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Citizen Illinois Supreme Court strikes down social media ban for sex offenders — Page 3 Week of Dec. 4, 2019

| Vol. 50 | No. 49 |


BIG DEBATES GOING ON WITH CPS STUDENTS A little known after-school program at Chicago Public Schools not only aims to help students develop critical thinking skills, but to also support their academic, career and leadership abilities.


Toinette Gunn, executive director of the nonprofit Chicago Debates, said she wants to expand the after school program it offers at Chicago Public Schools into more high poverty stricken areas, so low-income students can participate on the debate team. Photo credit: By Wendell Hutson



Ross University School of Medicine and Oakwood University partner to increase physician diversity in the US

EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts begins its third year PAGE 7





No B.S. Skin Care Announces Partnership with Sarah Hyland PAGE 8

| thechicagocitizen@thechicagocitiz

2 | CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019


CLASSDOJO LAUNCHES LATEST ‘BIG IDEAS’ SERIES TO HELP CHILDREN UNDERSTAND AND EXPRESS THEIR EMOTIONS IN AND BEYOND SCHOOL ClassDojo recently announced a new Big Ideas series to help children recognize, understand and express their emotions in and beyond school. In the latest Big Ideas series, ClassDojo has produced 12 animated video episodes and discussion guides to help children understand their emotions and build emotional intelligence. According to a press release, ClassDojo is the leading communication app for primary schools around the world, used in 95% of pre-K-8 schools in the United States and a further 180 countries. It helps teachers, families, and children build a close-knit classroom community by sharing pictures, videos, moments from school and home. Each Big Ideas series consists of different learning experiences: some include short, animated stories that end in a question, others have hands-on exercises, and others create reflection and interactive discussions designed to bring overlooked and hardto-teach social and emotional learning concepts to life in the classroom and at home. For more information on ClassDojo’s new Big Ideas series, please visit https://www.classdojo. com/about.


SURVEY: MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICANS HAVE AVOIDED MEDICAL CARE DUE TO COST If there is one thing a majority of Americans can agree on, it’s that healthcare costs are too expensive and they want upfront pricing. HealthPocket, a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage recently released results of a pulse survey which found A recent pulse survey has found that that 85% of U.S. adults 85% of U.S. adults think that healththink that healthcare costs care costs in general are too high. in general are too high. Underscoring that point, 51% of those surveyed have avoided medical care due to lack of ability to pay. The survey found that prices are a priority, with 91% saying that costs for medical services should be as readily available as prices are on a restaurant menu. In fact, 78% have been afraid to go to the hospital because of cost, with an overwhelming majority (96%) saying that hospitals should be upfront about the cost before treatment. Given the option, 86% said they would compare prices before going to the hospital if prices were posted online. Entire survey results are available at https://www.healthpocket. com/health-insurance-insights/medical-debt-in-us-2019


CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS EXPRESSES OUTRAGE OVER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SNAP PROPOSAL CUTTING FREE SCHOOL MEAL ELIGIBILITY FOR ONE MILLION SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) recently sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding the Department’s proposed rule to eliminate broadbased categorical eligibility (BBCE) in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its adverse impact on access to school meals for nearly 1 million school-age children. According to USDA estimates, over 3 million people, including seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities, and working families with children, would be kicked off SNAP under the proposed rule. Nearly 1 million children in affected SNAP households would lose automatic eligibility for free school meals. The full text of the letter can be found here uploadedfiles/cbc_letter_to_usda_on_snap_cat-el_proposed_rule.pdf


New State Law Set To Take Effect While ACLU Lobbies For Change BY WENDELL HUTSON Contributing Writer

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act of 2019 that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law on June 25 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and will allow individuals age 21-years-old and up to purchase and use marijuana for recreational purposes. But Chicago Housing Authority residents, including those using a Housing Choice Voucher,(formerly known as Section 8) would still not be able to use marijuana on CHA property or at private residences rented with a voucher. The restriction is due to the federal government labeling marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin. “By prohibiting public housing residents from using a legalized drug, it discriminates against them and that’s why the ACLU is lobbying to get this federal law changed,” said Edwin Yohnka, director of public policy for the ACLU of Illinois. “We don’t think anyone should be prohibited from using a legal product in public housing.” Since 2014, Illinois has allowed people with cannabis prescriptions to obtain a medical marijuana card. Moreover, Illinois will become the 11th state in January to legalize recreational marijuana use. CHA residents said they are not surprised that marijuana use for recreational or medical purposes is still illegal if you live in public housing. “If it’s not one thing it’s another. The government will always find a way to restrict the rights of poor people. I see this as pure discrimination based on our economic stance,” said Melinda Bell, 30, who lives at the Dearborn Homes, 2840 S. State St. with her sister and two daughters. “It’s just crazy how public housing residents have all these restrictions on them.” The CHA receives federal money and therefore must abide by federal law to remain eligible for assistance, said Molly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the housing agency. “There are a lot of places in the city where people will be able to smoke marijuana so those people will have to find places,” she told the Citizen. “Using marijuana on CHA property, whether inside a unit or outdoors, would be a lease violation.” According to Sullivan, there are 28,066 CHA residents, of which 13,800 are households and another 49,724 are Housing Choice Voucher recipients. A HCV allows a resident to rent an apartment, home or condo from a private landlord and have their rent subsidized by the government. So even though a resident may not be living on CHA property, they are still prohibited from using marijuana at their residence. The CHA recently sent notices to voucher holders

