28
June , 2017
Wednesday

By Ben Jealous What is community policing? In the wake of increased shootings in Ferguson and around ...
  Influential advocates, writers join faith-based community to rally against incarceration, harsh sentencing   CHICAGO, IL – Tomorrow, a ...
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) If youve always loved his music, you wont want to miss ...
Filmmaker appearances scheduled for both movies; Lenny Cooke executive-produced by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah ...
By Juanita Bratcher Saying Freddie Gray's arrest was "illegal" and his death a "homicide", Baltimore State's ...
   Letters to Editor     "Since announcing my campaign for Cook County Board President in December of 2008, ...
A traveling carnival worker from Chicago who video recorded his repeated sexual assaults on two ...
The Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, better known as KOCO, will receive a Housing Champion Award ...
(Letters to Editor) For many older Americans, every dollar of their social Security retirement is ...
Legislation Would Preempt State Authority, Undermine Consumer Safeguards   CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and ...

Archive for May 16th, 2017

Black Israeli Woman Sitting in Prison Without Trial

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Black Israelis are twice as likely to be arrested for crimes they didn’t commit – young Ethiopian Immigrant sitting in Israel prison without trial

 

Rivka Yeshayhu, a Black Ethiopian Israeli

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Rivka Yeshayhu is a 21-year old Ethiopian-Israeli, a dedicated daughter and sister who works hard to support her family. Rivka lost her father at a young age and her mother was in a serious car accident that left her permanently disabled. Being the oldest sibling, Rivka had to grow up quickly to ensure the family’s needs were met. While most girls her age were occupied with school, friends, and hobbies, Rivka was fulfilling responsibilities that were well beyond her years. She worked full time to support her mother and siblings and accompanied her mother to all of her appointments. Rivka’s mother is not fluent in Hebrew and is often ignored by the staff at government offices. Rivka accompanies her to ensure that she is taken care of and can continue to collect her disability benefits.

As a black Israeli, Rivka and her family have often been the victims of discrimination since they moved to Israel over 10 years ago. As Jews they automatically qualified for Israeli citizenship under the country’s “Law of Return”. In theory they enjoy the same rights and benefits as white Israelis but in practice they are often subjected to institutionalized racism, lower wages, public ridicule, and police brutality.

In late 2016, Rivka received a draft notice from the IDF (Israeli military) informing her that she was being called upon for mandatory duty and that she was to report to an absorption center. Considering her family situation, coupled with the fact that she is religious, Rivka knew that she would not have to serve. She obtained the necessary paperwork to receive an exemption but found the forms to be extremely complicated and was not able to submit them before the deadline. Shortly after that she received another draft notice and this time she appeared at the absorption center and explained her situation to an IDF official. The official told her that she would have to go to Israel’s Central Rabbinate for a document stating that she is religious and therefore qualities for an exemption. Rivka went through the necessary steps and submitted the paperwork. After not hearing back for several weeks she became nervous and mailed in the forms again. Finally she received a notice to appear at IDF headquarters. She hoped that this time she would finally get her official exemption.

On April 3, 2017, Rivka appeared at IDF headquarters with her mother but instead of being given an exemption she was arrested on the spot and sent to military prison for the crime of Draft Evasion. Israeli officials had not received her exemption paperwork. They apparently considered a bureaucratic mishap on their part to be equivalent to willful draft dodging even though she had appeared at army headquarters of her own volition.

Rivka has no criminal record and she works hard to support her mother and siblings. Now that she is in prison her family has no means of supporting themselves and her mother is worried that she will lose her meager disability benefits with her daughter not there to translate. The family is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment and they are struggling to put food on the table.

It’s been over a month since Rivka was taken to prison and she has yet to stand trial or even receive a bail hearing. The Israeli judicial system is notorious for delays, with bail hearings and trials often being postponed multiple times without explanation. She was forced to spend the Jewish holiday of Passover in prison due to the fact that the court has not yet given her the opportunity to enter a plea. If convicted, Rivka will likely receive several additional months of jail time along with mandatory military service. Such a situation would leave her family destitute with no means to provide for themselves.

