20
September , 2017
Wednesday

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Western in Noir, a musical feature film with elements of diversity and social justice, was ...
Ferguson, MO (BlackNews.com) -- Despite angry protests and national outcry after the police killing ...
Math, transparency key to increasing completion rates             CHICAGO, IL – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon urged education ...
Washington, DC – Building on a tradition launched last year by U.S. Senators Mark ...
By Chinta Strausberg   More money should be spent on the front side of life rather than ...
CHICAGO, IL  – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a settlement with wireless phone company, ...
Illinois Department of Public Health offers tips for avoiding mosquito bites SPRINGFIELD, IL – As ...
New program stemmed from research supported by the Wallace Foundation’s building audiences for sustainability effort   CHICAGO, ...
The 15th of a 20-Part Series on the State of Equality and Justice in ...

Archive for September 9th, 2016

Activist Sues Chicago Public Schools for Records on Firing of Mayoral Critic

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL –  After Chicago Public Schools (CPS) stonewalled his FOIA request and ignored follow-up from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, activist Nick Burt filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on September 7, 2016 to compel the production of documents related to the firing of mayoral critic and former Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere.

LaRaviere is known for his strident opposition to the leadership and education reform policies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He was terminated from his position at Blaine Elementary on April 20, 2016 amidst a storm of charges that included insubordination and unspecified ethics offenses. His firing came one month after he appeared criticizing the Mayor in a campaign advertisement [youtube] for Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

Burt filed a Freedom of Information Act request on April 26, 2016 but was treated to repeated denials—and later a total lack of communication, a violation of state law—from CPS. Although Burt voluntarily narrowed his request on multiple occasions in response to feedback from CPS, the agency still uniformly deemed producing documents related to LaRaviere “unduly burdensome.”

After Burt filed a Request for Review with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, CPS ignored a June 2016 instruction from Illinois Assistant Attorney General S. Piya Mukherjee to update Burt on the status of his request; CPS also ignored Burt’s attempts to make contact by phone, email, and letter.

Of his suit, Burt had this to say: “Government agencies stonewall the public because they think they can get away with it. They can’t. If CPS is terminating educators because they are critical of the mayor’s wasteful and ineffective school privatization agenda, the public has the right to know.”

In May 2016, a month after being fired, former Principal LaRaviere was elected by his peers as President of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.

A copy of the complaint is linked here [pdf].

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Justice Department Survivor Tree Plaque Unveiling to Mark the 15th Anniversary of September 11

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Washington, DC

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch: Good morning and thank you all for being here.  It is a privilege to stand with this group of friends and colleagues as we gather to observe this solemn occasion.  At this time, I ask you to please join me in a moment of silence.

Thank you.  Fifteen years ago this Sunday, our world changed forever.   September 11th, 2001 dawned clear and bright, but was soon clouded by the horror of the deadliest terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil.   In a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan; and at the Pentagon, just across the Potomac from where we stand, nearly 3,000 innocent people – including more than 70 members of our law enforcement family – were killed in an appalling act of malice and hatred.  Today, we come together once again to mourn their deaths; to celebrate their lives; and to honor their legacy.

A decade and a half has elapsed since 9/11, but the passage of time has not dimmed the memory of those we lost.  It has not erased from our minds the many acts of courage that brought light into that dark day.  And it has not weakened our resolve to stay true to our highest ideals, to hold fast to our most cherished values and to continue following the course charted by our oldest principles.  Every day, the men and women of the Department of Justice display that resolve when you fight to protect the weak from the strong, for fundamental fairness in our markets and for equal opportunity for all.  And on this day of remembrance, let me also thank the terrorism prosecutors in our U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the members of our National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, for all you to do defend the United States against an enemy that still has us in their sights.

