Friday, April 2, 2010


Rev. Jesse Jackson praises Loretto Hospital for providing quality medical care to everyone requiring it, regardless of ability to pay. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Chairman of Rainbow/PUSH praised Loretto Hospital for persevering through hard economic times and providing high quality medical care to everyone coming to them, regardless of ability to pay. He visited the independent community hospital at 645 South Central Avenue in Austin to tour the facility, talk to patients, and hold a press conference to discuss the impact of President Obama’s recently signed health care reform legislation.
    Asked if he is surprised at the intensity of the opposition to the health care reform bill, including threats against Congressmen and Senators, and whether he fears the Supreme Court will overturn the massive law, Rev. Jackson said he is astounded at the level of opposition, but declared his certainty that the Supreme Court will uphold the legislation as constitutional.
    Rev. Jackson observed that it is ironic that the people who opposed passage of Medicare are now covered by it and are currently opposing ensuring medical care for all Americans. But, he says this is in keeping with a long tradition in American politics: large numbers of people opposed outlawing slavery, opposed women’s right to vote, and opposed voting rights. “Now, all of these are accepted laws of the land,” he notes.
    Steve Drucker, Loretto’s President, strongly endorsed the President’s health care reform bill, saying it allows many low-income people to receive care who up to now could not afford health insurance.
    Loretto physician Deen Gaddam and cardiologist Dr. E. Gaddam both praised the president’s health care act, saying it is morally and medically the right policy.
 Dr. Deen Gaddam says the health care reform bill is medically and morally the right policy. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
 Cardiologist Dr. E. Gaddam explains that before the president’s health care reform bill was signed into law, he could not refer patients without insurance for specialized care. (Photo by Isaac Jones)

Rev. Jesse Jackson with Loretto Hospital President Steve Drucker, Emergency Dept. Medical Director Dr. Lois Clarke, Dr. Deen Gaddam & Dr. E. Gaddam. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
Steve Drucker, President of Loretto Hospital, strongly endorses the newly-passed health care reform bill and welcomes Rev. Jesse Jackson to tour Loretto. (Photo by Isaac Jones)


   Quincy Miller, 46, of the 700 block of N. Harding, was arrested and charged with multiple thefts for stealing 800 bleacher seats from Orr High School and selling them for scrap metal.

Quincy Miller, 46, of the 700 block of North Harding Avenue, was arrested March 26 and charged with three counts of felony Theft Over $300 From a School for stealing the aluminum bleacher seats from the Orr High School football field, 730 North Pulaski Road. The thefts of the seating panels occurred between January and March of this year.
    An Area 4 Robbery/Burglary Team investigation identified Miller as the offender who stole approximately 800 bleacher seats. He allegedly sold them for scrap metal. The detectives located Miller on the 700 block of North Harding on March 26, at approximately 1:00 PM and, after a brief foot pursuit, placed him into custody. He was subsequently charged and appeared in Bond Court on March 27.
    School officials estimate it will cost about $45,000 to restore the bleachers for student use. The athletic field was dedicated last summer and made possible through a grant from the Chicago Bears. Orr High School is a Chicago Public School administered by the Academy of Urban School Leadership.
 Standing room only! All of the aluminum bleacher seats were stolen from the Orr High School football field since January and only the support brackets remain. Quincy Miller is charged with stealing the seats & selling them for scrap metal. It will cost about $45,000 to restore the bleachers for use. (Photo by Isaac Jones)


 Jason Torres is serving a senior internship this spring at THE VOICE Newspapers. He is a senior at Chicago Academy High School and wants a career in sports journalism. (Photo by Brad)

Jason Torres, a senior at Chicago Academy High School, 3400 North Austin Avenue, is serving a journalism internship at THE VOICE Newspapers. Torres and his fellow seniors at Chicago Academy High School are required to become interns at corporate and not-for-profit sites in order to graduate. The 6-week internship process is intended to give the students experience in career areas of interest.
    “This  program is designed for students to gain professional experience and help them transition into young adulthood,” explains history teacher and internship coordinator Andrew Johnson.
    Torres says he is interested in studying journalism in college, which is why THE VOICE Newspapers was an attractive option for him. Sports journalism is a career path he would like to enter because of his huge interest in sports.
    “I want to have an ESPN-type job,” he says. “I love talking about sports.”
    Torres considers himself a big Chicago Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks fan. He likes to participate in sports, as well. “I play basketball and baseball/ softball just for fun,” he notes. “I’m decent at those sports, and I actually played on the football team my junior year, but I wasn’t very good,” he admits.
    Torres’ other interests include listening to music, preferably Heavy Metal and Rap. He likes hanging out with his friends and eating a lot of food.
    At school, Torres works on the newspaper staff and is Editor of the yearbook. “I like yearbook. I decided to join the staff so I can spice it up. I started my junior year. Previous yearbooks didn’t live up to their potential, so I decided to step in and make it something everyone would enjoy looking at,” Torres declares.
    Torres says he will do anything to contribute at THE VOICE. His first assignment is gathering and arranging reader submissions for the newspapers’ annual National Poetry Month editions during April. He is also preparing a photo article on Chicago Academy since the high school is only in its 6th year and is relatively unknown on Chicago’s West Side. He is also handling general assignment reporting and is doing some photography for the papers.
    Look for Jason Torres this spring on the news beat for THE VOICE Newspapers.


