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Archive for November 4th, 2016

Let’s Get Serious About the November 8th Election

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine


The Power of the Ballot: A Powerful Weapon to Effect Change


Abandoning the Ballot Box? Then Say Goodbye to Economic and Political Empowerment


November 8th is about some very serious business – the future of our country. The results of the Presidential Election and down- the ballot candidates for the U.S. House and Senate will determine the direction of this country for some years to come. That’s why participating in the electoral process is important and very serious business, not only for Americans but for the successful survival of this great country itself. We cannot nonchalantly stay away from the polls because of disinterest in our political structure or no interest in the candidates running.


CopyLine Magazine endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president some time ago because she believes in justice, fairness and equality for all Americans. And she is a credit to represent our country and its people with great pride. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is unfit to be president and will certainly divide this country, if elected. Americans don’t need Trump’s constant menu of racism and divisiveness – a man highly respected by the Alt-Right because of his demagoguery, divisive racist attitudes and tactics, and one who thinks only about himself.


So it’s very serious business that you go out to the polls and vote, and let your voices be heard in a most critical election that will play an integral role in our country’s future agenda and democracy.

Let us (African Americans) not forget the struggles of our forefathers in trying to get the right to vote in this country. The suffering, the humiliation, the tumultuous circumstances and frustration they encountered and endured in their efforts to get the right to vote in this country were overwhelming. Some died fighting for the cause.

In their efforts to register and vote, through blood, sweat and tears, to let their voices be heard at the ballot box on Election Day, they were faced with tear gas, Billy clubs, water hoses and attack dogs. They were turned away by the Bull Connors of Alabama who would deny them their right to vote as American citizens. Our forefathers fought every step of the way – “valiant and forthright” to overthrow bigotry and racism, and open up the ballot box to blacks. And they never thought about surrendering to those injustices being heaped upon them. And neither should you! Our efforts must be penetrating and remain intact.

In the spirit of our forefathers who went through some difficult and abusive times to get the right to vote in this country we must continue to pay homage to them for getting the ball rolling, holding out to the end, and doing whatever necessary to make it happen. And the idea of some to try and take it away through Voter ID laws and voter suppression is cruel and evil.

Which brings to mind Rev. George Lee, a black businessman in his courageous actions to register black voters in 1954, which ultimately cost him his life.

The family of Rev. George Lee felt the sharp emotional pains of his courageous actions to register Black voters.

Lee, a businessman and the first Black person to register to vote in Humphreys County since Reconstruction, printed and passed out leaflets urging Blacks to pay their poll tax so they could register to vote. Reportedly, incensed Whites responded by putting the names of all Blacks eligible to vote on a hit list, circulating it to white businessmen who retaliated by firing them from their jobs, denying them credit and raising their rent.

Lee knew his days were numbered for his actions, yet, ignored the pleas of his wife, Rose, to back off. On Saturday before Mother’s Day in 1955, Lee was driving home when gunfire from a passing car blew half his face off. He was shot to death on a neighborhood street May 7, 1955. Reportedly, Lee had been offered protection by white officials on the condition he would end his voter registration efforts. Notwithstanding the evidence and the fact that everybody in town knew who did it, the sheriff concluded that Lee died of unknown causes.

Medgar Evers, a warrior and civil rights leader, head of the NAACP’s Mississippi branch, was murdered June 12, 1963 by a sniper’s bullet because of his efforts to register Black voters in Mississippi.

Many of you have already cast your ballot during Early Voting, but there’re many who have not cast their ballot or have no intentions of voting. If you haven’t voted already or don’t intend to vote, I beg of you to do so no matter how convenient your circumstance.

During the 2012 Presidential General Election during Early Voting, I went to four polling places to vote because of long lines at several polling places. I finally sealed the deal on my fourth visit. But I would have gone however many times it took to get the job done.

It took four visits to the polls before I was able to cast my vote. But that didn’t matter to me how many visits it would take; I was determined to cast my vote even if it had taken 10 visits. I was determined to vote, and would not fail in my efforts to do so. There is power in the ballot and power in the people who use it.

Our vote matters

Voting is a privilege

Voting gives people a choice

Voting gives power to the people who use it

Voting is political power

When we vote we have a voice; a voice far from being silenced.

There’re some things you can never stop fighting for – and exercising your right to vote is one of them.

