January , 2019

CHICAGO, IL– Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alerted Illinois residents of several possible email scams ...
Springfield, IL – In light of the Centennial of International Women’s Day, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford ...
By Denise Rolark-Barnes, Chairperson, NNPA and Benjamin F. Chavis President/CEO, NNPA) Denise Rolark-Barnes Ben Chavis Hundreds of newspapers have ...
  By Chinta Strausberg   In remembrance of Mother’s Day, members of the Purpose Over Pain group Sunday ...
By Akbar Muhammad   Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- Since the uprising in Libya, I have been attempting ...
Event to Raise Funds for Children and Their Families Through the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation ...
By Chinta Strausberg   Acclaimed musician Pierre Walker married Louise Kenerson Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the ...
CHICAGO, IL  – On November 16th, Bank of America employees will be hard at work ...
UMC Delivers High Value Urban Focused Content through a Subscription Digital Streaming Channel Traci ...
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, joined a bipartisan group ...

Archive for March 15th, 2017

Binary Options Fraud: A Word of Warning to the Investing Public

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Stock options. It’s a pretty common investment term meaning, in general, that one party sells or offers to another party the opportunity to invest by buying a particular stock at an agreed upon price within a certain period of time. All perfectly legal and highly regulated—and if the investor takes advantage of the opportunity and the stock performs well, there’s money to be made. And if the stock doesn’t perform well, the investor knew the risk.

But here’s another similar-sounding financial term that the public should be wary of—binary options. While some binary options are listed on registered exchanges or traded on a designated contract market and are subject to oversight by U.S. regulators like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), much of the binary options market operates through websites that don’t comply with U.S. regulations. And many of those unregulated websites are being used by criminals outside the U.S. as vehicles to commit fraud.

Binary options fraud is a growing problem and one that the FBI currently has in its crosshairs. In 2011, our Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received four complaints—with reported losses of just more than $20,000—from binary options fraud victims. Fast forward five years, and the IC3 received hundreds of complaints with millions of dollars in reported losses during 2016. And those numbers only reflect victims who reported being fleeced to the IC3—the true extent of the fraud, which has victims around the world, isn’t fully known. Some European countries have reported that binary options fraud complaints now constitute 25 percent of all the fraud complaints received.

What exactly is a binary option? It’s a type of options contract in which the payout depends entirely on the outcome of a yes/no proposition, typically related to whether the price of a particular asset—like a stock or a commodity—will rise above or fall below a specified amount. Unlike regular stock options, with binary options you’re not being given the opportunity to actually buy a stock or a commodity—you’re just betting on whether its price will be above or below a certain amount by a certain time of the day.

For example: You expect the price of an individual stock will be above $80 at 3:30 p.m. today. So you buy a binary option that allows you to place this bet at a cost of $60. If, at 3:30 p.m., the stock price is $80.01, your payout is $100, for a profit of $40. If the price of the stock at 3:30 is $79.99, you lose your $60. Of course, you can buy multiple binary options, which can significantly increase your winnings as well as your losses.

So where does the fraud come into it? The perpetrators behind many of the binary options websites, primarily criminals located overseas, are only interested in one thing—taking your money. Complaints about their activities generally fall into one of three categories:

The perpetrators behind many of the binary options websites, primarily criminals located overseas, are only interested in one thing—taking your money.

  • Refusal to credit customer accounts or reimburse funds to customers. This is usually done by cancelling customers’ withdrawal requests, ignoring customer phone calls and e-mails, and sometimes even freezing accounts and accusing the customers themselves of fraud.
  • Identity theft. Representatives of binary options websites may falsely claim that the government requires photocopies of your credit card, passport, driver’s license, utility bills, or other personal data. This information could potentially be used to steal your identity.
  • Manipulation of trading software. Some of these Internet trading platforms may be reconfiguring the algorithms they use in order to purposely generate losing trades, often by distorting prices and payouts. For example, if a customer has a winning trade, the expiration time is extended until the trade becomes a loss.

Fraudulent binary options website operators go to great lengths to recruit investors. They advertise their platforms—often on social networking sites, various trading websites, message boards, and spam e-mail—with big promises of easy money, low risk, and superior customer service. Potential investors are also cold-called from boiler room operations, where high-pressure salespeople use banks of phones to make as many calls as possible to offer “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities.

What’s being done to combat binary options fraud? The FBI currently has a number of ongoing binary options fraud cases, working with partners like the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). And this past January, the Bureau organized the 2017 Binary Options Fraud Summit held at Europol in The Hague, bringing together law enforcement and regulators from throughout North America and Europe to discuss the growing binary options fraud problem.

