Washington, DC — President Barack Obama is nominating the mayor of Charlotte to head his Department of Transportation.
Obama revealed Mayor Anthony Foxx as his pick in the White House East Room Monday.
The president called the rising Democratic star his friend and called on the Senate to quickly confirm him. He said he wants to get Americans back to work rebuilding roads and other infrastructure.
Foxx is the first black nominee among Obama’s picks for open spots in his second-term Cabinet.
If confirmed, he will replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood, one of the few Republicans serving in Obama’s administration.
“I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary,” said Obama, “He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.”
President Obama last month signed proclamations establishing two new national monuments in honor of African Americans, using his authority under the Antiquities Act. The monuments which are located in Maryland and Ohio help tell the story of Harriet Tubman, the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom, and of Charles Young, a distinguished officer in the United States Army. Obama established designations by harnessing bi-partisan support from congressional, state and local officials, local businesses and other stakeholders. The new monuments and are expected to promote economic growth in their respective local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation.
A total of five national monuments were designated by the president. The other three are: the State National Monument located in Delaware and the first to be commissioned there, the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington.
“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” said President Obama about all five new monuments. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”
First exercised by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the authority of the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents since 1906 to protect unique natural and historic features in America, such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients.
The designation of the monuments builds on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which fosters a 21st century approach to conservation that responds to the priorities of the American people.
“From the treasured landscapes of northern New Mexico and Washington, to the historic sites in Delaware, to the sites that show our nation’s path from Civil War to civil rights, these monuments help tell the rich and complex story of our nation’s history and natural beauty,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “There’s no doubt that these monuments will serve as economic engines for the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation – supporting economic growth and creating jobs.”
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland: The monument commemorates the life of Harriet Tubman who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom. The monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others. The monument will also partner with the State of Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center when it opens in 2015. The monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio: The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel. Young also served as one of the early Army superintendents of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, before the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. The national headquarters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, of which Col. Young was a member, made the property available for acquisition by the federal government for the purpose of establishing the national monument commemorating Young’s life and accomplishments. The monument, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
By Larissa M. Tyler
The FBI has released 128 pages from its file on Whitney Houston, revealing details of an apparently successful blackmail plot, as well as an investigation into an obsessed fan.
Released in response to a freedom of information request, the FBI’s documents cover 11 years of threats against the singer, from 1988 to 1999. But the pages are heavily redacted – in many cases, to the point of incomprehensibility.
Sometimes the redactions are tantalizing. In late 1992, an unidentified Chicago lawyer wrote to Houston’s New Jersey-based production company stating that unless the singer paid $100,000 , his client planned to “reveal certain details of [Houston's] private life … to several publications”. Later the blackmail amount was boosted even higher, to $250,000.
According to the FBI, this was extortion. But when agents met with Houston and her father, the singer said she knew the woman who was making the threats, and that she was “a friend … [who] would never do anything to embarrass her”. Officers closed the case, even though Houston’s father had apparently sent the blackmailer a confidentiality agreement and an unknown sum of money.
In addition to the extortion case, officers investigated several cases of over-devoted fans. One Vermont letter-writer claimed: “I start to shake … when I think about you.”
“Over the past 17 months, I have sent … 66 letters to Miss Whitney,” he wrote. “I have tried to stop writing the letters and to give up twice but after a few weeks I had to start writing again … I have gotten mad at [Whitney] a few times [for not replying] … it scares me that I might come up with some crazy or stupid or really dumb idea … I might hurt someone with some crazy idea.”
FBI agents eventually questioned Houston’s one-sided pen-pal in 1988. They decided he was harmless. The same was true for a Dutch or Belgian correspondent who insisted he had written some of Houston’s songs. The writer further claimed that he was the president of Europe and had purchased the country of Brazil.
After selling more than 200 million records worldwide, Houston drowned in a hotel bathtub in February 2012. She was 48.
