by Lesley R. Chinn
With the retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, President Barack Obama is expected to have his choice on the bench in time for the Supreme Court’s session that begins the first Monday in October. His selection will be the first high court nomination by a Democrat in 15 years.
Obama has already said he wants someone who can use empathy in making decisions but most importantly, he is looking for someone who has an understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Souter, 69, will be leaving after nearly 20 years in Washington, D.C. He reportedly told the White House that he plans to retire next month, when the court finishes its work for the summer. President George H.W. Bush nominated Souter when he was a federal appeals court judge. Early in his career, Souter was labeled a “moderate conservative,” but he soon went liberal when he joined in a ruling that reaffirmed a woman’s right to an abortion in 1992. Additionally, Souter was one of the four dissenters in the 2000 decision in the Bush vs. Gore case that sealed the presidential election for George W. Bush.
Harold Krent, dean and professor at IIT/Kent College of Law, said the balance of the court will not change because of Obama’s pick since Souter migrated to the liberal from the conservative camp. “He’ll probably pick someone who is a moderate liberal in the same mold so the voting patterns on the court will not change,” Krent said. Since justices remain on the nine-member court for a lifetime or until they decide to retire, the makeup of the Supreme Court has always been a political issue. Obama has considered over half a dozen nominees as his choice for the Supreme Court.
“You want someone who has a keen ear to the kind of legal issues that pose obstacles to particular groups. It’s important in picking someone, the choice has to have the personality to rally others who think like Obama does [in order] to make a consensus on the courts,” Krent stated.
Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican and a topranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will review Obama’s nominee, said good justices who uphold the law are needed on the Supreme Court, but reportedly told MSNBC that he didn’t think a “person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies— is disqualified per se for the job.” Sessions later told Fox News that Americans might feel uneasy about having a gay person on the Supreme Court and that, “ ‘it could be a big concern.’ ” Sessions took over as the ranking Republican on the committee this month after Sen. Arlen Specter, who had been the top Republican on the committee, switched parties.
In 2006, Sessions was in favor of letting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 lapse and also said Congress should consider it if was needed in some northern cities before voting in favor of extending the measure. The New Republic Magazine reported in 2002 that he described it as a “piece of intrusive legislation.” Karl Brinson, president of the West Side NAACP Branch, said controversies such as the ones Sessions has found himself in the middle of lets the public know that there are still some individuals with some of the “same, wild conservative views that have kept this country divisive.” Brinson also said that a disproportionate amount of Blacks in the jail system shows there’s something wrong with the judicial system.
Ironically, history has shown that there have been some strides in the Supreme Court regarding African-Americans from 1954 through 1965—before Thurgood Marshall became the first Black Supreme Court Justice in 1967 with landmark cases includingBrown v. Board of Education of Topeka, (1954) which overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities. Moreover, Gideon vs. Wainwright (1963) requires courts to provide public defenders in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys and the Warren Court banned segregation and racial discrimination in public accommodations in Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. vs. United States. Additionally, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended literacy and poll taxes; and provides protection against voter suppression and discrimination. The Act also calls for the intervention of the Attorney General when voting rights are in jeopardy.
Hilary Shelton, vice president for advocacy and director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau’s Government Affairs said, “The balance of the Supreme Court makes a tremendous difference. It is nine people. Most of the racerelated cases are decided on a five-four ratio and [the] last two judges—- Justice Sam Alito and [John] Roberts—-are very extreme— right-leaning. Crucial civil rights legislation could very well be derailed by the Supreme Court,” Shelton said.
Shelton said just as the Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act was celebrated in 2006, a case was filed shortly thereafter out of Texas that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Section 5 of the act requires jurisdictions in states that have a track record of racial discrimination to seek federal approval of voting-related changes such as eliminating polling places, changing election times, or redrawing boundaries of electoral districts.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as Shelton explained, was put in place to “safeguard” against discriminatory actions and activities in the polling places. Such tactics including moving or changing a polling place, changing election times, or redrawing boundaries without notification were often utilized as Shelton stated in the African-American community to prevent them from voting. “Because there is such a narrow divide on the Supreme Court now between those who continue to work to uphold putting [into place] civil rights programs such as the Voting Right Act, the balance of the Supreme Court becomes crucial,” he said.
