers are indicative of the need for change. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF) is hosting a Criminal Justice Symposium to explore different initiatives that have been suggested and implemented, and search for solutions to end the inequality.
Below is a list panelists and the issues they will be discussing:
State Representative Arthur TurnerLegislative Update
State Representative 9th House District
Theresa HaleyImproving Police Community Relations
President of the Illinois NAACP
Judge Walter BrandonJuvenile Sentencing
20th Judicial Circuit Associate Judge
Former State Representative John AnthonyReentry strategies to curb Recidivism
Department of Corrections
Samantha GaddyDisparities in Sentencing
Department of Juvenile Justice
The Symposium will be held September 28th at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 801 S. 50th street in Alorton, Illinois from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
*There will be a reception before the panel discussion that all are welcome to attend.

Leaders and Community Members From Labor, Churches, and Neighborhoods Demand Passage of the CPAC Ordinance

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Leaders and Community Members From Labor, Churches, and Neighborhoods Demand Passage of the CPAC Ordinance

From: Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression

Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled the special meeting of the City Council he called for this Thursday to pass his COP-A ordinance, which proposes to continue the cover-up of heinous police crimes and the failures of the police department with new appointed bodies he will control. Community leaders at a more than dozen public hearings, according to news media reports, overwhelmingly called for community control of the police.

Members and leaders from Labor, the faith community, and communities city-wide will be at City Hall Thursday anyway, demanding passage of the ordinance in the Council creating an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). Nine Council members have endorsed the ordinance so far.

The Press Conference and Rally will be held  9:00am Thursday, September 29, 2016, at  Chicago City Hall, 121 N LaSalle, 2nd Floor, at 9:00 a.m.

Let us be clear. We are not simply opposed to the Mayor and his fake police accountability proposals. We are also engaged in a vigorous and militant campaign to get CPAC enacted. We embarked upon this struggle years before Rahm Emanuel had any notions beyond excusing and justifying police crimes so ours is not a defensive struggle. Our demand for CPAC is not contingent on what the Mayor does and does not do. We will not be mesmerized by his star chamber manipulations of the Chicago City Council. We will continue the struggle for CPAC, for community control of the police no matter what.

The people in the neighborhoods experiencing high rates of police crimes have spoken. They want CPAC, they want community control of the police and we’ll settle for nothing less.

For more information, contact:
Frank Chapman 312-513-3795 email: fchapman@naarpr.org  or
ed Pearson
312-927-2689 email: tpearson@naarpr.org


President Obama’s Remarks at the Dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on President Obama’s Remarks at the Dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Mall

Washington, D.C.  

President Barack Obama:  James Baldwin once wrote, “For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard.”  For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard.Today, as so many generations have before, we gather on our National Mall to tell an essential part of our American story — one that has at times been overlooked — we come not just for today, but for all time.


President and Mrs. Bush; President Clinton; Vice President and Dr. Biden; Chief Justice Roberts; Secretary Skorton; Reverend Butts; distinguished guests:  Thank you.  Thank you for your leadership in making sure this tale is told.  We’re here in part because of you and because of all those Americans — the Civil War vets, the Civil Rights foot soldiers, the champions of this effort on Capitol Hill — who, for more than a century, kept the dream of this museum alive.

That includes our leaders in Congress — Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi.  It includes one of my heroes, John Lewis, who, as he has so often, took the torch from those who came before him and brought us past the finish line.  It includes the philanthropists and benefactors and advisory members who have so generously given not only their money but their time.  It includes the Americans who offered up all the family keepsakes tucked away in Grandma’s attic.  And of course, it includes a man without whose vision and passion and persistence we would not be here today — Mr. Lonnie Bunch.

What we can see of this building — the towering glass, the artistry of the metalwork — is surely a sight to behold.  But beyond the majesty of the building, what makes this occasion so special is the larger story it contains.  Below us, this building reaches down 70 feet, its roots spreading far wider and deeper than any tree on this Mall.  And on its lowest level, after you walk past remnants of a slave ship, after you reflect on the immortal declaration that “all men are created equal,” you can see a block of stone.  On top of this stone sits a historical marker, weathered by the ages.  That marker reads:  “General Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay spoke from this slave block…during the year 1830.”

