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Archive for September, 2016

Family of Black Man Killed by White Pastor Demands the FBI to Investigate “One of North Carolina’s Most Corrupt Prosecutors and His Cover ups!”

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The family of Christian Griggs, who was killed in 2013 by a white pastor who was also his father-in-law, is calling for an immediate investigation of the District Attorneys office.
Christian Griggs, unarmed Black man killed by white pastor

Angier, NC (BlackNews.com) — The family of Christian Griggs is calling for an immediate investigation into the Harnett County District Attorneys mishandling of homicides in the cases of their only son Christian Griggs, and also in the cases of Brandon Bethea and John Livingston. They say that District Attorney Vernon Stewarts’ actions, and lack of action, have shown him as unfit to be a prosecutor or a member of the American justice system.

On Oct. 12, 2013, an unarmed Christian Griggs was gunned down while trying to flee from his enraged father-in-law, Pat Chisenhall, who was carrying a .22-caliber rifle. According to a sworn medical affidavit, Christian sustained six gunshot wounds one to his shoulder, one to his abdomen and the last four to his back.

Based on a critical discovery, a senior medical examiner determined that Griggs death was a homicide. After determining how the last four bullets entered Griggs back, the medical examiner concluded that Chisenhall had shot Griggs while Griggs was bending over or lying face down away from Chisenhall. These findings disprove that Chisenhall acted in self-defense. Instead of arresting Chisenhall, the Harnett County Sheriffs Office collaborated with Chisenhalls family to conceal the murder by changing the crime scene. Despite the medical examiners report and the “shoddy investigation,” the family says that Stewart has “done nothing and allowed a murderer to go free.” (The story was covered by ABC News back in 2015 – www.abc11.com/news/self-defense-or-murder-the-i-team-investigates/696462/)

Reportedly, Stewart made a similar hasty and unjust decision in the murder of Brandon Bethea, a mentally ill man who was in Harnett County jail. Video cameras recording on March 15, 2011, confirm that multiple officers led a leg-shackled Bethea into a padded cell and unlocked Betheas handcuffs. Officer John Clark shot his Taser at Betheas chest, virtually paralyzing the man. As Bethea lay on the ground clutching his chest, Clark released two more loads of deadly electric current into Betheas chest. Then Bethea was left to die. (For more details about this story, visit www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article98093717.html)

The state medical examiner determined that Betheas death was a homicide. Stewart has not filed any charges in Betheas death, has purposely concealed investigation reports and has refused to release reports to the public.

Most recently, Stewart also reportedly failed the family of John Livingston, whom a Harnett County police officer gunned down while Livingston at his mobile home. On Nov. 15, 2015, officers arrived at Livingstons door around 4 a.m., searching for a suspect in an assault investigation. Livingston informed the officers they were at the wrong residence and requested a search warrant. When the unarmed Livingston attempted to close his door, the officer forced entry and wrestled Livingston to the deck of his front porch and shot him, killing him. (For more details about that story, visit www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article74990327.html)

The Griggs family says that Stewart has mishandled these cases and others, denying justice to these families. After a grand jury failed to indict Livingstons killer, the FBI intervened to see whether any federal laws were violated in that case. “We dont believe that anyone is safe in Harnett County as long as Stewart is the district attorney,” says Tony Griggs, father of Christian Griggs.

He and his family are inviting all to call for the immediate investigation of the DAs office and the resignation of Vernon Stewart! They are asking the public to sign their online petition at https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/urgent-fbi-investigation-harnett-county-da-s-office-is-corrupt.


Photo Caption: The late Christian Griggs with his daughter

NAACP Statement on Fatal Shooting of Terence Crutcher During Police Encounter in Tulsa, OK

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, MD – NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks today issued the following statement regarding the release of video footage of the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher during a police encounter in Tulsa, OK.

“Yesterday, the Tulsa Police Department released video footage, captured from three different views, that shows two officers fatally shooting Terence Crutcher, 40, of Tulsa, during a traffic stop. Crutcher was shot after walking to his car with his hands up. The video footage of Crutcher’s death tragically and horrifically shows us the futility of our cry: “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

To end the parade of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police, we need to match our outrage with outcomes. We need to take to the streets and to the polls with a clear plan for reform. In our 2014 Born Suspect Report, we captured the magnitude and impact of racial profiling in urban communities, and we made substantive, data-based suggestions for nationwide reform and preventative legislation. Now, we are asking all elected officials and candidates to sign our Pledge to Preserve and Protect Our Lives.

