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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 AL and NL Gold Glove Winners

the following athletes were recently awarded gold glove winners for their outstanding defensive play in the 2013 major league baseball season:

american league

pitcher - r.a. dickey, toronto blue jays.
catcher - salvador perez, kansas city royals.
first base - eric homer, kansas city royals.
second base - dustin pedroia, boston red sox.
third base - manny machado, baltimore orioles.
shortstop - j.j. hardy, baltimore orioles.
left field - alex gordon, kansas city royals.
center field - adam jones, baltimore orioles.
right field - shane victorino, boston red sox.

national league

pitcher - adam wainwright, st. louis cardinals.
catcher - yadier molina, st. louis cardinals.
first base - paul goldschmidt, arizona diamondbacks.
second base - brandon phillips, cincinnati reds.
third base - nolan arenado, colorado rockies.
shortstop - andrelton simmons, atlanta braves.
left field - carlos gonzalez, colorado rockies.
center field - carlos gomez, milwaukee brewers.
right field - gerardo parra, arizona diamondbacks.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Serena Williams Crowned WTA Champion

serena williams defeated li na of china, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win the wta championships in istanbul, turkey. the world #1 capped off the best year in her illustrious career. she became the eighth woman to win 11 or more titles in a year, and the first since martina hingis won 12 titles in 1997.

williams said later, "it was an awesome year of tennis." the victory brought williams' prize money total for the year to $12,385,572. the only player, male or female, to earn more in a year was world #1 novak djokovic of serbia. he won $12,803,737 last year, and $12,619,803 in 2011.

williams finished 2013 with a 78-4 record. she ends the year #1 for the third time, after doing so in 2002 and 2009. her incredible season included two majors - the french open and the u.s. open - giving her a total of 17 majors. williams' remarkable winning percentage of .951 is the best on the tour since martina navratilova had an historical 86-1 record and .989 percentage in 1983.

despite her amazing year, williams remains a perfectionist. in fact, she said she would have preferred to win more majors. "i live to win slams. i mean, obviously, i'm so excited to be the wta champion. i can't say it's the best season. i can't say it's not the best. i don't know. i really don't know."

the thrilling final showcased two players over 30 for the first time in the championships' 43-year history. williams is 32, and li is 31, yet both women are playing the best tennis of their careers. li said, "after a set and a half, i was feeling no more energy left. it's a tough tournament, because i played five days in a row. every opponent is in the top eight, so you never have an easy match in this tournament." 

the year-end championships features the top eight women in the world, including two alternates, ranked nine and ten. williams is the first to repeat as wta champion since justin henin in 2007. the african-american won the event for the fourth time in her career, victorious in her 2001 tourney debut, as well as 2009 and 2012.   

Thursday, October 24, 2013

End Obama's Immigration Imprisonment Quotas

president barack obama's 2015 budget requests a dangerous and wasteful policy indiscriminately warehousing immigrants into private prisons. immigrants who've committed no crimes, or only minor crimes, are put in prisons to meet an arbitrary immigrant body count quota passed by the house of representatives in 2006.

immigration and customs officials (ice) have a sick incentive to give billions of dollars away to private prison corporations, patrol latinos in border communities and rip immigration families apart. but obama can end this racist initiative by promptly removing it from his budget - demonstrating his care and concern for all americans. 

some people call it the "bed mandate." others call it the immigration imprisonment quote. ice is required to hold at least 34,000 immigrants each day in private detention centers. the quota is the primary reason so many immigrants who haven't committed any crimes are arrested and detained by ice.

it costs $160 each day, or $2 billion per year, to put someone in a private detention center. private prison companies like the geo group benefit from the dehumanization of proud latino communities. however, alternatives to incarceration cost as little as $17 per day, they're progressive and they keep families unified while they wait for their due process.  

in september of this year, 65 members of the house sent the president a letter opposing his policy. entitled, letter to president obama - end immigration detention bed mandate debate, they urge him to remove a budget request for the department of homeland security (dhs) mandating ice have over 30,000 immigrants in detention at all times.

illinois congressman bill foster said, "mandatory detention comes at a high cost both for taxpayers and immigrant families who are needlessly torn apart. not only is the quota fiscally irresponsible, but it makes it impossible for dhs to make rational decisions about detention based on enforcement priorities and needs. it is time to end this costly and unjust practice."

florida congressman ted deutch said, "it would be unimaginable for congress to mandate to other law enforcement agencies how many people they must jail on a daily basis, but that is exactly what this detention bed mandate does to ice. it is time to bring ice offices across the country in line with the best practices of other law enforcement agencies, which apprehend and detain individuals based on actual needs as opposed to a mandate from washington."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Black teenager sues over arrest for $350 designer belt

a 19 year-old college student from queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt from barney's on new york's madison avenue. the teenager says the arrest occurred because he is "a young black man."

