Cook County Commissioner, Robert Steele (center) speaking about his outreach and support from adjacent communities like Cicero, Oak Park and Forest Park for Obama Library Site.
Paul Norrington (blue coat), speaking community resident who championed the idea of a possible Obama Presidential Library in North Lawndale with other community supporters.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In response to a feeling of being snubbed and the failure to be equally acknowledged or even mentioned in some cases by major media and the Mayor’s office in recent news coverage, the University of Illinois/North Lawndale Obama Presidential Lawndale site supporters held a press conference. It was held outside at the Southeast Corner of the proposed site bounding Roosevelt Rd on the South, Kildare on the East, 5th Avenue on the North and Kostner Avenue on the West. The land for the site is owned by the City of Chicago and does not have the challenge that the University of Chicago site has with gaining Chicago Park district and park advocates approval for acquisition of public-park owned property.
The idea for the press conference came from Dwayne Truss, a supporter who lives in the Austin Community during a recent hearing on the proposed transfer of park land so that the city may convey land in the event the University of Chicago is the successful bidder for the Obama Presidential Library. “We pulled this together within 24 hours, and I believe it was successful,” stated Valerie Leonard, a UIC/North Lawndale Site advocate.
Paul Norrington, the originator of the idea and catalyst for the passion that the North Lawndale site should be a choice for the Obama Presidential Library, shared his thoughts concerning the vision for the Obama Presidential Library site in North Lawndale. “But here, on this vacant lot, surrounded by light industry and the people who struggle to make ends meet, Barack’s Library would also be 5 minutes from the Hispanic community of Little Village, along with their concerns and the multi-ethnic suburbs with theirs. Here, in North Lawndale, the city and suburbs would benefit. Here, Black and Hispanic communities would benefit. Here, Barack can continue benefiting the wide demographics of America that he has always fought to benefit; not just one city or one group of people.
North Lawndale, as a community, developed its own bid before seeking and forming a partnership with the University of Illinois. We are the only community-based bid remaining on the field. We have tapped into that power that lies dormant in many communities across this city and country. We offer a working example of The Power of Community,” stated Norrington. The committee also secured a financial pledge of $5 million dollars from the Steans Family Foundation (SFF), if the North Lawndale site is selected. SFF is a private family foundation that has been offering support and targeting its grantmaking efforts in the North Lawndale Community, since 1986.
Leonard reminded the audience that Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to support both bids. Darren Tillis, one of the founding members of the North Lawndale Obama Presidential Library Committee stated, “right now the North Lawndale Community’s 23 acre site is shovel ready, while the city seems divided around where the Library should go, we should make sure we secure the site here in Chicago.” The Obama’s have to select from two semi-finalists.
Marcus Betts, provided updates and insights into the project from his experience being the spokesperson for the North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee. Mr. William Kyle shared his perspectives being a longtime resident. Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, and 28th Ward Alderman Jason C Ervin showed support as elected officials; clarifying public processes for transfer of public land; made reports of regional support from elected officials from Western Suburbs and shared economic development plans. This site is further along than the southside site. We just need to push the button and go over here,”said Ald. Ervin. “
One concern that the Obama Foundation had with the UIC/North Lawndale site was that a change of leadership will be taking place at UIC with the The campus and University of Illinois expecting to have a new president, chancellor and board chairman within the next year. The incoming chancellor and president has reached out to the Obama Foundation and communicated his support for this bid,” said Marcus Betts.
Raising supporter approval with cheers was a response by Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, I’ve reached out to the President of the village of Cicero and gotten a letter of support from him for this Library…the Village of Forest Park and Oak Park are on board with what we are doing here and want to be a part of this project with us.
Also Marcus Betts stated that the development with the community site and the academic site would have a 1.25 billion impact economic our community. Steele also mentioned that we’re not waiting for the site to be designated. We are working on the Roosevelt Rd. Renaisance. That’s a plan for Roosevelt Rd from Kostner to Western Ave to be developed. We are working on that plan with the University and the Urban Lands Institute and other parties. We look to have a lot of community development to begin in the next year.
Cherita Logan, District Director for Congressman Danny Davis speaking on his behalf and supporting the UIC/North Lawndale Obama Library site.
Darren Tillis, founding member North Lawndale Obama Presidental Library committee speaking on behalf of the Committee to promote the Lawndale Library 23 acre site.
Dr. Dennis Deer of Deer Rehab services shared his perspectives as a longtime resident and successful business owner. Cherita Logan, the District Director for Congressman Danny K. Davis, reiterated the Congressman’s support for the project. There were nearly 100 people in attendance, and the crowd included youth who were as young as 11 to senior citizens who appeared to be in their 80’s. There were educators, business people, rank and file residents, students, representatives from organizations, etc. represented in the crowd.