By signing the pledge, officials promise to take action to cut off funding to law enforcement agencies that discriminate and ensure independent investigation of law enforcement agencies, detailed data reporting about police stops and uses of force, comprehensive standards governing the use of force, and civilian oversight of policing.  These reforms would increase policing transparency and accountability and are essential to rebuilding the broken relationships between police and the communities they serve.

We commend and are grateful for the continuing work and rapid response to this event by Tulsa NAACP Branch President Pleas Thompson and Oklahoma State Conference President Anthony R. Douglas.  

On November 8, the power to communicate the gravity and urgency of the need for such reforms will lie in our hands. By registering to vote and showing up at the polls, we can show elected officials and all Americans that we are voters and activists with power.  We will honor the lost life of Terence Crutcher.  We will #StayWokeAndVote.”

New African American History Museum Expected to Boost Black Tourism in DC

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Barrington M. Salmon

With the opening of the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture this Saturday, Sept. 24, organizers foresee a major boost in Black tourism in DC.

“We’re underrepresented in presentations on the Mall. We have the MLK memorial and this. We have very little going on down here. We’re glad to have the new museum because it will raise the profile that various African Americans are making and will be beneficial to us,” said Dr. Frank Smith, co-chair of the DC Host Committee, which held a press conference Sept. 7.

Smith is also founder of the African American Civil War Museum, which will host satellite events before during and after Saturday’s grand opening. “This museum is a rising tide. It is a great presentation of art, music and artifacts. I look forward to joining in the celebrations,” he said.

Smith said he wants young people to be intricately involved and engaged so that they can learn about African-American history and culture in new and interesting ways.

“Young people who go to museums do better in school and lower-income people tend to go less,” he explained. “Our challenge is to bring children to museums regardless of zip code and geographical location. I’m so excited. We need to get our people fired up.”

Longtime DC resident and Committee member Chuck Hicks agreed.

“This is the most important thing in our lifetime. The museum tells our story of African-American people through African-American eyes. One hundred thousand people will be here. There’s nothing more important to have people come and make them feel welcome. We want people to know that there are Black places to eat, to go and see, Black places of worship. We will continue to be the host city for people who’ll be coming here in droves.”

The museum is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture, said John W. Franklin, director of partnerships and international programs for the Smithsonian. He is also the son of renowned historian and scholar John Hope Franklin. So far, he said, the African-American history museum has collected more than 30,000 personal artifacts that capture the richness, vibrancy and power of the experiences of Africans in America since the first Africans were brought to the US in the early 1600s.

Congress established the NMAAHC by an Act of Congress in 2003, culminating decades of efforts by a wide cross-section of supporters from around the country advocating for a museum to single out and promote the contributions of African Americans. Nearly 100,000 individuals are now charter members of the museum. And when it opens, it will be the 19th and newest museum of the 170-year-old Smithsonian Institution.

More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the museum’s official grand opening ceremonies. President Barack Obama will be the keynote speaker.

“It is a major event. A president’s event. Consider it on the small scale of an inauguration,” said Franklin.

He said the museum’s grounds extend to 17th street and there will be large-screen TVs along the length of the National Mall and around the Lincoln Memorial. The 400,000 square foot museum will be open from 8am to midnight with extended hours all through the first week. It will be open every day except Dec. 25.

The host committee’s 75 volunteer members has organized 25 events around the opening of the museum with celebratory activities beginning on Sept 18 and going through the Sept 24 opening.

The following are some of the satellite activities:

Thursday, September 22, 6 – 9 pm:
DC Host Committee’s Official opening ceremony and reception sponsored by the Phi Sigma Chapter (Washington, DC) of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. www.SGRphisigma.org
Official Host: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
African American Civil War Memorial Museum

1925 Vermont Ave. NW.

Saturday, September 24, 10 am. – 12 Noon:
A series of Watch Parties to view the grand opening of the African American History Museum:
African American Civil War Memorial Museum, 1925 Vermont Ave. NW
Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1213 U St NW

Florida Avenue Grill, 1100 Florida Ave. NW

Saturday, September 24, 11:00-2:00 pm:
Descendants Presentation by Carol Cromwell – Private Richard Cromwell, 39th USCT
African American Civil War Museum

1925 Vermont Ave, NW

Saturday, September 24, 2:00-3:30 pm:
Theatrical Presentation – Battle Hymn of a Freedman
Performance of dramatic stage play written by Clarence Anthony Bush, descendent of a member of the 2nd Regiment US Colored Troops
Play tells the story of the Fort Pillar Massacre of 1864 in which more than 300 Black soldiers were killed.
African American Civil War Museum

