All Articles Tagged "chicago"
Chicago businesses owned by African Americans got $193 million, or 21 percent, of the contracts awarded by the city for the first eight months of this year. This is an increase from the mere eight percent ($96 million) they got for the same period last year.
“Although the black contracting surge sounds too good to be true, [Chief Procurement Officer Jamie] Rhee said it’s a product of the mayor’s decision to reform the scandal-scarred minority business program, return certification and compliance to the Department of Procurement Services and ‘really get out there and aggressively talk to people’ about upcoming opportunities,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
There was a recent dust-up in the city, sparked by octogenarian Soft Sheen founder Ed Gardner, over the lack of black construction workers on jobs around the city. In that case, Mayor Rahm Emanuel cited the number of jobs created for minority- and women-owned businesses, but charged the unions with training people appropriately for those jobs.
For Hispanic businesses, it’s been a different story. Contracts to businesses owned by Latinos in the first eight months have dropped from 16 percent last year (worth $201 million) to 13 percent this year, or $118 million. The Sun-Times says the gains for African-American businesses apparently resulted in losses for Hispanics and “non-minority” women-owned businesses; the latter saw their piece of the pie drop from five percent ($14 million) during the first eight months of 2011 to three percent ($26 million) this year.
Overall, the city bought $1.2 billion in goods and services through August 2012.
Does Doctor Know Best? Parents Suing Chicago Hospital For Declaring Son Dead When He Was Alive And Breathing
If you’re one of the many people who has no background in medicine and goes to the hospital hoping to seek correct counseling and information from a licensed and intelligent doctor, you usually assume that everything they say is right. They know better, correct? Well, in the case of a Chicago family, they were disturbed to find that their 8-year-old son was declared dead by Mercy Hospital when his heart was still pumping blood, and doctors refused to do more tests and checks when he was showing signs of life. The family literally had to beg them to continue to working on the boy. Now they have filed a lawsuit and want to make the hospital pay up big time.
According to the AP, Jaylen Dorsey, 8, has a disability that has kept him hooked up to a ventilator and bedridden, and earlier this year when he was found unresponsive by his mother, she took him to Mercy Hospital in Chicago where the hospital declared him dead. Assuming doctors knew best, Sheena Lane and Pink Dorsey sadly informed family of their son’s passing. But when said family showed up and found the boy’s eyes were opening and closing and that his heart was still showing signs of beating, they told doctors. However, they were told that medicine Jaylen was given when he came into the hospital was causing that to happen, but that he was still in fact dead. The family tried to go with the hospital’s word and began to plan for Jaylen’s funeral.
But trusting their gut and using good sense, according to their lawsuit, the family proceeded to press doctors to do more tests and even an ultrasound to be 100 percent sure, which they say the hospital was reluctant to do. But after doing the ultrasound, doctors were proven wrong and the family of little Jaylen Dorsey was relieved, blessed–and angry with doctors. But Mercy Hospital claims the family has the details confused, and after Jaylen came to the hospital suffering cardiac arrest, they did indeed work on him for an extended period of time before declaring him brain dead:
“Despite extensive resuscitative efforts, Jaylen did not immediately regain a pulse and no heart activity was noted for several hours,” the hospital said. “… While this is a very rare occurrence, extensive resuscitation efforts, medication and young age can result in a patient’s heart function returning spontaneously. We hope for continued strength for Jaylen.”
On top of accusing the hospital of negligence, they also think that by taking Jason off of his respirator for hours thinking he was dead, it may have made his condition much worse. Plus, they suffered hours and hours of “severe emotional distress.” They’re seeking $200,000 for their troubles, but will they actually get it? Only time will tell…
Do you think they can win their case?
Ed Gardner, the 87-year-old founder of Soft Sheen hair care products, met with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week to discuss the lack of African-American construction workers on jobs around the city. The Tuesday meeting came after more than two weeks of protest from Gardner and supporters seeking more opportunity for Chicago’s out-of-work or under-employed construction workers.
Gardner’s protest began in September when he passed a South Side construction site where sidewalk was being laid and saw no blacks among the workers. Gardner literally stepped (with his cane) into the wet cement to make abundantly clear how he felt about the situation. After calling for additional protests, about 1,000 joined the business leader on September 30, including Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-Chicago) and Bobby L. Rush (D-Chicago). Other protests have also taken place.
