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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wisconsin Leads Our Nation In The Rate Of Black Male Incarceration

the state of wisconsin has the highest rate of black male incarceration in the country. according to the u.s. census bureau, one in eight black male residents of the obscure midwestern state were incarcerated in 2010, a figure which doubles the national average.

john pawasarat and lois m. quinn of the university of wisconsin employment and training institute examined two decades of state department of corrections (doc) and department of transportation (dot) files. their astonishing research was part of an assessment of employment and training barriers facing black men in milwaukee county.

they reported more than half of black men in their 30's and 40's had been incarcerated in state correctional facilities; also, only 10% of black men with doc records had a current valid driver's license. they noted thousands of adults in milwaukee's low-income neighborhoods, and particularly black males, have suspended licenses solely for failure to pay fines.

in the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of people returning from prison, there are 25 people looking for work - for every one available full-time job. furthermore, since the 2008 recession, people returning from prison are competing with unemployed and underemployed skilled and unskilled workers for jobs that become available.

among other things, the authors recommend the state revise policies contributing to mass incarceration. they suggest using the cost savings to fund employment and training programs for people who are currently or were formerly in doc custody and to support programs to assist those individuals in getting their licenses reinstated.   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Attorney General Eric Holder Admits Drone Strikes Have Killed Four Americans Since 2009

the obama administration reluctantly acknowledged drone strikes killed four americans overseas since 2009. one of whom, anwar al-aulaqi, was targeted in yemen - he'd planned and was planning terrorist attacks on the united states: principally the plot to blow up an airliner over detroit on christmas eve 2009.

the revelation came in a letter from attorney eric holder to congressional leaders and chairmen of key congressional committees. holder wrote, "the president has directed me to disclose to you certain information," about the number of americans killed by u.s. counter-terrorism operations outside of areas of active combat such as afghanistan.

holder said the u.s. government was "aware of three other u.s. citizens who have been killed in such u.s. counter-terrorism operations over that same time period (since 2009): 'abd al-rahman anwar al-aulaqi, samir khan and jude kenan mohammed. these individuals were not specifically .targeted by the united states."

mohammed was on the fbi's most wanted list. an fbi notice said, "on july 22, 2009, a federal grand jury in north carolina indicted jude kenan mohammed for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons in a foreign country. mohammed is at large and a federal warrant was issued by the united states district court, eastern district of north carolina, raliegh, north carolina, for his arrest." 

on al-aulaqi, holder said, "it was al-aulaqi's actions - and, in particular, his direct personal involvement in the continued planning and execution of terrorist attacks against the u.s. homeland  - that made him a lawful target and led the united states to take action."

the origins of this information is being kept secret to protect u.s. intelligence methods and sources. holder also wrote, "today's disclosure builds on the administration's effort to pursue greater transparency around our counter-terrorism operations, including the president's commitment in this year's state of the union. this disclosure was also intended to coincide with the speech the president will give tomorrow, in which he will discuss our broader counter-terrorism strategy."

Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 NBA Post-Season Award Winners

the national basketball association recently announced their post-season award winners for the 2012-2013 season. listed below are the worthy recipients & their respective accolade:

most valuable player - lebron james, miami heat.
rookie of the year - damian lillard, portland trailblazers.
sixth man of the year - j.r. smith, new york knicks.
defensive player of the year - marc gasol, memphis grizzlies.
most improved player - paul george, indiana pacers.
coach of the year - george karl, denver nuggets.
executive of the year - masai ujiri, denver nuggets.
community assist award - chris paul, los angeles clippers.

all-defensive team:

centers - tyson chandler, new york knicks; joakim noah, chicago bulls.
forwards - paul george, indiana pacers; lebron james, miami heat.
guards - tony allen, memphis grizzlies; chris paul, los angeles clippers.

all-rookie team:

center -      anthony davis, new orleans hornets.
guards -     bradley beal, washington wizards;
                  damian lillard, portland trailblazers.
forwards -  harrison barnes, golden state warriors;
                  dion waiters, cleveland cavaliers.

we extend our heartfelt congratulations & godspeed to each honoree!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

State of Mississippi to Execute Willie Manning Tonight After Rejecting DNA Tests & FBI's Own Admission of Error

the state of mississippi is preparing to execute a prisoner of african descent tonight, despite an usual admission from the fbi: its original analysis of the evidence contained errors. willie jerome manning was convicted of murdering tiffany miller & jon steckler, two white college students, in 1992.

the execution will proceed, even after prosecutors & state courts refused to allow new dna testing which could prove manning's innocence. the justice department sent a letter saying one analyst's testimony at trial "exceeded the limits of the science & was, therefore, invalid." 

manning's attorneys argue no physical evidence ties him to the murders - testing hair samples & other evidence could identify a different killer. but in a 5-to-4 decision last month, mississippi's state supreme court refused to grant a new dna test, citing what it called "conclusive, overwhelming evidence of guilt."

in addition to the new dna test, which was denied, manning's attorneys say prosecutors relied on two key witnesses whose credibility has since come under question. also, concerns have been raised about alleged racial bias in the selection of the jury whom found manning guilty. 

vanessa potkin, a senior staff attorney at the innocence project said, "we need someone to step in. it is unconscionable that an execution would go forward where there is biological evidence that can cut to the truth & show whether or not he did the crime. what is anybody afraid of?"     