But Krent said someone’s skin color does not necessarily suggests what the voting record will be. Pointing to the two Black Supreme Court Justices, Marshall, who served from 1967 to 1991,and Clarence Thomas, who has served since 1991, he said, “They represent different visions of what it means to have civil rights in this country.”
Justice Marshall was at the forefront of a movement for formal equality and efforts by the government to respect the disadvantages that have been heaped on minority groups in this country for many years. Justice Thomas has articulated a view that will focus on formal equality, but doesn’t go beyond that to recognize different historical positions of groups and disadvantages [they] have suffered over the years,” Krent said. Based on their backgrounds and experiences, these Justices, although Black, have viewed issues relating to crime, poverty, and education differently, he added.
Marshall believed that Blacks and Whites and other ethnicity groups could rise or fall based on their own ability. His faith in the power of racial integration traced back to his childhood in Baltimore, MD. where he grew up in a Black activist community that established its own schools and which fought for equal rights dating back to the Civil War.
As the nation’s first Black Supreme Court Justice, Marshall, who tried many cases including Brown vs. Board of Education, promoted affirmative action and other raceconscious policies as a remedy for the damage left behind from slavery and discrimination. While legal discrimination had ended, he stressed the need to continue the struggles in order to increase opportunities for people who had been oppressed, according to a Juan Williams biography on Marshall entitled, American Revolutionary.
On the flipside, Thomas believes that laws granting preferential treatment based on race should be struck down, even though he is African-American, as pointed out on a 60 Minutes Report entitled, Clarence Thomas: The Justice Nobody Knows. Although he has benefited from some of the programs he currently opposes since joining the Court in 1991, Thomas has taken a conservative approach, seeking to uphold the original meaning on the Constitution and its statutes.
For instance, in Hudson vs. McMillian (1992), a Black prisoner from Louisiana named Keith J. Hudson, had been beaten by a corrections security officer Jack McMillan and his co-worker Marvin Woods while the officers’ supervisor Arthur Mezo watched. After the beating, Hudson suffered from a cracked lip, a broken dental plate, loosened teeth, and cuts and bruises. Hudson, who sued the three officers, won by a 7- 2 margin where the Supreme Court ruled that the guards used excessive force, which violated the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas dissented, with Thomas writing that the beating didn’t cause sufficient harm to meet constitutional standards to be classified as, “cruel and unusual punishment.” Thomas received criticism from historians and Supreme Court colleagues regarding his opinion.
Because so many African-Americans are subject to unfairness in the criminal justice system, Shelton said Hudson’s case should have been a wakeup call that there needs to be a Supreme Court justice that recognizes the needs of not only African-Americans but other groups that may suffer from oppression. “And certainly Clarence Thomas has taught us this lesson,” Shelton said.
No Override for the ”Cook County Party of No”
A political showdown over the repeal of a sales tax increase that could have affected thousands of poor people countywide gave new meaning to the old cliché all’s fair in love and war— when the outcome may not be fair at all. As the battle raged over whether the Cook County Board would be able to muster up enough votes to override President Todd H. Stroger’s veto of the repeal, the future of the county’s health care system, county jobs and the impact on other services, hung in the balance.
Had the repeal stood, it would have meant slashing vital services and forcing the independent health board to shut the doors at Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals including the closure of many, if not most of the County’s neighborhood clinics where Blacks and Latinos live. In addition to that, possible cuts in public safety and job losses in a recession, would have been far too heavy of a price to pay. County officials also anticipated that departments would have been required to cut costs by more than 20% across the board.
In the end, Stroger’s veto was sustained. What’s frightening however, was the havoc a group of commissioners, most of them from the north side, could have caused, had the decision gone the other way. What this faction wanted was the repeal of a full sales tax increase of a penny on the dollar. A thorn in Stroger’s side since taking the job, his relationship to the commissioners has been akin to President Barack Obama’s struggles with the, “Republican Party of No,” where the commissioners offer more dissension than solutions in addressing county problems. In trying to offer solutions to the budget crisis and to keep the health care system running, Stroger’s proposed trimming the tax increase, anticipating federal stimulus dollars would make up the difference. But all of that fell on deaf ears Tuesday as the commissioners fought to sustain the repeal.
