Archives for May 2010
Wisconsin Family Jobs Act becomes law, job creating legislation becomes 18th act authored by 18th Assembly District Representative during landmark session
Madison – Today, State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) applauded enactment of Assembly Bill 898, the Wisconsin Family Jobs Act. Governor Doyle signed the act into law during a ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where a total of three bills authored by Grigsby were signed.
Combined with her other successful bills this session, the signing of these bills capped a highly successful legislative session for the 18th Assembly District Representative, who saw 18 of her bills become law.
“As a staunch supporter of new jobs and opportunities for business growth, I am incredibly proud to have authored the Wisconsin Family Jobs Act,” Grigsby said following the ceremony.
“This bill will utilize available federal funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, investing them in businesses and employers interested in expanding their enterprises and hiring new employees. This is not only a victory for employers; most importantly, it puts real people in real jobs.”
The Wisconsin Family Jobs Act creates the structure for a subsidized employment program for qualifying Wisconsin residents, resulting in a benefit to employee and employer alike. Under this new law, an employer that hires an eligible participant will receive a wage subsidy that is equal to the amount of wages that the employer pays that employee, up to 40 hours per week at minimum wage for a maximum of six months.
In addition, the Wisconsin Family Jobs Act will remove the current cap on the Transitional Jobs program, eliminating the limit on this important jobs program. Throughout the United States, 26 other states and the District of Columbia have utilized federal dollars to create programs similar to the Wisconsin Family Jobs Act.
“This is a major victory for people in search of new jobs and work experience,” Grigsby said. “This legislation builds on the other job creating successes of this legislative session and moves Wisconsin forward by connecting real people with real work.”
In addition to the Wisconsin Family Jobs Act, Governor Doyle signed two other Grigsby bills. The first, Assembly Bill 780, creates a performance-based contracting system for group homes, residential care centers, and child welfare agencies. The goal of this new payment system is to promote accountability for agency performance by developing performance-based contracting measures that ultimately connect outcomes to agency compensation.
Also signed, Assembly Bill 883 will provide the Milwaukee County Child Welfare Partnership Council with a greater public voice and a stronger, more formal role in determining and implementing child welfare policy in Milwaukee County.
“To see these and other initiatives, some of which I’ve worked on for years, become law is beyond encouraging,” Grigsby said. “So much more must be done, but the progress made during the past session is reason to do even more. We need to keep moving forward and keep fighting to make Wisconsin stronger.”
According to some of the media I have read lately, I do not exist. Yet I live, breathe, and pen these words in support of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
I am an African-American law professor at Harvard who was recruited by Elena Kagan during her deanship. I use the word “recruited” decidedly. The dean does not “hire” any professor at Harvard; rather, the faculty votes on prospective members. To be sure, the dean’s role in the hiring process is critical, but she alone cannot hire anyone.
At the time of my appointment, then-Dean Kagan aggressively recruited me and, in the end, persuaded me to leave my professorship at the Yale Law School in favor of Harvard. How did she do this? Kagan offered me the directorship of the prestigious Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, the nation’s preeminent teaching and research institute on criminal law, and the directorship of Harvard’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, a nationally-known teaching program that brings in some of the country’s top lawyers and judges to train Harvard law students during an intensive three week trial skills workshop. I can report that Elena Kagan used every bit of her discretionary authority to make the offer to come to Harvard far too attractive to turn down.
Among my responsibilities at Harvard, I teach a clinical offering where students represent indigent clients – mostly black and brown citizens – charged with criminal violations. And, my research interests include the ways in which race insinuates itself into the criminal justice system. As dean, Kagan provided consistent, strong, and material support for my clinic and research. She showed a genuine appreciation and concern for my clinical program’s goal of ensuring that indigent citizens receive constitutionally adequate representation.
Even more, as a clinician, I was impressed by Elena Kagan’s substantial expansion of the clinical teaching program at Harvard. From environmental law to educational advocacy, Kagan poured resources into Harvard’s clinical offerings. Due to this expansion, thousands of indigent and under-represented citizens received quality legal services that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. For me, this represented a tangible commitment to the principle norm that animates our legal system: “Equal Justice under Law.”
While the question of ethnic diversity on the Harvard law faculty is a critically important issue in its own right (and no elite law school has done enough on this front), this issue is occupying so much discursive space nowadays, because many are groping for proxies that will predict whatkind of justice Elena Kagan will be if she is confirmed – particularly with respect to issues of race and equality. How successful she was at diversifying the Harvard faculty is one such proxy. With regret, too many media accounts draw conclusions with imperfect and incomplete data. My story is but one example of Elena Kagan’s efforts to diversify Harvard’s faculty.