Just days later, when asked about the protest during a press conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel talked up the number of jobs that have been created in the transportation space and the minority- and women-owned businesses that have been commissioned for the work. However, he says unions and the lack of training they’re providing for minority workers also needs to be addressed.
Fast forward to Tuesday and Gardner was sitting with the Mayor. According to Gardner, he told the Mayor, “It must be corrected. I told the mayor, as far as I’m concerned, he is totally and finally responsible to seeing that this situation is corrected.” He wants half of the construction workers in the city to be African American, but there’s no law that says that needs to be the case, CBS reports.
“The mayor seems to show some sign of being concerned about making a change. That’s all I’m concerned about, that things are not like they have been for the past many, many years in the city of Chicago,” Gardner continued. He also tied the lack of jobs with violence in the black community.
Separately, Mayor Emanuel addressed the high-level of violence in the city yesterday, promising to add 500 police officers to the city’s streets.
FYI, Gardner founded Soft Sheen in 1964 and sold the company to L’Oreal in 1998.
The conversation about black construction workers will continue between the mayor’s office and the Coalition of African American Leaders (C.O.A.L). Chicago readers (and others in the know), do you think the path to change is being laid?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that gang violence in Chicago is completely off the charts right now. Crime has always been an issue in the large metropolitan area but with the rise of gangbanging teen rappers like 17-year-old Chief Keef and Lil Mouse, who is only 13 years old, the city has seen stats as high as 38 shootings and 3 homicides in one weekend.
Though NBA player Derrick Rose may have escaped the downtrodden streets of the Chi to earn a place on the Chicago Bulls squad, the Englewood native is not immune to the effects the environment has had on him and is still having on teens in the city. The 23-year-old was a part of a press conference for the launch of his new “D rose 3” sneaker with Adidas on Friday, but the reality of how far he’s come in spite of the death of violence surround him was overwhelming for the baller who broke down during questioning saying:
“It’s truly a blessing, man. With all of this stuff that’s going on in this city, a kid from Englewood got something positive going on. That makes me feel so good, man. This shoe is great, all this is great. But this, I can’t explain this…I can’t. I went through so much. To have like true fans, that means a lot to me. And I know it means a lot to my family, because we ain’t supposed to be here …at all. But God made a way. This is truly unreal.”
Derrick Rose already garners much respect from his fans and other athletes for his humility and his skills on the court, but this just raises the bar of admiration to a whole new level. Shout out to him for being an amazing role model and inspiration.
Check out the video clip below. What do you think?
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As we move into the fifth day of the strike involving Chicago’s public school teachers, an end may be in sight. Chicago Public Schools and the city’s teachers union say they have some “number crunching” to do, but so much progress has been made that teachers and students could be back in classrooms on Monday. The Chicago Tribune reports that the union has asked supporters to come out for a final protest tomorrow at noon.
There is a proposal for resolving the big issue — how teachers will be evaluated — that will put a tiered system in place, in addition to weighing student test scores. Those exam results will count for 30 to 35 percent of the evaluation process with student surveys and principal observations also put into consideration. Tenured teachers won’t be fired during the first year as the new system works itself out. All teachers will be given a chance to improve if they receive an unsatisfactory evaluation.
As we reported the other day, the strike has wide-reaching implications for the black community. The number of minority teachers in Chicago has dropped. Parents and students have been inconvenienced by the strike, with some parents having to change their work schedules or pay for other child care arrangements. There was concern that the relationship between President Obama and unions could be negatively impacted if the strike dragged on. And the questions of education reform came to the forefront.
This resolution will by no means resolve the public education issues that the country faces. But trying a new system could put us one step closer to improving a system that’s responsible for educating millions of kids, our next generation of leaders and thinkers.
*Update: A tentative deal has been reached.
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For a second day, class is not in session at public schools across Chicago as a result of a teacher’s strike that’s having far-reaching implications. The work stoppage — the first in 25 years — is affecting about 350,000 students in that city. According to Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane (who rails against the striking teachers), 85 percent of these students are African American or Latino (about 42 percent are black, according to Reuters). And just about the same percentage receive reduced-price or free meals, meaning they live at or near the poverty line.