Special Agent Milan Kosanovich, who works out of our Criminal Investigative Division’s Complex Financial Crimes Unit, was one of the FBI’s representatives at this gathering. “The summit,” he said, “gave all of us the chance to sit down and talk about what we’ve discovered through our respective binary options fraud investigations, where the challenges are, and how we can all work together.”

One of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces, according to Kosanovich, is the fact that the scammers are sophisticated and have operations spanning multiple countries. “So the key to addressing this type of fraud,” he continued, “is national and international coordination between regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and the financial industry.”

Another important factor, said Kosanovich, is investor awareness and education. “Investors need to be aware of the significant potential for fraud on binary options websites, and they need to make sure they do their due diligence before ever placing that first trade or bet.”

What Can You Do to Avoid Being Victimized

  • Make sure that the binary options trading platform you’re interested in has registered its offer and sale of its products with the SEC. (Registration provides investors with key information about the terms of the products being offered). To do this, you can use the Security Exchange Commission’s (SEC) EDGAR Company Filing website.
  • Check to see if the trading platform itself is registered as an exchange at the SEC’s Exchanges website.
  • Ensure that the trading platform is a designated contract market by checking the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CTFC) Designated Contract Markets website. Thousands of entities promote binary options trading in the U.S., but only two are currently authorized to do so by the CFTC.
  • Check out the registration status and background of any firm or financial professional you are considering dealing with. You can do this through the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency’s BrokerCheck website and the National Futures Association Background Affiliation Status Information Center.
  • Take a look at the CFTC’s RED List, which contains the names of unregistered foreign entities that CFTC has reason to believe are soliciting and accepting funds from U.S. residents at a retail level for, among other things, binary options.
  • Finally, don’t invest in something you don’t understand. If you can’t explain the investment opportunity in a few words and in an understandable way, you may need to reconsider the potential investment.

Source: Investor.gov (SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy/CFTC’s Office of Consumer Outreach)

Source: FBI

Speaker Madigan, Harris Set Hearing on Trump Administration Medicaid Proposal

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL– Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan has directed state Rep. Greg Harris, chair of the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, to hold a hearing Thursday to determine how Medicaid cuts being pushed by the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans will affect children, families and other vulnerable residents in Illinois.


“Medicaid is one of the most significant segments of our state budget, and plays a critical role in the health and wellbeing of over 2 million children and families statewide,” Madigan said. “With so much at stake for our state and our families, it’s important for legislators and the governor to understand the real cost of the cuts being proposed by President Trump and congressional Republicans.”


Madigan and Harris have scheduled a hearing of the Appropriations-Human Services Committee on Thursday, March 16 at 8 a.m. in Room 114 of the Capitol. Representatives from the Illinois Hospital Association and Illinois’ safety net hospitals, as well as Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood will brief members about the proposed changes and their impact.


Changes to federal Medicaid funding could have a dramatic effect on the state budget, and to Illinois families. An estimated 1 in 4 Illinois families would be impacted by the plan backed by Trump and congressional Republicans to alter the Medicaid system by providing states with a set lump sum payment. These proposed changes could cause significant reductions to federal funding, which would force Illinois to cut critical care for struggling families and persons with disabilities, or put taxpayers on the hook for significantly higher payments in order to continue services.


Committee members will consider not only the immediate impact, but how these cuts, coupled with rising health care costs, could force deeper cuts for many years.


“The Trump administration is moving quickly to make sweeping changes that will have a deep effect on our state, our communities and our families for years to come,” Harris said. “These proposals need to be thoroughly evaluated, so lawmakers can understand how they will affect Illinois, and determine the best course of action for Illinois families.”



President Preckwinkle Joins Sen. Hastings and Rep. Nekritz In Proposing Expanded Expungement of Juvenile Records

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Legislation to ease and expand the expungement of juvenile arrest records was announced today by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, and state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills.

The Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act (HB 3817/SB 2021) would combat unlawful and overly broad sharing of juvenile records in Illinois and bring the state’s current law in line with the ABA’s model guidelines on such records.

Data show that Illinois has tracked well below these guidelines. In the past decade, less than three in one thousand — .29 percent — of juvenile records were expunged in Illinois due to procedural hurdles in place preventing expungement petitions from being filed. Half of the state’s counties did not grant a single juvenile expungement in the past decade.

Meanwhile research shows that juvenile records place obstacles in the way of vulnerable youth trying to build productive lives, increasing their risk of returning to criminal activity.