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

NBA Veteran Jason Collins Admits He's Gay

"i'm a 34 year old nba center. i'm black. and i'm gay."

jason collins, a 12-year veteran and current reserve center for the washington wizards, became the first active, professional male athlete from one of the four major u.s. sports leagues to publicly admit he's gay. collins wrote a first-person article, which was posted on sports illustrated's website monday. "I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player," collins told abc's good morning america, in an interview which aired tuesday morning.  

collins plans to be in boston on june 8, marching alongside his friend and stanford university roommate, u.s. rep joseph kennedy III, at the city's gay pride parade. kennedy, a massachusetts democrat, told the associated press, "i didn't doubt for a second, knowing he was gay, that he would be the one to do it. i've never known him to look for publicity, or to look for the spotlight, but given that no one else would raise their hand, i knew he would do it."

despite hiding his sexuality, collins quietly made a statement for gay rights by wearing number 98 with the celtics and wizards, two of the six teams he's played for in his career. 1998 was the year matthew shepard, a gay, white male student from wyoming, was killed - sparking public outrage & political legislation. the trevor project, a suicide prevention organization, was also founded the same year. 

this historic announcement drew widespread praise from family members, friends, current teammates, fellow & former nba players, nba coaches, general managers, other athletes (some of whom are openly gay & lesbian), celebrities, the nba itself, and a sponsor. collins also received support from president barack obama, first lady michelle obama and former president bill clinton. 

doc rivers, collins' celtics coach, linked collins to jackie robinson's role when he broke the major league baseball color barrier in 1947 with the brooklyn dodgers. said rivers, "i am extremely happy and proud of jason collins. he's a pro's pro. he is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite team players i have ever coached. if you have learned anything from jackie robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. it will be society who has to learn tolerance."

nfl players brendan ayanbadejo and chris kluwe publicly supported state same-sex marriage amendments during last year's elections. obama, who also supports same-sex marriage, included stonewall - the site of a 1969 rebellion at a gay bar on christopher street in new york city - in his inauguration speech this past january. 

same-sex marriage, now legal in nine american states, including washington, d.c., stirred additional controversy during the super bowl. chris culliver, a starting cornerback for the san francisco 49ers, said he wouldn't welcome a gay member on his team. although he was quickly admonished by his team and the league to apologize, which he did, ayanbadejo estimated at least half of the nfl's players would agree with culliver's views, at least privately.    

on monday, nfl commissioner roger goodell  sent a memo to teams reiterating the league's anti-discrimination policy about sexuality. the policy includes a section on questions teams cannot ask  prospective draft picks and free agents. after the nfl combine in february, three players said officials posed questions about sexual orientation.   

earlier this month, the nhl and its players' union partnered with the you can play project, an advocacy organization fighting homophobia in sports. nhl commissioner gary bettman said the project underlines "the official policy of the nhl is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands."  

washington capitals forward joel ward, one of the few blacks in the sport, weighed in. said ward, "i would say the nhl has been a force to kind of embrace & encourage. what collins did, i think its definitely good for basketball, and the same for hockey, too. its going to be encouraging for more guys to step up and just be open about themselves." 

living in the nation's capitol while the u.s. supreme court heard arguments about same-sex marriage had a profound effect on collins. he said, "the strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable. less than three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. here was my chance to be heard, and i couldn't say a thing."   

while collins intends to keep playing, several other male athletes, including nba player john amaechi, nfl player esera tuaolo and mlb player billy bean, spoke about being gay - after they retired. amaechi told the ap, "i think he is immensely brave. i think its a shame in this day and age he has to be immensely brave, but he is. he's going to be a remarkable and eloquent spokesperson for what it is to be a decent, authentic human being, never mind just for gay people."

rick welts, president and chief operating officer for the golden state warriors, is gay. said welts, "he probably knows what he signed up for. there'll be a whole bunch more television reporters and cameras than he's probably had in the past. there had been a long bit of speculation about when, who, how. i think that speculation has been put to rest now, and we'll always remember that jason collins was the first man to do this."

female athletes tend to experience more societal acceptance when they publicly admit their sexuality. basketball players nancy lieberman, sheryl swoopes, chamika holdsclaw & britney griner made few ripples when they acknowledged their same-sex relationships. tennis players martina navratilova, billie jean king, amelie mauresmo, lisa raymond & renae stubbs are open about their lesbianism. 

navratilova, hall of famer & current analyst on the tennis channel, tweeted on monday, "collins is a brave man. 1981 was the year for me. 2013 is the year for you." ironically, collins told abc's good morning america, navratilova was his role model. he said, "i look at her as one of my heroes. hopefully going forward i can be someone else's role model."

in 1994, four-time olympic diving gold medalist greg luganis revealed he was gay, a year before also admitting he was hiv-positive. canadian swimmer mark tewksbury, six years after winning a gold medal at the 1992 barcelona games, stated he was gay. former olympic skiing gold medalist anja peterson of sweden, after retiring in 2012, said she was in a long-term relationship with a woman. orlando cruz of puerto rico became the first professional boxer to admit he was gay, last october.

in his very candid sports illustrated article, collins wrote, "some people insist they've never met a gay person. but three degrees of jason collins dictates that no nba player can claim that anymore. pro basketball is a family. and pretty much every family i know has a brother, sister or cousin who's gay. in the brotherhood of the nba, i just happen to be the one who's out."