Israeli Army officials refuse to comment on the situation. The Israeli Rabbinate has called for reforms to the exemption process, requesting that the Rabbinate have the ability to directly send letters affirming religious status to the IDF. This would cut out the step of the exemption candidate having to mail in additional paperwork themselves, reducing the amount of forms lost in transit. In the meantime Rivka remains in prison, forced to endure hours of military exercise and to stand at attention several times a day while she is screamed at and ridiculed. This otherwise happy and bubbly girl has become a shell of her former self.

Rivka’s story has received absolutely no coverage in the Israeli press. Considering that the country is known for it’s problem with racial discrimination against the Ethiopian community, the lack of coverage comes as no surprise. Ethiopian Israelis are statistically twice as likely to be arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. Israel has a long history of institutionalized racism against its Ethiopian citizens, a community of around 150,000. Many Ethiopian Israelis are refusing to serve in the IDF, acting as conscientious objectors to protest institutionalized racism and police brutality. Rivka definitely believes that racism played a major factor in her arrest. Other Israeli girls who have been arrested for draft evasion in the past were speedily released with a mere warning. Those cases grabbed more attention and the government felt pressured to grant clemency quickly. Barely anyone is speaking up on Rivka’s behalf.

The IDF has the ability to release Rivka from prison immediately. It is clear that she never intended to evade the draft as she reported to Military Headquarters whenever she was summoned. The religious committee confirmed that she qualifies for an official exemption. Her family needs her home. Rivka’s release will be an important victory for Israel’s Ethiopian community as well, showing them that their struggles are not being ignored.

How You Can Help:

Your voice matters! Speak out and stand up against racial and religious discrimination in Israel, and return Rivka to her family who desperately needs her. Sign their online petition that will be sent to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu calling for Rivka’s release. The online petition can be signed at www.change.org/p/benjamin-netanyahu-release-rivka-yeshayahu-a-young-ethiopian-immigrant-held-in-israeli-prison-without-trial

Photo Caption: Rivka Yeshayhu, 21, has been sitting in Israeli prison since April 3rd

In Search of Justice: The Sad Saga of Former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine

A Reprint from the PCC Network

 

In his search for truth & justice, former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden has encountered many battles in life, and has faced untold obstacles in his 53-year quest to clear his name of a crime he said he never committed – all to no avail. According to Bolden, he was framed by the government – the Secret Service and other law enforcement officials.

Bolden, the first Black Secret Service Agent on a U.S. Presidential Detail, was personally picked by President John F. Kennedy to join his presidential detail while Kennedy was on a trip to Chicago in 1961. He was elated, and who wouldn’t be elated. After all, it was a time of racial strife in the country and an offer like this to a black man was unimaginable to say the least. At the time he was a local Chicago Secret Service agent.

Clearing his name is something that is sacred to him, and even at 82 years old, he is still mindful of that duty to himself, family, friends, and supporters, that he must never give up on that goal.

And in spite of his many trials and tribulations, which included three heart attacks, a Pace Maker and a bout with cancer – Bolden has not given up, and he said he “will never give up, because God is in the plan.

In King James Version of the Bible, John 14:1, it states: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. And in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me “

Abraham Bolden has been talking about his dismal plight now for a very long time; how he was railroaded by the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement officials while he was a secret service agent. He’s been fighting a long time to clear his name, after spending three years and three months in federal prison for a crime he emphatically says he never committed. He was fired from the Secret Service in August 1964, spent three years and three months in federal prison, and paroled in 1969. He is deeply rooted in history. He is an American hero, a black man that won’t give up his fight to clear his name. God was in his life at a very early age, when he was a young kid. He grew up, believing in the justice of God.

Bolden, the East Saint Louis native who was the first black Secret Service Agent, became an agent in 1960.

And since that time, he’s had a long history of fighting a battle he never imagined, and also feels betrayed.  Not only did he face racism from his fellow agents while on the job, but he has spent most of his life fighting to clear his name.