Conspicuously absent from much of the public dialogue is the fact that she recruited Professor Annette Gordon-Reed to accept a visiting professorship at Harvard. Professor Gordon-Reed, an African-American woman and award-winning historian, recently accepted Harvard’s offer to join its tenured faculty. Other black law professors at Harvard – Randall Kennedy and Charles Ogletree, specifically – have published statements that chronicle other instances of Kagan’s efforts at faculty diversity. Debate on any nominee’s record is a healthy component of our democracy; material facts in service of that debate make it all the more rich. My point here is that the inquiry is quite legitimate, but fairness dictates that we look at Kagan’s entire record.
It is true that Elena Kagan’s scholarship does not provide insight into her ideological dispositions as they relate to issues of racial justice. So, perhaps, proxies are all that we have. Consider, then, another decision Elena Kagan made as dean. The tradition at the Harvard Law School is that the dean takes the Royall Professorship of Law, which is the law school’s first endowed chair. The chair is named after Isaac Royall Jr., who donated over 2100 acres of land to Harvard in the mid-eighteenth century. But, the Royall family earned its immense fortune from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. When Kagan was named dean of the law school, she broke with tradition and declined to accept this professorship. Instead, she became the first person to hold the Charles Hamilton Houston professorship, an endowed chair named after one of the most prominent African-American graduates of the Harvard Law School, and the architect of the modern civil rights movement. This was a significant statement made by the dean of one of the nation’s top law schools.
To my thinking, Elena Kagan is self-evidently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. She is an outstanding legal scholar, a terrific teacher, and a thoughtful and forward-looking administrator. She has practiced law at a major law firm. She has served as a government lawyer and held a high-level policy position in the Clinton White House. As well, she has served admirably as our nation’s Solicitor General. She is smart, fair, independent, respectful of the opinions of others, and a dedicated public servant. All are qualities that will make for an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.
Jarvis McCoy, Sr., a member of the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, addresses the media during a news conference announcing a “road trip” to be taken by a group of 50 fathers and children to Minneapolis, Minn. to watch a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Minnesota Twins. Standing behind McCoy (who is one of the 50 fathers) is, left to right: Cecelia Gore (Brewers Community Foundation exec. dir.), Rick Schlesinger (Brewer exec. v.p.), Bryan Bedford (Republic Airways pres. and CEO. The airline is sponsoring a morning flight to Minneapolis.), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (who created the Fatherhood Initiative), Brewer announcer Brian Anderson, Brent Kelly (M&I Bank V.P. of marketing. The bank will present each child a $1,000 Savings Bond for higher education.), and Brewers pitcher La Troy Hawkins who, with Brewer second baseman Rickie Weeks will host a breakfast for the fathers and children at a Minneapolis hotel. (Kemp Photo)
By Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo
For months, we read
about the cuts in teaching staffs, especially in music, gym and art.
Today we put a positive spin on teaching, retuning to music and living one’s passion; living one’s dream! Lisa Jones comes from a family of teachers!
For four generations, Milwaukee has benefited from the Jones’ family’s love of education, teaching, mentoring and building strong citizens. Lisa followed this path, not because she was goaded into it but because she genuinely loved it as well.
She taught music in Milwaukee Public Schools for over 13 years, but when cut-backs continued and her number was called, she thought she would re-invent herself and find another profession.
She taught at Huntington Learning Centers, briefly, and was even unemployed for a briefer period, but music remained her preference.
Jones had even decided she would move to find the job of her dreams! Then Racine Unified began Teacher’s Fairs and she decided to apply. Lisa Jones was hired as a Music Teacher with a school counseling background in fall 2009.
So in a few weeks, she will put her first year, in Racine, under her work experience column and she’ll record another year of living her dream.
Within the last three years, Racine has been busy with new initiatives and a thrust for change that has begun to permeate southeastern Wisconsin.
Racine has become a hot-bed for new national, state and local dollars targeted to improve educational attainments; improve graduation rates; create new job-generation incubators and strengthen women-owned business, health and banking opportunities. And, Lisa Jones is a part of that change!
As a student in high school, she found “herself” in music. “Ms. Debra Jupka, my chorus teacher at Rufus King inspired me. She was so caring and passionate about music, she made us all love the competitions we participated in.
The Wisconsin State Music Association competitions required rehearsals and practicing and we all appreciated the applause. They all made us know that we’d done a great job.
From Rufus King, Lisa went to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, majoring in music education and continued in counseling for her Master’s Degree at Concordia University. “Milwaukee has so many advanced education options that we must remember and support these outstanding institutions. We can be a mecca for advanced degrees, our schools are superb, the areas and fields available are so broad, and completing transformative educations is so doable in Milwaukee and Racine”.
“Every five years, I have to take classes to renew my license. Today, I’m thinking about a new degree in math, teaching middle school and high school students. In high school, I also loved math but I loved music more. So, now I shall have an opportunity to exercise both loves. I am currently teaching math with music. Several of the teachers have said their students are benefiting from my math/music teaching techniques”.
