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Monday, February 13, 2017

"School to Prison Pipeline"

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I wish our schools encouraged this type of scholarship. It's truly admirable:
When most kids are told to do Social Studies projects, they huff and puff at the sound of school work which would potentially take away their afterschool play time. That wasn’t the case for young Jalen Kennedy, a sixth grader at Morehouse Magnet School in Bastrop, LA. When Jalen received his assignment he was excited. “My family talks about these issues all the time so this would be a good opportunity to share the truth,” he said.

Kennedy submitted his study as a project in the Region 3 Social Studies Fair. His work was so well researched and presented that he won 1st Place and will use the project to compete at the Louisiana State Finals in Lake Charles in March. His project, School to Prison Pipeline: Is This The New System of Jim Crow?, touched very controversial issues which have plagued the African-American community for decades.

His research was so well constructed that his quotes and subject matter created discussions in Facebook and Twitter chatrooms. Before Kennedy and his family knew it, it was being discussed on syndicated radio shows and was even introduced nationally by Syndicated Radio Host/Comedian DL Hughley. Within two days Kennedy’s research had been shared with over 75,000 people across America.

“I was very confident I would be given proper credit for my project but I actually expected them to find something wrong with it. Most people don’t want to accept the truth about the system of racism and injustice in America,” he said.
The young man gets this from somewhere or at least his interest in these issues:
Growing up in a very socially conscious household leaves young Jalen ostracized at times because many of his peers are not interested in these issues. His mother, Chastity Kennedy, is a member of the Morehouse Parish School Board in Bastrop, LA. His stepfather, Craig Lee, is a Community Activist in Shreveport. “We make sure our kids are well informed and engaged. Jalen is very bright but so is our daughter. They read. They teach their friends and most importantly they are not afraid to ask questions,” said Chastity Kennedy. “We know these kids are being prepared for leadership but we are even more humbled that they know and have already accepted the responsibility to build their peers,” she added.

In research for his project, Jalen says some of the information was heartbreaking even to him. “I learned that 37% of prison inmates are African American. The reason this statistic shocked me is because African-Americans represent less than 15% of the total population in America,” he said. “The government is allowing FOR-PROFIT CORPORATIONS to build and operate prisons, and they are basing the number of future prisons to build on the reading and comprehension levels of 3rd and 4th grade elementary students,” he explained.

When comparing statistics of today with statistics of the Jim Crow period, Jalen’s research proved nothing has changed. “Black people are still the number one target for discrimination and oppression in America. Most of the issues of yesterday are still critical today, like the lack of school resources for Black children, the lack of employment opportunities, and housing discrimination. It is still the same. Integration gives us the illusion that progress is being made but the system has never changed,” he says.
I hope that Mr. Kennedy will publicly publish his conclusions in the near future. He's already making an impact and for that I certainly salute him.

Found another article on this.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Capitol Fax: Yet another failure

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10001 South Woodlawn Ave
This "failure" is located at the south side's Olive Harvey College located east of the Bishop Ford - formerly Calumet Expressway - on 103rd Street. OHC was supposed to be home to a "Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center". Another job training program provided by the City Colleges of Chicago.

Unfortunately we've learned - especially if you've read this recent post over at CapFax or indeed the Tribune article linked within the post - the program has stalled. The City of Chicago, City Colleges, and also State of Illinois aren't able to come up with funds to finish this project.

Plus when this project was started it was before the transition from Governor Pat Quinn to Governor Bruce Rauner. And if you've been reading CapFax for the past two years we know there has been something of a serious budget stalemate.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Crain's: Seaway Bank buyer rolls dice on African-American acceptance

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Seaway Bank which has a branch located near 111th/Michigan failed on January 27, 2017. The assets of the bank were purchased by the Indian-American owned State Bank of Texas. Most of anything written about this shocking development was posted to sixthward.us. The below post is crossposted to sixthward.us!
www.seawaybank.us
It's almost been two weeks since the formerly Black-owned Seaway Bank was purchased by the Dallas, TX based State Bank of Texas which is owned by an Indian-American family. We already know that the Seaway name will be retained primarily in an effort to maintain some of the predominantly Black customers.
What does the "bank black" movement stand for? The Indian-American family that just took ownership of Chicago's largest African-American-owned bank is about to find out.

