April , 2019

CHICAGO, IL — A Michigan man has been sentenced to 45 years in federal prison ...
Thumbtack.com Releases Monthly Economic Sentiment Survey of 10,000 Small Businesses in the United ...
Chicago, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a Chicago man ...
BMe Community, is a 3,000+ community of inspired black men leading positive change ...
New America Media By Earl Ofari Hutchinson The day before President Obama’s fifth State of ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Human ...
CHICAGO, IL – Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival are pleased to announce that ...
NEW YORK - National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today called ...
A worldwide weekend celebration will take place on June 17-19, 2011 in Los Angeles. Los Angeles, ...
Probation Challenge's Interview with Christopher ‘Chris’ George Kennedy, Democratic Candidate for Illinois Governor   CHICAGO IL -  ...

Archive for April 3rd, 2018

NAACP: Minnie Mandela, A Great Legacy

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on NAACP: Minnie Mandela, A Great Legacy
NAACP Statement on the Passing of Winnie Mandela

Baltimore, MD  – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) grieves the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a lifelong activist and stalwart advocate against apartheid, who died today at the age of 81.

“Ms. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela dedicated her life to the mission for which the NAACP stands: justice and equality for all peoples of the African Diaspora,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “Over the course of a long career in the public eye, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela used her platform to advance human rights in South Africa. Along with her former husband, Nelson, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela became a globally-recognized representative of the anti-apartheid struggle. We are saddened by her passing but deeply grateful for the contributions she made in her lifetime.”

“Ms. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s passing underscores the importance of our new partnership with U.N. Women. Together with U.N. Women, an organization working to create an environment in which every woman and girl can exercise her human rights and live up to her full potential, we will strengthen our fight to advance racial and gender equality as well as on our common commitment to engaging African Americans and all in the African Diaspora. We hope that our efforts in small part honor the great legacy of Ms. Madikizela-Mandela.”

Why the 8th Ward Needs Linda Hudson as Alderman

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Why the 8th Ward Needs Linda Hudson as Alderman

Project_MontclareBy Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

Smart people always know how to take the high road, not the low road. This is why it is important to not fight about things we don’t want, but focus on what we need. Many complain and voice their complaints with anger when the energy should be focused on strategy and solutions. Many lose their patience at forums that are not focused on strategy and resolution. It’s too much wasted energy being angry. Like the saying goes, “Don’t get mad. Get smart.”

I’m not going to dwell on the past when the current 8th Ward alderman tried to get a Marijuana Medical Clinic in the community stealth mode, until a woman with much more interest in the community and its preservation and revitalization was monitoring City Hall and the Zoning Department updates for the community.

I won’t talk about how the same 8th Ward alderman is now up to the same old tricks by trying to sneak another project into the community – a one and two bedroom low income housing project aligned with Pill Hill homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of those homes were built by families that still occupy them.

There were conversations detailing what could be built in the area and zoning changes put in place to maintain its environment of single family homes and businesses. However,  now the 8th Ward wants to rezone property meant for single family homes and businesses to accommodate a behemoth of a building

While I support looking out for the welfare of our seniors, taking away valuable property meant for businesses to populate Stony Island Avenue and keep it vital is deplorable. Certainly, there are other areas, especially along east 95th that are long overdue for improvement, and there are strip malls, a pharmacy and restaurants in walking distance on the business side of the street. Further, if that office is supposed to be proud of this project as stated by the 8th Ward Alderman during last week’s community meeting, I find it interesting that this is not featured on the home page of the Alderman’s website, but others are. They want to turn a quiet family friendly area into a transient community.

Project_MontclarePerhaps, it was a convenient oversight. Hmm, your most proud accomplishment you worked really hard on after 12 years of sitting in a seat unopposed, and feel people should have “a little more faith” in you with a history of lacking transparency, being deceptive and obviously some personal agendas.

While the community sleeps, deals are being made on their behalf. Hey Pill Hill, did you know there is a 200 person waiting list already for a project in your area in phase 2 for a 134 unit with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in a 7 story building for ages 62 (site currently states 55 and up) and up “but they are allowed to have guests”? This building will be located at 94th and Stony Island, prime business real estate. Some apartments (PRA) will be paying as low as 30% of their income. “A portion of this project is subsidized by CHA to assist independent seniors through the Property Rental Assistance.”

“All residents must pass a criminal background check,” but not their visitors and potential sublets don’t. The features and amenities in the building are for the residents, not the community. Phase one must have slipped under the radar. Phase 2 would have also slipped under the radar, too, if not for a very active community activist named Linda Hudson.

