fbpx
Connect with us

Chicago Crusader

Reproductive Health Act passes after emotional debate, narrow vote

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Lawmakers on Tuesday narrowly approved a bill overhauling Illinois’ abortion statute after more than two hours of debate that was passionate and, at times, emotional. The Reproductive Health Act would replace the state’s current law with one backers and detractors agree would be the most liberal reproductive health statute in the nation.

Published

on

Women dressed as Handmaids, characters from Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," watch as Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, presents her arguments in favor of the Reproductive Health Act on the floor of the House in Springfield (Capitol News Illinois photo by Rebecca Anzel).

By Rebecca Anzel

Liberal overhaul of abortion law advances to Senate

Lawmakers on Tuesday narrowly approved a bill overhauling Illinois’ abortion statute after more than two hours of debate that was passionate and, at times, emotional.

The Reproductive Health Act would replace the state’s current law with one backers and detractors agree would be the most liberal reproductive health statute in the nation.

It creates access to contraception, pregnancy benefits, abortion procedures, diagnostic testing and other related health care as a fundamental right, banning government from impairing access to those things for women and men.

The bill now moves to the Senate. Melinda Bush, a Democratic senator from Grayslake and the act’s sponsor in that chamber, said Monday she thinks it will succeed there. A committee hearing is expected soon.

Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker has vowed to “make Illinois the most progressive state in the nation for access to reproductive health care.” He said in a statement Tuesday he looks “forward to continuing my work as an ally by signing the Reproductive Health Act into law.”

The legislation’s passage comes as a hard-fought triumph for its sponsor, Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy. She said after months of working to advance this initiative down a path that at times has “not been very easy,” she is “very pleased” at its success.

Cassidy said she is also feeling “relief, just relief that this step is over and that we are poised to affirm our support for reproductive freedom in Illinois and intentionally stand out from all these other states that are attacking women’s rights.”

The  General Assembly’s lack of action on the measure harmed Illinois women, she added.

“I think people have a false sense of security around these issues when the reality is that women are in real danger in Illinois as the result of our inaction,” Cassidy said at the beginning of the month.

The final vote was close — there were 64 Democrats voting in favor, 50 legislators from both parties voting no and four Democrats voting present. 60 votes were needed to pass the act successfully.

Advocates were trying to change minds and secure a favorable outcome right up until the vote. Several sources said Pritzker spoke to lawmakers Tuesday morning about why the tenets of the legislation were important to him.

Representative Maurice West, a Rockford Democrat said, “My ancestors had physical chains and laws that governed their bodies. We fought a civil war because we wanted to keep Black bodies chained and enslaved, and now you’re asking me, a Black man, to put policy chains on a woman’s body, on reproductive health …,” he said.

“But now we’re living in a time where government is trying to take away basic freedoms, personal choice, and that worries me more than the threats to my life or the promised curses on my life — I’ll handle those. I know how to pray against those,” West continued. “At this time, I’ve decided to trust women to do what’s best for themselves.”

Recent passage of abortion restriction laws in states such as Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio spurred the measure to get a second life this session. Legislation in some of those states was advanced, in part, to challenge the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion procedures nationwide.

“This vote makes it clear that Illinois women will always have the right to make their own medical decisions – regardless of what [President] Donald Trump, his right-wing judges and extreme politicians in other states do,” House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, said in a statement.

The bill mandates private insurance companies regulated by the state must cover abortion procedures if they also provide coverage for pregnancy benefits. One of the changes to this most recent version of the legislation allows companies to employ cost-sharing provisions, such as co-payments, but only if it does so for pregnancy-related coverage as well.

The measure repeals several aspects of current law that courts have blocked, including criminal penalties for doctors and spousal consent.

A Senate panel is expected to hear debate on the bill soon, as the scheduled end of session was May 31.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.  

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chicago Crusader

Mayor kicks off city’s summer jobs program

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) on Monday, July 1, kicked off the start of this year’s One Summer Chicago program. Nearly 32,000 of Chicago’s youth have started a summer job or internship program, with opportunities ranging from infrastructure jobs; camp counselors; urban agriculture and outdoor forestry projects; and private sector experience. Through One Summer Chicago, youth ages 14-24 gain valuable work experience and critical support services in communities all throughout the city.

Published

on

By

Mayor Lori Lightfoot shakes hands with a participant in One Summer Chicago, the annual summer jobs program that kicked off in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Monday, July 1. Last year, over 32,000 youths from across the city were employed and earned money during the summer season. (Photo by: Erick Johnson)
By The Chicago Crusader

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) on Monday, July 1, kicked off the start of this year’s One Summer Chicago program. Nearly 32,000 of Chicago’s youth have started a summer job or internship program, with opportunities ranging from infrastructure jobs; camp counselors; urban agriculture and outdoor forestry projects; and private sector experience. Through One Summer Chicago, youth ages 14-24 gain valuable work experience and critical support services in communities all throughout the city.

