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.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Notre Dame and Villanova win 2018 NCAA Women's and Men's Championship

notre dame beat mississippi state 61-58 on sunday night to win the ncaa women's championship in columbus, ohio. junior guard arike ogunbowale hit a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to give the fighting irish their second women's basketball title.

ogunbowale scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and was named most outstanding player. notre dame (35-3) overcame a 15-point lead to emerge victorious in a thrilling comeback. the win came exactly 17 years ago from their first title.

notre dame coach muffet mcgraw said, "it's easter sunday and all the catholics were praying for us." ogunbowale said of her courageous shot, "it just felt right. i practice late-game all the time. i just ran to jackie and said, throw it me, throw it to me." jessica shepard, who led the irish with 19 points, said, "this team is relentlessly driven. we've been down multiple times this year, but nobody stops us."

villanova beat michigan 79-62 on monday night to win the ncaa men's championship in san antonio, texas. this is their second title in three years. the wildcats (36-4) won all six games by double digits, becoming the fourth team in ncaa history to achieve such a feat. 

sophomore guard donte divincenzo had 31 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks and was named most outstanding player. the redhead kid with the nickname big ragu came off the bench and had folks chanting his name from the cheap seats: "di-vin-cen-zo, di-vin-cen-zo."

villanova coach jay wright said, "i thought we played our best game in the championship game." divincenzo, when asked if he enjoys threes or rejections more, said, "blocked shots, definitely. i pride myself on defense and just bringing energy to the team."     

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Mississippi Mayor stops release of mug shots for people shot by cops

mayor chokwe antar lumumba of jackson, mississippi in late february signed an executive order to stop the jackson police department (jpd) from releasing mug shots of people shot by police, and of youth charged as adults.

the order was signed the exact same day - six years later - when trayvon martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by george zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman. zimmerman was later acquitted in a polarizing trial because jurors believed he acted in self-defense under florida's controversial stand your ground law.  

"the last image of any person should not be on the worst day of their life or the worst image that we could possibly provide of them," said lumumba. attorney c.j. lawrence, the mayor's friend and creator of the 2014 "if they gunned me down" social media campaign, also spoke at the press conference.

mayor lumumba acknowledged the complex and fractured history among communities of black and brown people and law enforcement. lumumba said jackson's majority-black police force created a "unique relationship" between residents and the police.

but the mayor's order does not affect the jpd's reluctance to release the names of officers who shot residents. in 2016, the international association of chiefs of police noted the prudent release of officers' names in these cases "serves to enhance public trust in the investigative process, and adds to the transparency and perceived integrity of the investigation." 


2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class

thirteen men and women were inducted into the basketball hall of fame in september. the 2018 class include steve nash, jason kidd, ray allen, grant hill, maurice cheeks. tina thompson, katie smith, rod thorn, lefty driesell, charlie scott, rick welts, dino rada and ora mae washington.

nash played 18 years with three teams. nash is a two-time mvp, eight-time all-star and is third all-time in assists. 

kidd played 18 seasons with six teams. kidd is an nba champion, ten-time all-star, two-time olympic gold medalist, co-rookie of the year and is second all-time in assists.

allen played 18 seasons with four teams. allen is a two-time nba champion, ten-time all-star, olympic gold medalist and the all-time leader in three-point field goals made in the regular and postseason. 

hill played 19 seasons with four teams. hill is a seven-time all-star, co-rookie of the year and olympic gold medalist. 

cheeks played 15 seasons with five teams. cheeks is an nba champion, four-time all-star, fifth all-time in career steals and 11th all-time in assists.

tina thompson played 17 seasons with three wnba teams. thompson was the first draft pick in wnba history. she is a four-time wnba champion, nine-time all-star, two-time olympic gold medalist and one of the top 15 players in wnba history.

katie smith played 14 seasons with five wnba teams. smith is a two-time wnba champion, wnba finals mvp, seven-time all-star, three-time olympic gold medalist, one of the top 15 players in wnba history and is the top scorer in professional basketball history.

rod thorn was an assistant head coach, head coach, general manager, executive vice president of basketball operations, team president and president of basketball operations throughout four decades. thorn was named the nba executive of the year in 2002.

lefty driesell was a college head coach for 41 seasons with four teams. driesell is the only basketball coach to win at least 100 games with four different colleges. his final record was 786-394.

rick welts has over 40 years of nba experience. welts created the nba all-star weekend in 1984, developed the marketing program for usa basketball with the 1992 olympic dream team and helped launch the wnba. he is the current president of the golden state warriors.

dino rada played 14 seasons with seven teams in europe, and four seasons with the boston celtics. rada was a three-time yugoslav league champion, two-time croatian league champion, two-time euroleague champion, two-time greek league champion, croatian cup winner, yugoslav cup winner, greek league finals mvp and one of fiba's 50 greatest players.

ora mae washington played 12 seasons for two teams. washington led the germantown hornets to 33 consecutive victories in 1931. from 1932-1942, as their center, leading scorer and coach, she helped the philadelphia tribunes win 11 consecutive women's colored basketball world's championships, and was known as the "best colored player in the world."


