11
December , 2018
Tuesday

By Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- Fulton J. ...
Outstanding Doctors Receive Recognition for Exceptional Service in Respective Fields   Eagan, MN (BlackNews.com) -- Employees ...
Leads to new levels of problem solving NAPERVILLE, IL—District and school leaders participating in a new ...
By Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- The Rev. ...
Black attorney, who is credited for removing the N-Word from various dictionaries, launches national tour ...
45th Convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) Expected to Draw 800-1,000 Workers, ...
27th Ward Alderman said Alderman Harris doesn’t have to answer to the community…really? By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan There ...
(From the Berrios campaign)   How much does it cost to buy some sunshine? About $300,000 if ...
  Urges future Class of 2025 to aim for college                                Chicago, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila ...
  Bookcover and author Celly Cel Vallejo, CA (BlackNews.com) -- Bay Area rapper, Celly Cel, blazed ...

Archive for the ‘News and Blogs’ Category

Happy Holidays! Enjoy Poet’s Corner

Posted by Admin On December - 11 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Mothers: Our Heroes Eternal
Copyright 1994, by Juanita Bratcher

The extent of a mother’s love

Can never be measured by pound

It is unconditional love

Like steel and so profound

She’s protective of her children

To the point of denying herself

She is a woman of distinction

In a class all by herself

She is a mystery woman to some

And a passing stranger to others

But to me and all my siblings

She is our own beloving mother

Her strengths are so unlimited

Her convictions as bold as the night

She is a principled person with fortitude

Armed with courage, grace and foresight

She is a God-fearing woman

Who makes mountains of sacrifices too

She’s there when no one else is

Nurturing her children to see them through

She’s inspiring and uplifting

And her morals always forthright

She keeps the family together

Even when things don’t seem so right

She fights many a battle for her family

Sometimes painful and overbearing

But she handles them with eloquence

Trusting, devotion and insurmountable caring

Her healing powers are oh, so gentle

She can soothe away your tears and fears

There are no limitations for mothers

They hold the key to their children’s cheers

She places them in protective custody

Helps them push their future dreams

She knows how to make them feel special

And motivates them, it always seems

She’s spiritual, uplifting, and diplomatic too

She’s endurable like iron, co-leader of the crew

She’s positive and honest, forgiving of you

She gives moral support from a mother’s view

She’s exhausted, steering her children from obstacles in life

Making sure that they don’t perish

In a world filled with strife

She’s ready to catch them, hold them up when they fall

She feels her powerful love can conquer all

She’s a teacher, psychiatrist, anything you want her to be

She can motivate, encourage, redirect you to see

She’s prepared to take on the rough road ahead

She’s a companion and caretaker, when all’s done and said

There are fond memories of moms

And the many moments shared

Her children know who they are

Simply because mommy cared

This poem was created and dedicated to my mother, Tommie Sean Forte, in 1994, and appeared in my book, “I Cry for a People: In Their Struggle for Justice & Equality.”

 


 

Live and Love Life
Copyright © 2006, by Juanita Bratcher

If you live it, why not enjoy it?
Live and enjoy life to the living end
Enjoy the beauty, taste the flavor
Inhale the fresh air coming within
Take in the silken skies, hovering over the ocean blue
Dance in concert with the moon and stars
Uncover the mysteries of life anew
Have a passion for life
Ignite positive energy abound
Carry the torch of goodwill and charity
Try to turn some negatives around
Life without living is like a cast away ball
Void of air and easy to fall
If you live it, why not claim it?
Know that living belongs to all

 


 

I Cry For A People
Copyright © 1994, by Juanita Bratcher

I cry for a people

For generations to come

There are superficial obstacles

You must overcome

There are challenges ahead of you

You must tackle them head-on

So stand tall for your convictions

And keep your mind strong

Your struggles are many

Your burdens are too

But brave them with gusto

And rise up anew

I cry for a people

For generations to come

They’re tears of joy

Because victory will come

There’s a reservoir of resources

That need to be tapped

But watch out for roadblocks

Lest ye be forever trapped

Use your time very wisely

Try to conquer all

And no matter the consequence

Always stand tall

Keep climbing the mountains

Anchor your own dreams of hope

Never abandon the struggle

And know how to cope

Perseverance can remove doubt

As you pursue your dreams

Avoid the perils of destruction

And work together as a team

Wrap your arms around your children

For they’re a precious lot

Teach them love and respect

What to do, and what not

Stand tall for what you believe in

No matter how tired or worn

And cherish your beginnings

Lest they be twisted and torn

Keep up the protest spirit

If that will bring gains

Don’t listen to pessimists

Who stall progress and restrain

You must have the foresight

And wisdom to see

That change will not come

If you don’t shake the tree

You’re warriors and survivors

You have the tools to effect change

But you must use those tools skillfully

And not use them in vain

I cry for a people

For generations to come

They are tears of joy

Because victory will come

 