I want you to think about this.  Consider what this artifact tells us about history, about how it’s told, and about what can be cast aside.  On a stone where day after day, for years, men and women were torn from their spouse or their child, shackled and bound, and bought and sold, and bid like cattle; on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet — for a long time, the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as “history” with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.

And that block I think explains why this museum is so necessary.  Because that same object, reframed, put in context, tells us so much more.  As Americans, we rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country; who led armies into battle and waged seminal debates in the halls of Congress and the corridors of power.  But too often, we ignored or forgot the stories of millions upon millions of others, who built this nation just as surely, whose humble eloquence, whose calloused hands, whose steady drive helped to create cities, erect industries, build the arsenals of democracy.

And so this national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are.  It helps us better understand the lives, yes, of the President, but also the slave; the industrialist, but also the porter; the keeper of the status quo, but also of the activist seeking to overthrow that status quo; the teacher or the cook, alongside the statesman.  And by knowing this other story, we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together.  It reaffirms that all of us are America — that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story, it’s not the underside of the American story, it is central to the American story.  That our glory derives not just from our most obvious triumphs, but how we’ve wrested triumph from tragedy, and how we’ve been able to remake ourselves, again and again and again, in accordance with our highest ideals.

I, too, am America.

The great historian John Hope Franklin, who helped to get this museum started, once said, “Good history is a good foundation for a better present and future.”  He understood the best history doesn’t just sit behind a glass case; it helps us to understand what’s outside the case.  The best history helps us recognize the mistakes that we’ve made and the dark corners of the human spirit that we need to guard against.  And, yes, a clear-eyed view of history can make us uncomfortable, and shake us out of familiar narratives.  But it is precisely because of that discomfort that we learn and grow and harness our collective power to make this nation more perfect.

That’s the American story that this museum tells — one of suffering and delight; one of fear but also of hope; of wandering in the wilderness and then seeing out on the horizon a glimmer of the Promised Land.

It is in this embrace of truth, as best as we can know it, in the celebration of the entire American experience, where real patriotism lies.  As President Bush just said, a great nation doesn’t shy from the truth.  It strengthens us.  It emboldens us. It should fortify us.  It is an act of patriotism to understand where we’ve been.  And this museum tells the story of so many patriots.

Yes, African Americans have felt the cold weight of shackles and the stinging lash of the field whip.  But we’ve also dared to run north, and sing songs from Harriet Tubman’s hymnal.  We’ve buttoned up our Union Blues to join the fight for our freedom. We’ve railed against injustice for decade upon decade — a lifetime of struggle, and progress, and enlightenment that we see etched in Frederick Douglass’s mighty, leonine gaze.


Yes, this museum tells a story of people who felt the indignity, the small and large humiliations of a “whites only” sign, or wept at the side of Emmett Till’s coffin, or fell to their knees on shards of stained glass outside a church where four little girls died.  But it also tells the story of the black youth and white youth sitting alongside each other, straight-backed, so full of dignity on those lunch counter stools; the story of a six-year-old Ruby Bridges, pigtails, fresh-pressed dress, walking that gauntlet to get to school; Tuskegee airmen soaring the skies not just to beat a dictator, but to reaffirm the promise of our democracy — but remind us that all of us are created equal.

This is the place to understand how protest and love of country don’t merely coexist but inform each other; how men can proudly win the gold for their country but still insist on raising a black-gloved fist; how we can wear “I Can’t Breathe”

T-shirt and still grieve for fallen police officers.  Here’s the America where the razor-sharp uniform of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff belongs alongside the cape of the Godfather of Soul. We have shown the world that we can float like butterflies and sting like bees; that we can rocket into space like Mae Jemison, steal home like Jackie, rock like Jimi, stir the pot like Richard Pryor; or we can be sick and tired of being sick and tired, like Fannie Lou Hamer, and still Rock Steady like Aretha Franklin.

We are large, Walt Whitman told us, containing multitudes.  We are large, containing multitudes.  Full of contradictions.  That’s America.  That’s what makes us grow.  That’s what makes us extraordinary.  And as is true for America, so is true for African American experience.  We’re not a burden on America, or a stain on America, or an object of pity or charity for America.  We’re America.

