by Thelma Sardin
Chatham resident of forty-eight years and former United States Senator Roland W. Burris will be honored by his alma mater, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIUC) on Feb. 23. As part of the SIUC’s Black History Month observance, a reception is being held in Burris’ honor for the donation of his U.S. Senate and state government papers to SIUC’s Morris Library, according to a recent press release.
The university will receive Burris’ speeches on the Senate floor, legislation he introduced, transcripts of committee meetings, photographs of activities with colleagues and constituents during his time in the Senate, both in Washington and throughout Illinois.
Burris, a 1959 graduate of SIUC worked in Illinois state government for nearly twenty years prior to his 2008 U.S. Senate appointment. He has also had several “firsts” as an African American. He was the first African American to win statewide office when he was elected comptroller and he was also the state’s first Black attorney general.
“It’s great to be honored by my alma mater. As an alumnus, I have a great affinity for the university and am very involved,” Burris stated in the release.
Four years ago, he found the Roland Burris Endowment Fund at SIUC. Burris cautioned that the fund is not for scholastic ability, but to help students who are in financial need. “I set up an endowed scholarship for students in need of gap funds, books and travel. I know many students who’ve quit, because they couldn’t afford the little things,” he said.
In a recent interview with the Citizen, Burris revealed that three other entities were interested in receiving his documents but SIUC was ultimately selected. The Senator also says he has hundreds of plaques and he is not sure whether they will be donated or not.
Burris understands the importance of higher education. After completing his undergraduate degree, he attended Howard University’s School of Law and earned a juris doctorate in 1963.
SIUC’s president, Glenn Poshard expressed his enthusiasm for Burris’ honor. “Southern Illinois University is honored to receive the official papers and files of one of Illinois’ finest public servants. The fact that Senator Burris is one of our own adds even greater importance and dignity to this auspicious event,” he said.
by Thelma Sardin
Last week, more than a year after the discovery of the horrific scandal at Burr Oak Cemetery, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart revealed what he has learned are common practices in the cemetery industry – practices he said are not only disturbing, but which also threaten to impede criminal investigation processes by law enforcement agencies, according to a recent press release.
On Feb. 1, Dart visited Homewood Memorial Gardens (HMG) in south suburban Homewood. HMG has had a contract with the county since 1980 to bury unidentified and poor individuals. The indigent burials are funded by taxpayer dollars. According to the release, as many as 26 infants were buried together earlier this month, in the same wooden box as assorted items identified only as “mixed tissues.”
Dart asked the Cook County Commissioners to conduct a hearing on the matter before signing a 2011 contract for indigent burials. HMG served as the only bidder for the 2009-10 contract. That 2-year deal called for the cemetery to be compensated $167,300 to handle all indigent burials – with the county billed per casket. During the past 30 years, the county has averaged 250 indigent burials a year; however it dropped to 137 last year.
The indigent interment process begins when the Homewood staff picks up the bodies in a rented U-Haul truck and then unloads the bodies for burial in a designated corner of the cemetery. A county representative should be on site during the burials and the current contract says bodies are only to be buried side-by-side. When Dart witnessed the indigent burial process on Feb. 1, he learned that is not being followed.
Dart called for a statewide reform in handling the burials of unidentified and indigent persons by supporting a bill sponsored by State Rep. William Cunningham (D-Chicago). Recently introduced, HB1457 requires all coroners or medical examiners to obtain a DNA sample for those unidentified at the time of burial, then affixing a metal identification tag to the body. The bill requests for a $1 fee to be added for copies of death certificates to cover any acquired expenses.
According to Steve Patterson, Director of Communications and Community Affairs for the Cook County Sheriff, the legislation sponsored by State Rep. Cunningham would require a grid system of exact locations of indigent burials, limit the number of caskets stacked over each other and limit the number of bodies in one casket. With multiple infants in one casket, along with medical waste and assorted bones and limbs, it makes it even more impossible to exhume a baby if needed.
by Thelma Sardin
Last week, Mayor Daley, elected officials and dignitaries visited Urban Prep Academies’ (UP) to celebrate a joyous occasion. For the second consecutive year, one hundred percent of UP’s graduating class was accepted to college. Last year, UP gained global attention for its accomplishment of 100 percent of its first graduating class garnering college acceptance letters.
