March , 2018

  Alexandria, VA (BlackNews.com) -- In his new book, Exiting the Matrix: How Conventional Wisdom is ...
Michele Norris, co-host of NPR'S All Things Considered, examines her racial roots and long-held family secrets ...
Psychologist Dr. Niama T. Malachi releases new book: A Hip Hop State of Mind" as ...
Agency Details Lane Closures to Aid Motorists’ Travel Plans SPRINGFIELD, IL – With thousands of ...
  By Dr. Elsie L. Scott   This year, we are celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation ...
Senate Appropriations for Elementary and Secondary Education is the second of several hearings on FY ...
New Organization of 120,000 Lawyers, Law Students, and Supporters Pledges Pro-Bono Resistance to “Bad Government,” ...
BALTIMORE, MD - The NAACP announced the hires of Virgil E. Ecton as Executive ...
Pamela McMillan, CEO, of PETAL et al, and Clarence McMillan, PETAL et al. Vice President ...
Marsh to co-host national gathering of insurance professionals                                          The National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA) will ...

Archive for March 8th, 2018

Organized Effort to Promote Ghana to African Americans

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Ghana Tourism Authority and the Adinkra Group announce US East Coast Tourist Visit


An organized effort to promote Ghana as a prime tourist, business and alternative/joint living destination for African Americans in 2019 and beyond

Ghana Tourism Authority

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — Brought to you by, the Ghana Tourism Authority and The Adinkra Group, fresh off the successful launch of the first Annual Back2Africa Festival and Ghana’s 61st Independence Celebration – The Ghana Tourism US East Coast Visit stops through three major African American Urban centers and markets to promote Ghana in general as a prime tourism destination and specifically – its African Diaspora Festivals in the year 2019. The Tour will make stops in Washington, DC, New York, and Chicago hosting travel agents, tour companies, church leaders, school officials, and other community leaders who are currently or newly interested in exposing their constituents and customer base to Ghana.

The year 2019 marks exactly 400 years since 1619 when the first documented enslaved Africans came to Jamestown, VA aboard a Portuguese slave ship that had been captured in the West Indies and brought to the Jamestown region. This is widely recognized as the start of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade or Middle passage where millions of Africans were kidnapped from their villages and brought to America as free labor.

It’s wholly appropriate for Ghana to serve as the Gateway to Africa and be the first African Nation to welcome Africans in the diaspora home. Ghana’s claim to the position of gateway to the Homeland is well grounded in the fact that it was a major West African exit point for slaves during the Middle Passage. Currently, about 40 Forts, Castles, and lodges used for the Slave trade are in existence in the country, with 3 of them; St. George’s Castle and St. Jago Fort, both at Elmina, and Cape Coast Castle, designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. Furthermore, more than any other African nation, Ghana has the greatest number of African Americans living in country who have chosen Ghana as their home.

The Tour will focus specifically on three diaspora festivals as a direct way for African Americans to reconnect with Africa:

Back2Africa Festival | February 25 – March 7, 2019
Celebrates Black History Month the last week of February through Ghanaian Independence Day in the first week of March in Ghana, West Africa connecting African American cultural art forms with the music and culture of Ghana West Africa connecting the dots from the roots to the branches throughout the diaspora. Two Cultures. One Foundation.

Emancipation Day | August 1, 2019
Emancipation Day is an annual event in Ghana. Emancipation was originally celebrated in the Caribbean to commemorate the final abolition of Chattel Slavery in the British colonies on 1st August 1834. Ghana became the first African nation to join in the celebration in 1998 to re-affirm its status as the Gateway to the African Homeland of Diasporans.

The Right to Return |December 27 – 29, 2019
For the first time in history in December 2016, 34 Africans of the diaspora were granted the right to return to Ghana, West Africa and given citizenship. This festival celebrates that historic occasion and sets the path for the next group of citizens who will be granted the right to return. Ghana has committed to working towards streamlining citizenship for Africans in the diaspora and this festival marks that effort and time when citizenships will be granted.

The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is the public service agency in charge of regulating tourism in Ghana through marketing and promotion, licensing and classification of tourism facilities and services, research and development. In recent times, the Authority has embarked on several campaigns aimed at marketing and positioning Ghana as an attractive tourism destination.

The Adinkra Group (TAG) is an African Cultural Resource Company based in Washington, DC with a mission is to connect people of African descent with the culture and traditions of Africa through the Arts and Education.