Statistically, data has always supported the importance of music and the arts for children in elementary and middle school.
Youngsters with those expressive forms always do better in school. Yet, as budget constraints became a weekly news item, school after school removed recesses, followed by art in the classroom and then music was extracted from the curriculum.
“Students who play instruments, sing vocally, do better in school. We teach fractions, we add, subtract, multiply, using our notes”, teacher Jones, explains. “There’s even a little algebra.
Teachers say their math students do better after being in my classes. The children learn to read music with notes, it requires counting and following, but we also encourage writing and creating their own lyrics and songs. They’ve made many raps, and holiday songs and we have had contests for a school chant”.
Lower graduation rates, reduced school attendance and many of the behavioral problems associated with suspensions and expulsions can be directly linked to the elimination of the expressive arts. While these reductions were designed to save money, they have, in fact, cost more money through lower graduations and the resultant economic disparities that have magnified. “ Luckily Racine Unified acted upon these statistics rapidly. They believe that music is fundamental. Children miss out when they cannot express themselves; acting-out is the alternative. Why stunt the children’s natural ability”, she asks.
Lisa Jones is a teacher supreme! She, like her parents, grandparents and their parents, carries the baton for student excellence. She mentors a fourth grader in reading and has guided any number of college grads; armed service representatives; and three college students, currently matriculating in colleges throughout the U.S. She has shared her teaching techniques with an early childhood teacher with dyslexia who works with children with special needs, guiding them with patience and faith and confidence in their teacher.
“ It is said that a youngster who has not learned how to read by third grade will become a drop-out! We know we have to make teaching palatable, meaningful and successful, early in the child’s life. If school is perceived as “work” and the child is not succeeding in achieving the skills, that child will end up dropping out or shutting down, much too early. However, youngsters can all be taught; our challenge is finding out the way to teach every child what they need to learn. Of course, parents can make the teacher’s job a lot easier by beginning early skills in the home. Books, reading, repeating stories, coloring, painting, singing and making up their own songs are early childhood experiences that the typical child will enjoy. And, yes, you must applaud their successes”
“My Dad used to say, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it”! Today, we try to have our students believe they are capable, know we have high expectations for them and that they can and will achieve whatever they want to do! We want them to grow personally, become great future citizens and make contributions to their communities”.
Lisa Jones is the model of teachers most noble! She inspires and challenges her students and other teachers by continuously utilizing creative techniques to bring forth their best, in music and math and creative writing. Each expressive art form builds a confident student and rewards us in student achievement and future successes.
Barrett credits MPD, summer jobs initative and faith
community for reduction
in violent crime
Compiled by MCJ Staff
This Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, ministers, priests, rabbis and imams at churches, synagogues and mosques all over Milwaukee will preach non-violence and peaceful coexistence as part of the annual Cease Fire Sabbath initiative.
The brainchild of Mayor Tom Barrett, Cease Fire Sabbath enlists leaders of the city’s faith based community to preach a common message of peace and non-violence in their weekend services.
“Our joint efforts and message of non-violence are critical in galvanizing the community in the mission to reduce crime; to promote peace and to extend a hand to those whose lives have been affected by violence,” Barrett said.
The Cease Fire Sabbath is held near Mother’s Day every year on Sundays in the city’s houses of worship to reach the one person who has the most influence on the city’s male population: mothers.
“They (mothers) have the most impact on their sons,” the mayor noted. “We also try to hold the Cease Fire Sabbath before summer starts when we see an up tick in violence.”
The mayor plans to visit four places of worship this Sunday: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Hephatha Lutheran Church, Grace Alliance Hmong Church and Prince of Peace Catholic Church.
In an interview, the mayor credited the Milwaukee Police Department and Chief Edward Flynn, summer youth employment efforts and the Cease Fire Sabbath initiative for the dramatic reduction in crime, especially violent crimes.
This Thursday May 13, the mayor will host the annual Ceasefire Sabbath breakfast at St. Martin de Porres Congregation, 128 W. Burleigh.
The breakfast gives the mayor and faith leaders an opportunity to exchange ideas on how they can strengthen their partnership in addressing violence, especially gun violence.
NEW YORK — Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, has died. She was 92.
Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.
Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her sultry voice, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success.
“I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”
In the 1940s, she was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, the first to play the Copacabana nightclub and among a handful with a Hollywood contract.
In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her signature piece.
On screen, on records and in nightclubs and concert halls, Horne was at home vocally with a wide musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in songs like “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.” Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”
But Horne was perpetually frustrated with the public humiliation of racism.
“I was always battling the system to try to get to be with my people. Finally, I wouldn’t work for places that kept us out … it was a damn fight everywhere I was, every place I worked, in New York, in Hollywood, all over the world,” she said in Brian Lanker’s book “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.”