 

Life Is A Jigsaw Puzzle
Copyright (c) 2003, by Juanita Bratcher

Life is a jigsaw puzzle

It’s not always fun and games

Life is full of surprises

And nothing ever remains the same

Life can test your courage

It can test your inner strength to endure

It can test your mental psyche

Life is a challenge for sure

Life is an exciting adventure

It can be a bumpy and rocky ride

But life is what you make of it

You don’t need a how-to guide

Life has many dimensions

Too enormous to even count

But life should always have purpose

Void of any amount

Life can be enlightening

Indeed it can be challenging, too

It can be a roaring opportunity

But that depends on you
But never throw in the towel

Because things don’t go your way

Just ride the tides of patience

And keep focused on your dreams each and every day


 

Love Poems

The Newness Of Your Love
By Juanita Bratcher

Copyright © November 25, 2002

The newness of your love gives me a renewed spirit to love again

To passionately hold someone again, for the first time in a long time

The newness of you in my mind, my spirit, my soul

Has found a meaningful place in my heart

One that’s enlightening and precious to me for a reason now that I don’t quite understand

Yet, it’s there, and quite compelling

The newness of this love, so distant, yet gradually coming together in many ways

Like a rose garden in bloom or new growth from seeds planted

One that has not been tested or tried; yet will not be denied

Through this newness, we’re given a chance at love, with hope eternal that it will evolve into something that’s wonderfully joyous for both of us

For that newness between us is like a fluorescent light flickering away in the night, longing for maturity and stability

That newness speaks loud without voice, and it roars without the presence of strong winds

It exists in a vacuum of uncertainty, as it searches for its mere existence

So silent, so sound, so profound

That even the quietness of day, of night, can feel its presence

Budding love, so wonderfully challenging

In an attempt to learn each other, to know each other better

To sort out the essence of this happenstance upon us, which has already survived our precarious evaluations

And now that we have each other’s attention, what will we do to keep it?

There’s that haunting instinct that this new love we’re weaving together shall remain

No doubt, it will remain in our hearts until we see fit to cast it aside or relinquish it
When I Say I Love You

 

By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright 2001
When I say I love you

I’m putting my heart and soul in your hands

Because I trust you, and I believe in you

And I feel that you understand my needs and desires, too

When I say I love you

It means that I want to share my innermost thoughts and dreams with you

My feelings, my passions so mired

That you will nurture my dreams and my hopes along with me

And that I can nurture yours along with you, too

That you’ll be a willing partner to share in my tomorrows

That you’ll be my trusted friend, lover and caretaker

When I say I love you

When I say I love you from the bottom of my heart, and from the depths of my soul

It confirms that I care about you and want to be with you forever

That I want you to trust me, and believe in me

For there is no greater love than my love for you

And hopefully, that strong bond between us, and that strong belief we have in each other

Will be that first step in finding that inner peace between us

When I say I love you

The power of those words overwhelms me

Because I’m asking you to be there for me, emotionally and spiritually

To share in my good times as well as my bad times

To know me and my successes, my failures, my likes and dislikes

To know my strengths, my weaknesses, my outlook on life, and your role in it

When I say I love you

I want you by my side in my most private times and share intimate moments with me

And know that I truly love you, need you and want you

When I say I love you

It seems as if the heavens open up and wish us well

And for that, I’m truly grateful

 

Happiness Is A Personal Thing
Copyright (c) 2004, by Juanita Bratcher

I’m responsible for my own happiness

I’m responsible for my daily care

I’m the one who calls the shots for me

No other human being would ever dare

My life is filled with inspiring anecdotes

I make note of them each day

Anything that ensures my happiness

Brings a ray of sunshine and hope my way

Nevertheless, I am a realist

I know that the sun won’t shine every day

So, I allow for the rain that will fall

Realizing that eternal happiness is not a sure thing, in any way

I’ll make my own happiness

I’ll stir up the joy in my life

And when I’m feeling down

I’ll never solve my problems with a frown

I want to enjoy the people I love

Do the things that I love to do

I want to appreciate the small things in life

Those that sometime comes out of the blue

But I’ll never give up on that smile

That’s one of the things that make my day

It paints a picture of happiness

And energizes my life in a positive way
I Am What You See
By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright (c) 2003