The average public school teacher earns $76,000 per year according to the school board and the school system is currently running at a $700 million deficit. The union had asked for a 29 percent pay raise over the next four years. The district, after negotiating, offered 16 percent over that same period of time.
But it’s not just a case of the big, bad, self-serving unions making obscene demands. While politicians are talking up the benefits of a shift to charter schools away from “dismal urban schools,” reports Reuters,” teachers see themselves fighting for their livelihoods now and into the future.
“Many teachers… see the new policies as a brazen attempt to shift public resources into private hands, to break the power of teachers unions, and to reduce the teaching profession to test preparation,” Reuters reports.
While the unions have been willing to bend on pay, they have been rigid about certain provisions that speak to a level of job protection, such as giving principals more authority over hiring and firing and the “last in, first out” policies. (Lengthening the school day was among some of the other changes on the table.) The Reuters story goes on to say that teacher demographics in that city have already changed with the rise of charter schools, decreasing the number of minority teachers.
“Today, just 19 percent of the teaching force in Chicago is African American, down from 45 percent in 1995, the union says; organizers fear that shift means fewer teachers have deep roots in and passion for the communities where they work,” the story says.
Moreover, they argue that tying a teacher’s job to student performance is unfair, as many students have socioeconomic issues outside of the school system’s control that impact their education. The discussion about school reform is one that many school districts across the country are having.
The situation also raises political questions for Chicago’s Mayor (and former chief of staff to President Obama) Rahm Emanuel, as well as the President himself. Mayor Emanuel and the teacher’s union have had a tense relationship over the past few months. A separate Washington Post article calls the strike ”the boldest confrontation yet involving one of a growing number of Democratic mayors who have been pressuring unions to accept policy changes.” And in an election year, when the President needs the support of unions, this could create a chasm between the two. A number of major union organizations, including the SEIU, have donated millions to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports the President’s re-election effort.
It’s important to note the benefits to the black community that unions have afforded. The “union premium,” which ThinkProgress defines as “an increase in wages for workers who belong to a labor union compared to workers who are not organized,” has bumped up the pay of black unionized workers by a significant percentage – $2.60 per hour. That increases their pay by 17.3 percent over black non-union workers.
“Black men who belong to a union see a 20 percent increase over the normal wage; for black women, the increase is 14.8 percent,” the article says. The gains are even more significant for Latino workers.
Moreover, the site (which, it should be said, is a liberal blog) credits unions with aiding the black community through already tough economic times in which it has experienced higher-than-average unemployment rates.
Seeing an opportunity, Mitt Romney has released a statement against the unions, a stance which has proven successful for other Republican politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “Teachers unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet,” the statement says. “President Obama has chosen his side in this fight.” The President hasn’t made a statement.
Finally, of course, there are the parents and students, who find themselves struggling to make do with alternative arrangements. Some parents have taken their kids to schools offering activities in lieu of classwork, but other parents don’t want to cross the picket line. Some parents have had to take the day off to look after their kids. Others take their kids to work with them. Talks continue, but there’s no word of a resolution.
As I read through the latest outrage at the moment, aka, the hoopla over new rapper Chief Keef, I keep hearing Georgia Anne Muldrow and Erykah Badu lyrically asking, “what if there were no n****rs, only master teachers?”
For those who don’t know, Chief Keef is the Chicago teenager (above photo, to the left), who started out of as just another YouTube rapper and has now become one of hip-hop’s most buzzed about artists. Not only has he just inked a deal with Interscope Records, but he also has caught the attention of such hip hop mavericks as Kanye West, who hopped on a remix of his song, “I Don’t Like.” He is also being investigated for a possible connection in the shooting death of fellow Chicago rapper, Joesph ‘Lil JoJo’ Coleman (above, to the right), who may I add, was only 16.
Keef, who was born Keith Cozart, drew the attention of law enforcement after laughing off the murder of Lil JoJo by saying via Twitter, “Its Sad Cuz Dat N—– Jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.” He is also known for promoting and supporting gang culture including dancing around in his music videos with what appears to be automatic weapons and tweeting the hashtag “#300” — a known reference to the Black Disciples. And at 17 years old, Keef has already faced numerous criminal charges, including a weapons charge, which has already landed him on house arrest.