“It’s time we recognize that the arrest records of young people who have made mistakes can serve as impediments to their future growth and development, and even create obstacles to such basics as finding housing and employment as they get older,” Preckwinkle said. “I am grateful to Rep. Nekritz and Sen. Hastings for their advocacy on this measure, which continues our efforts at reforming antiquated and damaging juvenile justice laws.”

The bill sponsored by Nekritz and Hastings does two major things:

  • It automatically expunges the records of juvenile arrests that do not result in charges. For cases that result in findings of delinquency, it expunges records two years after the youth’s case is closed, but only if the youth does not pick up a new finding of delinquency during that two-year period.
  • It strengthens confidentiality rules and establishes a penalty for unlawful sharing of juvenile records (Class B misdemeanor resulting in a $1,000 fine and any actual damages).

“We need our laws to recognize that youth can make mistakes, sometimes even serious ones, but can turn their lives around and achieve great things,” Rep. Nekritz said. “By removing this barrier in these cases, we will be sending a strong message that Illinois wants its citizens to strive for better, rather than be held back and left behind.”

“We need to be working toward rehabilitating children caught in our court system to give them a chance to succeed, not crippling them with the mistakes of their past,” said Senator Michael E. Hastings.

Preckwinkle and the lawmakers were joined today in the announcement at Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic by juvenile justice advocates and youths impacted by the current state of juvenile records expungement.

“By strengthening confidentiality protections for juvenile records and creating greater access to the expungement process, the Act brings our laws in line with best practices recently set forth by the American Bar Association,” said Professor Carolyn Frazier of Northwestern University’s Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center. “This Act will help thousands of young people in Illinois each year by making it easier for them to find a job, obtain housing, and pursue an education, it will also improve public safety.”

The legislation is the latest in a series of juvenile justice reforms championed by President Preckwinkle. In 2015 she successfully advocated for the reform of the Automatic Transfer statute, preventing the widespread use of automatic transfer of juveniles into the adult court system, and last year’s bill to reduce or eliminate mandatory five-year probation sentences for juveniles and reduce commitments to juvenile prison for drug crimes.

The President thanks Rep. Nekritz for sponsorship and advocacy of both these and other previous efforts.


Attorney General Madigan Seeks Prison Time for Egregious & Illegal Debt Collector

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL— Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges against a Cook County man for unauthorized debt collection practices in violation of a 2015 consent decree that banned him from operating a debt collection business in Illinois.


Nelson Macwan, 46, of Glenview, was arraigned on charges of indirect criminal contempt for wrongfully operating a debt collection business in Illinois. While engaged in the prohibited conduct, Macwan deposited over $1.8 million into his business’ bank accounts. Madigan’s petition seeks to sentence Macwan to prison and order penalties, which could include more than six months in prison and fines of more than $500.


“The defendant continued his unlawful debt collection practices after a court prohibited him from operating as a debt collector,” Madigan said. “His actions are illegal and have harmed people across the country.”


Madigan filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Macwan’s previous company, PN Financial Inc., calling it one of the most egregious cases of illegal debt collection. With over 100 complaints filed by consumers across the country against Macwan’s new company, New Britain Financial LLC, Madigan filed the recent action to sentence Macwan for violations of a 2015 consent decree in the PN Financial case that permanently banned him from operating a debt collection business in Illinois.


Bond was set at $400,000. Macwan’s next court appearance is May 11 before Judge Michael T. Mullen.


The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Senior Consumer Counsel Charles Fergus and Assistant Attorneys General Elizabeth Deucher, Andrew Dougherty and Maryanne Mlikotic are handling this case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.



NAACP Praises Supreme Court Ruling on Racial Bias in Jury Deliberations

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
BALTIMORE, MD—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 in the case Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado that the Sixth Amendment to the United State Constitution requires a trial court to consider evidence that overt racial bias tainted jury deliberations in a criminal case when determining whether to grant a new trial to a convicted defendant.Prior to this case, “no-impeachment rules” in state counterparts to Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) were widely interpreted as shielding the jury deliberation process from judicial inquiry or review under these circumstances. Only sixteen jurisdictions and the District of Columbia recognized an exception to the no-impeachment rule for juror testimony about racial bias in deliberations.NAACP General Counsel, Bradford M. Berry, released a statement about today’s ruling: “We applaud the Court’s thoughtful decision. When there is credible evidence that racial bias has infected a jury’s verdict in a criminal case, any concerns regarding the efficient administration of the criminal justice system must give way to the necessity to ensure the fair and impartial administration of that system. Today’s decision does just that.”