While at MGM, she starred in the all-black “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943, but in most of her other movies, she appeared only in musical numbers that could be cut in the racially insensitive South without affecting the story. These included “I Dood It,” a Red Skelton comedy, “Thousands Cheer” and “Swing Fever,” all in 1943; “Broadway Rhythm” in 1944; and “Ziegfeld Follies” in 1946.
“Metro’s cowardice deprived the musical of one of the great singing actresses,” film historian John Kobal wrote.
Early in her career Horne cultivated an aloof style out of self-preservation, becoming “a woman the audience can’t reach and therefore can’t hurt” she once said.
Later she embraced activism, breaking loose as a voice for civil rights and as an artist. In the last decades of her life, she rode a new wave of popularity as a revered icon of American popular music.
Her 1981 one-woman Broadway show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” won a special Tony Award. In it, the 64-year-old singer used two renditions — one straight and the other gut-wrenching — of “Stormy Weather” to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey of her five-decade career.
A sometimes savage critic, John Simon, wrote that she was “ageless. … tempered like steel, baked like clay, annealed like glass; life has chiseled, burnished, refined her.”
When Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the best actress Oscar in 2002, she sobbed: “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. … It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, the great-granddaughter of a freed slave, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 30, 1917, to a leading family in the black bourgeoisie. Her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, wrote in her 1986 book “The Hornes: An American Family” that among their relatives was a college girlfriend of W.E.B. Du Bois and a black adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Dropping out of school at 16 to support her ailing mother, Horne joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the fabled Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white.
She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle’s orchestra, billed as Helena Horne, the name she continued using when she joined Charlie Barnet’s white orchestra in 1940.
A movie offer from MGM came when she headlined a show at the Little Troc nightclub with the Katherine Dunham dancers in 1942.
Her success led some blacks to accuse Horne of trying to “pass” in a white world with her light complexion. Max Factor even developed an “Egyptian” makeup shade especially for the budding actress while she was at MGM.
But in his book “Gotta Sing Gotta Dance: A Pictorial History of Film Musicals,” Kobal wrote that she refused to go along with the studio’s efforts to portray her as an exotic Latin American.
“I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become,” Horne once said. “I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”
Horne was only 2 when her grandmother, a prominent member of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, enrolled her in the NAACP. But she avoided activism until 1945 when she was entertaining at an Army base and saw German prisoners of war sitting up front while black American soldiers were consigned to the rear.
That pivotal moment channeled her anger into something useful.
She got involved in various social and political organizations and — along with her friendship with Paul Robeson — got her name onto blacklists during the red-hunting McCarthy era.
By the 1960s, Horne was one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement, once throwing a lamp at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant and in 1963 joining 250,000 others in the March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Horne also spoke at a rally that same year with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just days before his assassination.
It was also in the mid-’60s that she put out an autobiography, “Lena,” with author Richard Schickel.
The next decade brought her first to a low point, then to a fresh burst of artistry.
She had married MGM music director Lennie Hayton, a white man, in Paris in 1947 after her first overseas engagements in France and England. An earlier marriage to Louis J. Jones had ended in divorce in 1944 after producing daughter Gail and a son, Teddy.
In the 2009 biography “Stormy Weather,” author James Gavin recounts that when Horne was asked by a lover why she’d married a white man, she replied: “To get even with him.”
Her father, her son and her husband, Hayton, all died in 1970-71, and the grief-stricken singer secluded herself, refusing to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. One of them, comedian Alan King, took months persuading her to return to the stage, with results that surprised her.
“I looked out and saw a family of brothers and sisters,” she said. “It was a long time, but when it came I truly began to live.”
And she discovered that time had mellowed her bitterness.
“I wouldn’t trade my life for anything,” she said, “because being black made me understand.”
She will be responsible for the implementation of educational services and programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Courtney has worked for Catapult Learning since 2006. She has been an effective School Partnerships Manager and School Partnerships Director for Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. During her time at Catapult Learning, she has also shared her wealth of experience and knowledge about non-public and public educational issues and solutions.
Prior to joining the organization, she was a School Design and Development Coordinator for the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University from 1998-2005.
Catapult Learning is the largest and most experienced provider of contracted educational services to schools and districts nationwide. They partner with education institutions, government agencies and community groups to provide outcomes-based learning programs that are tailored to individual student needs and produce positive academic results.
The Black Alliance for Educational Options is a national, non-profit, membership organization with members nationwide who work to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working class Black families.
BAEO was founded in 2000, by Howard L. Fuller, Deborah M. McGriff, Virginia Walden-Ford, Philadelphia State Rep. Dwight Evans, Kenneth Campbell, and several other prominent Black educators, elected officials and civil rights activists with start-up funding from the Walton Family Foundation. BAEO celebrated its 10th anniversary at Symposium 2010, the Annual Meeting of the organization in Milwaukee, Wis., on March 4-6.