1925 Vermont Ave. NW

Saturday, September 24, 12:30-1:30 pm:
Musical Performance – Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers
African American Civil War Memorial

10th and U street NW

Saturday, September 24, 2:30-3:30 pm:
Musical Performance – East of the River Steel Band
African American Civil War Memorial

10th and U street NW

Sunday, September 24, 12:00-3:00 pm:
Theatrical Presentation – Battle Hymn of a Freedman and VIP Brunch Champagne Reception
Performance of dramatic stage play written by Clarence Anthony Bush, descendent of a member of the 2nd Regiment US Colored Troops
Play tells the story of the Fort Pillar Massacre of 1864 in which more than 300 Black soldiers were killed.
Performance includes a VIP Champagne Brunch $100
African American Civil War Museum

1925 Vermont Ave. NW

Franklin said he’s been working on the museum project for 11 years. The museum will tell the African American story, including the importance of African Americans outside of the US and the influence of Africans from abroad.

“This is a museum that deals with history and culture. You can’t look at the African American experience only from one perspective,” Franklin said. “It looks at resistance and slavery, segregation, creates the culture of music and oral traditions, its cultural expression based on African skills, based on the expression of music, art and architecture.”

Franklin concluded, “I’m absolutely thrilled that this moment is almost here. I’ve spent 29 years working at the Smithsonian and there were early rumblings of creation of the museum. I’ve followed it, tried to push for it … Civil War veterans in 1915 began to agitate for building this museum. We’re a patient people.”

For more information about the day’s events and details about free shuttle service from the Civil War Museum to the festivities downtown, go to dchost.org.

Supporting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Must be a National Priority

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


By Connie Evans

Americas Wire Writers Group


WASHINGTON, D.C. –   After Noemi Prado devoted 29 years to working for Southwest Moulding in Grand Prairie, TX, the owners decided to close the business. But Ms. Prado gathered her retirement savings and other financing to purchase the company, a transaction that has sustained and created jobs for 40 people in her community.


A key aspect of the financing was a $825,000 loan that she received from the Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (VEDC), a non-profit organization that provides affordable business assistance services, direct financial assistance, and entrepreneurial training to minority businesses and entrepreneurs.  “If it wasn’t for VEDC, it wouldn’t have happened,” Ms. Prado said, noting that it was difficult to obtain traditional bank financing.


Data collected by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) shows that a large percentage of people want to be like Ms. Prado and run their own businesses.  At the same time, however, many would-be entrepreneurs lack the access to mentors, capital and support networks that could help them get up and running.

That’s the problem our nation faces.


Small businesses are actually creating a higher percentage of new jobs than big companies, but entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle to get the access to capital and the knowledge, known as ‘trusted guidance’ in the microbusiness industry, that they need to start or sustain their businesses. The reality is that significant barriers limit opportunities for business owners of color.  They face discrimination in the banking world, have fewer wealth assets, and often lack the technical skills to make their dreams and aspirations come true.


Yet, there have been new developments that are slowly changing the landscape for minority entrepreneurs and small business owners.


Perhaps the most powerful is the changing demographics of the country, which corporate and government leaders are starting to better understand.  The nation is moving towards a majority-minority status. Already, the majority of children born in the country are children of color.  Thus, it’s clear that the nation must become more inclusive with business opportunities or the pockets of poverty across the country will just grow larger.  And, smart corporate leaders recognize that the growing communities of color are where future growth and expansions of their businesses should concentrate for sustained growth.


Certainly, part of the answer lies with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are getting more attention than ever before from both the public and private sectors. These mission-based organizations, which receive federal resources to invest in disadvantaged communities, are frequently where minority business owners turn when they need financing.  But needless to say, the demand frequently outpaces their money supply.


One of the positives is the collaborations now taking place between major banking institutions and CDFIs and other organizations, such as VEDC.


For instance, this year JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a Small Business Forward initiative, which will allocate $30 million over five years towards growing local, community-based small businesses. The program includes a combination of targeted lending to minority-owned businesses, innovative community development financing and technical assistance for entrepreneurs.  Through this work, JPMorgan Chase is helping minority- and community-based small business owners become engines of job growth and economic vitality in the neighborhoods they serve.


At a recent event in Washington, DC that AEO co-sponsored with JP Morgan Chase, Janis Bowdler, their Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, put the institution’s thinking in perspective. “As the economy recovers, much of the growth is often channeled toward reviving commercial corridors and downtowns in U.S. cities,” she said. “As a result, many disadvantaged neighborhoods, where underserved people live, are being left behind.”