reminding them that marijuana use inside their homes is prohibited and could result in eviction. “The CHA can terminate all assistance ... if you, a member of your household, or a guest or person under your control is found engaging in drug-related criminal activity, including the use and/or possession of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes,” the notice stated. And notices will also be sent to individuals living at CHA properties “in the near future before the new law goes into effect,” Sullivan said. Currently, CHA policy prohibits smoking any tobacco products, such as cigarettes, on the premises. “There is no smoking on CHA property, period. That includes anything,” added Sullivan. “That has been in effect for a while and I think all our residents know that.” Sullivan said the CHA wants to support its residents and is working with city agencies to figure out an alternative for residents who want to use marijuana for recreational or medical reasons. In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is working to find a middle ground to accommodate public housing residents. “The city of Chicago is committed to ensuring a safe, responsible implementation of legalized cannabis next year,” the mayor said. “We are coordinating efforts with all city departments and sister agencies, including the Chicago Housing Authority where federal law still prohibits the use or possession of medical or recreational marijuana on federally-subsidized properties.” And while the Cook County State’s Attorney Office stopped prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases earlier this year, motorists impaired from using marijuana would still face prosecution. “Driving under the influence remains a crime, whether it is alcohol, marijuana or any other substance that may cause impairment and will be handled as such by our office,” said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney office. Efforts in Congress to make marijuana use in public housing legal have already begun. U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.), introduced the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2019 in April as a way to allow public housing residents to have the same rights as everyone else when it comes to marijuana use at home. “Individuals living in federally funded housing should not fear eviction simply for treating their medical conditions or for seeking a substance legal in their state,” Norton said in a statement. “Increasingly, Americas are changing their views on marijuana, state by state, and it is time that Congress caught up with its own constituents.”

CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019




Big Debates Going on with CPS Students Continued from page 1 BY WENDELL HUTSON Contributing Writer

A little known after-school program at Chicago Public Schools not only aims to help students develop critical thinking skills, but to also support their academic, career and leadership abilities. It’s not often you hear about debate teams at urban public schools but Toinette Gunn, executive director of Chicago Debates (CD), said since taking the helm of the nonprofit in 2018, she has been working hard to change that perception. “We are one of Chicago’s best kept secrets in this nonprofit sector,” contends Gunn. “Chicago Debates is an organization that is bridging the opportunity gap for Chicago Public Schools students by building civic engagement for students while cultivating future leaders. And we do that through the activity of debates.” As an exclusive partner with CPS, Gunn said CD is the only organization that provides debates within school districts for students in grades sixth through 12th. There are five conferences for high schools and three for elementary schools, so students compete against each

other fighting toward a city championship. The 2018 city championship winners were Solorio Academy High School (varsity); North Side College Prep (junior varsity); Walter Payton College Prep (novice); South Loop Elementary (varsity); Lincoln Elementary (junior varsity) and Bell Elementary (novice). The organization has more than a dozen corporate sponsors including Ariel Investments Inc., a Chicago-based, black-owned investment firm, whose founder is John Rogers Jr., son of the late Tuskegee Airmen John Rogers Sr. This year, there are 1,800 mostly black (82 percent) students participating in the program from 100 schools including charter schools, according to Gunn, who added debate teams were literally non-existent in the black community during the 1980s when she was in school. “Historically, debate teams have always existed in wealthier communities, but we are now changing that direction so urban communities can have the same opportunity,” explained Gunn, a Monee resident. “We envision a world in which Chicago youth are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become leaders in their community.” About 34 tournaments are held annually at individual schools leading up to the Chicago

championships, which are held in March. Tournament participation requires students to conduct research, use evidence, think critically, and synthesize complex ideas to make their arguments. Debate coaches consist mostly of 150 CPS teachers, said Gunn, although some coaches are external. CB alumni Sharone Mitchell, 36, said the program gave him confidence and helped him improve his speaking ability. He was on the debate team at Morgan Park Academy High School from 1997 to 2001. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois and a juris doctorate from DePaul University. After first working as a criminal defense attorney, today he works for the nonprofit Illinois Justice Project. “I joined the debate team in high school because of my family foundation that was politically engaged during that time,” recalled Mitchell, a Morgan Park resident. “And what I like the most about being on the team was the opportunities it gave me to compete against students and debate them on topics I already had an interest in.” Today, Mitchell, who said he gives CB “two thumbs up,” added he would recommend the program to any youth especially those looking

to strengthen their oral skills. “Thanks to my participation with the Chicago Debates, I have solid research, listening and critical thinking skills that have helped me move forward in life,” he said. “These skills helped me graduate from college, law school and in my profession as an attorney.” And for Gunn, who said she loves working for nonprofits, her professional background gave her insight for working with youth. Prior to joining CB, she was vice president of programming for the nonprofit Chicago Scholars. As a wife and mother of two sons, Gunn earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and in Sociology from Western Michigan University; and a master’s in Counseling and Ph.D. in Counseling Education from Oakland University in Michigan. In the next five years Gunn, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, said one overall goal she has for CB is to expand the program into more high poverty stricken areas thus allowing low-income students an opportunity to participate. “Growth in students, growth within the community and growth with funding are some of the things I would like to see Chicago Debates conquer as time goes on.” Gunn said.

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down social media ban for sex offenders BY REBECCA ANZEL Capitol News Illinois

Springfield — Illinois’ highest court ruled recently that it is unconstitutional to ban convicted sex offenders from social media sites. Conrad Allen Morger was convicted of sexually abusing a minor and sentenced to four years of probation by a court in McLean County. That came with a binding condition he not use specific internet sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. During oral arguments, held in September in Godfrey, Morger’s representative said the ban is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment fundamental right to freedom of speech. “Certainly I recognize that there is a government interest here, in helping to rehabilitate offenders, in reducing recidivism, and of course keeping our communities safe, particularly our most vulnerable members of our community — children. But as the Illinois statute is written, it doesn’t meet all of those goals,” Zachary Rosen, assistant appellate defender, said.

