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Archive for November 15th, 2016

FBI Releases 2015 Hate Crime Statistics

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2015, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation. This year’s collection marks the 25th anniversary of the FBI gathering and publishing data about bias-motivated crimes. The first publication in 1990 included limited data from only 11 states. The collection has grown each year into the wide-ranging report presented today. Submitted by 14,997 law enforcement agencies across the nation, the 2015 data provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes; however, the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports. Highlights of Hate Crime Statistics, 2015, follow.

Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 5,850 criminal incidents and 6,885 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity in 2015.

Victims of Hate Crime Incidents

  • There were 5,818 single-bias incidents involving 7,121 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type showed that 59.2 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, 19.7 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, and 17.7 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias. Victims targeted because of the offenders’ bias against gender identity accounted for 1.7 percent of victims of single-bias incidents; disabilities, 1.2 percent; and gender, 0.4 percent. (Due to rounding, percentage breakdowns may not add to 100.0 percent.)
  • Thirty-two multiple-bias hate crime incidents involved 52 victims.

Offenses by Crime Category

  • Of the 4,482 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2015, intimidation accounted for 41.3 percent, simple assault accounted for 37.8 percent, and aggravated assault for 19.7 percent. Eighteen murders and 13 rapes (12 from agencies that collected data using the revised definition of rape) were reported as hate crimes.
    • Beginning with the 2013 data collection, the UCR Program’s revised definition of rape is “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” [This includes the offenses of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object as converted from data submitted via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
    • The UCR Program’s legacy definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”
  • There were 2,338 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (72.6 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 27.4 percent of crimes against property.
  • Sixty-five additional offenses were classified as crimes against society, which were collected via NIBRS. This crime category represents society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity such as gambling, prostitution, and drug violations. These are typically victimless crimes in which property is not the object.

Known Offenders

  • In the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement officers could also report whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as the suspect’s ethnicity when possible.
    • Of the 5,493 known offenders, 48.4 percent were white, and 24.3 percent were black or African-American. The race was unknown for 16.2 percent. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 1.0 percent were Asian; 0.9 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; 0.1 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 9.1 percent were of a group of multiple races.
    • Of the 3,421 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 25.7 percent were not Hispanic or Latino, 6.1 percent were Hispanic or Latino, and 1.6 percent were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 66.6 percent of these offenders.
    • Of the 3,331 known offenders for whom ages were known, 84.7 percent were 18 years of age or older.

Locations of Hate Crimes

Law enforcement agencies may specify the location or an offense within a hate crime incident as one of 46 location designations. In 2015, most hate crime incidents (31.5 percent) occurred in or near residences/homes; 17.4 occurred on highways/roads/alleys/streets/sidewalks; 8.3 percent occurred at schools/colleges; 5.6 percent happened at parking/drop lots/garages; and 4.4 percent took place in churches/synagogues/temples/mosques. The location was reported as other/unknown for 11.0 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 21.8 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other or multiple locations.

Full Report: Hate Crime Statistics, 2015
Source: FBI

Civil Rights Leaders Vow to Oppose Threats to Racial Justice Under Trump

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Discriminatory voting laws, voter intimidation appear to have taken a toll


NEW YORK – Seven leading civil rights organizations issued the following statement in response to the 2016 Presidential and Congressional election:

“As civil rights leaders working for racial justice and economic opportunity, we join much of the nation in our apprehension about the incoming administration.  We cannot ignore that the campaign was characterized by divisive racial rhetoric, and has emboldened white supremacists across the country.  The wave of hate crimes sweeping the country, with perpetrators invoking the name of the President-elect, is an ill omen, as is the appointment of a chief strategist with an appalling record of promoting racial, anti-Semitic and anti-woman rhetoric.

“We were appalled by the calls for intimidation of voters at urban and rural polling places and will not forget. Voter suppression had a measurable effect on elections in a number of states. While racial voter suppression was widespread, voter suppression was generational as well. Millennials, as a multiracial demographic, also were targeted by strict ID laws and poll closings affecting millions of youth, college and high school students, as well as young professionals. Addressing this  threat to our most vulnerable citizens and our still young democracy will be a top priority for our organizations in the coming weeks and months.

“We have a responsibility to vigorously oppose any policies or actions which are inconsistent with our agenda or would serve to turn back the clock on hard-fought gains.  America’s advance toward diversity is not interrupted by the results of Tuesday’s election.