Last year, as a sign of our pledge to remember – and as a token of our determination to persevere – we planted this sapling, which was seeded from a pear tree that stood on the World Trade Center plaza in 2001.  Nearly destroyed when the twin towers fell, it was painstakingly revived with time and care.  Now known as the “Survivor Tree,” it stands today at the 9/11 Memorial as a powerful emblem of renewal and resilience.  Like its parent, our own tree has proven to be strong, enduring both the chill of a blizzard and the commotion of the courtyard’s renovation.  still  small today, it will grow and flourish in years to come – a living expression of our nation’s renewed hope and indomitable spirit – and this department’s commitment to those ideals.  Today, we complete the tree’s dedication by installing a commemorative plaque that explains its special significance.

Of course, the most fitting and enduring memorial that we can dedicate to the departed is not a marker or a monument, but rather a stronger and more perfect union – one where every person can live in safety and peace, regardless of race, religion, background and belief.  It is that ideal that defines our nation.  It was that ideal that prompted the forces of hatred and intolerance to unleash such great devastation on our land 15 years ago.  And it is that ideal that we must continue pursuing today – vigilant against those who still seek to do it harm and mindful of all who have died on its behalf.

So before we part, let us resolve to honor those we lost on 9/11 with our deeds as well as our words: not only with the hopeful symbol of this resilient tree, but also with the fruits of our work to make our nation strong; to keep our people safe; and to ensure that all Americans enjoy the rich and vibrant liberty, the fair and impartial justice and the real and lasting equality that is our birthright.

May God bless those whom we lost on September 11, 2001.  May He send His grace and peace to the loved ones left behind.  And may He continue to bless the United States of America.  Thank you.

Obama Administration Releases Resources for Schools, Colleges to Ensure Appropriate Use of School Resource Officers and Campus Police

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released today new tools to improve school climates, ensure safety, and support student achievement in our nation’s schools.

To the extent a local decision is made to use school resource officers (SROs) in community schools, these resources will help state and local education and law enforcement agencies responsibly incorporate SROs in the learning environment.  Additionally, the departments have highlighted tools available for law enforcement agencies that also apply to campus law enforcement agencies.

“With the release of these vital resources, the Obama Administration is furthering its commitment to ensuring that schools and SROs follow best practices, ensuring a positive and supportive classroom environment,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.  “By fostering relationships of trust and respect between students and school resource officers, we can continue to build safer schools where our young people can learn and thrive – a vital effort that the Department of Justice will continue to advance with our partners at the federal, state, and local levels in the months to come.”

“As educators, we are all bound by a sacred trust to protect the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children, youth and the young adults within the communities we serve,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.  “School resource officers can be valuable assets in creating a positive school environment and keeping kids safe.  But we must ensure that school discipline is being handled by trained educators, not by law enforcement officers.  At the college level, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has important recommendations that can help campus and local law enforcement both keep students safe and safeguard students’ civil rights.”

To assist states, schools and their law enforcement partners in assessing the proper role of SROs and campus law enforcement professionals, both the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Education Department released letters to states and districts emphasizing the importance of well-designed SRO programs and calling on leaders of institutions of higher education to commit to implementing recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in the campus policing context.

To assist in the K-12 context, the departments also jointly released the Safe, School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe) Rubrics.  These new resources can help education and law enforcement agencies that use SROs to review and, if necessary, revise SRO-related policies in alignment with common-sense action steps that can lead to improved school safety and better outcomes for students while safeguarding their civil rights.

Letters:

Campus letter from DOJ

P-12 letter from DOJ

Campus letter from Education

P-12 letter from Education

Rubrics:

State and local policy

Local implementation

The release of these materials builds on the Obama Administration’s work with states and districts to improve discipline practices and climate in the nation’s schools.  The departments have worked collaboratively to recognize states and districts leading the way on these issues as well as to provide states and districts with effective alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices and continue to call upon a broad array of stakeholders to rethink approaches to school discipline in order to keep kids in school and out of the justice system.  Highlights from the Administration’s supportive school discipline efforts include:

Joint Federal Policy and Legal Guidance: Education and Justice jointly released a School Climate and Discipline Guidance Package in 2014 to provide schools with a roadmap to reduce the usage of exclusionary discipline practices and clarify schools’ civil rights obligation to not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin in the administration of school discipline.