The course of events have been like a three-ring circus where political insiders say the goal was to embarrass Stroger as the next election draws nearer even at the expense of hurting the poor. Officials even expected the repeal could have resulted in a $245 million loss in revenue for the county overall affecting not only health care but public safety as well. But to even think that services could have been shut down because a group of battling commissioners more interested in politics than coming together to solve problems, is enough to make anyone shudder.
Throughout the course of events, the sales tax has always been controversial. What’s more interesting though is that while the flap over the hike has kept Stroger and the county in front of the issue, “ ‘ the city has raised nine different taxes in the last two years,’ “ Stroger told the Chicago Sun-times recently. In the same issue, the paper pointed out that the mayor has raised taxes, fines and fees by a whopping $329 million, including the largest property tax increase in Chicago history. In 2005, his $85.7 million tax package included a one-quarter of one percent increase in the Chicago sales tax—not that Stroger is trying to pick a fight with the Mayor, but the fact is, the idea of a tax hike is not county specific.
Political games and scoring points have to cease when it comes to people’s lives and the services they deserve. Even though it looks like Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals won’t be closed and despite the fact that other services will apparently remain in tact, the people should remain alert and refuse to allow political selfishness to get in front of what’s really important.
And it’s not just the public that needs to stay vigilant, but elected officials, represented by the people, need to stay alert as well. In this situation, many of the officials in the county whose budgets could have been affected by the repeal decided not to wade into the debate, choosing instead to remain on the sidelines. Publicly stating that said it wasn’t their job to get into the middle of the issue, one representative said, it’s the job of the commissioners’ and President Stroger’s “ ‘…to figure out how to fund government and make decisions about budget priorities,’ “ Eric Herman, spokesmen for Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan stated in the Chicago Sun-times recently.
Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown reiterated this message when she suggested it’s the Cook County Board’s mandated responsibility to run county government and that includes managing the county’s finances and budget in an effective manner. Staying out of the controversy didn’t make her indifferent towards the issue or how it would affect her constituents, she said. In fact, she said four years ago, she recommended that the Cook County Board of Commissioners establish a Citizens Budget Review Committee, comprised of professional individuals who would be charged with analyzing the annual budget and determining if there was wasteful spending. …Sounds like a good idea, but when the County Board ignored her advice, Brown said that’s as far as she went with the Board on the issue.
County Clerk David Orr didn’t necessarily want to get in the middle of it either. “…Stroger has not contacted me or my office about the tax repeal or his veto of the repeal,” he said, stating that, “he has been unable to get reliable budget information from the President’s office.” Orr said it was therefore “difficult,” to know how big of an impact it could have on his office, but if the commissioners overrode the president’s veto, the budget cuts could have ranged anywhere from 12 to 22 percent in his office. He added, he did believe, “Greater reforms and efficiencies are needed across the board.”
But creating greater efficiencies starts in an environment where there is better communication. And regardless of who reaches out to whom first, isn’t open communication a part of an efficient process? Yet a willingness to solve problems, and to communicate even when it’s difficult, regardless of who reaches out first, is rare in American politics.
Sheriff Tom Dart relied on the constitution when he talked about the possibility of cuts and how it would affect his office. “We would never ask President Stroger for advice on how to run the jail, so we don’t plan to advise him on how to run his government.” It’s up to the county board to decide how to fund county government and it’s up to the president to decide how to operate it. Nowhere in the sheriff’s job description does it say anything about doing either of those things. The sheriff’s job is to properly and safely run the sheriff’s department and, each year, convey to the board how much money we need to do those things. Last year, we told the county board we needed $430 million to run our department and they figured out a way to pay for it, as they do every year,” he said.
According to officials, the impact on the 2010 budget could have had a total cut of $136 million, out of a total budget of roughly $1.066 billion for public safety. So Dart may have been right. It’s not his job either, but in terms of feeling safe, the cuts could have affected us all.
