Bread for the World is urging Congress to reform U.S. foreign assistance so it is more effective and benefits hungry and poor people globally.
The organization recently launched its 2011 Offering of Letters campaign in support of the effort.
“The main driver of poverty reduction in the world is the hard work of poor people themselves. Given the opportunity to improve their communities and provide a better life for their children, they will seize it,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We need to make sure U.S. foreign aid reaches those who need it most, and that it supports their efforts to lift their communities out of poverty.”
More effective aid matters to poor countries, such as Haiti and Liberia. For example, Haiti is struggling to recover from long-standing poverty made worse by the 2010 earthquake. Similarly, the people of Liberia are emerging from two devastating civil wars that left many more deeply impoverished.
“These problems cannot be overcome quickly, but more effective U.S. assistance will make a big difference as Haitians and Liberians—and people in many other developing countries—increase their capacity and infrastructure so they can become self-sufficient and build a better future for themselves,” said Bishop Don Dixon Williams, racial/ethnic outreach associate at Bread for the World.
Bread for the World seeks changes on four fronts:
•A stronger U.S. government focus on reducing poverty.
•Clearer accountability for how U.S. aid dollars are spent and their results.
•A transformed U.S. development agency.
•U.S. aid that meets the needs and wants of local people.
“As a friend of Bread for the World’s, I appreciate the practical ways in which they help us to unify the voice of the church to say to our elected officials a prophetic word they need to hear,” said Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Chairperson of the Social Action Commission, African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Thousands of churches representing nearly 50 diverse religious denominations throughout the United States will participate in Bread for the World’s 2011 Offering of Letters campaign. As part of a worship service or Mass, Christians will write letters to their members of Congress in support of legislation that will benefit hungry and poor people. Instead of money, these letters are placed in the offering plates and dedicated to God. Bread for the World members generate hundreds of thousands of letters to Congress every year. Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters materials are available online at www.bread.org/ol.
CHICAGO – Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mrs. Maggie Daley recently hosted President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at a welcome dinner event in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago hotel.
The dinner, attended by civic, business and community leaders, is the first official event held to mark the occasion of President Hu’s visit to Chicago , which follows his meetings with President Barack Obama in Washington , D.C. earlier this week as part of a State Visit.
“This is President Hu’s first visit to our city, and we are excited to share with him all that makes Chicago a wonderful place for our residents and visitors alike,” Daley said.
“I’m convinced that the economic future of Chicago and other cities depends on our willingness to seek opportunities all around the world and especially in Asia, and in recent years we have focused a great deal of effort on developing an economic relationship with China. Our long-range goal is to make Chicago the most ‘China-Friendly’ city in the United States and to establish it as China’s ‘Gateway to America,’” the Mayor said.
At the dinner, Daley announced a gift of $1 million to fund scholarships for Chinese students to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. The scholarship is endowed by the Margot and Tom Pritzker Family Foundation to foster educational exchanges in architecture and design that will enable Chinese students to return to China with refined skill sets in these fields.
Daley said Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt, and his wife, Margot, have a deep interest in Chinese art and culture. Together, they have been active in preserving a number of important cultural heritage sites in China .
“Art leads to greater understanding among cultures and this gift is given as a gesture of friendship on behalf of the people of Chicago on the occasion of President Hu’s visit,” he said.
The Mayor also announced that Motorola Solutions is making a gift of $100,000 to the Chicago Public Schools to increase the number of CPS students studying in China .
The gift is part of the federal government’s “100,000 Strong” Initiative, a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number and diversify the
composition of American students studying in China . Caterpillar, Inc., has also pledged significant support for the “100,000 Strong” Initiative, the Mayor said.
This program seeks to prepare the next generation of American experts on China whose job it will be to manage the growing ties between the two countries.
The dinner featured musical performances by the Stu Hirsh Orchestra, the Chicago Children’s Choir and two Chinese-born members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, violinist Lei Hou and her sister, violinist Qing Hou.
In addition to Mayor Daley, the Welcome Committee is composed of W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Boeing Company; Douglas R. Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc.; Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Jamie Dimon; Chairman and CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company; and Greg Brown, President and CEO, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The guests dined on a traditional Midwestern menu with Asian accents. The meal was a collaboration of three of Chicago ’s prominent chefs including Executive Chef Mario Garcia, Hilton Chicago, Chef Jackie Shen and Executive Pastry Chef Gale Gand, Tru.
by Thelma Sardin
Darnell Keel has been suspended from his job as a Harvey Police commander without pay. His teenage son allegedly stole his police-assigned SUV. The driving spree ended in a crash critically injuring another automobilist outside of Ingalls Memorial Hospital.
On Jan. 2. Divonne Keel, 17, of Matteson allegedly took his father’s keys to a 2003 Ford Explorer that is owned by the Harvey Police Department.