#RethinkDiscipline Convening and Public Awareness Campaign: Education and Justice launched Rethink Discipline at the White House in July of 2015, convening school district teams, including some law enforcement practitioners and justice officials from across the country and sparking a national dialogue around punitive school discipline policies and practices that exclude students from classroom instruction and targeted supports.

Rethink School Discipline: Resource Guide for Superintendent Action: As a part of Rethink Discipline, the Department of Education developed a resource guide with a set of potential action items to help school leaders implement safe, supportive school climate and discipline by engaging stakeholders, assessing the results and history of existing school climate and discipline systems and practices; implementing reform; and monitoring progress.

Support for State and Local Educational Leaders and Partners from Other Systems: In 2015, the Department of Justice launched the National Resource Center for School Justice Partnerships to advance school discipline reform efforts and serve as a dynamic resource hub for schools, law enforcement agencies, and others to support school discipline reform efforts at the local level.

Fostering Safe and Supportive Learning Environments: In 2016, the Department of Education released the ED School Climate Surveys and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements to help foster and sustain safe and more nurturing environments that are conducive to learning for all students.

Addressing Implicit Bias and Discipline Disparities in Early Childhood Settings: In 2016, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently announced a new investment of $1 million in the Pyramid Equity Projectto establish national models for addressing issues of implicit bias, and uneven implementation of discipline, including expulsions and suspensions, in early learning programs.

Providing Guidance to Schools on Ensuring Equity and Providing Behavioral Supports to Students with Disabilities: In 2016, the Department of Education announced the release of a significant guidance document in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter, which emphasized the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarified that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that many children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. Also included was a Summary for Stakeholders.

The new resources and letters released today build on the work of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and the Council on Women and Girls, and respond to recommendations put forth by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to support schools in developing more positive school climates and strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. These efforts help districts, schools, and communities build credible and sustainable systems, structures, and partnerships that provide safe, supportive learning environments that uplift students and nurture them when they do well and when they need support to do better.

NAACP Protesters Fined For Voting Rights Sit-In

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

ROANOKE, VA – NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks and NAACP Youth & College Division Director Stephen Green were ordered today to pay fines and court costs for their refusal to leave a local Congressman’s office during a Voting Rights protest last month.

Green and Brooks appeared in a Roanoke Courtroom Thursday to answer charges stemming from a six-hour sit-in protest held Aug. 8 at the district office of Congressman Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Brooks pled guilty to the charge of trespassing.

“The right to vote in our country has been hobbled by state interference in the form of rank political maneuvering, and the failure of Congress to protect this civic sacrament is appalling,” Brooks said. “In the courts, in the streets and at the polls this November, this nation demands action to protect our vote – the wellspring of all other civil rights.”

Through marches, protests and mass arrests for civil disobedience, the NAACP has repeatedly called on Goodlatte and congressional leaders to hold a hearing on legislation restoring protections from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were eliminated under the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby v. Holder ruling.

Though legislation to amend the landmark civil rights law has been pending in congress since January 2014, no action has been taken by the judiciary committee, effectively leaving the Voting Rights Amendment Act in limbo.

“After the Shelby decision three years ago, Chairman Goodlatte has still refused to even hold a hearing on this issue,” Brooks told NAACP supporters, reporters and spectators outside the courthouse. “We are fighting. And we cannot promise we won’t be back to fight against voter suppression.”

Prosecutors acknowledged that both Brooks and Green were exercising their right to engage in an act of civil disobedience, but asked the court to levy the fine as a direct consequence of their action.

While Congress failed to act for three years, more than 17 states have passed restrictive and discriminatory laws to make it more difficult for African-American, young, old and poor voters to cast ballots by requiring IDs and cutting back programs that led to record African-American turnout in recent elections. The NAACP and allies have challenged individual state laws in federal court while calling for congressional action to prevent future attempts to restrict the voting process from candidates seeking office Nov. 8.