It has been a long haul for Bolden and one helluva ride for a patriotic and courageous man in his quest to seek justice and clear his name. He has spent most of his life toward that goal – 53 years to be exact – all to no avail. Bolden is aware that it’s been a slow road to attaining the dream of clearing his name, he was denied pardons by three U.S. Presidents (Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), yet, he has no intentions of ever giving up in his endeavors to clear his name. Even after the three heart attacks, a pace maker and a bout with cancer he still has a whimper of hope in clearing his name, which has evaded him for so many years.

Bolden is an historical figure.

Bolden was accused of taking a $50,000 bribe from a counterfeiting ring that he had helped break, which he denies, and eventually did time for bribery. He has spent most of his life fighting a grave injustice done to him.

Prior to joining Kennedy’s presidential detail, Bolden served as a former Illinois state trooper and a Secret Service Agent in Chicago. He graduated cum laude from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a B.A. degree in music composition.

President Kennedy told Bolden he was the “Jackie Robinson of Baseball”. Some have said he was framed because he knew too much.

In published reports it was stated that after two incredibly unfair criminal trials the first in which the sitting judge instructed the jury that Bolden was guilty of all counts in the indictment. Bolden was convicted; however, but the case against Bolden began to fall apart when one of the witnesses, Joseph Spagnoli, who testified against Bolden, confessed that he and another witness, Frank William Jones, concocted and fabricated the criminal case against Bolden with the help of an Assistant United States Attorney. In spite of Spagnoli’s confession and the government’s refusal to deny the charges levied by Spagnoli, Bolden was sent away to the penitentiary.

After an initial mistrial, Bolden was convicted and served three years and three months in federal prison before he was paroled in 1969.

Bolden was arraigned in Chicago on May 20, 1964 on federal charges that he had solicited a bribe from a counterfeiting ring that he had helped break. He was accused of seeking $50,000 in exchange for a secret file on the investigation. The government’s case rested primarily on the testimony of the two men, Frank Jones and Joseph Spagnoli, both facing criminal charges.

Bolden was not accused of receiving or was he ever found to be in possession of any illicit funds from the accused felons who testified against him. He maintained his innocence, asserting that he had been framed because he planned to expose dereliction among the agents assigned to guard Kennedy in front of the Commission. The Secret Service denied Bolden’s claims

Reportedly, there were two witnesses who testified against Bolden at his trial. One of them, who accused Bolden of soliciting bribes, admitted that federal prosecutors had asked him to lie about the case. However, when Bolden appealed and requested a new trial it was denied and Bolden began serving a six-year sentence in 1966, and paroled in 1969.

Bolden is a strong man, a very focused man, a religious man, a patriotic man, a man of integrity That was noted in many articles that I read about him pertaining to his plight. Where does that strength come from? From God, his wife (he and his wife Barbara were married 49 years), mother, children and many supporters.

Bolden focused on two voices he heard while in his prison cell. The dark room lit up and the voice told him not to be afraid. Another voice asked his name and said “God is with you.” Bolden said he knew the voices were spiritual messages from God.

He talked fondly about President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, he said, “meant a lot to me, I will miss him for the rest of my life.”

You can watch the complete interview with Dr. Juanita Bratcher and Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden on Youtube.com.

And On a Final Note:

To Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden

By Dr. Juanita Bratcher

 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

And change one’s life and living at will

You fight to the end to clear your good name

But nothing goes right, and you’re labeled insane

It seems that the world stands still and there is no hope

But God sees all and there’s room to cope

 

So when you scream to the top of your voice and ask God that justice prevails

You’ll see, all will go well

Ransomware Worries? Keep up to Date

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

National Urban League Presents “State of Black America”, Will Air May 31

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

By Marc H. Morial, President and CEO
National Urban League

To Be Equal TBE#64

 

“Civil rights don’t take place in a vacuum. They are meaningful only in the real world – the world where people have to survive to work, to raise their families, to instill in their children hope for the future and the skills to function in a society where a broad back and the desire to work are no longer enough. That is why we are concerned with tax cuts, with energy, with a multitude of issues some white people think are not the concern of blacks. That is why we see our present efforts as being the logical outcome of those struggles for basic rights of the 1960s. And that is why we insist there is a vital, moral component to the current struggle.” – National Urban League President Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Each year, the release of the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America® report triggers a national conversation on racial and economic justice.  This year, for the first time, we’re putting that conversation on television.