CALENDAR LISTING Tourism Presentation

WHAT: Ghana Tourism Authority US East Coast Visit

WHO: Ghana Tourism Authority and The Adinkra Group

WHEN: March 12 – March 14, 2018

Washington, DC – Monday, March 12, 2018
Brooklyn, NY – Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Chicago – Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Back2Africa Group from DC at Flagstaff House in Ghana
Photo Credit: Loves Life Photography


Can We Wait 75 Years to Cut the Prison Population in Half?

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
From: Marc Mauer <staff@sentencingproject.org>


Marc Mauer’s Statement:
I’m writing to share a new analysis revealing that while most states have downsized their prison populations in recent years, the pace of decarceration is insufficient to undo nearly four decades of unrelenting growth. At the recent pace of decarceration, it will take 75 years—until 2093—to cut the U.S. prison population by 50 percent.By 2016, 42 states had at least modestly downsized their prison populations from their peak levels in the last two decades. Six states—New Jersey, Alaska, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and California—lead the nation in reducing their prison populations by 25% or more. Southern states including Mississippi and South Carolina have also made double-digit percentage reductions in their prison populations. But the pace of state and federal prison decarceration has been modest overall, declining 6% since a 2009 peak.
While the recent national decline in the prison population is encouraging, any significant decarceration will require more sustained attention. Expediting the end of mass incarceration will involve accelerating the end of the Drug War and expanding sentencing reforms to include serious crimes.

I hope this assessment will be useful to you in your work. Please contact Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Senior Research Analyst, at nghandnoosh@sentencingproject.org with questions about this briefing paper.


Marc Mauer
Executive Director


Speaker Madigan Issues Statement on Sexual Harassment

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Speaker Michael Madigan’s Statement:

SPRINGFIELD, IL“Over the past several weeks, I have had meetings with members, staff and lobbyists to discuss issues of sexual harassment. Due to my recent meetings with staff, I felt it necessary to address some of the concerns they raised directly with the members of the House Democratic Caucus. The statement below was delivered to the caucus this afternoon:

“A handout you received during last week’s caucus detailed complaints brought to the chief of staff, directors, supervisors and the ethics officer over the last five years, including sexual harassment complaints made by staff against members. I want to be crystal clear – it is inappropriate for members to make sexual comments or sexual advances to, or engage in sexual relationships with, staff, whether that person is employed directly by you, the Office of the Speaker, or another caucus. This applies to both male and female legislators.

“It is clear from my discussions that staff view you as their superiors or supervisors, and with that you are in positions of power over them. This dynamic is ripe for potential harassment. I expect each of you to treat staff with respect and keep your relationships strictly professional. If I become aware of any complaints against a member by staff, or another member, I will personally get involved to put an end to it.”

State Rep. Welch Appointed to House Executive and Revenue & Finance Committees

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Upon review of credentials and precedent in the Illinois House, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, has been appointed to both the House Revenue & Finance Committee and the House Executive Committee.


“There is so much work to be done in the inner-workings of the General Assembly, including important appropriations and revenue generation that will fulfil our state’s financial obligations,” said Welch. “I am excited to be able to take on these new roles, knowing that we can move communities in our state forward by passing legislation that enacts common-sense changes to the way we handle incoming revenue.”


The House Executive Committee hears bills that make overarching changes to state law and administration, while the House Revenue and Finance Committee works closely with appropriation committees in order to bring revenue to the state’s coffers, ensuring that enacted laws are in the best interest of working families in Illinois. With these additions, Welch is taking on two new committees in addition to currently sitting on five House committees and five House subcommittees.


“As a member of two House Appropriations committees, I’ve been able to be at the table, helping with the hard work to ensure schools are high-functioning and have the tools on hand to provide a first-class education,” said Welch. “Moving forward, I believe I will be able to help advance even more state services through negotiations and compromise in both the Executive Committee and the Revenue & Finance Committee.”


State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch currently is a member of the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee, Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, Cities and Villages Committee and the Higher Education Committee.


Welch represents the 7th District, which includes portions of River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Broadview, Bellwood, Berkeley, Hillside and Westchester. For more information, please contact Rep. Welch’s office at 708-450-1000.