I am what you see

I am the true me

No artificial moves or putting on airs here

No misconceptions near

I am me

No need to be anyone else

That’s the way I’ll always be

No add-ons

No make believe

Won’t deceive

Cause I’m true to what I believe

I am me

The cover is off for all to see

No disguise here, I’m very wise

No hidden agenda

No suspicious ties

No fakes here

No secrets blowin’ in the wind

Just plain old straight talk

And an attitude in tuned to win

I don’t talk trash

Got no time to bash

And when all’s said and done

Life for me is a bowl of fun

I am what I am

What I want to be

And that’s to be me

No artificial body language here

No misconceptions near

I am me

And that’s the way it will always be

No add-ons

No make believes

Don’t deceive

And true to what I believe
The Joys of Friendship
By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright © October 2003

Day by day I’m drawn closer to you in friendship

A bonding friendship; one of giving, one of fair play

Not one that diminishes or takes away

But a friendship that grows day by day

One that generates feelings of ease, of comfort

Yet, calls into play one’s most gullible shortcomings as human beings

A friendship that’s speckled in confidence, faith and support

Providing balance to imbalance

Soaked in comforting spirits of understanding

A friendship, not without faults

Yet, ignites and lights up life with exuberance and joy

A friendship of sheer natural instinct and intellect

Spiced with a delightful sense of humor

A friendship that takes on new meaning as life unfolds

Always providing a barrel of laughter, a bucket of smiles

Buried within that extraordinary, unwavering sense of humor

Bringing tons of unforgettable advice and solace

That friendship has strengthened and enabled me to take on the obstacles in life

Fully confident of back up, should I fall

The joys of friendship, that warm smile on your face, when needed

A helping hand to work things out when things go wrong

Knowing that you’re here for me

That friendship you give carries me along

This poem appeared in an anthology, The Best Poems & Poets of 2003, and in Sound of Poetry, a three-CD album collection of 33 favorite poems by the International Library of Poetry.

 

Silent Love Hurts
By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright

There’s that silent love wandering inside of me
Waiting for its presence to be known
It’s been lingering there for the longest of time
And over a period of time it has grown

It’s that silent love, buried beneath layers of false pride
Lurking behind thicken walls, begging to be justified
Silent love, with no outlet in sight to flow through
So I sit around and daydream, imagine things out of the blue

Silent love, treading the shadows of uncertainty
Hampering my desire to love
My heart is filled with emptiness
And only one person can give it a shove

Silent love, locked up inside of me, where others will never see
Ferociously screaming, demanding to be set free
Silent love, rushing through the depths of my soul
Tapping at my heart, under control, yet so daringly bold

Silent love, in bondage, makes me daydream every day
True love, these unnerving desires just won’t go away
Silent love, so faint my heart keeps skipping beats
But it’ll all come together when our minds and souls shall meet

 

Freedom Is Everyone’s Right
By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright 12/15/03

No matter how hard the struggle

No matter how long the fight

Never give up on efforts

To make sure freedom is everyone’s right

Sometimes the battle may seem quite laden

And at times may seem off-cue

But hold on to determination and perseverance

Those are the things that will see you through

 

Cherishing the Memories
By Juanita Bratcher
Copyright 2009

They’re memories I dare to depart from

They’re habits I’ve learned to resist

They’re proud moments I’ll cherish forever

My passion for life is never at risk

There are dreams I’ve fully accomplished

Those results are clearly defined

I have no intentions of resting on my laurels

Because life continues on without rewinds

Is Alderman Michelle Harris Trying to Destroy a Multi-Million Dollar Historical Landmark and Legacy in the 8th Ward, the Black Community? There are Some Who Think So.

Posted by Admin On October - 16 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Jerald Gary and Linda HudsonIs Harris the Best Person to Represent the 8th Ward Community? There Are Many Who Think Not!

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan

While allowing strangers to come into the 8th ward and build a low-income housing project in a mid to upper middle class neighborhood near the affluent Black community known as Pill Hill, Harris consistently interrupts the progress of a young black entrepreneur and investor that grew up in the community. What is her angle? Who is she trying to help take over or take down the Avalon Regal Theater where great notable icons like Aretha Franklin once performed and was crowned the “Queen of Soul” there? Could it be that she does not support any business she cannot benefit from as she did with the Montclare low-income housing project whose developers don’t live in the community but donated at least $25,000 to her campaign?

