i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maryland Legislature Expands Voting Rights for People with Felony Convictions

maryland lawmakers on tuesday expanded voting rights for people with felony convictions by overriding governor larry hogan's veto of house bill 980. the action restores voting rights to about 40,000 people on felony parole or probation. maryland was one of 35 states who disenfranchised people on parole or probation: individuals living in the community but unable to vote.

marc mauer, executive director of the sentencing project said, "maryland lawmakers have taken an important step in expanding the vote to people with felony convictions living in the community. restricting voting rights is deeply problematic for a democratic society and compounds the social isolation of formerly incarcerated persons from their communities."

nationally, 5.85 million americans are prohibited from voting due to laws disenfranchising citizens convicted of felony offenses. these policies vary by state, and arbitrarily oppress people in prison, on parole, probation, or with past convictions. maryland now joins connecticut and rhode island as states to recently expand voting rights to such people.

felony disenfranchisement has produced broad racial disparities in its impact as well. in america, one in every 13 black adults cannot vote as a result of a felony conviction. moreover, in two states in particular - florida and virginia - more than 20% of black adults suffer disenfranchisement.

civic participation has been linked to lower recidivism rates. in one study, among individuals who had been previously arrested, 27% of nonvoters were re-arrested, compared with 12% of voters. although the limitations of the data available preclude undeniable proof of direct causation, its clear voting appears to compliment pro-social behavior, which might impact lower crime rates.

nicole d. porter, director of advocacy of the sentencing project said, "we are encouraged by state officials who are reconsidering unfair disenfranchisement policies. 23 states have enacted reforms since 1997. this reform offers an opportunity to strengthen the democratic process and we hope this will be followed by a commitment to notify impacted persons their voting rights have been restored."


Sunday, February 07, 2016

Denver Broncos Win Super Bowl 50

the denver broncos defeated the carolina panthers 24-10 to win super bowl 50 at levi's stadium in santa clara, california. denver linebacker von miller was named most valuable player. miller had six tackles, two and a half sacks and two forced fumbles.

denver (15-4) sacked carolina (17-2) qb cam newton seven times - a super bowl record for sacks by one team. broncos defensive lineman demarcus ware also had two sacks. one of miller's forced fumbles resulted in a touchdown early in the first quarter, and they never lost the lead.

broncos' peyton manning, 39, became the oldest qb to win a super bowl, and first starting qb to win on two different teams. he now has 200 career regular and playoff wins: most all-time. asked about his future plans, he said, "i'll take some time to reflect. i got a couple priorities first. i'm going to kiss my wife and kids. i'm going to drink a lot of budweiser tonight." 

carolina's potent offense, number one during the regular season with 500 points, was held to its fewest points of the year. denver allowed just 194 yards, another super bowl record for the least amount given up by a vince lombardi trophy winner. league mvp newton completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards and no touchdowns.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

2016 NFL Honors and 2016 Hall of Fame Class

listed below are the winners of the 2016 nfl honors:

air player of the year - carson palmer, qb, arizona cardinals
ground player of the year - todd gurley, rb, st. louis rams
offensive rookie of the year - todd gurley, rb, st. louis rams 
offensive player of the year - cam newton, qb, carolina panthers

salute to service award - vincent jackson, wr, tampa bay buccaneers
clutch performer of the year - drew brees, qb, new orleans saints

coach of the year - ron rivera, carolina panthers
art rooney award - charles woodson, s, oakland raiders
defensive rookie of the year - marcus peters, cb, kansas city chiefs
assistant coach of the year - wade phillips, denver broncos
greatness on the road award - antonio brown, wr, pittsburgh steelers

defensive player of the year - j.j. watt, de, houston texans
most valuable player - cam newton, qb, carolina panthers
rookie of the year - jameis winston, qb, tampa bay buccaneers
comeback player of the year - eric berry, s, kansas city chiefs

fantasy player of the year - antonio brown, wr, pittsburgh steelers
deacon jones award - j.j. watt, de, houston texans
walter payton man of the year - anquan boldin, wr, san francisco 49ers
performance play of the year - aaron rodgers, qb, green bay packers

2016 hall of fame class
eddie debartolo, owner
tony dungy, coach
brett favre, qb
kevin greene, lb
marvin harrison, wr
orlando pace, ol
ken stabler, qb
dick stanfel, ol

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic Win 2016 Australian Open Singles Titles

angelique kerber of germany stunned world #1 serena williams of the u.s. 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the 2016 australian open singles championship. kerber captured her first career major - while playing in her first major final - after 33 grand slam appearances. 

kerber collected $3.4 million for her efforts and is now the #2 player in the world. kerber, 28, is the first german since steffi graf in 1994 to win here, and the first lefty to win down under since monica seles in 1996. ironically, she was down match point in her first round encounter.