25th Celebration of Black Women in Film and TV

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Cheryl Boone Issacs, Immediate past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to anchor 25th Celebration f Black women in film and television event

Film and Television “Sista Power Panels” — led by top Black filmmakers and professionals — highlight the 25th celebration, examining the impact of Black Women in Film & Television.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Hollywood, CA (BlackNews.com) — The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) announced today that the immediate past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will anchor the Opening Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Sista Are Doin’ It For Themselves Film Festival by participating in an intimate “Conversation with Cheryl Boone Issacs” at the Sista Power Panels Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center 4718 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016 and Raleigh Studios, Chaplain Theater, 5300 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038. The conversation and following Q & A will be moderated by Emmy-nominated actor/writer William Allen Young (Code Black).

Boone Issacs is a noted marketing and public relations professional elected as in 2013 the 35th President of AMPAS and more significantly the first African American and only the third female in its history to head the organization that produces the annual OSCARS. Boone recently ended her 25 years of leadership service to AMPAS the last 4 as President. She will continue her work in the company she started CBI Enterprises, Inc., where she has worked on publicity for films that have included Best Picture winners (The King’s Speech and The Artist). A hallmark of her tenure has been the Academy initiative called A2020, which focuses on improving representation of diversity — age, gender, race, national origin, point-of-view industry practices and hiring in Hollywood.

In addition to Ms. Boone Issacs, two additional Sista Power Panels include Powerful Black women as follows:

Finding Our Voice: The New Leadership in Entertainment with panelists:
Marissa Jo Cerar (Shots Fired), Producer/Writer; Lillian Benson, ACE Film Editor (Chicago Med); Rio Cyrus, Managing Partner, Essence Global; Nkechi Okoro, Writer/Producer (Bones), (Rosewood), (The Resident); Dee Harris-Lawrence, Writer/Producer, (Shots Fired), (Chicago PD)


The Marvelous Women in Our Universe (An All Marvel Shows Panel): Felicia D. Henderson, Co-Executive Producer (Punisher) Netflix; and Terilyn Shropshire, ACE Film Editor, (Cloak and Dagger); Dewanda Wise, Actress/Producer (Shots Fired); (Underground), (Captain America); Camille Friend, Hair Department (Black Panther)

The BHERC Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves: “Sista Power, A Celebration of Black Women in Film and Television
”, continues to bring to the public outstanding shorts created by female filmmakers of African-American decent. This 25th year adds an upfront and intimate chance for the audience to view and discuss the artistry, passion and sacrifice involved in the independent filmmaking process with the addition of the daytime “Power Panels” and networking from a woman’s view. This is the only program that has consistently promoted and supported the work of African American women in film for more than two decades. “Now more than ever the Black female perspective is needed in filmmaking and we cannot deny their power. Moreover, the community needs to know and support our “Sister Sheroes” as they tell our stories. This is an opportunity, and a platform to do just that,” states founder Sandra Evers-Manly.

“SISTAS…” began twenty-five years ago as a call to the entertainment industry to acknowledge that there is grand talent amongst African American women filmmakers. What began as a simple screening and discussion became one of the most recognized inspirational and emulated events of the Black filmmaking community. It is a clear-cut concept; a screening of short films written and/or directed by some of the nation’s top filmmakers with a dialog following. For this 25th year celebration, BHERC has added the extended Power Panel sessions in the morning with the film festival screening in the evening.

Past “Sista filmmakers and participants” have included Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Shots Fired), Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou), Yvette Freeman (ER), Dianne Houston (first Black Female to be nominated for an Academy Award / Short Film category) and the Oscar-nominated Dee Rees (Mudbound) just to name a very few. Many of these filmmakers have received high honors and recognition for their achievements and breakthroughs in filmmaking. Guests have a rare chance to have an open dialogue and hear the awe-inspiring stories of how these Sistas did it for themselves.

The Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves Short Film Festival begins at 7:00pm at Raleigh Studios, Chaplain Theater 5300 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038.


Opening Celebration (includes Breakfast & Power Panels) $25.00 Gen Adm | $15.00 SEN/STU
Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves Film Festival $20.00 Gen Adm | $10.00 SEN/STU
All-Day Pass (Includes All Events) $45.00 Gen Adm | $25.00 SEN/STU

Purchase tickets online at www.bherc.org. Street parking is available at the Nate Holden and on the lot at Raleigh for $7. For further information, please call 310-284-3170 or visit the website www.BHERC.org.

About the Host BHERC
Founded in 1996 by Sandra Evers-Manly, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Blacks in film and television. Through film festivals, award ceremonies, book signings, script readings, contests, scholarships, other programs and special events, BHERC recognizes the contributions of Black men and women in front of and behind the scenes in the entertainment industry.