Our communities have a lot at stake in this election

It is important that we exercise our right to vote especially in the wake of strong efforts by Republican governors and predominantly Republican legislatures to try and suppress our voting strength through Voter ID legislation, voter registration purges, and cutting the days of early voting. It’s an assault on the right to vote.

Many states have tried to prevent Blacks from voting by enacting racist voter ID and voter suppression laws. New voter ID laws were clearly designed to make it harder for African-Americans, Latinos, older Americans and youth to vote.

Back in the day, Blacks, in their attempt to register to vote, were faced with Billy clubs, tear gas and water hoses. They were turned away by the Bull Connors of Alabama who would deny them their right to vote as American citizens. The voting climate today is the same old story of using the irrational fear of voter “fraud” as a cover-up in their mission to disenfranchise eligible voters. The truth is, voter fraud is exceedingly rare.

Even after some Blacks gained the right to vote, they were afraid to go to the polls due to intimidation, violence and fear. And today, Republicans are using voter ID laws and eliminating early voting to deliberately intimidate and restrict the rights of Blacks, Latinos and minority groups across America to vote.

“There should never be barriers set-up to stop people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in this country,” said Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com.”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.”


According to documented history, during voter registration drives in Alabama when African-Americans showed up at the Registrar’s Office to register, registrars would conduct slowdown days to frustrate or delay their efforts.

In their efforts to register to vote, Blacks encountered various barriers. They faced hostile law enforcement officials that were indifferent to their being there to register in the first place. They were faced with literacy tests designed to make it difficult and deny them the right to register to vote. It was established by the U.S. Justice Department that in many counties the tests were administered unfairly. And at that time, voting was mostly under state control.

The poll tax was used as a barrier in many southern states where blacks were excluded from the voting booth. Poll taxes were a suffrage pre-requisite by eleven ex-confederate states; and blacks were the intended victims.

During the 2012 Presidential Election, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, at a Republican State Committee meeting, confidently and arrogantly declared that Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law would allow Republican Candidate Mitt Romney a win in the State of Pennsylvania.

Pointing out his legislative accomplishments, Voter ID being one of them, Turzai told Committee members that with Voter ID, winning the state was a done-deal for Romney.

Said Turzai: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania…done.”

However, Turzai’s well-laid out plans were crushed when a federal judge halted the Voter ID law to take place in the November 6 election.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson delayed the implementation of the law until after the November 6 election. He agreed with opponents of the measure that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls could disenfranchise some voters, although Republicans said the law was put in place to prevent voter fraud. Voters can be asked for photo ID but cannot be barred from voting without it.

Many suppressive methods used to assault voters’ rights occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted parts of the Voting Rights Act.


Republicans in states around the country must be resoundingly stopped from enacting racist voter ID and voter suppression laws to make it harder for some to vote – African Americans, Latinos, other minorities, older people and the youth from voting.


It is much more difficult for people of color, the elderly, youth and low-income citizens to cast their ballots now, and more likely than not to be disenfranchised and discriminated against.


The Voting Rights Act Itself Has Been Weakened

The Supreme Court’s Shelby County vs. Holder decision completely gutted the Voting Rights Act and left millions of Americans voting rights in jeopardy. Voting Rights must be protected by passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act.”


Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (which gives the Justice Department the authority to review and throw out discriminatory voting restrictions) was revoked recently in the Supreme Court ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act, after gutting its effectiveness, made clear that Congress has the authority and obligation to fix the VRA; of protecting the fundamental right to vote.

Congress has the power to address the problem of discrimination in voting. Many believe that the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 could help restore the protections lost with the Supreme Court’s ruling last year, but the Act has not gotten off the ground.

Congress to Pass an Updated Version of the Voting Rights Act

The weakening of VRA left millions of Americans vulnerable to discriminatory state laws. To not participate in the election or not get involved shuns our democracy and way of life.

In North Carolina, for example, the local government was able to eliminate early voting and same day registration, preventing 300,000 citizens from voting through these methods. The margin of victory for the North Carolina Senate race was 48,000 votes, meaning that those discriminatory practices undeniably influenced the election.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014

The Voting Rights Amendment Act would fix Section 5, one of the strongest tools to fight voter suppression efforts and update the formula for determining which states and municipalities would need from the Department of Justice’s pre-approval to change their voting laws.

All Americans should have an equal opportunity to participate in our country’s Democratic process. But it’s incumbent upon voters to participate in our democracy.