Treasurer Maria Pappas said she could live with the cuts if the tax is repealed because she produces $7 million a year from a self-funding account. “So, if they want a cut, I’m producing my own revenue…I’m not for these bond deals…the $300,000 we need for bonds can come from my own [self-funding] account…” she said. And a spokesperson for the Board of Review, Thomas Jaconetty, said any cuts would have had “an adverse impact,” on his office but he wanted to, “take some time,” to respond to the issue after the Board’s meeting on Tuesday. Anything else would have been “premature,” he said.
The elected officials who took a back seat on how this issue could have impacted the poor, missed an opportunity to show leadership in this situation. Even though for now, the repeal is a non-issue, the people who could have been affected, went un-represented for the most part by the public officials they decided to elect.
The question posed to Dart, Orr, Brown and the others had less to do with job descriptions and the constitution or where the buck stops in terms of whose running what. It had more to do with the people and the folks who would be affected by cuts in the budget if those cuts remained a possibility. To some extent the officials we talked to are correct. There is no legal obligation to address the issue and they were right, it’s not in their job descriptions. But what about a moral and ethical responsibility, if not a legal one? At what point does morality and ethics in politics come into play? At what point do factions at war against the Cook County Board President put down their differences and oppose the label of the, “Cook County’s Party of ‘No,’” and stand up for what is right for the people— even if they do not live on the same side of town as they do?
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Gloria Gayle, vice president and branch manager of National City Bank, on 8700 S. Cottage Grove, and Vernon Harrington, general manager of Best Buy at 87th and Lafayette Ave., were recently appointed as board members of Chatham Business Association (CBA). With Gayle’s experience in finance and Harrington’s experience in retail sales, they both hope to have a positive impact on the CBA.
Gayle is a DePaul University graduate and working towards her MBA at Purdue Calumet. With over 20 years banking experience, her management experience includes an assignment in East Chicago Indiana, which is a similar market to the Chatham community.
Gayle has also worked for Fifth Third as a business banker, a manager for ABC Bank in Chicago and First Suburban National Bank in Maywood, IL. She has extensive experience in successfully penetrating and improving urban markets. She is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren.
Gayle joined CBA after the ribbon cutting of the National City Bank branch at 8700 S. Cottage Grove on April 14. “My goal is to educate through a financial literacy standpoint,” Galye said. “Some people have been shut out of the community.”
She wants CBA to focus on decreasing crime in the community. “There is a need to do something to stop the crime,” she said.
Harrington is a general manager at Best Buy on 87th and Lafayette Ave. He graduated from Chicago Vocational High School and grew up in the South Shore area.
Harrington has worked in retail management for 13 years. Prior to Best Buy, Harrington worked at Lowes Home Improvement and in the Sam’s Club division at Walmart. He has been a manager for Best Buy for 3 and ½ years.
Harrington joined CBA to build a network with Best Buy on the south side of Chicago when he became general manager. He has been a member of CBA for a year and a half. He worked with CBA Juniors at the second annual youth job fair at ICE theaters recently where he introduced the companies who were offering summer jobs.
Harrington wants to prepare youth for employment through programs with CBA Juniors. “We should work on a shared vision,” he said. “One individual cannot do it all by themselves. It is up to all of us to be on the same page and to keep growing together.”
Harrington plans to bring a stronger community focus to CBA and to help members strengthen their businesses.
With the high rate of Chicago Public School children killed this school year, Father Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina Church, has put the American Flag upside down on a pole outside of St. Sabina Church and School on 7801 S. Throop to bring national attention to over 35 children killed by gun violence.
According to a letter from Father Pfleger, emergency steps were taken around the country to respond to the swine flu, but “Why can’t we have the same kind of national consciousness about gun violence” Pfleger asked? “In the last couple of weeks, we saw this national consciousness and direction about the swine flu. Every school was given information and what to talk about. Every city and state was being educated about it…
“The issue of violence is a complex issue. We have got to be as aggressive about this [gun violence issue] as we are about the swine flu,” he said.
“There is a lot of finger pointing where people are blaming the parents, police, and the government,” he mentioned. Banning assault weapons and teaching conflict resolution on a regular basis offer some solutions, he added. “We need to look at the positive alternatives for young people,” he said.