Wake up people! We can’t continue to let things go business as usual. If you don’t believe the community is rotting, take a look at the businesses along a once vibrant and booming avenue. Stony Island Avenue leads into Bishop Ford Highway on the South end and Lake Shore Drive on the North. What other streets in the city can claim that!? The Alderman moves under the radar unopposed making light of peoples’ fears with jokes and sarcasm, is not the answer Alderman, especially when you have a history of this. It’s like trolling the community, and it further shows the lack of recognizing valid concerns, fears and input from the community.

Is a candidate that runs unopposed necessarily best for the community, especially if they feel grandmothered into a position? Is business as usual the best for a once booming community that flourished and now appears run down with uncared for structures, many terrible pothole streets and a neglected business area. Why would a Dunkin’ Donut be allowed to build at the edge of a parking lot with traffic obstructed and backed up daily off Stony Island when it could have taken advantage of some of the vacant property on the avenue with room for expansion? The right businesses increase property value.

Project_MontclarePerhaps, businesses should have been pursued to take on the so called “swamp lands.” There were businesses there before that included restaurants and a motel.  Another concern is the public verbal spanking of black contractors the Alderman gave and why they aren’t included on jobs, and how training courses had to be given to them to teach them things they did not know. Really, Alderman?  You are going to single out Black contractors as a whole, and talk about them not being suitable? I find it hard to believe there are no qualified Black people available to take on those projects professionally.

Does that mean I should avoid giving work to any Black contractor I come in contact with in Chicago?

At your so-called informational meeting, all of this was done in front of the non-black developers and police officers in the room. Lazy, uneducated black stereotypes were being perpetuated in front of guests, the very people involved with the development of the 7 story monstrosity with a price tag of $38.6 million dollars that will be looking over Pill Hill backyards and homes.

When a concerned resident said she lived on the property line where the building was being built and that she was concerned about her privacy.  I heard someone shout. “They won’t see much.” Guess they never heard of a telescopes and binoculars. I would be very concerned if I had children living on property where people can watch them from their windows. At that height lives can be easily monitored.

Press the play button below for a sound bite from the last 8th Ward alderman meeting to hear what the current alderman had to say about “black people.”

It was also mentioned that a certain ward didn’t want the Kroc (McDonald’s!) center, and they found an alternative space in another ward. I could not help but wonder why efforts weren’t focused on pursuing that center by the 8th Ward alderman for education and business empowerment of the community to serve many, instead of a few. Why didn’t the 8th Ward fight to get the Kroc community center? The area has needed a community center for decades. Why aren’t the young people, especially teens being provided safe places to go hangout after school and during the weekends to learn things like economic empowerment, crafts, physical fitness, sports, business, etc.? They are the future of the community.

If you are a citizen concerned about an area once zoned for single family homes and businesses being changed to include this building, show up at the next zoning meeting scheduled for April.

Linda Hudson, Concerned Citizen and Community Activist

Linda Hudson, Concerned Citizen and Community Activist was in the audience asking questions.

“Energy flows where attention goes.” So I will not focus all of my energy on what people in the community do or do not want. I’d rather focus on what the community needs, and that is an 8th Ward alderman that understands the importance of transparency, honesty and really assessing what the community wants and needs without focusing on gossip and rumors, jokingly wasting time instead of easing trouble minds that have good reason to be troubled. That’s what secrecy and lack of communications brings about. We need a person that won’t make fun of their community, but inform them.

Our youth, especially the overlooked teenagers, are very important to this community. Many of them vote too. Give our young people a place to socialize and learn things about business startups, incubators, activities that include recreation, fitness, education outside of school like other neighborhoods and stores and restaurants like the ones they frequent outside of the community so they can buy and put money back into the community. They shouldn’t have to go downtown, south suburbs, north or Hyde Park to find mentors, coaches, prospective project team members, business partners, etc. and to have a good time. What can the 8th Ward provide for these young people to learn how to hold on to the homes in their community, maintain the ones handed down by their parents and provide for their future?

We need someone that knows joking sarcastically about gossip and making fun of people as a platform to stay in office is not good strategy. It makes them look petty and unprofessional to entertain rumors and have an easily bent ear. We need someone that knows that behavior and the aforementioned are unacceptable, and that is why we need Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman. “It’s Time for Change that benefits the community as a whole, and not a few!