The response to the rise of Keef has been rather swift, most notably from fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco, who publicly criticized Keef for perpetrating the hoodlum lifestyle, which runs parallel to the culture of violence already running amok in the streets of Chicago. Many folks I have encountered have agreed with Lupe, claiming that Keef, and others of his elk, are a burden to the community. “These n****rs are the reason why our community is the way it is,” has become a commonplace mantra in the minds of some black folks. But truth be told, I see plenty of Chief Keefs in my community all the time. And when it comes to what’s wrong with the community, there is enough of that blame to be shared all around.
Young people, particularly young black people, have longed played witness to serious and lethal violence within their own communities. When I graduated from high school, the murder rate in Philadelphia was around 4oo deaths per year. My nephews and niece, who only a month ago, learned of the shooting death of a teenager only steps away from their front door have already grasped the finality of death, even before they can mature enough to witness adulthood. Recently, I saw a bunch of little kids, between the ages of 9 to 11, roaming the street around 12:30 in the morning like a bunch of aimless orphans. Unfortunately, seeing hordes of parentless children at odd hours of the night has become so much of the norm that I didn’t even bother to flinch. The reality is that long after Chief Keef’s moment in the limelight has faded – whether it be from gang violence, the prison industrial complex or crossing over to the mainstream – the community will still have a violence problems. If we don’t get a handle on it, there will be someone else, someone younger, to take his place. Exhibit 1: 13-year old Lil Mouse.
But even as the threat of losing an entire generation (i.e. the children) grows uncomfortably near, many of us have become stagnated in prayer, hope, apathy and the wait for change to come. I noticed this much last week when all eyes were fixated on the Democratic National Convention. Collectively, African-Americans are more involved in the political process than most other minority groups, supporting a one-party system by as much as 90 percent. However, we have yet to see the fruits from all of our labor or loyalty. Nevertheless, when Rahm Emanuel asked us whose leadership we wanted in event of “an unforeseen crisis, challenge or conflict,” we don’t bother to question whose leadership is in charge as a teachers strike looms and blood runs red in the streets of Chicago. We smirked and laughed alongside former President Bill Clinton, who worked his arithmetic mojo while reaffirming President Obama’s commitment to the work requirement in welfare reform, a policy called by most a dismal failure. And as the RNC’s mantra/question – “Are you better now than four years ago?” – blared from our television sets, many of us couldn’t wait to nod our heads in the affirmative, even when the reality – at least for us – suggests otherwise.
Nicki Minaj’s endorsement of Mitt Romney instigated some of the splashiest headlines following the Labor Day weekend. Head scratching and eye rolls accompanied readers’ mouse clicks, racking up traffic numbers for news and gossip websites. “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney,” she said on her mentor Lil Wayne’s mixtape. “You lazy b***** are f****** up the economy.”
Later in the week, panicked tweets began to surface. Chicago is losing its mind. A sixteen-year-old rapper named JoJo was killed after being shot twice on Tuesday. The incident occurred hours after a video emerged of JoJo taunting a rival named Lil Reese, an associate of popular rapper Chief Keef, making the violent lifestyle Chicago’s drill music glorifies that much more real. Keef’s notoriety stems from “I Don’t Like,” a local anthem made popular nationwide when Kanye West remixed the song with his G.O.O.D. labelmates.
With her closet full of wigs and the wardrobe of a teen in Tokyo, Nicki Minaj doesn’t present herself as someone to be taken seriously for her political views. Perhaps that’s why she felt she could get away with an easy punch line that puts down others to illustrate her supremacy. Most of her fans aren’t old enough to vote. What harm could it do?
What harm could a remix do either? West repeatedly partners with rappers who have grittier followings (including G.O.O.D. signees 2 Chainz and Pusha T) to appropriate buzz in the streets that his “luxury rap” distances him from. Not only that, he was able to bring attention to emerging music in his hometown. Everybody wins, right?
