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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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Virginia Governor restores voting rights to about 200,000 people

democratic governor of virginia terry mcauliffe issued an unprecedented executive order to immediately restore voting rights to an estimated 200,000 people. each of these individuals have completed their felony prison, probation and parole sentences.

virginia is one of four u.s. states, along with florida, iowa and kentucky, to disenfranchise all people with felony convictions for life, unless they can secure a pardon from their governor. mcauliffe's decision will remain in effect until at least the end of his term in 2018.

this order does not cover people who are released in the future. according to his aides, mcauliffe intends to issue similar executive orders each month to continue to restore voting rights to people as they complete their sentences.

mcauliffe said, "there's no question that we've had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to african-americans; we should remedy it." virginia previously had the fourth highest rate of felony disenfranchisement in the nation - and the third highest for black people.

marc mauer, executive director of the sentencing project said, "this will be the single most significant action on disenfranchisement that we've ever seen from a governor. it's noteworthy that it's coming in the middle of the term, not the day before he leaves office. so there may be some political heat but clearly he's willing to take that on, which is quite admirable."

       

Friday, April 15, 2016

NBA 2016 Regular Season Leaders

listed below are the nba regular season leaders for 2016:

individuals

points - stephen curry, golden state warriors: 30.1
assists - rajon rondo, sacramento kings: 11.7
rebounds - andre drummond, detroit pistons: 14.8
steals - stephen curry, golden state warriors: 2.14
blocks - hassan whiteside, miami heat: 3.68
field goal % - deandre jordan, los angeles clippers: .703
free throw % - stephen curry, golden state warriors: .908
three-point % - j.j. reddick, los angeles clippers: .475  

teams

points - golden state warriors: 114.9
assists - golden state warriors: 28.9
rebounds - oklahoma city thunder: 48.6
steals - houston rockets: 10.0
blocks - miami heat: 6.5
field goal % - golden state warriors: 48.7
free throw % - new york knicks: .805
three-point % - golden state warriors: .416
turnovers - charlotte hornets: 11.9

Golden State Warriors' 73rd Win Sets All-Time NBA Record

On a Wednesday night in raucous Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, the inspired Golden State Warriors beat the wounded Memphis Grizzlies 125-104, to win their 73rd game of the year. Their magnanimous victory came on the final regular season contest, and the defending world champions surpassed the Chicago Bulls' all-time record of 72-10 in 1996.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a key role player for the Bulls championship team in '96 said, "I thought (72 wins) was like (Joe) DiMaggio's hit streak, and I was wrong. I will say the same thing now that I said 20 years ago. I don't think this one will ever be broken. Somebody's got to go 74-8 and I don't see it. I hope our fans aren't expecting that next year."

GS All-Star guard and 2015 MVP Stephen Curry had 46 points, including 10 three-pointers (six in the first quarter). Curry finished 2016 with 402 threes, breaking his own record of 286 last year. He won the scoring title for the second consecutive year - increasing his average by 6.3 points, another record, surpassing Larry Bird, who upped his previous year's scoring title by 3.8 points per game.

When asked to compare the '96 Bulls and his current team. Curry said, "The game has evolved a lot and we have our certain identity of how we play. Shooting at a high level, moving the ball, everybody has a role. We have fun doing it. I don't know specifically any differences, but one similarity is we love winning, we love to compete and we love to push ourselves. That's what pushed us to the opportunity we had tonight."

After the history-making triumph, Warriors All-Star forward Draymond Green snatched the game ball at center court. Green said, "73 wins means I'm a part of the best team ever. Not many people can say that. 15 guys can say that, and that's amazing." But he also said, "relief doesn't happen until you win a championship." 

In a congratulatory statement Wednesday night, Bulls legend Michael Jordan said, "The game of basketball is always evolving and records are made to be broken. The Warriors have been a lot of fun to watch and I look forward to seeing what they do in the playoffs." Earlier in the month, Green said Jordan told him he hopes Golden State breaks the Bulls record.



