i am

My photo
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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Marijuana Policy Reforms on Election Day

california, maine, massachusetts and nevada voted on election day to end marijuana prohibition. arkansas, florida and north dakota adopted medical marijuana laws. 

montana approved an initiative to re-establish patients' access to medical marijuana providers and improve its existing medical marijuana law.

the only dim spot is arizona, where the legalization initiative is currently losing 48% to 52%, albeit\ with tens of thousands of additional ballots to be counted. the measure is likely to lose when the counting ends in nine days.

the number of states where marijuana is legal for adults doubled - from four to eight - and the first two states in the south made marijuana legal.     

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Virginia registers 70,000 people with felony convictions to vote

about 70,000 people with prior felony convictions have been registered to vote in virginia. the state supreme court previously ruled governor terry mcauliffe could only restore voting rights on a case-by-case basis.

tammie hagen, a formerly incarcerated person working for the new virginia majority, was one of many advocates trying to help people with felony convictions get their rights restored through gubernatorial clemency. they sought to register people before the october 17 deadline.

hagen estimates she (alone) registered 600-800 people in virginia, and submitted "several hundred requests" for voting rights registration to the governor's office. hagen, 51, said, "nothing can stand in the way of this mission. this is about democracy." 

about 13,000 former offenders registered to vote when mcauliffe first attempted to automatically clear them. but the court disenfranchised them (again) when they ruled the governor's actions were unconstitutional. 

groups such as new virginia majority are scrambling to find suitable candidates for gubernatorial clemency. their effort is as much about overcoming weary cynicism as getting paperwork to the governor's office in a timely fashion.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Chicago Cubs Win 2016 World Series

the chicago cubs defeated the cleveland indians 8-7 in ten innings on the road to win the 2016 world series. cubs outfielder ben zobrist was named most valuable player. zobrist is the first player in history to win back-to-back mvp's on two different teams in two different leagues.

1908 was the last year the cubs won a title, breaking the longest championship drought in team sports history. the game lasted four hours and 24 minutes, not including the 18-minute rain delay which preceded the extra inning thriller.

zobrist said, "it was just an epic battle. just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. the indians never gave up, either, and i can't believe we're finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy." zobrist batted .357 with a series-high ten hits.

cubs first baseman anthony rizzo said, "it happened. it happened. chicago, it happened. we did it. we're world champions. i tell ya, we're world champions. i can't believe it." cubs owner tom ricketts said, "i think about so many millions of people giving so much love and support to this team for so many years."

the cubs are the first team since the 1985 kansas city royals to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. they also became the first team since the 1979 pittsburgh pirates to earn a title by winning games six and seven on the road. they finished the year with a season-high 103 victories.

cubs manager joe maddon, hired before the 2015 season, led a loose clubhouse which, at times, featured multi-colored suit and ties, simon the magician and warren the pink flamingo. maddon, who managed tampa bay to the world series in 2007, was also beloved among players for his motto: "try not to suck."   

no more bartman. not more billy goat. no more black cat curses.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Afrocentric facial features, Skin Tone and Incarceration

ryan d. king and brian d. johnson's, "a punishing look: skin tone and afrocentric features in the halls of justice," examines the relationship between afrocentric facial features, incarceration and skin tone. they extend the analysis of these variables to sentence type as well as length.

published in the american journal of sociology, the unique study matched detailed sentencing records from two minnesota counties with over 850 coded bookings of black and white males.

the researchers found afrocentricity, race and skin color were not associated with any significant disparities in lengths of imprisonment. but they influenced whether individuals were sentenced to prison - as opposed to being placed on probation or having their charge adjusted to a misdemeanor. afrocentric appearances also affected white defendants, even after accounting for hispanic surnames.

there is a disproportionate number of people of color who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. more and more americans can no longer be easily defined by a single racial group. as such, king and johnson note the importance of continuing to further examine facial features and skin tone in the study of unequal punishment.

