Midyear Integrity Awards Focus on the Midwest

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“Except for MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow and the extremely important Sunny Sheu investigation, our midyear integrity awards focus on private people, public officials, and events in the Midwest,” notes George Stokes, Sr., Advisory Board President for the grassroots legal reform organization known as POPULAR. Legal counsel for Representative Mike Quigley (D-Ill) commented in response to his Restore Integrity Award, “(t)he Congressman has always been an outspoken voice for (bringing) greater transparency and accountability in government, and it’s great to be recognized for his efforts by important citizen groups . . .”

“We have made our 2011 midyear integrity awards,” announced George Stokes, Sr., Advisory Board President for the grassroots legal reform organization known as POPULAR, “Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored.”

According to its website, POPULAR is an association of public interest attorneys and Juris Doctors advised by a board of community leaders, all of whom are committed to “helping poor and other disadvantaged people access affordable and competent legal representation, appropriate judicial oversight, and important civil and criminal justice system reforms.”

“Bi-annually since June of 2009, POPULAR has presented its Restore Integrity Award in the categories of private sector, public sector, and / or grassroots advocacy,” says Advisory Board member Katherine Moore who helps administer the awards program and has been with POPULAR since it launched in November, 2008. Moore explains, “all of POPULAR’s award recipients have taken or otherwise pursued one or more specific acts or measures to eliminate significant inequity, waste, fraud, abuse, or other public and/or private sector corruption in America.” President Stokes adds that, “our group defines corruption as any illegal or unethical conduct contributing to the systemic malfunction of government, commerce, and/or democracy in America as contemplated by the U.S. Constitution.”

POPULAR’s 2011 mid-year “Restore Integrity Award” recipients are as follows:

Private Sector Category:

Rachel Maddow for her coverage of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s use of the state’s “Emergency Financial Managers” law to take prime beachfront property from the largely impoverished town of Benton Harbor, Michigan for a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and luxury “signature” homes;

Black Star News, Inc. for its indepth investigation and coverage of circumstances surrounding the death of former New York resident Sunny Sheu, "Foe of Judicial Corruption";

Public Sector Category:

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill) for introducing the Public Officials Accountability Act, H B 1923, to restore “honest services” legislation which prohibits elected officials from using their offices for personal gain;

Indiana State Senators Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) and R. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis) for leading efforts to seek reconsideration and narrowing of Barnes v. Indiana, an Indiana Supreme Court decision providing that Indiana residents have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes;

Grassroots Advocacy Category:

Reverend Freddie Pinkney for his courageous leadership and personal sacrifices to consistently challenge apparent miscarriages of justice against disenfranchised residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

“Except for MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow and the extremely important Sunny Sheu investigation, our midyear awards focus on private people, public officials, and events in the Midwest,” notes Mr. Stokes who lives in Texas. Ms. Moore, a Floridian, adds, “public officials such as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court have kicked up considerable controversy.” On the other hand, “U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois clearly provide a great service by introducing the Public Officials Accountability Act,” Stokes interjects.

Legal counsel for Representative Quigley commented in response to his Restore Integrity Award, “(t)he Congressman has always been an outspoken voice for (bringing) greater transparency and accountability in government, and it’s great to be recognized for his efforts by important citizen groups like yours. Thanks for your hard work and efforts and continued success.”

As fellow grassroots advocates, both Stokes and Moore especially appreciate Reverend Freddie Pinkney. They remarked, “Pinkney is a beacon of hope in Benton Harbor, Michigan as we try to be in our communities.”

POPULAR will mail all of its 2011 midyear “Restore Integrity Award” recipients an encased certificate, commemorating their award. They were personally notified of and congratulated for receiving the award prior to this public announcement. POPULAR will announce its next round of award recipients in December 2011.

To learn more about POPULAR, Inc., visit http://www.popular4people.org

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Zena Crenshaw-Logal
POPULAR, Inc.
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