18,000 Books For At-Risk Youth

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Local Youth Rugby raises 18,155 Books for Bernie’s Book Bank

    Rugby Illinois challenged youth athletes to make a difference in their local community and give back to those in need. Local rugby clubs across the Chicagoland area and state will came together, collecting books to be donated to Bernie’s Book Bank. Battle of the Books, ran for two weeks, with team’s rucking it out over who can collect the most children’s books.

Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes and distributes quality new and gently used children’s books to significantly increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland. The goal of this program is to raise more than a thousand books to help increase literacy and grow the love for reading. Rugby Illinois teams that will be competing to earn a new set of jerseys for their rugby clubs.

Clubs who participated include:

CLUB                                   BOOKS       DONATIONS            TOTAL BOOKS

Chicago Blaze Academy            884            $1,760.00                4404

Taft High School Rugby             3532                  –                    3532

Chicago Northwest Narwhals      2616         $330.00                  3276

Lake Forest Harriers Rugby        2768                –                      2768

Naperville Chiefs                      1865                 –                     1865

New Trier Rugby Club, Winnetka 1410                –                    1410

Arlington Stallions                       900                 –                    900

Totals                                     13975         $2,090.00              18155

The partnership between Rugby Illinois and Bernie’s Book Bank on this event is teaching young men and women to give back through sport as well as social and civic responsibility.

About Rugby Illinois:

Established in 2007, Rugby Illinois is the governing body for Rugby Union in the state of Illinois at the high school and younger level under the national jurisdiction of USA Rugby and the global jurisdiction of World Rugby.

Rugby Illinois is organized exclusively for fostering national and international amateur rugby competition, combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency and contributing to the health of the youth of Illinois through sponsoring and conducting programs dedicated to the promotion of physical activity and fitness purposes.

Rugby Illinois is an official 501(3)3 organization. Rugby Illinois is proud to oversee the growth of youth rugby in Illinois on behalf of USA Rugby.

2017 Wealth-Building Conference at Sea Featuring Media Maven Karen Civil

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

SpreadLove(TM) Sets Sail With One Of Hip-Hops MVPs

Karen Civil, keynote speaker at Spreadlove Wealth-building Conference
Tampa, FL (BlackNews.com) – SpreadLove(TM) announced its inaugural event aimed at educating and informing participants about various streams of revenue that can be derived from: franchise ownership; real estate investing; stocks, mutual funds, and annuities; multi-level marketing; and entrepreneurship.The keynote speaker, Karen Civil, is the founder of LivingCivil.com and KarenCivil.com. This media maven has been compared to Oprah Winfrey for her influence in the rap industry. Civil won a 2009 Black Web Award from Essence Magazine. In 2010, MTV named Civil one of the year’s Hip-Hop MVPs. In 2012, Civil was named to the Ebony Power 100 list. On September 15, 2015, Civil was a guest speaker at the White House “Champions of Change” event honoring young women and their contributions to their communities.A recent study by Brandeis University and Demos found in African American and Latino communities:* Going to college does not close the racial wealth gap.
* Raising children in a two-parent household does not close the racial wealth gap.
* Working full time does not close the racial wealth gap.
* Spending less does not close the racial wealth gap.

A change in mindset is a prerequisite to a change in circumstances, said Esther Jeanbart, founder and CEO of SpreadLove(TM) . Our conference participants will engage with business leaders for 3 nights and 4 days in various business and social settings. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and financial freedom. These concepts are my driving force and I am excited to present this opportunity to make new connections, learn new business practices and strategies, invest in businesses and financial products, and form new habits that can lead to personal success.

The 2017 Wealth Building Conference At Sea will be held aboard the Carnival Liberty from October 26, 2017 – October 29, 2017. The conference will feature guest speakers, workshops, vendors, and parties with guest DJs. The ship sails from Orlando, FL to the Bahamas.

To register online, visit www.spreadlovetm.com/shop/2017-conference-at-sea

If you would like to showcase your product or service email: info@spreadlovetm.com
About SpreadLove(TM):
SpreadLove(TM), is an online platform that promotes and sponsors products, services, and events designed to foster wealth-building, financial literacy, healthy relationships, and positive self-image.


Photo: Meet Media Maven Karen Civil at the 2017 Wealth-Building Conference At Sea




Illinois DOC: Repeat Gun Offender Bill Could Save $62 million

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 SPRINGFIELD, IL —  The Illinois Department of Corrections estimates that a measure targeting repeat gun offenders cosponsored by Senator Anthony Munoz (D-Chicago 1st) and Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) could save the department $62 million over 10 years.