Friday, March 02, 2018

Bernard Noble finally granted parole after being sentenced to 13 years for possessing two marijuana joints

bernard noble was sentenced to 13 years in prison for possessing two marijuana joints. early last month, after serving over eight years in a louisiana prison, noble was finally granted parole. his case drew national attention and considerable outrage, especially after the legalization of marijuana in some states.  

noble was riding his bike up a one-way street the wrong way when he was stopped by the police. they found two marijuana joints in his possession, and he also had two prior low-level drug law violations in his record. 

the drug policy alliance filed a a friend of the court brief in the louisiana supreme court in 2014, calling for judicial relief, but the appeal was denied. in 2015, the board of pardons and parole rejected noble's petition for clemency because he hadn't served more than 10 years in prison.

louisiana state law requires prisoners to have been in custody of the department of corrections for a minimum of 10 years before they'll consider an individual's application for clemency.

noble's sentence highlights the draconian nature of the marijuana laws in many states across the country. attorney general jeff sessions vociferously advocates for these cruel and inhumane policies, and wants to arbitrarily punish first-time, non-violent offenders without legal recourse. 

a number of states, in contrast to louisiana, have legalized and decriminalized possession of marijuana for personal use. according to a new report by the drug policy alliance, total marijuana arrests in legal marijuana states have plummeted - saving hundreds of millions of dollars - sparing thousands of people from a lifetime criminal record. 

more than 500,000 people each year get arrested in the u.s. for getting caught with small amounts of marijuana. their arrests impact not just them as individuals, but their families, their communities, and society as a whole. 


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Supervised Consumption Services approved in San Francisco

san francisco, in early february, became the first city in the u.s. to implement supervised consumption services (scs). this historic victory, unanimously supported by the san francisco health commission, allows the city to begin offering services this july.

supervised consumption services are legally sanctioned facilities proven to reduce the personal risks and public health issues associated with intravenous drug use. these facilities already exist in australia, canada and europe, and, with great success.

participants in these facilities will have access to sterile injecting equipment, counseling, health care, and referrals to health and social services. the bold measures are expected to reduce overdose deaths, save lives and keep city neighborhoods cleaner. 

cities who currently host the 120 active scs around the world have witnessed a dramatic reduction in street-based drug use and syringe disposal, as well as increasingly lower hiv-positive and hepatitis transmission rates.      

Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego will retroactively apply marijuana reforms

seattle mayor jenny durkan and seattle attorney general pete holmes will vacate misdemeanor marijuana-possession convictions prosecuted by the city prior to 2012. these reforms are expected to impact about 600 people.

durkan said these convictions disproportionately harm blacks, and create barriers to credit, education, housing and jobs. "while we cannot reverse all the harm that was done, we can give back to those people a record that says they were not convicted, because that is the more just thing to do," durkan said. she hopes county and state officials will follow suit.

two other cities have decided to retroactively apply marijuana reforms. in san francisco, district attorney george cascon will apply california's new marijuana legalization laws to misdemeanor and felony convictions going back to 1975. san diego will also clear or downgrade past misdemeanor marijuana and felony marijuana convictions.

Chicago Police Department gang database exposes immigrants to deportation

the chicago police department (cpd) exposes black and brown immigrants to deportation because of systemic errors in their gang database. the cpd says changes to the database would be "unworkable."

the cpd gang database includes 65,000 individuals - 95% are black and brown. luis pedrote-salinas is suing the cpd. pedrote-salinas feels being wrongly designated as a gang member prevents him for protection under the deferred action for childhood arrivals (daca) program. he says he's not in a gang, but there's no official process to remove him from the database.

in another case, the cpd admitted they lacked evidence for labeling an undocumented man as a gang member. as such, he was eventually disqualified from applying for a visa, due to being unduly stigmatized. 

michel martin, a member of the midwest gang investors association, says gang databases should regularly be cleared of wrong information to protect the civil rights of people. martin notes police departments who fail to do this could eventually be forced to clear their databases.