Elect Linda Hudson for Chicago 8th Ward Alderman

Elect Linda Hudson for Chicago 8th Ward Alderman



Renowned Forensics Professor, Dr. Peter R. Deforest, Submits his Sworn Affidavit for Appeal of Wrongfully Imprisoned Black Man

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Renowned Forensics Professor, Dr. Peter R. Deforest, Submits his Sworn Affidavit for Appeal of Wrongfully Imprisoned Black Man

“Let the truth be told”

Forensics Professor Peter Deforest and Oswald Lewis

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The conviction against Oswald Jay Lewis is a travesty of justice that turns a blind eye to the glaring misconduct in the case. A legal review of the case seems to show a host of errors in the trial courts’ proceedings, including clearly evident constitutional violations.

Under cumulative-error analysis collective error will mandate a reversal of conviction just as surely as will individual error that cannot be considered harmless.

A number of attorneys have submitted affidavit’s in support of Mr. Lewis, including renowned forensic specialist/educator Dr. Peter Deforest.

Dr. Deforest is one of the country’s most knowledgeable forensic professors in the field of forensic science. Dr Deforest is a license firearm dealer, license gunsmith, with federal and state gun license.

Dr. Deforest holds license and certificates in blood stain, advanced microscopy, kodak law enforcement photography, soil, trajectory and other countless skills in the field of forensic science.

Excerpt from the Affidavit by Professor Deforest, appeal case #16-3694:

  1. In the case of United States v. Oswald Lewis was retained by Mr. Lewis’ attorney David Stern, and paid under the Criminal Justice Act, to conduct a forensics investigation of the scene of the conduct at issue in the case at 144-47 175th Street, Queens, N.Y., based on documents provided to me by the Attorney.
  2. I conducted such an investigation and concluded, based on the available evidence, that the documented shots were all fired from the reported location of law enforcement officers to the direction of the bedroom then occupied by Oswald Lewis, and that there was no physical evidence of shots fired by Mr. Lewis from the bedroom in the reported direction of the officers inside the house.

Professor Deforest consulted on a number of “HIGH PROFILE” cases for defendants and prosecutors such as: LARRY DAVIS (who changed his name to Adam Abdul-Hakeem in 1989, was a New Yorker who shot six New York City Police Department officers on November 19, 1986, when they raided his sister’s apartment in the Bronx.) case, People v. O.J. SIMPSON, FRED GOLDMAN v. O.J SIMPSON, Colorado v. KOBE BRYANT ,CENTRAL PARK JOGGER, FATAL ATTRACTION, POLICE SHOOTING OF JOSE KIKO GARCIA, SHOOTING OF DETECTIVE LUIS LOPEZ, ROBERT CHAMBERS PREPPIE MURDER CASE, SCARSDALE DIET DOCTOR, TEANECK POLICE SHOOTING.

Peter Deforest has lectured in countless seminars for universities and law enforcement officials in and outside of the United States.

Peter Deforest has also written a number of books on the subject of forensic science.

Several other affidavits have been submitted in Lewis’ favor, even an NYPD who spoke on Lewis’ behalf is ready to speak out on his unlawful conviction and police coverup.

In another affidavit filed with the US District Court, Attorney David Stern stated: “It is my opinion that had Professor DeForest been called and testified at trial, it would have made it likely that Mr. Lewis would have been acquitted of the Assault charges related to the United States Marshals, and the impeachment of those Marshals may have created reasonable doubt, as to all the charges in the case.”

Lewis also has a pending civil suit against the law enforcement officials who fabricated evidence and brutalized him on the day of his arrest (Case #2016 1:16 1057 (KAM JO)).

Complete details regarding the circumstances of Mr. Lewis’ arrest, assault and wrongful incarceration are available at www.oswaldlewis.com

Photo Caption: Left – Renowned forensics specialist, Peter DeForest; Right – Oswald Lewis, victim of police brutality and wrongful


KC Paramedic Indicted for Stealing Fentanyl, Morphine from Ambulances

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on KC Paramedic Indicted for Stealing Fentanyl, Morphine from Ambulances

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department paramedic has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing fentanyl and morphine from ambulances and replacing fentanyl with another substance.

Michael L. Fostich, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Fostich’s arrest and initial court appearance.

Fostich is charged with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (related to the theft of fentanyl and morphine) and one count of tampering with a consumer product (related to the replacement of fentanyl with another substance).

Fostich was employed at the Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) as a paramedic from August 2014 to Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich had access to fentanyl and morphine, which were stored in sealed narcotics boxes and locked in safes on KCFD ambulances. Each sealed narcotics box contained two vials of fentanyl, each containing 100 micrograms of liquid fentanyl, two syringes of morphine, each containing 10 milligrams of liquid morphine, and two vials containing 5 milligrams of liquid midazolam. As a paramedic, Fostich was able to unlock the electronic safe and open the sealed narcotics boxes in order to administer controlled substances to patients, if necessary.