And that’s what this museum explains — the fact that our stories have shaped every corner of our culture.  The struggles for freedom that took place made our Constitution a real and living document, tested and shaped and deepened and made more profound its meaning for all people.  The story told here doesn’t just belong to black Americans; it belongs to all Americans — for the African-American experience has been shaped just as much by Europeans and Asians and Native Americans and Latinos.  We have informed each other.  We are polyglot, a stew.

Scripture promised that if we lift up the oppressed, then our light will rise in the darkness, and our night will become like the noonday.  And the story contained in this museum makes those words prophecy.  And that’s what this day is about.  That’s what this museum is about.  I, too, am America.  It is a glorious story, the one that’s told here.  It is complicated and it is messy and it is full of contradictions, as all great stories are, as Shakespeare is, as Scripture is.  And it’s a story that perhaps needs to be told now more than ever.

A museum alone will not alleviate poverty in every inner city or every rural hamlet.  It won’t eliminate gun violence from all our neighborhoods, or immediately ensure that justice is always colorblind.  It won’t wipe away every instance of discrimination in a job interview or a sentencing hearing or folks trying to rent an apartment.  Those things are up to us, the decisions and choices we make.  It requires speaking out, and organizing, and voting, until our values are fully reflected in our laws and our policies and our communities.

But what this museum does show us is that in even the face of oppression, even in the face of unimaginable difficulty, America has moved forward.  And so this museum provides context for the debates of our times.  It illuminates them and gives us some sense of how they evolved, and perhaps keeps them in proportion.  Perhaps it can help a white visitor understand the pain and anger of demonstrators in places like Tulsa and Charlotte.  But it can also help black visitors appreciate the fact that not only is this younger generation carrying on traditions of the past but, within the white communities across this nation we see the sincerity of law enforcement officers and officials who, in fits and starts, are struggling to understand, and are trying to do the right thing.

It reminds us that routine discrimination and Jim Crow aren’t ancient history, it’s just a blink in the eye of history. It was just yesterday.  And so we should not be surprised that not all the healing is done.  We shouldn’t despair that it’s not all solved.  And knowing the larger story should instead remind us of just how remarkable the changes that have taken place truly are — just in my lifetime — and thereby inspire us to further progress.

And so hopefully this museum can help us talk to each other. And more importantly, listen to each other.  And most importantly, see each other.  Black and white and Latino and Native American and Asian American — see how our stories are bound together.  And bound together with women in America, and workers in America, and entrepreneurs in America, and LGBT Americans.  And for young people who didn’t live through the struggles represented here, I hope you draw strength from the changes that have taken place.  Come here and see the power of your own agency.  See how young John Lewis was.  These were children who transformed a nation in a blink of an eye.  Young people, come here and see your ability to make your mark.

The very fact of this day does not prove that America is perfect, but it does validate the ideas of our founding, that this country born of change, this country born of revolution, this country of we, the people, this country can get better.

And that’s why we celebrate, mindful that our work is not yet done; mindful that we are but on a waystation on this common journey towards freedom.  And how glorious it is that we enshrine it here, on some of our nation’s most hallowed ground — the same place where lives were once traded but also where hundreds of thousands of Americans, of all colors and creeds, once marched.  How joyful it is that this story take its rightful place — alongside Jefferson who declared our independence, and Washington who made it real, and alongside Lincoln who saved our union, and the GIs who defended it; alongside a new monument to a King, gazing outward, summoning us toward that mountaintop.  How righteous it is that with  tell this story here.

For almost eight years, I have been blessed with the extraordinary honor of serving you in this office.  (Applause.)  Time and again, I’ve flown low over this mall on Marine One, often with Michelle and our daughters.  And President Clinton, President Bush, they’ll tell you it is incredible sight.  We pass right across the Washington Monument — it feels like you can reach out and touch it.  And at night, if you turn the other way, you don’t just see the Lincoln Memorial, Old Abe is lit up and you can see him, his spirit glowing from that building.  And we don’t have many trips left.  But over the years, I’ve always been comforted as I’ve watched this museum rise from this earth into this remarkable tribute.  Because I know that years from now, like all of you, Michelle and I will be able to come here to this museum, and not just bring our kids but hopefully our grandkids. I imagine holding a little hand of somebody and tell them the stories that are enshrined here.

