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, November 12, 2017

New York signs a bill to give PTSD patients access to medical marijuana

a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) as a qualifying condition for new york's medical marijuana program was signed into law by governor andrew cuomo during veteran's day weekend.

the senate passed s 5629 in june (50 to 13), and the assembly version, a 7006, received overwhelming approval in may (131 to 8). new york is now the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat ptsd.

the bill was sponsored by assemblyman richard gottfried and senator diane savino. also, mike avella, vince marrone, the new york state council of veterans organizations, the marijuana policy project foundation lobbyists and others led this advocacy effort.

"governor cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of new york veterans find relief with medical marijuana...ptsd is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering," said bob becker, legislative director fore the new york state council of veterans organizations.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

David Stern wants the NBA to remove marijuana from their banned substance list

former nba commissioner david stern believes marijuana, particularly medical marijuana, should be removed from the league's banned substance list. stern recently appeared on a documentary hosted by former nba player al harrington titled, "the concept of cannabis.' 

stern said, "i don't think there's been a proper spokesperson for this subject. i think that if medical marijuana is available, then it's up to the individual team doctor. you tell me it worked for you and it worked for others that you knew, then we should find a way to get that defined and made official, and then proceed to educating team docs."

"i think we've got to change the collective bargaining agreement, then, and let you do what's legal in your state. if marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, i would think you should be allowed to do what's legal in your state. so now it's up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going, and maybe lead the way. i think it's a very interesting subject, and i think it's a place where the leagues have an opportunity to do something, led by their players unions and the league offices."

stern presided over the nba at the time of drastic changes to the collective bargaining agreement. in 1999, under pressure from the league's owners, a "stiffening" of the player conduct policy was instituted to ban marijuana outright. additionally, the nba implemented a mandatory annual test of players for marijuana use.

adam silver, the current nba commissioner, spoke briefly about the provocative subject in august. his progressive views are similar to stern. both men view the issue from a health perspective, not a moral judgment. silver said he's "very interested in the science" of medical marijuana.

Monday, October 23, 2017

12 South Africans detained in Tanzania for promoting homosexuality

12 south africans were arrested in tanzania last week for what their country's government calls "promoting homosexuality." south africa's high commissioner thami mseleku said they have been kept in custody without charge.

dar es salaam police head lazaro mambosasa said, "we arrested the criminals at (the hotel) peacock; they were promoting homosexuality. two are south africans, one ugandan, and nine tanzanians. tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex."

the group of 12 people were arrested while preparing for a provocative case. the case challenges the tanzanian government's recent decision to ban drop-in centres who serve people at risk for contracting the hiv virus.   

mseleku said, "they have not been charged with anything...and have not been told what the police are investigating. the matter that you saw in the media at the briefing by the chief of police here - saying that the people are arrested for promoting homosexuality - that is something police have said in public. but to the people they have not said that this is what we are investigating."

according to government officials, the reason the group was kept detained without charge on friday was because the matter was being investigated at a higher level. apparently, there were concerns the detainees might interfere with the investigation.

memory sosibo, public secretary for the national association of democratic lawyers (nadel) said the actions by the tanzanian law-enforcement agencies were a clear attempt to instill fear among those who wished to legally challenge the actions of the tanzanian government.

sosibo said, "members of the public should feel free to consult with a legal professional in seeking legal recourse when they feel that any of their rights are violated. it would be a sad day for justice should lawyers be unable to defend their clients. we condemn in the strongest possible form the actions of the tanzanian law enforcement in this matter."

nadel wants the tanzanian government to allow the foreign nationals whose passports have been seized to leave the country. richard lupembe, counselor to the tanzanian high commission to south afirca, said, "the high commission does not have any information of an ongoing crackdown against gays in tanzania. what we heard is they will send them to court."   