UP has three campuses throughout the city including in the East Garfield Park, Englewood and South Shore neighborhoods. UP is the country’s first all-male public charter high school consisting of all African American student body.
Daley commended students, faculty and staff members on achieving a 100 percent acceptance rate for its students to attend a four-year college or university for the second year in row.
According to a recent press release, this year there are 104 seniors who have been accepted to colleges across the nation. Last year, 107 seniors were accepted to colleges nation-wide including Connecticut College, Denison College, Howard University, Morehouse College, Northwestern University, Rutgers University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“When I was here last year in March, I was happy to be part of an historical moment. All of Urban Prep Englewood’s first graduating class had been accepted to college. I’m happy to say that once again, this year’s entire graduating class has been accepted to college. That’s unheard of but it’s becoming an annual occurrence at Urban Prep,” said Daley.
Tim King, Founder and Chief Educational Officer of Urban Prep Academies said obtaining a good education is not just about attending school. “…It’s about families having great educational options and educators using all techniques at their disposal to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”
In a recent open letter, King explained that the Class of 2011 faced the same challenges as the prior graduating class. “Just like Urban Prep’s class of 2010, these young men have faced seemingly insurmountable odds as they worked towards college acceptance. In Chicago, the data are shocking: only 40% of African-American males complete high school; as few as 54% of high school graduates enroll in college, and just 2.5% of African-American males will earn a Bachelor’s degree. Our seniors, with a 100% college acceptance rate, are creating their own, much more positive, statistics.”
According to an Associated Press report, the average college enrollment rate for Chicago Public Schools was just over 54 percent. The average graduation rate for black males was 41 percent.
Citizen Newspaper Group 2011 Municipal Election Endorsement
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Punch 1)
City Clerk Patricia Horton (Punch 21)
City Treasurer Stephanie Neely (Punch 31)
Look for the Aldermanic Candidates In Your Ward:
3rd Ward Pat Dowell (Punch 52)
4th Ward William D. “Will” Burns (Punch 51)
5th Ward Leslie A. Hairston (Punch 53)
6th Ward Freddrenna M. Lyle (Punch 52)
7th Ward Sandi Jackson (Punch 61)
8th Ward Michelle A. Harris (Punch 52)
9th Ward Anthony A. Beale (Punch 53)
15th Ward Toni L. Foulkes (Punch 54)
16th Ward JoAnn Thompson (Punch 51)
17th Ward Latasha R. Thomas (Punch 51)
18th Ward Lona Lane (Punch 51)
20th Ward Willie B. Cochran (Punch 53)
21st Ward Howard B. Brookins, Jr. (Punch 56)
24th Ward Sharon Denise Dixon (Punch 69)
27th Ward Walter Burnett, Jr. (Punch 52)
29th Ward Deborah L. Graham (Punch 52)
34th Ward Carrie M. Austin (Punch 53)
37th Ward Emma M. Mitts (Punch 51)
Name: Timika Hoffman-Zoller
Why does she stand out?
As a child, Hoffman-Zoller‘s parents expected her to “do something positive” that would help society, whether it be fund-raising for charities, working at soup kitchens, or assisting at shelters. She contributes to the Black community by promoting emergency preparedness.“I get personal fulfillment from sharing resources that help others feel secure,” Hoffman-Zoller stated. In addition, her goal is to get more people of color trained in emergency preparedness. “[To ensure] the Black community can have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace … and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards…,” she said.Hoffman-Zoller is also the founder of On the Safe Side, Inc., a not-for Profit Corporation dedicated to promoting and enhancing public awareness of safety issues and emergency preparedness to individuals and communities, with a focus on underserved and underrepresented minority populations. According to Hoffman-Zoller, “People should volunteer because it strengthens your community, strengthens your character, and strengthens your spirit,” she said.
by Thelma Sardin
by Thelma Sardin
Last week, Imagine Englewood If (IEi) began its six-week series of free Lead Awareness and Prevention workshops for families of lead-poisoned children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
Closer to home the numbers become more frightening. Posted on IEi’s website are the Chicago Public Health Department’s (CPHD) numbers for lead poisoning in Englewood. According to (CPHD), 4454 (39.3%) of Englewood’s 11,339 children, ages 0-6, were screened for lead-poisoning in 2008, with 567 (12.7%) recording elevated lead blood levels. With less than half of all Englewood children in that age range screened in ’08, recent budget cuts have resulted in even fewer screenings.