“Many opponents of this legislation speculated that it would drive up costs and increase the prison population due to the recommendation of tougher penalties for repeat gun offenders,” Raoul said. “This estimate from the Department of Corrections shows that, because the recommended increase in sentencing ranges is coupled with other criminal justice reforms, it could actually decrease the population and save money.”

In addition to saving millions of dollars, the Department of Corrections said the reforms could result in a decrease of 1,471 incarcerated offenders over 10 years.

The legislation increases sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders while enacting a series of criminal justice reforms aimed at lowering the prison population and addressing the disproportionate sentencing of nonviolent offenders.

Reforms in the legislation include:

·         Reduces certain drug possession offenses from Class 1 to Class 2 and 3 felonies based on amount.

·         Increases access to educational, vocational and re-entry programming for individuals incarcerated for truth-in-sentencing offenses, allowing eligible individuals to reduce their sentence up to 15 percent.

·         Reduces the protected area for drug crimes from 1,000 to 500 feet, removes public housing as a protected area, and requires prosecutors to prove a connection between the crime and the protected area before a felony can be enhanced.

·         Expands the eligibility for the Offender Initiative Program, Second Chance Probation and all other drug probation programs

·         Reduces the period of mandatory supervised release for certain offenses and allows the Prisoner Review Board to terminate a person’s mandatory supervised release if that person is determined to be low-risk.

SB 1722 advanced out of the Senate Criminal Law committee with a 6-5-0 vote last week and will move to the Senate for consideration.

Cast Set for World Premiere of “Objects in the Mirror” by Charles Smith

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS


Premiere production of Charles Smith’s Objects in the Mirror, directed by Goodman resident director Chuck Smith, April 29 – June 4

New faces and Chicago favorites cast in the world – based on true events, Objects in the Mirror is a Goodman Commission, developed in the 2015 New Stages Festival


CHICAGO, IL – The cast and creative team is complete for Objects in the Mirror, a Goodman Theatre-commissioned world premiere by Charles Smith. Directed by Resident Director Chuck Smith, Objects in the Mirror is inspired by the playwright’s real-life friendship with a Liberian refugee-turned-actor, Shedrick Yarkpai—portrayed by Daniel Kyri, in his Goodman debut. The production was developed through the 2015 New Stages festival and features a 5-member cast who brings to life the gripping account of one Liberian refugee’s attempts to find peace by exposing a potentially dangerous lifelong secret. Objects in the Mirror appears April 29 through June 4 (opening night is May 8) in the Albert Theatre. Tickets ($20-$75; subject to change) are now on sale and available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Objects, the box office (170 N. Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800.

“In Objects in the Mirror, we’re placed directly into the lives of a family of refugees fleeing the violence of their homeland; we walk several miles in their shoes which forces us to take a good look at what we seem to be afraid of,” said Goodman Theatre Resident Director Chuck Smith, who marks his third world premiere collaboration with Smith—Knock Me a Kiss (Victory Gardens Theater) and Gospel According to James (Indiana Repertory Theatre). “I’m thrilled to reunite with my close friend Charles and excited to work with this exceptional cast and creative team to share Shedrick’s life story with Chicagoland audiences and beyond.”


In 2009, [Charles] Smith traveled to Adelaide, Australia, to see a production of his play Free Man of Color, which featured Shedrick Yarkpai (Kyri), a young Liberian actor, in the title role. He learned about the actor’s tumultuous journey from war-torn Liberia through a number of refugee camps in Western Africa, before his final relocation to Australia. In addition to Kyri, the cast also includes Breon Arzell (Zaza Workolo), Allen Gilmore (John Workolo), Ryan Kitley (Rob Mosher) and Lily Mojekwu (Luopu Workolo), who reprises her role from the 2015 New Stages developmental production. The creative team includes Riccardo Hernandez (sets), Birgit Rattenborg-Wise (costumes), John Culbert (lights), Ray Nardelli (sound) and Mike Tutaj (projections).


Conagra Brands is the Major Corporate Sponsor, PwC is the Corporate Sponsor Partner, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing Major Production Support and it was awarded the New Play Award by the Edgerton Foundation.