According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, Keel did not have permission or authority to use the vehicle.
Keel allegedly drove from Matteson to Harvey. Keel was spotted driving southbound on Wood St. by a Harvey police officer that recognized the vehicle and noticed the police lights were engaged, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
At 156th& Wood, Keel allegedly drove through a red light striking a woman in a 2007 Ford Focus and two parked vehicles.
The Citizen contacted Sandra Alvarado, Harvey Police spokesperson for more information regarding the suspension. The Citizen asked the cause of Keel’s suspension and its duration. Alvarado said she could not release any further information on the case because it is still pending.
Divonne Keel has been charged with aggravated possession of a stolen law enforcement vehicle and aggravated reckless driving, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Darnell Keel has been a Harvey police commander since 2003 and was suspended soon after the incident.
by Thelma Sardin
At his downtown campaign office on Thursday afternoon, mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel sat down with about a dozen journalists from local community newspapers in Chicago. The round table discussion is a part of Emanuel’s ongoing attempt to ensure community media outlets have access to him. He first began sitting down with the community press after being elected to Congress representing Chicago’s 5th district.
During the discussion, Emanuel took questions from the journalists and discussed three key things the next mayor must focus on. Education, safe streets and a stable economy are among the items Emanuel said are essential to Chicago. “…You’ve got to get those things right,” he told the reporters.
Actively involved in President Clinton’s 1994 crime strategy, Emanuel has a plan to put 1,000 more beat cops on the street if he is elected. According to his crime agenda which he presented on Jan. 9, more police on Chicago’s streets can develop better relationships between law enforcement and communities. Essentially, police will have a presence in the community and will not only be symbolic of emergency situations.
The Citizen asked Emanuel what his plans were to combat gang violence in schools.
He proposes to end gang violence by implementing a comprehensive after school program for public school students. In this policy, Emanuel hopes to educate to end youth violence. The program will run five days a week for two and a half hours per day.
“I don’t care if that kid wants to do athletic, artistic, or academic [activities]…,” Emanuel told the Citizen. He continued by saying with adult supervision, children will not be lured into gang activity and will have lower chances of becoming a victim of a gang fatality.
Also on Thursday, Emanuel announced his plans to overhaul the CTA’s Red Line if he is elected. “Rahm’s first transit priority will be a complete overhaul of the Red Line: rebuilding deteriorating tracks south to 95thStreet, extending the line south to 130th and renovating and modernizing Red Line stations and track north of Belmont,” his campaign said in a statement.
Emanuel admits his campaign is not built on promises. “I won’t pledge to you something I don’t think I can do,” he said
by Thelma Sardin
Business owners and community residents of 34th Ward crowded into the Sheldon Heights Church located on 11325 South Halsted Street on last week to discuss Special Service Area (SSA) #46.
SSA #45 and #46 are located in the 34th Ward.
The SSA Program is a mechanism to fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous industrial, commercial and residential areas, according to the City of Chicago’s website.
The town hall meeting last week was for both #45 and #46 where the debate centered around the calculation of the tax levy where #46′s tax increment is much higher than #45.
Arba L. Houlden, Jr. executive director of the Far South Community Development Corporation (FSCDC) explained that, “The voting constituents benefit from the SSA because a more attractive and safe business district attracts more viable and popular tenants to the Ward. This way residence don’t have to travel outside the Ward to other neighborhoods for goods that their community provides,” he stated.
SSA-funded projects could include but are not limited to security services, area marketing and advertising assistance, promotional activities such as parades and festivals, or any variety of small scale capital improvements which could be supported through a modest property tax levy.
There are 43 SSA’s in the City of Chicago. According to Houlden, there are roughly 29 in white communities, 10 in black communities and 4 in Hispanic communities around the city.
Rose Wellington, owner of Rose Paradise Salon, said during the meeting, “I want to applaud the SSA.” She continued by saying SSA security guards visit her business on a regular basis which makes her staff and customers feel more secure.
Ursula Sawyer of Insure One also thinks the SSA is beneficial to the 34th Ward and believes if she ever needed help, the SSA security guards “would help her” until police arrived.
However, businesses owners like Thomas Jundanian, President of K.A. Pridjian Rug Cleaning and Sales said although he doesn’t think the SSA is a “threat” to the community, it’s a high cost to pay. He questions whether businesses can afford it, adding the SSA is not what business owners like him were initially presented with.
When asked what the terms of the SSA were when it was presented to the community, Houlden stated, “The expected increase was understood as being a 1.5% of the assessed value of the property and when the taxes actually came out the calculation ballooned to as much as 30%. The city nor the county has made it clear why this has happened,” Houlden said.