The 2019 One Summer Chicago program will run for six weeks from July 1 through August 9. New this summer, the One Summer Chicago infrastructure team will partner with the Chicago Department of Water Management on their outreach with lead-in-water education and the distribution of water filtration systems. Working with the Department of Water Management staff, youth will be trained on how to register community members for water filters, how to operate the filters, and the importance of having a water filter. Youth will learn about the process and importance of having access to clean water, while addressing Mayor Lightfoot’s call to focus on areas with high risk of lead exposure.

Also new, One Summer Chicago has partnered with The Chicago Lighthouse in a new summer employment program called Photography for All, designed to give visually impaired youth exposure to new creative opportunities, and provide them new outlets to express their artistic ability.

“Chicago’s youth in neighborhoods deserve to have productive, meaningful summer experiences and that is what we have tried to give them in this year’s One Summer Chicago program,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “From coding to photography, we hope that the nearly 32,000 young people participating will have an experience this summer that will teach them life skills that will support them into their future.”

The city has formed public private partnerships to support One Summer Chicago. JPMorgan Chase invested in the Everyone Can Code project. Launched in 2016, Everyone Can Code gives youth the power to learn, write, and teach code using Swift, a powerful and easy-to-use programming language created by Apple and embraced by developers and businesses everywhere. Everyone Can Code includes a range of free teaching and learning resources that take students all the way from exploring basic coding concepts to building fully functional apps of their own design.

This summer marks the next phase of the Everyone Can Code project, focused on connecting experiences across summer and the school year to help students elevate their coding skills and gain access to internships. Through a partnership with CS4ALL (i.e., Computer Science for All),

DFSS, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and Apple, Inc. the effort will recruit 200 youth from CPS and DFSS delegate agency coding clubs with a goal of expanding their computer science skills via a six-week coding training program where they will learn from Apple programming pros how to develop computer/mobile apps, attend lectures and gain hands on experiences in the technological field and obtain the early skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century.

The Citi Foundation is continuing to support One Summer Chicago for its sixth year in a row, with funding that has totaled over $5.8 million. The Summer Jobs Connect program, spearheaded by the Citi Foundation and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, supports young adults seeking summer employment and provides safe and appropriate banking products, services and education. Citi Foundation is also the largest private funder of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), a statewide program designed to employ out of school youth.

Today’s kick-off of One Summer Chicago comes on the heels of Mayor Lightfoot’s announcement of a series of coordinated efforts to ensure Chicago’s young people remain safe, engaged and supported this summer.

Mayor Lightfoot released the YOUR CHI summer resources guide earlier in June, which contains resources on where students and their families can find summer sports programming, entertainment in the parks, health support services, and other summer learning activities. For more information, visit Chicago.gov/summer.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.

Continue Reading

Chicago Crusader

Buttigieg scolds man at campaign event who calls for Black people to ‘stop committing crimes and doing drugs’

CHICAGO CRUSADER — 2020 presidential hopeful and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) called out a man at an Independence Day campaign stop in Iowa who suggested the Black residents of his hometown “stop committing crimes and doing drugs.”

Published

on

By

Buttigieg scolds man at campaign event who calls for black people to 'stop committing crimes and doing drugs'

By Marina Pitofsky

2020 presidential hopeful and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) called out a man at an Independence Day campaign stop in Iowa who suggested the Black residents of his hometown “stop committing crimes and doing drugs.”

“Sir, I think that racism is not going to help us get out of this,” Buttigieg responded Thursday when the man made the suggestion at a campaign stop with the Carroll County Democrats.

The man said his comment had “nothing to do with race” after being booed by the crowd, but Buttigieg responded by arguing that the difference in arrest rates between Black and white Americans is evidence of “systemic racism.”

“The fact that a Black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the exact same crime is evidence of systemic racism,” Buttigieg said.

ABC News was among those that tweeted a video of the exchange.

Buttigieg added that racism exacerbates relations between law enforcement and communities.

“It is evidence if systemic racism, and with all due respect, sir, racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their job, too. It is a smear on law enforcement,” Buttigieg said.

The mayor has come under fire for his leadership on police brutality issues after a Black man was shot last month in South Bend by a law enforcement officer whose body camera was not on. Buttigieg, who has struggled to connect with Black voters, took heat over the incident during the first Democratic presidential debate last week.