What is the agenda with black alderman on the South side that they allow outsiders to steamroll or buy them out so they can define and develop a community that doesn’t belong to them? They didn’t come running until the Obama library construction was announced. Black aldermen are allowing prime real estate to go down in value so it can be purchased at a low cost or grabbed by parasites buying and flipping property.

Alderman Michelle Harris’ office had the Chicago Police Department storm troopers raid the front and back entrances with 20-30 officers according to an affidavit submitted by a producer during the filming of a gospel teen music video with “nine teen dancers, three parent chaperones and a video crew of seven people…19 in the audience chairs” there at the Avalon Regal Theater. Imagine the trauma the kids suffered, being inundated daily by media depictions of police violence against black youth.  Amidst the chaos, over a half dozen police vehicles raced to the theater where potential visitors had gathered for an annual Chicago architectural tour. They stood in amazement to see signs stating that they were not permitted to enter. The annual Avalon Regal tour had been a part of the popular Architectural Open House Walk for the past three years without incident. The long anticipated event was seen as a beacon of hope to raise awareness and possible contributions, for the minor repairs needed to allow the theater to be self-generating monetarily. During the encounter, witnesses say officers threatened to arrest everyone, including Ms. Peggy Sutton from Mayfair Dance Academy. Mr. Gary was taken into police custody and later released. No charges were filed.

Unwarranted Raid: Mr. Jerald Gary‘s Avalon Regal raided by CPD. He Was Arrested!

Reportedly someone said Harris’ office had called police on the owner of the Avalon Regal Theater. Kids were reported frightened “and it will probably have a mental affect on them for a long time.” What was she thinking!? If she was truly concerned as reported, was she not smart enough to consider the affect this scenario might have on the young people? However, she told CopyLine Magazine that she tried to help and work with him. She said it was a court order issued by the city. Although, Mr. Gary didn’t agree with her statement.

Don’t let Alderman Harris’ personal agenda get in the way of a legacy that belongs to the whole community. Help Support the Avalon Regal Theatre and Mr. Jerald Gary’s efforts to revitalize the community starting with reopening the venue with concerts and plays that will also include a innovative cutting edge hologram technology of the greats performing. Imagine sitting back watching a Billie Holiday concert or Curtis Mayfield as others watched when they were in their prime. Nowhere else in the city, county or state is anything on this level being done. The Avalon Regal Theater is “uniquely positioned to serve Chicago’s South Side and Northwest Indiana.

According to Mr. Gary, “It’s not just about entertainment, but education and community empowerment and development as well.” Avalon Regal is the largest venue in the region. Beautiful videos have been shot there with companies like Nike, Glade and others taking advantage of the opulent surroundings.

UPDATE: Michelle Harris office is back paddling in Facebook wars after seeing the Sun-Times report that Super Star Kanye West is interested in helping the Avalon Regal Theater open back up. Kanye tweeted many of his followers about his support. Again, an opportunist like Harris has no interest in anything that helps the community unless it helps her. She obviously doesn’t care what it looks like unless she is shamed on social media as she has been intensively for the past several months with photos of blight and hopelessness in the 8th ward. Only then she jumps to some action. Everything that her opponent calls her out on, she is trying to fix only now, a couple of months before the election. She even went as far as to take photo opportunities with Kanye West and Jerald Gary and have them posted on Facebook. Could it be there was a spark when the Harris team saw one of her opponents, Linda Hudson in a photo visiting Mr. Gary and the Avalon Theater for the purpose of offering her support by taking a look around and posting his fundraising campaign link to encourage others to help out as well? Missing from the photo-captions lauded by the Harris team on the incumbent’s Facebook campaign site, was that it was a standing (regular) meeting prior to her 8th Ward challenger Linda Hudson’s visit. Furthermore, “the meeting was with the City” to discuss the Landmark Commission’s involvement in the minor work to be done on the Avalon Regal Theater to open it up for public use. Kanye West was there with Jerald Gary because he will be playing a big part in helping to reopen the theater. This regularly scheduled meeting with the City was not a Michelle Harris meeting. Funny how it wasn’t mentioned in the photo credits that it was a Landmark Commission & City of Chicago meeting with the theater owner and his investor. Was it an oversight? I think not. Just another effort to fool the public into believing she was there to give her support to Mr. Gary. It’s said a picture speaks a thousand words. Gauging the expressions on the faces and the body language in the photos posted by Harris office definitely seem to tell a story all their own, and it’s not the one they are spinning.