In partnership with TV One, “National Urban League Presents: State of Black America” will air at 8 pm Eastern, 7 pm Central, on Wednesday, May 31.

Urban League affiliates, Guild chapters and our Young Professionals will be hosting watch parties in cities all across the country, while participating in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #StateOfBlackAmerica.

The two-hour event, which was taped during the National Urban League’s State of Black America Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, features stimulating panel discussions and illuminating reports from our affiliates on education, mentorship, homeownership, employment and entrepreneurship.

Roland S. Martin, managing editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now, moderates the panels, which include culture critic Toure; Angela Sailor, former director of the Republican National Committee’s Coalitions department; CNN’s Symone Sanders;  activist/TV host Jeff Johnson; author/professor Michael Eric Dyson, and CNN commentators Parris Dennard and Angela Rye.

Deep disagreements and wide-ranging proposals are to be expected with such a diverse and outspoken group, and the State of Black America panels did not disappoint. Charter schools vs. private schools vs. public schools? Gentrification? Urban infrastructure? Our panel had quite a lot to say.

Additionally, the program highlights Urban League signature programs in affiliates around the country:

  • Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, discusses Chicago’s Project Ready program.
  • Judson Robinson of the Houston Area Urban League, shares his affiliate’s Project Ready: Mentor program.
  • Erika McConduit-Diggs of the Urban League of Louisiana, discusses the Urban Re-Entry Jobs Program.
  • T. Willard Fair, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, is featured regarding access to affordable housing.
  • Nancy Flake Johnson, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, shares some of the success stories from her Entrepreneurship programs.

We encourage every American to join your local Urban League affiliate, Guild or Young Professionals for a watch party – or host your own! – and be a part of this historic event.

Indie Documentary Examines Race, Police Brutality and the 2016 Presidential Campaign

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Independent documentary “Black White & Blue” critically examines race, police brutality and America’s 2016 presidential election

Black White and Blue Documentary

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Set for release in early 2018, independent documentary BLACK WHITE & BLUE is a critical examination of the role race and police violence played in the 2016 presidential campaign. Some of the hot button social topics associated with the project are: abuse of power by law enforcement, the Black Lives Matter movement and Flint, MI’s Water Crisis.

Produced by Curtis Scoon (BET’s American Gangster) and directed by newcomer Asia Norris, BLACK WHITE & BLUE begins at the DNC in Philly back in July 2016 and consists of one-on-one interviews of notable figures (such as The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God, CAIR National Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, author/ social critic Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Michigan State Senator Coleman Young II (D)) and many more, juxtaposed with “man on the street” interviews, along with compelling visuals from all over the country.

 

There is no political agenda or backing for this project. It is an independently funded, unbiased critique of the issues inspired by political activism on social media- particularly that of so-called Social Justice Warriors.” Prior to the election, a number of shooting incidents involving law enforcement officers and Black males reached a crescendo of sorts with the dramatic killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and the subsequent civil unrest it sparked.

 

Seemingly, the Black community became increasingly politicized as racial conflagration and polarization politics divided Americans along ideological and racial lines in the wake of the first post-Obama presidential election. Or was there more to it than meets the eye? Was it all organic, or orchestrated to achieve some political aim? Was the activity on social media an accurate depiction of reality in the Black community or was it simply the work of a very small, vocal, niche group attempting to speak for all Black people? Who was behind it, and why? Are the concerns legitimate? If so, what should be done about them?

 

BLACK WHITE & BLUE attempts to address these questions, and others, through an objective, non-partisan lens. The documentary dispels any notion that Black people are a monolith by showcasing a spectrum of diverse perspectives for viewers to arrive at their own conclusions.

For more information on the film, go to www.blackwhiteandbluefilm.com

Photo: Film poster

  

 

NAACP and Congressman John Lewis Speak Out on “Mythology” of Voter Fraud

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP Statement on the Mythology of Voter Fraud

 

  • Cornell William Brooks | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MSCornell William Brooks, President & CEO, NAACP

BALTIMORE – NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks released the following statement regarding President Trump’s executive order creating a commission on voter fraud.