CHARLES SMITH (Playwright, Objects in the Mirror) Black Star Line was commissioned and produced by Goodman Theatre and his play Objects in the Mirror appeared at the 2015 New Stages Festival. As a former member of the Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble, Smith’s world premiere works include Knock Me a Kiss (directed by Chuck Smith); Freefall, Jelly Belly, Denmark, The Sutherland and Cane (all directed by Dennis Zacek); Takunda and the Jeff Award-winning Free Man of Color (directed by Andrea J. Diamond). His plays Gospel According to James (also directed by Chuck Smith), Sister Carrie and Les Tois Dumas were all commissioned and produced by Indiana Repertory Theatre. His play Pudd’nhead Wilson was commissioned and produced off-Broadway by The Acting Company after a national tour. His work has also been produced at various theaters nationally and in Australia, and may be obtained through Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, Northwestern Press, Swallow Press and other publishers. Smith currently teaches playwriting at Ohio University.


CHUCK SMITH (Director ) is a member of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees and is Goodman Theatre’s Resident Director. He is also a resident director at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota, Florida. Goodman credits include the Chicago premieres of Pullman Porter Blues; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Race; The Good Negro; Proof and The Story; the world premieres of By the Music of the Spheres and The Gift Horse; James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, which transferred to Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, where it won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award for Best Direction; A Raisin in the Sun; Blues for an Alabama Sky; August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Ain’t Misbehavin’; the 1993 to 1995 productions of A Christmas Carol; Crumbs From the Table of Joy; Vivisections from a Blown Mind and The Meeting. He served as dramaturg for the Goodman’s world-premiere production of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He directed the New York premiere of Knock Me a Kiss and The Hooch for the New Federal Theatre and the world premiere of Knock Me a Kiss at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, where his other directing credits include Master Harold… and the Boys, Home, Dame Lorraine and Eden, for which he received a Jeff Award nomination. Regionally, Smith directed Death and the King’s Horseman (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Birdie Blue (Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Story (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Blues for an Alabama Sky (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) and The Last Season (Robey Theatre Company). At Columbia College he was facilitator of the Theodore Ward Prize playwriting contest for 20 years and editor of the contest anthologies Seven Black Plays and Best Black Plays. He won a Chicago Emmy Award as associate producer/theatrical director for the NBC teleplay Crime of Innocence and was theatrical director for the Emmy-winning Fast Break to Glory and the Emmy-nominated The Martin Luther King Suite. He was a founding member of the Chicago Theatre Company, where he served as artistic director for four seasons and directed the Jeff-nominated Suspenders and the Jeff-winning musical Po’. His directing credits include productions at Fisk University, Roosevelt University, Eclipse Theatre, ETA, Black Ensemble Theater, Northlight Theatre, MPAACT, Congo Square Theatre Company, The New Regal Theater, Kuumba Theatre Company, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Pegasus Players, the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, Illinois and the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is a 2003 inductee into the Chicago State University Gwendolyn Brooks Center’s Literary Hall of Fame and a 2001 Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year. He is the proud recipient of the 1982 Paul Robeson Award and the 1997 Award of Merit presented by the Black Theater Alliance of Chicago.

BREON ARZELL (Zaza Workolo) makes his Goodman Theatre debut. A Detroit native, Arezell was most recently seen in Kokandy Production’s The Wiz, which he also choreographed. Other Chicago credits include Rutherford’s Travels (Pegasus Theatre Chicago); You on the Moors Now, All Our Tragic (Jeff Award for Best Ensemble) and Johanna Faustus (The Hypocrites); The Hairy Ape (Oracle Productions, Jeff Award for Artistic Specialization for Choreography and Jeff nomination for Best Ensemble); Direct from Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (Raven Theatre, Jeff Award for Best Ensemble); War Song (The Plagiarists); Superman 2050 (Theater Unspeakable) and more. He has also choreographed productions for Porchlight Music Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Writers Theater and The Hypocrites. A graduate of Miami of Ohio University, his talents have allowed him to work and perform in London, Wales, Denmark, Singapore, Italy, Germany and across the U.S. BreonArzell.com


ALLEN GILMORE (John Workolo) returns to the Goodman, where he previously appeared in The Matchmaker and two productions of A Christmas Carol. Chicago credits include The African Company Presents Richard the Third and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Orgie award, Jeff and Black Theatre Alliance Award nominations) at Congo Square Theatre; Cyrano, Endgame, Sizwe Banzi is Dead (Jeff, BTA and Black Excellence Award nominations), Jitney, The Misanthrope, Seven Guitars, Waiting for Godot (Jeff, BTA and Black Excellence Award nominations), The Good Book and One Man Two Guvnors at Court Theatre; Argonautika and Arabian Nights at Lookingglass Theatre Company and also on tour; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (BroadwayWorld nomination) at Writers Theatre and Fabulation at Next Theatre Company. Gilmore is a 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, a 2015 3Arts awardee, a U.S. Army Infantry veteran and an ensemble member of Congo Square Theatre Company.