Mayfair Dance Academy Teens
Photo from that day at the Avalon Regal Theater just before Chicago Police raided the place on false rumors that 400 people would be sneaked in the back door to raise money for the restoration of the place. Where is the water claimed to be pouring in on this rainy day as reported by Harris office? It doesn’t look like they are in dark rains here. According to this photo taken then, there are obviously lights on in the place too.

Up next: How an alderman can “ghettofy” a middle class community with a mural and a low income housing project.

 

 

Linda Hudson for 8th Ward Alderman

Deans of the Wrongful Convictions Movement To Hold Court About Nation’s Most Prominent Cases

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Some of the nation’s most prominent activist attorneys in the movement to expose wrongful convictions will discuss how police and prosecutors tipped the scales of justice in the case of North Carolina novelist Michael Peterson, whose trial was the subject of the recent Netflix hit series The Staircase, and in the cases of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, whose convictions were the subject of the 10-episode “Making a Murderer” Netflix documentary series.

 

Attorneys David Rudolf from “The Staircase and Jerry Buting from “Making a Murderer” will speak at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago at 8 PM on Sunday, September 9.  The discussion will be moderated by Professor Steven Drizin of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, one of the leading experts in the country on the causes of wrongful convictions.

Rudolf and Buting will provide “behind the scenes” insights into how police and prosecutors tipped the scales of justice in their efforts to convict Michael Peterson, Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. They will also take questions from the audience and discuss the important criminal justice issues raised in these true-crime documentaries.

For more information, call or email David Rudolf or Jerry Buting at the contacts listed above.

New Raoul Law Expands Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL —  Legislation sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) providing additional protections and rights for survivors of sexual assault or abuse was signed into law on Friday.

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights fills in gaps in Illinois’ current laws and brings the state in line with federal guidelines.

“A victim of sexual assault should not have to go through any more trauma when attempting to get help,” Raoul said. “We need to protect their rights and assist them in reporting these crimes so the perpetrators can be brought to justice.”

In drafting the legislation, Raoul worked closely with Rise, a national civil rights nonprofit that worked with Congress to pass a federal Survivors’ Bill of Rights in 2016. The organization is working to create legislation in every state to protect the estimated 25 million survivors of sexual assault.

New protections for victims of sexual assault or abuse include:

·         allowing them to shower at the hospital post-examination;

·         allowing them to obtain a copy of the police report relating to the incident;

·         allowing them to have a sexual assault advocate and a support person of their choosing present for medical and physical examinations;

·         allowing them to retain their own counsel;

·         prohibiting law enforcement from prosecuting the victim for a crime related to use of alcohol, cannabis, or a controlled substance based on the sexual assault forensic evidence collected;

·         providing that consenting to the collection of evidence by means of a rape kit extends the statute of limitations for a criminal prosecution to maximum currently provided by law (10 years).

The law also extends the time period during which rape kits can be tested.

Currently, if a victim of sexual assault or rape does not immediately consent to having a rape kit tested, law enforcement will retain it for 5 years or, in the case of a minor, 5 years after they turn 18.

This law extends that retention period to 10 years. A victim can provide written consent for the kit to be tested anytime during that period.

Senate Bill 3404 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Attorney General Madigan Launches Clergy Abuse Hotline

Posted by Admin On August - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
 
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan launched a Clergy Abuse Hotline for anyone in the state of Illinois to report allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members.
Madigan urged Illinois residents to call her Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-888-414-7678 with any information on allegations of sexual assault and abuse. The hotline will be answered by trained staff in Madigan’s office during business hours. Messages left on the hotline will be returned if contact information is provided. People can also send emails to clergyabuse@atg.state.il.us. Madigan’s office will refer allegations to states’ attorneys as appropriate.
“I encourage anyone in the state who has any information about any sexually inappropriate behavior involving a member of the clergy or church in Illinois to contact my office,” Madigan said.
Last week, Madigan announced she was contacting the six dioceses of the Catholic Church in Illinois requesting to review all records relating to sexual assault and abuse. Madigan said the Catholic Church has a moral obligation to provide its parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois. Madigan said she expects the dioceses to cooperate fully or she will work with states’ attorneys and law enforcement throughout Illinois to investigate. Madigan’s announcement followed a Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified at least seven priests with connections to Illinois.

Five Million Americans say it’s Time to Impeach

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
From: Tom Steyer
Bob Fertik, Democrats.com <activist@democrats.com>

The entire world watched the day Donald Trump took Vladimir Putin’s side in Helsinki, finally seeing what so many of us have been seeing for so long.

