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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Michael Jordan awarded $8.9 million for unethical Dominick's ad

a federal judge on friday ordered the owners of dominick's to pay michael jordan $8.9 million for using his identity without his permission in an advertisement. 

in 2009, the now defunct supermarket chain used jordan's identity for its rancher's reserve steaks in a special issue of sports illustrated. the ad commemorated his elevation to the nba hall of fame.

lawyers for dominick's owner, safeway, argued they should pay $126, 900. but after deliberating for more than six hours at the end of a week-long trial, the jury decided on an amount closer to what jordan wanted - $10 million.

during the five-year court battle, a judge previously assigned to the case described jordan's demands as "greedy." however before the case went into trial, the court said dominick's was liable for running the ad: the jurors'  lone decision was how much should they pay.

jordan said, "it is my name, and i've worked hard for it for 30-something years, and i'm not just going to let someone take it. it's not the type of court i like to win at, but unfortunately we ended up in this court, and i'm very happy with the result."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Julian Bond Makes Transition at 75

julian bond made his transition saturday night. bond was 75 years old, and he died in fort walton, florida, after a brief illness. he was an activist, educator, humanitarian, organizer, politician and writer. 

bond was a nashville, tennessee native who attended morehouse college. while in school, bond co-founded the student non-violent coordinating committee (sncc). he became their communications director and was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement.

bond served 20 years in the georgia legislature. his anti-war protests were not supported by some of his political colleagues when america fought in vietnam. he was elected to the georgia house of representatives in 1965, but some angry white members - and seven black members - accused him of disloyalty and refused to let him take his seat. 

a unanimous u.s. supreme court ruling in favor of bond confirmed his seat in office. the court said denying him his seat would be a violation of his freedom of speech. generally well-liked and respected, he was not a polarizing figure, but the u.s. role in the war divided americans from all walks of life. 

in 1986, bond ran to represent georgia in the house of representatives. he was defeated by john lewis, a fellow activist and sncc co-founder. later, bond served as the board chairman for the 500,000 member national association for the advancement of colored people (naacp) for 10 years. bond declined to run for (another) one-year term in 2010.

bond would often appear as a commentator on various programs like nbc's today show, or the news hour with jim lehrer on pbs, and the tavis smiley show. bond was an adjunct professor at american university, and was a professor of history at the university of virginia.  

after his death, lewis said their congressional race created "a little schism for awhile" between them, but nothing could weaken their lasting friendship. lewis said bond was "a wonderful writer, a poet. he had a great sense of humor. he could make you laugh until you wanted to cry. but he worked very hard. he was just smart. just smart. brilliant."  

southern poverty law center co-founder morris dees said, "with julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. he advocated not just for african-americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all." 

president barack obama said, "julian bond was a hero and, i'm privileged to say, a friend. justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life. julian bond helped change this country for the better. and what better way to be remembered than that."

Sunday, August 09, 2015

NYC Taxi Driver Fined $25K for not picking up black family

a yellow taxi driver in new york city must pay $25,000 in fines and compensation for discrimination against a black family. the driver, baqir raza, refused to pick up cynthia jordan and her two daughters outside macy's in midtown, but let two white females into his cab instead.

raza told jordan he was off-duty, locked the doors and then drove 25 feet to pick up the white consumers. office of administrative trials and hearing (oath) judge raymond kramer ruled last week raza must pay $10,000 in compensation to jordan, and a $15,000 civil fine.

jordan, 57, a queens resident and vice president at a stock transfer firm, said, "i'm happy for the judgment. hopefully, someone will hear about this, and it will affect the way taxi drivers pick up fares in new york."

jordan says she routinely faces discrimination when trying to hail a cab. jordan said, "i'm always out with my young daughter trying to grab a cab. there is nothing threatening about us, and you should see how many people drive right past us."

on october 19, 2013, jordan's daughter, chiley holder, saw raza pull his taxi over to let a passenger exit. his on-duty light was on, but raza locked the door when holder tried to open it. raza said he was taking a break and switched his off-duty light on. but he then picked up the white females.

