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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bulls End Heat Win Streak at 27

the miami heat's bid for nba history ended wednesday night when their 27-game winning streak was snapped by the chicago bulls 101-97. the victory clinched an eastern conference playoff berth for the bulls, who thrilled a raucous crowd at chicago's united center.

miami finished just six games shy of tying the 33-game record held by the 1971-72 los angeles lakers, who also won the nba title the same year. heat all-pro & reigning mvp lebron james said about the team's incredible accomplishment, " its one of the best that this league has ever seen. we recognized that & rightfully so."  

the defending champion heat hadn't lost since the indiana pacers beat them easily in indianapolis on february 1. but after grinding out several close wins - including an improbable rally from 27 down in cleveland last week - no one counted them out until the final buzzer. their determination, focus & resilience was a joy to witness.

for the better part of two months, the heat were the nba's comeback kings. they blew out the bulls, los angeles clippers & oklahoma city thunder (last year's nba finals opponent), yet struggled against lottery-bound charlotte, cleveland, detroit, orlando & sacramento. they rallied from 13 points in the last eight minutes to beat rival boston, as well as 11-point deficits against the bobcats & pistons, all in a seven-day span.  

heat president pat riley played on the lakers team who won 33 straight games. he remained silent during the heat's streak, mainly because he rarely gives interviews & the team's official stance was the streak didn't really matter. in south beach this season, its championship-or-bust. as such, nothing else matters for the heat. 

the bulls were led by all-pro luol deng, who finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists & two steals. carlos boozer had 21 points & 17 rebounds. jimmy butler scored 17 points, two of which came on a thrilling dunk over chris bosh, which electrified the crowd & hyped the generally reserved second-year player from marquette.

taj gibson, kirk hinrich & nate robinbson fueled the bulls win, despite injuries to all-pro joakim noah, guards marco belinelli & richard hamilton. said gibson, "it says we have a good team. its all about what we think in the locker room. a lot of people kind of write us off every other day, but we just stick to our principles & do what we have to do." bulls coach tom thibodeau said, "when you look at what they've done, to be the defending world champions & to have a winning streak like that knowing that everyone's chasing you, credit them. i think you can learn from them."


Monday, March 25, 2013

Writer Chinua Achebe Makes Transition at 82

chinua achebe, the brilliant historian, professor & writer of nigerian descent, made transition march 21 at age 82 in boston. achebe was internationally revered for affirming the culture, life & people from the motherland in the spirit of unconditional love. he wrote about the effects of colonialism & its aftermath, as well as political corruption & attempts to introduce democratic reforms. 

born in 1930, achebe has often been referred to as the  founding father of african literature in english. achebe said that any good story or any good novel should have a message or purpose. his first novel, things fall apart, published in 1958, dealt with the clash between western & traditional african values & how traditional norms had been undermined. translated into over 50 languages, its focus was on the igbo society in south-eastern nigeria, where achebe grew up.

one of the book's characters said, "the white man is very clever. he came quietly & peaceably with his religion. we were amused at his foolishness & allowed him to stay. now he has won our brothers, & our clan can no longer act like one. he has put a knife on the things that held us together & we have fallen apart."

achebe wrote his novels in english & defended the use of english, a "language of colonisers," in african literature. after winning the man booker international prize in 2007, he told the bbc, "what african literature set about to do was to broaden the conception of literature in the world - to include africa - which wasn't there. in the stories we tell, it is intended to help us solve the problem of this failure that has overtaken the early sense of joy & happiness when africans became independent, received their self-determination."      

reared in colonial nigeria, achebe excelled in school. according to the afp news agency, he described his parents as early converts to christianity. his father became an anglican religious teacher & traveled the region with his mother to preach & teach. achebe later won a scholarship for undergraduate studies at what is now the university of ibadan & became fascinated with world religions & traditional african cultures.

after graduation, achebe worked for the nigerian broadcasting service & soon moved to the metropolis of lagos, where he met his future wife, christie okoli. they married in 1961 & have four children. he was also an academic. in 1975, his lecture - an image of africa: racism in conrad's heart of darkness - became the focus of controversy for its criticism of joseph conrad as a "bloody racist," & was later published.

