A History of Us: New Horizons/Pluto-revised

Okay, I’m a geek, but in slightly more than a day from now a small probe will sale past Pluto. The probe has been on the road, so to speak, since January 2006, racing at the solar system’s farthest known planet at an astounding 56,000mph, covering the distance between Chicago and Austin Texas every minute. It takes sunlight 5.5 hours to reach Pluto. When Pluto was last at this point in its orbit, George Washington was fighting in the French and Indian War. The probe, New Horizons, is streaming pictures, and scientific data, tracking its cameras on a ruddy planetoid and 5 mysterious moons. This is a testament to what mankind may achieve. These are still the first furtive steps of a tottering and curious species.nh-pluto-7-11-15

Humanity is still in its infancy, just learning to walk, grasping at the oddities of its surrounding universe. Everything is dangerous. Everything is amazing. Everything at once demands to be respected and to be explored. These are the fingers of the child reach up and beyond itself. Every new gesture and breath is always a fatal mixture of exploration and disaster. The two go hand in hand.

Scientists will likely discover a previously undreamed of world. The pale orange color doubtless a mix of frozen methane, nitrogen and water ice. The complex features seem to betray an active geology, driven by extraordinary tidal forces upon a body essentially comprised as a slush ball. There we will discover volcanoes and ice flows and a surface as dynamic and changing as Jupiter’s moon, Io, or Titan at Saturn. The moons, like Charon do not seem to mirror the composition of Pluto. They are rocky, their surfaces more stable. As our species approaches this distant world, little more than a smudge of light in even the strongest telescopes, Pluto and its moons, it would seem are a virtual junk yard of our solar system. In that simple realization it makes New Horizons’ Pluto mission even more important. It is a snapshot of humanity’s origins.

More than any of those monumental discoveries, New Horizons is less an American achievement at a Human one. From those first wonderings of the heavens from our murky beginnings to the charting of the star and planets, the Pole who should revealed to us that we are not the center of the universe, the invention of the telescope by an Italian, a German who pioneered the laws of planetary motion, the Muslim who crafted the Algebra, meticulous star catalogs of the Chinese, the Dutchman who confirmed them with meticulous calculations, the Italian who gave us radio that we might transmit those images back to the home planet. Look at the faces of the men and women the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at NASA, as well as listening posts around this planet. They are a patchwork of a species that is astounding when it aspires and self destructing at its worst moment.

The media will obsess briefly over Pluto, gushing over strange and odd images from an unfathomable world at an unfathomable distance. It will return to the tribalism of party politics, of war, of unrest on our streets. It will return to the tantrums and failings of the child. That child has a chance, as New Horizons begs to teach us. It holds in its own hands the power for self determination or self destruction. Within its ever expanding consciousness lays the opportunity to ascend to the stars and beyond as it discovers its ultimate destiny; one anchored in hope, defined in peace and at once enthralled in its own innate human fallibility. The other is the child that refuses to learn as it stumbles and falls, that its future footsteps become more confident, wise and strident

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. .

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Columbia University First to Divest from Private Prison Industry


Tuesday June 23rd, 2015

Student Organizing Results in Columbia University Becoming First to Divest from Private Prison Industry

On Monday June 22nd, following sixteen months of relentless student activism, the Columbia University Board of Trustees announced its decision to divest from the private prison industry and institute a policy banning reinvestment in companies that operate prisons. This decision makes Columbia the very first university to divest from the private prison industry.

“We targeted the university’s investments in two private prison companies, but we hope that private prison divestment campaigns, with the abolitionist vision of a larger anti-prison movement, can help us start working towards divesting from the idea that prisons equal justice, which we believe to be fundamentally racist.” – Dunni Oduyemi

The Columbia Prison Divest campaign was launched in February 2014 by Students Against Mass Incarceration, a Black-led prison abolitionist student group, after students discovered that approximately $10 million of Columbia University’s endowment was invested in two for-profit prison companies: the Corrections Corporation of America and G4S. CCA, GEO Group, and G4S have played major, active roles in pushing for legislation that further criminalizes marginalized communities such as mandatory minimum laws and Arizona’s infamous SB1070 statute. Alumni, faculty, staff, and West Harlem community members came together to support the student-run campaign demanding immediate divestment from these companies and a permanent negative screen against any future investments.