Dallas-based State Bank of Texas, a lender mainly known for making loans to Indian-American operators of hotels around the U.S., was tapped Jan. 27 by federal bank regulators to assume the deposits and most of the assets of Seaway Bank & Trust, based on Chicago's South Side.

A large percentage of Seaway's depositors are drawn at least in part by its status as African-American-owned. Seaway's "bank black" campaign last year brought in at least $8 million, with new customers depositing their money at the bank on the basis of its ownership even though its financial condition was rapidly deteriorating.

How many of those depositors will want to stay with a Seaway Bank under Indian-American ownership?

Sushil Patel, president of State Bank of Texas, acknowledges the potential issue.

"I'm not a black bank," he says in an interview. "I'm not a white bank, but I'm definitely not a black bank."

The most important consideration for depositors, he says, is whether their money is safe.

"Banking is still banking," Patel says. "I respect the idea of depositors wanting to put money into a bank that will put money back into that community."
We learn for the first time one of the other bidders of Seaway:
There was competition in the bidding the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. held for Seaway's assets and deposits. The three other bidders included another black-owned bank, Liberty Bank & Trust of New Orleans, according to an FDIC disclosure.

The agency didn't say how much Liberty bid or even whether its bid met the FDIC's specifications. Other bidders were Republic Bank of Chicago, owned by Greek Americans, and Raleigh, N.C.-based First-Citizens Bank & Trust, a publicly traded, $31 billion-asset lender.

Usually, regulators take pains to try to find a buyer for a failed minority-owned bank with the same ethnicity. That was the case in 2014 when State Bank of Texas took over failed National Republic Bank of Chicago, also an Indian-American-owned lender. Likewise, Seaway was the chosen buyer for Milwaukee's black-owned Legacy Bank in 2011.

In its deal with State Bank of Texas, the FDIC effectively paid the bank more than $40 million to take ownership of most of Seaway, according to the purchase agreement (see the PDF).

That will incentivize State Bank of Texas to work out Seaway's bad loans as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

The FDIC contacted 350 banks, including 102 owned by minorities, to bid on Seaway, a spokesman says. The Texas bank's was the lowest cost for the agency, which by law had to accept it, he says.

As with many Indian-American-owned banks, State Bank of Texas' lending expertise is chiefly in the hotel industry, accounting for about 60 percent of its loan portfolio.

Otherwise, it mainly makes commercial real estate loans, so it has little experience in Seaway's bread-and-butter business loans and mortgages.

"At the end of the day, it's still lending," Patel says.

Once Seaway's bad loans are charged off, sold or worked out, the bank will continue making the same kinds of loans it used to, he says. The Patels won't install a new bank president for Seaway. Instead, the three family members—Sushil, his father, Chan Patel, who is chairman and CEO, and his brother Rajan Patel, chief lending officer—will take turns being in Chicago and running the operations, he says.
Liberty Bank has a branch on the west side where the former Community Bank of Lawndale/Covenant Bank was headquartered. Seaway won't have their own management team for the time being as you saw in the excerpt.

In recognition that this is a business we're talking about my hope is that in the next few years State Bank could possibly set up Seaway for a sale to a Black-ownership group. This is their business for now as you see in the screencap above so it's ultimately up to them whether or not they want to eventually sell.

In the meanwhile, we see that in this article Illinois Service Federal is setting themselves up as the only locally Black-owned bank here in Chicago. Also we see in this article actions taken by the community whenever a Black-owned financial institution is taken over by someone outside of the community - for example the former Community Bank of Lawndale.

What many of us should be concerned about particularly customers are the status of the many jobs that could be at stake during the course of this transition. State Bank doesn't have as many branches as Seaway so it's possible there will be some layoffs.

I suggest you read the whole thing.