It is of the utmost importance that African-Americans and all other Americans exercise their right to vote. African Americans must understand the meaning of political power… political empowerment, keep a vigilant eye on what is happening politically in our country, and let their voices be heard through the ballot box on Election Day.

I urge all American voters to participate in the electoral process and vote for the candidate (s) of their choice. Remember, participating in the democratic process of this country is very serious business.

Remember, Republican nominee Donald Trump and his white supremacist backers’ divisive and mean-spirited politics and Trump’s bullying, erratic temperament are certainly not good for America.


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 more than 40 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.



President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Leonard Andrew Forsman – Member and Vice Chair, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • Linda Behnken – United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
  • Beth White – Member, National Capital Planning Commission
  • Donna Darm – United States Commissioner, Pacific Salmon Commission
  • Charles O. Swanton – United States Commissioner, Pacific Salmon Commission
  • Earl A. Powell III – Member, Commission of Fine Arts
  • Elizabeth K. Meyer – Member, Commission of Fine Arts

President Obama has also appointed the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Charles D. Brower – United States Commissioner, U.S. – Russia Polar Bear Commission
  • Gregory Siekaniec – United States Commissioner, U.S. – Russia Polar Bear Commission

President Obama said, “The talent and expertise these individuals bring to their roles will serve our nation well. I am grateful for their service, and look forward to working with them.”

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

Leonard Andrew Forsman, Appointee for Member, and upon appointment to be designated Vice Chair, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Leonard Andrew Forsman is Tribal Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, a position he has held since 2005.  Mr. Forsman was the Tribal Spokesperson of the Suquamish Tribe from 2003 to 2005.  He was a Research Archaeologist at Larson Anthropological and Archaeological Services from 1992 to 2003, and a Consultant at King County Arts Commission from 1991 to 1992.  Mr. Forsman served as Director of the Suquamish Museum from 1984 to 1990 and was a Research Assistant at the Suquamish Tribal Cultural Center from 1982 to 1984.  He was first appointed as a member to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2013.  Mr. Forsman received a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.A. from Goucher College.

Linda Behnken, Appointee for United States Commissioner, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Linda Behnken has been a commercial fisherman for over 30 years.  Ms. Behnken has also served as the Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fisherman’s Association since 1991.  In 2009 she helped create, as a founding board member, the Alaska Sustainable Fishers Trust, and previously served as a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council from 1992 to 2001.  Ms. Behnken received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a M.E.S. from Yale University School of forestry and Environmental Studies.

Beth White, Appointee for Member, National Capital Planning Commission
Beth White is President and Chief Executive Officer of Houston Parks Board, positions she has held since 2016.  Ms. White was Director of the Chicago Office of The Trust for Public Land from 2006 to 2016.  She served as Managing Director of Communications for the Chicago Housing Authority from 2003 to 2005, Chief of Staff  for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Chicago Transit Board from 1995 to 2003, and Assistant Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development from 1991 to 1995.  Ms. White was Executive Director of Friends of the Chicago River from 1988 to 1991 and  Program Associate for the Open Lands Project from 1984 to 1987.  She was an Assistant Project Coordinator for the City of Highland Park, Illinois from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. White is a member of Lambda Alpha International, and was previously Chair of the Lakewood Balmoral National Historic District Committee.  She was first appointed to the National Capital Planning Commission in 2012.  Ms. White received a B.Phil. from Northwestern University and an M.A. from Loyola University Chicago.

Donna Darm, Appointee for United States Commissioner, Pacific Salmon Commission
Donna Darm serves as Associate Deputy Regional Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) West Coast Region, a position she has held since 2013.  Ms. Darm has worked for the NMFS in various roles since 1992, including Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources in the Northwest Region from 1996 to 2013, and Senior Policy Advisor from 1992 to 1996.  From 1991 to 1992 she served as the Assistant Director for Intergovernmental Affairs with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and previously was an Attorney Advisor with the United States Department of State from 1986 to 1991.  Ms. Darm received a B.S. from Portland State University and a J.D. from the University of Washington.

Charles O. Swanton, Appointee for United States Commissioner, Pacific Salmon Commission
Charles O. Swanton serves as Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, a position held since 2015.  Mr. Swanton is the State of Alaska’s Commissioner to the Pacific Salmon Commission charged with implementing the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  Mr. Swanton has worked with pacific salmon for over 35 years in field research and fisheries management positions with progressive levels of authority culminating in his current appointment as Deputy Commissioner.  In 2010, he completed his residency as a Fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) and in 2012 received the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Alumni Achievement Award for Business and Professional Excellence.  Mr. Swanton received a B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Fisheries Science from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) and an M.S. from the University of Washington, Fisheries Research Institute.