jordan ran up to his cab exclaiming, "are you kidding me? you picked up these two white bitches...instead of me and my family...i'm going to report you. jordan said raza wasn't fazed by her threat. "he said, yeah, go ahead and report me," she recalled.

holder works for the city's 311 system and urged her mother to file a complaint with the taxi and limousine commission (tlc), and the human rights commission. raza paid a $200 fine to the tlc in november, 2013. he plead guilty to a violation for refusing to pick up the jordan family.

however, the city's commission on human rights brought charges against raza at the oath hearing overseen by judge kramer. the commission must still approve kramer's recommendation for the $25,000 in penalties. 

jordan says she hopes the obstinate fines will teach raza a lesson. jordan said, "you don't have impunity to do whatever you do. if you drive a cab, then drive a cab and pick up all fares. that's what you're supposed to do."



Saturday, August 08, 2015

2015 NFL Football Hall of Fame Class

the 53rd class of the national football league hall-of-fame will be honored saturday night in canton, ohio. the celebrated men are jerome bettis, tim brown, charles haley, bill polian, junior seau, will shields, mick tinglehoff and ron wolf.

bettis played 13 seasons with the los angeles/st.louis rams and pittsburgh steelers. he ranks fifth all-time in rushing with 13,662 yards. a six-time pro bowl selection, bettis ("the bus") rushed for 100 yards or more 61 times. 

brown played 16 years with the los angeles/oakland raiders, and one (his final) season with the tampa bay buccaneers. he caught 1,094 career receptions for 14,934 yards and 100 touchdowns. brown also totaled 4,555 yards and four touchdowns and kickoff and punt returns.

haley is the only nfl player to win five super bowl titles. he racked up 100.5 sacks in his 12-year career with the dallas cowboys and san francisco 49ers. haley posted double-digit sack totals in six different seasons.   

polian helped build the 1990s buffalo bills, and launched the expansion carolina panthers in 1995. he led the indianapolis colts to unprecedented success in the 2000s. the colts won super bowl 41 following the 2006 season. he was nfl's executive of the year by the sporting news six times.

seau played 20 nfl seasons with the san diego chargers, miami dolphins and new england patriots. he's regarded as one of the best linebackers in history. seau made first-team all-pro eight teams, was selected to the pro bowl 12 times, and was named defensive player of the year in 1992.

shields played 224 games during his 14-year career with the kansas city chiefs. he never missed a game. shields was named to the all-decade team of the 2000s, selected first-team all-pro three tines, and played in 12 straight pro bowls.  

tinglehoff was signed as a free agent by the minnesota vikings. he earned a starting role as center - as a rookie - and never missed a game during his 17-year career. tinglehoff was a seven-time all-league selection, and was named to six consecutive pro bowls. 

wolf spent 23 years with the los angeles/oakland raiders. those gritty and rugged teams had 17 winning seasons under his budding leadership. wolf later transformed the green bay packers into super bowl champions.  
the hall currently limits the number of inductees to eight per year. they adjusted its bylaws in 2014 to give added consideration to contributors like polian and wolf. both men were architects of numerous super bowl teams during their years as general managers.

this year the hall is making an exception to its ceremonial rules, which do not allow for live speeches on behalf of deceased honorees. but sydney seau will speak about her father, who committed suicide in 2012. she and her three brothers will unveil his bust at the enshrinement ceremony.

"our goal is to maintain our policy regarding enshrinement speeches, but also show compassion and understanding," said hall of fame president david baker, in a statement. next year's hall-of-fame class will be determined in february prior to super bowl 50. brett favre and terrell owens are among those eligible in 2016.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Eric Garner Family Receives $5.9 Million Settlement from NYC

almost one year after he died at the hands of new york city police officers, the family of eric garner accepted a pretrial settlement from the city on monday. garner's estate, which filed a claim against the city in october, 2014 for damages related to his untimely demise, will be paid $5.9 million.

new york city comptroller scott springer's office is charged with settling claims against the city. springer said, "following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of eric garner that is in the best interest of all parties."

cell phone video of garner's death in july, 2014 emerged, fueling conflicts between the nypd and the community. garner, an unarmed 41 year-old black man, was put in an illegal chokehold by a white cop who hasn't been charged with a crime. officers alleged garner was selling loose cigarettes before his fatal encounter.  