(Source: The Guardian)
Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer
Civil Rights organizations and people around the country took notice last week as the U.S. Supreme Court heard legal arguments that threaten to undo Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which requires many states, cities, and counties, primarily in the South, to obtain preclearance from the Department of Justice before changing election laws in ways that could affect the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
The Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African Americans from exercising the franchise.
The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.
In a legal proceeding that threatens to erase fifty years of voting protections, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is intervening in the Shelby County Ala. v. Holder case, on behalf of African-American residents of Shelby County whose voting rights are directly impacted by the county’s challenge.
“The Shelby County case is a major marker in our nation’s march towards the kind of just society Dr. King had envisioned,” said Gary Bledsoe, President of the NAACP Texas State Conference. “At this point we will either, turn back the clock and reignite the fires of the past, or we will continue to move in a direction that recognizes every citizen’s basic and fundamental rights, such as the right to vote.”
Right now Department of Justice preclearance is required from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia and also certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire.
Among those states, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas are siding with Shelby County, while California, Mississippi, New York and North Carolina argue that the law should be upheld, according to news reports.
Many, including Civil Rights Activist Rev. Al, Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), Rev. Charles Williams II and Sr., members of Detroit chapter of NAN, The NAACP, S.E.I.U., Dr. Martin Luther King III, and many other groups were in Washington, D.C., Feb 27, to support and challenge the hearing of the oral arguments in the case.
“The NAACP has always fought for voting rights and will never stop advocating for unfettered access to the ballot box for all Americans,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. “We are driven by the legacy of those who sacrificed time, resources, and in many cases, their lives for this fundamental right. We must ensure that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is preserved.”
Shelby County v. Holder, came into play following the Justice Department’s veto in 2008, of Shelby County’s move to redraw one of its electoral maps effectively reducing the number of black voters in that district from 70.9 percent to 29.5 percent.
That case caught the attention of conservative advocate Edward Blum—who persuaded Shelby County to file a suit on the basis that Section 5 has outlived its validity and unfairly targets certain states.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP said, “This case comes on the heels of an election year in which our nation witnessed the greatest assault on voting rights since the Jim Crow era.” “Section 5 is the heart of the VRA. Shelby County v. Holder threatens to erode the essential protections that Section 5 provides for all Americans. “
The Supreme Court will decide whether Section 5 is still a necessary deterrent against voter discrimination, and according to published reports, the liberal and conservative justices engaged in a sometimes tense back-and-forth, over whether there is an ongoing need in 2013 for the part of the Voting Rights Act that requires states with a history of discrimination, mainly in the Deep South, to obtain approval before making changes in the way elections are held.
A decision is expected to be made by the Supreme Court by late June.
Justice Antonin Scalia called the law a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
Rev. Sharpton, perhaps the most vocal proponent of the Voting Rights Act, tweeted, a response to Justice Scalia’s “racial entitlement” comment saying, Scalia’s remark generated a lot of outrage, but it’s not the first time the Supreme Court Justice said something outrageous. Sharpton also asked the public a question on his Politics Nation website: If you could replace just one member of the Supreme Court, who would it be?
Larissa M. Tyler, Managing Editor, Chicago Citizen Newspaper contributed to this report.
By Deborah Bayliss
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) — Many are familiar with the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, but they were not the first African-Americans to serve in the American armed forces. African-Americans have continuously served in the U.S. military since colonial times.
After the fighting began in 1775, the British offered to free any African-American slave who served with them, leading Gen. George Washington and the Continental Congress to offer the same proposal. As a result, several thousand African-Americans served as Continental Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.
During the War of 1812, most states rejected attempts of African-Americans to join state militias. However, 500 African-Americans fought at New Orleans in late December 1814, and several hundred with the Navy.
At the start of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, wary of offending the slave-holding border states, prohibited African-Americans from enlisting. As the need for Soldiers grew, the U.S. government began enlisting African-Americans. By April 1865, more than 200,000 had served in the Union Army and Navy, and 25 of them had received the Medal of Honor.