The federal indictment alleges that Fostich engaged in a scheme from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 11, 2016, to fraudulently obtain fentanyl and morphine. As part of the scheme, Fostich allegedly prepared patient care records and state reporting forms that contained misrepresentations regarding his use of fentanyl and morphine.

According to the indictment, Fostich reported he was responsible for the use of 806 doses of fentanyl, which accounted for approximately 39 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use during that period of time. Fostich also reported he was responsible for the use of 636 doses of morphine, which accounted for approximately 63 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use of morphine during that period of time.

The federal indictment also alleges that Fostich tampered with a container of fentanyl on Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich removed fentanyl from the vials contained in a KCFD narcotics box and replaced them with another solution in the vials, the indictment says, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Fostich allegedly placed the vials back in the narcotics box, attempted to reseal the narcotics box, and then placed the narcotics box back in a safe located on a KCFD ambulance.

The charges contained in this indictment are accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jess E. Michaelsen and Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation.

Source: FBI

Database Center Helps Minority Students Find Scholarships They Can Actually Win!

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Database Center Helps Minority Students Find Scholarships They Can Actually Win!

African American student on campus

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Now, more than ever, a college degree is an essential prerequisite for achieving upward mobility. Unfortunately, for today’s traditionally underserved (and often ignored) minority communities, achieving that goal is becoming even more elusive. With the cost of college rising daily, underserved minority communities are increasingly unable to continue their post-secondary education due to a lack of money. The Scholarship Center has the proven solution for minority students looking to finance a college degree without crippling student debt which disproportionally impacts their lives and livelihoods.

The Scholarship Center is a premium scholarship database housing thousands of scholarships, worth billions of dollars, for students of all ages and backgrounds; from elementary school students to post graduate degree students. The database houses the largest, most accurate and timely premium database of national, regional and local lesser known scholarships, internships and cost savings special program opportunities. The database can be screened using a wide variety of parameters (there are over 150 majors listed) and is updated daily!

The Scholarship Center employs a tried and proven scholarship methodology, which includes applying for these lesser known scholarships which greatly enhances the student’s chances of winning. Using this strategy, The Scholarship Center helps remove the “sweepstakes” nature out of the typical scholarship process. While The Scholarship Center includes scholarships for students of all ethnicities, special attention is given to members of underserved communities whose particular needs have largely been ignored by other scholarship websites.

The Scholarship Center, for its comprehensive services, charges a nominal subscription fee because it does not accept advertising from advertisers ultimately seeking to obtain personal student information. “We’re truly invested in our students’ success. The students are our only customers, not marketing companies. We never share or otherwise sell student information to anyone. Our focus isn’t website traffic. Our focus is exclusively helping students find scholarships they can actually win.” In this regard, The Scholarship Center is wholly managed and maintained by dedicated parents and students actively engaged in the college scholarship search process.

The Scholarship Center is currently offering, for a limited time, a special $99.00 (a 36% discount which works out to be $8.25 a month) rate for an entire year of access to their expansive automated scholarship directory! According to Ms. Ward, “The discounted price is less than you’d pay for two of your favorite iced caramel macchiatos.”

This special discount is a great opportunity for minority students who haven’t been successful at finding and winning scholarships and for those who are looking to jump start the process! Students not only get unlimited access to the directory, but also receive special scholarships e-alerts delivered right to their inboxes! “Many minority students are first-generation students who don’t have a parent or guardian familiar with navigating the college financing process. Consequently, at The Scholarship Center, we don’t merely tell you how to find scholarships, we actually bring scholarships to you!”


According to Ms. Ward, it is imperative that minority students get their college degrees. “Nothing about the current political and/or social realities can change without minority students getting their education. They need to be in the legislatures creating laws and on the judiciary benches interpreting those same laws. We need them in the hospitals as doctors, nurses and administrators to help combat illnesses that overwhelming and negatively impact minorities, and we need them in positions of power in the media to give accurate portrayals of themselves and things happening to them. We need them advancing technology and we need them running corporations so that corporate structures are sensitive and responsive to their needs. None of that happens without students being able to get to and through college and their ability to finance their post-secondary education is a major contributing factor.”

For additional information about the thousands of available generous college scholarships contained in The Scholarship Center directory, please visit The Scholarship Center, Inc., or reach them telephonically at (410) 294-5898; follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and like them on Facebook! Since their inception, The Scholarship Center has shared billion dollars in college scholarship information!