Buttigieg had called for a special investigation of the incident, and, on Wednesday, an Indiana judge appointed a special prosecutor to the case.

The Buttigieg campaign confirmed the incident to The Hill but declined to comment further. This article originally appeared in The Hill.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader

Continue Reading

Chicago Crusader

The Servicemember’s Freedom Quest

CHICAGO CRUSADER — It’s the week of Independence Day and as we celebrate, let us not forget the actual meaning of what is assumed to be an annual affair. It’s the day when American’s cheer one another for past accomplishments of overcoming oppression, exceeding limitations and having a strong will to express ourselves. Today, I’d like to throw out a raft for another consideration — the pursuit of freedom, living life without dictation, judgment, and intrusion for those who fought for our country. Service members have participated in wars, protected borders and guarded the seas to ensure that trespassers wouldn’t step over the physical boundaries of freedom and ignore our desires to live out loud. But along the way, service members have also forgotten to believe that they too are recipients of that freedom.

Published

on

By

By Wanda “Sistah Soldier” Petty, President & CEO,

It’s the week of Independence Day and as we celebrate, let us not forget the actual meaning of what is assumed to be an annual affair. It’s the day when American’s cheer one another for past accomplishments of overcoming oppression, exceeding limitations and having a strong will to express ourselves. Today, I’d like to throw out a raft for another consideration — the pursuit of freedom, living life without dictation, judgment, and intrusion for those who fought for our country. Service members have participated in wars, protected borders and guarded the seas to ensure that trespassers wouldn’t step over the physical boundaries of freedom and ignore our desires to live out loud. But along the way, service members have also forgotten to believe that they too are recipients of that freedom.

It’s easy to celebrate the idea of something visible and tangible such as a memorial or holiday, and not recognize the unseen internal, suppressed and desired freedom we provided for others until the loaning becomes outwardly evident during the transition. That transition can take years if not intentionally guided by someone who’s experienced similar challenges. This quest for freedom cannot be simply pushed aside and its existence ignored. If so, it will show up in other forms such as depression, confusion, or anger. It’s just energy waiting to be released.

Joining the military was just one way of discovering our truth. Just as many other paths on the journey of life, God used it as an opportunity to develop the skills within our toolbox needed to live out His plans for our future and overall life. It was never meant to become a mantel or burden, and the transition process provides the option to access this newfound freedom from a higher level of awareness. If we enter the civilian sector holding onto the past of what was, it will only hinder us from gaining full access to birth interval visions of success from deep within. In some cases, we don’t even get to know our neighbors because we feel they’re different and won’t understand our journey. It’s time to do better.

Find time to get acquainted with your strengths and abilities, and appreciate your courage. Learn to love the warrior within. Think of the lessons of the ‘Karate Kid’- everything he learned had a purposeful use in his future. Creative Arts can intuitively release emotional bondage and allow one to learn how to loosen up and relax. If we’ve experienced the final out-processing, there is no turning back! It’s only a “forward” march.

There’s a whole new world waiting for you to be yourself. The creative being you were before you entered military service wants to claim its position in the earth. So, why are you waiting? Get out and enjoy the buffet of freedom. You don’t have to wait for someone to give a command before you act on what’s next! The best part about it all is you’re a leader within. From the time you completed basic training and advanced individual training (AIT), your leadership skills became defined. Sure, it may take a while to cross-reference each distinction, but it’s not impossible. Analyze where you can make a genuine effort to connect the dots between military disciplines and use it all for your advantage as a civilian. Develop a plan to help you move forth instead of being confused about who you are without the military. It was only for a season which God used to increase your capacity for living an expansive life.

I promise you things will begin to appear more transparent as you embrace the difference. Use your compelling power and allow yourself the ability to be free! It’s time to spread your wings. You are eagles who fly at high altitudes and nothing less. Thank you for your service and the sacrifice you’ve given for our USA to live a life of freedom. Now, it’s time to pursue your truth and walk in your purpose!

Sistah Soldier is an inspirational activist who helps veterans, women and minorities step into the call of God for their lives. She’s the CEO, Host, and Executive Producer of SHE VET™ iNSPIRES.com Television Show, and the Executive Recruiter for SHE WORKS Digital™.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Former NNPA Chairman Dorothy Leavell Reflects on the Black Press

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The chairman has a direct responsibility for their membership and to be speaking for them in every way to make sure that their rights, their names, and all, are brought to the forefront of other publishers that comprise the board, and to develop policies,” Leavell said.

Published

on

Former Chairman, Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers, said she won’t let anything stand in the way of her fighting for the success of the Black Press.
Former Chairman, Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers, said she won’t let anything stand in the way of her fighting for the success of the Black Press.