The Illinois Supreme Court agreed in a unanimous decision among the six participating justices. Chief Justice Anne Burke “took no part in the consideration or decision of this case,” according to the opinion. The justices analyzed Illinois’ law by considering whether the mandatory social media ban is “reasonably related” to the goal of probation — which is rehabilitation. Morger was a teenager when he committed the crimes and did not use the internet, Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote in the decision. When Joshua Schneider, the state’s representative, was asked during oral arguments how barring Morger’s access to certain websites would help him reintegrate into society, he said the mandatory probation condition would erase the “temptation to reoffend.” “That answer might carry some weight where a defendant is one who has used social media to orchestrate and ultimately commit his crimes; however, a host of offenders — this defendant included — do not fall into that category,” according to the opinion. The law “broadly sweeps the latter in with offenders who have used social media to prey upon others.”

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman listens to oral arguments being made by Assistant Appellate Defender Zachary Rosen in the People v. Morger case Sept. 18 at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey during a public event held to “raise the profile of the judicial branch.” Credit: Illinois Supreme Court

The court ultimately decided the “protective value” of a prohibition on access to certain websites does not outweigh “the impairment to the probationer’s constitutional rights,” including those to freedom of speech. Karmeier noted the statute does not make an exception for a justifiable use of social media websites by

a convicted sex offender at a time he or she could be supervised by a probation officer. In a footnote, he added he and his colleagues were “not persuaded that [the law] provides rehabilitative value ... that outweighs, in many circumstances, its detriment to rehabilitation.” Instead, Karmeier wrote,

counseling and treatment might be better options to “more likely ensure successful rehabilitation.” In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said, “We are reviewing the decision.” Rosen did not return a request for comment.

4 | CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019


This page is sponsored by

Ross University School of Medicine and Oakwood University partner to increase physician diversity in the US African Americans make up only six percent of U.S. physicians. With the goal of driving diversity among U.S. physicians, Oakwood University and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) recently announced a new agreement to help more African Americans attend medical school. The agreement was signed on October 24, at Oakwood’s campus by Leslie N. Pollard, Ph.D., D.Min., MBA., president of Oakwood University, and William F. Owen, M.D., FACP, dean and chancellor of RUSM. Oakwood and RUSM are establishing an educational pathway program, making it easier for Oakwood graduates to study medicine at RUSM. Qualified Oakwood students who earn full acceptance into the medical school will receive a scholarship covering full tuition for the first semester. Oakwood University has consistently been a top producer of Blacks that are accepted and go on to attend medical school. Oakwood is currently the fifth ranking Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the U.S., according to the American Association of American Medical Colleges and as reported by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Oakwood is coupling the longstanding excellence of its pre-med program with its UNCF grant-supported Career Pathways Initiative to grow its relationships with

With the goal of driving diversity among U.S. physicians, Oakwood University and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) recently announced a new agreement to help more African Americans attend medical school.

institutions such as RUSM. Developing partnerships such as this will provide additional opportunities for continued student success and professional growth. “We engage this hopeful relationship with Ross University School of Medicine on behalf of interested Oakwood students. Our students will join the generations that have been blessed through their work,” said Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard. “African-American doctors are woefully

underrepresented in the physician workforce, leading fewer African Americans to see a doctor,” said RUSM Dean and Chancellor, William F. Owen, Jr., M.D., FACP. “This has significant negative healthcare outcomes in communities already prone to high rates of chronic diseases. Working with Oakwood and other HBCUs, using novel student engagements, validated support programs and senior-level commitments to success, we’re working to address that long overdue challenge to increase

the diversity of our nation’s physicians.” As part of its continued commitment to addressing diversity, RUSM’s parent company, Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), signed on to the HBCU Partnership Challenge created by the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, pledging to invest in creating strategic collaborations with HBCUs and working to increase diversity in key workforce sectors. Over the past year, RUSM has announced six similar agreements with minority serving institutions, including Charles R. Drew University, Dillard University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tuskegee University, Saint Peter’s University and California State University, Dominguez Hills. Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, RUSM’s 14,000-plus diverse alumni practice medicine throughout North America and across all specialties, including a high percentage of graduates who enter the in-demand field of primary care. More than a quarter of RUSM students identify as black or Hispanic, with RUSM earning a 96 percent USMLE Step 1 first-time pass rate in 2018. RUSM also achieved a 92 percent residency attainment rate for first-time-eligible 20182019 graduates, and of the 647 RUSM medical students who attained residency in March of 2019, 82 were black and 61 were Hispanic.

