i am

My photo
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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized In New York State By Narrow Margin

lawmakers voted late friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making new york the largest state where gay & lesbian couples will be able to wed. the marriage bill, whose fate was uncertain until moments b4 the vote, was approved 33-29 in a packed but hushed senate chamber.

four members of the republican majority joined all but one democrat in the senate to support the controversial measure after an intensely emotional campaign. with his position still undeclared, senator mark j. grisanti, a republican from buffalo who sought office opposing same-sex marriage, told his colleagues he agonized for months b4 concluding he was wrong.

grisanti said, "i apologize for those who feel offended...i cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district & across this state, the state of new york & those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that i have with my wife."

senate approval was the final hurdle for this historic piece of legislation, which was approved last week by the assembly. governor andrew cuomo signed the measure at 11:55 p.m. the law will go into effect in 30 days, meaning same-sex couples could begin marrying in new york by late july.

passage of same-sex marriage in new york followed a daunting run of defeats in other states where voters barred same-sex marriage by legislative action, constitutional amendment or referendum. currently five states permit same-sex marriage: connecticut, iowa, massachusetts, new hampshire, vermont, as well as the district of columbia.

in 2009 the bill was easily rejected by the senate, then controlled by democrats. but as he pledged during the campaign cuomo made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities for the year. he deployed his top aide to coordinate the efforts of a half-dozen local gay-rights organizations - whose disunity & feuding was blamed for the bill's original defeat.

most of the republicans opposed the bill morally. however, many also had political concerns, fearing legalized same-sex marriage on their watch would embitter conservative voters & cost the republicans their one-seat majority in the senate. leaders of the state's conservative party, whose support many republican lawmakers depend on to win election, warned they'd oppose in legislative elections next year, any republican senator who voted for same-sex marriage.

but after days of contentious discussion capped by a marathon nine-hour closed door debate on friday, republicans came to a fateful decision. the full senate would be allowed to vote on the bill, the majority leader, dean g. skelos said friday afternoon. each member would be left to vote according to his or her conscience.

republican lawmakers spent much of the week negotiating changes to the marriage bill to protect religious institutions, especially those against same-sex weddings. the assembly & the senate approved those changes friday. yet they weren't enuf to satisfy the measure's harshest critics. in a joint statement, new york's catholic bishops assailed the vote.

"the passage by the legislature of a bill to alter radically & forever humanity's historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed & troubled," the bishops said. ruben diaz, sr. of the bronx, the only democrat to cast a no vote, said, "god, not albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago."

legalizing same-sex marriage in america is a relatively recent goal of the gay movement. over the past few years gay-rights organizers have placed the issue at the center of their agenda, steering money & muscle into dozens of state capitals in an often uphill effort to persuade lawmakers, media folk & our society. in new york, advocates flooded district offices with thousands of e-mails, phone calls & signed postcards from constituents who favored same-sex marriage.

new york is now the largest state to grant legal affirmation to same-sex weddings. also home to a large, visible & politically influential gay community, supporters described the victory as both poignant & symbolic - in june 1969, a riot against police took place at a west village bar, the stonewall inn. led by black & latino drag queens, the fight was a major turning point of the gay movement, which, unbeknowst to many, actually began in the early 50's.

during a brief recess amidst the vote, senator shirley l. huntley, a queens democrat who recently supported the bill publicly, strode from her seat to the back of the senate chamber. she congratulated daniel j. o'donnell, an openly gay manhattan lawmaker who sponsored the legislation in the assembly. they hugged & o'donnell, standing with his longtime partner, began to tear up. "we're going to invite you to our wedding," mr. o'donnell said. "now we have to figure out how to pay for one."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dallas Mavericks Win 2011 NBA Title

the dallas mavericks defeated the miami heat 105-95, in game six, on the road, to win their first nba championship. dirk nowitzki was named most valuable player. nowitzki averaged 26 points & 10 rebounds, but most importantly, the 13-time all-star led his team to victory by averaging 10 points per game in the 4th quarter.

despite their third seed in the playoffs, pundits expected dallas to lose to the talented portland trailblazers in the first round. in game four of their exciting series dallas blew a 23-point lead & lost the game. however, the mavs showed their determination, grit & resiliency by winning the next two games decidedly. they would not be a one & done team.

in round two dallas swept the two-time defending champion los angeles lakers, to every one's surprise. led by veteran point guard jason kidd, former 6th man of the year jason terry, 3rd place defensive player of the year center tyson chandler & an incredibly versatile bench, the mavericks went on to beat the gifted oklahoma city thunder in the western conference finals to face miami for the second time in five years.

miami was a team some loved to hate. all-star forward lebron james was criticized for his "decision" to leave cleveland & take his talents to south beach. james was joined by all-star center chris bosh to form, with all-star guard dwayne wade, the big three. b4 the season began miami hosted a celebration on stage featuring the three players amidst a cloud of smoke & james boldly predicting multi-championships.

the heat beat the youthful philadelphia 76ers in five games in the first round. their highly anticipated second round series against the heavily favored boston celtics showcased the brilliant defense of miami. the heat prevailed in five games. miami's eastern conference final opponent, the chicago bulls, boasted mvp point guard derrick rose & coach of the year tom thibodeau, as well as the league's best record, 62-20, giving them home court advantage for the playoff season.

neither team shot well in the series, primarily because chicago & miami were the top two defensive teams in the nba. rose struggled from the floor. his teammates, most notably center joakim noah & forward carlos boozer, were inconsistent. the bulls were unable to score freely & lost close games as a result, sending miami to the nba finals again; miami defeated dallas four games to two in 2006.

dallas & miami finished the regular season with 28-13 road records, tied for best in the nba. as such, miami's home court advantage was tenuous. miami won game one failry routine. but in game two, dallas overcame a 15-point deficit with less than eight minutes to go in the 4th quarter - one of the greatest comebacks in nba finals history - to even the series.

after miami beat dallas on the road in a close game three, they would never feel the thrill of victory, only the agony of defeat. games three, four & five were decided by a total of eight points. each game was a defensive struggle, marked by james' inability to score in the 4th quarter, for which he was heavily criticized. said james after the series, "i did not play up to my own standards...i have a lot of work to do."

game six was close for the first three quarters. both teams blew sizable leads & the game was decided in the 4th quarter. dallas' incredible shooting from three-point range proved decisive. jason terry scored 27 points off the bench. jj barrea added 17 points. deshawn stevenson hit three from downtown. timely offensive rebounds from tyson chandler, shawn marion & nowitzki demoralized miami. the heat committed costly turnovers & showed no heart at the end. dallas was a team of destiny.