“We will continue to battle discrimination, racial injustice and barriers to equal opportunity as we have done for decades. As always, we will advocate for the next President of the United States to honor and prioritize the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection, due process and full citizenship for every American. The President-elect needs to begin by repudiating hate crimes and attacks undertaken in his name and by announcing a commitment to abandon the divisive rhetoric and policy proposals of his campaign that are inconsistent with equality and opportunity for all.

“Having earned a minority of the popular vote, elected with the support of only about a quarter percent of the adult population, the President-elect must recognize the challenge of his extremely narrow appeal to the American people. His obligation is to be President for All Americans.

“Other important races on the ballot were significant for the advancement of the nation.  While Congress remains in control of leaders with a demonstrated history of obstructionism, we take encouragement from the election of the most diverse Congress in United States history.  When the 115th United States Congress is seated in January, it will include 100 women – notably Kamala Harris among the 23 elected to the Senate — and the largest-ever Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

“We encourage every American to stand firm in the fight for the protection of civil rights and in opposition to racism and hate.”

​The statement was issued jointly by the following (listed alphabetically):

Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
The Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network

Black Women for Positive Change In Affiliation with Positive Change Foundation Preserving and Strengthening the Middle/Working Class

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
“Changing the Culture of Violence in America…and the World”
Awardees are the 82ND Attorney General Eric Holder, Social Justice Minister Rev. Aisha Karimah, AFRO Publisher Jake Oliver, and Anacostica/DC Developer Stan Jackson. They will be Honored for Preserving & Strengthening American Middle/Working Class

(L-R) Eric Holder, Rev. Aisha Karimah, Jake Oliver, and Stan Jackson will be honored.

Black Women for Positive Change and the Positive Change Foundation will present four (Elizabeth Keckley Awards™ for “Preservation and Strengthening of the American Middle/Working Class,” with focus on the African American community.

The honorees are the Honorable Eric Holder, 82nd Attorney General of the United States; Rev. Aisha Karimah, Associate Pastor of Social Justice, Metropolitan AME Church and former NBC Director of Community Affairs; John “Jake” Oliver, Publisher of the 125-year-old Afro American Newspaper; Stanley Jackson, Developer in the District of Columbia and Anacostia.

These outstanding individuals will be honored for their life-long dedication to strengthening the Black community, as it strives to reach the American Middle/ Working Class. The Awards Ceremony, sponsored by the Positive Change Foundation, Black Women for Positive Change, National Black Nurses Association, and Cate Stetson, Esq., President, Albuquerque Links Incorporated, will be held on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at the SunTrust Bank, in Washington, D.C.

The Week of Non-Violence Elizabeth Keckley Awards Celebration is the final event of the 2016 Week of Non-Violence, Justice and Opportunities, hosted by Black Women for Positive Change in collaboration with faith institutions, schools and community organizations in 22 cities, and 18 U.S. States. In a joint statement BW4PC National Co-Chairs Dr. Stephanie Myers and Delegate Daun S. Hester said,

“During this time of great change in our nation, we believe it is important to focus on the American Middle/Working class-particularly in the African American community, who have sacrificed to own their own homes; educate themselves and their children; and to provide their families with healthcare. Our honorees are examples of individuals who have done that in their own lives, their communities and for the nation. We salute the Elizabeth Keckley Honorees for 2016 and encourage others to follow their examples in life as fighters for social justice and fairness in the law; job creation, communicators, and economic development.”

For ticket information, contact Karen Carrington, 202-210-4005. 


Group Purchasing Organization Reaches Out to Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Global MPG Group

Nationwide — The saying “there is strength in numbers, united we stand, divided we fall” may be the inspiration of Global_Mpg, a minority, veteran-owned (GPO) Group Purchasing Organization that is reaching out to minority small businesses to join its collective-buying group.

The Houston, Texas based business was founded in 2005 with the intent of becoming a buying group organization so that small businesses could leverage their indirect and direct purchasing spend as a group in order to get a lower pricing and improved terms and conditions.

Global_Mpg (Global Materials Purchasing Group) started with five companies with an eye on MRO industrial and office supplies, but quickly expanded into other sectors. Most of its current members customer base make the Fortune 500 or Fortune 1,000 lists.