Working with JPMorgan Chase, VEDC has created a National African American Small Business Loan Fund that will boost economic opportunity for minority-owned businesses and help them serve low-wealth communities by providing them with greater access to capital, technical assistance and financial consulting.  VEDC is a member AEO, which is a trade association for the microbusiness industry.


A broad range of organizations are recognizing the power of “inclusive entrepreneurship,” which will help bring equity to communities and Main Streets across the nation.  The National Coalition of 100 Black Women and New Economics for Women partnered with AEO and JPMorgan Chase to celebrate minority business owners at the event in Washington, DC during the annual meetings of the Black and Hispanic Caucus Conventions.  Speakers specifically noted that minority women often need assistance in starting and running businesses, but frequently are unaware of how to get that help.


Clearly, various partnerships and collaborations can help minorities overcome the barriers. Empowered mission-based community lenders are working with underserved entrepreneurs to help them build and sustain businesses that can fuel financial and social mobility, and create jobs that are boosting the economy — locally and nationally.


We must make supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses a national priority.

Ms. Evans is president and CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the voice of microbusiness in the United States.


Photo Caption: TV Producer Nely Galán and Super Model Beverly Johnson promote minority small businesses. Photo Credit:  Ashleigh A.M. Bing



Blue Man Group Announces Winners of 2016 Art Competition

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Winning Works To Be Unveiled at Briar Street Theatre Wednesday, October 5

CHICAGO, IL – Celebrating 25 years of living in full color, Blue Man Group is thrilled to announce the six winners of the 2016 Blue Man Group Art Competition. The winners, each receiving $2,500 cash prizes, include Giana DiBartolomeo, Miami, Fla.; Alice Harrison, Morristown, N.J.; Harriet Helfricht, San Jose, Calif.; Tammie Hildreth, Indianapolis, Ind.; Katherine Larson, Dexter, Mich.; and Xavier Nuez, Chicago, Ill.

Coinciding with Chicago Artists Month, 10-foot by 10-foot reproductions of the winning works will be unveiled Wednesday, October 5 at 11:30 a.m. at Blue Man Group Chicago’s Outdoor Art Gallery, located on the south exterior wall of the Briar Street Theatre (3133 North Halsted Street), with the original pieces on display inside the theater lobby.

The juried Art Competition included a panel comprised of Anna Cerniglia, Director and Founder of Johalla Projects, freelance producer and lecturer at School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism; Tom Galassi, Blue Man Chicago Captain and Assistant Director of Performer Development; Jeff Quay, Blue Man Group Associate Music Director; Vesna Stelcer, Co-founder, Board Chair and Director of the Ed Paschke Art Center; Candace Wark and Shirley Nannini of Wind Flow Photography, winners of the 2013 Blue Man Group Art Competition; and Chris Wink, Co-founder of Blue Man Group.

More information about the 2016 Blue Man Group Art Competition Winners:

Gianna DiBartolomeo “Touch from Above”
DiBartolomeo was born and raised in Miami, Fla. Her work is characterized by the unconventional use of ordinary materials. “Touch from Above” was inspired by all benefits of touch including a hug, pat on the back or an aptly spoken word. DiBartolomeo hopes that her work will bridge communication gaps and make relatable connections with her viewers, similar to the unspoken connections between the Blue Men and their audience.

Alice Harrison “Worlds Together Worlds Apart 6”
Harrison is a native of Morristown, N.J. She enjoys working in layers to create art containing sensations of movement and color with harmonious and joyful themes. After seeing Blue Man Group with her grandchildren, Harrison felt a special connection to the unique layers of the show.

Harriet Helfricht “Con Fuoco”
Abstract painter and sculptor Harriet Helfricht was born and raised in Dresden, Germany and now resides in San Jose, Calif. Inspired by Blue Man Group’s love of bright and vivid colors, her piece “Con Fuoco” depicts classical music performed in a fiery manner.

Tammie Hildreth “Junonia Buckeye”
Originally from Illinois and now living in Indianapolis, Hildreth’s work “Junonia Buckeye” was inspired by the dynamism, energy and vibrancy of Blue Man Group. Focusing on color, luminescence, contrast and movement, the color source for the piece was a macro photograph of spots on a butterfly wing. The acrylic painting contains approximately 29,000 dots and a nuanced palette of more than 50 individual colors.

Katherine Larson “Vessel 1”
Dexter, Mich. resident Katherine Larson began painting at age 14. Since then, Larson has painted more than 150 murals nationwide, from retail stores and restaurants to corporations including Google. Larson’s work for the Blue Man Group Art Competition is part of a series of pieces inspired by vessels. She hopes that those who view the piece will gain a sense of daring to live in full color.