The recent executive order establishing the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity represents yet another veiled attempt to disenfranchise people of color. Citing false and unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, President Trump has perpetuated this mythology of “voter fraud,” as justification for support of laws and policies that promote voter suppression.

This Commission poses a very real and direct threat to our electoral system and democracy. Clearly designed to bar millions from exercising their democratic birthright, through a gumbo of alt-facts, stereotypes and dog whistle politics, the NAACP as this nation’s first-responder on civil rights will fight back with every resource at our disposal against any assault on the vote. Without a doubt, the enemy of the vote will seek to utilize whatever findings the committee produces as ammunition for the continuing assault on voting rights.

While we cannot predict what the commission will report, its makeup gives us reason the worry. Vice Chair of the Commission, Kris Kobach, is one of the principal disseminators of the mythology of widespread voter fraud, despite no statistical proof to validate this claim.

In a 2015 study, The Washington Post found that out of 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 alleged incidents of voter fraud. More recently, of the 134 million votes cast during the most-recent presidential election, The Post found a mere 4 incidents of voter fraud.

Despite any evidence of voter fraud, this administration is expending public funds to address an issue which, quite simply, does not exist. There is simply no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The appointment of Kris Kobach as Vice Chair of the Commission is a clear signal of the ultimate purpose and intent of the Commission which is to provide justification for making it more difficult, if not impossible, for African-American and Latino citizens to exercise their right to vote.

The NAACP is committed to defend against any attack on the voting rights of our fellow citizens, no matter what their color or political persuasion. Rather than burdening participation in our democracy, we should all be working to increase the degree of civic participation throughout this nation. There is no integrity in denying American citizens their right to vote. This Commission on Election Integrity is a sham and should not be allowed to give any credibility to the mythology of widespread voter fraud.

 

 

John Lewis

John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis’ Statement

54 years sounds like a long time ago — but in the context of our movement, it’s only a blink.

It’s only been 54 years since I marched with my brothers and sisters from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

It’s only been 54 years since we were jailed, beaten, and killed for trying to cast a vote. For trying to participate in democracy, in the United States of America.

This isn’t ancient history. It’s the experience of my life.

Just a few decades ago, we changed the course of history and helped pave the way for the Voting Rights Act — but yesterday, this administration put that legacy under attack.

They signed an executive order to start a commission investigating almost non-existent “voter fraud.” It’s nothing more than a cover for them to threaten our progress — with registration barriers, elimination of early and absentee voting, and rules that obstruct an inclusive democracy.

We cannot let this happen.

President Obama likes to say that the arc of the moral universe doesn’t bend on its own — we have to reach up and pull it towards justice ourselves. On that day 54 years ago, we gave it a mighty pull. We can’t let it snap back.

Every one of us, right now, has a responsibility to keep pulling on that arc — to protect and defend our right to vote. Say you’ll join OFA in this fight:

https://my.ofa.us/Defend-Voting-Rights

Thank you,

Congressman John Lewis

“Dinner Party From Hell,” Set on Chicago’s North Shore, Runs June 17 – July 16 at Pride Arts Center

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

Cor completes cast, updates schedule for LGBTQ drama late company

 
 
Tony Bozzuto and Tosha Fowler are cast as North Shore parents
in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Late Company.
CHICAGO, May 15, 2017 – Get set for a scorching start to Chicago’s summer theater season when Cor Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Late Company, a shockingly funny, scathingly painful drama set on Chicago’s North Shore about LGBTQ youth and the scourge of teen suicide.
Acclaimed director Jessica Fisch will stage the first Chicago production of this vitally important new work by Canadian playwright, director and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill – “the future of Canadian theatre” (NOW Magazine) and “the hottest name in Canadian theatre” (Montreal Gazette).
The raves continue for the just-opened European premiere of Late Company at London’s Finborough Theatre. Time Out London called Late Company a “powerful new drama about the devastating aftershocks of cyber bullying. Superb.” The Times hailed this “dinner party from hell serves up the full gamut of emotions. A terrific play. Go! This one deserves a West End transfer.”
Like the controversial Netflix hit series 13 Reasons WhyLate Company takes no prisoners with its vivid portrayal of the aftershocks of teen suicide.
New dates for Cor Theater’s Chicago debut of Late Company are June 17 to July 16, 2017 at The Buena (Pride Arts Center), 4147 N. Broadway St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Tickets, $18-$30, are on sale now at cortheatre.org, or by calling (866) 811-4111.