The world saw President Trump deny that Putin orchestrated a cyber-attack on our 2016 elections — and deny the consensus of our intelligence community that Russia is already attempting to attack our elections again this year.

There’s a name for siding with a hostile foreign dictator against the American people and their democracy: Treason. And Donald Trump’s treason has put our nation’s very democracy at risk.

Impeachment was written into the Constitution to remove a president who, just like Trump, betrays the American people. Join our movement and demand his impeachment now!

Show you’re in today: Yes, I will stand with Need to Impeach now and demand Congress impeach President Trump.

Last month Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking party platforms and stealing information from half a million American voters. That makes for 35 indictments in the investigation of Russian interference and related crimes, along with five guilty pleas — so far.

Trump dismissed these allegations because Putin — who was standing next to him at the time, after a two-hour private meeting — “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.”

Since when does the U.S. president take the word of the leader of Russia on matters of national security? We cannot let this stand. We cannot allow ourselves to be led by a compromised president who not only allows but defends foreign attacks on our nation’s most elemental democratic processes.

We need to impeach Donald Trump.

We can’t wait any longer. Stand with Need To Impeach to defend democracy and help demand the impeachment of this compromised president.

More than 5.5 million Americans have joined our movement so far. Every day, more and more people are realizing that we cannot let this president endanger our democracy any longer.

Thank you,

Tom Steyer

Federal Jury Slams Prison Employees for Brutal Behavior

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL — In a verdict virtually without precedent in Illinois, late yesterday a federal jury found three prison guards and a Department of Corrections nurse personally liable for over $250,000 in punitive damages for an incident in which a handcuffed prisoner at Menard Correctional Center was beaten up and denied access to medical care.

While penalties against the State are not uncommon in which state employees violate people’s rights, civil penalties tabulated personally against the prison guards and nurses themselves are rare, and attorneys say this is one of the largest such verdicts in the state’s history.

“What makes this verdict particularly sting for the prison employees is that under Illinois statutes, the State is forbidden to compensate them for verdict awards that come out of their pockets,” said Sarah Grady, an attorney at Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.

According to the suit, Osbaldo Nicolas was attacked and beaten by Defendant William Qualls, the sergeant of the cellhouse where Nicolas was housed. While he was handcuffed, Qualls punched Nicolas in the head, smashed his head into a concrete wall, and kicked him in the torso and legs until he fell unconscious. Defendants Nathan Berry and Justin Snell watched Qualls beat Nicolas and did nothing to stop the attack. Afterward, Nicolas saw Defendant Aimee Lang, who failed to examine or treat his injuries. At trial, Qualls concocted an absurd tale that Nicolas had gotten injured when he slipped and fell on some ice.

Ultimately the jury found that Qualls had used excessive force on Nicolas, and awarded Nicolas $200,000 in punitive damages. The jury also found that Berry and Snell had failed to intervene, and awarded compensatory and punitive damages against them as well. Finally, the jury found that Lang failed to provide Nicolas adequate medical care and awarded $50,000 in punitive damages for her misconduct.

In addition to Ms. Grady, Mr. Nicolas is represented by Julie Goodwin and Adair Crosley, also of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms. Over the past decade, Loevy & Loevy has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country. A copy of the suit, Osbaldo Jose-Nicolas v. Nathan Berry, et al, No. 15 C 0964, is available here.

Illinois Payrolls Up for Sixth Straight Month

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2%

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in July and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,700 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The June job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show a smaller gain. (+17,200 jobs versus +18,100 jobs).

Job growth accelerated in the May to July period posting average monthly gains of +9,500 jobs over this three-month period, more than the 6-month average monthly gain of +8,200 jobs between February and July 2018.

“The state’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in July and stands at its lowest point in 18 years,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Illinois payroll employment also saw its largest over-the-year gain in more than two years.”

“The Illinois economy continues its comeback,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We are seeing what reduced red tape, a competitive economy, and investment in workforce and career pathways can do to promote growth and opportunity across the state.”

In July, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Manufacturing (+2,400); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,000); and Professional and Business Services (+1,900). The industry sector with the largest payroll decline was: Government (-1,700).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +65,700 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in July: Manufacturing (+14,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+13,100); and Government (+11,500). The industry sectors with the over-the-year declines were: Information Services (-3,600) and Mining (-100). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.1 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in July. This was the fourth consecutive month with over-the-year payroll employment increases of more than 50,000 in Illinois.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July 2018, which fell to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.0 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.2 percent in February 2000.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -1.3 percent from the prior month to 272,200, down -15.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month and over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.