There were more men than women. Twenty-fourth Ward aldermanic candidates include Frank Bass, Roger Washington, Michael Scott, Jr. and Darren Tillis. News media included the North Lawndale Community News, Austin Weekly News, DNA Info, WGN-TV and WBBM-TV.
The next step for the committee will be to have a community meeting and expanding the reach across the region. Committee members Marcus Betts and Darren Tillis will continue to meet with the University of Illinois and represent the North Lawndale community on the North Lawndale/UIC bid.
For more information on the UIC/North Lawndale Obama Presidential Library Bid go https://presidential-library.uic.edu/, for the University website, the North Lawndale community website is www.northLawndalepresidentiallibrary.org, the twitter account is @nlopl.twitter, and facebook page is the North Presidential Library.
Corey Rae’s CD Release Listening Party held at the Society Art Gallery
By MS. Chevette M. Conley/Writer/ Photographer/Journalist
Jazz artist and saxophonist, Ray Silkman, held a CD release party for his protégé, Corey Rae. The event took place at the Society Art Gallery, located at 2140 W. Fulton. The event was hosted by the famed news anchor Robin Robinson. She was beautiful, energetic and excited about the evening! Robin expressed to the standing room only crowd, how impressed she was and how much she was a fan of Ray Silkman. She also stated how she has followed his career for many years.
Ray and his band began the show while everyone indulged in the outstanding food that was served. Robin Robinson then introduced the star of the evening, Mr. Corey Rae who is being produced by the “Soul Serenader,” Mr. Ray Silkman. The room was filled with many excited guests, fans & friends. The track lighting was beautifully done in red, blue, pink, yellow, and green. There was a large photo of Corey Rae’ hanging behind the stage, where he performed a melody of his new hits. The tables were dressed up in Black table cloth and there was a candle at each table.
The low lighting set the mood as Corey Rae entered the stage like a firecracker! He came out with dancers, background singers dressed in all white, and Ray Silkman’s Band. Ray played along, and it was amazing. Corey sang up beat songs and after singing many songs, Corey left the stage for a wardrobe change.
Corey returned in dramatic fashion singing Luther Vandross’ song,” Do you remember.” He had the audience screaming! The performance was very sensual and soulful, and the band was fantastic. The room was now dark and romantic as he sang wonderfully. He brought the house down with his performance.
The title to his C.D., “As I Am,” was very powerful. Afterwards, champagne was served. The fans swarmed Corey for autographs and photographs. It was a successful evening. Look and listen for Cory Rae. He’s going upwards in the music business.
Roll Call staff and supporters, including Exec Director Milton Golden (hat), 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett (grey sport coat) and Linda Weatherspoon (left of Burnett)
Roll Call “Ballin” the “Click or Ticket Campaign”
The past few summer months Roll Call has been campaigning to promote safe driving throughout the Westside of Chicago. In partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, University of Illinois-School of Public Health (IDOT/UIC-SPH) implemented the Safe Communities of IL (SCIL) project in which several organizations and community leaders were given a grant to host five campaigns promoting the message, “Click It or Ticket It” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” There are three campaign dates that are required during the national holidays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and two campaign dates in which the grantees could select a date to get the message out. The target population is African American & Hispanic males from the ages of 18-34 years old, in several high risk communities throughout Chicago.
Roll Call’s first event, “Open Mic Night” kicked off with a bang, in the Lower Westside community at the Major Adams Community Center (MACC), located at 125 N. Hoyne. The North Lawndale Community News (NLCN) had the opportunity to attend the second event, “Ballin for a Cause,” a basketball tournament also located at the MACC also; this event was a great success with well over 150 attendees in and outside the gym. The gym was filled with mostly, African American males from different parts of the community that came to play ball.
Roll Call’s Executive Director, Milton Golden stated, “to create a safe haven for our children,
If you’re going to use drugs, don’t drive. If you don’t do that, you’re saving lives.” The “Click it or Ticket It” campaign for Roll Call, coordinated by Administrative Director Linda Weatherspoon, was noted for her passion for the program. Weatherspoon stated, “to get our target population out between the ages of 18-34, Hispanic and African Americans we hosted a basketball tournament, which had an incentive of $150.00 for the winner. Other incentives were books, donated by former Chicago Bulls player Mickey Johnson, and other prizes given out between games. “This is something positive that black men are doing,” stated Angelique Orr, Managing Consultant for Safe Communities of Illinois.
Alderman Burnett of the 27th Ward gave his support by attending the event. “I think this is a great thing. It also gives younger people a chance to break down the barriers and stereotypes giving them a chance to know each other. I appreciate Roll Call for trying to turn things around making sure brothers and sisters don’t make the same mistakes that they made and that we have safe communities.” Roll Call was honored in the SCIL newsletter as “Grantee of The Month” in their July Newsletter which can be viewed online at http://www.scilchicago.com/#!news-letter/c23ih.