Part Two in a series, as the NNPA prepares to Celebrate 80Years as the Voice of Black America

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

“Can I tell you?”To hear those words means one of two things (or both):

It means that Chicago and Gary Crusader Publisher and former National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Chairman Dorothy R. Leavell, is about to school you on some history, or make a pointed observation.

Either way, it’s advisable that you pay attention. You’re about to learn something.

“Can I tell you, as chairman, and I don’t let them call me chairwoman or chairperson because I think the title should be unisex and I’m going to make it unisex, but when you say chairman, you get that attention,” said Leavell, who won election to chairman in 2017 and served through June 2019.

“The chairman has a direct responsibility for their membership and to be speaking for them in every way to make sure that their rights, their names, and all, are brought to the forefront of other publishers that comprise the board, and to develop policies,” Leavell said.

A custodian and historian of the Black Press, Leavell recalls serving as president of NNPA in 1995, when she served two terms in the position, which preceded the creation of the board chairman role.

“And, can you imagine that some of the issues are very similar to today’s,” Leavell said.

“And some of the issues are quite different. I can remember in 1995, people were having debates about what the Black Press is and that we needed to have panel discussions, which we have today,” she said.

Building bridges became an emphasis for Leavell in the 1990s, including making a connection to Africa.

“I led a delegation to Nigeria and got highly criticized, but I felt that we needed that connection with our homeland that every other ethnic group, nationality, has,” Leavell said.

As chair, Leavell traversed America seeking to heighten awareness of the continued importance of the Black Press.

“I see my responsibility as chairman to always carry the banner for the Black Press. To speak about the Black Press to corporate America and others to help them understand the importance of utilizing the publications of the Black Press to get their message out,” she said.

Recently, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced legislation that would effectively punish federal agencies who fail to include the Black Press in advertising spending.

For decades, the Black Press had to fight for the rights of African Americans and for its own membership in the face of an unfriendly federal government, Leavell said.

“In 1944, they tried to block us from printing the truth about the war and our soldiers and [more recently], they prevented us from having someone report from the White House and so many other things that have been closed off to us and so here we are in 2019 and God bless Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her initiative,” Leavell said.

“Can I tell you, we are constantly evolving but I [saw] myself as chairman of the board, as an ambassador and I [was] [there] every day dealing with what’s happening in our newspaper offices, the challenges, and how we continue to do things,” she said.

This year marks Leavell’s 51st as a publisher and she believes she still has more to offer locally in Chicago and nationally for the NNPA.

“Can I just say, when I first became a publisher, I had two children. And I was a widow.

And I had two newspapers,” Leavell said.

“And I had to figure things out,” she said.

One of the things Leavell had to figure out was being a strong woman in a male-dominated industry.

“When I became publisher, it was about five other women who were publishers and most of them were senior citizens because they had inherited their publications similar to me,” she said.

“But I was a young woman … and I remember this constant struggle of never having enough and wondering is this all there is to life for me.”

However, from her past, a voice arrived that would change everything for Leavell.

“He [her former high school principal] came to my newspaper and he said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I said, ‘wow,’” Leavell said.

“He said what I was doing was important because people looking for information would not otherwise get it if it weren’t for the newspaper and he said we were speaking up for people who didn’t have anyone to speak up for them,” Leavell said.

Leavell said she won’t let anything stand in the way of her fighting for the success of the Black Press.

She has a story to tell, one she hopes one day to carve out the time to put her life’s experience in a book, and one that will ultimately begin with, “Can I tell you.”

“This is my passion,” Leavell said.

“It is what I am, and it is what I continue to aspire for our industry and for our institutions. And yes, the Black Press is an institution — just like the Black Church,” she said.

Stacy M. Brown

A Little About Me: I'm the co-author of Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway and her son, Stevie Wonder (Simon & Schuster) and Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask, An Insider's Account of the King of Pop (Select Books Publishing, Inc.)

My work can often be found in the Washington Informer, Baltimore Times, Philadelphia Tribune, Pocono Record, the New York Post, and Black Press USA.
Continue Reading

Chicago Crusader

Looking for Civic Education tools and strategies? Register Now for CRFC’s 2019 “More Perfect Union” Summer Institute!

CHICAGO CRUSADER — This professional development institute will help 7th and 8th-grade teachers deepen and reinforce their students’ knowledge of our system of government, preparing them for the U.S. Constitution Test.