About the company:
The Scholarship Center is the brainchild of “Mompreneur,” Lisa Ward’s painstaking efforts to locate scholarships for her eldest daughter. As a mother, Ms. Ward was disappointed in the existing scholarship websites and set out to research local and regional scholarships which were not included in other scholarship search engines and was ultimately successfully in helping her daughters, and many others, from a variety of different backgrounds and walks of life, successfully obtain those college scholarships. Because minority students are less likely to know about scholarship opportunities available to them, special attention and visibility is given to those scholarships for which they qualify. For its services, the Scholarship Center charges a low subscription rate. For more information, visit www.thescholarshipcenter.com

Black Women’s Roundtable Release its Fifth Annual Report on Status of Black Women, “Time For Power Shift”

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Black Women’s Roundtable Release its Fifth Annual Report on Status of Black Women, “Time For Power Shift”

Report Sites Progress, Accomplishments,  Potential and Challenges for Black Women in 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, March 28th, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (NCBCP) Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) will close out Women’s History Month and Black Women’s Week, by hosting a tele-briefing to release its Fifth Annual Black Women in the U.S. Report, which assesses the challenges, triumphs and overall contemporary condition of Black women in the United States in 2018. This year’s report is entitled “Time for a Power Shift” and takes an in-depth look at the issue of power and exactly where Black women fall socially, politically, economically, spiritually and health-wise.
Key findings from this year’s report include:
  • Black Women Shifting Their Power
  • When It Comes to Politics, the Power of Black Women is on the Rise
  • Electoral Successes Prove Black Women Can Win Anywhere
  • In 2018, Black Women Can Make Political History
  • Despite Gains, Black Women are Not Without Political Challenges
  • The Power of Black Women’s Leadership is Significantly Curtailed in the Corporate World
  • Black Women Especially Vulnerable Within the Criminal Justice System
  • Black Women Immigrants and Their Families Have Been Uniquely Targeted in the Trump Era
  • The Power of Black Women’s Push for Social Justice Remains
  • Black Women Are Still the Foundation of Black Family Financial Power
  • Entrepreneurship Seen as the Conduit to Greater Economic Power for Black Women
  • Black Women Venture Capitalists Flex Their Economic Power to Help Close the Venture Capital Funding Gap
  • Black Women Still Lack the Power to Live Free from Violence, Health Challenges and in Full Autonomy of Their Own Bodies
  • Black Women Lean on Spiritual Power to Make Magic Happen
Melanie L. Campbell, President/CEO of the NCBCP and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, states, “The annual BWR Report provides the NCBCP and Black Women’s Roundtable with a vehicle to actualize our commitment to ensuring Black women and girls’ voices and stories are elevated in the public sphere. This year, the report is laser focused on showcasing Black women’s intergenerational and diverse leadership, expertise and unique perspectives on the issue of building and sustaining power to achieve a higher quality of life for Black women, our families and communities.”
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, the BWR Report’s editor-in-chief, shares, “We find ourselves at a very precarious moment in our nation’s history, and Black women understand what’s at stake. They’ve stepped up in bold and tangible ways to not only be the drivers of change but to wield the levers of power themselves like never before.”
For media outlets interested in hearing a live presentation of the key findings of the 2018 BWR Report and its significance, please join the Black Women’s Roundtable Tele-Press Conference, at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (EST) on Wednesday, March 28th, by calling the press briefing teleconference phone number at (701) 801-1211 and enter 757553026#.The BWR Report will be presented to the press by Ms. Campbell, Dr. Jones-DeWeever and several contributors to the 2018 BWR Report.
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.” The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements for success.


Common, Danny Glover, Andrew Young, Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Civil Rights, Labor and Faith Leaders to Launch “I AM 2018” Movement in Memphis

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Common, Danny Glover, Andrew Young, Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Civil Rights, Labor and Faith Leaders to Launch “I AM 2018” Movement in Memphis

Tens of Thousands Expected to Descend Upon City April 2-4 to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Sanitation Strike and Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Memphis, TN – As the nation grapples with deep racial and economic injustices and inequality in communities from coast to coast, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Church of God in Christ (COGIC) are launching a national effort to ensure that the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1968 Memphis sanitation strikers lives on with a new generation of activists. With the goal of advancing labor and civil rights and tackling issues plaguing low-income communities nationwide, from April 2 to April 4, the I AM 2018 campaign will transform Memphis into the birthplace of a new political movement and aggressive voter education and civic engagement program to mobilize turnout for the 2018 elections and beyond.