"i was going out there and not thinking too much that it's a grand slam final. i was enjoying the whole two hours on court. i was going out there, trying, ok i can beat her; i beat her once. and just believe in myself. if you're just hoping, you can't win against her. that was my game plan: serving good, moving good and just going for it. it works," kerber said afterwards.

williams has 21 career major singles titles. she is one win away from equaling graf's 22 majors: an open era record since 1999. williams, 34, fell short for the second consecutive major. roberta vinci beat her in the u.s. open semifinals last summer. she told kerber, "you did so well let me be the first to congratulate you. you truly played so well in the moment."

world #1 novak djokovic of serbia defeated andy murray of great britian 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 to win the 2016 australian open singles championship. djokovic equaled roy emerson's record of six australian titles, and continued his unprecedented play in the last 15 months of his career.

the defending champion djokovic has won the last three major singles titles, including four of the last five. he lost the 2015 french open to stan wawrinka of swizerland. djokovic now has 11 career major singles championships, tying bjorn borg of sweden and rod laver of australia for fifth place on the all-time list.

afterwards djokovic said, "i never experienced this much crowd and this much love. i've had the fortune to win this trophy now six times, but i never experienced such support. everything is going well privately, as well, so i feel like i'm at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony. i'll try to keep it that way."

murray, 28, became only the second man to lose five finals at one major - all to djokovic in melbourne. his career record against djokovic was 9-21 before their encounter, losing 10 of his last 11 matches. murray said later, "it's been hard, regardless of today's result. i'm proud i got into this position, just quite looking forward to getting home now." his wife is due next month. 



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Retroactive Ban on Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

the u.s. supreme court, in their 6-3 ruling on monday in the case of montgomery v. louisiana, written by justice kennedy, stated "children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change." several thousand inmates could potentially be impacted by their decision.

the court's rulings in a series of cases over the past decade suggest children are different: making the mandatory, permanent sentence of life without parole (lwop) inappropriate. though mandatory sentencing of lwop was ruled unconstitutional in miller v. alabama, states differed widely on applying the ruling retroactively.

the united states is the only country in the world to allow such unconscionable sentences for children. in 2010, the sentencing project released findings from a nationwide survey of almost 1,600 people serving these sentences. they found many of these kids had been traumatized and victimized before they hurt others.

the sentencing project also cited extreme poverty, poor legal counsel and significant racial disparities with the imposition of life sentences for juveniles. despite many disturbing patterns, they also noticed meaningful change and reform from the inmates over the years, sometimes decades, after their incarceration.    

mandatory sentences of lwop rose exponentially in the 90's during the so-called 'super-predator era,' which has now been wholly discredited as fear-based media hype and political rhetoric. 

the sentencing project works for a fair and effective u.s. justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Black college student wins $45K settlement against Barney's

a young black male won a $45,000 settlement against barney's on wednesday, january 20. trayon christian, 18, sued the high-end clothing store and the new york police department (nypd) in october, 2013, claiming they profiled him for credit card fraud and buying a $349 designer belt on april 27, 2013.

christian, a queens resident, was hassled by two nypd detectives after he purchased the reversible black and white ferragamo's belt. an engineering student and part-time employee at the new york city college of technology at the time, christian felt he was detained because they believed he couldn't afford the belt.

christian said, "they said my card wasn't real, it was fake. they said someone at barney's called to report it." they detectives asked to see his id and look in his bag and whether and where he worked. he said, "the detectives were asking me, 'how could you afford a bag like this?' where did you get this money from?"

the detectives cuffed christian and took him to the 19th precinct station house, where he was kept in a holding cell for two hours. after he was released, the nypd said he was there for only 40 minutes. in august, 2014, barney's agreed to pay $525,000 in fines to settle racial profiling claims.


White Male Officer Sentenced to 263 Years for multiple Sexual Assaults of Black Females

daniel holtzclaw, a former oklahoma city police officer, was sentenced to 263 years in prison for the rapes and sexual assaults of seven black women, and one black female teenager. holtzclaw received the maximum sentence and will serve each year consecutively.

holtzclaw is white.

during the sentencing hearing, the women each shared the pain and horror of their individual trauma. janie liggons, 59, the grandmother who blew the whistle on the predator, said she, "just wanted her life back."

in december, holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges brought against him. he was found not guilty of charges brought in the sexual assaults and rapes of five black women. sentencing was delayed temporarily as holtzclaw's defense team argued for a new trial, claiming prosecutors withheld evidence to help their client.

the lawyers said a detective's social media post and an interview with a juror compromised proceedings. but judge timothy henderson denied the motion and holtzclaw was taken back into custody. supporters and organizers crowded the courtroom, including members of the african american policy forum and the black women's blueprint.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The U.S. Police killed almost 1200 people in 2015

u.s police killed more people in 2015 than in 2014. while exact numbers have various sources, the website killedbypolice.net stated almost 1200 people died because of police shootings in america.

their data shows white people are the largest group killed by the police. but collectively, asians, blacks, indigenous people and latinos surpass the number of people killed by the police. 

thinkprogress noted black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than young white men, according to a propublica analysis. in 14 cities this year, every victim of a police killing was black. 

the centers for disease control and prevention also compiled similar data. they reported california, florida and texas lead the u.s. in terms of deadly police encounters.