  

Thursday, April 07, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms One Person, One Vote Doctrine

the u.s. supreme court on monday decided, unanimously, in evenwel v. abbott, a case out of texas which challenges the court's interpretation of the 'one person, one vote' doctrine. the court disagreed with the plaintiffs charge to only count 'eligible' voters.

congressional districts are created for each district to have an equal number of people. officials use population numbers drawn from the u.s. census bureau, which attempts to count all of the people residing in the u.s. every 10 years.

the case questioned the fairness of non-eligible voters - including children, incarcerated people and non-citizens - to be counted in the population numbers shaping each district. texas state republican executive committee member sue evenwel and her co-plaintiffs argued the spirit of the doctrine is to count only eligible voters.     

justice ruth bader ginsburg wrote, "as the framers of the constitution and the 14th amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible to vote. nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates and in receiving constituent services."

ginsburg said, "by ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total-population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation."

the surprisingly unanimous decision sparks debates around demographics and power. some groups are more likely to be eligible to vote than others. nearly 80% of white people in america are citizens over the age of 18. but fewer than half of hispanics in america fit the same description.

carving up congressional districts based on eligible voters would result in fewer representatives for heavily asian and hispanic parts of the country. moreover, the seats they would have replaced are mostly democratic.

the court hasn't issued a ruling on the other 'one person, one vote' case it heard last december. in harris v. arizona independent redistricting commission, a group of arizona voters argued the commission created legislative maps to bolster the population and violate the principle in the state's republican-leaning districts.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class

in houston, texas on monday, before the ncaa men's championship game between north carolina and villanova, the following people were inducted into the 2016 naismith basketball hall of fame:

* allen iverson - played 14 seasons; 11 all-star games; four scoring titles; averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists; 2001 mvp.

* tom izzo - current head coach (since 1985) at michigan state; 2000 ncaa title; seven final four appearances.

* yao ming - played eight seasons; houston rockets #1 pick in the 2002 draft; eight-time all-star. 

* shaquille o'neal - played 19 seasons; 15 all-star games; 1993 rookie of the year; 2000 mvp; four-time champion; three-time finals mvp; two scoring titles; averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds.

* jerry reinsdorf - chicago bulls owner since 1985; led bulls to six titles, 1991-93 and 1996-98.

* sheryl swoopes - first player signed by the wnba in 1996; four-time champion; six all-star games; three-time defensive player of the year; three-time mvp; three olympic gold medals.

additionally, listed below are people who were inducted posthumously:

* zelmo beatty - two-time nba all-star; three-time aba all-star; 1971 aba champion; 1971 aba finals mvp; averaged 17.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. 

* darell garretson - nba referee for 27 years; nba supervisor of officials for 17 years; officiated more than 2,000 games.

* john mclendon - high school and college coach from 1941-1968; three-time naia coach of the year; three consecutive titles at tennessee state, 1957-59; first black head coach in professional sports, cleveland pipers, 1962; pioneered four corners offense and full court press. 

* cumberland posey - played basketball from the early 1900s through the mid-1920s; four-time colored basketball world champiomship titles; baseball player, manager and owner in the negro leagues.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Obama Commutes Sentences of 61 Federal Inmates with drug offenses

president barack obama commuted the sentences of 61 federal inmates on wednesday, all of whom were held on drug charges. the progressive actions demonstrate the administrations' ongoing commitment to grant clemency to people with unforgiving convictions during the so-called war on drugs era.

the announcement came one day after the commander-in-chief vehemently criticized the previous american policy of engaging in a "war on drugs." during a national drug abuse and heroin summit on wednesday, obama said, "for too long we've viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice...drug abuse is a health problem, not a criminal one."

over 33% of the people granted early release yesterday would have otherwise served life sentences. none of them, however, were serving life sentences for marijuana-only crimes. the commutation makes those sentences expire on march 30, 2017, and would remit the unpaid balance of the fine.

each of the 61 individuals were primarily charged with distribution of drugs. they were sentenced when the government prided itself on ruthlessly prosecuting folks with drug charges - an oppressive tactic which disproportionately warehoused men of african descent. 