FESTIVAL CONTACT: John Forbes, 310-284-3170 Email: John@firstweekendclub.org

Photo Caption: Cheryl Boone Issacs, Immediate Past President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


Connecticut Business Owners Admit to Profiting from Unlawful Exports to Pakistan

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MUHAMMAD ISMAIL, 67, of Meriden, and KAMRAN KHAN, 38, of Hamden, pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to money laundering in connection with funds they received for the unlawful export of goods to Pakistan.  A third defendant, Imran Khan, 43, of North Haven, previously pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export laws.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from at least 2012 to December 2016, Ismail, and his two sons, Kamran and Imran Khan, were engaged in a scheme to purchase goods that were controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and to export those goods without a license to Pakistan, in violation of the EAR.  Through companies conducting business as Brush Locker Tools, Kauser Enterprises-USA and Kauser Enterprises-Pakistan, the three defendants received orders from a Pakistani company that procured materials and equipment for the Pakistani military, requesting them to procure specific products that were subject to the EAR.  When U.S. manufacturers asked about the end-user for a product, the defendants either informed the manufacturer that the product would remain in the U.S. or completed an end-user certification indicating that the product would not be exported.

After the products were purchased, they were shipped by the manufacturer to the defendants in Connecticut.  The products were then shipped to Pakistan on behalf of either the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (“PAEC”), the Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (“SUPARCO”), or the National Institute of Lasers & Optronics (“NILOP”), all of which were listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List.  The defendants never obtained a license to export any item to the designated entities even though they knew that a license was required prior to export.  The defendants received the proceeds for the sale of export controlled items through wire transactions from Value Additions’ Pakistan-based bank account to a U.S. bank account that the defendants controlled.

Ismail and Kamran Khan each pleaded guilty to one count of international money laundering, for causing funds to be transferred from Pakistan to the U.S. in connection with the export control violations.  In pleading guilty, Ismail and Kamran Khan specifically admitted that, between January and July 2013, they procured, received and exported to SUPARCO, without a license to do so, certain bagging film that is used for advanced composite fabrication and other high temperature applications where dimensional stability, adherence to sealant tapes and uniform film gage are essential.  The proceeds for the sale of the bagging film was wired from Pakistan to the defendants in the U.S.

When they are sentenced, Ismail and Kamran Khan face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  Since the time of their arrests in December 2016, Ismail has been released on a $50,000 bond, and Kamran Khan has been released on a $100,000 bond.

Ismail and Kamran Khan are both citizens of Pakistan and lawful permanent residents of the U.S.

On June 1, 2017, Imran Khan pleaded guilty to one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  In pleading guilty, KHAN specifically admitted that, between August 2012 and January 2013, he procured, received and exported to PAEC an Alpha Duo Spectrometer without a license to do so.  He is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss and Stephen B. Reynolds, in coordination with Trial Attorney Scott McCulloch of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES).

Source: FBI

FTC Continues to Crack Down on Student Loan Scams

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By Ari Lazarus

Consumer Education Specialist, FTC


A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams.

Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:

  • Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.  Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give your money back.
  • Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
  • A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
  • Don’t share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.

Last month, the FTC announced a lawsuit against American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), AmeriTech Financial, and Brandon Demond Frere as part of its crackdown against unlawful student loan debt relief practices, Operation Game of Loans. The FTC alleges that the companies charged illegal, upfront fees and failed to deliver on their promises to enroll people into a government program that they claimed would permanently lower monthly loan payments or result in total loan forgiveness.

The FTC also alleges the companies charged a monthly fee for the life of the loan (typically 10-25 years) and represented that the fee would go towards the student loan balance. But it didn’t.

You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.

Spotted a scam? Let us know about it.

Illinois Department of Transportation Will Host a Two-Day Conference for Female- and Minority-Owned Businesses

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward: Creating Opportunity for Female- and Minority-Owned Businesses


Conference helps small firms grow through skill-building, networking


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation will host Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward on March 19 and 20 at the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield Hotel and Bank of Springfield Center. The two-day conference provides female- and minority-owned businesses with opportunities to make connections and develop skills to increase their competitiveness.

“Building a high-quality, diverse workforce strengthens the Illinois economy and promotes more competition on state projects,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “Getting our small business owners the tools they need to succeed is a small investment that pays off for years to come.”