And in the years that follow, they’ll be able to do the same.  And then we’ll go to the Lincoln Memorial and we’ll take in the view atop the Washington Monument.  And together, we’ll learn about ourselves, as Americans — our sufferings, our delights, and our triumphs.  And we’ll walk away better for it, better because the better grasp of history.  We’ll walk away that much more in love with this country, the only place on Earth where this story could have unfolded.

It is a monument, no less than the others on this Mall, to the deep and abiding love for this country, and the ideals upon which it is founded.  For we, too, are America.

So enough talk.  President Bush is timing me. He had the over/under at 25.  Let us now open this museum to the world.  Today, we have with us a family that reflects the arc of our progress:  the Bonner family — four generations in all, starting with gorgeous seven-year-old Christine and going up to gorgeous 99-year-old Ruth.

Now, Ruth’s father, Elijah Odom, was born into servitude in Mississippi.  He was born a slave.  As a young boy, he ran, though, to his freedom.  He lived through Reconstruction and he lived through Jim Crow.  But he went on to farm, and graduate from medical school, and gave life to the beautiful family that we see today — with a spirit reflected in beautiful Christine, free and equal in the laws of her country and in the eyes of God.

So in a brief moment, their family will join us in ringing a bell from the First Baptist Church in Virginia — one of the oldest black churches in America, founded under a grove of trees in 1776.  And the sound of this bell will be echoed by others in houses of worship and town squares all across this country — an echo of the ringing bells that signaled Emancipation more than a century and a half ago; the sound, and the anthem, of American freedom.

God bless you all.  God bless the United States of America.

Rally and Court Hearing for Anti-Police Brutality Protesters David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes on Felony Charges

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Rally and Court Hearing for Anti-Police Brutality Protesters David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes on Felony Charges

The Chicago Revolution Club and other Supporters will rally to demand that ALL CHARGES BE DROPPED against Anti-Police Brutality Protesters David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes in advance of a court hearing the two will attend on that date.


The Rally and Court Hearing for Anti-Police Brutality Protesters David “Iggy” Rucker and Alfredo Reyes on Felony Charges will be held Wednesday, September 28, 8:30 a.m., at the Cook County Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave


After 22 months Rucker and Reyes still face felony charges from a police attack on a protest December 13, 2014 following the Grand Juries failure to indict cops who murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City.

Those rallying are outraged that police murders continue unabated across the country with police who murder very, very rarely facing charges and when they do they almost always get off.  Yet those who protest murders by police are being rounded up and often facing serious felony charges for daring to stand up.  The case of Rucker and Reyes is just such a case.


Additionally it has been revealed that the Revolution Club, of which Rucker is a member, was spied on and targeted during that very period  (see SunTimes 11/14/15 “Chicago Cops Conduct Unauthorized Spying on Protestors”).  Police efforts to shut down protests of their very own brutality has been documented in Baltimore and shown in videos elsewhere.  And that was exactly what happened on 12/13/14 with other key activists targeted in Chicago since.


Rucker and the Revolution Club were in Ferguson from the earliest days and stood with people defiantly.  They have been targeted from the very beginning of this new movement.


Finally, the role of the Cook County Courts in enforcing racially biased justice has been well documented in the book “Crook County” by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve.  That these defendants who stood up against police brutality which disproportionately targets people of color should be facing trial in such a compromised court system is a travesty.


NAACP Statement on the Presidential Debates

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on NAACP Statement on the Presidential Debates

Cornell William Brooks Statement on Presidential debates. Brooks is the president and CEO of the NAACP:

Last night’s debate showed the vast difference in the presidential candidates’ understanding of the African-American community and the impact of systemic racism. In this election, reforming our criminal justice system is on the ballot. Reducing gun violence through common-sense gun laws is on the ballot. Protecting our right to vote is on the ballot. Equal pay for women is on the ballot. And, so is education reform, lifting people out of poverty, advancing smart community policing, college affordability, fair federal budgets and ending violence against women.

The only way to ensure we have progress on these issues is to vote. The only way to make certain we have our seat at the table is to vote. And, the only way to prevent others from defining our agenda is to vote. Too much is at stake for our community for us to choose not to exercise that right. 