Pfleger, who received mixed reviews about the upside down flag, with some calling him unpatriotic and with others supporting him, said he’s urging everyone in the community to hang the American Flag upside down in protest against gun violence.
“We have to know where our children are and who they are with. People need to check their homes and make sure no one is hiding a gun in it. Communities need to send a message. If you shoot and kill, you are an enemy to this community. We will turn you in to law enforcement. There has to be a standard so that people understand.”
“We have to be as aggressive about this as we are about the flu,” he said. “There is an aggressive approach about swine flu, but we are laid back about children dying.”
Responding to the growing concern over gun violence and children dying, St. Sabina School has begun holding school year round which helps keep students involved in positive activities.
Pfleger suggests gun ownership should be treated like cars that are tracked right from the manufacturer. “Cars are tracked from person-to-person. Why can’t we do that with guns? We can control who gets guns, but we choose not to,” he said.
Community Economic Development Association (CEDA) representatives discussed the importance of weatherization in low-income homes and employment opportunities at Chatham Business Association’s monthly meeting recently.
The members of CBA Juniors put together a video promoting CBA’s role in empowering the youth. CBA Vice Chairman Joseph Caldwell mentioned that members should hire youth at their businesses.
Hermine L. Wise director of procurement of CEDAmentioned the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and discussed five CEDAprograms including: weatherization, low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP), Head Start, Woman Infants and Children (WIC) Program and Workforce and Economic Development (WED).
CEDA has offered Weatherization Services to low-income residents of Cook County for 30 years. The stimulus dollars allowed the organization to add 15 to 25 contractors, provide financial assistance to contractors for specialized equipment, and provide training to contractors interested in specializing in weatherization. New weatherization contracts will begin July 1, 2009.
Wise said CEDA has given to minority businesses. She said they would be building a southeast location in Robbins, IL. Weatherization is expected to increase from 3,500 to 12,000 homes, she said.
John Hamilton director of weatherization at CEDA talked about tripling the number of weatherized homes. President Barack Obama was one of the first presidents to talk about the importance of weatherizing homes, Hamilton said.
To qualify for CEDA’s weatherization services an individual or household must be at 150 percent poverty level with an income below $25,000 a year. Ira Williams director of WED said that people should dress properly for employment. DHS food stamp recipients were sent for employment programs with CEDA.
CEDA WED expects its clients to arrive 15 minutes before all appointments.
Williams encourages employment seekers to learn Spanish. “It will give them a leg up,” he said. He also mentioned the summer youth program in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
Gloria Gayle and Vernon Harrington were added to the CBA board. Gayle is vice president and branch manager of National City at 8700 S. Cottage Grove. Harrington is a general manager at Best Buy on 87th and Lafayette Ave. He wants to target youth by preparing them for employment through CBA Juniors. He also hopes to build strong businesses with CBA. “We should work on a shared vision,” he said. “CBA has given me the opportunity to benefit from networking,” he said.
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Last Saturday, at ICE Theater on 87th Street, 100 youth from seven area high schools attended a second job fair hosted by the Chatham Business Association Juniors in partnership with the Department of College and Careers at Chicago Public Schools.
Letters were sent to Bowen High School, South Shore High School, Harlan Community Academy High School, Julian High School, Chicago Career Academy, Simeon Career Academy and Hirsch Metropolitan High School to tell students about the job fair. However, students from other schools came out seeking job opportunities. The fair was open to students ages 16-18.
Ninety-three of the students attended a job readiness program the week before and seven others went through the readiness program during the week through CBA Juniors.
Employers discussed job opportunities at their companies and told youth how to apply for work with their companies before they presented their resumes.
Chicago Area Project mentioned they needed youth to sign up for jobs in Springfield by May 5 and some other companies invited the students to visit their companies.
Students were told that if their job performance was good, they could continue to work for them during the school year. Students moving on to college in the Chicago area could continue to work for the companies too.
The companies represented were GAG Masonry, Inc., Illinois Department of Employment Security, DC Mad Hatter, Jewel Osco, Chicago Area Project, and Prime America.