Xavier Nuez “A Universe Beckons”
Chicago resident Xavier Nuez first experienced Blue Man Group four years ago. His photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries internationally. Nuez’s winning work for the competition, “A Universe Beckons” was inspired by the delirious use of color in the show along with epic stories that can be told from a small slice of life.

The 2016 Blue Man Group Art Competition is Blue Man Group’s second art competition. The inaugural competition was held in 2013. The 2013 winning artwork, currently located in the lobby of the Briar Street Theatre, will be moved to other locations within the building for patrons to enjoy.

Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre
Blue Man Group is comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one.

This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an outrageous multi-sensory entertainment experience you’ll never forget. A dynamic combination of music, comedy and technology, the show appeals to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology. Tickets are available from $49-$99. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or online at www.ticketmaster.com/bluemanchicago.

For more information and a full show schedule, visit www.blueman.com/tickets/chicago.

Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more, varying from $46- $64 per person. For groups of 10 or more, call the group sales department to book at: 773.348.3300 or email chicagogroups@blueman.com to request information.

About Blue Man Productions
In 2016, global entertainment phenomenon Blue Man Group celebrates 25 years of living in full color with a series of new projects and appearances. The company is best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show, performed in more than 20 countries and seen by more than 35 million people worldwide since 1991. A dynamic combination of music, comedy and technology, the show appeals to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is continually refreshed with new music, fresh stories, custom instruments and state-of-the-art technology.

The company developed through a creative collaboration among three close friends, Chris Wink, Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Blue Man Group now has permanent theatrical productions in Las Vegas, Orlando, Boston, Chicago, New York and Berlin, a North American tour and a World Tour.

This creative collective is part of the pop culture zeitgeist. Beyond the stage show, they have toured the globe with the “Megastar World Tour” rock concert parody, released multiple albums, including the Grammy-nominated Audio, and the recently released, THREE, and contributed to numerous film and TV scores. They’ve served as the face of branding campaigns for Intel and TIM/Brasil and appeared countless times on hit shows like “The Tonight Show”, “Arrested Development”, “Ellen”, “Schlag den Raab” (Germany), “WOWOW” (Japan), and “Caldeirão do Huck” (Brasil).

Based in New York City, Blue Man Productions has extensive production facilities, recording studios and a 6,000 square foot Research & Development Lab with numerous new creative projects in the pipeline.

Tennessee Man Charged with Threatening to Murder Member of United States Congress

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

A Murfreesboro, Tennessee, man was taken into custody this morning by FBI agents and U.S. Capitol Police, after a criminal complaint was issued, charging him with threatening to murder a United States official and transmitting in interstate commerce, a communication containing a threat, announced U.S. Attorney David Rivera for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Agents arrested Keahiokahouna Stewart, 36, at his Murfreesboro home this morning without incident.  Stewart is scheduled to make an initial appearance later today before a U.S. magistrate judge in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in August and continuing through Sept. 12, Stewart sent threatening emails and posted threatening videos to Instagram accounts, which he created.  In an email dated on Aug. 19, Stewart specifically indicates that he will fly from Nashville to Honolulu, Hawaii, on Nov. 1, with the intent to shoot people at the Princess Jonah Federal Building.  The specific targets of these threats were U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, who represents the state of Hawaii and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the 2nd District for the state of Hawaii.

The complaint outlines that beginning in November 2013, Stewart sent a series of “Grievances” to various U.S. officials and departments, including President Barack Obama, Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Gabbard, inquiring about Stewart’s social security number.  Stewart falsely believed that his social security number had been duplicated and issued to a fellow soldier he met while stationed at Camp Stanley in Korea, in 2002.  In subsequent correspondence to the Social Security Administration and Department of Defense, Stewart demands he be awarded 100 percent disability and $50 billion.

As set forth in the complaint, Stewart’s actions continued to be investigated by law enforcement including a May 2015 visit to Senator Hirono’s office in Washington, D.C., which resulted in the U.S. Capitol Police being called.  In subsequent Facebook and Instagram posts, Stewart continued to post comments about the issue and display photos of himself with firearms.  In an Instagram video posted by Stewart on Sept. 8, he states that he is flying to Honolulu on Nov. 1, and will be traveling with an AR-15 and two handguns.  Stewart further states that he has already shipped a silencer for one of the handguns and that it is stored in a garage in Waianae, Hawaii.

Investigators recently determined that Stewart had purchased an airline ticket to travel from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1, however it had been “exchanged,” which would allow the ticket holder to travel on any other date.