During the Frontier Wars, African-Americans served in four segregated regiments and were known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” They fought Indians and outlaws, garrisoned forts and protected settlers. By 1900, 13 had received the Medal of Honor.
On Feb. 15, 1898, 22 African-American Sailors died when the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba. The Buffalo Soldiers fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and five earned the Medal of Honor. African-American Soldiers also accompanied the Punitive Expedition (1915-1917) into Mexico.
During World War I, more than 367,000 African-Americans were among the 4.5 milliom Americans sent to Europe, of which 42,000 saw combat. The 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Hellfighters from Harlem,” served the longest time of any American regiment and earned the French Croix de Guerre as a unit, as did 171 members. One Soldier eventually received the Medal of Honor.
By 1939, the Army had only 3,600 Soldiers in the segregated Buffalo Soldier regiments out of 360,000 men, and the Navy had several thousand, mostly as mess stewards. The Marine Corps and the Air Corps had none.
Between December 1941 and September 1945, about 1.3 million African-Americans served in all military services. More than 95 percent of African-Americans Soldiers served in combat support units and always in segregated units. The best known were the truck companies, collectively known as the “Red Ball Express,” that transported supplies, food and ammunition 24/7 to the frontline troops after the July 1944 breakout from the Normandy beachhead.
The reactivated all-African-American 92nd Infantry Division fought in northern Italy from August 1944 until April 1945. The 93rd ID, activated in May 1942, saw limited combat in the Southwest Pacific. In late December 1944, after the German breakthrough in the Ardennes, some 4,500 African-Americans served as combat Soldiers. One of them, Staff Sgt. Eddie Carter, Jr., posthumously received the Medal of Honor in 1997.
Between 1942 and late 1945, the Navy had a total of 150,000 African-Americans. They served at shore duty installations or harbor or coastal vessels and as mess stewards aboard the larger ships. By September 1945, the Navy commissioned only one African-American officer, and African-Americans fully manned only one naval vessel. In the same period, the Marine Corps enlisted 17,000 African-Americans, assigned mostly to supply and depot units.
The most famous African-American unit of World War II was the 332nd Fighter Group manned by the Tuskegee Airmen.
The 99th Fighter Squadron, formed on March 22, 1941, entered combat in North Africa. By May 1945, the 332nd Fighter Group, consisting of the 99th, 100th, 301st and the 302nd fighter squadrons, had established an outstanding combat record.
The Army Air Forces had enlisted 145,000 African-Americans. In many places, they not only had to deal with the prejudices of white commanders and white enlisted personnel, but also the prejudice of the local communities. The 4th Aviation Battalion served at Maxwell Field, Ala., living in facilities that are now part of the Federal Prison Camp.
The African-American men and women who had served in the U.S. military services during the war performed well in leadership and technical positions, demonstrating the illogic and inefficiency of the segregation policies in place at the time.
After 1945, these policies, racial prejudices of some white base commanders, and few promotion and career field opportunities for African-Americans in the military produced several base disorders. Investigators squarely placed the underlying cause of the disorders on the military’s segregation policy. As a result, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 in July 1948, integrating the U.S. military services.
Nicolette Robinson, a King College Preparatory High School student took careful steps across the snow- covered ground as she made her way from the parking lot area to the Greater Harvest Baptist Church Saturday morning to line up amongst the hundreds who gathered to say their final goodbyes to Hadiya Pendleton, who lost her life to Chicago’s gun violence as she took shelter from the rain on Jan. 29 near her school.
“The violence needs to stop,” said Robinson in a low, somber voice; revealing the sadness she felt for her friend and classmate who now is unable to continue her life.
In response to an online petition and public outcry for President Barack Obama to attend Pendleton’s funeral, First Lady Michelle Obama, Senior White House Aide Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan attended in his place to pay their respect and as a symbolic gesture against gun violence.
