Springfield Illinois

Task Force Targets African American Males in Springfield

Fatherhood one of the most important issues

September 22, 2008
by Greg Bishop

A town hall meeting held at South East High School Thursday, September 18, focused on the condition of African American Males in Illinois.

In attendance were state senators, state representatives, and African American community leaders.

With attendance at around 80 people, the task force held five different "round table" discussions. The topics for the talks were education, economic stability, health, criminal justice, and fatherhood.

Kamau Kemayo, associate professor and chair of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield says "when you look at males being sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, exedra, you know, they are unique and a challenge, you have to work on that."

At the round table discussion on fatherhood a dozen individuals talked about what the main issues concerning the African American Community are when it comes to being a dad.

With a steady flow of people traveling from one round table to the next, the moderator says "How do you get to the root of being a father?"

"We need the churches, schools, and programs to help us educate young men to be fathers. They need guidance," one man responds.

"Our values have eroded," another passionately stated. "But it takes a village."

Another participant of the round table discussion on fatherhood said "we fill the younger generations with fear. We tell them 'they are after you'. Who are 'they'?" he says. "Some parents tell their kids 'they' are white people."

Yet another gentleman said "There are still 40 and 50-year-olds hip-hoppin' and saggin'."

After a 15 minute discussion on the symptoms and problems facing fatherhood in the African American community, the moderator posed the question, "How much will you invest?"

"We need support from the system, but the system can't make better fathers," one participant said.

One of the only women in the group said after receiving an education, many people in the African American Community never return home. "Once we get our ABC's behind our names, we forget about the hood."

The round table discussion on fatherhood concluded the solution to the problem is to gathering a pool of models; fathers from churches, fathers from within the community, professional men, entrepreneurs and educated men, and there needs to be strategy and planning.

One important component to the plan was to have a concrete message that came from the same group, regardless of location. "Being a male is a matter of gender, being a man is a matter of maturity," one man says.

Letrice Ware, a University of Illinois student, stopped by the round table on fatherhood towards the end to mention a television program she is starting on cable channel Access 4 called "RAAW Words".

"RAAW stands for Real Ambition Afrikana Woman," Latrice said. She will moderate a group of African American youth from the Springfield Area, allowing them to have their voices heard on public access. "Look for it sometime in November."

"The outcome of the meeting itself is hopefully more of a starter or continuing a group effort," says Kimao Kamaou, who attended the town hall meeting. "To work toward the betterment of the condition and the situation of African American males and African American people in general" is something Kamaou says he brings to UIS everyday, being chair of African American Studies.

The town hall meeting in Springfield was the fourth in a series of meetings being held across the state as part of Senate Bill 0076. Legislation passed the general assembly to study the condition of African American Males in Illinois. A report combining findings from the series of town hall meetings is due to the General Assembly by the end of this year.

Allan Woodson, a member of the task force appointed by state senator Frank Watson, hopes the task force will set forth a set of tangible plans.

"We want to get beyond just having a study that people ultimately end up putting on the shelf," Woodson says. "We want to be sure they have something that we can really implement that's going to benefit the demographic, i.e. the African American males that we are trying to address."

But at the end of the day, Woodson believes it is the individual that is responsible for their own condition, not the state. "You know if you talk about something as basic as fatherhood, you can't blame that on anybody else, that's something for you to do. When you talk about getting a proper education, that's something you can do. Health education and making sure that you eat right and that you exercise, that's something you can do. You can't blame that on anyone else."

Greg Bishop hosts Saturday Session with Bishop on 970 WMAY and is a full time student at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Public Private Partnerships - InfraGard

February 09, 2008
Greg Bishop

The public/private partnership organization of corporations working with the FBI known as IfraGard is gaining more attention. This organization works directly with the FBI to give and receive information concerning terrorism and other homeland security issues including an influenza outbreak.

The focus appears to be directed at preventing fraud, but there is also an element of concern for terrorism and the possibility of an infrastructure collapse with the slogan "A collaboration for infrastructure protection" alongside a graphic depicting "Elevated - significant risk of terrorist attacks".

From infragard.net:

"InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector."

On December 11, 2007, Greg Garcia, the Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communication, gave a speech at the New York Metro InfreGard Alliance Security Summit.

Read the speech here.

"Let's be realistic. Private industry owns and operates more than 85 percent of the United States' critical infrastructures. That means the Federal Government cannot address cyber threats alone. Obviously, if a cyber attack occurs, the larger percentage of potential immediate victims will also be in the private sector. This includes the financial services industry. So not only does it make sense to collaborate with each other, it is an absolute necessity.

"A prime example of this occurred just last month when the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) served as the key data gathering and distribution center for a potential cyber threat to both government and private sector systems maintaining critical infrastructures."

Mr. Gracia's speech is quite detailed as to the many different programs and operations there are focused on information sharing, gathering, and testing working as part of InfraGard.

"EINSTEIN, as it is known, is that early warning system. It monitors participating agencies' network gateways for traffic patterns that indicate the presence of computer worms or other unwanted traffic. By collecting this information, EINSTEIN gives our analysts a big-picture view of potentially malicious activity on federal networks."

Garcia mentions a statewide drill scheduled to take place in Vermont, January of 2008.  "The Vermont InfraGard is a key planner in the state of Vermont's first ever cyber exercise, which my office is helping to design and implement." However, Vermont's InfraGard website has no mention of the drill nor does a search in news archives nor a search of the state of Vermont's website.

Mr. Garcia continues

"At the national level, we are actively planning for the March 2008 national cyber exercise, Cyber Storm II, which follows the highly successful cyber storm I held in February 2006. This exercise examines our response and coordination mechanisms against a simulated cyber event affecting international, federal, state, and local governments, and the private sector."

You can read more about Cyber Storm II online. (PDF)

Cyber crime is not the only focus of Greg Garcia's speech in New York. There was also a mention of a possible flu pandemic.

"A working group led by my one of my components — the National Communications System — and including experts from the Federal Reserve Board, the Department of the Treasury, the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee, and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council, meets monthly to plan for the potential communications consequences of a pandemic influenza."

According to Matthew Rothschild's article on The Progressive online, the ACLU states -

“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”

Infragard is associated with the Department of Homeland Security and the NIST.

Greg Garcia's December 11th speech includes information about the National Institute of Standards and Technology's National Vulnerability Database working in part with InfraGard.

"Recently, your colleagues in the payment card industry recognized the value of the database to their cyber risk management efforts. Last June, the industry's data security standards required that all credit card processing vendors use the National Vulnerability Database to evaluate the security of their payment systems."

NVD's website states:

"NVD is a product of the NIST Computer Security Division and is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division. It supports the U.S. government multi-agency (OSD, DHS, NSA, DISA, and NIST) Information Security Automation Program. It is the U.S. government content repository for the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP)."

InfraGard does operate in all fifty states including Illinois. There is both a Chicago and Springfield office for the public/private partnership of corporations and the Federal Government.

View more information about InfraGard online at www.infragard.net. Also, check out the info for the Springfield InfraGard Organization online at www.infragard-illinois.net.

Greg Bishop may be reached at bishoponair@gmail.com or online at Bishop on Air dot com 

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