Academy Securities Announces Sponsorship of The Naval Academy’s First Annual Black Female Network Breakfast Academy Securities, a registered broker-dealer, certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE), and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), recently sponsored the First Annual Black Female Network Breakfast at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. The firm supports the group of Naval Academy alumni while helping to provide pathways of success and networking opportunities. At the breakfast event, notable guests and alumni gathered to celebrate the legacy that these females carry and their responsibility to pave the way for future generations. The order of events included a breakfast and a panel discussion with a Q&A session. “As a Minority Business Enterprise, we understand how important diversity is to a company and our society,” said Chance Mims, Academy’s founder and CEO. “We are honored to support such a valuable event that helps nurture the careers of this group of Midshipmen.” Academy Securities’ leadership consists of several Naval Academy graduates including CEO, Chance

Mims, President, Phil McConkey, CFO and COO, Anthony Graham and CCO, Michael Boyd. Additionally, Academy’s advisory board is represented by distinguished Naval Academy alumni including VADM (Ret.) Edward M. Straw, RADM (Ret.) Julius Caesar, LtGen (Ret.) Robert S. Walsh, RADM Mark Heinrich, and VADM (Ret.) Robert S. Harward. Academy Securities is a disabled veteran owned investment bank with strengths in capital markets, public finance, fixed income and equity trading. Leadership and staff have had intensive military training prior to entering and gaining in depth financial services experience in global capital markets. According to a press release, it is the nation’s first post-9/11 disabled veteran owned investment bank and is a certified as a DVBE, SDVOSB, and MBE. The firm has offices in New York, San Diego, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, South Norwalk, Charlotte, and Chapel Hill. Information about Academy Securities is available at www.

CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019




If you’re committed to helping improve the lives of others in your community, donating to organizations working to help those in need may take long-term thinking.

Get Inspired to Give Back this Holiday Season Family Features - For many, the holiday season sparks the spirit of giving - not only among family and friends, but to those living in need and the organizations working to help them. If you’re committed to helping improve the lives of others in your community, it may mean thinking long-term. After the lights come down and the New Year’s ball drops, the programs and services provided by most nonprofits and cause-based organizations continue to run year-round. Their ability to help those they serve not only relies on meeting a single season’s fundraising goals but also on the ongoing commitments from donors who provide the financial stability they need to plan and grow. These five tips can help your gifts provide long-term benefits for the causes you support: Make a personal connection. Hand-deliver your donation to a local chapter and introduce yourself as a supporter. Even consider bringing your kids to inspire generations of giving. Inquire about how you can make the greatest impact and learn about ongoing events and opportunities to get involved. Spread your contribution over time. If a strict monthly budget has you concerned about breaking the bank, consider signing up for a recurring donation to benefit those served by an organization like The Salvation Army throughout the year. A $25 monthly gift can feed 126 people over the course of one year or provide 11

nights of shelter for those in need in your community. Introduce co-workers to the cause. Many businesses support employees’ volunteer efforts and match contributions, which makes it easy for you to become a champion for cause-related work in your community. Gathering colleagues who share your passion for a cause is a team-building activity that allows you to build personal connections with people you might not have a chance to interact with regularly otherwise. Sharing the load also means you can take turns volunteering, attending events or making contributions for a larger overall impact than you could make on your own. Give the gift of giving. Rather than giving material goods, consider a meaningful contribution in your gift recipient’s honor. Or share an experience to benefit the cause: spend date night volunteering or gift someone tickets to a nonprofit organization’s performance or gala event. Pay it forward with younger generations. Introducing kids to the joy of giving can pay dividends for decades to come. Teach the little ones in your life about the big impact they can make by letting them get hands-on. Kids delight in getting to donate loose change, by dropping it in an iconic red kettle, for example (this year, you can even donate through Apple Pay or Google Pay) and you can take advantage of their interest by explaining the impact of their donation. An average of 82 cents

of every $1 donated to The Salvation Army goes directly to help neighbors who need it most. Donations to nonprofit organi-

zations are tax-exempt no matter when they are contributed during the year. Learn more about giving oppor-

tunities all year long by joining the Fight for Good at SOURCE: The Salvation Army



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6 | CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019

Holiday Instant Tickets from the Illinois Lottery Make Great Gifts for the Adults on Your List Did you know that it’s illegal to give an instant ticket to a minor?

The holidays are here! Have you made your list? Have you checked it twice? Holiday instant tickets from the Illinois Lottery are a fun and easy way to check off everyone on your list. Everyone except for minors, that is. “At the Illinois Lottery, we always want to encourage responsible holiday gift-giving,” explained Harold Mays, Acting Director of the Illinois Lottery. “What players may not realize is that in Illinois it’s illegal to give an instant ticket to anyone under the age of 18.” During the holidays, instant tickets can be given in a variety of ways to surprise and delight your loved ones, such as hiding them in a cookie tin, a new pair of comfy holiday pajamas or cozy slippers, or including them as an add-on to a hostess gift, such as candy or flowers. Keep in mind that instant tickets are not gifts for the children on your list. The Illinois Lottery supports the National Council on Problem Gambling’s Holiday Lottery Responsible Gambling Campaign because early gambling experiences are a risk factor for gambling problems later in life. Many young people even report that their first gambling experiences occur around 9 to 11 years of age. Be Smart, Play Smart™ This Holiday Season The Illinois Lottery reminds players to Be Smart, Play Smart™ and to gift smart when purchasing instant tickets during the holiday season. Throughout the year, encourage players to play for fun, not funds, and to set a budget and stick to it. For more information on how to gift and game responsibly, please go to and visit our Responsible Gaming Page.