nobel peace prize winner & former south african president nelson mandela, who served 27 years in jail, once said in the company of achebe's novels, "prison walls fell down." mandela also said he was the writer who "brought africa to the rest of the world."  achebe was a critical thinker; he strongly believed nigeria failed to realize its own potential as a country. this was often a recurring theme in his work.

in 1990, achebe suffered a car accident which left him partially paralyzed & in a wheelchair. he subsequently moved to the u.s. although he chose to only visit his country infrequently, he continued to write his essays, novels & poems, while vociferously challenging the nigerian government in his later years.

he has twice turned down the offer of a title, commander of the order of the federal republic, once in 2004 from nigeria's then president olusegun obasanjo, & again in 2011, from president goodluck johnathan. of his decision in 2004, achebe told the bbc, "what's the good of being a democracy if people are hungry & despondent & the infrastructure is not there. there is no security of life. parts of the country are alienated. religious conflicts spring up now & again. the country is not working."   

in September 2009, achebe joined the faculty of brown university as the david & marianna fisher university professor & professor of africana studies. brown university president christina h. paxson said, "the colloquia he organized at brown attracted a grand array of guests & effectively demonstrated how the humanities can build understanding by drawing from & encouraging a variety of perspectives. we were honored to have him among us."    

last year, achebe published a long-awaited memoir about the brutal three-year biafran war, when the igbo region tried to split from nigeria in 1967. he served as roving cultural ambassador for biafra at the time, but remained silent about his war experiences for more than 40 years. over a million people died during the conflict - in the book, he accused the un of standing by, like nigerian's government, as biafra was crushed. achebe wrote, "you see, we, the little people of the world, are ever expendable."    



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guilty Verdict in Ohio High School Rape Case

two high school football players from ohio were found guilty of raping an inebriated 16 year-old girl at a raucous party last august. judge thomas lipps ruled sunday in juvenile court steubenville high school students trent mays & ma'lik richmond are 'adjudicated delinquent' on all three counts, which is equivalent to a finding of guilty in adult court.

the 17 year-old mays & 16 year-old richmond were charged with digitally penetrating the west virginia girl - first in a car, then in a house. they could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21. both of the teenagers offered their apologies & expressed their remorse in court after the judge ruled on their crimes.  

said mays, "i'd like to apologize to her family, the community, no pics should have been sent. that's all sir." richmond said, "i'd like to apologize to you people. i had no intentions to do anything, i'm sorry to put you through this. i'm sorry, i didn't..." he broke down crying. afterwards, the mother of the victim's mother gave a statement to the media.

she spoke anonymously, "it did not matter what school you went to, what city you lived in, or what sport you've played. human compassion is not taught by a teacher, coach or parent. it is a god-given gift instilled in all of this. you displayed not only a lack of this compassion, but a lack of any moral code. your decisions that night affected countless lives including those most dear to you."

she said, "you were your own accuser through social media you chose to publish your criminal conduct on. this does not define who my daughter is. she will persevere, grow & move on. i have pity for you both. i hope you fear the lord, repent for your actions & ask for his forgiveness."

this case divided the community in a small town amid allegations more students should have been charged & led to questions about the influence of the football team, a local source of pride. after the guilty verdicts, ohio's attorney general said he will convene a grand jury to investigate whether other people should be charged in the case.

activist groups have questioned why people who knew about the rape weren't charged under state law requiring people to report crimes. attorney general mike dewine said, "this community desperately needs to have this behind them but this community also desperately needs to know justice was done & that no stone was left unturned."       

Friday, March 08, 2013

President Obama Signs Expanded Violence Against Women Act

president barack obama signed a law thursday expanding protections for victims of domestic violence, renewing a measure credited with curbing violence against women 18 months after it lapsed amid democrat & republican bickering.

the revitalized violence against women act marked an important win for gay rights advocates & indigneous people, who will see new protections under the law. obama said, "this is your day. this is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. this is your victory. this victory shows that when the american people make their voices heard, washington listens."

as obama prepared to put his pen to the newly expanded law, new government data underscored both the progress made & the need to do more. the rate of sexual violence against women & girls age 12 or older fell 64% in a decade & has remained stable for five years, the justice department said in a survey released thursday. in 2010, women & girls nationwide experienced about 270,000 rapes  or sexual assaults, compared with 556,000 in 1995.