Friday, October 13, 2017

Latino and Native Youth Incarceration Disparities Persist

indigneous youth are 300% more likely than white youth to be detained or committed to youth facilities. latino youth are 65% more likely than white youth to be detained or committed to youth facilities.

for latino youth the disparity has declined a little since 2001. for indigenous youth, the disparities have grown. differential treatment of youth of color - not differences in behavior - has driven the scale of the disparities.

in 37 states, latino youth are more likely to be in custody than white youth. from 2001 to 2015, latino youth to white youth disparities grew in 20 states. these comparisons are often complicated by the small number of indigenous youth in several states.

in almost all states except new mexico, where indigenous youth are a scant proportion of all youth, they're likelier than white youth to be incarcerated. in four states, minnesota, south dakota, north dakota and washington, indigenous youth are at least four times likelier to be incarcerated.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Most Indigenous Tribes reject the death penalty for their community

most of the indigenous tribes have chosen not to use the death penalty to punish citizens who've committed federal crimes on their land. a tribe's decision to opt out of the death penalty is not made on a case-by-case basis; it's an overarching policy.

"congress expanded the list of death penalty eligible crimes in the mid-1990's, allowing tribes to decide if they wanted their citizens subject to the death penalty," said russell contreras and felicia fonseca, reporters for the associate press.

since 1994, only one tribe, the sac and fox nation of oklahoma, uses the death penalty. tribes have opted out for cultural and religious views, lack of fairness in the justice system and past treatment of indigenous people. tribal council speaker lorenzo bates says, "navajos see life as precious, good or bad, and so we don't pick or choose...all life is precious." 

16 tribal folks have been executed since 1976 for crimes committed off tribal land, or in states where the federal government does not have jurisdiction over major crimes committed on reservations. also, tribes cannot opt out of the death penalty for some federal crimes, including carjacking, kidnapping resulting in death, or killing a federal officer on reservation land.  

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Minnesota Lynx Win 2017 WNBA Championship

the minnesota lynx beat the los angeles sparks in a game five thriller 85-76 to win the 2017 wnba championship. lynx all-star center and league mvp sylvia fowles was named finals mvp. fowles led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points and 20 rebounds - breaking the finals record of 18 she set earlier in the series.

the lynx are now tied with the houston comets as the only wnba franchises to win four titles. this is their fourth crown in seven years, winning in 2011, 2013, and 2015. additionally, minnesota has been to the finals six times in the last seven years, and many pundits are calling them a dynasty.

fowles said, "last year in game five within the last two minutes we lost two rebounds, and that hurt me for a long, long time. we came in at the beginning of the season and were like, look, we lost off rebounds so that was at the top of our mindset going into game five. i said to myself if you don't do anything else, you have to rebound."

the lynx have a winning percentage over .700 since 2011. they've placed four of their members (fowles, seimone augustus, maya moore and lindsey whalen) on the u.s. olympic squad. forward rebekkah brunson, 35, the leading rebounder in wnba finals history, became the first wnba player to win five championships.

but their magnanimous accomplishments go largely unnoticed by the larger media. last year, lynx head coach cheryl reeve said, "it's a microcosm of society and where we place women's sport. this group deserves to be celebrated for its sustained excellence."   

minnesota has succeeded consistently year in and year out, despite having four starters over 31. in fact, the lynx have four of the five oldest players in the league - all current or former all-stars. their window might be closing soon, but moore says, "i think it will be hard to find another group as talented, as deep but as selfless as this group."  

Sunday, October 01, 2017

2017 WNBA All-Star Team

the players listed below were acknowledged on september 29 as members of the 2017 wnba all-star first place and second place teams:

first team                                                            
center - sylvia fowles, minnesota lynx
forward - tina charles, new york liberty
forward - candace parker, los angeles sparks
guard - skylar diggins-smith, dallas wings
guard - maya moore, minnesota lynx

second team                                                       
center - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
forward - jonquel jones, connecticut sun
forward - nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
guard - chelsea gray, los angeles sparks
guard - diana taurasi, phoenix mercury

fowles, the league mvp, earned 39 of 40 first team votes from a national panel of broadcasters and sportswriters. fowles led all players with 195 votes. charles had 166 votes, diggins-smith had 151 votes, parker had 137 votes and moore had 127 votes, among first-team members. 

each player on the first team receives $10,000 and each player on the second team receives $5,000.