Last week, the Supreme Court denied a request by North Carolina state attorneys to revive the state’s election changes, including photo ID requirements and curtailed early voting hours. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that state changes to election law were “motivated by invidious racial discrimination.”

At colleges and communities, and through volunteer-driven events across the nation, NAACP members are aggressively working this fall to help register voters and stand against intimidation and discrimination in the Nov. 8 election.

“With recent NAACP-driven voting rights court victories at our back, today we stood in court –within the American tradition of civil disobedience–to plead guilty to trespassing for our sit-in to combat voter suppression,” Brooks said after the hearing. “Following our arrest last month for the voter suppression sit-in at the office of Congressman Bob Goodlatte, we appeared in municipal court. With the support of Roanoke President Brenda Hale and the local branch of the NAACP, we paid a modest fine.

“The small size of the fine is inversely related to the still massive amount of voter suppression. Accordingly, we must continue our campaign of civil disobedience to protect our right to vote even as we organize to get out the vote. We continue to press Congressman Goodlatte to hold a hearing to secure the Restore the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and his own constituents make the case for him to do so.”

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Rep. Barbara Lee Commend Airbnb on Today’s Report to Address Discrimination Practices

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
The Popular On-line Booking Site Takes a 90-Day Review of Platform Practices Following Reports of Exclusions of African Americans and other minorities from booking rooms on its website

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement to commend Airbnb on its report to address racial discrimination and abuse:

“The Congressional Black Caucus commends Airbnb and its CEO, Brian Chesky, for taking this significant first step to address racial discrimination and exclusion of African Americans and other minorities on the company’s platform,” said CBC Chairman Butterfield, who serves as co-chair of the CBC Diversity Taskforce. “We appreciate the opportunity to voice our concerns and provide recommendations on earlier reports, and the company’s willingness and efforts to take the issue of discrimination seriously, which is evident with the measures set forth in the report designed to prevent future discrimination and ill-treatment of its customers.  This is a standard that can be modeled throughout the tech industry.”

“After meeting with Airbnb staff, it is encouraging that the company has decided to respond constructively to the letter Chairman Butterfield and I sent to CEO Brian Chesky in June regarding discriminatory behavior by a number of Airbnb hosts,” said Congressman Cleaver, a member of the CBC Diversity Taskforce.  “This is a commendable step in the right direction, and I am confident that Airbnb will continue to take the correct actions to ensure that all consumers are treated as equals when using Airbnb’s services.”

“I’m encouraged by Airbnb’s efforts to address racial discrimination and abuse,” added Congresswoman Lee, a co-chair of the CBC Diversity Taskforce. “Today’s report displays a real and serious commitment to serving all people. This report is an important first step that I’m confident will be followed by further action.”

 

In June, Chairman Butterfield and Congressman Cleaver submitted a letter to Airbnb, Inc. CEO, Brian Chesky, to urge the company to conduct a comprehensive review of accusations of racial discrimination practices and find solutions that address the issue. Members of the CBC Diversity Taskforce applaud Airbnb for today’s policy solutions such as increasing workforce and supplier diversity and implementing a new nondiscrimination policy with a commitment to equality and fairness in user treatment regardless of race.

#TheBluestLie Collaborative Release Web App for Chicagoans to demand City Alderman take a stance on the Blue Lives Matter Ordinance.

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL #TheBluestLie Collaborative continues its campaign against City Ordinance #4878, to expand Hate Crimes legislation to provide protections to police officers. This expansion of the Hate Crimes legislation is a part of a new wave of “Blue Lives Matter” legislation that are appearing across the country. If the ordinance passes through the Public Safety Committee and City Council, anyone who has a negative interaction with a police officer can be charged with a Hate Crime which carries a felony of at least 6 months imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

Since the proposed introduction of the Blue Lives Matter ordinance, very few Aldermen have taken a stance on whether they are against or in support of the ordinance. Some City Aldermen are calling for increased police accountability but have not taken a stance on the Blue Lives Matter Ordinance – an ordinance that would erode the gains to initiate increased police accountability measures in Chicago and would make marginalized communities more vulnerable to police intimidation, violence, and incarceration.