They’ve chosen to bid for goods and services contracts in areas such as temporary staffing, pharmaceuticals, medical industrial, office supplies and logistics. Projects currently running include contracts for vendor-managed inventory, electrical, industrial, office supply and janitorial supplies.

“The most basic component is clearly that you’re thinking, ‘I can get this for less by participating in this aggregated model than I could on my own,’ but the value proposition goes well beyond that,” said company Managing Partner Bill Williamson.

Purchasing Group positive impact on the profits for each individual networked company

Did you know that a reduction in purchasing costs, for example of 5%, produces an increase in profits of more than 2% and that to obtain the same result, sales would need to increase by more than 20%…? This means that the savings generated by a centralization of purchasing in a network of businesses, will increase profits in each individual network company without having to increase sales. For full details, Global_Mpg has a news center page on its website at www.globalmpg.com

There’s a one-time guaranteed refundable administrative set up fee to join Global_Mpg (Global Materials Purchasing Group) but the company’s primary source of revenue are payments from the awarded suppliers.

Small businesses that find the administrative fee reasonable and are interested in contracts that will leverage their purchasing power. Includes billion-dollar firms and get pricing discounts no matter their size or purchasing budget.

Global_Mpg member Darts Packaging Inc. a company based in Pine Bluff , Arkansas, a contract packaging and private label co-packer, said the savings on office products alone would justify its membership, but it has found savings elsewhere.

The collective buying power will have more impact for minority owned and smaller businesses because they have less buying power alone. Contracts are negotiated in high volumes but you can order from them in the volume that suits your company.


Medicare Open Enrollment Continues Through December 7

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

AARP encourages all Medicare beneficiaries to compare coverage plans to save money in 2017


WASHINGTON, DC – This fall, AARP is encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to read their annual Notice of Change and to review their health and prescription drug plan options for 2017 during Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15th – December 7th). Given the trend in high prescription medication prices, consumers are advised to pay close attention to their Medicare Part D drug plan options to help save money.


Medicare plans often change their cost-sharing and coverage benefits every year. However, insurers must notify all their enrollees of any plan changes for the coming year before the end of September. AARP strongly recommends that people read these Notices of Change carefully, compare their current plan with other available plans, and change to a different plan during open enrollment if it better meets their current needs. People satisfied with their current coverage do not need to do anything because reenrollment will occur automatically.

“The out-of-pocket co-pay amounts that people are paying for their prescription drugs are going up for many seniors because of  rising drug prices,” said AARP Chief Public Policy Officer Debra Whitman, PhD. Medicare health and prescription drug cost-sharing can vary widely between plans for the same drug or service. “During Medicare Open Enrollment, some people may be able to save hundreds of dollars on out-of-pocket costs just by changing to a different plan.”

Things to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment


Changes You Can Make

Here are changes you can make during open enrollment:

Switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa

Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another

Switch from one stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another

Drop Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage

Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you didn’t sign up when you were first eligible

Consider the “Four C’s”

AARP recommends that people consider the “Four C’s” when reviewing Medicare plan options:

Cost – Compare monthly premiums, annual deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.

Coverage – Review the doctors and pharmacies included in the plan, as well as prescription drugs and other services you need.

Convenience – Look at the local doctors, pharmacies, and services included in the plans.

Customer Service – Consider the quality of service a plan provides. Quality ratings for most Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are available at  www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.


Where to Get Help

Medicare can be very confusing to people. There are a number of resources for people to get free assistance in choosing the best Medicare plans:

Call the Medicare help line at 1-800-633-4227.

Use Medicare’s plan finder program at https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx.

Contact your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP) for free personal help at www.shiptacenter.org.


AARP Medicare Starter Kit

Medicare Open Enrollment and You

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

State Health Insurance Assistance Program


About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into ‘Real Possibilities’ by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.


“The Appointment of Steve Bannon to a Senior Position Within the White House Does Very Little in the Interest of Healing Our Country…”: CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield statement on the appointment of Steve Bannon to senior role in the Trump administration


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) released the following statement regarding the appointment of former Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon to a senior role within the Trump Administration:

“The appointment of Steve Bannon to a senior position within the White House does very little in the interest of healing our country following months of contentious campaign rhetoric from President-elect Trump.  Bannon’s appointment is a cold slap in the face to those of us who are working to mend race relations in America, and it further divides our country along the lines of hate and bigotry.  President-elect Trump must work to bring us together and his appointment of Steve Bannon sends an alarming signal that he remains loyal to the animosity and hatred that was the core of his campaign.”