Moreover, the NAACP has long stood against the discriminatory and ineffective practice of stop-and-frisk. The stop-and-frisk program in New York City was one of the worst racial profiling programs in this country. It violated the constitutional rights of thousands of Black and Latino New Yorkers. It is imperative that Black Americans #StayWokeAndVote this election.

Kirk, Enzi Introduce Student Lending Transparency & Protection Measures

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Kirk, Enzi Introduce Student Lending Transparency & Protection Measures

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) today introduced the Transparency in Student Lending Act which will improve the information provided to students and families taking on federal education loans by requiring disclosure of the annual percentage rate (APR). The APR helps borrowers understand the true cost of a loan so they can make good financial decisions. Currently, borrowers of private student loans receive this information, but borrowers of loans issued by the Department of Education do not.

“Illinois families deserve to know what the cost of college will be. The stress of the rising costs of college shouldn’t also include hidden fees. Students and families need to have all of the necessary information when considering loan options to finance their higher education.  This bill will provide more transparency, so families will be better informed and protected,” said Senator Kirk. 

“Empowering federal student loan borrowers with the information necessary to make sound financial decisions is a commonsense proposal that should receive unanimous support,” said Richard Hunt, President and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA).  “The total cost of a loan should never be withheld from students and their families.  We commend Senators Kirk and Enzi for introducing legislation to demand the same level of transparency from the federal government as our member banks provide in the private student loan market.”

APR is expressed as a single percentage number that represents the actual yearly costs of funds over the term of the loan and takes into account the stated interest rate of the loan and any fees or additional costs associated with the loan. Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) introduced the House version of the legislation in July 2016.

“I am encouraged Illinois’ own Senator Mark Kirk has taken up this companion legislation to ensure families borrowing money for college understand their debt obligations and have the best information available,” said Congressman Hultgren. “The Department of Education is the largest consumer lender in the United States, and should be obligated to provide the most transparent and helpful information to borrowers. It makes no sense for the federal government to omit the annual percentage rate when presenting the cost of a loan to young borrowers and families, and it does them a gross disservice as they make plans for future payments. These bills are an important first step to ensuring they are able to make their payments. I urge quick action in both chambers on this legislation.”

The View From The Ground: At Issue – Calls for Transparency in the Process

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on The View From The Ground: At Issue – Calls for Transparency in the Process
 By Curtis Black

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed to changes to his police accountability ordinance to increase the independence of new agencies, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday. But major issues remain in contention, according to police reform advocates.

Emanuel agreed to budget guarantees for the proposed Civilian Office of Police Accountability and Inspector General for Public Safety, and to allow COPA to seek outside legal counsel without going through the city’s law department.

Lori Lightfoot addresses the public during a community meeting on the future of IPRA (photo by Vidura Jang Bahadur)

COPA would be guaranteed a budget of 1 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s budget, or about $14 million, according to the report. That compares to an $8 million budget for the Independent Police Review Agency, which COPA is replacing. It’s the funding level recommended by the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force.

Whether that’s enough remains to be seen. IPRA’s budget “has not adequately supported the needs of the agency,” the mayor’s task force reported. That’s led to poor investigations, large backlogs and long delays in completing investigations.  Under Emanuel’s proposal, the caseload will be expanded to include unlawful searches and arrests – and thousands of additional cases annually could result from eliminating barriers to filing complaints, as recommended by the Police Accountability Task Force.

The task force also also recommended increased training for agency staff and an independent database (IPRA currently uses CPD’s computerized case management system), both of which represent significant costs.

The mayor’s proposal is “a step forward but falls short of what’s needed to ensure the new agency has the resources to do high-quality, solid investigations,” said Craig Futterman of the Mandel Clinic at the University of Chicago.

Reform advocates remain strongly opposed to allowing the new agencies to hire former employees of CPD and the State’s Attorney, as Emanuel’s ordinance does. And major transparency issues have not been addressed – including whether the new inspector general will be subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

“There are a lot of open legal questions about the public’s right to information from an IG for public safety under the [state’s] FOIA statute and under a new ordinance,” said Matt Topic, an attorney who represented journalist Brandon Smith when he successfully sued last year for release of dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting. “The ordinance needs to be very carefully crafted to ensure the public can obtain these records so it can monitor the new IG and see if it’s doing a good job.”