Today #TheBluestLie Collaborative partner, BYP100 released a web application to help everyday Chicagoans 1) easily discover their alderman by typing their address 2) report on call outcomes 3) and share their efforts on social media. Activists have already started to call their Alderman on the tool to find out where they stand on the Blue Lives Matter Ordinance. Website Developers Rich Ranallo and Jeffrey Hitch teamed up to create the #TheBluestLie website at #ChiHackNight; Chicago’s weekly event to build, share, and learn about civic tech. Website Developer, Jeffrey Hitch was moved to use technology to help more people to mobilize against the proposal of the Blues Lives Matter Ordinance, “The proposal of the Blues Lives Matter ordinance in Chicago is a statement that ignores the harm that police brutality has brought on Black communities and the Black lives that have been lost. It serves to discourage anyone willing to speak out against this system and to twist the narrative making police victims.”

#TheBluestLie Collaborative hopes to get responses from all 50 Aldermen in the event that the delayed Blue Lives Matter ordinance is introduced in the Public Safety Committee of City Council. #TheBluestLie Collaborative demands that the sponsors of the ordinance, Aldermen Burke, Cochran, Sposato, Curtis, Napolitano, O’Shea and Taliaferro rescind their proposal to expand the Hate Crimes legislation to protect police officers and to stand on the right side of justice for true police accountability in Chicago.  

[Local spokespersons available for additional comment. Contact Camesha Jones  at to 708-580-0255 coordinate.]

#TheBluestLie Collaborative is lit and led by young Black Chicagoans committed to each others’ autonomy, liberation and abundant futures.

www.bluestlie.com

 

Senator Kirk Statement on 15th Anniversary of 9/11 Terror Attacks

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks:

“This weekend we remember the 2,977 men, women and children taken from their families in the 9/11 terror attacks. We honor the survivors who live with the pain of that September morning every day, and extend gratitude to the first responders who put their lives on the line, including 170 Illinois volunteers. Last year, I worked with my colleague from New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to pass into law the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act and ensure all those who sacrificed at Ground Zero receive the healthcare they deserve. It is that selfless American spirit that drives this great nation. Fifteen years later, we still remember and continue to stand united against anyone who tries to attack our country in the name of terrorism.” 

BACKGROUND

  • Senator Kirk co-authored the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act to provide support to victims of the terror attacks and the brave men and women who risked their lives responding to the aftermath of 9/11.
  • The 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill included the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act which extends the World Trade Center Health Program to 2090.
  • It also extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for an additional 5 years and adds an additional $4.6 billion to pay claims.
  • Senator Kirk is the lead Republican co-sponsor and champion on this issue in the Senate with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York.
  • 15 years after the September 11th terrorist attacks, 9/11 first responders and survivors are still battling health crises and setbacks resulting from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero.
  • 63,000 responders are receiving medical monitoring to safeguard against illness or injury, and more than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors have at least one illness or injury caused by the attacks or the aftermath, more than 170 of whom live in Illinois and are currently enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program. 

Illinois State Police Traffic Stop Leads to Apprehension of Three Murder Suspects

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

DANVILLE, IL – On August 27, 2016, at approximately 4:57 a.m., an Illinois State Police (ISP) District 10 Trooper observed two vehicles driving erratically in a road rage incident traveling eastbound on I-74 starting at milepost 200. The Trooper requested additional units. Officers in Vermilion County were able to assist. A traffic stop was initiated on both vehicles on I-74 eastbound near the Mile Post 214 exit ramp.

During the traffic stop, the Trooper suspected criminal activity by the subjects in both vehicles. The Trooper obtained consent to search one of the vehicles, a 2016 Charcoal Gray Jeep Wrangler, a rental vehicle with Canadian registration, and located a rifle. A K-9 conducted a free air sniff and alerted on the second vehicle, a 2014 White Mercedes C300, registered in Colorado. Officers searched the second vehicle and seized 112.1 grams of suspected cocaine and two handguns.