If convicted, Stewart faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official and up to five years in prison on the charge of communicating threats through interstate commerce.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent.

Source: FBI

College Prep Program for Teen Girls Receives $50,000 Grant From the Coca-Cola Foundation

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Single largest foundation grant received by the non-profit in its 30+ year history
Teenshop Inc. receives grant from Coca-Cola

Philadelphia, PA (BlackNews.com) — The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Teenshop, Inc., a national organization dedicated to nurturing girls with goals.® The grant will be used to enhance Teenshops successful college preparatory programs and initiatives, including college campus tours, pre-college summer program, and book scholarships for Teenshops graduating seniors.

We support programs focused on strengthening communities and Teenshop, Inc. is a great example of an organization that is truly making a difference in the Philadelphia area, said Lauren Craig, Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications, Coca-Cola North America. Our investment is designed to maximize Teenshops impact by helping teenage girls from underserved communities successfully matriculate to college.

According to Teenshop, Inc.s Founder and CEO Elleanor Jean Hendley, the grant represents the single largest contribution in the history of the organization and represents an investment that will continue to move Teenshop forward in a significant way. With this generous gift from The Coca-Cola Foundation, we will be able to strengthen our collegiate initiatives to ensure even greater success for our girls in the future, Hendley said. When I founded Teenshop more than 30 years ago, it was my intent to show our girls that having goals like going to college could help them avoid the pitfalls that derail the life plans of so many youth today.

While we have been operating in Philadelphia since 1902, I have been lucky enough to lead the business in Philadelphia for more than ten years, said Fran McGorry, President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Refreshments Tri-State Operating Unit. I am so proud that our foundation is making critical investments in the next generation of Philadelphians.
About Teenshop, Inc.
Teenshop, Inc. offers an innovative series of life skills workshops, educational and cultural field trips community service projects and signature programs that expand opportunities and experiences for the young women it serves. The organization hosts a Residential College Prep Summer Program for Rising Seniors, held every July at the prestigious Bryn Mawr College in which the girls get an immersion experience of college life. Teenshop has five chapters: (3) in Philadelephia, (1) in Los Angeles and (1) in New Jersey. More than 7,000 girls have been enrolled, and ALL graduates attend college or professional schools. For more details, visit www.teenshop.org
About The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $830 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit www.coca-colagivingback.com.


A Message to African American Voters: Don’t Vote for Donald Trump in the November 8th Election, His Prior Actions are Not Worthy of Your Vote

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Trump has a long history of racism, from the 1970s until now; he is divisive and polarizing. Racism is a core element of his campaign

By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine


African Americans, please don’t buy into the false premise – claims and impressions – by Donald Trump that he is concerned about you, your best interest or your welfare. He’s not. This man is a racist and demagogue. This is a man who for more than seven years questioned the legitimacy and integrity of the only and first African American president this country has ever elected.

I’ve been a journalist now for more than 40 years, and it pains me to see any African American, especially Trump’s bombastic African American surrogates, sing the praises of this Republican Party presidential nominee without calling into play any of his negative or racist actions. They try to sugar-coat everything they say about him.

However, I’m mindful that during slavery African Americans were defined in two categories “House Nigger” and “Field Nigger.”

Reportedly, the “House Nigger” was a Black that worked inside the house and did his/her best to please white people even if it meant disowning their own racial identity. And the “Field Nigger” worked in the field all day, in the hot sun, picking cotton instead of working in the big house like the “House Nigger”.

The stakes are high in the November 8th presidential election. This is serious business and no time for play or to be nonchalant about what is taking place in this country, in this election year. It is of the utmost importance that we vote in this election for the candidate that will put forth efforts in the best interest of all Americans regardless of race, color or creed.

President Barack Obama in a speech before the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala this weekend said, “Hope is on the ballot and fear is on the ballot too”, obviously a description of what either of the two candidates will bring, if elected.

Obama urged the black community to realize what’s at stake. “If you care about our legacy, realize everything we stand for is at stake. All the progress we’ve made is at stake in this election.”

He said Blacks should give Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the same support they gave to him. He received 93 percent of the Black vote in 2012.

“We have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community. I will consider it a personal insult and an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said. “You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote.”

Obama warned attendees at the gala and blacks in general to go out and vote. “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration, that’s on the ballot right now…and there is one candidate who will advance those things, and there is another candidate whose defining principle, the central theme of his candidacy is opposition to all that we’ve done. There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter, it all matters.”

According to one poll, Clinton has an 80 percent lead over Trump among Black voters.

A few days ago Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said there were more white supremacists supporting Trump than leaders of his own party.