“My involvement in this campaign has been about acknowledging my complicity in racist systems of incarceration and policing. As a student at an elite university, I have a choice to quietly benefit or take the opportunity to leverage my privilege to hold my school accountable” – Ella Every-Wortman, student organizer

“These companies have a fundamental interest in expanding incarceration in order to maximize profit. We will not see an end to the racism and exploitation embedded in our contemporary systems of mass incarceration and detention if we do not dismantle the economic engines of this prison-industrial complex.” – Gabriela Catalina Pelsinger, student organizer

Prison Divest is a strategy born out of collaboration between immigrant justice and anti-mass incarceration organizers in a common fight against the criminalization of marginalized communities. Student organizers have situated prison divestment in the context of broader visions for change. Through their actions, political education, and avid social media presence, Columbia Prison Divest has tied their work to the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-gentrification efforts in West Harlem, the movement to divest from the Israeli police state, and activism against immigrant detention and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Universities investing in prisons reinforce systems of inequality that allow only some to succeed. As a Black student, I know that Columbia is actively doing violence against people that look like me in a number of ways. I refuse to be just another brown face in a college brochure that my school can use to mask the systemic racism it participates in.” – Asha Rosa, student organizer

“From the start we wanted to establish those links that what’s happening globally is happening domestically”- Imani Brown, alum and former organizer

“For us, prison divestment has been an entry point for addressing the ways in which students at elite colleges and universities are directly and specifically in the privileged positions that we are because of systems of inequality. The racist, classist images of “criminals deserving of punishment” are created in tandem with images of “hard-working college students deserving of opportunity,” and each is defined in relation to the other. Through prison divestment, we have worked to challenge these narratives and structures. We refuse to buy into the false narratives that justify our privilege at the expense of the suffering of others. We hope this victory opens doors to more campaigns, to more organizing, to more victories. This is not the end. This is a beginning”- Columbia Prison Divest campaign organizers

There are over a dozen active prison divestment campaigns on college campuses across the United States. Notable victories in prison divest organizing include United Methodist Church’s divestment from CCA and GEO Group and the Gates’ Foundation’s divestment from G4S.


Asha Rosa
(708) 334-2390

Gabriela Pelsinger
(415) 265-8372

Dunni Oduyemi
(917) 868-2484

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ACTION ALERT: Just Say No To Fast Track Stop Fast Track Rally


Mara Cohen

Photo opportunities outside of the Dirksen Federal Buildings

Just Say No To Fast Track Stop Fast Track Rally

When: Beginning at 9:30 AM, June 23, 2015 and continuing preferably through the cloture vote on Fast Track trade authority currently scheduled for 10 AM central time.

Where: Outside the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 South Dearborn Chicago

We are rallying to tell Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk that we care and we notice what they do, to tell them if they don’t vote no on fast track we will vote no for them and campaign against them as hard as we can. They will be primaried out and voted away! We will be bringing noise, costumes, and lots of creative energy. We are rallying to express our revulsion for fast track to Durbin and Kirk as well as the USTR and the “Free” Trader-In-Chief! Stop fast track before it’s too late!

“The Obama trade agenda that Congress is considering fast tracking through Congress will lower wages, export jobs, increase the wealth divide and increase the trade deficit. This is the consistent history of trade agreements written for trans-national corporations. They benefit big business interests at the expense of the people and planet. Senators who vote for Fast Track are driving the race to the bottom for the US economy and voters need to know they are the reason our downward decline,” said Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance.

“The international treaties being negotiated by the president go beyond trade to impact every area of our lives. They will raise the costs of health care, undermine food safety, lead to more poisoning of the water, land and air and worsen the climate crisis. Additionally, the ISDS provisions mean that we will not be able to enact laws that protect our health and safety even at the local level,” added Dr. Margaret Flowers, also co-director of Popular Resistance.

On June 12th the House of Representatives voted in a landslide to reject the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) portion of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill passed by the Senate. This should have resulted in the Obama trade bill’s defeat. But Speaker John Boehner called for a revote, then delayed that until the end of July, and with Majority Leader McConnell and President Obama, manipulated the congressional process not for a re-vote, but to avoid a re-vote. They then split the bills into two: TPA and TAA, rapidly pushed TPA through the House with 218 votes for (but 210 against) and now are trying to ram it through the Senate. The indadequate TAA bill will be included by the Senate;s version of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in order to prevent a re-vote on TAA in the House. AGOA is popular with Democrats and the Republican leadership, with President Obama are trying to pass TAA by making it part of AGOA.