Windy City Playhouse Announces Complete Cast for “Bootycandy,” Written and Directed by Robert O’Hara, Beginning January 25

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The All-Chicago Cast Includes Travis Turner, Krystel McNeil, Debrah Neal, Robert Fenton and Osiris Khepera in the Chicago Premiere


CHICAGO, IL – Windy City Playhouse (3014 N. Irving Park Road) announces casting for Robert O’Hara’s “Bootycandy,” the “searing and sensationally funny” (The New York Times) semi-autobiographical play about growing up gay and black. Under the direction of the NAACP, OBIE and Helen Hayes Award winner O’Hara, the cast is led by rising Chicago star Travis Turner (whose recent credits include “Thaddeus & Slocum” at Lookingglass Theatre Company and “The Flick” at Steppenwolf Theatre) as Sutter, the character loosely based on O’Hara himself.  Together with Turner, “Bootycandy” features a Chicago ensemble including Krystel McNeil (“Stoop Time,” You & Me Productions), Debrah Neal (“Sanctified,” Congo Square Theatre), Robert Fenton (“Port Authority,” Writers Theatre) and Osiris Khepera (“Tennessee Williams Project,” The Hypocrites). Previews for “Bootycandy” begin January 25 and the production runs through April 15. The Press Night is Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($15 – $55) go on sale November 21 and can be purchased at the Windy City Playhouse Box Office online or by calling (312) 891-8985. To access imagery, click here.”We can’t imagine a better production to kick of our 2017 season than ‘Bootycandy,’ a frank, funny, unpredictable, and most of all, entertaining story,” said Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein. “We feel so fortunate to have Robert here in Chicago to direct the Chicago premiere, and we can’t wait to see him put his signature spin on his play with our talented, fresh Chicago cast.”


“Bootycandy,” the “fearlessly unpredictable” (Los Angeles Times) coming-of-age tale premiered in New York City in 2014 at Playwrights Horizons. As a young, precocious boy, Sutter (Turner) has to quickly learn what it means to be gay and black and as he grows up, he must also learn that no one person will be able to tell him the meaning of love, life, sex or race—he’ll have to define those for himself. The creative team for “Bootycandy” includes Katie Bell Kenny (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design), Lee Fiskness (Lighting Design) and Lindsay Jones (Sound Design, who also did the original sound design in its 2014 premiere).

“Being back in Chicago to direct ‘Bootycandy’ with this amazing group of artists at Windy City Playhouse is a great feeling,” said Playwright and Director Robert O’Hara. “From the moment I met this talented cast, I was eager to get started on helming the Chicago premiere and bringing this story to life anew.”

Subscriptions range from $60 – $135, with a special $45 rate for patrons under 30. Single tickets range from $15-$55—with discounts available for seniors and students—and will be available by calling 773-891-8985 or visiting windycityplayhouse.com.

About the Artists of “Bootycandy”

Robert O’Hara (Playwright/Director) received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two OBIE Awards and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Danai Guiria’s “In the Continuum;” Tarell McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2);” Colman Domingo’s “Wild with Happy;” as well as his own plays, “Bootycandy” and “Insurrection: Holding History.” His new plays “Zombie: The American” and “Barbecue” world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively.

Travis Turner’s (Sutter) Chicago credits include “Thaddeus & Slocum(Lookingglass Theatre Company); “The Flick” (Steppenwolf Theatre); “The Upstairs Concierge” (Goodman Theatre); “We Are Proud to Present…” (Victory Gardens Theater); “Porgy & Bess,” “Tartuffe” and “The Misanthrope” (Court Theatre); and “Bud, Not Buddy” (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Turner’s Second City credits include the Hubbard St. Dance collaboration “The Art of Falling,” which was also performed at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater; and “Twist Your Dickens“ (Goodman Theatre). He has also performed at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and is a graduate of Northwestern University and completed the School at Steppenwolf.

Krystal McNeil (Actor One) graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 where she received her B. A. in Theatre Arts. Most recent credits include “Stoop Time” (You & Me Productions); “Jar the Floor” (Jeff Nomination Best Ensemble – ETA Theatre); “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” (BTAA nomination, Most Promising Actress – ETA Theatre); “A Raisin in the Sun” (Madi Theatre Co.); “Patchwork U.S.A.” (Raven Theater Company); “Class Dismissed” (Victory Gardens Theatre, u/s), and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Polarity Ensemble Theatre).