Flowers Communications Group (FCG) recently announced an evolution in its agency’s leadership, naming Rashada Whitehead President. Whitehead, who rejoined the agency in 2008 as its first appointed Managing Director, has quickly leveraged the company’s equity in the marketplace, making it poised for tremendous growth.
At a time when many small to mid-sized agencies are finding a benefit in mergers and acquisitions, the Chicago-based multicultural communications firm is choosing to remain independent in its mission to provide quality public relations and integrated marketing services to its vibrant and growing roster of client partners. “This is an incredible time in the history of our agency and the industry as a whole,” says Flowers Communications Group Founder and CEO, D. Michelle Flowers Welch. “When I started the company 20 years ago, it was my vision to create a legacy of leadership that filled a void in the marketplace. FCG was among the pioneers in multicultural communications. As we look at the demographic shift in America, there is now a tremendous demand for multicultural communications experts. Rashada is a proven leader whose diverse skill set is an imperative for the next generation of PR practitioners. Her results-oriented approach, client-service focus and operational expertise will serve us well. I am extremely proud to have her lead FCG into our next 20 years.”
2011 marks the 20th year anniversary of FCG which focuses on African-American and Hispanic consumer markets, but is quickly expanding its capabilities to service other consumer segments.
“I count it nothing short of a privilege to be a part of such an exciting time at such a great company,” says Whitehead. “As we look ahead, FCG is in a unique position to be the catalyst for forging meaningful alliances, developing compelling creative and presenting public relations solutions that connect with our core targets. This is our opportunity to reaffirm our commitment and promise of excellence to our people, our partners, our industry and our communities.”
As President, Whitehead will be responsible for leading the firm into its next phase of thought leadership. The announcement of her promotion is just the first of a series of exciting changes the agency is unveiling over the next year, in celebration of its 20th anniversary.
by Thelma Sardin
Congressman Bobby Rush (1st Dist.) will hold an emergency congressional summit on Jan. 22 to discuss, “strategies to protect children from attempted abductions, as well as to discuss solutions to the disparities in arrest and incarceration rates when children of color go missing,” Stephanie Gadlin, Rush’s spokesperson told the Citizen in a recent e-mail.
“My goal is educate the community on ways to protect our children, as well as to inform them of the processes, procedures, and resources that are in place for when a child goes missing. The constituents in my district must have the trust and confidence in their public officials that everything is being done to protect our children, and when a child is abducted, finding them and bringing the perpetrators to justice is a top priority for all of us whose job it is to protect the community,” Rush stated in the same e-mail.
“The congressman also believes the media plays a vital role in how cases involving children of color who go missing are perceived by the larger public,” said Gadlin.
The Congressman’s move sheds light on the missing teen case of Yasmin Acree who disappeared from her home on January 15, 2008. Over the weekend, Acree’s family members passed out fliers to help shed new light on her case. Acree was fifteen years old at the time of her vanishing.
In Baltimore, the story of another missing Black teen is slowly beginning to receive national media coverage.
Sixteen year old Phylicia Barnes of North Carolina was visiting family in Baltimore during the holidays when she disappeared on December 28. There have been several searches for Barnes whose seventeenth birthday was on January 12. According to Baltimore’s CBS affiliate, WJZ-TV the searches have left investigators empty-handed, but with there is a new focus on Patapsco State Park located west of Baltimore.
“Through the investigative process, information has been developed, and Maryland Natural Resources Police are conducting this search at the request of the Baltimore Police Department,” Sgt. Arthur Windemuth told WJZ about the latest search.
Congressman Rush is familiar with the Barnes story. “He believes there should be more national coverage and he has the youth’s family in his prayers,” stated Gadlin.
The NHS Redevelopment Corporation (NHSRC), the real estate development arm of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, has homes for sale in Roseland, Pullman and throughout the city.
You can buy or rent to own by working with a trusted nonprofit organization that has been giving Chicagoans the resources they need to buy, fix or keep their home for more than 35 years. NHS of Chicago also offers free home buyer education classes in Roseland, individualized pre-purchasing counseling, as well as affordable fixed-rate lending.
“For more than 30 years, the NHS Redevelopment Corporation has invested in Roseland, with many lasting, visible developments along the 104th & 107th Michigan Avenue corridor that have made Roseland a place to call home,” said Debbie Dixon, Associate Director, NHS Redevelopment Corporation. These include 40 units of rental town homes, a senior campus consisting of 172 units of both supportive and independent senior housing, 30 new single family and 16 2-flat homes located along Edbrooke and Michigan Avenue between 105th and 107th St.
Homebuyers interested in purchasing an affordable quality-constructed home with energy efficient features can take advantage of NHSRC’s Developer Close-Out Sale. There’s four brand-new homes available, including single family and two-flat homes that are move-in ready.