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CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019




EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts begins its third year In November, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League kicked off the third year of their innovative youth program, EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts. This collaborative program provides Chicago youth an opportunity to learn about the performing arts while creating an original production. EmpowerYouth! is a year-long program engaging 30 African-American high school students from Chicago in a process that encourages them to tell their story in their own words. The 2019|20 admitted participants are part of an all-time high in program applicants, including 13 who are returning from last year. Students will meet weekly with professional artists who specialize in acting, composition, vocal training, dance, and writing. Throughout the program, participants take part in a collaborative process that will result in an original stage production. This year’s work will be performed on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at Kennedy-King College. Kennedy-King is a part of the City Colleges of Chicago. Guiding students as the program’s acting mentor and stage director is one of Chicago’s theater community leaders, Regina Victor (Breach:..., To Catch A Fish, A Persephone Pageant), who was recently named one of Windy City Times’ “30 Queer Leaders Under 30” and

New City Stage’s “Chicago Players 2019: The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago.” Tanji Harper, artistic director of the Chicago youth performance nonprofit The Happiness Club, will serve as the movement mentor and choreographer for the third year. Kedrick Armstrong, Project Inclusion Fellow in Conducting with Chicago Sinfonietta and assistant music director of Wheaton College Opera, will also return as music mentor and music supervisor. Librettist/scriptwriter Kristiana Rae Colόn (good friday, florissant & canfield, Octagon, but i cd only whisper, Tilikum) and composer/ songwriter Adrian Dunn (Hopera: A Hip Hop Opera, Revelations: A collection of spirituals & gospel songs in seeking justice for Black lives) will work with participants to incorporate their stories and ideas into the original script and music. Jacob Watson, an experienced program facilitator and recent graduate of Harvard University’s Masters in Arts Education program (Tellin’ Tales Theatre, Project Zero, FYI Performance Company, Redmoon, Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago), will serve as the facilitator for the program. The intent of the EmpowerYouth! program is to support young people in telling their stories as young, Black Chicagoans. The final performance will be fully assembled by the students,


with the guidance of the professional artistic staff, that will tell the story of their lives and how they deal with issues that are pertinent to them. Music — including singing, rap, acting, and dance — will all play a prominent role in the final performance. EmpowerYouth! is a program jointly planned and administered by Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League. This year’s production represents the continued commitment of Lyric and the Chicago Urban League to offer exposure to the performing arts for Chicago Black youth, as well as a deeper understanding of the value and impact of their collective voices. In addition to the intensive weekly sessions, EmpowerYouth! students will also attend theater and music productions across the city, including

attending The Barber of Seville on Lyric’s own main stage. “The Chicago Urban League serves about 1,300 youth each year, and one of the things we often see is limited access to opportunity, including in the arts,” said Barbara Lumpkin, interim president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “This partnership with Lyric provides an amazing opportunity for high school students in the neighborhoods we serve to be exposed to new experiences, meet and learn from leaders in Chicago’s theater community, and draw from their own experiences to showcase their talents. We are deeply grateful to Lyric for this ongoing collaboration.” “I’m more confident, I’m able to branch out more [because of this program],” said Reshay Thompson, a 2018|19 EmpowerYouth! program student. “Once you do EmpowerYouth!, they make sure they stay connected to what you do next.” “It is exciting to see the third year unfold for this incredibly special program,” said Cayenne Harris, vice president of Lyric Unlimited. “EmpowerYouth! participants have exceeded all of our expectations these past two years, through the process of creating an original opera. We all look forward to see where our 2019/20 program students will take EmpowerYouth! this year.”

8 | CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019

FASHION Walker & Company Brands Appoints Tia Cummings as New Vice President of Marketing Walker & Company Brands (makers of Bevel and Form Beauty), a Procter & Gamble company, recently announced that Tia Cummings has joined their leadership team as Vice President of Marketing. “We are excited to welcome Tia to our leadership team to help grow the Walker & Company portfolio of brands,” Joanne Hsieh, COO of Walker & Company, said. “She brings a great cross section of CPG, beauty and hospitality marketing experience, which will enable us to further deepen our connection with and solve the unique personal care needs of our target consumer.” An Effie Awardwinning marketer, Cummings is Tia Cummings (pictured) recognized for her has joined the leaderstrategic approach to ship team of Walker & Company Brands as Vice global marketing and brand performance. President of Marketing. With 15+ years of experience, she has cultivated her expertise across major companies such as L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, and Kellogg’s. “I am thrilled to be joining the Walker & Company team at such an exciting time in the company’s growth,” Tia said. “I look forward to leveraging my many years of marketing experience to help Bevel and Form Beauty become leading health and beauty brands for people of color.” In this role, Tia will lead and manage all marketing-related strategy and execution for the company’s brands, Bevel and Form Beauty along with product and digital marketing, social media strategy, public relations, and marketing analytics. Cummings received her B.S. in chemical engineering at Hampton University. She also has an MBA from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. About Walker & Company Brands Walker & Company Brands, recently acquired by Procter & Gamble, designs health and beauty solutions for people of color. The vision is to build the world’s most consumer-centric health and beauty products company, inspiring unprecedented customer loyalty. Walker & Company launched its first brand, Bevel, in 2013. Bevel provides grooming products, including a full skin care regimen, a shave system, and the Bevel trimmer, and services designed to help reduce skin irritation and razor bumps. FORM, the first women’s prestige hair care collection to celebrate beauty in all its forms, is now available for order at To learn more about Walker & Company Brands, visit www.