“Let’s face it, Trump has more support from the Aryan Nation and the KKK than he does from the leaders of his own party,” Warren said.

Several mainstream Republicans have refused to endorse trump for office, and a number of African Americans that worked for the Republican National Committee quit rather than work on his campaign.

These are some of Trump’s actions that should tell you not to vote for him in the November 8th election:

1.He pushed false rumors that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. He sent investigators to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth certificate, and when Obama won a second term in 2012, Trump went ranting on Twitter:

“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”

“Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”

“Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble…like never before.”

 “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”

 “The phoney Electoral College made a laughing stock out of our

   nation.  The loser one!”

  “He (Obama) lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election.

We should have a revolution in this country!”

  1. He questioned Obama attending Harvard Law School, demanding that Obama release his university transcripts, yet, Trump has not released his tax returns. He is the only presidential candidate who didn’t release tax returns.
  2. In 1989, Trump ran an ad in local papers demanding “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police, in a case involving four black teenagers and a Latino teenager accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. In the end, the teens’ conviction was vacated and the city paid $41 million in settlement to the teens. Then Trump argued that they were probably involved in other criminal activity.
  3. In 1991, John O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, wrote in his book about Trump’s criticism of a black accountant. Reportedly, Trump said, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”
  4. In 1992, a $200,000 fine was brought against The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino because it transferred black and women dealers off tables to accommodate a big-time gambler’s prejudices.
  5. The Trump Management Corporation in 1973 was sued for violating the Fair Housing Act. This was during the Nixon Administration. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations. Trump said the federal government was trying to get him to rent to welfare recipients. However, he signed an agreement in 1975 not to discriminate to renters of color, without admitting to discriminating before.

Village Voice, in a 1979 article, alleged that the Trumps refused to rent to black seekers, and a rental agent said Fred Trump instructed him not to rent to blacks and to encourage existing black tenants to leave.

  1. In 1980, a former employee at Trump’s Castle said “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino the bosses would order all the black people off the floor.”
  2. The US Department of Justice sued his company twice for racial discrimination when Trump was serving as the president of his family’s real estate company, the Trump Management Corporation. In 1973, the Justice Department sued the company for alleged racial discrimination  against black people looking to rent apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
  3. Reportedly, Trump condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester after Trump supporters physically attacked the protester at a November campaign rally in Alabama when the protester began to chant “Black lives matter.” In a video, the assailant (a Trump supporter) was kicking the man after he had already fallen to the ground.

African Americans must always use their voting power constructively. They must never forget the power of the ballot. In years past, some of our forefathers lost their lives in their struggle to get equal voting rights for Blacks in this country.

African Americans encountered various barriers in their efforts to get the right to vote in America – hostile law enforcement officials that were indifferent to them having the audacity to pursue their goal of being added to the registration rolls, insulting literacy tests designed to be difficult, to deny them the right to vote, and the Grandfather’s™ clause and poll taxes. Voting was mostly under state control. The U.S. Justice Department established that in many counties the tests were ‘administered unfairly.’

The late Honorable Illinois Appellate Court Justice .R. Eugene Pincham said: “Literally, since the beginning of civilization, one of the things that the powerful has consistently denied the powerless throughout the centuries has been the right and the privilege to participate in their government, i.e., the right to vote.”


A stark reminder of that was a comment made by the late Mississippi U.S. Senator Theodore G. Bilbo in 1946. In his re-election bid in 1946, Bilbo was in stark opposition to Blacks having the right to the ballot box. He said, “Niggers (his word) should not be allowed to vote in this country…Do not let a single Nigger register and vote, If you let a few register and vote this year, next year there will be twice as many, and the next thing you know the whole thing will be out-of-hand.”

There are some conservative politicians in this country now who are using all kinds of tactics to try and diminish the black vote through Voter ID laws.

We cannot and will not go back to the dark era of yesteryear when certain citizens could not vote in this country. We must fight tooth and nail, every step of the way, to extinguish efforts by some who would try to disenfranchise voters’ constitutional right to the ballot box. There should never be barriers set-up to stop people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in this country.

So, African Americans think about your actions. Do not give a thought about boycotting the polls on Election Day or voting for a third party candidate. That’s a waste of your vote.  The Alt Right will continue to support Donald Trump. And making a protest vote about the candidates and voting for a third party candidate will not accomplish anything. It would be a bad decision; and it should not make the cut in any way.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who was a Democratic candidate for president in the Primary election, suggested to voters that they should not vote for a third-party candidate for president because this is not a time for a protest vote. The effort should be focused on defeating Donald Trump.