NHSRC’s new, three bedroom, 1.5 bathroom single family home at 148 E. 107th Street is priced to sell at $95,000 for income-eligible families who qualify for the $40,000 City of Chicago subsidy. This two-story home has an eat-in kitchen, large yard, and an unfinished basement ideal for additional space for family gatherings.
Priced at $135,000, the brick, two-flat buildings, including a home at 10631 S. Michigan, offers a duplex floor plan in the owners unit consisting of three bedrooms, 1.5 bath with in-unit laundry hookup. The one-bedroom, 1,200-square foot rental unit is equipped with Whirlpool/ GE energy efficient kitchen appliances. Other amenities include an eat-in kitchen with island, insulated walls and
ceilings, deluxe oak cabinets, cultured marble vanity tops, 1 or 2 car parking pad, ornamental iron fence between buildings, wrought iron fencing along front walls (2-flat), and chain link fencing in rear yards.
To schedule a viewing of these homes, call Rhonda Prichett at (773) 341-3177. To see photos, or for more information about NHS’ free classes and services, visit www.nhschicago.org,
Ald. Anthony Beale led ground breaking ceremonies for an Aldi store at 115th St. & Michigan Ave. to cheers of over 60 people who braved the snow and cold this weekend.
“There’s good representation here today — residents, business people, community leaders,” observed Godfrey Lawson, president of the l00~ and Eberbart Block Club. “The neighborhood is coming back!”
Persistence and renewal were the themes of several remarks made at the event. Beale noted he had worked 11 years to address the ward’s “food deserts” and that Aldi would be one of two major grocery stores to open soon. “They will flu avoid with fresh produce, seafood and other items we lack,” said Beale.
According to Musa Tadros, president of Crown Commercial Real Estate and Development Inc., the 18,000 sq. ft. Aldi will anchor a 90,000 sq. ft. mini-mall.
He expects the real work on Aldi to begin in March, with doors opening by the fall. He indicated a bank, restaurant and other services emphasized by the community were being sought to complete the mall.
Beale credits Tadros as “the only developer who wanted to take a chance on this project. He’s been in the community 30 years and developed other successful sites in the area.” Says Tadros, “We’ve been working together on this for six years. Most aldermen would’ve given up.” Agreed Ted Stalnos, executive director of the Calumet Area Tndustrial Commission, “I can’t emphasize enough how much Ald. Beale has put on the line to get this moving.”
Perhaps Andrea Reed, executive director of the Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce, summed up the spirit of the morning’s celebration best: “People say there are no good things iii Roseland. Actually, there are great things happening here. We have been working together as one fbr the greater Roseland community.”
CHICAGO – On Tuesday morning, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel in the Yates Gallery of the Chicago Cultural Center. After several citizens and volunteers voiced their reasons why they are backing Emanuel for mayor, he and Clinton emerged on stage and greeted the throngs of screaming supporters.
Emanuel credited his time as Clinton’s aide before he became a U.S. Congressman from Chicago. “…Without the opportunity to serve, I would have never been able to serve as a Congressman from the City of Chicago and I never would have been able to serve as chief of staff to President Obama,” Emanuel said. He followed by saying Clinton has been a “mentor” and “teacher” to him.
Clinton told the crowd, Emanuel, whom he met twenty years ago would be “fearlessly honest” as mayor.
“You need a big person for the job,” Clinton said. “Now, Rahm’s not even six feet tall, he probably weighs 150 pounds dripping wet. But in all the ways that matter, he is a very big person.
Clinton further ensured supporters that Emanuel is the right candidate for the job because “he has made big decisions.”
From the time he committed to coming to Chicago to support Emanuel, Clinton’s visit has been controversial. Before dropping out of the race, Congressman Danny Davis said in a statement, “The African-American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however, it appears as though some of that relationship may be fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago’s Black community.” Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the remaining major Black candidate, dismissed the visit as “an outsider coming to town to support another outsider.”
While Clinton campaigned for Emanuel, mayoral contender City Clerk Miguel del Valle held a press conference in Chicago’s Austin community to announce measures to hold banks accountable for foreclosures. Del Valle also called on Emanuel to explain his role in the nation’s housing crisis.
“Rahm Emanuel, who wants to be mayor of Chicago, needs to visit a home like this and explain what his role with Freddie Mac was,” del Valle said inside a house located at 4924 W Gladys Avenue, accompanied by Elce Redmond and Bob Vondrasek of the South Austin Coalition.
Clinton appointed Emanuel to Freddie Mac’s Board of Directors in 2000 where according to a Tribune report, Emanuel earned at least $320,000 during his fourteen month assignment on the board.
Thelma Sardin, wires, press releases