RYAN KITLEY (Rob Mosher) returns to the Goodman, where he most recently appeared in the New Stages Festival production of Support Group for Men. He also recently portrayed various historical figures in the six-month run of Assassination Theater.  Additional credits include major roles at Royal George Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Writers Theatre, The Matrix Theater, Colony Theater, The Organic Theatre, Mercury Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Piven Theatre Workshop, Theatre at the Center and Meadow Brook Theatre. Kitley received a Jeff Award for Best Ensemble in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Shattered Globe and a Jeff nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Big Funk with Clock Productions.   Film and television credits include Chicago P.D., Empire, Chicago Fire, Boss, Detroit 1-8-7, Turks, Early Edition, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Miss March, Soul Survivors, Barbershop II, Dig Two Graves and Guidance, among others. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA.

DANIEL KYRI (Shedrick Yakrpai) makes his Goodman Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Monster (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Tug of War Part 1 & 2: Foreign Fire and Civil Strife (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Moby Dick (Lookingglass Theatre Company). Regional credits include Look Away (TheatreSquared). Television and film credits include Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Unexpected (Kris Swanberg) and Kid Nation. Kyri is represented by Stewart Talent.

LILY MOJEKWU (Luopa Workolo) returns to the Goodman, where she last appeared in the New Stages Festival production of Objects in the Mirror and Bugs of the Pigs in the Lions, also directed by Chuck Smith. Chicago credits include Look, We are Breathing (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); The Commons of Pensacola (Northlight Theatre); Luck of the Irish, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter, The Overwhelming and Well (Next Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); A Twist of Water (Route 66 Theatre Company); FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life, The Elephant Man and understudy performances in The Brother Sister Plays and Intimate Apparel (Steppenwolf Theatre Company). Mojekwu has also spent summers in Frankfort, Michigan performing in Richard III, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, King Lear, Henry V and Love’s Labors Lost  with the Chicago-based Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre. Recent television credits include the pilot episode of Mind Games and several appearances on Chicago Fire.


Visit the Goodman virtually at GoodmanTheatre.org—including OnStage+ for insider information—and on Twitter (@GoodmanTheatre), Facebook and Instagram.

Race & Justice News: Nine Black Women Elected To Circuit and District Court in Alabama

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
From: The Sentencing Project
Nine black women were elected as circuit and district judges in Jefferson County, Alabama this November. In an interview with New York Magazine, eight of these judges discussed the importance of their roles as judges, black women, and how the election will shape their communities. Jefferson County has 39 sitting judges and contains the center of the civil rights movement, Birmingham.
District Judge Shanta Owens of the Criminal Division explained, “There are just different experiences as a young African-American woman that I will bring to [my position].”
Judge Javan Patton, of the Civil Circuit Court, said “people need to see African-American women doing this and they need to see us doing it in the South.” Their election preceded Governor Robert Bentley’s 2017 State of the State Address in which he stated “if Alabamians can put man on the moon… we can build new prisons.”

Black Federal District Judges’ Verdicts More Frequently Overturned

Black federal district judges are overturned on appeal more often than white district judges, according to Maya Sen’s “Is Justice Really Blind? Race and Reversal in US Courts,” published in the Journal of Legal Studies in 2015. Sen examined verdicts by over 1,000 judges and their corresponding appeal and reversal rates on cases decided between 2000 and 2012. The reversal rate gap persists even after taking into consideration previous judicial and professional experience, educational background, qualification ratings by the American Bar Association, and variations in appellate panel compositions. Sen writes, “If blacks were reversed at whites’ comparably lower reversal rates, some 2,800 cases authored by black judges would have been upheld on appeal over the last 12 years.”


Bail Reform in New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois

New Jersey’s new bail system, which drastically reduces the use of cash bail, went into effect this January, reports The New York Times. Approved by voters in 2014, the new system involves a judicial assessment of defendants’ flight risk and threat to public safety in deciding whether to detain them before trial. In January, judges set bail only three times in the 3,382 cases that were processed statewide. In addition, 283 defendants were held without bail because of their risk level. In contrast, a 2013 study found that 39% of the jail population was in custody solely due to their inability to post bail. According to judicial officials, “The overhaul was driven by a desire to address one of the ways in which the nation’s criminal justice system tends to fall hardest on poor and minority defendants.” The state’s bail bond agents continue to resist this reform by highlighting the release of individuals that they characterize as dangerous.