ISP District 10 Troopers also observed blood in both vehicles during their searches. Both vehicles were impounded to further the investigation.

The three occupants, Michael Gresham, 20, Joshua Baker, 20, and Lawrence Greggs Jr., 20, all from Cincinnati, Ohio, were arrested for weapon and drug offenses, incarcerated in the Vermilion County Jail, and held pending bond hearings.

ISP Agents contacted Colorado authorities regarding the Mercedes because the registered owner was not present. ISP Agents learned the registered owner of the Mercedes, Devon D. Smeltz, 21, was reported missing by his mother on Friday, August 26, 2016. Smeltz was found dead by Colorado authorities on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Gresham, Baker and Greggs were suspected of having a hand in the disappearance of Smeltz. All three suspects are being held in the Vermilion County Jail pending extradition by Colorado authorities.

“This is a perfect example of how a simple traffic stop can lead to the discovery of more serious crimes,” said ISP Colonel Tad Williams. “I am proud of the good police work by our Troopers and Agents involved in this investigation. Their teamwork with outside agencies and across state lines led to the seizure of illegal drugs, guns and ultimately resulted in the arrest of three dangerous criminals.”

This case remains an open and ongoing investigation by the Fort Collins, Colorado Police Department with the cooperation of the Illinois State Police. No further information is being released at this time.

The public is reminded that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Madigan Releases New Information for Veterans

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued her updated guide of legal rights for Illinois service members and encouraged Illinois veterans, service members and their families to access the updated resource to ensure their legal rights are upheld.

 

Madigan’s updated “Legal Rights of Illinois Service Members” guide was created by her Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau to provide veterans, service members and their families with information regarding veterans’ legal rights and federal and state veteran benefit laws. A new version that highlights changes in laws and how those changes impact veterans’ benefits is available online today at Madigan’s website.

 

“My Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau developed this free guide to help service members, veterans and their families navigate and understand various state and federal laws regarding their rights,” Madigan said. “I encourage veterans and their families to call my Military and Veterans’ Rights Hotline at 1-800-382-3000 to speak with real people who can answer any questions.”

 

The “Legal Rights of Illinois Service Members” guide details new and updated laws that benefit veterans, including:

  • Credit Freeze for Active Duty Service Members: Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act now entitles active duty service members to a free credit freeze if they become victims of identity theft.
  • Real Estate Property Tax Exemption for Certain Disabled Veterans: Qualified veterans with Department of Veterans Affairs’ disability ratings are eligible to have their Illinois property taxes reduced.
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): Active service members can no longer lose custody of a child based solely on deployments, and courts will no longer consider deployments when determining custody. Service members can also now legally terminate residential leasing agreements when they receive orders for 90-day deployments.
  • SMETA Amendment: Helps protect jobs of Illinois residents who serve in the National Guard by ensuring that even if they serve in the National Guard of a neighboring state, they will receive the same employment protections of Illinois National Guard members.
  • Veterans Employment Preference: Ensures that when private employers work to expand opportunities for veterans by establishing a veterans’ preference in hiring, promotion or retention, these actions are allowed under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Madigan’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau advocates for service members and veterans and investigates and pursues enforcement actions in cases involving fraud against members of the armed services. As part of this work, Madigan previously reached a settlement with a California-based company to shut down its website, www.GIBill.com, for deceptively steering service members and veterans to use their federal education benefits with the company’s preferred clients in the for-profit schools industry. The Attorney General has also urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to immediately restore military educational benefits for student veterans who attended deceptive for-profit schools. Madigan also called on Congressional leaders to close a loophole in the Higher Education Act that has allowed many for-profit schools to exploit education benefits available to American service members, veterans and their families. Madigan has also urged the U.S. Secretary of Defense to strengthen regulations under the federal Military Lending Act (MLA) to ensure service members are better protected from abusive lending practices.

 

For more information about Madigan’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau, please visit her website or contact her Military and Veterans’ Rights Hotline at 1-800-382-3000.