The job seekers stood in lines at the tables to give resumes that were reviewed by company recruiters. Some applicants were interviewed for various positions. Most of the students were well prepared based on the job readiness skills workshop they participated in the week before.
More schools were added this year, “the partnership increased, because the students were interested,” said Taheria L. Brown, career development facilitator, at Corliss High School.
Posted on 01. May, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized
Former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. was sharply criticized on Wednesday when the City Council approved 40 percent of contracts for minorities and women towards the 2016 Olympic Games— if Chicago gets the bid in October.
In last week’s Chicago Defender, Jones called the memorandum agreement “a slap in the face,” and emphasized Blacks would get less than 10 percent of the work. Under the agreement, minority-owned firms would receive 30 percent while female-owned firms would get 10 percent of the contracts. This is a 5 percent increase from the 25 and 5 percent set-aside program. But Jones said, Blacks would end up getting, “the short end of the stick,” and the deal would sell the Black community “down the river.” He also pointed out that Blacks are not the only minorities in the city.
While many city council members including Aldermen Freddrenna Lyle (6); Ike Carothers (29); Leslie Hairston (5) and Walter Burnett Jr. (27) criticized Jones, the strongest criticism came from 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith.
Referring to Jones’ record as the Illinois Senate President, Smith said, “He didn’t come to Chicago with [anything] in terms of apprenticeships or set-asides for minorities. Yet, he said those of us who sat around the table did not have the ability to negotiate. Where is his brain? We negotiated the best memorandum that I have seen since I’ve been in the city council,” Smith stated.
Lyle called Jones’ remarks “cheap shots” at the individuals who were involved in the decisionmaking process.
While the 2016 Olympics is seven years away, Carothers and Hairston said that the memorandum agreement is just the beginning and would open opportunities for an increased percentage of contracts.
When contacted by the Citizen for a response about the aldermen’s criticisms, Jones defended his comments and said that he does not care to “dignify their comments with a reply.”
Eighteen-year-old Mariah Madison has always been a perfectly healthy female who enjoys hot weather, traveling, going to the mall, and getting tattoos.
Madison has never experienced going to the hospital except to give birth to her daughter back in September. Life was perfectly fine for Madison until she discovered a month later that she couldn’t breathe.
At first, she thought it was just an asthma attack and thought taking inhalers would help. However, Madison discovered it was a lot worse than she thought, but it didn’t cause her to take her condition lightly.
Madison, a former South side resident, went to a local hospital in Hammond, IN., where she lives. Doctors told her that she had Cardiomyopathy, a disease where the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn’t pump normally. According to the American Heart Association, Cardiomyopathy puts some patients at risk to develop heart failure.
After continuously feeling ill, Madison went from hospital-tohospital before she arrived last December at the Rush University Medical Center, where she is currently a heart transplant patient.
Dr. Barbara Pisani, one of Madison’s doctors at Rush, said about one-third of patients who suffer from Cardiomyopathy recover from the disease. “We tried everything we could medically to get Madison better but it was without success and so she’s waiting for a heart transplant as we speak. She doesn’t want to be walking around with a battery pack for the rest of her life. She wants to do what other 18-year olds want to do.”
She was one of many individuals featured at a Gift of Hope Organ Tissue Donor Network’s African-American Task Force telethon held on Sunday at the House of Hope Church, where the focus targeted awareness on African-American organ donation and awareness. The Gift of Hope has highlighted stories of people like Madison to increase its campaign efforts on organ donation. The Gift of Hope has been in existence since 1986 and they are a not-forprofit organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation services to individuals within the northern Illinois and northwest Indiana region. The organization has coordinated organ donations that have saved the lives of more than 14,000 recipients.
Madison wears a ventricular electronic battery device on her back, which resembles a school backpack. She said this electronic-battery device backpack has a cord that helps connect to her heart valves. She’s been wearing the device since January.
“My heart won’t last until the waiting period of me getting a transplant. “I really don’t think about the wait. Whenever I get the phone call, I’m like ‘Let’s do this,’ but if don’t, I’ll just continue going along with the backpack.”