Everybody except for the impressionable young fans that take Minaj’s demonization of poor people as gospel. Except for kids like JoJo, certainly not the last to get swept up in a scene that produces music videos with kids as young as thirteen brandishing automatic weapons and throwing up gang signs. A scene that the music industry had already started to monetize.
As an immigrant raised in Queens, I doubt Minaj believes the poor are to blame for the nation’s ills and that the wealthy are better than the class she was born into. As a native of Chicago, I doubt West wants to promote music that fuels the killing of black youth. But their endorsements, ironic or otherwise, send a different message.
Whether Minaj took herself seriously or not, she used her influence to champion an elitist mindset without offering the slightest critique. Whether West intended to or not, he validated and publicized art that encourages violence, without the critical thinking artists like Lupe Fiasco have brought to the table. These messages are now tied to their brand, whether they like it or not.
Minaj and West’s missteps are unfortunate, and reflect a lesson we all should learn. An endorsement is not something to be taken lightly. Up-and-coming artists and politicians clamor for the stamp of approval of popular artists and publications for a reason. An endorsement transfers over a portion of the co-signers resources, influence, and reputation without signing a single contract. It doesn’t take an official partnership to endorse something; your words and actions speak just as loudly.
Before you align yourself with an outside person, brand, cause, or organization, do your research. It is important to have a solid understanding of what you are supporting and why you are supporting it. Your co-sign should do more than bolster your ego; it should promote your values.
The public wants the people and organizations they support to stand for something of value. Eighty-three percent of Americans say they wish brands would support causes, and 41 percent have bought a product because it was associated with a cause. With success comes an increase in power and responsibility. Ask yourself, what are you using your influence to promote?
Michael Jordan could lost the $1.5 million that he invested in Attack Athletics, a state-of-the-art gym facility in Chicago that is now in receivership.
Attack Athletics owes more than $12 million to its creditors (MJ is an unsecured creditor) and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in April. A foreclosure notice was filed on the facility back in 2010.
Attack Athletics was founded by Tim Grover, who rose to prominence as Jordan’s personal trainer when he played for the Chicago Bulls. The Attack Athletics facility boasts four NBA-sized basketball courts, a 10,000-square-foot weight room and a client list that includes Dwayne Wade.
Chances are, MJ isn’t sweating a $1.5 million loss. Plus, the Bleacher Report says his Charlotte Bobcats have some goodness to look forward to and he’s obsessed with comparing the ’92 Dream Team to this year’s Olympic basketball team. Maybe he missed the closing ceremony on Sunday? But yeah, he’ll be fine.
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Looking to charge up your sex life? You might want to visit New York, Miami or Atlanta.
So here’s the thing: condom brand Trojan surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about their sexual habits and these cities topped the list in quite a few of the categories. The survey shows that Miami is at the top of the leaderboard with the average number times sex is had per year at 177 while the rest of the country “only” averages out at 151 times per year (New York is second at 156 times per year). I guess more than just the temperature makes it “muy caliente” down there.
Not to be outdone, New Yorkers seem to be more vocal about their sexual desires. At 27 percent, New Yorkers are at the top when it comes to expressing their fantasies to their lovers and 78 percent are open to trying a vibrator with a partner during sex. If you’ve ever walked through the West Village and took stock of all the “toy stores” that are there, this won’t surprise you that much.
Oh but I didn’t forget you, Atlanta. The survey says that at 72 percent, Atlanta is the most sexually adventurous city and they also have the highest sex drive (7.2 out of 10). It’s no wonder the residents confessed to having an average of 25 sexual partners in their lifetime (Atlanta is at the top of that leaderboard too). Yes, you all are keeping it “hot” indeed.
The survey doesn’t mention sexual orientation of those surveyed but it’s funny that these cities topped the list in most categories (the survey was done in a total of 10 major cities) because women claim in all these cities that they’re not really getting any because there’s a shortage of men. I’m not just talking about black women either; peek your head into the conversations of our white sisters (if you’re not already cool with them) and you’ll see that they’re having the same issues many of us seem to be having. But hey, a woman’s got needs just like any other man would so we’re “getting it in” even with the issues some of us seem to be having with our deeper relationships.
Check out the survey here. Do you consider yourself sexually “free?” Would you like to try a little something different to spice up your life?