Dr. Earl A. Powell III, Appointee for Member, Commission of Fine Arts
Dr. Earl A. Powell III is Director of the National Gallery of Art, a position he has held since 1992.  Dr. Powell previously served as Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1980 to 1992.  He held curatorial posts at the National Gallery of Art from 1976 to 1980 and was an Assistant Professor of Art History at The University of Texas at Austin from 1974 to 1976.  Dr. Powell was an Officer in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1969 and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1969 to 1980.  He is a Trustee of the American Federation of the Arts, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the White House Historical Association.  Dr. Powell was first appointed to the Commission of Fine Arts in 2003 and has served as Chairman since 2005.  Dr. Powell received a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Elizabeth K. Meyer, Appointee for Member, Commission of Fine Arts
Elizabeth K. Meyer is the Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture (UVA), a position she has held since 2014.  Ms. Meyer served as Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor at the UVA School of Architecture from 2014 to 2016.  She was Landscape Architecture Department Chair from 2002 to 2003 and 1993 to 1998, and was appointed as an Associate Professor at UVA in 1993.  Ms. Meyer worked at Harvard Graduate School of Design as an Associate Professor in 1992 and as an Assistant Professor from 1988 to 1992.  She was a Visiting Instructor at Cornell University from 1982 to 1983.  Ms. Meyer is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architects.  She was first appointed to the Commission of Fine Arts in 2012.  Ms. Meyer received a B.S. and M.L.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.A. from Cornell University.

President Obama has also appointed the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Charles D. Brower, Appointed as United States Commissioner, U.S. – Russia Polar Bear Commission
Charles D. Brower is Tribal Transportation Manager at the Native Village of Barrow, a position he has held since 2013.  Mr. Brower served as General Manager at Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation from 2006 to 2013.  He was Wildlife Director at the Native Village of Barrow in 2006 and Wildlife Department Director at North Slope Borough from 1986 to 2005.  Mr. Brower is Chairman of the Alaska Nanuuq Commission, Chair of the Eskimo Walrus Commission, and a member of the Federal Subsistence Board.  He served in the United States Navy from 1971 to 1975.  Mr. Brower was first appointed to the Polar Bear Commission in 2010 as the Alternate Commissioner representing the Native People of Alaska.

Gregory Siekaniec, Appointed as United States Commissioner, U.S. – Russia Polar Bear Commission
Gregory Siekaniec is Regional Director of Region 7 (Alaska) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior, a position he has held since 2016.  Mr. Siekaniec served as Chief Executive Officer of Ducks Unlimited Canada from 2012 to 2016.  He worked at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over 28 years, including serving as Deputy Director for Policy from 2011 to 2012, Assistant Director for the National Wildlife Refuge System from 2009 to 2011, and Refuge Manager of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge from 2000 to 2009.  He attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Senior Executive Fellow in 2008 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Department of the Interior.  Mr. Siekaniec received a B.S. from the University of Montana.

Use Your Voice, Get Out the Vote on Tuesday

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
By Marc H. Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League
Report Voter Intimidation and Deception to 866-OUR-VOTE

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed racially-motivated voter suppression measures like literacy tests and poll taxes, but that didn’t necessarily clear the way for Black citizens to vote without obstruction.  Deceptive election practices and voter intimidation have become widespread, and are disproportionately targeted to people of color and other vulnerable voting populations.

Some recent examples of voter intimidation and deceptive practices include:

  • Voters being threatened with arrest at their polling station if they have unpaid child support or unpaid parking tickets.
  • Misleading robocalls to African-Americans in Maryland stating that there was no need to go vote because “our goals have been met”.
  • Fliers in Ohio and Virginia telling voters that Republicans vote on the actual election day while Democrats vote the day after.
  • Challenges to African-American voters in Philadelphia by men carrying clipboards who drove a fleet of sedans with signs that looked like law enforcement insignia.

Voters concerned that they are being targeted by deceptive election practices should alert local authorities and immediately contact 866-OUR-VOTE.