As expected at the high profile funeral with the First Lady in attendance, security was tight with bomb sniffing dogs and searches of everyone who entered the church at 5141 S. State St.
The First Lady, according to those inside, told Pendleton’s friends and classmates to “stay strong” and look forward to their bright futures.
Stacey Mixon Newton who attended Western Illinois University with Hadiya’s parents attended the funeral Saturday morning to pay her respects to Pendleton and her family.
“My daughter went to school with Hadiya,” said Mixon Newton. “I just think we as parents really need to step our game up and be more involved with our police and schools and whatever we can do to make the situation better.”
People started lining up at the church well before the 9 a.m. which is when visitation for the teen began. The funeral followed at 11 a.m.
Chatham resident Jared Washington was Hadiya’s middle school principal at the University of Chicago Charter School.
“I think this crime “we’re experiencing” is emblematic of a catastrophic breakdown of our community,” Washington said of the neighborhood gun violence that captured national news attention.
Washington said students are being told by him and their parents to go straight home after school.
Mary Murphy, a resident of Hyde Park stood amongst the many reporters and photographers gathered in a space across the street from the church holding a glass vase filled with white roses as tears streamed down her face on the cold Saturday morning of Pendleton’s funeral.
“I’m going to place the flowers at her memorial and I’m grateful to Michelle Obama for showing up to shed light on what we can do to control gun violence.”
Auburn Gresham resident Bobbie Mccomb also stood across the street behind metal barricades erected to keep the press at bay. Her 14-year-old daughter Cierra Mccomb, she said, was shot Dec.1 as she stood outside on 78th and Carpenter Streets with friends. Fortunately, Cierra survived the shooting.
“Someone came up and just started shooting,” said the mother, Mccomb. “She was shot in the back of the knee and the bullet is a couple inches from an artery so it’s still in there.”
Mccomb said she has other teens in her home and worries about them every day.
“No one believes it but our kids our becoming extinct,” said Mccomb. “This is getting ridiculous and something needs to be done.”
Mccomb said she just moved from Chatham to the Auburn Gresham community in Sept. and is now considering leaving the city altogether for the sake of her children.
Chicago Police Tuesday evening confirmed that two individuals have been charged with Pendleton’s murder.
Kenneth Williams, 20, of the 3900 block of S. Lake Park Ave. and Michael Ward, 18, of the 300 block of W. 59th St. were charged with first degree murder, two counts each attempted first degree murder and two counts each aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm in connection with the fatal shooting.
By Deborah Bayliss
WASHINGTON, – African-Americans have made and continue to make major contributions to the nation’s defense, the director of the Defense Department’s office of diversity management and equal opportunity said in a recent interview.
As National African-American History Month commences today, this year’s theme — “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington” — is important for two reasons, Clarence A. Johnson told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
“The Emancipation Proclamation is 150 years old, and the March on Washington is 50 years old,” he said. “The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but it also enhanced America’s freedom.”
Because 1963’s March on Washington precipitated the Civil Rights Act, DOD components worldwide will celebrate with those events in mind because of their contributions to diversity and freedom, Johnson said.
National African-American History Month gives people an opportunity to recognize African-Americans who have contributed to the nation’s defense, and that recognition is important, he said.
“It gives us the time to appreciate the strides we’ve made,” he added. “I think we pride ourselves in … [making] sure all our individuals are treated with equality, dignity and respect.”
As the military services observe National African-American History Month, Johnson said, there are two things to keep in mind: service and commitment. Greatness is achieved by serving others, he said, while commitment to diversity is critical to the nation and to DOD. African-Americans have long since left their mark on defending the nation since the Revolutionary War, he added.
In the American Revolution, Johnson said, 5l African-Americans served, and in the Civil War, 180,000 served. Some 35,000 African-Americans died in the Civil War, he added.
