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, May 24, 2016

Baltimore Police Officer Acquitted in Freddie Gray Case

baltimore police officer edward nero on monday was found not guilty of all four misdemeanor charges he faced in connection with the arrest of freddie gray. on april 19, 2015, gray died shockingly and tragically after suffering injuries while in police custody.

after the ruling, baltimore mayor stephanie rawlings-blake said, "this is our american system of justice and police officers must be afforded the same justice system as every other citizen in the city, state and country."

reverend westley west, a prominent activist in baltimore, said, "baltimore should be upset. they should also let their voice be heard. take to the streets. how much longer are we gonna lay down and let the same thing to keep happening?"

nero, 30, was not charged directly with the gray's death. nero faced charges of misconduct in office, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. the high-profile case drew national attention and polarized folks around the country along racial lines: nero is white. gray is black.

multiple police officers face charges in connection with gray's death, including charges of manslaughter and murder. nero is the second of the officers to be brought to court; the first trial, of officer william porter, ended in a hung jury. 

nero was accused of negligence - he failed to buckle gray into a seat in the police van. gray's neck was broken during transport while handcuffed and shackled, yet not safely buckled in. nero was also accused of assaulting gray, 25, by arresting him without probable cause.

as nero entered a parking garage with other police officers surrounding him, one of the protesters outside the courthouse was overcome with emotion. tina thompson, 29, doubled over near the sidewalk and cried. later, thompson screamed, "he's just walking around, looking like he's ok. you killed somebody! you killed somebody's child!    

      

Monday, May 23, 2016

Former NBA Player handles racial incident on public transportation with dignity

former nba player etan thomas endured a typically racialized encounter while looking for a seat on a crowded train. thomas, a 6'10, 260 pound black male, asked a white female if he could sit next to her, and later posted her response (and the unfolding incident) on facebook:

"i ask this lady if i could sit next to her (very politely and i soften my voice as to not frighten her) and she says someone is sitting here. so i go to the next seat. now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff." 

"i ask ummmmm did you just not want me to sit next to you? were you scared? not comfortable with a black man sitting next to you? and she says lol smh don't pull the race card stuff with me i dated a black guy in college."

at that point, the white man she obliged the empty seat to offered to get up, but thomas was unwilling to accept his gesture. in fact, thomas decided to take a picture of her, despite the obvious discomfort on the faces of both of the white folks.

thomas said, "i said no need i'mma just take this pic and make a facebook post about it. so then she says did you just take a pic of me? well i'm going to tell the conductor that you're over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent."

"so the conductor came up and said hey etan thomas love what you're doing in the community loved you with the wizards big 'cuse fan man the knicks sure could use you...and i said was there something you wanted to tell my man? and she rolled her eyes smh some people i tell ya."

thomas retired after the 2011 nba season. he spent most of his career with the washington wizards, and played at syracuse university. thomas is married with three children. he's an activist, author and poet whose outspoken about issues of manhood, race and the environment.
   

Monday, May 16, 2016

NBA 2016 KIA Awards

listed below are the nba 2016 kia award winners:

mvp - stephen curry, golden state warriors
coach of the year - steve kerr, golden state warriors
defensive player of the year - kawhi leonard, san antonio spurs
sixth man of the year - jamal crawford, los angeles clippers
rookie of the year - karl-anthony towns, minnesota timberwolves
most improved player - c.j. mccollum, portland trailblazers
executive of the year - r.c. buford, san antonio spurs

Monday, May 09, 2016

Pennsylvania becomes 24th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

today, pennsylvania governor tom wolf signed the medical marijuana act (sb3) into law. pennsylvania is now the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. this victory was made possible by the tireless devotion of advocates, families and lawmakers.

sb3 allows patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana. once applications are available from the department of health, eligible patients whose doctors recommend cannabis can obtain identification cards. the law allows for up to 150 dispensaries in the state.

when dispensaries open, medical marijuana will be available as creams, gels, liquids, oils, ointments, pills and tinctures. vaporization is allowed but smoking is initially prohibited. dispensaries cannot sell edibles, but medical cannabis products can be mixed into drinks or food. 

dry leaf/flower will not be allowed immediately, however the department of health can change those conditions following an advisory board report two years after its enactment. 



Sunday, May 08, 2016

Challenging Racially Homogenous Juries in Kentucky and Tennessee

louisville, kentucky circuit judge olu stevens was suspended last month for misconduct charges after dismissing a nearly all-white panel of prospective jurors. days later, the west louisville urban coalition held a rally to support the judge and highlight the lack of cultural diversity on state juries.

the courier-journal reported information on race is collected voluntarily, and at only some steps of the jury selection process. judge stevens, a black male, agreed to dismiss the panel of 41 - of which 38 are white - after a black defendant's lawyers argued they don't represent the cultural demographics of the community.

prosecutors objected and brought the case to the state court of appeals. the court ruled kentucky's lack of racial data from which jury pools are drawn "while unfortunate, does not amount to a deliberate attempt to exclude any particular group," and ordered judge stevens to stop dismissing juries. a related case is pending in the kentucky supreme court.



in nashville, tennessee, a trial in early april was delayed after a black juror stood up and told the judge he "did not think it was right to for two black men to face a jury with no black members on it." the jury panel included non-whites, but no blacks.

judge cheryl blackburn dismissed the jury because their lunchtime dialogue about the absence of blacks violated her instructions. the assistant district attorney said the judge told the jury not to discuss the case before hearing all the proof and arguments. judge blackburn earlier rejected the defense's claim of the prosecutors illegally striking jurors based on their race.

in 1986, the u.s. supreme court case of batson v. kentucky deemed excusing jurors based on race is unconstitutional.  the court ruled: 1) lawyers cannot strike - or remove - a person from a jury based on race; 2) defendants aren't entitled to a jury completely or partially composed of people of their own race; 3) if any lawyer seems prejudiced during jury selection, they must provide reasons why a person was removed.   









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.