"i am gratified that president obama continues to use his powers to release individuals who deserve a second chance at life," said anthony papa, the drug policy alliance's media relations manager. papa was granted clemency in new york after serving 12 years for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. he was sentenced to 300 months imprisonment with five years supervised release.

"with so many people waking up each day with the hope that they too will find mercy and redemption, i hope that today's grants portend even more grants over the remaining ten months left in president obama's term," said cynthia w. roseberry, project manager for clemency project.  pro bono legal project clemency project 2014 helped process clemency applications for 25 of the prisoners.

obama has reduced more sentences than all (!) of the last six presidents - combined. these were the first clemency grants he issued since december, when he granted the largest set of commutations in his presidency: 95 federal prisoners, and two pardons. obama has now commuted the sentences of almost 250 people.

norman l. reimer, executive director of the national association of criminal defense lawyers, and a partner in the project to process inmate applications said, "the 61 grants today add to an increasingly impressive total, but we urge the president and his team to vastly increase the pace, and continue granting commutations on a regular basis throughout the remainder of his term."

deputy attorney general sally yates said, "through cooperative bipartisan efforts with congress, the u.s. sentencing commission and reform advocacy groups, we hope to soon realize systemic change in the length of prison sentences for these low-level drug offenders and to provide better tools for a safe and successful reentry into the community."  






  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Overrepresentation of Native Americans in the Criminal Justice System

the overrepresentation of native americans in the criminal justice system is a nationally underreported story, according to a feb 11 article in nieman reports. the national council on crime and deliquency revealed native americans were admitted to prison at over four times the rate for whites.

a 2014 report by the centers for disease control (cdc) showed police kill native americans at almost the same rate as black folks. researcher christopher josey said, "news media are communicating that native americans are not a vital part of the national conversation on race."

earlier this month, a report by the council of state governments justice center stated native americans make up seven percent of the population in montana. yet, they account for nearly 20% of the state's arrests.

montana's commission on sentencing will reconvene in june and september to analyze successful prison diversion efforts recently undertaken in new mexico and washington. some of their goals include reducing both racial disparities and the overall prison population. 

jim taylor, legal director at the aclu of montana, said the state's department of corrections has more than three decades of documented native american oppression. 

taylor said, "there's really been no interest in drilling down and seeing what's going on. we think there needs to be more study done by the state and more training throughout the system on cultural differences and the effects of historical trauma."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Women's basketball coach fired after sexual orientation discrimination charges from assistant coach and player

prairie view a&m basketball coach dawn brown was fired this week amidst controversy. earlier this season, brown suspended an assistant coach and player after she learned they were dating each other.

the university told brown she was removed because she violated title ix by discriminating against the players. brown says the school's own title ix administrator approved the players' suspension. "clearly, i feel betrayed and unjustly penalized by this action," brown said.

brown said the ladies' relationship broke a team rule she implemented before this season. the rule states, "players may not have nonprofessional relationships with other players, coaches, managers, trainers, or any other persons affiliated with the program." brown also said she "collaborated with my title ix office in drafting" the new rule.

brown further stated both former players were suspended indefinitely but retained their scholarships and remained at the school. moreover, brown said the players were punished for breaking other team principles - which she declined to specify.

the former players filed a complaint alleging their dismissal was due to their sexual orientation, and the resulting action violated title ix. the 1972 landmark case prohibits sexual discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

but according to the houston press, title ix wasn't applied to sexual orientation until three months ago. in december 2015, u.s. district judge dean pregerson in california ruled a case - involving two pepperdine university women's basketball players targeted by the coach for an intimate partnership - deserved legal protection. 

garry rosenfield, brown's agent, said prairie view a&m gave his client a choice to resign or be terminated for cause. rosenfield said, "we definitely think this is a case of scapegoating." dennis cordell, president of coaches, inc., a sports marketing agency, said brown will appeal. "we feel she's been wrongfully terminated," cordell said.

brown led the panthers to the 2014 swac championship, and a number 16 seed in the ncaa tournament this year. prairie view a&m lost to connecticut 87-44 in the first round. brown was 41-51 in three seasons, including a 13-15 record this season.