“Self, Family and Team” is IEi’s theme for the first phase of a parent-driven initiative to increase screenings and treatment for children of the Greater Englewood community. Additionally, workshops are made possible through the Woods Fund of Chicago and will be presented by Idida Perez, community organizer and executive director of West Town Leadership United in Humboldt Park.
Jean-Carter Hill, executive director of IEi, believes lead poisoning is not highly publicized in the Black community for a number of reasons. “People do not connect the impact of the results of lead poisoning with many of the issues facing the black community. Examples of which are irreversible learning disabilities, attention deficit and behavioral problems, “adding, “The community is apathetic, overwhelmed by so many other challenges, high crime, high incarceration, poor health, unemployment, underemployment, lack of housing, etc.,” she said.
Lead poisoning is caused by old housing stock with lead-paint on the walls, chips from the window sills and in the soil from demolition and leaching, as well as toys and other objects.
IEi developed the six-week series of workshops to inspire families to strive for a positive quality of life. “We cannot help our children if we can’t help ourselves,” Carter-Hill said. The six week series is centered on the COFI (Community Organizing Family Issues) model of leadership preparation for parents.
Workshops are scheduled for Feb. 22, Mar.8, 15, and 22 from 9:30am to 12:00 pm at IEi located on 6720 S. Stewart Ave. A continental breakfast will be served. To register, call 773.488.6704 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special to the NN-A from the AFRO-American newspapers
Comedian and popular radio personality Steve Harvey appears to have the upper hand in a case filed against his ex-wife, as a Texas judge refuted Mary Harvey’s claims of infidelity and abandonment, among a list of other accusations.
Harvey took his ex-wife to court on last week to contest her claims and determine whether she had violated a gag order forcing them not to speak about their marriage. She took to the Internet last month and posted a series of videos on YouTube, claiming that her ex-husband had left her homeless, turned their 13-year-old son against her, left her broke, and cheated on her prior to their divorce.
But court documents reveal that Mary’s claims were refuted, moving that Steve maintained primary custody over their son and had been giving Mary $40,000 per month up until March 2009. He also gave her $1.5 million following that date.
Additionally, the court said that the two divorced due to irreconcilable differences and Steve’s current wife had nothing to do with their split.
The court granted Steve’s request for temporary injunction and forced Mary to remove all of her videos online. But, as of Feb. 11, the videos could still be viewed on YouTube.
Steve Harvey briefly addressed the issue on his talk show, according to US Magazine.
“I know the truth,” Harvey said during the show. “I don’t care what you say about me, but my wife and kids are off limits.”
Steve and Mary Harvey first met in 1989 and got married in 1996. The couple divorced in 2005. Steve later married his current wife, Marjorie Bridges, in 2007.
The ex-couple will appear in court again in March so the judge can determine if the imposed gag order had been violated.
The city of Chicago is in need of strong leadership and we believe Rahm Emanuel is right for the job. From gun violence to the budget crisis, the city requires a no nonsense mayor who can help move Chicago forward.
Like any other large city, one of Chicago’s greatest challenges is resolving the problem of corruption. Corruption leads to abuse of power, to waste and fraud and in the end, the people who suffer most, are those already living in underserved communities, many of whom are Black.
Although corruption comes in different shapes and forms, it arises in the Black community when so-called “front” companies eat away at employment opportunities. Abuse of Chicago’s Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Certification process is well documented and severely hurts the upstart businesses it is supposed to help.
“Front” companies come about when minorities obtain contracts fraudulently. However, the more legitimate Black businesses there are in the community to employ residents, the greater an opportunity for job creation. In the end, that helps decrease high unemployment. Among counties in the nation, Cook County had the most Black-owned businesses with 83,733 accounting for 4.4 percent of all the nation’s Black-owned businesses and that’s a lot of opportunity when legitimately exercised.
Emanuel plans to eliminate the problem of so-called “front” companies by going after individuals who abuse the system and by barring them from receiving any city business for a decade. We think that’s a winning idea. Additionally, he plans to add transparency to the procurement process by hiring professionals to operate the Department of Procurement Services to guarantee that politics no longer play a role in the awarding of contracts.
Emanuel has also declared that if elected, his administration would fight to end corruption in City Hall and that he would sign an executive order excluding his appointees from lobbying the city for two years after leaving his administration. This will help reform the city’s hiring practices which for years have been blemished by illegal political patronage.