Debrah Neal (Actor Three) was last seen in Congo Square Theatre’s World Premiere of “Sanctified” when she was nominated for “Best Featured Actress in a Play” by the Black Theatre Alliance.  Some of her other credits include “The Old Settler” and “The Piano Lesson” (Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company);  “Love Child” and “American Menu” (Chicago Theatre Company); “No Place To Be Somebody” (The Performance Loft); “Sojourner Truth” (Stage Two); “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Colored Museum” (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); and “Heat” (ETA Creative Arts Foundation).  As a director, Neal’s directing credits include the world premiere of “What It Be Like” (Living the Dream National Touring Company, Columbus, OH); the world premiere of “Goodness” (Clockwise Theatre); “Home” (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); and “Sing Sister Sing” (DuSable Museum).  Her film credits include “Officer Down” (Richard Blakewell); “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang” (Lavender House Films); and “A Perfect Day” (Derrick Sanders).

Robert Fenton (Actor Four) is a proud, founding ensemble member of The Alluvium Group. He was seen in Boston for the national tour of “Columbinus” with American Theater Company. Other Chicago credits include “Port Authority” (Writers Theatre); “The Big Meal” (American Theater Company – Jeff Award Best Ensemble); “Columbinus” (American Theater Company); “The Twins Would Like To Say” (Dog and Pony Theatre); “The Hostage” and “Port” (Griffin Theatre); “Cherrywood” (Mary Arrchie Theatre Co.); “The Terrible True Story of Pinocchio, the Wooden Boy, as Told by Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wretched Creature” (The Neo-Futurists); “Too Much Memory” (Sinnerman Ensemble); “Princes of Waco” (Signal Ensemble); “The Gospel of Franklin” (Steppenwolf Theatre); and “The History Boys” (Jeff Award Best Ensemble and Best Production – Timeline Theatre). He has also been seen nationally for his commercial work in front of the camera.

The cast also includes Osiris Khepera as Actor Five.

About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s most sophisticated not-for-profit Equity theater, aims to expand beyond the traditional theatergoing experience by offering audience members a night of high-quality entertainment with a full-service bar, in a lounge-like atmosphere. Windy City Playhouse premiered in March of 2015, with the inaugural production End Days. Lauded by audiences and critics alike, Windy City Playhouse promises to rock Chicago’s theater scene.

For more information, visit WindyCityPlayhouse.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Congressional Black Caucus Statements on the Passing of Renowned Journalist Gwen Ifill

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch:


“Gwen Ifill was a pioneering figure in American journalism who quite literally changed the face of the evening news.  She met discrimination and bigotry with talent and focus, rising to become one of the most prominent journalists of her generation.  She pursued her reporting with grace, intelligence and integrity, earning her the trust of countless Americans who counted on her to present the facts of a story without slant or spin.  She asked tough questions and told hard truths, but she always did so in a way that elevated, rather than coarsened, our national discourse.  Our country is a better place because of her commitment to the truth, and she will be sorely missed, both on the air and off.”

Congressional Black Caucus recognizes the life of Renowned Journalist Gwen Ifill

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) released the following statement:

“Our hearts are deeply saddened upon hearing news of the sudden passing of renowned journalist Gwen Ifill.  Regarded as one of the most prominent African American journalists in the country, Ms. Ifill began her news career in the 1970s during a time when there were very few African American and female journalists.  She was a trailblazer in media and went on to serve as the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour.  She was also a bestselling author and moderator of two vice presidential debates.

“Ms. Ifill was among the nation’s finest political correspondents as she was gracious and poised when addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the country.  Her voice will be missed among journalism and broadcasts, but her legacy will continue to have a lasting impact on how we view news and journalism today.  We offer our sincere condolences to Ms. Ifill’s family, friends, followers and colleagues around the world.”

Third Statewide Listening Tour to Gather Feedback on ESSA State Plan

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

ISBE to make eight stops in Chicago, Jacksonville, Aurora, Forest Park, Crystal Lake, Galesburg, and Decatur


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has announced eight stops on a third statewide listening tour regarding Illinois’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan. Through the listening tour, ISBE, in collaboration with Regional Offices of Education, will continue collecting feedback from all stakeholders on Illinois’ draft plan to implement the new federal education law.