the survey also showed rapes & sexual assaults against women plateaued, as violent crime overall dropped. women's advocacy groups said the violence against women act & heightened awareness of the problem by the police has had a positive effect. obama said, "one of the great legacies of this is law is it didn't just change the rules, it changed our culture. it empowered people to start speaking out."

house speaker nancy pelosi, attorney general eric holder & members of the house & senate from both parties joined obama for the signing ceremony, along with vice president joe biden - who wrote & sponsored the original law in 1994. obama gave special thanks to republicans, including senator susan collins of maine, who supported the renewal despite heavy opposition from the gop.

the law strengthens the criminal justice system's response to crimes against women. the republican-controlled house rejected a senate-passed version affirming gay, lesbian & immigrants' rights to equal access to the law's programs. the senate bill also allowed tribal courts to prosecute non-indians who attack their indian partners on tribal lands, giving native american authorities the ability to go after crimes federal prosecutors, for lack of resources, often decline to pursue.

in february, house republicans capitulated & allowed a vote on an almost identical version of the bill, which passed 286-138. it was the third time in two months house speaker john boehner let a democratic-supported bill reach the floor despite opposition from a majority of his party; republicans wanted to put the issue behind them after losing the women's vote in the november elections.

the violence against women act models how to protect women, & some men, from domestic abuse & prosecute abusers. since its inception in 1994, it helped reduce domestic violence incidents by two-thirds. the renewal authorizes $659 million annually over five years to fund current programs providing grants for hotlines, law enforcement training, legal assistance & transitional housing.

additionally, the expanded violence against women act reauthorizes the traffic victims protection act, adds stalking to the list of crimes making immigrants eligible for protection & authorizes programs dealing with rape investigations & sexual assaults on college campuses.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

American Baby Cured of HIV

a mississippi toddler was born in july 2010 infected with hiv & treated within 30 hours of delivery with aggressive hiv therapy, which continued for 30 months. she is now considered cured of her infection - a medical first for an infant - a team of researchers, led by dr. deborah persaud, a virologist at johns hopkins university in baltimore said at a news conference at the conference on retroviruses & opportunistic infections in atlanta last sunday.

"from a clinical perspective, this means that is you can get an infected baby on to antiretroviral drugs immediately after delivery, it's going to be possible to prevent or reverse the infection, essentially cure the baby," said dr. steven deeks. deeks is an hiv/aids researcher at the university of california at san francisco. he attended the conference, where the case was presented to researchers monday.

deeks and others hailed the findings as a great advance in the search for a cure in babies born infected with hiv. but the researchers said they also suggest the need for better ways to diagnose hiv infection, typically a six week process. deeks said, "this could have a profound effect on how we approach babies born to hiv-infected moms." 

treatment of hiv-infected mothers before delivery is the best way to prevent hiv infection of infants, many experts say. but even in resource-rich countries like america, 100 to 200 babies are born annually with hiv, said dr. anthony fauci, director of the national institute of allergy & infectious diseases, part of the national institutes of health.

worldwide, especially in developing countries, as many as 1,000 babies are born infected each day. for these children, the findings could have a major impact on the "terrible burden of hiv infection throughout the world," fauci said. michel sidibe, executive director of the joint united nations programme on hiv/aids (unaids), said the news "gives us great hope that a cure for hiv in children is possible," but it also underscores the need for research & innovation, "especially in the area of early diagnostics."

fauci said the mississippi child's case was an important "proof of concept" but cautioned it was only one case & it needs to be further validated. fauci said, "the real question is will this be broadly applicable to other infants?" fauci said there's a risk without better diagnostics, children who were never infected in the first place could be exposed to toxic drugs with very early treatment.

dr. hannah gay, a pediatric hiv specialist at the university of mississippi medical center in jackson, made the call to treat the child with hiv drugs even before her infection was confirmed - she believed the child was at such great risk of infection. but had she been wrong, the therapy would have been stopped.

"since the mother had really been at such high risk of transmitting to the baby, they decided to treat on square one," said fauci, as opposed to giving the child a lower, preventative dose of drugs until test results confirm an infection. fauci said, "the approach of treating really, really early needs to be pursued. when we get better diagnostics where we can tell within the first day or so whether the baby is infected, an approach like this looks like it might be a reasonable thing to pursue with the appropriate clinical trials."