Emanuel also has the experience to get the job done. His work for the federal government where he served most recently as the White House Chief of Staff, we think, will be good for the city. Prior to the Obama appointment, Emanuel was a U.S. Congressman representing Chicago’s North side. In the totality, we think based on his background, however, he has the ability to bring all of Chicago together.
With recent polls showing Emanuel in the lead, he is receiving support from people all over the city. For example, a recent poll by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA)shows Emanuel leading the mayoral race with 58 percent. Gery Chico came in second at 24 percent, Miguel Del Valle at 10 percent and Carol Moseley Braun at percent.The latest IRMA is not the only poll indicating Emanuel is ahead. A recent ABC 7 poll showed Emanuel with a 54 percent lead and a Tribune poll with 49 percent.
Moreover, in the Black community, the importance of receiving a quality education is more important now than ever. In the end, it’s the only way little Black boys and little Black girls can overcome their greatest enemy—poverty. In August, the Schott Foundation for Public Education released a report where it revealed out of 48 states across the nation, Black males graduated at 47 percent in 2007-2008, which means less than half of nation’s Black males are receiving high school diplomas. The report also found that in Chicago only 44 percent of Black males are counted as high school graduates.
We like Emanuel’s plan to get the parents involved but we also like his ideas on reforming the educational system. If elected, he says he’ll focus on turning around high schools that account for 50% of Chicago’s dropouts. Community organizations, universities and other civic institutions will supply individuals to mentor and tutor students as well as provide job training and access to college courses.
He says he’ll also address educational disparities. As mayor, every public school will have a five year performance contract; principals will be empowered and also held accountable; and parents will be involved. For parents, Emanuel was inspired by 16-year-old “Jeremy” whom he met on the campaign trail. Jeremy had an afterschool program and was able to help keep the parents involved by asking them to sign written contracts memorializing their agreement to participate in their child’s learning experience. For parents who consent to signing these contracts, it’s another way to keep them involved because without their participation, city nor school officials can do it alone.
Emanuel appears to have a solid plan on fighting crime in Chicago but has pointed out that job creation is tied to ending violence in the city. He says economic development cannot occur without the reduction of crime and he’s proposed to put 1,000 additional cops on the streets followed by a three-year plan to reduce violent crime in blighted Tax Increment Financing (TIF) areas. The strategy will shrink crime rates by utilizing surplus TIF funds. This directive will strategically deploy 250 police officers in areas impacted by high crime rates. In an Emanuel administration, TIFs will be restored to their “original purpose” of serving blighted communities. In the end, that will spur job creation in the Black community when crime rates go down.
Additionally, Emanuel has a comprehensive food desert policy, a problem that affected 480,000 Black Chicagoans in 2009 according to the Chicago Reader. To help allay the problem, Emanuel says he wants to meet with grocers from across the city so that they can lay out a plan for the south and west side food deserts.
There is no doubt Emanuel can lead Chicago into the future. Based on his solid plans for pushing the city forward, his experience and strong leadership abilities, the Citizen Newspaper endorses Emanuel for mayor.
by Linda Conley
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks drew national attention to racial injustices, but it was the quiet heroic work of others that forced an end to segregation in the South.
Glen Browder, a white Democrat and former representative from Alabama, and Artemesia Stanberry, a black assistant professor of political science, have teamed up to talk about the work of those unknown leaders.
They co-authored a study and book titled, “Stealth Reconstruction: The Untold Story of Southern Politics and History.” The authors were part of a dialogue about race relations in the 21st century in Hartness Auditorium at Converse College.
“Glen Browder was in Congress with Liz Patterson, and she told us about him and Artemesia,” said Melissa Walker, history professor at Converse. “We are always working on educating students on issues and race relations. We also would like to be a leader in improving race relations in our community.”
In honor of Black History Month, the college wants to create dialogue between black and white people. Walker said the first step is to get people talking.
Browder, a South Carolina native and professor emeritus at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, said he started thinking about the role biracial politics played in the civil rights movement. He contacted Stanberry, who worked as his congressional aide and is now a political science professor at North Carolina Central University, to help him with the project.