ISBE developed the draft ESSA State Plan based on stakeholder feedback received at two previous statewide listening tours and hundreds of comments submitted online. Explore the plan on the ISBE website at http://isbe.net/essa. ISBE staff will present the second draft of the plan to the State Board on Nov. 18, as well as post the updated draft online. 

“As we learned from the release of the Illinois Report Card, the majority of the generations of students entrusted to us are not prepared for college or career. Reversing that tide requires participation and collaboration,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I encourage parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, and leaders from business and our local communities to seize this opportunity to provide input and come together in charting Illinois’ path forward.”

The third statewide ESSA listening tour includes stops in Chicago, Jacksonville, Aurora, Forest Park, Crystal Lake, Galesburg, and Decatur. In addition to submitting comments in person during the listening tour, all stakeholders are encouraged to send comments via email to essa@isbe.net. ISBE has compiled and posted all of the comments received thus far at http://isbe.net/essa/pdf/ESSA-comments-1016.pdf

The third statewide ESSA listening tour stops are listed below. All meetings will take place from 5-7 p.m.




Monday, Nov. 28

Chicago Public School District 299

Schurz High School

3601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Monday, Nov. 28

Jacksonville School District 117

Jacksonville High School

1211 N. Diamond St., Jacksonville

Thursday, Dec. 1

Indian Prairie School District 204

Indian Prairie School District Crouse Education Center

780 Shoreline Dr., Aurora

Monday, Dec. 5

Proviso Township High School District 209

Proviso Math and Science Academy

8601 West Roosevelt Rd., Forest Park

Tuesday, Dec. 6

Chicago Public School District 299

Austin Town Hall

5610 W. Lake St., Chicago

Dec. 7


Crystal Lake School District 47

Bernotas Middle School

170 N. Oak St., Crystal Lake

Dec. 7

Galesburg School District 205

Silas Willard Elementary School

460 Fifer St., Galesburg

Thursday, Dec. 8

Decatur Public School District 61

Eisenhower High School

1200 S. 16th St., Decatur

ISBE plans to submit its third draft of the Illinois State Plan to Governor Bruce Rauner for feedback in January. The final draft will be presented to the State Board on Feb. 22. ISBE then will submit its finalized Illinois State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education in March. ISBE opted to submit the plan in March instead of July in order to ensure that Illinois school districts receive the final approved plan by the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, reauthorizing and amending the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replacing the most recent version of the law, called No Child Left Behind. Illinois’ ESSA State Plan embraces the significant opportunity ESSA presents to better serve all students. By considering what educating “the whole child” means and designing supports and programming that take into account every student’s unique strengths and needs, the State Plan aims to equip all students to succeed in college and career. The new law takes effect in phases over the next two school years. For more information regarding ESSA, please visit http://isbe.net/essa/.

“Kunta Kinteh Island” Documentary to Premiere on Georgia Public Broadcasting/PBS

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Kunta Kinteh Island

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Elvin Ross, an award-winning composer, makes his directorial debut with a compelling and inspirational documentary called Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles. It will will air on Tuesday, November 15 at 7pm on Georgia Public Broadcasting/PBS.


Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles chronicles the pride, strength and journey of the most celebrated captive African, Kunta Kinteh. The saga of Kunta Kinteh’s life was characterized and featured in an American made-for-TV movie and book entitled Roots, created by his descendent Alex Haley. The book and film highlighted the life of an African warrior-in-training who was enslaved and brought to the New World, the Americas, during the West African Slave Trade.


During this forced exodus, Kunta Kinteh was captured and transported to James Island where he was held captive for 15 days before being shipped as cargo to the Americas. Recently, Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, reclaimed and renamed the old British Fortress from James Island to Kunta Kinteh Island to honor his legacy. Although Kunta Kinteh was captured, shackled and abducted from his homeland, his legacy returns home to Jufferreh, The Gambia, West Africa, without shackles.


What others are saying:

I felt the heart and emotion of our rich history in this brilliantly made and powerful documentary. — Tyler Perry

“This documentary feature, Kunta Kinteh Island: Coming Home Without Shackles is a powerful intersection of African and American history. Congratulations to Elvin Ross in his directorial debut as he shines a light on this fascinating story that celebrates the strength and spirit of the Gambian people, and introduces this important part of history to a new generation.” — Marc H. Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League

For more details about the film, visit www.kuntakintehislandmovie.com
Watch the trailer on YouTube:


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