NAACP Mounts Nationwide Voter Protection Effort

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Selma Initiative

Hotline and lawyers deployed to protect voters on Election Day adds to the organization’s robust ongoing mobilization work

WASHINGTON, DC – On March 21, 1965, thousands of nonviolent protesters marched out of Selma, Alabama alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Five days later, they arrived in Montgomery and gathered on the steps of the Capitol, demanding equal and full rights of citizenship. Five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

 Today, November 3, 2016, we stand five days away from the first presidential election in more than fifty years in which the Justice Department will operate without the full support of the Voting Rights Act. People of color, seniors, young people and immigrants are uniquely vulnerable this year, with months of warnings of voter fraud and a “rigged” election on the campaign trail.

 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has launched a nationwide voter protection initiative to safeguard Americans exercising their constitutional rights in this election. We have mobilized our two million digital activists, nearly half million card-carrying members, and 2,200 local units to join our effort. In these five final, critical days before the election – our own Selma to Montgomery sprint – we are working around the clock to protect all citizens from voter suppression.

 The NAACP national mobilization campaign targets 17 critically vulnerable states and supports all 50. Through door-to-door canvassing, more than 40 in-person phone banks and countless more automated voter outreach drives, we have reached more than 6,022 African American precincts (those with an African American population at least 65%).

 “In every presidential election since 1965, we have battled to increase the turnout of black voters, and once again we are doing everything in our power to encourage black voters to get to the polls in record numbers,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell W. Brooks. “The kinds of threats we have heard in recent months—ID checks, voter intimidation, misinformation campaigns—harken back to the first half of the 20th century. And although the current iteration of the Voting Rights Act is not nearly as powerful as it was, make no mistake: these practices are illegal, and they are wrong.”

 The NAACP mobilized staff and operationalized national resources to fight voter suppression:

  1. We joined with the National Election Protection Coalition to make sure every American can exercise their constitutional right this November.
  • In voter suppression states like Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Texas, state conferences sent letters to their election officials informing them of voting machine malfunctions which keep voters from electing their candidates of choice, and to provide the required notice for Election Day vote monitoring.
  • The Texas NAACP, as a plaintiff in the Veasey v. Perry case, worked to ensure the Secretary of State’s office properly informed voters of their right to cast a regular ballot with alternative identification, if they do not have voter identification, as outlined in the SB14 law.
  • We collaborated with BET, the Sheryl Underwood Radio Network and Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House in Dallas for a series of national public service announcements and voter education.
  • We partnered with other organizations with national networks, from the AME Church to the Divine 9 to the Masons, Shriners and The Links, to get out the vote and raise awareness about voter suppression.
  1. This week the NAACP sued North Carolina due to discriminatory practices in voter purging.

 In these final days before the election, the NAACP’s national campaign – our Selma Initiative – is providing crucial voter information and serving as a resource for reporting voter obstruction:

  • Members of the NAACP legal team have crossed the country, training organizers on the ground, sharing resources available from the national office and holding webinars with all NAACP regions on how to respond to potential voter misinformation and intimidation tactics.
  • As part of its work with the National Election Protection Coalition, organizers have recruited and trained lawyers, law students and other legal professionals to work in call centers on Election Day.
  • At the Election Day Command Center at the NAACP’s National Headquarters, volunteers will staff 10 election protection stations and more than 20 phone banks throughout polling hours.
  • NAACP experts have set up the Vote Monitor Hotline so voters can directly report efforts to prevent voters from casting their ballots.If you experience or witness voter obstruction on or before Election Day, email votemonitor@naacpnet.org or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report the incident or ask for help.

Los Angeles Town Hall Meeting to Create Dialogue About Police Brutality, Emotional Wellness Among Black Men, and More

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

A Black Men Town Hall meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Darby Park in Inglewood, California

Black Men's Town Hall Meeting in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) – Christmas Consulting Group, ALJ Consulting, the Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Urban LA, and Senior Advisor Cheryl Tawede Grills, Ph.D. – referred to as the Christmas Consortium- are hosting a Black Mens Town Hall on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at Darby Park in Inglewood. Specializing in culturally competent strategies, this team seeks to nurture healing and systemic change by implementing community based, culturally relevant outreach and education for black men. Town Hall speakers include internationally renowned psychologist Dr. Cheryl Tawede Grills specializing in African-centered models of treatment engagement for African Americans, Dr. Vincent Moore, Pastor of Messiah Full Gospel Bible Fellowship adept teacher of spiritual development of the mind for personal transformation, and Dr. DArtagnan Scorza, Executive Director at SJLI and prominent speaker and authoritarian on issues related to boys and men of color.