Updated schedule: Previews are Saturday June 17 at 3 p.m., and Sunday and Monday, June 18 and 19 at 8 p.m.

Press opening (originally scheduled for June 19) is now Tuesday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Performances continue through July 16: Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.

Exceptions: No shows Wednesday, June 21 or July 5. The show on Thursday,
June 22 is sold out.

Late Company is for mature audiences. 

More about Late Company

One year after a gay teen’s suicide, two North Shore families sit down to dinner. Pleasant mealtime chatter quickly turns into fierce interrogation as each person at the table confesses their real or imagined part in the tragedy. As blame shifts, layers of parental, sexual, and political hypocrisy are revealed. Scathingly funny and heartbreakingly real, award winning Jordan Tannahill’s Late Company asks, “How well can a parent ever really know their child?”
According to Cor Artistic Director and cast member Tosha Fowler, “Late Company is about wrestling with forgiveness. Two sets of parents are fighting desperately for closure from a suicide brought on by missed opportunities and misunderstandings on both sides. Nobody in the room is blameless – everyone is sparring like hell to find peace within themselves and each other.”
“Jordan’s writing is funny and searing. It has the kind of visceral energy that makes live theater unique,” said director Jessica Fisch, adding, “In light of our current political climate, a play about people coming to the table to talk over their grievances feels both novel and inspirational. I want to believe it’s possible for people with drastically different points of view to find common ground and healing.
Late Company challenges that belief and offers hope that it is possible.”
  
Cast members include (fr left) Tony Bozzuto, Matthew Elam, Paul Fagen, Tosha Fowler and Asia Jackson.
The Late Company cast is Tony Bozzuto (so memorable in Cor’s Skin Tight and Christina, The Girl King), Matthew Elam (a Chicago newcomer and third year acting major at DePaul), Paul Fagen (recently seen in About Face’sThe Tempermentals) and Tosha Fowler (co-founder and artistic director of Cor, stage credits include What of The Night? and Love and Human Remains, director of last season’s A Map of Virtue, and one of New City’s 2016 Players: The 50 People who Really Perform for Chicago.) New to the cast is Asia Jackson, most recently seen in Among All of This You Stand Like A Fine Brownstone at ETA Creative Arts Theatre.
The production team is Cole von Glahn (assistant director), Adam Gutkin (set and props), Alarie Hammock (costumes), Jeffrey Levin (sound), Eric Vigo (lights), Topher Kielbasa (dramaturg), Stefin Steberl (production manager) and Michael Starcher (stage manager).
Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, director, filmmaker and a leading figure in Canada’s gay arts community. The Toronto Globe and Mail recently hailed him as “…the poster child of a new generation of (theatre? film? dance?) artists for whom ‘interdisciplinary’ is not a buzzword, but a way of life.” His plays have been presented across Canada, his films have been widely exhibited at venues such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the British Film Institute, and he received the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for his book Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays. In collaboration with William Ellis, Tannahill runs the alternative art-space Videofag in Toronto. Currently he is partnering with the National Theatre of London and the National Film Board Canada to create Draw Me Close, an immersive technology memoir in which audiences experience a live, illustrated world as five-year-old Jordan during his mother’s battle with cancer. The first chapter of Draw Me Close premieres April 21-29, 2017 at the Tribeca Film Festival. jordantannahill.com.
Jessica Fisch is a Chicago-based freelance director and professor. Chicago projects this season include directing the world premiere of Firebirds Take the Field for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and associate directing Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee at Steppenwolf. Other credits include Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latina/o Celebration), Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens), Far Away (SITE Festival, Northwestern), 42 Stories (Raven Theatre, [Working Title] series) and Machinal and Spike Heels (Northwestern University). Selected New York credits are
The Realm (The Wild Project), strive/seek/find (Abingdon Theatre), the 2009 Playwrights Horizons Stories on 5 Stories Benefit, Personal History (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Redheaded Man (Barrow Street Theatre/Down Payment Productions/FringeNYC/ FringeEncores), and Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group), an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Prior to moving to Chicago, Fisch lived in New York City where she was the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Down Payment Productions (DPP). She was also a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, the 2008-2009 Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She earned her MFA at Northwestern University. 
About Cor Theatre