“African-Americans continue to serve and distinguish themselves in war and peacetime,” said Johnson, adding that 90 African-Americans have received the Medal of Honor. And African-Americans continue to be well represented in DOD, he added.
“Almost 18 percent of our enlisted corps is African-American,” he said. “More than 9 percent of officers are African-American. In our civilian workforce, African-Americans [make up] about 15 percent.”
Since President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order in 1948 to desegregate the services, DOD has made significant achievements, Johnson said.
“We have led the nation in maintaining and achieving an integrated workforce,” he said. “We’ve made great strides in making sure we select folks with the highest potential [and] talent to serve, and we continue to find that programs and policies DOD put in place helped us maintain our equal opportunity program to make sure that [people] achieve their maximum [capabilities].”
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has said that diversity is a force of the military’s strength and a key to maintaining readiness, Johnson said.
“So as we celebrate and commemorate diversity,” he added, “we are celebrating the contributions of all men and women who have contributed to the DOD mission.”
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
The death of Haydia Pendleton, a 15-year old Bronzville area high school student last week captured national news headlines with reactions from a U.S. government official as gun violence claimed more lives.
Speaking at a recent U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill), mentioned the young student’s death as he argued for more to be done to stop gun crimes.
“She was an honor student and a majorette,” Durbin said. “Performing at President Barack Obama’s inaugural events last week “was the highlight of her young, 15-year-old life,” he said.
Pendleton, of 4412 S. Indiana Ave. was hanging out with a group of about 10 to 12 other teens in a park near her school last Tuesday afternoon at about 2:30 p.m. after taking her final exams at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep, when a man allegedly jumped a nearby fence and opened fire, causing the teens to scatter, according to Chicago police.
“The girl was struck in the back,” Chicago Police Officer, Jose Estrada said, providing information on how the tragic event played out. “The young male who was shot (once in the leg) was listed in serious condition (at Comer Children’s Hospital in Hyde Park).
“No one is in custody,” Estrada said.
Students at King recently complained they were not allowed to remain in the school before and after school hours and staged a sit-in last month to call attention to that and other school policies implemented by new principal Shontae Higginbottom.
Marille Sainvilus, a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools said, “Students are allowed in the school building to wait for parents and to take part in after school programs and activities. They just can’t loiter,” she said. “There has been some recent dialogue between the principal and students.”
Sainvilus also said grief counselors were provided for both staff and students regarding Pendleton’s death.
Pendleton’s tragic death sparked nationwide discussions on how best to handle Chicago’s gun violence and also led to a petition being filed on the White House website with signatures from various parts of the U.S. asking for President Barack Obama’s attendance at Pendleton’s funeral. The petition as of a Feb. 4 had 836 of the 100,000 signatures needed for an official response.
Pendleton’s mother, Cleopatra Cowley, recently appeared on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s television program to raise awareness about her daughter’s death.
“She was amazing…she had a major heart. She was quirky, she loved to laugh, she loved her brother, she was an avid reader, she very much loved volleyball and being a majorette, she loved life,” Cowley said. “And she was a true teenager, just a kid, and she didn’t want to be anything more than she was – and that was just 15.”
A public viewing for Pendleton will be held from 2 to 9 p.m., Feb. 8 at Calahan Funeral Home, at 7030 S. Halsted St. Visitation for the teen is set for Saturday at 9 a.m. followed by her funeral at 11 a.m. at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, 5141 S. State St.
According to news report, there is a $40,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Mayor Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy addressed questions about gun violence at a press conference last Thursday following Pendleton’s death, announcing the police department is moving 200 officers from administrative duties to the street and will hire 200 replacements for those jobs.
“We should have clerks doing clerical work. We don’t train people to be police officers and have them doing clerical work,” McCarthy said.
The 200 police officers from administrative positions will join existing Area Saturation Teams and focus on preventing gun and gang crimes in a redeployment that comes after multiple audits determined additional administrative responsibilities should be handled by civilians and not sworn personnel.