Sarah Hyland and No B.S. Skincare

No B.S. Skin Care Announces Partnership with Sarah Hyland No B.S. Skin Care is not afraid to call out the B.S. of the beauty industry and in return, according to a press release, has immediately gained a loyal following praising them for their transparency. Now, No B.S. Skin Care is joining forces with a leader who is as passionate as they are about saying “no” to toxic chemicals, and is pleased to announce their new partnership with Sarah Hyland. The widely-popular American actress and producer, most known for her role as Haley Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family, has been open about cleaning up her lifestyle with her health in mind—starting with what she puts in her body and on her skin. Together, Hyland and No B.S. Skin Care are partnering to educate people everywhere on the importance of taking control of their own health, starting with their skin. “Staying healthy is important to me, and that means taking control of what I put in and on my body. My lifestyle detox started with clean eating, but when I realized how many toxins were hidden in the products I used every day, I knew I had to make a big switch,” says Hyland. “My fans wanted in on the process, so the pressure was on to find something really good—for me and for them. No B.S. resonated with me because their products

are made with good-for-you ingredients that actually improve skin health. My No B.S. regimen has four powerful basics you can use every day to clean up your skincare game. My hope is that everyone who tries it will feel so good in their skin that they don’t mind going makeup-free.” Hyland has curated her own personal skincare regimen with No B.S. Skin Care and is sharing it directly with fans. Her personalized regimen will include four of her favorite, most-used No B.S. Skin Care products including the Gentle Foaming Cleanser, Purifying Facial Toner, Vitamin C + E Serum, and the Day + Night Hyaluronic Cream - all included in a bundle on the No B.S. Skin Care website. In addition, Hyland and No B.S. Skin Care will be offering fans a once in a lifetime opportunity where they can receive a personalized interactive video call-in from Hyland. Throughout the video, she will be sharing her journey of self-improvement and the importance of steering clear of harmful ingredients. Everyone who participates in the video call-in will also receive an exclusive additional 15% off discount on Hyland’s curated skincare bundle. No B.S. Skin Care is devoted to never using harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates,

sulfates, synthetics, and toxic petrochemicals commonly found in other skincare products. The brand is proud to be working with Hyland and aims to strip away the deception of the beauty industry by providing better, healthier skincare powered by truth, not toxins. “Sarah’s story really resonated with our team and our brand because like so many of our customers, she realized that what she ate, drank, and used on her skin could contribute to toxins building up her body,” says Diana Briceno, CEO of No B.S. Skin Care. “At No B.S., we love sharing stories like Sarah’s to bring awareness to the importance of clean beauty ingredients and products. This is exactly why she is the perfect partner to inspire people to take control of their own health, and cut out all of the unnecessary, toxic B.S. they don’t need, starting with their skin care.” No B.S. Skin Care encourages everyone to join their community and mission of ditching toxic ingredients and sharing their experiences using the hashtags: #SarahLivesNoBS and #SarahsCall. To learn more about Sarah Hyland’s curated skincare regimen bundle, please visit To participate in the personalized interactive video callin with Sarah Hyland, please visit www.

CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019




Give the Gift of Travel Family Features - Finding the perfect gift for someone who already has it all may be easier when you stop thinking in terms of “things.” A gift that creates an unforgettable experience, like a trip to a special destination, may be more meaningful than a trinket under the tree. Whether you give a travel gift for someone to enjoy on their own or as a present you share together, a gifted trip provides all sorts of advantages, like making lifelong memories, spending time with families and friends, and using your vacation days for pure enjoyment. When planning a travel gift, consider popular destinations like these: City Life in New York City Discover the intersection of rich history and contemporary city living with a visit to the city of all cities. Must-see destinations include Central Park, Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and Fifth Avenue, all of which can be found near the JW Marriott Essex House New York , a luxury hotel located at one of the world’s most exclusive addresses on Central Park South since 1931. Ski Slopes in Aspen, Colorado From renowned skiing and snowboarding to picture-perfect dog sledding, a wealth of memorable winter experiences await in Aspen. Visitors can enjoy sporting outdoors or stroll over to historic Aspen where entertainment venues, luxury boutiques and charming restaurants beckon. From its prime location on the base of Aspen Mountain, The St. Regis Aspen Resort is uniquely situated to experience it all with luxury rooms with custom furnishings, a renowned spa and other special amenities, including 24-hour butler service. Beautiful Beaches in Key Biscayne, Florida The nation’s southernmost barrier island,

Key Biscayne offers beautiful beaches, wildlife and tranquil parks. Located close to Miami Beach and downtown, this is the location for those looking for a serene island escape. Families visiting the area can explore the Miami Seaquarium, which features exhibits, shows and a chance to swim with dolphins. Stretching along the beachfront, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami , is the only luxury hotel on the bay. Desert Exploration in Scottsdale, Arizona In Scottsdale, the Sonoran Desert landscape is punctuated by mountain views, including famed Camelback Mountain. Visitors can enjoy an immersive experience with hiking, biking, horseback riding or taking in a special eco-tour. Others may delight in exploring the Scottsdale Arts District’s galleries, museums and festivals, as well as the diverse, award-winning food scene. After a day of activities, The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale , allows guests to indulge in unparalleled resort amenities, from a three-level pool complex to an enriching spa, athletic club and golf course. Arts and Culture in Austin, Texas The “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is home to more than 250 bars, restaurants, theaters and concert venues. At the epicenter of it all, near the Austin Convention Center, the University of Texas campus and the capitol building, you’ll find W Austin , including its unique Living Room, which features four eclectic areas that provide special experiences.

A gift that creates an unforgettable experience, like a trip to a special destination, may be more meaningful than a trinket under the tree.