The annual conference, presented by IDOT’s Office of Business and Workforce Diversity, offers workshops, seminars on best practices, and networking opportunities for firms and contractors wanting to do business with the state through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

Topics covered will include: advanced financing, work category expansion, the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, erosion control, small businesses and tax plan changes, subcontractor payment tracking, changes to the supportive services program, labor agreements, marketing strategies and more. A special awards presentation will conclude the conference.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation is committed to making diversity a priority,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward  was designed to foster a more inclusive business environment by helping disadvantaged businesses grow through networking and skill-building sessions, enabling them to more effectively compete for state projects.”

The event is well attended by subcontractors and prime contractors in construction, trucking, engineering and other consulting services. Click here for registration information and other event details.

The Top Frauds of 2017

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

By Monica Vaca

The numbers are in, the counts have been made, and today the FTC announced what we heard from you during 2017. Here are some highlights:

  • This year’s top fraud is again Imposter Scams, with nearly 350,000 reports. Nearly 1 in 5 people who reported an imposter scam lost money – a whopping $328 million lost to someone pretending to be a loved one in trouble, a government official, tech support, or someone else who’s not who they say they are, but who wants your money.
  • We heard from nearly 2.7 million people last year. There were fewer debt collection reports in 2017 (23% of all reports), but it’s still the top category by a wide margin, followed by identity theft (14%), which overtook imposter scams (13%) for the number two slot in 2017.
  • For everyone who reported identity theft, credit card fraud tops the list, and continues to grow. Reports of tax fraud are down 46%, but it was still reported by nearly 63,000 people.
  • Of the more than 1.1 million people who reported fraud, 21% told us they lost a total of more than $905 million. That’s an increase of $63 million from 2016.
  • People reported that scammers mostly contacted them by phone, and they mostly paid for frauds – once again – by wire transfer. But check out the $74 million in losses on credit cards, which are charges that could potentially be disputed and recovered, if done in time.
  • Median losses tell an interesting story: for all fraud reports in 2017, the median loss was $429. Compare that to a $500 median loss to imposters, a $720 median fraud loss to scams that come in by phone, a $1,710 median loss related to travel, vacations and timeshares. Among military consumers, median losses were higher than the general population — $619.
  • More younger people reported losing money to fraud than older people – but when people aged 70 and older had a loss, it was a much higher median loss than other groups.
  • And, based on reports per 100,000 population, the top states for fraud reports were Florida, Georgia and Nevada. For identity theft, it’s Michigan, Florida and California.

Have you spotted any scams? If so, tell the FTC – and then come back this time next year to hear what happened during 2018.

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2017 Snapshot. 2.7 million reports. Top three categories: 1. Debt collection 2. Identity theft 3. Imposter scams Of 1.1 million fraud reports, 21% reported a loss. $905 million total fraud losses; $429 median loss. Younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people. 40% of reports from people age 20-29 reported a loss; 18% of reports from people age 70+ reported a loss. But when people aged 70+ had a loss, the median loss was much higher. Median loss $400 for age 20-29; median loss $621 for age 70-79; median loss $1,092 for age 80+. Imposter scam reports: 1 in 5 people lost money to a reported imposter scam. $328 million reported lost; $500 median loss. Identity theft reports: Credit card fraud increased 23% from 2016. Tax fraud decreased 46% from 2016. Federal Trade Commission. ftc.gov/sentinel2017

Tagged with: credit card, identi

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and the Poetry Foundation partner to remount Manual Cinema’s No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, one-weekend-only, March 30 and 31 at the Studebaker