“This manipulated approach in Congress was necessary because there has been a populist revolt across the political spectrum urging elected officials to oppose another job-killing trade treaty. Hundreds of thousands of phone calls have been made to Congress in the last three weeks with protests held across the country. At the same time $200 million has been donated to Members of the House to encourage them to support TPA. Speaker Boehner received over $5 million from transnational corporate interests. This has become a battle between people and money. People won on June 12th, but corrupt legislative leaders have manipulated the process, linking votes on trade to pension and intelligence bills in the House and tying TAA to a bill on Africa. Corruption is winning, but the people will continue to oppose the three Obama trade deals no matter how TPA turns out,” added Zeese.

Organized by:

Mara Cohen
National TPP Team
847 – 471 – 4129
Facebook page: https://facebook.com/groups/448515881931246

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From the Charleston Massacre to Rekia Boyd, Rise Up Demand Justice

Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression

1325 S. Wabash Ave. Suite 105, Chicago, Illinois 60605



For release Monday June 22, 2015

For information contact Frank Chapman, 312-513-3795
email: contact@naarpr.org

Rally: From the Charleston Massacre to Rekia Boyd, Rise Up Demand Justice

When: 5pm, Tuesday June 23rd, 2015

Where: Federal Plaza, Chicago. Adams & Dearborn

Who: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression with

Chicagoans from across the city

Chicago 06/23 – On Tuesday, June 23 at 5pm Chicagoans from across the city will be gathering at the Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago. We will be rallying in solidarity with those murdered in the Charleston Massacre and for all those slain by the police, from Eric Garner choked to death by New York cop Darren Wilson to Rekia Boyd who was shot to death by Chicago cop Dante Servin. We will be demanding justice for all Black people and an end to institutionalized racism and genocidal policies:

What are we demanding that the city, state and federal governments do? We are demanding that they:




Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1581682608751383/

Mother Emanuel is a sacred shrine of the Black Liberation Movement and at this moment is the site of a racist massacre of Black people. This is so much more than symbolic for in the deranged and delusional minds of racists the struggles of Black people for freedom can be abolished by murder and terror. While fear and terror are the ancient tools of the oppressor they have never been proven to be more powerful than the struggle for freedom.

The Freedom Movement is agitated into existence by oppression, by the thousands of wrongs and injustices heaped upon us daily, until we arrive at that turning point where we are fired up and can’t take it no more. Then the struggle starts up again as open rebellion and no one individual or government entity can stop it.

Every time we have rebelled throughout our history we have been met by white, racist resistance designed to frighten and terrorize us back into submission. In the wake of the Denmark Vesey Rebellion of 1822 Emanuel African Methodist

Episcopal Church was burned to the ground, and was later shuttered by the slave

holding City of Charleston in 1834. Mother Emanuel A.M.E. was reorganized in 1865 in a new building designed by Denmark Vesey’s son, Robert Vesey. The timing of this current massacre coincides with the anniversary of the Rebellion of 1822 led by Vesey. The clock of history never turns back. Freedom is a constant struggle.

Today is no different. Maybe the individual who perpetrated this massacre is not part of an organized racist hate group, but it doesn’t matter since his actions are
consistent with the gang of cops who lynch-murdered Eric Garner, and the Chicago cop Dante Servin who shot into a group of Black people and murdered Rekia Boyd. A government, which allows cops to murder Black people with impunity, cannot escape accountability by apologizing and being in hot pursuit of one racist murderer when you have let Darren Wilson, and other racist murderers, go free because they carried a badge.

If there ever was a clarion call from our history for us to rise up and demand that this Government and this Nation, cease and desist in all its institutionalized racism and genocidal policies against our people, this is it.


Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Stop Police Crimes Campaign for an Elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC)


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Southside Trauma center Fight:#BlackLivesMatter

Press contact:
Alex Goldenberg
773 543 9153

Arrested Trauma Center Protesters Go to Court Today

Who: Community leaders, and University of Chicago students and Alumni and allies

What: Press Conference

Date: June 18, 2015

Where/When: 555 W. Harrison at 8:30am

Chicago, IL
– On June 18, nine community leaders, University of Chicago Students and Alumni, who were arrested at a peaceful sit in on June 3rd, will go to court. The University is charging the protesters with trespassing, mob action and resisting arrest. The protestors were demanding a meeting a University President Zimmer to discuss the University opening a needed south side trauma center.