Another ordinance is planned to establish a community oversight board – and to establish a process for selecting the administrator of COPA. “To ensure independence and accountability to the community,” PATF recommended a chief administrator of a new investigative agency be selected by the community oversight board.

A hearing by the City Council’s joint budget and public safety committee is now scheduled for October 3, with a vote by a full council two days later.

Meanwhile, supporters of an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council called a demonstration at City Hall for 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 29, saying “COPA is IPRA with a new name.”

TRANSPARENCY: To date, the mayor’s ordinance includes no reporting requirements beyond what currently exists for IPRA.

In contrast, a competing proposal submitted by Ald. Leslie Hairston and Jason Ervin contains an extensive set of reporting requirements, mandating prompt public posting of basic information about civilian complaints and weapon discharge incidents, including the names of police officers under investigation. It requires the agency replacing IPRA and the public safety IG to post reports and data sets for each completed investigation, audit, review or recommendation, including responses from the police superintendent, as well as quarterly reports on their activities.

Under the Hairston-Ervin ordinance, the public safety IG’s policy recommendations and reviews would be posted within five days of completion, allowing the public to weigh in on policy discussions; under the mayor’s ordinance, they would not be released until the police superintendent accepted or rejected them.

The alternative ordinance also requires that video of incidents under investigation be released within at most 14 days. The city’s current policy is to release videos within 60 days, with provisions to extend the period.

IN THE NEWS: While the U.S. Justice Department investigates CPD for possible racial bias, a new report finds that “federal agents singled out minorities for controversial drug stings in Chicago,USA Today reports.

A report by Columbia Law professor Jeffrey Fagen found that 91 percent of sting targets were black or Hispanic – and that even targeting people with criminal records, there was a 1-in-1,000 chance that a random selection would have resulted in such a high proportion of minorities.

The stings are particularly controversial because rather than solving existing crimes, they seek to create crimes and enlist unsuspecting individuals, who are set up to rob fictitious drug houses. This gives agents unusual latitude in selecting individuals to target.

Suspects “were drawn into the bogus ripoffs by informants who promised easy money at vulnerable points in their lives,” according to a Tribune report last year when charges were dropped against 27 defendants.  By inflating the amount of drugs under discussion, agents could ensure defendants got sentences of 25 years or more.

Fagen’s report was prepared for the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, which is representing defendants in three ATF sting cases. Federal prosecutors insisted that it be sealed, but when USA Today requested the report’s release, Chief Judge Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court agreed to make it public.

Chicago’s community policing program – once frequently cited by Mayor Emanuel – is “in crisis,” according to an analysis by City Bureau and the Chicago Reader. “Chicago’s once trail-blazing community policing program has been hollowed out by years of budget cuts and restructuring….The result has been the destruction of the trust and goodwill the police department had built in the early days of CAPS [Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy].”

Photo by Maria Cardona/City Bureau.

Shortly after taking office in 2011, Emanuel announced the “revitalization” of CAPS, but funding for the program has dropped from $4.7 million in 2011 to $3.9 million this year – far below its level in 1999, when CAPS received $12.5 million.

Decentralization has resulted in “an uneven patchwork of programs around the city,” and community activists are frustrated.

The number of juveniles incarcerated by the state of Illinois plummeted from a daily average of 1,438 in 2007 to 546 this year – but racial disparities have grown, with African American youth accounting for 65 percent of detainees this year, compared to 56 percent in 2007, according to The Chicago Reporter.

And annual costs of incarceration have skyrocketed, from $112,000 per detainee in 2014 to $172,000 this year, because the state has been slow to close facilities, according to a report by Voices for Illinois Children.

Advocates call for closing facilities and redirecting resources to community-based programs that are much cheaper – and much more effective in preventing recidivism. One such program costs only $6,000 per juvenile, but the state’s budget impasse has forced counties to cut back or eliminate funding for alternative programs.

Chicago’s high-crimes areas are staffed by the least experienced officers, while veterans flock to safer districts, according to a report by City Bureau and the Marshall Project.