“I don’t know of any book that has been written about the black leaders and white politicians who worked quietly behind the scenes,” Browder said. “The heroic drama involved Dr. King and Rosa Parks on one side and you had Bull Connor turning fire hoses on people and George Wallace standing in doors of universities on the other side, but it occurred to me a lot of change was not of that nature. There where some white politicians and black leaders who got together behind closed doors and said, We have to do things differently.”’
The authors said the work of these leaders was done “stealthy” or in secret. They said there had to be a transition right after the civil rights movement made up of politicians and leaders interested in moving the South beyond segregation in the 1970s through the ’90s.
“It had to be done stealthy because white politicians wouldn’t have been able to get elected if people knew what they were doing and black leaders couldn’t get elected at that time,” Browder said. “Civil disobedience helped to change laws in the legal system, but there was mass resistance. It took practical politics to help change things.”
As part of the project, Browder and Stanberry conducted interviews with black civil rights leaders and white politicians. When they started working on the project, they realized how different their views were on race and Southern politics.
“He (Browder) is conservative, and I am progressive,” Stanberry said. “I don’t want to undermine the struggles and successes of African Americans during the civil rights movement, but there was a biracial coalition that occurred.”
Stanberry said she had no idea how much work was going on between black leaders and white politicians until she started working on the study and book. She now has more respect for the work these groups were able to accomplish.
“People write about Martin Luther King and rightly so, and they write about the bus boycott and rightly so, but then you had what happened in the 1970s during the implementation phase,” she said. “Southern states weren’t rushing to integrate the schools. You needed politicians to work with the black community to implement these policies so there wasn’t such a backlash.”
Browder and Stanberry are in the middle of a speaking tour on race relations in the South. They have appeared at the National Archives and on C-SPAN Book-TV. They also have presented programs at Wofford and Presbyterian colleges and Winthrop University.
by Joyce Rosenberg
NEW YORK – (AP) – Roofs that collapsed under heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast this winter are a graphic reminder to small business owners: Get insurance!
Gas stations, factories and stores have been heavily damaged or destroyed. In Easton, Mass., the roof of a commercial building began collapsing while workers were inside. They all got out OK.
A small business without adequate property, casualty and liability insurance can be in jeopardy of failing in these kinds of situations. If a building is heavily damaged or destroyed and the owner can’t pay to rebuild, he or she may not be able to stay in business. So, this is a good time for owners to buy insurance if they don’t have it. And if they do have insurance, look at their policies to be sure they have enough coverage in case the roof literally caves in.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
The good news is that snow-related damage like a roof collapse is covered in a standard business owner’s insurance policy, or BOP. This kind of insurance covers property damage. It also contains liability insurance, the coverage you need in case someone is hurt on your property. That’s a big worry when the ground is icy after a snowfall or freezing rain.
A BOP also has insurance that is critical for a company’s survival, business interruption insurance. This kind of insurance covers a company’s operating expenses, including payroll, when it’s shut down. But it also covers a company if one of its key vendors is shut down and unable to supply key parts or products. So, if your vendor’s roof collapsed and you have to stop production, business interruption insurance will cover your economic losses.
Business interruption insurance also covers power outages. So if you can’t operate because an ice storm took down the power lines and the utility can’t repair them right away, your insurance will reimburse you for your expenses.
You can find out more about business insurance at the Insurance Information Institute’s website, www.iii.org and the site for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at www.insureuonline.org/smallbusiness.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
Unfortunately, many companies don’t have adequate insurance. Many owners worried about their finances during the recession cut back on their coverage, says Loretta Worters, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute.
Other owners may just not know how much insurance they should buy. Worters suggests owners meet with their accountant as well as their insurance agent to decide what and how much to buy.
Another mistake owners can make about insurance is to not buy more when they have more equipment or property to protect. If you just bought a new computer system and the cost of replacing it would exceed what your insurance policy will pay, then you need to increase your coverage.
BUT DON’T WAIT FOR DISASTER TO STRIKE
If there’s a lot of snow on the roof of your building, and you can safely remove it, you should. Keep an eye on the building and walkways while there’s snow and ice around. That way you’ll lessen the likelihood of someone falling on ice or getting hit by ice falling off the building. Check on your water pipes to be sure they’re not in danger of freezing and bursting.
Worters said an insurance company will reimburse you even if you haven’t tried to mitigate any damage. But look at it this way: Why go through the hassle of a lawsuit, or why have to pay higher premiums if you do have property damage?