The sit in, at the University Administration building, lasted two and a half hours before the University called the fire department to ax through drywall, break windows, and saw through doors in order for police to arrest the protestors.

The arrested protestors will hold a press conference before the court date to explain why they engaged in a peaceful sit in and explain the movement that has come together to push for their charges to be dropped. It is rare for a University to pursue such strong charges, particularly against its own students and Alumni. “This campaign has been going on for five years. Instead of agreeing to a meeting, University President Zimmer had us arrested and detained for 45 hours, this goes completely against the University’s so called value of free and open dialogue” said Victoria Crider, a leader of Fearless Leading by the Youth.

The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Woodlawn youth leader Damian Turner, and is led by the Woodlawn-based Fearless Leading by the Youth, along with the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Students for Health Equity at the UofC, National Nurses United, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, University Church and Kenwood Church, and many allies.

The South Side is currently a trauma desert for adults, meaning that victims of shootings and other serious injuries must be taken over ten miles away, to the Near North Side or south west suburbs. The call for trauma care is also supported by a new study by the Illinois Department of Public Health which states that longer travel times to a trauma center increases the likelihood of dying, the study also states that the U of C is best positioned to expand access to trauma care, and that the U of C could further raise the age limit of their pediatric trauma center.

Recent stories on the trauma center campaign:

“Obama Library Not Urgent Care Chicago needs as protests overshadow ‘final campaign’” The Guardian

“Here’s What U of C Should Do for the City” Crain’s Chicago Business

“Protestors link Obama library with #BlackLivesMatter,” Bloomberg

“UofC Wants to Raise Age Limit at Pediatric Trauma Center,” The

“Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center ,” Progress Illinois

“Religious leaders march for South Side trauma center,” Hyde Park Herald

“South Side Hospital Patients Caught in Trauma Deserts,” (Feature Story), Chicago Tribune

“University of Chicago Alumni: No Donations Until Trauma Center Opened,” Progress Illinois

“Chicago needs help, not Obama Library,” LZ Granderson, CNN.com

“Activists protest university’s bid for Obama Library,” USA Today

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Monsanto Protection Act Not Over Yet

The Monsanto Protection Act is back and worse than ever! Don’t let Monsanto and Junk Food lobbyists kill GMO labeling in Washington DC!

Last week we had an incredible victory by stalling the Fast Track for secretive international trade agreements like the TPP that would undermine representative democracy and make it illegal to label GMO foods. Your calls and emails helped make the difference, but we can’t let up.

Right now Congress is back at it, once again carrying Monsanto’s water to put their toxic profits over our nation’s health and our democracy.

This time, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has reintroduced his disastrous bill, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” (H.R. 1599), which would make it illegal for states to pass common sense GMO labeling and now also prohibits states or counties from banning or regulating GMOs in any way.

Take a stand! Tell Congress: “I support GMO labeling!” The Monsanto Protection Act is back and worse than ever! Every voice counts!

For the past 23 years, Monsanto and giant chemical companies have gotten away with writing the rules and regulations behind closed doors allowing their toxic chemicals and untested genetically engineered crops to receive rubberstamp approvals at the FDA, EPA and USDA.

The latest additions to Pompeo’s deceitfully named bill would only further enshrine regulatory incompetence here in the United States and permanently preserve the illusion of government oversight of GMO crops put in place when Monsanto’s former attorney Michael Taylor originally wrote the rules of “substantial equivalence” that currently deny Americans the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.

What Monsanto’s New Protection Act, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” (H.R. 1599) will do if passed:

1. Forbid states from labeling GMO foods or enforcing existing labeling laws passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.
2. Prohibit any state or local county or city oversight of GMO crops, even when the federal government has declined or failed to regulate them.
3. Weaken already impotent federal regulations on GMO crops at USDA and FDA.
4. Make it more difficult to voluntarily label GMO and non-GMO foods by prohibiting any private label claims that do not go 
through a new USDA certification standard established by the bill.

This morning, June 18th, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will be holding a hearing on Pompeo’s dangerous new bill and we need your help to stop this undemocratic bill. We can’t let Monsanto get away with killing the growing grassroots movement to hold them accountable, especially when glyphosate, the main chemical ingredient in their weedkiller Roundup, which more than 90 percent of GMO crops have been engineered to withstand, was recently declared a probable cancer-causing agent by the World Health Organization.