"if perceived race is becoming amorphous, then skin tone and afrocentric facial features are likely to become even more salient concepts in the future...even subtle differences in the racial appearance of offenders can tilt the scales of justice," researchers wrote.  


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

California Governor Brown signs bill to restore voting rights for jailed inmates

despite opposition from law enforcement officials, california governor jerry brown on wednesday signed a bill into law to restore voting rights for about 50,000 people serving felony sentences in county jails. many will vote from their cells.

california's constitution denies the right to vote to anyone in prison or on parole. in 2011, the state's "realignment plan," shifted many correction program responsibilities to local governments, spurring the transfer of many low-level offenders to county-run jails and programs. the intent was to reduce overcrowded state and federal prisons - and save money. 

the bill, ab2466, also reaffirms the right for people with felony convictions on probation to vote. some republican lawmakers denounced the bill, saying it will compromise the integrity of elections, and reward people for bad behavior.

assemblywoman shirley weber (d-sd) said, "civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to to reduced recidivism. this bill will send a message to the nation that california will not stand for discrimination in 2016." state senator holly mitchell (d-culver city) co-authored the bill with weber. 

the bill came came in response to a successful 2014 lawsuit on behalf of low-level felons. they argued people in county programs should not be classified the same way as other felons. the law goes into effect next year.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

U.S. Government to pay $492 Million in Lawsuits with 17 Indigenous Tribes

the u.s. government announced on monday a settlement for lawsuits over the mismanagement of natural resources and other assets. the government will pay $492 million to 17 american indian tribes. 

the u.s. says there are over 100 lawsuits - totaling $3.3 billion - which have been brought against the federal government by indigenous peoples and tribes; some date back more than a century.

during his 2008 presidential campaign, barack obama promised to institute an indian policy. obama said the (intended) policy "starts with honoring the unique government-to-government relationship, and ensuring treaty responsibilities are met."

"settling these long-standing disputes reflects the obama administration's continued commitment to reconciliation and empowerment for indian country," said u.s. secretary of the interior sally jewel.

as part of treaty agreements going back to the 1800s, the department of interior manages 56 million acres of land on behalf of more than 250 tribes. the department also handles about 100,000 leases on land on the same land for a variety of uses, including farming, housing, gas and oil extraction.

the u.s. government, as trustees of the land, must make sure the tribes receive "just compensation" for the use of their land. melody mccoy, a staff attorney with the native american rights fund, handled 13 of the 17 settlements.

mccoy said, "the u.s. government would say it held the assets in trusts benevolently, for the protection of indian land and money. the flip side of that is that in exchange, the government was supposed to be a good trustee, and it wasn't. land was not managed well. money and resources were not managed well."

allegedly, native americans lost decades of income as a result of governmental neglect. but mccoy noted since obama took office, there have been 95 total settlements with tribes; 11 more are in active negotiation. mccoy feels this is quite an accomplishment.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Associated Press (AP) announces 2016 WNBA Awards

the associated press (ap) announced their 2016 women's national basketball association (wnba) awards on tuesday:

ap player of the year - nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
rookie of the year - breanna stewart, seattle storm
defensive player of the year - sylvia fowles, minnesota lynx
sixth woman of the year - jantel lavender, los angeles sparks
most improved player of the year - elizabeth williams, atlanta dream
coach of the year - brian agler, los angeles sparks
comeback player of the year - chiney ogwumike, connecticut sun

first team wnba
tina charles, new york liberty
elena della donne, chicago sky
maya moore, minnesota lynx
nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
breanna stewart, seattle storm

second team wnba
sue bird, seattle storm
sylvia fowles, minnesota lynx
angel mccoughtry, atlanta dream
candace parker, los angeles sparks
diana taurasi, phoenix mercury

all-rookie team
imani moyette, chicago sky
moriah jefferson, san antonio stars
tiffany mitchell, indiana fever
aerial powers, dallas wings
breanna stewart, seattle storm