Published

on

By

Photo by: Santi Vedrí | Unsplash

By The Chicago Crusader

Prepare Your Students for  the U.S. Constitution Test

July 25-26, 2019
9 am – 3 pm
Schiff Hardin LLP
233 S. Wacker Drive Suite 7100

This professional development institute will help 7th and 8th-grade teachers deepen and reinforce their students’ knowledge of our system of government, preparing them for the U.S. Constitution Test.

Teachers will learn how to implement the More Perfect Union curriculum, which provides dynamic lessons and strategies that will show students how the Constitution applies to their lives and help them gain the skills and attitudes necessary to become active and engaged citizens. The curriculum, which connects to both CRFC’s Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers In the Classroom and the Action-Based Communities (ABC) Project programs, contains extended response questions and a bank of alternative assessments.

Teachers who attend the 2-day More Perfect Union Summer Institute will be eligible to receive an attorney partner as part of the Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program.

Featured Lessons Include:

  • Examining the Preamble—Attendees learn about the preamble while participating in civil conversation about President Obama’s “More Perfect Union” speech.
  • Looking at the Bill of Rights through Students’ Eyes—Do Students’ Rights End at the Schoolhouse door? Attendees participate in a moot court focusing on Tinker v. Des Moines.
  • Understanding the Electoral College—Attendees take part in a simulated commission to help students understand how the electoral college works.

Lunch will be provided.

For further information please contact Tiffani Watson at (312) 663-9057 ext. 205.

CRFC is a CPS-approved provider. Attendees will receive 12 CPDUs.

Register Here.

Continue Reading

Chicago Crusader

Officials still not providing details on Roosevelt

CHICAGO CRUSADER — Officials overseeing Gary’s school district are still not providing details about questionable repairs made to the shuttered Roosevelt College and Career Academy. Two weeks after emailing questions to Gary Emergency Manager Peter Morikis and Deputy Superintendent Nakia Douglas, spokesperson Chelsea Whittington responded with answers that provides little light on the progress of the repairs.

Published

on

By

Roosevelt College and Career Academy

Spokesperson says the boilers do not currently require repair

By Erick Johnson

Officials overseeing Gary’s school district are still not providing details about questionable repairs made to the shuttered Roosevelt College and Career Academy.

Two weeks after emailing questions to Gary Emergency Manager Peter Morikis and Deputy Superintendent Nakia Douglas, spokesperson Chelsea Whittington responded with answers that provides little light on the progress of the repairs.

Roosevelt had been closed since February after it was widely reported that the boiler failed and the pipes burst during sub-zero temperatures caused a polar vortex. A recent story in the Crusader raised questions of whether Roosevelt had been closed for good as classes remain at the Gary Career Center. The building had been left crumbling with broken windows, debris and overgrown grass. The Crusader’s request to view the repairs or see photos of the maintenance work went unanswered. When pressed about the repairs, Douglas hung up twice on a Crusader reporter. Neighbors near Roosevelt said they have seen workers removing items from the school, located at 730 W. 25th Avenue.

With classes over for the school year, the future of the historic building remains in doubt as Roosevelt students prepare to spend another year at the Gary Career Center during the upcoming school year.

In her emailed response on June 25, Whittington said that emergency repairs to the heating system and plumbing were “made over the past several months.”

Whittington said the primary damage was “to the heating system and the plumbing. The boilers may not have incurred significant damage. However, a full determination of the condition of the boilers has not been made due to the damage to the heating system and plumbing.”

Asked about the estimated costs to correct the problem, Whittington said “additional work is required to determine the total costs of all repairs.”

Whittington did not give an estimated time assessment on when the problem will be resolved and the building will be reopened to hold classes again.

“Due to the complexity of the damage and the condition of the building, a firm date has not been determined,” she said.

The Crusader asked how many GCSC employees are working on the repairs at  Roosevelt. Whittington said “GCSC has 15 grounds and maintenance employees who work in all buildings including Roosevelt. Additionally, GCSC contracts with heating, mechanical and plumbing companies for specific repairs.”

In a follow up email that same day, the Crusader asked for the name of the contractor or companies that work with the GCSC in correcting maintenance problems. The Crusader again requested to tour the building to view the repairs. The Crusader also asked for a second time to view any photos of the repairs. Officials haven’t responded to the follow up questions, one week after they were submitted.

Officials have also not responded to a request under Freedom of Information Act a copy of maintenance and financial records pertaining to Roosevelt’s heating system dating back since January 2019. The Crusader also requested all emails from Morikis and Douglas since January.

In an email on June 25, Michael Tolbert, an attorney for GCSC, said he is working on the Crusader’s request, but have not yet produced any documents.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader.

Continue Reading

Like BlackPressUSA on Facebook

Advertisement

Latest News