In the past 3 years, more than 30 states have introduced bills or ballot initiatives to require GMO labeling – and because of this growing grassroots movement, mandatory GMO labeling laws have passed in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.

Now Monsanto’s getting more desperate than ever.

If members of Congress voted to pass Pompeo it will preempt state’s rights, outlaw state GMO labeling and reverse recent victories like bans on GMO crops passed in Jackson and Josephine County in Oregon and Maui, which passed by popular votes to protect organic seed and community health in these states last year.

Click here if you support labeling genetically engineered foods! Don’t let Monsanto get away with continuing to undermine our democracy write the rules behind closed doors.


Remember, democracy is like a muscle, either you use it or you lose it!

Thanks for participating in food democracy,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team

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The People’s Lobby to Congress: Enough is enough!

Apparently, some politicians didn’t get the message after last week’s vote blocking Fast Track legislation from moving forward in the House. The House Rules Committee came up with a new scheme that would allow Fast Track to be voted on again TODAY.

ACT NOW: Send an email to Congress NOW to vote NO on Fast Track.

Please also CALL also the TPP action line at (888) 966-9836. Give them your zipcode to be connected to your representative.

Please also contact these representatives using 888 number above, as you are able:

REP BILL FOSTER use this zipcode to be connected: 60502

REP ROBIN KELLY use this zipcode to be connected: 60901

REP BOBBY RUSH use this zipcode to be connected: 60445

REP DUCKWORTH use this zipcode to be connected: 60118

REP DAN LIPINSKI use this zipcode to be connected: 60462

REP DANNY DAVIS use this zipcode to be connected: 60612

REP CHERI BUSTOS use this zipcode to be connected: 61101

REP LUIS GUTTIEREZ use this zipcode to be connected: 60647

REP MIKE QUIGLEY use this zipcode to be connected: 60618

REP SCHAKOWSKY use this zipcode to be connected: 60056

REP PELOSI (202) 225-4965

There’s a reason we were able to block Fast Track in the House last week: you and countless others keep telling Congress in no uncertain terms that you want “No Fast Track for the TPP!” We can’t let up now.

Corporate lobbyists’ and certain political elites’ attempt to ram Fast Track legislation through again so soon after last week’s failure — possibly as early as today — is a desperate move. I have every confidence we can stop them again, but we need your support once more.

Tell Congress enough is enough, and to say NO to Fast Track for the TPP.

You know the stakes here are very high. If passed, Fast Track would create a virtual rubber-stamp for dangerous trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten jobs, wages, the environment, public health and more in your community and communities throughout the world.

As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote recently in USA Today, “As we look to the future, it is clear that this debate on the trade authority is probably the last of it’s kind. The intense debate of the past few weeks has further convinced me that we need a new paradigm.”

Fast Track legislation really did take a major blow last week. Winning this vote should knock Fast Track out for good. Please take action now.

Your calls makes a difference.

In solidarity,

David Hatch, Executive Director

P.S. Click here to learn more about why the TPP is so bad for people around the world.

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Immigrant Families Rally on Father’s Day Against Detention, Deportation

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) | facebook.com/OCADIL |


June 18, 2015
Media contacts:
Lissette Castillo, 312.770.0350

Irene Romulo, 773.319.4777


Immigrant Families Rally on Father’s Day Against Detention, Deportation

Family members of individuals currently detained and facing deportation proceedings speak out against ICE’s continued detention and separation of families. Together with community, family members celebrate ALL fathers including those who are fighting to stay with their families.

What: Family members, friends, and allies of parents who are spending father’s day in immigration detention and deportation will gather in front of the Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to bring attention to the continued suffering of Chicago families separated by harsh and unfair immigration enforcement practices.

When: Thursday, June 18th, 11:00 AM

Where: In front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chicago office, 101 W. Congress Parkway

Who: Individuals currently in deportation proceedings and family members of people locked in Chicago-area detention centers, allies and supporters.

Why: For many, this father’s day will be a time for celebration and family communion. Yet, for many immigrant families across the country, including the families of local immigrants Jose Adan and Manuel Roman who are currently in deportation proceedings, the day will be tinged with bittersweetness. Today family members and children will join community members to denounce the continued use of immigrant detention centers to keep families apart in Chicago and across the country. Today we celebrate ALL fathers–including undocumented father’s fighting to stay with their children and families.


Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is a Chicago-based, undocumented led, community group organizing against immigration detention and deportation.

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The #LetUsBreathe Collective Celebrates Juneteenth

June 18, 2015

Kristiana Colón
Executive Director
#LetUsBreathe Collective
773.297.1303 – cell

The #LetUsBreathe Collective Celebrates Juneteenth
& Commemorates the Legacy of Rekia Boyd

June 18, 2015 CHICAGO, Il. – The #LetUsBreathe Collective continues its mission of remixing the art of protest by celebrating Juneteenth with #FreeDay – a jubilant service parade beginning near the site where unarmed Black woman Rekia Boyd was killed by off-duty CPD Officer Dante Servin. This Friday marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as Black Independence Day, when slaves in the deep South finally got the news of their liberation, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Many Black folk feel like celebrating Independence on the 4th of July is problematic, because though Blacks fought and died in the Revolutionary War, we weren’t really free for another century,” says #LetUsBreathe Public Relations Coordinator Jennifer Pagán. “Juneteenth honors the history of Black liberation work in America, and we use this day to lift up Rekia Boyd because of how her legacy is catalyzing contemporary Black liberation work in Chicago and nationwide.” #FreeDay is a follow-up to the Collective’s #RememberingRekia action on Memorial Day. The action will connect teens to youth resources with the message to “Maximize their freedom” as CPS “liberates” its students for the summer. The event kicks off at 15th & Albany, just blocks away from Collins High School, where one of its alumna Rekia Boyd was shot in the back of the head after a noise complaint.

The Juneteenth celebration will include a traveling open mic and service parade, where demonstrators engage the community with pop-up performances, food & book giveaways, political education break-outs, and neighborhood clean-up. “We’re continuing our critique of racially disproportionate police aggression by highlighting that though we’ve celebrated Black liberation for 150 years, many Black youth are still not free,” says #LetUsBreathe Co-Director Damon Williams. “And because North Lawndale is a community directly impacted by police violence and mass incarceration, we want to wrap that critique in love, joy, art, and service.” #FreeDay continues #LetUsBreathe’s mission of blending arts and activism to bring about change.

On June 18th, the #LetUsBreathe Collective will join BYP100 and other activist organizations in demanding that Officer Dante Servin be fired at the CPD Board meeting at Police Headquarters. A petition demanding his termination will be circulated during the #FreeDay parade.

WHAT: The #LetUsBreathe Collective leads #FreeDay, a remixed approach to protest that celebrates Juneteenth and commemorates the legacy of Rekia Boyd.

WHEN: Friday June 19th, 2015

WHERE: Douglas Park (starting at 15th St & Albany)

WHY: Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. As CPS releases its students for the summer, the #LetUsBreathe Collective invites North Lawndale teens to celebrate their freedom with peace, creativity, and connection to youth resources.

WHO: In the wake of a militarized police response to the public outcry over the death of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the #LetUsBreathe Collective formed as a fundraising initiative to bring tear gas protection and remedies, medical and hygiene supplies, and water bottles to Ferguson protesters. Beginning in August 2014, the #LetUsBreathe Collective launched an ongoing series of donation deliveries to support the frontline resistance. #LetUsBreathe teamed up with Lost Voices, a Ferguson youth protest group that vowed to camp out in the protest area until Darren Wilson was indicted. In an effort to deepen the conversation beyond mainstream media’s one-dimensional coverage, #LetUsBreathe produced Lost Voices Live, a hybrid of theater, protest, and live storytelling featuring Ferguson protesters and Chicago arts activists, and Lost Voices: A Ferguson Story, a documentary film bearing witness to this resistance movement, to be used as educational tools to mobilize youth activism nationwide. The #LetUsBreathe Collective works in collaboration with the Black Youth Project (BYP100), Black Lives Matter, HandsUp United, and Chicago Artists Against Injustice. It serves as an incubator for innovative activism to provoke critical dialogue and bring about social change for communities of all backgrounds.

The #LetUsBreathe Collective aims to harness creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice in America and worldwide. A grassroots alliance of artists, journalists, and activists, we use our talents to amplify marginalized voices, disrupt the status quo, offer opportunities for healing and education, and provoke critical thought and dialogue about the intersections of oppression through film, music, theater, poetry, and civil disobedience.