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Performances, workshops part of The Catapult intensive
for professional puppeteers and poets; Student residency
follows April 3-6 at Pilsen’s Benito Juarez High School
CHICAGO, IL –  The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and the Poetry Foundation are partnering to present Manual Cinema’s No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, one-weekend-only, March 30 and 31 at Chicago’s historic Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building.
Performances of Manual Cinema’s unforgettable multi-media retelling of Brooks’s life and work are Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 31 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25; $15 for students and seniors. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in advance online at chicagopuppetfest.org. Tickets will also be on sale in person prior to each show, pending availability.
No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks combines poetry, puppetry and live jazz to bring to life the story of one of Chicago’s most beloved figures. Gwendolyn Brooks was an icon, a poet laureate, and a Pulitzer Prize winner—but she was also a treasured educator and mentor to the countless writers and children who knew her as their very own “Miss Brooks.” Weaving poetry, storytelling, sound design, original live music, and striking visuals, No Blue Memories is an exploration of Brooks’s beloved city and a story of how she navigated identity, craft, and politics over the course of one of the most remarkable careers in American literary history.
More about No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
The Poetry Foundation commissioned Manual Cinema in 2016 to visually represent the life and work of Gwendolyn Brooks in a way that would be accessible for new fans and enticing for Brooks appreciators alike. The resulting production, No Blue Memories, received its world premiere in November 2017, what would have been Brooks’s hundredth year.
The 70-minute show combines intricate paper puppetry, live actors working in shadow, and an original score played live on stage. The script was co-written by Chicago poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall. The music was commissioned from Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods, who were granted permission from the Brooks estate for the first time to write a song using Brooks’s famous poem “We Real Cool.” The production also samples many of Brooks’s most memorable poems including “Eventide,” Beverly Hills, Chicago,” “Speech to the Young, Speech to the Progress Toward,” and “Chicago Picasso.”
“Manual Cinema turns Gwendolyn Brooks into poetry magic,” wrote the Chicago Reader when No Blue Memories premiered last September at the Harold Washington Library Center. Chicago Magazine promised “You’ve never seen Gwendolyn Brooks like this before.”
“Whether you’re a diehard Brooks fan or someone who is new to her work, we want everyone to walk away with a new favorite poem,” says co-author and poet Eve Ewing. “Her work continues to be relevant, and will always be relevant, because it will always be important for regular people to tell stories about where they’re from.”
“It was an honor to take Eve Ewing’s and Nate Marshall’s nuanced, detailed vision of Brooks’s life and realize it in paper and acetate,” said Manual Cinema Director Sarah Fornace. “We cannot wait to get our incredible team of actors together again and perform this epic live cinematic show bursting with poetry, puppetry, and live music in Chicago’s historic Studebaker Theater.”
Watch a video preview of Manual Cinema’s No Blue Memories: The Live of Gwendolyn Brooks
The Catapult: Puppetry and Poetry – Artists Intensive, March 28-31, to foster future poets and puppeteers
Another component of this new partnership between the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and the Poetry Foundation is The Catapult: Shadow Image in Puppetry and Poetry, running Wednesday, March 28 through Saturday, March 31.
This is a four-day professional training workshop, presented in conjunction with Manual Cinema’s No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, focusing on the dynamic relationship and shared language of poetry and puppetry. Lead by Festival Director and puppeteer Blair Thomas and poet avery r. young from the Poetry Foundation, participants will explore the traditions of shadow theater, written and spoken word poetry and their contemporary intersection. Artistic Directors Sarah Fornace and Drew Dir will be the featured artists from Manual Cinema leading puppet technique workshops.
(from left) Blair Thomas, director of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival,
and poet avery r. young from the Poetry Foundation will lead
The Catapult: Shadow Image in Puppetry and Poetry
The Catapult will take place on stage at the historic Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building. The program fee is $440, and covers select meals and tickets to all workshops, a performance of No Blue Memories, a backstage tour/demo with Manual Cinema, and an ongoing puppetry workshop with Manual Cinema culminating in a final presentation among members of the program. A $730 package is also available for the full program plus three nights of hotel accommodation.
Space is limited. To apply, visit chicagopuppetfest.org/catapult. Note: Full or partial program fee scholarships are offered by the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival for artists in financial need who show a commitment to advancing the art with puppetry and/or poetry. There is no financial support for travel to Chicago. To apply for a scholarship, send a Statement of Need to catapult@chicagopuppetfest.org.
Introducing Gwendolyn Brooks to a new generation of readers
Immediately following its weekend run at the Studebaker, No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks travels to Benito Juarez High School, 1450-1510 W. Cermak Avenue in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, for a four-day residency, April 3-6.
Presented by the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and the Poetry Foundation, the No Blue Memories in-school residency program is designed to introduce Chicago’s newest generation of readers to the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks. High schoolers will be given the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops lead by artists and puppeteers from Manual Cinema. The residency also includes four free matinee performances exclusively for students from Benito Juarez and other Chicago-area high schools.
For more information, visit poetryfoundation.org, follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation, on Instagram at instagram.com/poetryfoundation or on Twitter @PoetryFound.
For more, visit manualcinema.com, follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/manualcinema, on Instagram at instagram.com/manual_cinema and on Twitter @ManualCinema.

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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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