Cor Theatre (cortheatre.org) debuted in September 2012 with a vision to create theatrical experiences that are rarely presented in Chicago by artists who seek to defy expectation. Today, Cor is one of Chicago’s youngest and most ambitious professional theater companies with a growing board and strong experience behind it.

Cor’s inaugural production, Skin Tight by Gary Henderson, was met with enthusiastic audiences, critical acclaim and made just enough money to establish a not-for-profit corporation. The company named itself Cor Theatre, deriving its name from the Latin root of courage – meaning heart.

Cor returned in 2015 with Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue, named a top show to see in the Chicago Tribune and Most Promising Debut by Time Out Chicago. Cor triumphed again in 2015 with the first Chicago staging in 20 years of Brad Frasier’s Love and Human Remains, which played to numerous sold-out houses and was named one of the top plays to see by Windy City Times and New City.
In March 2016, Cor presented the U.S. premiere of Christina, The Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau, telling the true story of the enigmatic, gender bending 17th century Queen of Sweden. Cor concluded its 2016 season in October with an epic production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, translated by Tony Kushner, directed by ensemble member Ernie Nolan.
Most recently, in January 2017, Cor gobsmacked Chicago audiences and critics alike with Carlos Murillo’s daring staging of What of the Night? by María Irene Fornés.
Company members are Tony Bozzuto, Chris Brickhouse, Elyse Cowles, Tosha Fowler, Adam Gutkin, Alarie Hammock, Topher Kielbasa, Jeffrey Levin, Claire Meyers, Ernie Nolan, Stefin Steberl and Eric Vigo.
For more information, visit cortheatre.org, like Cor Theatre on Facebook, follow the company on Twitter, @CorTheatre, or call (866) 811-4111.

DOJ Reversal on Drug Prosecutions Will Fuel Mass Incarceration and Undermine Public Safety

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

BALTIMORE, MD -The NAACP released the following statement regarding the DOJ’s decision to promote the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

The decision by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions requiring federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe charges possible, regardless of whether they would expose low-level offenders to mandatory minimums, represents not only a threat to public safety, but exacerbates mass incarceration.

 

This decision by DOJ to overturn previous previous Justice Department guidance will lead to thousands of people spending unnecessary years of imprisonment while doing nothing to advance public safety.

 

“The Attorney General’s directive suggests that this long ugly era of mass incarceration now has eternal life. Contradicting commonsense, conscience, and experience of red and blue state governors, this new policy takes us quickly backward,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

 

Earlier DOJ Guidance that discouraged the federal prosecution of low-level drug offenders resulted in a 14% drop in federal prosecution of drug cases and a focus on more serious offenses and more dangerous offenders. Since reaching its historic peak in 2013, reforms in drug prosecution and sentencing as well as the Obama administration’s clemency initiative led to a significant decrease in the federal prison population, which had dropped 14% (to 188,800) by April 2017. The Sessions memo essentially guarantees a larger federal prison population, ensuring that money that would be better used on preventing crime will be spent imprisoning people who are no risk to the communities.

 

The memo takes us back to the “War on Drugs” mentality that has led to our current age of mass incarceration, making the US the world leader in the number of people incarcerated. The racial disparities in arrest, prosecution, and incarceration have led to the devastation of African American families and communities. The NAACP is not ready to move backward. We must work to dismantle our system of mass incarceration, instead of exacerbating the problem. We will not allow the Attorney General to turn the clock back on federal criminal justice reform.