Illinois Students Receive Top Honors at National Leadership Conference for Career and Consumer Sciences

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Illinois Students Receive Top Honors at National Leadership Conference for Career and Consumer Sciences

ISBE recognizes 82 students for winning awards in 24 competitive events

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education recognized 82 high school and occupational school students from 21 schools across Illinois for their achievements in National Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) Competitive Events at the 2016 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference. Illinois students from across the state won awards in 24 of the 29 STAR events, such as Advocacy; Applied Math for Culinary Management; Early Childhood Education; Fashion Design; Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation; Interpersonal Communication; and Sports Nutrition.

FCCLA promotes co-curricular activities that are focused on family and consumer sciences career and technical education programs. The organization aims to provide students with leadership opportunities, promote problem-solving and collaboration skills, and support college and career readiness. More than 160,000 students belong to 5,400 FCCLA chapters nationwide.

“It is so important that our students graduate from high school ready for college and career,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Programs like FCCLA strengthen the leadership, communication, and critical-thinking skills that will help students achieve inside and outside of the classroom. I am excited to congratulate these Illinois students for demonstrating initiative and success in their fields of interest.”

The national conference hosted top competitors from across the country, convening approximately 4,500 total student participants. Students learned from speakers and engaged with their peers in workshops and competitions. The theme of this year’s conference, “Empowered,” encouraged students to utilize the skills they have gained from their involvement in FCCLA to make a difference in their schools and communities.

FCCLA held the National Leadership Conference in San Diego, California, in July. The following students were awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals:

Ø  Adlai E. Stevenson High School: Jamie Berman, Robin Cheifetz, Camryn Hirsch, Stephanie Martin, Madison Randol, Laura Thornburg, Lindsey Wetle, Jordan Zatz

Ø  Alton High School: Emma Ernst, Kaitlyn Zini

Ø  Arcola Jr./Sr. High School: Macy Trejo

Ø  Bartlett High School: Allison Brown

Ø  Dwight Twp. High School: Leah Flynn, Lucy Rieke, Hannah Van der Karr

Ø  Glenbrook North: Zainab Ahmed, Riana Bakis, Anujin Batbold, Morgan Berg, Michael Bubaris, Megan Cho, Lizzy Donnelly, Samantha Heyman, Janet Lee, Liza McMahon, Chloe Meier, Molly Mulvihill, Grace Schwandner, Stephanie Serbu, Blake Stephenson, Benjamin Zhao

Ø  Glenbrook South: Alexia Roberts, Ashley Roberts

Ø  Knoxville: Maddy Grady, Darcy Ratermann, Danielle Rossell

Ø  Libertyville High School: Anna Mackey

Ø  Lockport Township High School: Tim Behland

Ø  Maine South High School: Maggie Ek, Kristie Guercio

Ø  Maine West: Quin Santucci

Ø  Mount Pulaski High School: TJ Benhart, Max Coppinger, Josh Dyer, Sam Koehl, Eli Olson, Lauren Thompson

Ø  Oakland CUSD #5: Erica Butler, Lauren Lankster, Taylor Veach

Ø  Prospect High School: Ashna Alex, Payton Chantry, Maddie Diluia, Jordan Dushane, Abby Fleig, Paige Gillogly, Ellie Gut, Ally Harrington, Dayna Laffey, Amy Lee, Faith Lindell, Lili Schober, Hannah Trais, Hanna Walker

Ø  ROWVA: Nicole Brown, Allison Chasteen, Katie England, Dylan Kuberski

Ø  South Elgin: Hailey Winger

Ø  St. Charles East High School: Addison Strachan

Ø  St. Charles North High School: Jamie Fisher, Isabel Frederick

Ø  West Aurora High School: Yarelli Hernandez, Gillian Jones, Hayley Karn, Victoria Layman, Jennifer Litt, Miracle Maddox, Miel Nelson, Cristina Valdes

Ø  Wilco Area Career Center: Ryne Thacker, Lauren Turk

View the full list of winners, their schools, and their award categories online at http://fcclainc.org/programs/documents/2016IllinoisReport.pdf.

Ballet and Hip Hop Combine in Hyde Park School of Dance Nutcracker

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Ballet and Hip Hop Combine in Hyde Park School of Dance Nutcracker
Hyde Park School of Dance’s The Nutcracker Adds Hip Hop to the Mix December 9-11
Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) offers fans of ballet and hip hop its annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, featuring 175 dancers—from four-year-olds to grandparents—supported by more than 100 volunteers. Performances are December 9–11 at Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th Street, Chicago.

Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the 90-minute narrated production follows Clara, Fritz and the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer from the family holiday party and the midnight battle with the Mouse Queen and her troops through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.

This year’s performances contain a new element: a hip hop dance battle to showcase the range of dance genres HPSD offers, as well as send a message of peace—instead of battling with swords, the mouse-soldiers will use hip hop as their “weapons.”

Each year, HPSD casts one or more Chicago VIPs as the honorary Mother Ginger. This year’s guest performers will be announced shortly. Past Mother Gingers have included 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode, Hyde Park Herald editor Daschell Phillips, Hyde Park Bank President Mike McGarry, State Representative Kimberly DuBuclet, Ray Elementary School Principal Bernadette Butler and Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell.

On Friday, December 9, HPSD performs an abridged version for more than 800 school children, many seeing their first ballet. The performance is part of HPSD’s community engagement program, STEPS (Serve, Train, Educate, Promote, Succeed).

Prior to each performance, the Pre-Ballet Holiday Show showcases 70 of HPSD’s youngest ballet students in performance.

Returning after last year’s debut, the Hyde Park School of Dance Holiday Bazaar offers an opportunity to meet characters from The Nutcracker, make holiday crafts, finish holiday shopping from the wares of local vendors and indulge in a hot chocolate bar and other treats. The Holiday Bazaar takes place Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11.

Hyde Park School of Dance
Founded in 1993 as The Hyde Park School of Ballet, Hyde Park School of Dance provides opportunities for students of all ages and abilities to study, perform and create classical and contemporary dance at the highest levels of discipline and artistry. Through high quality training and performance, HPSD’s goal is to cultivate a love of dance and strength of body, mind and character that will benefit students throughout their lives. Led by Founding Artistic Director August Tye, the faculty is committed to helping children experience the empowering rewards of self-discipline, hard work and collaboration in a supportive and nurturing environment that values healthy bodies.

The Nutcracker takes place Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 10 at 1 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m. at Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th Street in Chicago. Tickets, which go on sale November 2, are $33 for reserved seating (all ages); general admission tickets are $22 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for children ages six to 18 and students with ID and free for children younger than six (but must reserve). Tickets and information are available at 773-493-8498 or hydeparkdance.org.

Photo by Marc Monaghan.

Unemployment Rate Remains Above National Average in All but Two Metro Areas

Posted by Admin On September - 28 - 2016 Comments Off on Unemployment Rate Remains Above National Average in All but Two Metro Areas

Job Growth Remains Mixed in the Metro Areas

CHICAGO, IL – Again this month, twelve of Illinois’ metropolitan (metro) areas experienced decreases in their over-the-year unemployment rate and eight of the metro areas had increases in nonfarm jobs, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).”

“Job growth is primarily confined to metro areas north of the I-80 corridor and even though it is growth, it is anemic growth when compared to other major metro areas across the country such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “And many of the Downstate metros still haven’t fully recovered from the recession.”

Illinois businesses added jobs in eight metro areas, in which the largest increases were seen in: Rockford (+2.2 percent, +3,400), Lake-Kenosha (+1.5 percent, +6,300), and Elgin (+1.3 percent, +3,400). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division increased (+1.3 percent or +46,800). Illinois businesses lost jobs in six metro areas including the Quad Cities (-3.2 percent, -5,900), Bloomington (-2.5 percent, -2,400), and Carbondale-Marion (-2.3 percent, -1,300). The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas were: Retail Trade (10 of 14), Professional and Business Services (eight of 14), and Leisure and Hospitality (eight of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares August 2016 with August 2015. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 5.5 percent in August 2016 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in August 2016 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.


 Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Metropolitan Area





Over-the-Year Change













Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights








Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
















Lake-Kenosha, IL-WI
















St. Louis (IL-Section)




Illinois Statewide




* Data subject to revision.



Total Nonfarm Jobs (Not Seasonally Adjusted) – August 2016

Metropolitan Area



Over-the-Year Change

Bloomington MSA




Carbondale-Marion MSA




Champaign-Urbana MSA




Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division




Danville MSA




Davenport-Moline-Rock Island MSA




Decatur MSA




Elgin Metro Division




Kankakee MSA




Lake-County-Kenosha County Metro Division




Peoria MSA

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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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