Urging State Legislators to Rework SB655

Faith leaders, community residents and consumers from across the city of Chicago being led by West Side clergy are opposing proposed state legislation that they say will eliminate access to short-term credit for almost 30% of the community. According to the Faith Coalition for Responsible Communities, several state senators have admitted Senate Bill 655 will cut off credit to a large segment of the population, but continue to move forward on a possible vote on the measure.
    “As the economic crisis continues, members of our communities are facing very difficult times,” explains Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson, Pastor of Greater Institutional AME Church and a founding member of the Faith Coalition, “Credit is getting harder to access. Mainstream banks continue to ignore our communities and people are getting cut off from credit cards even if they have paid their bills.”
    Coalition members are concerned that the proposed legislation will do more harm than good in communities that already are underserved by financial institutions.
    “People need access to credit, and a short-term loan can be the difference between fixing your car and losing your job or stopping a utility company from turning off your electricity or gas,” says Karl Bell, a South Side resident. “Overall, no one has the right to eliminate one of the very few credit choices in the community and not have a plan to address the credit needs of the people.”
    Proposed with the intent to reform the short-term loan industry, SB655 imposes an annual interest rate cap that falls short of the actual costs incurred by lenders to make short-term loans, Coalition leaders charge. The bill, Johnson adds, will eliminate this credit option for a third of the community.
    “We need to preserve the credit choices we have and work to pass real reforms that will protect consumers,” states Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, Pastor of Bethlehem Star Baptist Church and President of the Pastors United for Change. “The Faith Coalition for Responsible Communities has called for real reform to address the problems we hear about most – hidden fees, unfair collection practices, and lack of financial education.”
    Unfortunately, loan companies and lawmakers are dismissing these concerns, adds Rev. Watkins. “It is troubling the very industry that is causing many of the problems in our communities are writing new rules for themselves. We need real community involvement in order to preserve our credit and reform the industry.”
    In order to achieve real reform, the group says that legislation must target the practices that are causing the real hardship. Real reform should focus on ending unfair collection practices and unethical behavior and making sure public policies protect consumers without eliminating access to credit. The group is also concerned by the lack of community participation in developing the legislation.
    “We want to take advantage of the opportunity to truly reform the ways companies operate, but the so-called consumer groups and activists pushing for this legislation are protecting the loan industry while drastically limiting credit in our community,” charges Rev. Calvin Rice, Pastor of Canaan AME Church in Maywood. “We don’t like the idea of people who already have access to credit or other options dictating who in our community will be able to borrow money.”
    Members of the faith group have participated in meetings held in Springfield on this issue. However, the talks have focused almost exclusively on interest rate caps. The ministers say imposing such artificial and arbitrary rate caps will result in cutting off access to credit in communities where choices are already limited.
    “We intend to remain involved in this important debate and work with elected officials to help our communities recover from the economic crisis, reform unfair practices and ensure fair access to credit services.” Says Rev. Debra Williams, Pastor of Davis Memorial Church.
    Also involved in the Coalition are: Pastor Ira Accree of Greater St. John Bible Church and Co-chair of The L.E.A.D.E.R.s Network; Rev. Leon Miller, President of the New Baptist Ministers Fellowship of Chicago & Vicinity; and Pastor George Henderson, President of the West Side Baptist Ministers Conference.


    The Parish Nursing Team Ministry in collaboration with the Men’s Ministry of Heritage International Christian Church, 5312 West North Avenue, is holding a Health Fair especially for men on Saturday, April 10, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, at the church. A variety of tests and screenings will be available. This event is free and all men are invited to attend. Overseer Dwight Gunn is Pastor.


    Pastor John W. White, Jr., of Leap of Faith Ministries, 5213 West Potomac Street, announces that registration is being conducted April 5-9, 5:00-9:00 PM, at the church for free Computer Literacy classes starting April 12. Classes are conducted Monday through Friday in two sessions: 6:00-7:15 PM and 7:30-8:45 PM. Classes run through June 30. For information, call 773/378-3824.