Benefits of Booking Direct When it comes to making travel plans, there are countless resources available. However, booking directly on provides some valuable benefits. l The best rates are guaranteed.

l Enjoy added benefits if you’re a member of the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, which gives members access to special member rates, free Wi-Fi, mobile check-in and checkout, the ability to chat with hotel staff and mobile keys. l Members can redeem points for a free

night’s stay or take advantage of other perks, like using points to bid for exclusive experiences. Visit to explore more ideas for giving the gift of travel this holiday season. SOURCE: Marriott


Becoming numb to mass shootings BY BILL FLETCHER, JR. NNPA Newswire Contributor

Each time we experience a mass shooting, we repeat the pattern—a point I have made in previous columns. Shock, grief, prayer, throwing up our hands, and proponents of unlimited gun ownership arguing that this is not the time to discuss sensible gun control; instead we should restrict ourselves to prayer. And then nothing ever happens. Except for one thing. We become increasingly numb to the impact of gun violence which, I have come to conclude, right-wing gun fanatics wish to encourage. When we no longer see mass or just random killings as outrageous and uncivilized, the demand for sensible gun regulations

Bill Fletcher, Jr.

diminishes in importance. Gun fanatics would like us to accept that this violence will happen and that the best that we can do is to further arm US society, e.g., arm

teachers in schools. There is no easy way to avoid becoming numb to mass shootings and random violence. When you read about it or hear about it or witness it nearly every day and you conclude that it will not change, your mind searches for safety. That “safety” plays itself out in our becoming less shocked and—to be blunt—more accepting of the reality that our children may get killed at school or that our family or friends may get shot at a parking lot or by an outraged former employee at any number of facilities. The mind says to us that we cannot exist on a permanent level of tension and anxiety. Except we do harbor that tension and anxiety. It is just that we may not display it. Rather, it eats away at us in

our insides. Is there any way around this, in addition to legislation? Yes. First and foremost, it necessitates community organizing and community organization. As simplistic as it may sound, our youth need to be forced to confront the finality of death. Death is not an action video game. Nor should it be the immediate recourse when someone feels emotionally injured. Thus, the victims—including families—of gun violence need to be at the center of discussions about the ramifications of gun violence. A second route is the establishment of legitimate gun clubs. This may sound strange but hear me out, and this is especially important in African American communities.

Guns are not going away so there needs to be training and discipline associated with the use of firearms. Just as with the martial arts, the younger members of our communities must understand when, where and how to utilize firearms, and when not to. Platitudes and prayer are nearly meaningless when one is up against a combination of a multi-million-dollar gun industry linked directly with a fanatical, right-wing movement opposed to sensible gun ownership. At the end of the day, the barbarians must be outorganized. Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the executive editor of and the former president of TransAfrica Forum.

10 | CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019

CALENDAR The St. James Announces Kevin Durant MLK Classic, an Elite High School Basketball Showcase Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The St. James recently announced its partnership with two-time NBA Champion Kevin Durant’s Team Durant at The St. James, to produce the inaugural Kevin Durant MLK Classic. The KD MLK Classic, which will take place at The St. James from January 18 through January 20, 2020, will showcase match ups between some of North America’s elite high school basketball programs and players to provide these young student athletes with unique leadership, service and educational experiences in celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rising stars from the US and Canada will come together at The St. James to compete in “must see” games, tour some of Washington, DC’s most significant and treasured memorials and museums and participate in leadership and service experiences all to deepen their understanding of Dr. King’s mission to expand freedom and equality and uplift human dignity. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to inclusivity and social activism are values I’ve always tried to instill in my players,” said Wayne Pratt, Durant’s father and chairman of basketball at The St. James. “The Kevin Durant MLK Classic continues Dr. King’s legacy by bringing together young people to develop leadership skills on and off the court.” Participating teams will visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the Lincoln Memorial, the site of Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. They will also engage in a conversation on leadership and participate in a community impact project. “We, as a nation, owe Dr. King an enormous debt of gratitude,” said Kendrick Ashton, cofounder and co-chief executive officer of The

The St. James aims to serve as the center of the universe in every community where it is located, opened its first location just outside of Washington, DC in the fall of 2018. Plans include opening its second complex in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire in the fall of 2021.

St. James. “We repay that debt by ensuring that the next generation understands the enormous struggle for freedom, justice and equality Dr. King led and encourage them to find ways to continue Dr. King’s work. The Kevin Durant MLK Classic is a wonderful vehicle to do so.” “It is with tremendous humility and reverence that we launch the KD MLK Classic powered by The St. James,” said Craig Dixon, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The St. James. “We’re incredibly excited to be paying homage to Dr. King by helping young people pursue their dream of competing at the highest level and providing them with truly unique educational and leadership experiences that we hope will enhance their understanding of the importance of values

driven leadership and strengthen their belief in their ability to achieve their dreams.” The KD MLK Classic powered by The St. James will feature some of the top high school players in the US and Canada, including: Elijah Fisher, Crestwood Prep, Toronto, Ontario; J.T. Thor, Norcross High School, Norcross, Georgia; Mady Sissoko, Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant Utah; Samson Ruzhentsev, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Deivon Smith, Grayson High School, Loganville, Georgia and Washington, DC region’s Cory Barnes Jr., Archbishop Carroll, Washington, D.C.; Tegra Izay, Archbishop Carroll, Washington, D.C.; Erik Reynolds, Bullis School, Potomac, Maryland; Rodney Rice Jr., Bullis School, Potomac, Maryland; Zaakir Williamson, Rock Creek Christian Academy, Upper Marlboro, Maryland; Delonnie Hunt, Rock Creek Christian Academy, Upper Marlboro, Maryland; Darren Buchanan, Wilson High School, Washington, D.C. Teams from the following schools will be playing in the showcase: Norcross High School (Norcross, GA), Crestwood Prep (Toronto, Ontario), Hamilton Heights (Chattanooga, TN), Archbishop Carroll (Washington, DC), Bullis