An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine, IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL), which recently showed 55,888 posted resumes with 204,916 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Jul-18 Jun-18 Jul-17 3 month
Moving
Average
Over the
Month
Change
Over the
Year
Change
Illinois 4.2% 4.3% 5.0% 4.2% -0.1 -0.8
U.S. 3.9% 4.0% 4.3% 3.9% -0.1 -0.4

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

Industry Jul-18
Current*
Jun-18*
Prior mnth**
Jul-17
Year Ago
Over the
Month
Over the
Year
3-month
Moving Avg
Change from
Previous
3-month
Moving Avg
IL – Total Nonfarm 6,128,900 6,125,200 6,063,200 3,700 65,700 6,120,700 9,500
IL – Mining 7,700 7,700 7,800 0 -100 7,700 100
IL – construction 227,700 226,000 220,400 1,700 7,300 226,600 800
IL – Manufacturing 591,000 588,600 576,200 2,400 14,800 589,000 1,000
IL – Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 1,214,500 1,214,000 1,210,100 500 4,400 1,215,800 -1,200
IL – Information 82,400 83,200 96,000 -800 -3,600 93,100 -600
IL – Financial Activities 399,200 399,000 391,600 200 7,600 399,200 200
IL – Professional and Business Services 947,200 945,300 943,200 1,900 4,000 944,400 2,500
IL – Educational and Health Services 929,400 930,700 922,800 -1,300 6,600 929,700 1,100
IL – Leisure and Hospitality 623,200 621,200 610,100 2,000 13,100 619,900 2,600
IL – Other Services 252,300 253,500 252,200 -1,200 100 252,600 300
IL – Government 844,300 846,000 832,800 -1,700 11,500 842,900 3,000

*preliminary
**Final

  • 1976-2017 seasonally adjusted labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs. Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Census Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking. In February 2018, the BLS also introduced a new seasonal adjustment procedure for state labor force estimates which resulted in the entire monthly historical series for Illinois and all other states being replaced. For all of these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials may no longer be valid.
  • Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available here: Illinois & Chicago Metropolitan Area Unemployment Rates
  • Monthly 2013-2017 seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment data for Illinois have been revised. To control for potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports. Effective with January 2018 estimates, the BLS introduced concurrent seasonal adjustment for monthly state nonfarm payroll employment estimates
  • Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available at Not Seasonally Adjusted Jobs. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: Personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations. Seasonally adjusted employment data for subsectors within industries are not available

About IDES : IDES encourages employment by connecting employers to jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud. Visit the Department’s website at www.ides.illinois.gov for more information. You can also follow IDES on Twitter and Facebook.

Massive Expansion of Police Misconduct Data Tool in Chicago

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Citizens Police Data Project quadruples in size, adds shooting and use of force history

From: The Invisible Institute

Now contains the oldest electronic disciplinary records available at Chicago Police Department, dating back to 1967

CHICAGO. IL –The Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the city’s South Side, has quadrupled the size of its public database, the Citizens Police Data Project. The project has expanded to include more than 240,000 misconduct allegations and more than 22,000 individual Chicago Police officers over a 50-year period — as far back as such electronic disciplinary records exist.

The new searchable records also make public, for the first time, the full names of officers who have fired their weapons. Other critical datasets include officers’ use of force histories, ranks, promotions, commendations, and salary information.

The Citizens Police Data Project is used widely by Chicagoans, lawyers, journalists, academics, legislators and law enforcement officials. It arises out of two watershed events: a landmark court decision in 2014 that made police disciplinary records public in Illinois and a major open records victory in 2016, in which courts rejected the argument of the Fraternal Order of Police that disciplinary records should be destroyed after four years.

More recently, the database has been used to support claims in the class action lawsuit that catalyzed the process that recently resulted in a draft consent decree to govern police reform in Chicago.

“We’ve seen tremendous public benefit from this database,” said Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute and the plaintiff of Kalven v. City of Chicago. “The greatly enlarged and enriched data now available will make it even more powerful as a tool for holding law enforcement agencies accountable.”

An initial analysis of the new data has found:

  • A small fraction of Chicago’s police force — only 130 officers — account for about a third of all incidents of deadly force, as reported in The Intercept today in “The Chicago Police Files.” These officers repeatedly participate in shootings, some as many as six times, whereas more than 99 percent of the police force will never be involved in any such incident over the course of their careers

 

  • Officers with high levels of complaints (at least 10 complaints) generate 64% of all complaints (January 1, 2000 – June 30, 2016 data) on the force. Police officers with the most complaints are less likely to be disciplined.