"we are all familiar with the events that led to the death of eric garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation. it forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve." and, while the settlement "acknowledges the tragic nature of mr. garner's death, the city has not admitted liability," said springer.

new york city mayor bill de blasio said the anniversary of his death was on his mind, as it was for many other new yorkers. but the mayor said, "i think the important thing is to stay focused on the work of the reform. i think we've come a long way, even in the last year, in terms of bringing police and community together." 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

President Obama Commutes Prior Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders

president barack obama on monday commuted the prison sentences of 46 drug offenders. the commander-in-chief said the move was part of his larger attempt to reform the criminal justice system, including reducing punishments for non-violent crimes and reviewing sentencing laws.

obama has commuted about 90 sentences - more than any president since lyndon b. johnson. most have been for federal prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses with long sentences mandated under guidelines set in the 1980's. under current sentencing guidelines, most of these individuals would have served their time.

of the 46 people commuted on monday, 13 were serving life sentences. most of these commuted sentences will now end in november, 2015. this is a several month transition period officials said allowed for arrangements to be made in halfway homes and other related facilities.

after they're released, the former prisoners will be supervised by probation officers and subject to conditions set during their original sentencing, which for some includes drug testing. earlier this year, 22 prisoners convicted of drug crimes were granted release. in late 2014, eight criminals were also given commutations.

unlike a presidential pardon, a commutation does not erase a criminal conviction, it only reduces a sentence. obama has granted 64 pardons in his presidency. the white house on monday posted a letter written by obama to each of the 46 men and women granted commutations.

obama wrote, "i am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. it will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. but remember that you have the capacity to make good choices."

later this week, obama is expected to discuss his plans for more criminal justice reform. on tuesday he travels to philadelphia to speak at the annual naacp convention. on thursday obama will become the first president ever to visit a federal prison, when he tours the el reno facility in oklahoma. "i believe that at its heart, america is a nation for second chances, and i believe these folks deserve their second chance," obama said.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win 2015 Wimbledon Singles Titles

serena williams of the united states defeated garbine muguruza of spain 6-4, 6-4 to win the 2015 wimbledon singles championship. williams now has six career singles titles at the all-england club in london. the historic win on saturday improved her majors finals record to 21-4.

williams became the first player to win four consecutive majors twice; the first time in 2002-03. her unique feat is known as the "serena slam." at 33, she's the oldest to win a major title in the open era - 16 years after her first championship at the u.s. open. the world #1 is one major victory away from tying steffi graf of germany, who has 22 grand slam trophies.

"i've been trying to win four in a row for 12 years, and it hasn't happened. i've had a couple of injuries. you know, it's been an up and down process. i honestly can't say that last year or two years ago or even five years ago i would have thought that i would have won four in a row," williams said.

williams has six titles at the australian open, wimbledon and the u.s. open, and three at the french open. muguruza, 21, upset williams in the second round at roland garros last year. the hard-hitting woman reached her first major final, and will enter the top 10 for the first time in her bright and promising young career.

novak djokovic of serbia beat roger federer of switzerland 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 to win the 2015 wimbledon singles title. the world #1 now has nine major singles victories in his career, including three at the all-england club in london. he defeated federer in five thrilling sets last year.

djokovic won the australian open in january, lost the french open final to stan warwinka of switzerland, and defended his wimbledon title against federer on sunday. djokovic has reached 15 of the last 20 major singles finals - winning eight. his major finals record is 9-8, but he's never won at roland garros.

djokovic later praised coach boris becker, whom he hired in december, 2013. becker has six majors, including three at wimbledon. "it's definitely been a long run since we started working together. it took a while to understand each other. he is german. i'm serbian, so there are significant differences! we managed to find common ground and the right chemistry. this is his trophy as much as mine, he said."   
the 28 year-old serb now has a 20-20 career record against federer. last year, federer held serve in 88 of 89 games through the semifinals, but was broken four times by djokovic - the greatest returner in history. this year, federer held serve in 89 of 90 matches before the semis, and was broken by djokovic four times (again) in the finals.