 

Attorney General Madigan Student Loan Bill of Rights Passes Senate

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

AG Madigan & Sen. Daniel Biss Applaud Passage of Senate Bill 1351 to Better Illinois Student Loan Borrowers

 

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the Illinois Senate passed legislation to reform the student loan servicing industry to help student loan borrowers repay their loans. The bill addresses widespread abuses and failures in the student loan industry that were revealed by Madigan’s investigation and lawsuit against one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, Navient.

 

Senate Bill 1351, drafted by Madigan’s office and Sen. Daniel Biss, would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to better protect borrowers from abuses in the student loan industry. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 15 with one member voting present, and will now be considered in the House, where it will be sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi.

 

“This bill is critically important now that the U.S. Department of Education has abandoned student loan borrowers by revoking reforms to prevent the abuses uncovered in my investigation,” Madigan said. “These commonsense measures will improve the financial futures of student loan borrowers, their families and our economy.”

 

“The U.S. Department of Education’s decision to roll back protections for student loan borrowers is extremely disappointing, particularly when investigations into the industry – such as those conducted by Attorney General Madigan – have revealed misleading and self-serving practices,” Sen. Biss said. “I encourage my colleagues in the House to support these commonsense reforms.”

 

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

 

Students who attended for-profit colleges are particularly hard hit, making up the vast majority of borrowers in default. While federal income-based repayment options are available, the U.S. Treasury has reported that only 20 percent of eligible borrowers are enrolled in these options, which can lower payments based on income to as low as $0 a month.

 

Madigan said Illinois borrowers frequently experience problems with their student loan servicers. Specifically, borrowers in Illinois have complained to her office that their loan servicers failed to inform them of affordable repayment options, follow borrower payment instructions and answer questions consistently.

 

Because it is so difficult to get legitimate help from loan servicers, student loan borrowers are increasingly turning elsewhere for help. Scam artists have rushed in to exploit desperate borrowers, much like they did during the mortgage crisis, with false promises to help in exchange for large, illegal upfront fees. Madigan has led the country in shutting down illegal student loan debt relief operations preying on borrowers.

 

Senate Bill 1351 would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect student loan borrowers by prohibiting student loan servicers from misleading borrowers and requiring that they:

 

  • Properly process payments;
  • Require specialists to provide and explain to struggling borrowers all of their repayment options, starting with income-driven plans; and
  • Inform borrowers who may be eligible to have their loans forgiven due to a disability or a problem with the school they attended.

 

The bill would also create a Student Loan Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s office and require student loan servicers to obtain a license to operate in Illinois.

 

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. In addition to her lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae, Madigan has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. Madigan has also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

 

Madigan also instituted a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with resources about repayment options, avoiding default or how to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

 

The Sentencing Project Condemns DOJ’s Return to Harsh Enforcement of Low-level Drug Crimes

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, D.C.— Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, issued the following statement following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement to reverse the Department of Justice’s Smart on Crime Initiative:

“Attorney General Sessions’ decision to end the Smart on Crime initiative, despite warnings of the impact of reinvigorating the War on Drugs from criminologists and advocates, will again fill federal prisons with people convicted of low-level drug offenses serving excessive sentences. Sessions’ decision to reverse the Obama-era directive that deprioritized the Department of Justice’s use of harsh mandatory minimum sentences in low-level drug cases is a huge misdirection.

In recent years the Department of Justice had achieved a substantial population reduction in its overcrowded prison system. The decrease was produced by several policy changes orchestrated by the U.S. Sentencing Commission and through the now-rescinded DOJ directive known as Smart on Crime. Reversing this directive will exacerbate prison overcrowding, increase spending and jeopardize the safety of staff and prisoners.

Research over many decades has demonstrated the deterrent effect of the criminal justice system is a function of the certainty of punishment, not its severity. The new policy shift will have little impact on public safety, while adding exorbitant fiscal and human costs to an already bloated and destructive criminal justice system.”

Marc Mauer is the executive director of The Sentencing Project, a national criminal justice research and advocacy organization. The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration. For more information, visit www.sentencingproject.org.

Recent Comments

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

Recent Posts