Pastor Marvin E. Wiley and Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood are presenting an Easter Celebration Concert on Saturday, April 3, 6:00 PM, at 1309 Madison Street in Maywood. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
    The program features combined choirs, Voices of Praise, Celebration of Life, plus the Youth and Children’s Choirs. The event also features speeches and poems performed by the Precious Lambs Children’s Ministry.


Celebrating a Lifetime of Protecting Liberty

Flanked by Rev. Howard Kennon & James Montgomery, attorney Lawrence Kennon listens to speakers praise his career. (Photo by Brad)

Lawrence E. Kennon recently celebrated his 80th birthday and announced his retirement from the practice of law in association with the firm of Power & Dixon. The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights hosted a reception honoring the life and accomplishments of Larry Kennon as a champion of civil rights and personal liberties.
    Fittingly, the event was held at 1401 West Roosevelt Road, just blocks from where he grew up over half a century ago. Joining to salute Kennon were colleagues in law who also grew up in Larry’s Near West Side neighborhood: Standish Willis and Edward A. Williams. Kennon attended Crane Technical High School, Chicago City Colleges, DePaul University, and the DePaul University College of Law. Willis and Williams admit Larry Kennon influenced them to follow him into the law.
    After a stint in the U.S. Army, Kennon joined the Cook County State’s Attorney’s staff. Upon leaving for private practice, he specialized in criminal defense work. During the freedom movement, he added a civil rights practice, representing the NAACP, ACLU, Black Panthers, and African American Patrolman’s League. Kennon has built a reputation fighting police brutality and torture and supporting rights to assemble and protest. He is a participating attorney in the effort to prosecute Commander Jon Burge and his fellow police officers accused of torturing citizens under arrest.
    In politics, Larry Kennon was Chairman of the Lawyers Committee to Elect Harold Washington. During the Washington administration, he served as Chairman of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals. He was also one of Mayor Washington’s personal lawyers.
    Kennon was Vice President of the Cook County Bar Association. He was of counsel to the Pontiac 17 following the uprising at the prison. Larry Kennon is a recent recipient of the Vanguard Award and the John Paul Stevens Award, the highest honor of the Chicago Bar Association.
    Kennon has long been an advisory board member of The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and is the registered agent for the Bill of Rights Foundation. This celebration of Larry Kennon’s life and career served as the launch of a scholarship fund in his name.
Professor Timuel Black reminisces about his long friendship with attorney Larry Kennon. (Photo by Brad)
Acclaimed attorney Standish Willis declares, “Larry, I grew up blocks from you on the West Side and became a lawyer because of you.” (Photo by Brad)
Dr. Cynthia Henderson relates knowing attorney Lawrence Kennon all her life. (Photo by Brad)
Cliff Kelley, Lawrence Kennon & Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights President Bob Clarke. (Photo by Brad)
 Lawrence E. Kennon & Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of rights President Bob Clarke introduce the first scholarship recipient, DePaul Law School student Alicia Robinson. (Photo by Brad)
 Attorney Standish Willis tells Larry Kennon, “You can retire from the practice of law, but you can’t retire from the struggle.” (Photo by Brad)
 Attorney James Montgomery congratulates his long-time colleague Lawrence Kennon. (Photo by Brad)
Two old friends: Larry Kennon is congratulated by fellow West Sider and DePaul Law School alum Edward A. Williams. (Photo by Brad)
A Family Affair: Larry Kennon’s brother Rev. Howard Kennon, relates stories of growing up with the famous attorney. (Photo by Brad)
WVON Radio host & old friend Cliff Kelley is MC for the tribute to Larry Kennon. (Photo by Brad)
Bennett Johnson, Vice President of Third World Press, pays tribute to old friend Larry Kennon. (Photo by Brad)


The Illinois Department of Public Health is continuing to encourage citizens to get vaccinated against the H1N1 influenza virus.
    “It’s not too late to get vaccinated,” emphasizes Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Although flu activity has declined, the H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate, with cases and deaths from H1N1 flu still being reported in Illinois. Influenza vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu,” Dr. Arnold says. “Anyone who wants protection from H1N1 flu should get vaccinated. The vaccination is especially important for those people with underlying health conditions.”
    In past pandemics, flu activity has occurred in waves, and it’s possible the United States could experience another upswing in H1N1 flu cases in the spring and fall of 2010, or localized outbreaks, warns the State Dept. of Public Health. It has been almost a year since the H1N1 flu first surfaced in the U.S.
    Ongoing vaccination of people with certain health conditions is particularly important because most cases of serious H1N1 illness – especially those requiring hospitalization – occur in people with underlying medical conditions. Health conditions that increase the risk of being hospitalized from H1N1 include lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, or neurologic disease, and pregnancy.
    However, healthy people with no underlying conditions have also suffered severe cases of H1N1 flu. Lisa Amoriso of Bridgeport, Illinois, was in a coma for almost the entire month of November, clinging to life as the H1N1 virus attacked her body. In Health Department TV ads, she talks about her experience, saying her greatest regret is deciding not to get vaccinated.
    Those wishing to get vaccinated should contact their medical providers or the Chicago Department of Public Health. For information and to find the nearest vaccination site, visit or call the Illinois Flu Hotline at 1-866-848-2094.


