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Obama Foundation reveal new Renderings of Presidential Center ahead of Summit

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The Obama Presidential Center will occupy 19.3 acres within the 550-acre Jackson Park. The OPC’s architectural footprint occupies just over two acres.

The OPC will include a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates the first African American President and First Lady.

At the heart of the Obama Presidential Center is a public plaza, welcoming visitors to the campus and Jackson Park. It will serve as a place for live performances and community festivals.

The OPC will also feature a landscaped courtyard, bringing natural light and greenery to its public spaces. The garden level of the museum building features interactive programmes, a retail shop and café

The Chicago Public Library is also getting a new branch, with an interactive digital media space and a garden on its roof – complete with growing fruit and vegetables, and beehives.

The museum building’s design embodies the idea of ascension – the action of rising to an important position from the grassroots.

Within the museum, exhibits will explore US history and tell the story of the volunteers who powered the campaign. It will also examine the eight years of progress, setback and hope.

As for the park, there will be play areas and walking paths, connected by a long pedestrian promenade. The path connects the OPC to the Museum of Science Industry.

The landscape of Jackson Park’s historic Women’s Garden will also be restored with plantings, pathways, and seating.

And, a one-acre wetland area will feature a Wetland Walk with seating, a tree canopy, and a place for children to play.

The two-acre children’s play area will have a giant playground with innovative recreation equipment, including a lagoon and woodland-themed features.

“We’ve spent the past few years talking with the community and meeting with neighbors and stakeholders to incorporate their input on how the residents of the South Side and the city of Chicago want to experience the OPC in Jackson Park,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation.

“In response to the feedback we received, we’re presenting updates that create even more ways for the community to enjoy what will become an important and memorable gathering place.”

Former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama are scheduled to speak in Chicago this week for the third annual “Obama Foundation Summit”.

The two-day event is set to kick off at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Bronzeville.

Images Courtesy of The Obama Foundation

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New Stimulus Package proposed by House Dems would pay Americans $2,000 a month

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 Photo illustration via iStock

Succeeding President Donald Trump green-lighting the historic $2 trillion stimulus package, House Democrats are now proposing a new bill to keep the financial ball rolling for American families plagued with hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Tuesday (April 14), the Emergency Money for the People Act was introduced, aiming to provide Americans 16 and older a $2,000 stimulus check each month for the next six months. It was introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Ro Khanna and has 17 other Democratic co-sponsors, per  Business Insider, including Rep. Barbara Lee.

“The economic impact of this virus is unprecedented for our country. As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam – and that means putting cash in the hands of hard-working families,” Ryan said in a press release. “Many Ohioans are just receiving – or about to receive – the first cash payment we passed in the CARES Act. Now it’s time for Congress to get to work on the next step to provide relief for those who have been hardest hit in this pandemic.”

Currently, the CARES Act provides one-time cash payouts to qualifying Americans. That includes singles with an adjusted gross income up to $99,000 and couples up to $198,000 with payments being reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds with restrictions on dependents over the age of 16. Under the Emergency Money for the People Act, all Americans over the age of 16 who make less than $130,000 and married couples making less than $260,000 would receive a stimulus check. It also extends payouts to those who were excluded from the CARES Act, such as college students and adults with disabilities who are still claimed as a dependent.

Singles earning less than $130,000 would receive at least $2,000 per month, with married couples receiving at least $4,000 per month. Qualifying families would receive $500 per child for up to three children. Deliverable via direct deposit, check, or mobile apps such as Venmo, the payments would be guaranteed for at least six months or continue longer until the employment to population ratio for people ages 16 and older is above 60 percent.

“A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it,” Khanna said of the current stimulus plan. “Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work. Members on both sides of the aisle are finally coming together around the idea of sending money out to people. Rep. Ryan and I are urging leadership to include this bill in the fourth COVID relief package to truly support the American working class.”

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Mark Cuban’s Solution to NBA Suspension over Coronavirus

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is making arrangements to financially support the team, employees and arena workers who won’t be able to work due to the NBA’s suspended season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuban has not provided the specifics or his emergency plan, but he revealed during a press conference on Wednesday that he has “already started the process of having a program in place” to pay workers whose household income is dependent upon NBA game days.

“It’s stunning, but we are where we are,” Cuban said, according to ESPN. “We have to be smart in how we respond. This is people’s lives at stakes. This isn’t about basketball; this isn’t about the Mavericks. This isn’t about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake. I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom, who is 82 years old — in talking to her and telling her to stay in the house — than when we play in our next game.”
Cuban added that the Mavericks’ program might require employees to do “volunteer work.”

“I reached out … to find out what it would cost to financially support people who aren’t going to be able to come to work.”

Amid the Mavericks 113-97 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, league officials learned that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19. The Jazz’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was subsequently postponed, and shortly after the NBA was suspending play until further notice.

During the Mavericks’ game on Wednesday, sideline cameras captured Cuban’s stunned reaction to the news that the NBA would not play games until further notice.

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CNN on-boards Andrew Yang as Political Commentator

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Credit: Saul Loeb

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is joining CNN as a political commentator, the network announced Wednesday.

“I’m excited to join @CNN to help shed light on the election and the candidates’ experiences,” Yang posted via Twitter.

“Learned a lot these past months and am glad to contribute to the public discussion.” He’ll appear on the network in his new capacity later Wednesday, he added.

The tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang suspended his campaign last Tuesday, Feb. 11 in his bid for the White House.

“We’ve accomplished so much together,” Yang said during a speech to supporters in Durham, N.H.

Thank you #YangGang.

Posted by Andrew Yang for President 2020 on Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Yang rose from obscurity to become a highly-visible candidate, rallying a coalition of liberal Democrats, libertarians and some disaffected Republicans to form a devoted group of followers known as the Yang Gang.

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