More than 150 years after the documented emancipation of Black slaves, we continue to see reticent traces of systemic racism, or at least significant cultural dissonance in America. The recent exposure of excessive violence against seemingly cooperative Black men by police has incited destructive protests and deadly retaliation. Reviews of arcane laws revealed discriminatory policies that contributed to the overincarceration of African Americans and other low income people. Even the rich and famous are subject to prejudicial treatment, per Tyler Perry, actor, producer, and playwright, who reported racial profiling and harassment in 2012, after being pulled over by Atlanta officers. For nearly four decades, the overdiagnosis of schizophrenia among Blacks has been noted, yet it continues to be a concern.

Although most predator-like behavior is enacted on less affluent, densely populated communities, the common factor is and has always been the array of brown skin exhibited by the prey. Per the 2015 Hate Crime Report, 58% of all racial hate crimes targeted African Americans in Los Angeles County. Nationwide demands for accountability for injustices against Blacks have hailed through social media and newsfeeds for nearly 5 years, yet in 2015, fewer than 10% of officers who killed Blacks were charged with a crime.

The Black Mens Town Hall presents an opportunity to collectively strategize beyond the known infrastructure to make progress toward social justice and systems change, as part of a larger effort called the Black Male Mental Health Awareness Campaign (BM2HAC). The BM2HAC uses a peer-led education campaign to enhance resilience and responsiveness in this community. This campaign will enhance evidence-based and community defined protective factors among Black men, including positive social support, to increase resilience and decrease the negative emotional impact of the persistent violence, racism and injustice experienced by this population. The success of this effort will relieve many of our health and human service systems and law enforcement, making it easier to identify the smaller cross-section of those truly in need of treatment or correction. As such, we have involved organizations currently advocating for social justice and equity for this community, service providers, and community institutions to correct erroneous perceptions of, understand deep rooted aggression toward, and impart best practice for engaging and empowering Black men to ensure they thrive.

Christmas Consulting Group (CCG) provides consulting services to non-profit and public sector organizations serving socially and/or economically isolated communities. CCG’s expertise in community advocacy and event coordination have resulted in some of the highest regarded mental health events in the Los Angeles area. This Campaign is made possible by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health African/African American Underserved Cultural Communities Subcommittee. CCG is also appreciative of the City of Inglewood, Department of Parks, Recreations, and Library Services for allowing use of their Darby Park facility for the Town Hall, and the many agencies that have offered support for this campaign.

To register for the Black Mens Town Hall – Where Are My Brothers Keepers?, visit https://bmth.eventbrite.com

To learn more about this effort, visit www.facebook.com/BlackMaleCampaign


Personalized and Digital Learning Initiative Stops in Illinois to Train Educators as Part of Nationwide Effort

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

216 Illinois superintendents have signed the Future Ready District Pledge


PEORIA, IL – District leaders from across the state attended the Future Ready Workshop in Peoria today to learn from experts and each other about planning and implementing personalized and digital learning strategies. Illinois joined Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, in October 2016. The nationwide initiative connects educators within member states with a robust framework of free research-based tools and resources, such as the workshop held in Peoria today, promoting Personalized Student Learning.


Districts gain access to Future Ready Schools’ professional development opportunities by taking the Future Ready District Pledge. To date, 216 Illinois superintendents have signed the pledge, affirming their commitment to work with students, educators, families, and members of their community on building a culture and practice of personalized learning, enhanced by digital tools. View the list of Future Ready Illinois superintendents at http://futureready.org/about-the-effort/take-the-pledge.

“Personalized learning strategies are essential to Illinois achieving its goal of preparing all students for college and career,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I would like to thank the administrators and educators who have committed to developing the human and technological capacity needed to equip all students for 21st-century careers.”

Future Ready Schools’ efforts coincide with the Illinois Classroom Connectivity Initiative, which strives to enable high-speed internet in every classroom in Illinois. Learn more about the Illinois State Board of Education’s technology programs and resources at http://www.isbe.net/ed-technology/default.htm.

Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville to Remain Open

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

White Lodging Reverses Previously Announced Plans to Close Iconic Performance Venue



Merrillville, INCharlie Blum, president and CEO of Star Productions, announced that plans to shutter the Star Plaza Theatre have been reversed; the iconic theater with a decades-long history of presenting concerts, comedians and arts programming, will continue operating as it has in the past.