Court of Appeals recently issued a new rule to move away from cash bail by instructing judges and court commissioners to look for alternative ways to insure that individuals will show up for trial. Last November, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender released a report revealing that money bail disproportionately impacts low-income black defendants, and in October Attorney General Brian Frosh warned courts that excessively high bail was likely unconstitutional. Cherise Fanno Burdeen of the Pretrial Justice Institute adds: “It’s now up to the state legislature to pursue comprehensive reforms of the state’s pretrial system and move away from money bail towards [what] we know works: evidence-backed pretrial risk assessment and supervision.”Illinois lawmakers have recently introduced legislation that would abolish cash bail by allowing individuals charged with nonviolent crimes to be released until their court date, and giving judges discretion to choose detention or electronic monitoring for those accused of violent crimes.

Will Oregon Lawmakers Finally Tackle Racial Bias?

A recent Investigate West article suggests Oregon’s legislature may finally have the momentum to address the racial disparities in its criminal justice system. In 1994, a task force led by the Oregon Supreme Court produced a report and developed 72 recommendations for reducing racial disparities. The report found that people of color were more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and imprisoned, but less likely to be released on bail or placed on probation. Of the package of bills introduced to the 1995 Legislature, only two were approved—one prohibiting juror selection based on race, and the other prohibiting racially prejudiced citizens from serving on a jury. All the other bills failed, including mandatory training of judges and lawyers on implicit bias.

The state’s approach to addressing racial disparity has evolved over the past two decades; many judges and lawyers have voluntarily attended implicit bias training. In 2013, Oregon passed racial impact statement legislation, which provided a process for formally requesting a racial impact statement when considering criminal justice and child welfare legislations. The years of research, reports, task forces, and hearings have helped to build momentum, explained Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who added: “I feel like we’re at a real point where we can actually get something on the books.”


Expanding Federal Immigration Enforcement

In early February, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 680 undocumented immigrants throughout the country. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which overseas ICE, said that about 75% of those arrested were “criminal aliens,” they also noted that this term includes anyone who has entered the United States illegally or overstayed or violated the terms of a visa. An estimated 11 million people in the United States fit that description. The potential deportation of undocumented immigrants with no convictions sent a wave of shock and fear through immigrant communities nationwide.

President Donald Trump has increased the scope of immigration law enforcement, allowing those with minor offenses or no convictions at all to be detained and deported. During President Barack Obama’s first term, deportation targets included those convicted of minor offenses such as shoplifting but this policy was later changed to focus on individuals convicted of serious crimes, terrorism suspects, and those who had recently arrived. The New York Times explains, “By the end of President Barack Obama’s second term, around 90% of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants were not a priority for deportation.”

More recently, DHS released two memos which detailed plans to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants, remove privacy protections for such immigrants, enlist police officers as enforcers, create new detention facilities, discourage asylum seekers, and speed up deportations.


Persistent Racial Disparities in New Jersey’s Youth Commitments

A report by the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice reveals that although the number of youth commitments has declined, significant racial disparities persist, reports the NJ Spotlight. Though the number of young people committed to a state juvenile facility has dropped to under 300, 73% of this population is black, according to “Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I a Child?” Though there is little difference between rates of criminal activity, black youth are 24 times more likely to be committed to a secure juvenile facility than their white counterparts. The report’s recommendations include redirecting youth to community-based diversion and incarceration alternatives programs that are cost-effective and contribute to reducing recidivism.

Using Restorative Justice to Reform School Discipline in Syracuse

The Syracuse School District is using restorative justice practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and racial disparities in school discipline, according to The Crime Report. Students in this district are almost six times as likely to live in poverty as students in neighboring districts, and Syracuse’s communities of color are roughly three times more likely to live in poverty than the city’s white residents. After the Attorney General’s office investigated racial disparities in student discipline, the school district agreed to a plan requiring implicit bias and cultural competency training, and restructuring of the code of conduct to include restorative practices.

Restorative justice practices focus on community-building and conflict resolution instead of punishment. Under the new plan, the proportion of referrals that are punitive fell from 58% to 35% between 2014 and 2016. However, black students are still disproportionately suspended. School administrators are hopeful that more training will reduce this disparity.

Tips? Feedback? Email Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., Research Analyst and editor of Race and Justice News, at nghandnoosh@sentencingproject.org.

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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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