 

  • From 2000 to 2016, only 1.2% of civilian complaints resulted in an officer being suspended or terminated.

 

  • When citizens file complaints against the police, they are 20 times less likely to be believed than when police officers file complaints against their fellow officers (2000-2016 data).

 

  • Excessive force cases rarely result in discipline. Out of more than 8,700 excessive force claims from January 2007 to June 2016, investigators sustained only 1.5% of cases. Nearly 74% of these cases were filed by African-Americans.

 

  • Racial disparities in use of force have increased over the last decade, even as Chicago’s black population has declined. These disparities are seen even in majority-white areas of the city. Of the five police districts with the highest rates of force against African Americans per African-American resident, four are majority-white districts. African Americans also experience higher rates of force even in low-crime neighborhoods.

 

  • Internal reports show young black men experience Chicago Police use of force far more than white men — 14 times more often, according to 2005-2015 data — as reported by The Intercept today. Young black women were also 10 times more likely to experience force as their white female peers and twice as likely as young white men.

 

  • Cliques of misconduct and violence develop within the police department, according to Invisible Institute data published by The Intercept today. Police misconduct spreads within networks of officers as officers are exposed to other officers with higher numbers of complaints.

 

  • Complaints from areas of the city where high portions of the population experience extreme poverty — where many residents  earn less than $1.25 per day — have a significantly lower likelihood of being sustained.

The new data also reveal alarming trends with respect to domestic violence among police officers. More than 6 percent of all Chicago police officers were accused of physical domestic abuse between 2000 and 2016 (excluding cases where multiple officers were accused or where the officer was unidentifiable). These officers also receive 50% more use of force complaints than their peers, and they receive other complaints of all kinds at a 55% higher rate than fellow officers.

The largest online database of its kind, the Citizens Police Data Project originally launched in November 2015. It was named the winner of the Knight News Challenge on Data in January 2015, the Hillman Foundation’s Sidney Award in December 2015, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award in 2016.

The Invisible Institute is a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago. Our mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable. Among the tactics we employ are human rights documentation, investigative reporting, civil rights litigation, the curating of public information, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations. The activities of the Invisible Institute cohere around a central principle: we as citizens have co-responsibility with the government for maintaining respect for human rights and, when abuses occur, for demanding they be addressed.

Sign up for The View From The Ground, a weekly roundup of developments and coverage on issues central to the work of the Invisible Instit

 

The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was launched in 2014 to provide an outlet for fearless, adversarial journalism. Our reporters have the editorial freedom to hold powerful institutions accountable, digging beneath official narratives to reveal the hidden truth. The Intercept’s award-winning coverage focuses on national security, politics, civil liberties, the environment, technology, criminal justice, media, and more. Regular contributors include co- founding editors Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.

Bill to Boost Women-Owned and Minority-Owned Businesses Becomes Law

Posted by Admin On August - 20 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 SPRINGFIELD, IL — Legislation, proposed by Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, requiring Constitutional Officers to aspire to the same goals state agencies do of working with businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities has become law.

Senate Bill 3106 requires state constitutional officers to establish aspirational goals for contract awards in accordance with provisions of the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Act. Under this act, 20% of contracts awarded to businesses by Constitutional Officers, including the Comptroller’s Office, should go to businesses owned by minorities, women, and individuals living with disabilities.

“I would like to thank the sponsors of this legislation, Representative Will Davis and Senator Toi Hutchinson. This marks the first time in our state’s history that BEP goals will be applied to all procurements for the Office of the Comptroller,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “This is just one more step we can take towards making state government better represent those it serves. Encouraging the growth of these businesses will lead to a more competitive environment for contracts and, eventually, potential savings for the state.”

Constitutional officers will be required to report annually on their websites how their offices perform in accordance with BEP procurement guidelines.

“I am pleased that Comptroller Mendoza and other constitutional officers took this initiative,” Representative Davis, D-Homewood, said. “This will help ensure that business contracts with the state become more equitable, and that helps everyone.”

The General Assembly passed SB 3106 unanimously. The legislation has an immediate effective date.

“The most important part of actually supporting the growth of these small businesses is when people in positions of authority actually make this a priority. I am thrilled that Comptroller Mendoza believes that we can either talk about it or do something about it,” Senator Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, said.

You can view this release on our website here.

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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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