“Since our first week in office, we have been focused on moving police officers onto the beat and working directly in our communities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “(This) move is another effort to target gangs and guns in particular areas with every officer we have available.”
More officers will be transferred in Feb., and all 200 will be moved from department headquarters and district offices into patrol positions by March 31.
As for the President’s national efforts that critics say does not speak to Chicago’s gun violence, he plans to strengthen background check systems for gun sales; pass a stronger ban on assault weapons; limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds; make schools safer with new resource officers and counselors; institute better emergency response plans and ensure quality coverage for mental health treatment, particularly for young people.
By Deborah Bayliss
A West Englewood teen was shot Christmas day, as Chicago grew closer to 500 homicides for 2012.
The city of Chicago on Wednesday, logged its 500th homicide –the first time the city has reached that threshold since 2008, according to a recently published analysis of preliminary police data.
Joshua Davis, 18, of the 7200 block of South Bell Avenue, was shot multiple times after getting into a fight with several men, shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of West 69th Street, Chicago police News Affairs Officer, Jose Estrada said.
No one was in custody as of Wednesday morning according to police.
“He was killed because he was wearing a hoodie and getting off the bus,” the victim’s sister, Selina Davis, 24, said in an interview about the incident. “He was a great boy. He was only a baby.”
Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire, a violence prevention organization said of the continued gun violence, “Unfortunately, young people feel it is ok to shoot each other and they are not worried about being caught. As for the retaliatory shootings, these are young people who feel that nobody cares and they’re taking things into their own hands because they don’t see anybody being arrested for these shootings.”
Hardiman said the mentality that leads to these crimes is that there is no real value for a black (person’s) life.
As gun violence continued across the city, more than a dozen other people reportedly were wounded, including an 11-year-old boy who suffered a graze wound to his arm at about 7 p.m., in the 6200 block of South Michigan Avenue in Washington Park on Christmas, police said.
The boy reportedly was walking with a group when he noticed he had been shot. He was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, 5841 South Maryland Ave., and later released.
Two other men were shot at about 1:15 p.m. in the 0-100 block of North Lockwood Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood following an argument the day after Christmas. As the two 21-year-olds sat inside a car, an unknown offender walked up and fired a gun multiple times, striking one of them in the neck and leg and the other person in the knee, according to published reports.
The men were taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park and to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, 1969 W. Ogden Ave.
A 22-year-old woman was shot in the face on Christmas day at about 9:40 p.m. after arguing with her boyfriend in the 1900 block of South Harding Street in North Lawndale. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.
The number of homicides in Chicago had been steadily decreasing since 2008, when 513 killings were recorded. Before 2008, the city had not surpassed 500 homicides since 2003, when more than 600 homicides were logged.
Homicides listed below, are as of Dec. 26.
• Ashburn had 25 homicides since Jan., 2007 with eight this year
• Auburn Gresham had 104 homicides since Jan., 2007, 16 this year
• Austin had 201 homicides since Jan., 2007, 35 this year
• Avalon Park had 14 homicides since Jan., 2007, none this year
• Beverly had 3 homicides since Jan., 2007, one this year
• Calumet Heights had 19 homicides since Jan., 2007, six this year
• Chatham had 70 homicides since Jan., 2007, 12 this year
• Chicago Lawn had 102 homicides since Jan., 2007, 22 this year
• The Douglas area had 12 homicide since 2007, none this year
• East Garfield had 60 homicides since 2007, six this year
• The East Side had 8 since 2007, none this year
• Englewood had 122 homicides since 2007, with 19 this year
• Gage Park had 43 homicides since 2007, five this year
• Grand Boulevard had 49 homicides, seven this year
• Greater Grand Crossing, 135 homicides, 23 this year
• Humboldt Park, had 140 homicides since 2007 with 17 this year
• Hyde Park had six homicides since 2007 with one this year
• Kenwood had 12 homicides since 2007, three this year
• Near Westside had 59 homicides since 2007, 15 this year
• Pullman community had nine homicides since 2007 with four this year
• Roseland had 112 homicides since 2007, 16 this year
• Washington Park had 53 homicides since 2007, 12 this year
• West Garfield had 87 homicides since 2007, three this year
• West Pullman had 64 homicides since 2007, 13 this year
• Wood Lawn had 61 homicides since 2007, 20 this year
By Deborah Bayliss
After making their pleas to the Cook County Democratic Committee for why they should be the one to fill the congressional seat once held by former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., none of the 16 candidates who spoke during Saturday’s special slating session held at South Suburban College received the committee’s backing.