trayon christian told nbc 4 new york on wednesday he saved up from a part-time job for weeks to buy a salvatore ferragamo belt in april. he also said the clerk asked to see his identification. after the sale went through and he left the store, he was approached by police about a block away, and asked, "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt," according to a lawsuit filed tuesday in manhattan court.

officers hauled christian to the local precinct, where he showed police his identification, as well as his debit card and the receipt for the belt, the lawsuit says. police believed his identification was fake, and eventually called the bank, which verified it was his, according to the complaint. the teenager, who has no prior arrests, was released.

christian told nbc 4 new york many questions were racing through his mind  while he went through the painful experience of being handcuffed and taken to a cell. "why me? i guess because i'm a young black man, and, you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that i was one of them. they probably think that black people don't have money like that," he said.

he later returned the belt to barney's because he says he "didn't want to have nothing to do with it." christian is suing the city and barney's for unspecified damages as a result of "great physical and mental distress and humiliation." his attorney, michael palillo, told the post, "his only crime was being a young black man."

barney's, the luxury department store, in a statement on wednesday, said none of its employees were involved in any action with christian - other than the sale - adding the store "has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination."  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Black Farmers to Receive $1.2 Billion Federal Lawsuit Settlement

after years of protests and lawsuits, black farmers in the south will begin receiving payments this week as a result of a landmark $1.2 billion settlement in their discrimination case against federal agriculture officials. about 18,000 farmers expect to receive checks over the next few days.

this is the second round of funding for black farmers. thousands received payments in 1999 as part of a settlement in a class-action suit over allegation of widespread discrimination by federal officials  who denied loans and other assistance to black farmers on the basis of their race.

"after all these years and all the fighting, this is what it's all about," says john boyd, president of the national black farmers association, which pushed congress for the settlement. "it doesn't take away what the government has done to us, but for those who receive the payments it will make a difference in their lives," said boyd. 

about 40,000 black farmers filed claims in the settlement, ending a discrimination case against the u.s. department of agriculture. in 2010, president obama signed the bill authorizing compensation for discrimination in farm lending by federal officials. black farmers will receive payments of $62,500, which includes $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes. about $91 million of the settlement was approved for attorney fees.

"i am pleased this chapter of discrimination in the history of the department of agriculture is closed and bureaucracy will no longer keep these farmers from receiving their due justice," said representative marcia fudge (d-ohio). fudge also serves as chairwoman of the congressional black caucus.  

the payments could lead to an infusion of investment dollars back into farming, adds adell brown, jr., vice chancellor for research at southern university agricultural research and extension center. the center has worked with black famers in louisiana who filed claims in the first and second cases.

many farmers who filed claims have since died. of the 18,000 claims approved, about 4,000 to 5,000 were estate claims. the national black farmers association is working with some families whose deceased parents filed claims. said boyd, "this is not a great trade-off by any means, but i think the funds will make a difference. it's a bittersweet victory."  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

19 Male Sexual Abuse Survivors Settle With Penn State Amidst Jerry Sandusky Case

at least 19 young men have settled with penn state over assertions of sexual abuse by former assistant football coach jerry sandusky, according to lawyers for the claimants. many, if not all, have received checks from the university, the attorneys said over the past two days. the school set aside $60 million to pay claims, though several lawyers say the settlements prevent them from disclosing details, including the amounts their clients were paid. 

"they're getting the resources they need to navigate hurdles which have been thrown in front of them," said harrisburg lawyer ben andreozzi, part of a group of four lawyers who have resolved nine claims. they have three other cases, including two yet to be presented to penn state. "does it wipe out all their problems? no," andreozzi said. "does it give them the resources they need to get their lives back on track? yes," he said.

among those who reached settlements were some who testified at sandusky's provocative trial last year. sandusky, the prestigious school's longtime assistant football coach under their legendary head coach joe paterno, is currently serving 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing ten boys over a 15-year period.   

harrisburg attorney chuck schmidt confirmed his client has settled, as did williamsport attorney clifford rieders. "he is a very responsible, thoughtful, intelligent man," rieders said tuesday of his client. "his reaction is that this was a terrible tragedy and he'd like to move on with his life and get the help he needs for a meaningful life." rieders said his client was paid september 30. schmidt said his client received a check two weeks ago.

philadelphia attorney tom kline previously announced his client had settled, as did the philadelphia firm ross feller, which represents seven clients. st. paul, minnesota lawyer jeff anderson said his two cases remain unresolved, as did a spokeswoman for baltimore attorney howard janet, who represents one claimant. two other lawyers who have clients in the sandusky civil claims did not return phone messages.

a penn state spokesman declined to comment, but the school has said it plans to eventually release the number of claimants and the total amount of money they have been paid. lawyers for the school say at least 31 men have come forward, but it's unclear who some of the men are, or whether they have lawyers.