NLCN also had the opportunity to attend the third event, “Ballin’ For A Cause 2″, basketball tournament this time located in the Austin community at the Austin Resource Center located 150 N. Central Ave. at the event sponsored by MTV’s “Are You the One” star Simone Kelly. Simone, who is also the daughter of Linda Weatherspoon agreed just the night before after a call from her mother to make sure the event took place. Rev Robbie Wilkerson, Executive Director of the newly acquired Austin Resource Center was formerly the Austin YMCA. “I was asked by the Alderman to take over the facility,” said Wilkerson, which during the interview, was full of youth playing in the gyms.
According to SCIL’s website, in 2012, 145 people died in the city of Chicago as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Of those fatalities, 28 were African-American males and 19 were Hispanic males, representing a third of all motor vehicle crash fatalities. To tackle this problem, 37 communities have been identified as having high fatality rates from low seat belt use and high alcohol use. The Westside of Chicago has received a multitude of deaths because of alcohol and other substance abuses.
Two other events are being planned by Roll Out for the “Click it or Ticket” campaign, a Cookout @Hamiln & Madison Garfield Park – August 23, 2014 12:00 p.m. – until dusk and a Labor Day Cookout across from 3668 W. Roosevelt – September 1, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information contact Roll Out at 773-940-1552.
City of Chicago loses 464,134 votes from voter apathy, since 2008 primary
The City of Chicago has lost 464,134 votes from the total of people that voted in the 2008 primary. Only 16.44% of registered voters actually took part in the 2014 primary that just took place March 18. The statistics show that a trend in voter apathy is steadily increasing in the primary (see Table 1 graphic). Even though the 2008 primary was a presidential primary that produced a black presidential nominee, the 2012 primary was also a presidential primary. Comparing those two primaries, the Republican Party increased by 4,180 votes cast. The Democratic Party decreased by 376,714 votes cast, over 59%, partly because there was no opponent to Democratic incumbent President Barak Obama.
According to the City of Chicago Board of Election results there was an increase, from 2012 to 2014, in the amount of total registered voters. The 2014 primary increased by 79,997 new citizens registered to vote. But the citizens who actually voted decreased by 90,178 votes. The decreased amount that did not vote is more than the new citizens that registered by 10,181 voters.
Voters are not caring enough to get out and vote. Denise, a single mother of three, who did not vote stated, “I just didn’t care. I didn’t like any of the candidates. ” Most voters are voting more on a key candidate that they want to go into office or not get into office, than on issues that would benefit them or against issues that would hurt them.
In speaking with one Alderman on the Westside before the election asking him his thoughts on the upcoming election he stated, “My fear is the turnout projection is going to be low.”His fears were realized because the turnout was very low.
In 2008, there was an extreme jump from 2006 in the amount of Chicago voters who actually voted in the primary by 272,817 votes showing strong voter interest in who was running in the primary. Still, only 52.7% of the voters participated, leaving 47.3% or 618,399 voters who did not vote in that primary but are registered to vote.
On the local city ward level, Table 2 shows the vote total for eight westside wards. All eight show a decrease in the number of voters who cared to participate in the primary.
Of the eight wards, the 37th ward had the smallest decrease between 2012 and 2014. The 29th ward had the highest percentage of its total voters to actually vote with 19%. The 22nd and 25th wards both had the lowest percentage at 10% of their total registered voters. With the trend reaching these record lows, inspiring voters has a void that isn’t being filled.
Reaching younger voters for the primary elections also has critical flaws. When asking young registered voters why they didn’t vote, their response is that “this election is not important, because there is one in November,” said Nakea Gresham. Or as stated by another young man in his middle 20’s, they are just like me “I’m always hearing about some politician going to jail.”
For reasons other than not caring to vote early voting and absentee ballot resources are made available for those who want to vote but are restricted. For more information about these and other resources you can go to http://www.chicagoelections.com
Richard Boykin, candidate for Cook County Commissioner of the 1st District announced, at his Chicago satellite campaign office (5641 W. Division Street) opening, a Day of Action for campaign volunteers on Saturday, January 25.Supporters for Boykin’s were greeted and welcomed for volunteering, neighborhood canvassing and phone banking. They were encouraged by Boykin and Congressman Danny K. Davis, for their determination despite the cold and snow that weekend.
“I am thankul for the positive momentum and support my campaign has received thus far and look forward to solidifying this movement on Chicago’s West Side,” said Boykin. “Much work remains over the coming weeks to prevail in this race. That’s why I’m asking all those who have a stake in our community to lend a helping hand to the campaign during our Day of Action up to the primary in March.”