School (Potomac, MD), Rock Creek Christian (Upper Marlboro, MD), Grayson High School (Loganville, GA), Wasatch Academy, (Mount Pleasant, Utah). This is the first high school basketball showcase produced by a leading NBA star and is the latest in a series of partnerships and events for The St. James that have quickly established it as one of the leading brands nationally in sports and wellness. Visit for tickets and information. According to a press release, The St. James aims to serve as the center of the universe in every community where it is located by delivering the most comprehensive combination of best-in-class sports and wellness venues, developmental and elite coaching, training and competition, five-star lifestyle experiences and family centered active fun all in an environment that engages, inspires and delights everyone that comes through its doors. The St. James, which opened its first location just outside of Washington, DC in the fall of 2018, plans to open its second complex in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire in the fall of 2021. For more information about the The St. James, please visit

Winter Sharecase and Holiday Party Coming Soon to Fuller Park Auditorium Red Clay Dance Company (RCDC) engages its community by hosting a Winter Sharecase and Holiday Party Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. at Fuller Park Auditorium, 331 W. 45th Place, Chicago. The performance features students of Red Clay Dance Academy, the official school of Red Clay Dance Company, and Red Clay Dance’s Youth Ensemble. The Academy is committed to offering world-class dance training for youth, teens, and adults. Classes are open to students aged one and older from beginners to advanced dancers. The gathering is also the culmination of an online series of commentaries this fall, entitled Words to Live By. Each post has focused on a different word that

has importance and meaning for the RCDC community: Artivism, Glocal, and Community Engagement. The commentaries are available at There will be a brief discussion on the series after the performance, followed by a holiday celebration with music, refreshments, games, and prizes. Event Details: Red Clay Dance Academy presents its Winter Sharecase and Holiday Celebration Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. at Fuller Park Auditorium, 331 W. 45th Pl., Chicago. Admission is free; RSVPs are required at All programming is subject to change. For more information about RCDC, visit

Red Clay Dance Company (RCDC) will host a Winter Sharecase and Holiday Party Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. at Fuller Park Auditorium, 331 W. 45th Place, Chicago.

CITIZEN | Chicago Weekend | Week of Dec. 4, 2019





HOLIDAY SEASON Tips for Hosting Houseguests Over the Holidays (StatePoint) Hosting houseguests over the holidays? For happier guests and hosts alike, you’ll want to be sure you’re equipped to accommodate all your overnighters. Here are a few pointers: Special Considerations You’ll likely know of any special considerations you will need to make for individual guests, but if you aren’t sure, ask in advance. For older guests, be sure the floor is free of tripping hazards and that walkways are well-lit. For families, offer a room away from noise so small children can sleep undisturbed at their regular bedtimes. Anticipating and accommodating allergies, dietary restrictions and mobility issues can help keep guests healthy, happy and safe during their stay with you. Better Bedding Whether you are hosting one guest or many, it’s important to ensure that everyone under your roof has a comfortable place to sleep. Thanks to the latest updates in air mattress technology, that’s easier than ever these days. Before the holidays, get equipped with compact, high-quality air mattresses -- which are a must-have for travelers who need to pack a car compactly, as well as hosts who want to store guest bedding between uses. One such option is the Intex PremAire ThermaLux airbed with Fiber-

Tech interior construction, which inflates in 4-5 minutes. Made from a Microcell contour top designed to insulate in cold weather and absorb moisture on warm nights, it even contains a USB port for charging and built-in storage for cords and small personal items. Other models from Intex -- which come in various sizes and supports -- offer such luxuries as headboards, raised bed heights and plush air pillowtop systems. A Stocked Bathroom Not only will a well-stocked bathroom help avoid last-minute trips to the store, it will make guests feel comfortable and welcome upon arrival. You’ll always want to provide a set of linens for each guest, as well as shampoo, conditioner and soap in the shower. Having a few additional items on hand -- disposable razors, cotton swabs, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste -- is a nice touch. For many reasons, guests often arrive without certain essentials. Maybe they forgot an item at home. Maybe TSA made them toss something in the trash. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to prepare for this common occurrence. A full holiday house does not need to be overwhelming. With a few considerations, you can create a joyful holiday experience for you and your houseguests.


5 Tips for a Merry Holiday Home (StatePoint) A merry holiday season starts at home. Here are some nice ways to add cheer to the rooms and spaces where people gather. • Light a Fire: It may be the most primitive technology in existence but lighting a fire is still one of the best ways to create a rich holiday atmosphere. Bonus: use aromatic firewood such as pine, fir or cedar. • Project a Movie: Decorating for the holiday season can be as easy as setting up a projector and playing seasonal movies on a loop. From classics like “Miracle on 34th Street” to contemporary favorites like “Elf,” these films provide the perfect backdrop to the holiday season. With the ability to run all day, the LampFree Projectors in Casio’s Slim Series are ideal for this purpose. • Bake Cookies: Make the whole house smell amazing (and become everyone’s favorite person) by popping cookies and other desserts in the oven that include spices evocative of the season, like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. For a lighter option, you can get the same effect


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by brewing tea with these same ingredients. • Host a Sing-a-Long: Securing yourself a digital piano with an authentic concert grand sound may just be the best gift you give your family this holiday season. The Casio GP-500 reproduces the threedimensional sound field generated by an acoustic grand to fill a room with rich, complex sound, making it a great place to gather for holiday sing-a-longs. The piano itself can also be a decoration destination -- think garlands and candles. Be sure to set out sheet music and other instruments like tambourines or bells so that guests can join in the fun. • Add Flora: Spruce up your living spaces – literally. Holly, Christmas cactus, poinsettias and spruce add color and vibrancy to mantels, staircases, coffee tables and other nooks and crannies. What’s more, many of these plants will continue to thrive long after the lights and tinsel come down. The holidays come but once a year. Make the most of the season by turning your home into a winter wonderland. PHOTO SOURCE: (c) manaemedia / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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