On April 2-4, 2018 – 50 years to the day Dr. King was assassinated – the country’s most prominent civil rights, faith, labor, entertainment and other leaders will hold first-of-its-kind trainings, mobilization and commemoration activities across the city, including at Mason Temple COGIC, the site of Dr. King’s final, prophetic “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech.

During this first week of April, faith, civil rights and labor leaders from AFSCME, COGIC and other civic organizations will help train hundreds of “I AM 2018” Dream Corps activists to kick off a new nationwide voter education and civic engagement program. At a Youth Town Hall, attending activists and leaders at the forefront of fights for economic and racial justice will discuss issues concerning urban youth and make plans for November and elections in the future.

Alongside these trainings, prominent journalists, academics, community leaders and subject experts will join a three-day Mountaintop Conference featuring panels on criminal justice reform, minority youth education, the future of American workers and the intersection of labor, faith and civil rights.

“I AM 2018 isn’t just a reflection on the past; it’s a call to action for the future. Dr. King and the Memphis strikers knew that you can’t achieve economic justice without racial justice,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “And yet, 50 years after Dr. King’s Mountaintop speech, working people are still fighting those same fights. We’re embarking on a historic partnership with COGIC to build and grow a network of trained, energized activists, connecting our generation’s struggles with the unfinished work of the heroes of Memphis: Dr. King, the Memphis strikers and the faith leaders who stepped up together to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.”

“On the evening of April 3, 1968, Dr. King stood in the pulpit of Mason Temple and declared ‘We, as a people, will get to the promised land.’ Less than 24 hours later, he was killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that watershed moment,” said COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. “In April, together with AFSCME, we are telling the world that it must come together to fight poverty and prejudice and advance the freedom of all people as we never have before.”

“I AM 2018” events in Memphis will include:

* April 2 & 3 (All Day) – Dream Corp Activist Training, @Mason Temple, 930 Mason St.
* April 2 (11:00 am to 6:30 pm, CST) – Mountaintop Conference Day 1 @Mason Temple: Opening remarks by COGIC Bishop Charles Blake, Sr. and AFSCME President Lee Saunders. Also, panel discussions featuring Ambassador Andrew Young and American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten, among others.
* April 3 (8:00 am to 12:30 pm, CST) – Mountaintop Conference Day 2 @Mason Temple: Panelists include actor Danny Glover, 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike organizer, William Lucy, several original 1968 Strikers and TV ONE news personality Roland Martin.
* April 3 (10:30 am to 2:00 pm, CST) – Youth Town Hall @Greater White Stone Missionary Baptist Church, 912 S. Wellington, St.: Among the panelists are actor Hill Harper and journalist Angela Rye.
* April 3 (6:00 pm to 8:50 pm, CST) – Mountaintop Speech Commemoration @Mason Temple: Among the featured speakers are Martin Luther King III, Dr. Bernice King, Bishop Blake and AFSCME President Saunders.
* April 4 (8:00 am to 11:00 am) – 1968 Striking Sanitation Workers Kick-Off Rally @AFSCME Local 1733, 485 Beale St.: Performers and speakers include, Common, Sheila E., MC Lyte, NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson, Bishop Blake and AFSCME President Saunders.
* April 4 (11:00 am to 12:00 pm) – 1968 Striking Sanitation Workers Commemorative March to Mason Temple.
* April 4 (12:00 pm to 1:30 pm) – 1968 Striking Sanitation Workers Culminating Moment @Mason Temple: Featured speakers include Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

* April 4 (2:00 pm to 5:30 pm) – Urban Initiatives Training @Mason Temple.

For a complete list of events and activities, go to: https://iam2018.org/event/.

Over the past few weeks, activists, elected officials, students, workers and other leaders in the “I AM 2018” campaign have been organizing and building support for their work this year and beyond. On February 1, more than 70 cities observed a coordinated Moment of Silence to honor Memphis sanitation workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker who were crushed to death in 1968 and sparked the strike of 1,300 fellow workers that brought Dr. King to Memphis.

On February 24, two days before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a case that could threaten workers’ rights, thousands of working people, civil rights, labor leaders and families flooded the streets of every major city to demand freedom from want and hate and call for the U.S. to unrig its broken political and economic systems. Since then, college students and other young filmmakers have been submitting videos that connect Dr. King’s fight for justice to today’s movements for social change. The winning submissions, judged by Hans Charles, Dorian Parks, co-founder of Geeks of Color, and award-winning filmmakers Madeleine Hunt Erlich and Shahin Izadi will be screened at Mason Temple on April 3rd.

