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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Nebraska lawmakers pass bill to restore felony voting rights

felons would no longer have to wait two years after serving their sentences to exercise their right to vote under a bill passed in the nebraska legislature on monday. nebraska governor pete ricketts has not said if he will allow legislative bill 75 to become law or not.

the priority bill of state senator justin wayne of omaha would need 30 votes to override a veto. the bill received 27 'yes' votes on monday. wayne said, "i hope the governor signs it and we stop disenfranchising who need to integrate back into the community."

the current law requiring a two-year waiting period was adopted in 2005 after the legislature overrode the veto of (then) governor dave heineman. previously, a felon had to receive a state pardon before his right to vote was restored.

38 other states allow felons to vote after they complete their sentences. iowa is one of three states who permanently ban voting rights of felons. enslaved africans were legally denied voting rights, and well into the 19th century these racist laws were used to maintain white power and privilege.    


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Racial Impact Legislation Clears New Jersey Assembly

the new jersey assembly has passed legislation (s-677, a-3677) to require racial impact statements for proposed criminal justice policies. upon concurrence from the senate, the measures will then require governor chris christie's signature.

new jersey has the nation's highest rate of racial disparity among imprisoned people. blacks are imprisoned at 12 times the rate of whites. although new jersey has reduced its prison population by as much as 28% since 2000 the culturally-biased disparities need to be resolved.

racial impact statements are used to proactively address how proposed sentencing legislation impacts cultural disparities in america's bigoted criminal justice system. s-677 would require analysis on the biased impacts of parole policies, pretrial detention, probation and sentencing. 

a coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, faith-based and legal organizations worked to build momentum in support of this progressive legislation. if new jersey passes s-677, they will join connecticut, iowa and oregon as the only states to adopt racial impact statement legislation.   

Friday, April 07, 2017

Protect Addiction Treatment with Medicaid Coverage

with healthcare changes under consideration by congress, the value of medicaid coverage is paramount for poor addicts in america. medicaid expansion currently provides coverage for 1.29 million low-income folks with substance use disorders.

in the u.s., about 22 million individuals need drug treatment, but only 10% actually receive it. studies reveal 29% of people who get their health insurance through medicaid expansion have either a mental disorder or substance use issue - or both.

medicaid pays between 35-50% of all medication assisted treatment (mat) nationwide. also, the states greatly impacted by the opiod epidemic would be most at risk for coverage reductions if medicaid expansion is repealed.

Monday, April 03, 2017

2017 Hall of Fame Basketball Class

the naismith basketball hall of fame announced their inductees for 2017 on saturday. listed below are the acclaimed players, coaches and executives:

tracy mcgrady: seven-time all-star; two-time scoring champion.

rebecca lobo: 1995 ncaa champion (uconn); 1996 olympic gold medalist.

george mcginnis: two-time aba champion (pacers); six-time all-star.

mannie jackson: harlem globetrotters (1960-1966); ceo, globetrotters (1993-2007).

nikos galis: eight championships in greece; 12 scoring titles in greece.

zack clayton: two-time world professional champion (all-black teams, 1939 and 1953).

bill self: 2008 ncaa champion (kansas); naismith coach of the year (2012).

muffett mcgraw: 2001 ncaa champion (notre dame); coach of the year (2001, 2013, 2014).

robert hughes: high school texas coach for 47 years; 1,333 wins; five state titles.

jerry krause: six-time nba champion (bulls); executive of the year (1988, 1996).

tom jernstedt: ncaa administrator for 38 years; usa basketball president and vice president. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Howard University Students demand resignation of White professor for holding mock auction

earlier this month, a white male professor at howard university delivered a lecture on the hardships of slavery. his lecture was based on the various writings of the abolitionist, critical thinker, educator, freedom fighter and historian frederick douglass. 

the professor asked one of the two black men to stand while his classmates observe his physical features. upon acknowledging his healthy build, the professor said, "he was the type of slave buyers would look for." many angry students demanded he stop immediately, but he continued.

the student was then asked to turn to the class and watch them examine his teeth and his weight. the professor noticed the shock on the faces of the students and said, "it's ok. i'm uncomfortable, too, i'm white."

the professor then asked him to turn around so the class could observe his buttocks, which led to widespread rage. the student said, "i wanted to hit him. i was being racially and sexually harassed in front of my peers and the only think i could think to defend myself was by punching him."

the disturbing incident became a provocative topic in the classroom. as such, it forced howard university students to open an official investigation regarding this matter. students are now calling for the immediate resignation of this professor.     

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bail Reform in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois

new jersey's new bail system, which drastically reduces the use of cash bail, went into effect this past january. approved by voters in 2014, the new system involves a judicial assessment of defendants' flight risk and threat to public safety in deciding whether to detain them before trial.

judges set bail only three times in the 3,382 cases processed statewide. additionally, 283 defendants were held without bail due to their risk level. in contrast, a 2013 study found 39% of the jail population was in custody solely because of their inability to post bail.

according to judicial officials, "the overhaul was driven by a desire to address one of the ways in which the nation's criminal justice system tends to fall hardest on poor and minority defendants." the state's bail bond agents resist this reform by highlighting the release of individuals they perceive as dangerous.

maryland's court of appeals recently issued a new rule. the court's initiative moves away from cash bail by instructing judges and court commissioners to look for alternative ways to insure people will show up for trial. 

last november, the maryland office of the public defender released a report revealing money bail disproportionately impacts low-income black defendants. in october, attorney general brian forsh warned courts by stating excessively high bail was likely unconstitutional.

cherise fanno burdeen of the pretrial justice institute said, "it's now up to the state legislature to pursue comprehensive reforms of the state's pretrial system and move away from money bail towards (what) we know works: evidence-backed pretrial risk assessment and supervision." 

illinois lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to abolish cash bail by allowing individuals' charged with nonviolent crimes to be released until their court dates. this initiative would also give judges discretion to choose detention or electronic monitoring for those accused of violent crimes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Federal judges ruled some Congressional districts were gerrymandered by Republicans

a ruling late friday by a three-judge panel in san antonio said republicans gerrymandered some congressional districts. the judges' two-to-one decision could be appealed by texas to the u.s. supreme court.

republicans hold two of three congressional districts ruled newly invalid. they were found to have been partly drawn with discriminatory intent against black and brown people. the gop-controlled texas legislature approved the maps in 2011 - the same year then, governor rick perry signed voter id laws.

judges noted the "strong racial tension and heated debate about latinos, spanish-speaking people, undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities" which served as the backdrop in the legislature of texas upon adopting the maps and voter id laws.

u.s. district judges orlando garcia and xavier rodriguez wrote in their opinion, "the record indicates not just a hostility toward democrat districts, but a hostility toward minority districts, and a willingness to use race for partisan advantage."

njna perales, vice president of litigation for the mexican american legal defense and educational fund, and legal counsel on the case, welcomed the ruling. perales said, "the court's decision exposes the texas legislature's illegal effort to dilute the vote of texas latinos. moving forward, the ruling will help protect latinos from manipulation of district lines in order to reduce their political clout."     

hispanics fueled texas' dramatic growth in the 2010 census - the year before the maps were drawn - by accounting for 67% of its new residents. texas was forced ahead of the november election to weaken its voter id laws, which allow concealed handgun licenses, but not college student ids, after a federal appeals court found the requirements to be discriminatory.