Each Cook County Democratic Committee member’s vote was weighted based on the number of votes cast in their ward or township in the last election.
Robert Storman, a spokesman for Frank Zuccarelli, Thornton Township Democratic Committee chairman, who represents 20,156 votes said that none of the candidates received a majority of the votes. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, was absent from Saturday’s slating session but designated her 7,723 votes to Zuccarelli, who backed Illinois State Senator, Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).
Slating committee members also included 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston with 3,937 votes; 8th Ward Ald. Michelle Harris, 2,862 votes; 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale, 6,845 votes; 10th Ward Ald. John Pope, 3,672 votes; 34th Ward Ald. Carrie Austin, 2,155 votes; Terry Mathews, Bloom Township, 8,929 votes; Illinois Sen. Maggie Crotty, 4,140; Illinois Rep. Bob Rita, 161 votes; Tim Bradford, Township Administrator for Richton Park, 11,393 votes; John Willard, Kankakee County Chairman, 4,500 votes; Scott Pyles, Will County Chairman, 4,530 votes.
Storman said he was not allowed to provide a breakdown of how the slating committee voted, but that Trotter was a front-runner. He said also that rather than trying to persuade other members to back Trotter, Zuccarelli, for the sake of party unity, thought it best to declare an open primary.
Candidates, including Trotter, who is facing a felony weapons charge after a .25 caliber handgun and ammunition was discovered in a his carryon luggage at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 5,were asked their position on abortion, gay marriage, union protection, economic development plans they’d like to implement and for assurances that they would represent the entire district.
Trotter was not asked about the gun charge during the public interview session but was asked to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident and confirm his next court date during the closed-session, Storman said.
Committeeman Mathews of Bloom County said it makes better sense to keep Trotter as a state senator because Trotter has been able to secure funding.
“I feel it could be a loss with you going off to Washington,” Mathews said to Trotter.
“I don’t disagree with you saying I’m great,” Trotter said to Mathews as the crowd applauded and laughed. “I spent my career mentoring a lot of people. I sit on committees to make sure we have continuity.”
“This is a very important seat, said Zucarelli. “We realize it would be a loss (at the state level) but we need someone who can represent the 2nd Congressional District.
Beale is the only committeeman running for the seat. He said during his speech that the planned South Suburban Airport could bring several jobs and could potentially positively transform the South suburban area. Beale also mentioned his successful work in bringing Wal-Mart to Chicago’s Pullman area and the $32 million he secured to finish Gwendolyn Brooks High School.
“My commitment is to work with every alderman to see what their priorities are and try to make it happen,” Beale said.
Other illinois politicians in the race include, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson; and Democratic candidates, former State Rep. Robin Kelly; State Sen. Toi Hutchinson; Rev. Anthony Williams; Rep. David Miller; State Sen. Elect, Napoleon Harris; Joyce Washington; Denise Hill; Tonya Hunter and former congressman Mel Reynolds.
Jackson Jr., who held the seat for nearly 17 years, resigned from the U.S. House last month, citing his struggles with bipolar disorder, opening the way for a slew of candidates to make a bid for the seat.
By Deborah Bayliss