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The Garfield Park Advisory Council is holding its monthly meeting on Saturday, April 3, at 10:00 AM, in the Gold Dome, 100 North Central Park Avenue. The public is invited to attend and participate.
    Levette Haynes, Executive Director of the West Side Cultural Arts Council and Secretary of the Garfield Park Advisory Council, announced that she was informed by Park District Regional Manager Art Richardson of the appointment of Avis White as a new Area Manager for the Chicago Park District. It is hoped that she will attend the April 3 Advisory Council meeting.
    For information, call Levette Haynes at 773/371-1870.


    Amundsen Park, 6200 West Bloomingdale Avenue, is holding an Open House on Saturday, April 17, 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. The purpose is to inform senior citizens, parents, and families of the programs and facilities at the park. Admission is free and the public is invited. The staff is asking people attending to fill out a questionnaire giving ideas for park programming.
    From 1:00-3:00 PM, teenagers 13-18 are featured, with rappers, and Hip-Hop artists, plus a special guest performer.
    For information, call 312/746-5003.


The Illinois State Board of Education is seeking a waiver on behalf of the New Birth Christian Center to Federal Regulation 7CFR225.6(b)(6) that limits private nonprofit sponsors to 25 Summer Food Service Program Sites. New Birth Christian Center provides meals at children’s summer program and neighborhood sites not served by another agency such as a local school district. They have requested that the Illinois State Board of Education seek a waiver allowing them to provide meal service to more than 25 sites, due to the overwhelming need to address the lack of proper nutrition, hunger, obesity, and poverty in the low-income communities of the inner city and suburbs. Additionally, the average size of the food service sites that are being proposed can feed up to 150 eligible school age children in Chicagoland’s low income communities.
    The requested waiver will permit New Birth Christian Center and its affiliated sites to feed all needy children who participate in approved programs during the summer, while school is out of session. To comment on the proposed waiver request and to obtain further information, contact the Illinois State Board of Education at 217/782-2491 or 1-800-545-7892 or


On February 5, the School Board of St. Gregory Episcopal School, 2130 South Central Park Avenue, overwhelmingly voted to unite with the Holy Family Lutheran School, Homan Avenue & Arthington Street. This follows the unanimous decision made by the Holy Family Board one week earlier to accept the unification of the schools. Starting in the fall of 2010, St. Gregory students will enroll at the newly-named Holy Family School, which has grown substantially in the past several years, since moving into its newly-constructed, state-of-the-art building in Homan Square.
    Both schools have a long tradition of serving the North Lawndale/West Garfield communities through quality, low-cost, faith-based elementary education. As one, Holy Family and St. Gregory will continue to serve the North Lawndale and surrounding communities so that area youth will flourish academically, as well as in life, according to a joint communiqué issued by the two schools.
    Father Ken Erickson, St. Gregory’s Principal, states of the partnership: “We seek to have a lasting impact on the lives of the children of North Lawndale and the surrounding neighborhoods. What we care about most is the mission that we share – that respecting the dignity of every child begins with providing an excellent education.”
    Holy Family President Susan Work also affirms the partnership, saying:  “It is a win-win opportunity, and a 2010 perspective to both schools. The winners are the children.”
    The winning plays out in a variety of ways for West Side children. Through joint resources, students have access to Holy Family’s state-of-the-art facility. This fully-equipped facility delivers a complete learning experience: a playground, gym (which dually functions as an auditorium and cafeteria), library, art room, music room, science lab, computer lab, and generous learning space.
    Additionally, Holy Family’s vision is to use its building in service of the community, offering before- and after-school childcare, after-school programming focusing on the arts and sports, and an 8-week summer camp.
    With the addition of St. Gregory students, enrollment could potentially increase 30%. Higher enrollment means smaller class sizes with the addition of more paid staff, increased funds for special programming, more scholarship assistance, and additional volunteers.
    Drawing on St. Gregory’s focus on educating at-risk boys, Holy Family and St. Gregory boards are joining together to consider special programming addressing the special education issues facing at-risk boys, as well as the reinstatement of the St. Gregory’s Boy’s Choir.
    According to Work, “St. Gregory students will be immersed in the life of Holy Family – and we will be one big Holy Family!”
    For information on Holy Family curriculum, programs, financial assistance, and enrollment, call 773/265-0550.