“When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not the time for a protest vote. This is [the] time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be,” said Sanders.

Some African Americans were angry and insulted when Trump, in a pitch to black voters, made a carte blanche statement that “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

The statement only reveals that Trump does not know what goes on in the black community, his words are only assumptions. Of course many words that come out of his mouth are factually inaccurate. I beg to differ. All African Americans do not live in poverty as with any other ethnic group, and all do not attend “no good” schools, as he suggested. And certainly the unemployment rate is not 58 percent.

Trump has declined to attend African American gatherings, but just recently attended a black church in Detroit. But a few days ago he declined to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala, although he was invited.

It’s time to get serious about what is best for us as a people. Make sure you go to the polls on November 8th and vote in our best interest. By doing so, we will be giving homage to our forefathers who in some cases lost their lives in their struggle to get equal voting rights for Blacks in this country.

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for 40 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics. 

Black-Owned PR Firm Helps Businesses Grow by Tapping Into Buying Power

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

ThinkZILLA PR & Consulting Group Welcomes Churches, Luxury Brands and Major Organizations Seeking High Growth and Exposure Across Multiple Demographics. 

Velma Trayham, CEO of ThinkZILLA PR Group

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) — According to Velma Trayham, founder of ThinkZILLA PR & Consulting, many corporations and luxury brands are missing the mark when targeting a diverse demographic of consumers. The agency is currently partnering with brands seeking to tap into multicultural demographics’ growing buying power, and helping them to develop initiatives that not only resonate with urban audiences but also result in deeper loyalty and increased revenue.

ThinkZILLA is one of only a few public relations firms in the country to focus on aggressively targeting consumers by finding unique ways to approach, engage and interact and then create brand loyalty, said Velma Trayham, founder of ThinkZILLA Consulting. We turn challenges into exceedingly profitable results.

ThinkZILLA specializes in helping brands and organizations revamp their multicultural outreach strategies in order to build stronger relationships with African-Americans, who now represent more than $1.2 trillion in buying power. The agency leverages years of experience, relationships and expertise to help its clients secure strategic partnerships and key media placements, produce event series and launch social media campaigns that are in alignment with African-American consumers preferences and trends, and the issues most impacting their communities.

Recently, as the agency of record for The Bridge Summit: Connecting Law Enforcement to Community Engagement, ThinkZILLA helped police chiefs from across the U.S. and political leaders open a meaningful dialog with members of the Phoenix community as friction escalated following widely-reported police-involved shootings. The agency also helped raise the profile of the Checkered Flag Foundations My Brothers Keeper Sports Dialogue by attracting A-list partners and participants, including Boris Kodjoe and Mike Epps. Both initiatives helped the client achieve its outreach goals, and resulted in extensive media coverage.

ThinkZILLA works with clients across a variety of industries, including sports, education, entertainment, film, music and faith-based. Unlike other public relations agencies, ThinkZILLA offers branding services, helping clients to build their image and messaging prior to their launch. The agency also excels at digital marketing, and has garnered millions of impressions for clients due to its expansive social media following and presence.

To successfully execute a multicultural outreach initiative, its important to enlist the help of an agency with deep ties and connections to your target audience, said Trayham. Our team reflects the audience that our clients are targeting, and we are passionate about helping our clients create campaigns and strategies that speak to African-American consumers in a powerful way.

For more information about ThinkZILLA PR & Consulting or to schedule a consultation, visit www.itsthinkzilla.com, Email info@itsthinkzilla.com or call 888-509-1145


Photo: Velma Trayham, CEO of ThinkZILLA PR Group



Illinois Hosts Annual National Association of Insurance Commissioners Midwest Zone Meeting

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Department of Insurance among 13 states represented; Discussed innovation & foreign investment


CHICAGO, IL – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) held their annual Midwest Zone meeting in Chicago this weekend, September 17-18, 2016. Commissioners & other staff members from 13 states, including Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Anne Melissa Dowling, were in attendance.

Panelists & guest speakers discussed a wide-range of topics including: drone innovation, home disaster protection, investment challenges including the impacts of the global economy, driverless cars & cyber security.

“This weekend’s meeting was a great way to draw attention to Illinois’ dedication to leading collaborative efforts in innovative areas,” said Dowling. “The excitement felt by all who attended can, in some ways, be attributed to this year’s setting. We wanted our commitment in this space to leave a lasting impact on all attendees, and I think we did just that.”

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

Consumers with insurance related questions or complaints are encouraged to call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 866-445-5364 or visit http://insurance.illinois.gov/ for more information.

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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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