The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is one of the oldest and largest Pentecostal denominations in the world with churches in 87 countries worldwide and a membership of nearly 6.5 million adherents.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is a union of 1.6 million public service workers.

Report: Emanuel’s New Graduation Requirements Shortchange Students While CPS Undermines Career/Tech Ed Path to Living Wage Work

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on Report: Emanuel’s New Graduation Requirements Shortchange Students While CPS Undermines Career/Tech Ed Path to Living Wage Work

From: Chicago Teachers Union


CPS must reinvest in rather than continue to scale back career/technical ed programs, while mayor must abandon inequitable student-based budgeting scheme. Without progressive change, thousands could be denied chance to meet District’s new graduation mandates or access living wage work in growing economic sectors.


CHICAGO, IL – The Chicago Teachers Union released a new report today underscoring the critical importance of career and technical education programs – CTE in education parlance. Teachers argue that CTE options for students are particularly critical if high school students are to be adequately empowered to meet the District’s stringent new graduation requirements. And the report raises the urgency of embracing the state’s more equitable new funding formula rather than Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ‘student-based budgeting’ scheme.

Beginning with the class of 2022, students cannot graduate from CPS without proof of a solid post-secondary plan: enrollment in college or an apprenticeship program, employment, or military service. The new requirement is one of Emanuel’s primary propositions to convey that he’s working to improve educational outcomes for public school students.

Yet Emanuel’s policies instead continue to undermine both students’ educational outcomes and educational stability. Emanuel has insisted on funding schools through SBB, his ‘student-based budgeting’ formula, instead of the more equitable formula that is now state law. Elementary students are poised to be notified on March 30 of their high school matches through GoCPS, CPS’s new high school enrollment system. But with scaled back and poorly managed CTE at many high schools, students may be locked out of opportunities to build skill-sets that enhance employment opportunities and career paths for graduates – and their ability to meet CPS’ new graduation requirements.

“The mayor has essentially orchestrated an unfunded graduation mandate,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “Our schools confront an acute shortage of high school counselors, college and career coaches and other staff who make it possible for students to successfully meet Emanuel’s post-secondary graduation requirement – virtually guaranteeing that this policy will fail thousands of our students. At the same time, Emanuel’s hand-picked CPS leadership has both mismanaged and scaled back the CTE programs that could give graduates a powerful leg up as skilled new workers with today’s employers. And ALL education programs are shortchanged by SBB.”

The report documents CTE mismanagement – including fewer opportunities in many high schools today than in past years – while the need for more robust programming in middle and high schools is growing. Greater investment would ‘provide more stability, better promotion of CTE and provide more workplace learning opportunities,’ says the report.

“Neglect of CTE continues to lock students out of participating in some of Chicago’s most vibrant and rapidly growing employment sectors, from construction and new manufacturing to the health sciences,” said Sharkey. “We must do better – and we can start by re-investing in CTE and abandoning an SBB formula that hurts poor students the most.”

The CTU is proposing tangible steps to address these challenges:

  • CPS must Increase investment in CTE at the middle and high school level to expand students’ access to living wage post-secondary work and careers. This investment would also increase the pool of workers that today’s employers need and seek – and help connect low-income students with lifelong living wage work;
  • CPS must adequately staff critical positions – including at least 95 additional career counselors – if Emanuel’s graduation mandate is to succeed instead of serving as another barrier to a high school diploma for disadvantaged students.
  • Emanuel and CPS must replace SBB with the state’s new equity-based funding formula – a move that would help ensure that schools that serve the poorest students would have adequate resources to meet those students’ needs.

The full report can be downloaded at this link: www.ctunet.com/research/a-city-that-works


The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.

36 Illinois Groups Support New Payday Loan Protections

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on 36 Illinois Groups Support New Payday Loan Protections

Joint statement from Woodstock Institute, Heartland Alliance, Shriver Center, Illinois PIRG


CHICAGO, IL — Thirty-six Illinois organizations declared their support for national payday lending protections released last year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A letter signed by the groups to all Illinois Members of Congress condemns the March 22 introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 56 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Graham’s legislation is the companion to House Joint Resolution 122, sponsored by 36 U.S. House members. Both H.J. Res. 122 and S.J. Res. 56 would repeal the Consumer Bureau’s historic rule on payday and title lending. The rule was created to protect borrowers from falling prey to the payday debt trap, a cycle of continuous re-borrowing by consumers who are unable to pay off the loan.