On August 9, 2016, Blum had announced that the theater was slated to close in May 2017 as it would be significantly impacted by the razing of the adjacent Radisson Hotel and the construction of the a new hotel on the property.


For images of the theater or a downloadable press release, click here.


“We never wanted to close the theater. We reluctantly felt it needed to be sacrificed because it would not be possible to continue operating while the new hotel is being built,” said Blum, who has served as president & CEO of Star Productions, the entertainment division of White Lodging Services Corporation, since 1989. “We were not prepared for the outpouring of emotion that the announcement generated.  Not only did our patrons express their deep sadness at seeing the theater close, many nationally renowned artists also contacted us to express how much they would miss performing at the Star Plaza.  After much deliberation and consultation with our contractors, we determined that it was indeed feasible to retain the theater despite the nearby construction work.”

Continuously in operation since 1979, the Star Plaza Theatre has a history of presenting top-tier entertainers.  Regarded as a premier Midwest concert facility, the venue has been continuously profitable since its opening and is also a strong economic driver in northwest Indiana.

“The White family is steadfast in our commitment to the region,” added Bruce White, founder and chairman of the board of White Lodging Services Corporation.  “We know that the new hotel will better serve our community and guests.  But fueled in part by the tremendous reaction the closing announcement, we took a hard look at our plans and revised them in such a way that enables us to continue to operate the Star Plaza Theatre. It’s a win-win solution for everyone.”

“This is a happy day for all of us,” added Blum.  “We are overjoyed to not only be able to continue to be an entertainment and cultural beacon for the Midwest and an economic driver for the community, but also to welcome back the many performers who have called the Star Plaza Theatre their favorite concert facility, bring in new performers and create even more memories for our loyal patrons.”

Star Productions also had expanded in recent years to present a variety of artists at other venues around the country as well as manage entertainers and produce for television. Blum and his Star Productions team began pursuing a multitude of concert and theatrical opportunities since the closure announcement this past August.  Blum intends to continue the expansion of Star Productions beyond the operation of Star Plaza Theatre. The company recently signed Erich Bergen, star of CBS TV’s “Madam Secretary” and Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” to its management roster for concert performances, alongside PBS TV sensation, “Under The Streetlamp,” which is beginning a 60+ city tour in the United States supporting their third television special.

The Star Plaza Theatre opened in 1979 with a concert by Donna Summer, and has been in continuous operation since.  While based in Indiana, it attracted many fans from other areas, including Chicago.  Located at 8001 Delaware Place in Merrillville, Indiana, the theater has a seating capacity of 3,400, and has played host to staggering array of the top names in entertainment, including Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilara, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Diana Ross, Garth Brooks, Jamie Foxx, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Tina Turner, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Patti LaBelle, Phil Collins, Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Tony Bennet, BB King, Kenny Chesney and Aretha Franklin. The list of comedians who have played the venue includes Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen Degeneres, Richard Pryor and Jim Gaffigan.  The most frequent act to have played the theater is the Oak Ridge Boys, which brought its distinctive country sound to the venue for 37 consecutive years. www.starplazatheatre.com

White Lodging Services Corporation was established in 1985 and is headquartered in Merrillville, IN.  White Lodging is a fully integrated hotel ownership, development and operations company focused on developing and operating premium-branded hotels in growing urban markets across the United States. The company is a recognized leader that has defined and cultivated the ability to achieve consistent, sustainable growth among mid- to large-scale hotels. White Lodging has developed over 125 premium branded hotels over the last 25 years and its current managed portfolio consists of 166 hotels in 19 states including representation of the following leading brands:  Marriott International, Inc., Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Global, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and InterContinental Hotel Group.

For more information about White Lodging, please visit www.whitelodging.com, Facebook.com/whitelodgingservices, Twitter.com/whitelodging and Instagram.com/whitelodging.

Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Violating Civil Rights of Detained Man

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Officer Kneed, stuck and pepper-sprayed a handcuffed man at Harborview Medical Center

Nicholas Hogan, 36, a former Tukwila and Snoqualmie Police Officer pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law for an attack on a handcuffed man at a Seattle hospital, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  Under the terms of his plea agreement he is prohibited from seeking employment as a police officer or security guard for fifteen years.  U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour is scheduled to sentence HOGAN on January 27, 2017.