Monday, February 26, 2018

One of every 10 adults in Mississippi is disenfranchised

there are 22 crimes which disenfranchise mississippi voting residents. this impacts about 16% of the black electorate, and 10% of adults. their rate triples the national rate of disenfranchisement, according to a new report by the mississippi naacp, one voice and the sentencing project.

out of the estimated 218,100 people disenfranchised in mississippi, 93% are living in the community, either under parole supervision or probation, or they have completed their criminal sentence.

in order to regain voting rights, disenfranchised individuals have three options: 1) apply for a pardon from the governor; 2) apply for an executive order restoring civil rights from the governor; or 3) have the state legislature pass a bill of suffrage on their behalf (which must pass with 2/3 majority.

this cumbersome - and racially oppressive - process results in very few people actually regaining their right to vote. in fact, between 2000 and 2015, only 335 out of 166,494 people who completed their sentence had their voting rights fully restored.   

the report offers some recommendations: 1) notify individuals at sentencing about loss of voting rights and how to regain them after completing their sentence; 2) increase data collection on disenfranchisement across the state; and 3) implement automatic rights restoration for people who have completed the terms of their felony sentence. 


Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Black Panther" opening sets box office record with $235 million over four day holiday weekend

"black panther" shattered box office records with an estimated $235 million in u.s. and canadian ticket sales for the four-day holiday weekend. the previous record holder was "deadpool," which made $152 million domestically over the four-day holiday in 2016.

the marvel entertainment release, the first global superhero blockbuster with a black director and predominantly black cast, set records for a february opening, and for a presidents day weekend debut. "black panther" is fifth highest domestic opening weekend of all-time. 

one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year, "black panther" landed an a-plus audience rating from cinemascore, and a 97% "fresh" rating among critics on rotten tomatoes. as such, it is now the most well-received superhero film ever.

"results like this go beyond anything anyone ever could have hoped for. the momentum that the film has, has left us unable, even, to keep up with projections. it's unbelievable," said dave hollis, president of global distribution at disney.

some folks in hollywood believe films with predominantly black casts don't succeed at the foreign box office. but disney reported $169 million in international ticket sales - a figure expected to climb dramatically when "black panther" opens in major markets including china, japan and russia.

hollis said, "it's a testament to an extraordinarily made film. but also, a big part of it too says very clearly that inclusion and representation matter. it's a powerful thing for people to see themselves and know that they're seen in the films we put up in a movie theater. audiences deserve to see themselves on screen. not only because it's the right thing to do, but it makes for better, richer storytelling."

an ethnically diverse audience pool gave "black panther" five out of five stars on a comscore/screen engine posttrak audience survey. the moviegoers were 37% black, 35% white, 18% latino, 5% asian, and 5% other.  

Monday, February 05, 2018

Eagles beat Patriots in Super Bowl 52

the philadelphia eagles defeated the new england patriots 41-33 to win super bowl 52 at us bank stadium in minnesota on sunday. eagles quarterback nick foles was named mvp. foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns, including one td reception.

foles is the first backup to win a super bowl since patriots qb tom brady. he's the first player in super bowl history to have a passing and receiving td in the same game. foles said, "we've played this game since we were little kids, we dreamed about this moment. there's plenty of kids watching this game right now dreaming about this moment and someday will be here."

eagles owner jeffrey lurie was asked what the win meant to the city of philadelphia. lurie said," if there's a word, it's called everything. that's what it means to eagles fans everywhere. and for eagles fans everywhere, this is for them." 

foles led a 75-yard drive to the winning score, an 11-yard td pass to tight end zach ertz with 2:21 to go in the game. the ball popped into the air when ertz crossed the goal line, and was challenged by the pats. "if they would have overturned that, i don't know what would have happened to the city of philadelphia, but i'm glad they didn't overturn it," ertz said. 

eagles defensive end brandon graham strip-sacked brady and derek barnett recovered, setting up rookie jake elliott's 46-yard field goal for an eight point lead. brady led the defending champs to midfield, but his desperation pass in the end zone with nine seconds left failed. graham said, "for us, it was all about one stop we had to make. we went out here and made that one stop."

in a highly-competitive, thrilling shootout, both teams combined for 1,151 yards, the most by two teams in any game (preseason, regular or playoff). brady threw for a postseason record 505 yards. eagles coach doug pederson is a champion in just his second year in charge. patriots coach bill belichick is now 5-3 in super bowls.

the philadelphia eagles are nfl champs for the first time since 1960.