 

 

 

Colin Kaepernick Makes Me Wanna Holler and Throw Up Both My Hands

Posted by Admin On September - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw
Contributing Writer
Colin Kaepernick

Nationwide — I am not going to equivocate my thoughts about these United States of America. Amerykah – as the artist Erykah Badu has called it, is hands down the greatest country in the world. Like most citizens, I love America and so does Colin Kaepernick, the once beloved and now embattled quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

In case youve been living under a rock for the past few days, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand while the national anthem was being played during a recent pre-season game. His refusal to stand was his expression of the frustration he felt as a Black man, a citizen living in America, observing the lack of racial equality for people of color. Kaepernick made it perfectly clear that his act was his decision and it was personal. We got to witness an act of protest protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. You know the document that begins with We the People…

And then it happened… we the people (Twittersphere, sports fans, a whole lot of folks) lost their figurative minds and let him know (as was their right), how they felt about his act. Some said he was a coward, that it wasnt the right time or place for a protest although protest, no matter the form is never convenient. It was astounding to me that some said he showed disrespect to the men and women who served in the military and more than a few of our loving citizens strongly suggested that he find another country to live in. It was as if this millionaire athlete could not and should not have a conscience and that he absolutely could not exercise his right to object to the playing of a song that has a known racist history.

Not all Americans agreed. Some applauded his right to protest and wondered if Americans would really hear his heart. Some said it was madness but magnificently so.

I immediately thought of the late Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all times was once called a traitor and draft dodger for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. He was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title and not allowed to box in the US for many years. Ali lost millions but it seemed that his soul remained intact. He showed us by his personal act, that our worth is not determined by green backs and coins but by the tenets of our hearts and those valuable truths that we would willingly sacrifice our lives for.

It was Ali who told the world that he would not put on a military uniform and journey thousands of miles away to drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while Black people were being treated like dogs right here in the streets of America.

Ali unapologetically said that the real enemy was not Vietnam but the good ole USA. It was Ali who said he would willingly go to war if he thought it would bring freedom and equality to Black people. For Ali, the real test was whether he would stand up for his beliefs while facing the possibility of jail. In the end, Ali reflected that he really had nothing to lose if he went to jail because we (Black people) had been in jail for 400 years.

Like Ali, Kapernick did not mince his words when explaining why he refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick said he could not stand up and show pride for a country or a flag that oppresses Black people and people of color. He said the oppression that he witnessed was bigger than football. He spoke of the bodies lying in the streets. Kaepernick knew he might pay a heavy price for his beliefs but he set down anyway. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right, Kaepernick said. Sound familiar?

Kaepernick, a Black NFL quarterback who was once chastised by a reporter for wearing his cap backwards. Turn your cap around and act like a professional quarterback, the reporter wrote. I guess that reporter was blissfully unaware that White NFL quarterbacks also wore their caps backwards. Or what about the reporter who loathed the tattoos on his arms, comparing Kaepernicks look to that of a prisoner who just got paroled. It didnt seem to matter to that reporter, that under Kaepernicks leadership, the 49ers earned a trip to Super Bowl XLVII. But I digress…

Is it possible that Kaepernick was asking how could the United States of America, home of the brave and land of the free, the great variegated country who promised that all men were created equal impinge upon the unalienable rights of its citizens of color… the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? He wanted to know when would justice for its citizens of color be congruent with the type of justice experienced by its White citizens. He did not disparage the brave men and women who serve or have served in the military nor the police who bravely seek to make the streets safe for all citizens of this great nation. He did question the system that allows some to escape the consequences of their misguided actions. After all, arent all citizens innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

Colin Kaepernick simply spoke of his disappointment in a country that is better than what we at times exhibit. He said what you and I know that we can and must do better. It is a courageous act to speak truth to power. Its not for the faint at heart and Colin Kaepernick makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands…

Dr. Valerie Wardlaw is a writer and psychologist from Los Angeles. Contact her at vwardlaw@gmail.com or visit her web site at www.drvaleriewardlaw.com

Photo Caption: Colin Kaepernick, #7 of the San Francisco 49ers

 

 

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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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