“This defendant betrayed the trust we place in police officers to use only necessary and appropriate force,” said U. S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “Hogan pepper-sprayed a person who was already detained in handcuffs and restraints – and said he did so simply because the man ‘got mouthy.’  Law enforcement officers are given broad powers to protect and serve the public – as most honorably do.  When these powers are misused, those responsible will be held to account.”

According to the plea agreement, on May 20, 2011, HOGAN responded to a report of a fight on Pacific Highway South in Tukwila.  A man was taken into custody on a misdemeanor warrant, but because of his injuries the King County Jail instructed HOGAN to take the man to Harborview.  HOGAN admits in his plea agreement that the man was handcuffed and refusing to get out of the patrol car.  HOGAN physically removed the man from the car and when the man grabbed HOGAN’s arm, HOGAN pulled away and repeatedly struck the man in the head with his knee.

Taking the man into the Harborview emergency room, HOGAN repeatedly shoved the man until he fell and then HOGAN dropped on top of him restraining him with a knee in his back.  The man was placed on the gurney in four point restraints so that he could not move his arms or legs.  While the man was in a treatment area and surrounded by a curtain, HOGAN remained alone with him.  HOGAN used pepper spray on the restrained man.  In the plea agreement HOGAN admits he knew that the spray was not necessary or reasonable under the circumstances.

HOGAN faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.  Under the terms of the plea agreement HOGAN surrenders any law enforcement commission and agrees not to seek reinstatement of any law enforcement commission, or seek a new law enforcement commission, or seek employment in any law enforcement agency or law enforcement related employment, including, but not limited to any city, county, state, or federal policing or corrections positions, or that of a private security guard, or any position that requires the carrying of a firearm, for a period of 15 years.

The case was investigated by the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Miyake for the Western District of Washington and Trial Attorenys Rose Gibson and Jared Fishman of the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice.

Source: FBI

CCHHS Opens New Center to Provide 24/7 Behavioral Health Stabilization and Support

Posted by Admin On November - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Community Triage Center is the first clinic of its kind in the Chicago region.


CHICAGO, IL – The Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS), with support from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, celebrated the opening of CCHHS’ new pilot Community Triage Center (CTC).

The CCHHS CTC provides 24/7 intervention and stabilization services for individuals who are at-risk of detention or hospitalization due to a mental health or substance abuse condition. The CTC’s primary services include mental health crisis assessments and stabilization, health assessments, and referrals for treatment, case management and follow-up. This is the first walk-in clinic of its kind in Chicago.

“Substance abuse and mental health disorders are not criminal justice issues, they are health issues,” Preckwinkle said. “I’m pleased to support our health system in making investments to provide much-needed care to the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The CTC provides walk-in services for residents age 18 and older, as well as individuals from the Cook County Jail in need of follow-up care. CCHHS is working closely with the Chicago Police Department to support officers who are transporting individuals in need of care to the CTC as an early, street-level intervention.

“A person struggling with a mental health condition or addiction should not have to wait until they are arrested or have a medical emergency to receive treatment,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCHHS. “With the CTC we hope to reduce unnecessary and costly hospitalizations and detentions and, more importantly, ease the incalculable suffering of those living with uncontrolled behavioral health conditions.”

The CTC is staffed by masters-level nurses, licensed clinical social workers, case managers and peer supporters. Psychiatrist consultations are available on-demand and performed by CCHHS psychiatrists. CCHHS is investing $3 million to operationalize and run the CTC in 2016.

“Making sure our residents have the resources they need to live safe and healthy lives is our top priority,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The new triage center in Roseland is yet another example of how we can better ensure those in need of mental health services can get the care they need. I want to thank the County and our first responders for their continued partnership in helping our city’s most vulnerable residents access quality mental health services.”

“This new Triage Center will provide a vital community service that is sorely needed and help us achieve our goal of keeping people who do not belong in County Jail out of County Jail,” said Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, whose district includes the CTC. “I am proud of the County’s efforts to develop this facility and grateful for the partnership of the City and others.”

CCHHS received a $348,000 planning grant from the Otho SA Sprague Institute in 2015 to support development of the clinic.  The CTC model has been successfully implemented in other cities in the U.S., such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Antonio.

The CTC is one tactic in CCHHS’ broader strategy to expand access to behavioral health services in Cook County.

As previously announced, the health system also plans to offer behavioral health treatment in its community health centers, expand addiction medicine service and naloxone distribution, and establish a consortium of behavioral health care providers to serve more than 150,000 members of CountyCare, CCHHS’ Medicaid managed care health plan.



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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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