Coverage of #RememberingRekia Action:


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Chicago International Youth Peace Movement Conference

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement Conference
Gofundme.com/ChicagoYouthPeace | ChicagoYouthPeace.eventbrite.com


Contact: Isha Haley, 786-709-1561, ChicagoYouthPeace@gmail.com
Rachael Perrotta, 773-653-5073, plusssone@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 3rd, 9AM
Chicago City Hall, 5th Floor

Wed 6/3: Press Conference for
Chicago International Youth Peace Conference
#ChicagoYouthPeace: Mobilizing, activating and empowering young people, in grades 5-12, to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.

CHICAGO 6/2 — From June 4th to 6th, Chicago will host the first Chicago International Youth Peace Conference at Chicago Theological Seminary, 1407 E. 60th St, and at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell. Conference leaders and organizers will hold a press conference on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 9AM, outside the mayor’s office on the 5th floor of Chicago’s City Hall, 121 N LaSalle St.

Full conference press release, schedule, presenter bios and logo: http://tinyurl.com/ChiYouthPeacePress


Jessica Disu, @FMSupreme: Chicago’s Jessica Disu (FM Supreme) uses language as a tool for positive change. She’s an international performing poet, mc, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” She has shared the stage with Common, MC Lyte, Lupe Fiasco, KRS One, and Boys II Men. Jessica has produced and hosted dozens of youth led events and forums for the past five years.

Richard Taylor, @TrulyTaylorMade: Author and motivational speaker Richard Taylor hails from Chicago, IL. Richard dealt with insecurity, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness that resulted from being bullied and ridiculed in his childhood. Now, at the age of 27, Richard is a nationally recognized best selling author and speaker. He is on a mission to be one of the influential voices for his generation and the generations to come. Richard stars in a motivational YouTube series, “Getting Over The Hump,” and wrote the books “Unashamed” & “Between The Dream.” His goal is to inspire the masses to tap into their inner potential to create the change they want to see.

Page May, @may20p: Page May is a Chicago-based youth organizer with We Charge Genocide (@ChiCopWatch). She is one of the 8 youth delegates who traveled to the United Nations and the lead author of the shadow report submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture. She is currently organizing the youth-centered campaign, #ChiStops, to challenge stop-and-frisk in Chicago (@ChiStopsWCG). She has the privilege of working with the elementary school students of Village Leadership Academy. They have co-organized several actions against police violence, i.e. the Reclaim MLK march, Stephon Watts Memorial and Freedom Ride, and Rally for Reparations. Currently, she is working to launch Assata’s Daughters, a new grassroots organizing collective for Black women in Chicago.

Ethan “Ethos” Viets-Van Lear, @EthosIII: Poet, Organizer, and Prison Abolitionist born and raised on the Northside of Chicago. Ethan’s work focuses on abolition through transformative/re-distributive justice work in the form of Peace Circle Keeping as an alternative to punitive punishment practices. Ethan also does environmental work in his community with an organization called LETS GO Chicago. He is currently enrolled at UIC in the College of Education. Ethan recently traveled with a delegation of young people (We Charge Genocide) to the United Nations Committee Against Torture to charge the Chicago Police Department with torture.

The lead organizing group for the conference is Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, along with a coalition of faith-based groups and individuals led by Jessica Disu (@FMSupreme), who was recently chosen by Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the city’s “Summer of Faith and Action” program.

“If you’re looking for solutions to violence in Chicago and around the world, you should look to the young people who are the most disproportionately affected by it,” says Jessica Disu of Chicago International Youth Peace Movement. “The message of the Chicago International Youth Peace Conference is, if you want young people to put the guns down, you need to give them something else to pick up. Our goal is to mobilize, activate and empowering youth to get organized and use their voices for peace and social change.”

In March, Jessica Disu and the group she founded, Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, partnered with ABC 7 Chicago to write and perform in “Still Believe, Yeah” a Public Service Announcement to promote peace and encourage conversations about nonviolence and hope: http://abc7chicago.com/entertainment/fm-supreme-launches-still-believe-psa-promoting-peace/539810/

Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, a peer-to-peer mentoring and youth leadership advocacy group, empowers, inspires and activates youth and young adult voices for nonviolence and social change. Our mission is to creatively promote peace and nonviolence through the arts, mentoring, civic engagement, and youth led and young adult facilitated programming.

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