She has to wear the device everyday even while she sleeps at night. When she goes to bed, Madison has to charge up the battery. “When I go outside, I’m not hooked up to a wall.”
The electronic backpack device is heavy and uncomfortable for Madison’s short petite frame. She only weighs about 115 pounds. Some days, she wishes that she could live life without the device.
Madison is currently an honor student at Hammond High School but right now she is a homebound student. She hopes to join her classmates as she walks across the stage for her graduation in June.
According to statistics from the Gift of Hope, African-Americans make up more than 29 percent of patients waiting for an organ donation compared to 17 percent for Hispanics. About 14 percent of Blacks account for organ donors.
Receiving a heart transplant for Madison would mean the world to her. “Even though a person is not here, I can still give them that joy that their heart is being taken care of,” she said.
April 30, 1961—lsiah Lord Thomas is born in Chicago, Ill. One of nine children raised by a single mother, Thomas will become a basketball star, first for Indiana University and later for the Detroit Pistons, where he will lead the team to 1989 and 1990 NBA championships.
May 1, 1950—Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, first Black awarded a Pulitzer Prize (poetry) in 1950. Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas but grew up in Chicago. She is a witty poet who satirizes blacks and whites and attacks racial discrimination. She uses black language and rituals to proclaim black solidarity.
May 2, 1992—Los Angeles begins clean up and rebuilding after the Rodney King riots (58 deaths, 600 fires, 1 billion dollars of property damage)
May 3, 1967—Black students seized finance building at Northwestern University and demanded Black-oriented curriculum and campus reforms.
May 4, 1891—Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the Provident Hospital and Training School.
May 5, 1969—Moneta Sleet becomes the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. and her daughter at her husband’s funeral
by Dwayne T. Ervin
Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has seen more seat belts use fewer cars on the road, which led to 1,043 fatalities last year as compared to 1,248 in 2007.
The high cost of fuel caused a traffic drop by 2 percent with less traffic. A higher safety belt usage rate, which was 90.5 percent, has caused less people to die on the roads, according to IDOT spokesperson Paris Ervin. The “Click it or Ticket,” program is enforced in Illinois to make drivers aware of their safety by using seat belts in motor vehicles.
“We [IDOT] believe the strong presence of law enforcement in the state has contributed to the [fatality] numbers drop,” said Michael Stout IDOT Division of Traffic Safety Director.
The Operation Teen Safe Driving program is in over 100 schools in Illinois and has helped in a 40 percent reduction in teen deaths from 2007 to 2008. Students in the program are required to identify issues relating to traffic safety in their communities and to implement an awareness curriculum that combats the traffic safety problem in their schools. Selected schools were chosen based on their effectiveness in identifying the problem, creativity of proposals in addressing the problem and the program’s ability to reach teens and the entire community.
According to Stout, the new graduated driver’s license law, which was effective January 2008, increased the number of hours a student had to be behind the wheel. The law increased the amount of hours the students drive with the parents.
Drivers from the graduated program cannot have more than one non-related teen in their cars for their first year of driving. The law for having the permit for nine months causes teens to experience several different conditions of cold, the rain, and ice. Before the law, a driver with a permit would only have to wait three months and it did not matter which three months.
To continue the decline in fatalities, “We will continue our program of ‘Click it or Ticket You Drink and Drive you Lose, Operation Teen Safe Driving Spring and Summer Motorcycle,’ program and continue strong presence of law enforcement to enforce the laws,” Stout continued.
There has been a small decrease in drunk driving. It is our weakest area. “We have not seen the same improvement in those numbers as we have seen in other areas,” he stated. The Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device was introduced in January this year for first time DUI violators.
“We [IDOT] think it is underreported when people have crashes they don’t admit that they were talking on their cell phone or texting somebody,” he mentioned. “It is usually information that people do not provide.”
“We think there are more crashes from distractive driving than what the data shows. Unless it is a fatality, law enforcement is not going to investigate it. It is a problem that we continue to address.
The legislature is working on a law about distractive driving, texting is illegal in Illinois and we support it and hope it passes and the governor signs it.
Senior citizen drivers already have to be tested more often than younger drivers are. Most of our elderly citizens know when they should or should not be behind the wheel.