The payday lending debt trap is a harsh reality for many Illinois payday loan borrowers, the majority of whom make less than $30,000 per year. Research shows four of every five loans are re-borrowed within the month; and as a result, Illinoisans pay over half a billion dollars per year in fees.

“The Consumer Bureau’s payday loan rule takes a crucial step forward by requiring lenders to make loans only to borrowers who can afford to repay. Today, Illinois organizations are sending a strong message to Congress that we support strong payday loan protections, and that we want fair, affordable loans – not payday and title loans with triple-digit interest rates that trap Illinoisans in a cycle of debt,” said Jody Blaylock, Senior Policy Associate with Heartland Alliance.

“Access to fair, affordable credit is particularly important for low-income and working consumers, who often need it to weather emergencies or make investments that lead to opportunities at upward mobility,” said Kevin Herrera, Legal Impact Network Staff Attorney at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. “But far too many payday lenders in Illinois and throughout the country prey on consumers in their most desperate times, snaring them in vicious cycles of 300-plus percent interest debt traps that ultimately drive them deeper into financial trouble.”

“Payday loans specifically target lower-income families who are least able to afford to repay the loans. We urge Congress to protect these vulnerable consumers by issuing strong support for the Consumer Bureau’s rule,” said Abe Scarr, Executive Director at Illinois PIRG.

“Any attempt to repeal the Consumer Bureau’s payday protections is an assault against the country’s most vulnerable people,” said Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand. “These protections require lenders to determine that borrowers can actually repay the loan in full and on time. We stand with the 35 other Illinois organizations who will fight to stop the payday lending debt trap.”


Read the coalition’s Illinois-specific fact sheet on payday protections (or the Consumer Bureau’s full rule or fact sheet summarizing the protections). The supporting organizations are:


Active Alliance Counseling
Asset Building Strategies
Bailey’s Cafe
BIG: Blacks in Green
Center for Changing Lives
Center for Economic Progress
Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice
Chicago City Treasurer’s Office
Chicago Council of Lawyers
Community Interventions Institute, Inc.
Community Organizing and Family Issues
Drame Designs
Earthmover Credit Union
El Techno Colibri
Genesis Housing Development Corporation
Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Heartland Alliance*
Housing Action Illinois
Illinois Asset Building Group
Illinois National Organization for Women
Illinois PIRG*
Karen Chan Financial Education & Consulting, LLC
LISC Chicago
National Community Investment Fund
Navicore Solutions
Northwest Side Housing Center
Partners In Community Building, Inc.
Peterson Healthcare Consulting, Inc.
Project IRENE
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law*
Socially Responsible Ventures L3C
Southwest Organizing Project
Woodstock Institute*

** Organization featured in this release

Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of equitable lending and investments, wealth creation and preservation, and safe and affordable financial products and services. Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity.  www.woodstockinst.org

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

Illinois PIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. www.illinoispirg.org

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights Heartland Alliance, one of the world’s leading antipoverty organizations, works in communities in the U.S. and abroad to serve those who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. It provides a comprehensive array of services in the areas of health, housing, jobs and justice – and leads state and national policy efforts, which target lasting change for individuals and society. www.heartlandalliance.org

State Rep. Welch Measure Raises Home Care Workers’ Take-Home Pay

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 Comments Off on State Rep. Welch Measure Raises Home Care Workers’ Take-Home Pay

 HILLSIDE, IL – To ensure top quality services are granted for Illinois’ seniors and improve the lives of caregivers, Illinois state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is demanding that the in-home care provider’s hourly wage be raised to $15 per hour.

“Nearly 100,000 seniors across Illinois are receiving vital care thanks to the dedication and selflessness of home care providers,” said Welch. “The hourly wage for in-home care workers is $11 right now, and it is time we raise their pay to make sure they can keep the job they love while continuing the great work they perform for our seniors.”

Welch is highlighting legislation that would increase the hourly wage for senior and in-home care workers to $15 an hour by 2021. This increase is being sought after in part due to Gov. Rauner’s assault against public sector employees and because wages have stagnated over the last decade, failing to keep up with cost of living adjustments and minimum wage laws that are being phased in throughout Cook County and Chicago. Welch’s bill levels the playing field for service providers by establishing necessary wage increases, to ultimately help meet skyrocketing demand for skilled and devoted workers.

“Failing to raise worker pay is another way to slowly eliminate this job and is forcing these provides to find other employment,” said Welch. “While our governor pushes for more extreme policies and actions that hurt working families, I’ll be opposing his ideas and standing alongside our workers and seniors.”

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