Boykin recently launched his campaign for Cook County Commissioner among community members, faith leaders, Congressman Danny K. Davis and other elected officials. On the heels of Boykin’s campaign launch, the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) offered its support by endorsing his run for the First District Cook County Commissioner seat. CFL, founded in 1896, focuses its efforts on strengthening individual local unions by creating a unified voice for the labor movement in the Chicago area.
“Based on the interview process exercised by the CFL’s Committee on Political Education, our affiliates have moved to support Richard Boykin in his run for Cook County Commissioner,” said CFL President Jorge Ramirez.
In addition to being endorsed by the CFL, several elected officials from Cook County’s First District have also backed Boykin including the following suburban mayors: Oak Park, Maywood, Forest Park, Broadview, Westchester, Bellwood and Hillside.
Boykin, a partner with Barnes and Thornburg, LLP, previously served as chief of staff to Congressman Davis for nine years after being his legislative director. During that time, Boykin played an instrumental role in several of the Congressman’s initiatives including welfare-to-work, health care, energy and utility, and appropriations accomplishments. Key areas of focus for Boykin’s campaign include criminal justice reform, economic development and expanding access to mental and medical health care services.
For more information about the campaign, please visit http://www.boykinforcookcounty.com or call 708-948-7913.
Get Covered Illinois today announced a church-based enrollment drive during Black History Month to enroll uninsured consumers in health insurance before the March 31 open enrollment deadline. Throughout February, more than 50 African-American churches will host events designed to inform and enroll uninsured community members, in addition to hundreds of other Get Covered Illinois enrollment events happening across the state.
The enrollment drive will formally kick off at Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church (7545 S. Vincennes Ave., Chicago, IL 60620) at 10:30 am on Sunday, February 2, where Rev. Walter W. Matthews Sr. will announce the Get Covered Illinois church-based enrollment events during the worship service. Navigators will be present after the service to answer questions and assist with enrollment. Charles Watkins, Regional Outreach Coordinator for Get Covered Illinois will also be present to answer questions about the enrollment drive.
“The Affordable Care Act provides an historic opportunity to close the gap of the uninsured and reduce health disparities that disproportionately affect minority communities,” said Jennifer Koehler, Executive Director for Get Covered Illinois. “Black History Month is an important opportunity to address health barriers impacting the African American community and remind uninsured residents of the affordable, comprehensive coverage options available to them.”
As of December 28, 2013, more than 61,111 Illinois residents have signed up for coverage through the Marketplace. Individuals, families and small business owners have until March 31 to enroll in a health plan before receiving a fine. In order to get coverage beginning March 1, enrollment must be completed by February 15.
Nearly one third of African Americans in Illinois are uninsured. African Americans are impacted by greater health disparities compared to other races and ethnicities for a number of reasons, including lack of access to affordable health care. African Americans are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with diabetes, and are disproportionately impacted by cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. According to the Centers of Disease and Control, insurance coverage is strongly related to better health outcomes.
Participating churches will facilitate and provide enrollment resources available through Get Covered Illinois to their congregations and to members of the surrounding community. State-trained Navigators will also be present at these churches throughout February to answer questions, schedule enrollment appointments and enroll residents on-site.
“As a Pastor, I know firsthand how access to quality health care affects the physical and spiritual well-being of our community,” said Rev. Walter W. Matthews Sr. of the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church. “The African American faith community is proud to partner with Get Covered Illinois to provide uninsured residents with the enrollment assistance they need to secure affordable, comprehensive health coverage.”
For a complete list of enrollment events throughout the state, visit getcoveredillinois.gov/events. Enter your zip code or address to find an event near you.
Under the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Illinoisans who were previously unable to get insurance can now get covered. All plans included in the Marketplace must:
• Cover recommended preventive services free of charge
• Include a cap on out-of-pocket costs
• Have no lifetime or yearly dollar limit on coverage
• Not reject anyone on the basis of a pre-existing condition
Get Covered Illinois is urging health care consumers to take advantage of the assistance that is being offered via the web, over the phone and in person through hundreds of community partners across the state:
• Visit our website at getcoveredillinois.gov (includes a Spanish-language version).
• Call the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk at (866) 311-1119. Operators available daily from 8 am – 8 pm.
• Meet in person with a specially trained “Navigator” who can help you understand your options and even help you enroll at one of the hundreds of partner sites across the state. There are more than 1,500 Navigators that can be located by visiting the website and entering your zip code or through the Help Desk.
• Attend a Get Covered Illinois event. Visit getcoveredillinois.gov/events to find an event near you.
Follow Get Covered Illinois on >>Facebook: facebook.com/coveredillinois