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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New York's Highest Court Says No To Fracking

the court of appeals in albany on monday upheld rulings allowing individual towns and cities to act using a principle known as home rule, under which they can vote to keep away industries they deem as threats to common resources. in the case of fracking, this can mean air and water, even if state and federal laws say otherwise.

the 5-2 decision applies specifically to challenges to bans in the upstate towns of dryden and middlefield, but means bans passed in about 170 other new york communities are also immune to similar challenges. the state now waits for new york governor andrew cuomo to decide on whether to life the moratorium on fracking, in place since july 2008.

governor cuomo said he first needs to see the results of a health impact review his office undertook in 2012. but now, even if he does decide to welcome frackers into the state, individual communities officially have a legal way to opt out - and, if enough do, the gas and oil industry could decide new york is no longer worth their while.  

the majority opinion was written by associate judge victoria graffeo, who said, "these appeals are not about whether hydrofracking is beneficial or detrimental to the economy, environment or energy needs of new york, and we pass no judgment on its merits. these are major policy questions for the coordinate branches of government to resolve."

graffeo also said, "the discrete issue before us, and the only one we resolve today, whether the state legislature eliminated the home rule capacity of municipalities to pass zoning laws that exclude oil, gas and hydrofracking activities in order to preserve the existing character of their communities." 

john armstrong of frack action and new yorkers against fracking said in a statement, "we applaud the court for once again affirming the right of new yorkers to ban fracking and its toxic effects from their communities. as chief judge lippman said, you don't bulldoze over the voice of the people."

armstrong further commented, "but water and contaminations don't stop at local boundaries, and governor cuomo must ban fracking statewide to protect our health and homes from the arrogant and inherently harmful fracking industry."   


Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Men Wrongly Convicted to Receive $40 Million Settlement from NYC

five men wrongly convicted, and later exonerated, of brutally raping a female jogger in central park in 1989 were awarded a $40 million settlement from new york city. the attack became known as the central park jogger case. it made national headlines, polarized communities and raised concerns about racism in the criminal justice system. 

the five men, all black and latino, were between age 14-16 when they confessed after lengthy police interrogations. antron mccray, kevin richardson, raymond santana, korey wise and yusef salaam each soon recanted, insisting they were coerced by nypd officers under duress, exhaustion and fear. in 2002, matias reyes confessed to the crime: dna tied him to the rape.

the jogger, trisha meili, a 28 year-old white investment banker, nearly died, was severely traumatized and has no memory of the experience. the settlement requires approval from the city's comptroller, and from deborah batts, the federal judge in manhattan who presided over the case, which polarized the nation at the time. 

jonathan moore, one of the lawyers for the men, declined to comment. a spokeswoman for the city's law department also declined to comment, citing pending litigation. the deal comes six months after mayor bill de blasio, who called for a settlement, took office. his predecessor, michael bloomberg, resisted settling the case, with city lawyers repeatedly saying the convictions withstood legal scrutiny regardless of whether they were later vacated.

an internal review by the manhattan district attorney's office, which moved to throw out the convictions in 2002, found the boys' original confessions included "troubling discrepancies." a judge vacated the convictions. by then, however, all five had been released from prison after serving between five and 13 years.

the five men sued the city in 2003 for wrongful conviction and violation of their civil rights. they sought $250 million in damages. the lawsuit gained renewed attention in 2012, when the critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker ken burns released, "central park five." burns' film cast the men as victims of racial tension, and a rush to judgment by the city. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spurs dominate Heat for 2014 NBA Title

the san antonio spurs defeated the miami heat 104-87 at home on sunday to win the 2014 nba championship. the spurs played brilliantly and dominated in all facets of the game, winning the series four games to one. they won their fifth title in franchise history, avenging last year's game seven loss to the defending champions in south beach.

san antonio forward kawhi leonard was named mvp. the 22 year-old leonard averaged 18 points on 61% shooting. he also had 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and several key blocked shots in the last three games of the series. leonard is the youngest finals mvp since duncan in 1999. the soft-spoken leonard said afterwards, "right now, it's just surreal to me. i have a great group of guys behind me."  

spurs coach gregg popovich is currently the longest tenured coach in professional sports. popovich opened up the offense three years ago, turning a methodical half court unit into a team which thrives on relentless ball movement, savvy interior passing and three-point shooting. he won his third coach of the year award, led them to a league-best 62 wins - and a desired rematch with miami.  

popovich said of their turning point in last year's finals, "i've said many times, a day didn't go by where i didn't think about game six..so i think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, i think speaks volumes about how they're constituted and what kind of fiber they have."  

tim duncan, manu ginobli and tony parker became the winningest trio in nba history. they have teamed for 117 postseason victories, breaking the old record set by kareem abdul-jabbar, michael cooper and magic johnson of the los angeles lakers in the late 80's. duncan said, "it makes last year ok." parker said, "we wanted to redeem ourselves. i'm just glad we were able to do that."

the spurs erased an early 16-point deficit in the first quarter. their defensive intensity went up a notch and the heat lost their offensive rhythm. san antonio lost game two by two points at home, but won three consecutive games by a total of 57 points. they denied the heat their quest for a third straight championship. miami's impressive fourth straight finals equaled the celtics run from 1984-1987.

san antonio shot 52.6% from the floor against miami, a finals record in the open shot clock era. the spurs averaged 105.6 points per game, the most since the lakers beat the nets in 2002. all four wins against the heat were by 15 or more points, and they also won 12 games by 15 or more points, another league playoff record.

15 years after winning their first title in 1999, when duncan was in his second season, the spurs remain the nba's model organization: they succeed in a small market, win 50 or more games regularly, and rarely benefit from high draft picks. san antonio found players overseas (or in other organizations) who affirm the spurs' selfless spirit. 

"you showed the world how beautiful this game is," said commissioner adam silver during the postgame award ceremony. heat coach erik spoelstra said, "they played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. there's no other way to say it." 

lebron james, who finished game five with 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks said, "we had a great first quarter, but from that point on they were the better team, and that's why they're the champions in 2014." the spurs won four titles in nine years - but their last came in 2007. as such, foreigner's "feels like the first time" was an appropriate song choice after the final buzzer.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ruby Dee Makes Transition at 91

actress, activist and author ruby dee made transition on wednesday. she was 91 years old. born ruby ann wallace on 10/27/22, dee's family moved to the village of harlem (in new york city) from her native cleveland during the height of the harlem renaissance.

dee attended hunter college and, there, embraced her love of the theater. she performed in various shakespearean productions, and in the play, south pacific. dee also studied at the american negro theatre, where she met her future husband ossie davis. their soulful partnership was cultivated working together on a tour of anna lucasta.     

dee became a pioneer for black female artists. she was the first black woman to have lead roles at the american shakepseare festival. dee's many stage awards include the obie award for her role in athol fugard's boesman and lena; a drama desk award for her performance in alice childress' wedding band; and an ace award for her work in eugene o'neill's long day's journey into night.

dee's remarkable talent landed her roles in over 50 films. she was featured in a raisin in the sun (1961), uptight (1968), buck and the preacher (1972) and do the right thing (1989). she also appeared in many tv productions, including roots: the next generation (1979). dee garnered seven emmy nominations - winning in 1991 for her outstanding performance in decoration day.

in 2008, at age 85, dee received an oscar nomination: best supporting actress for her role in american gangster. she told the associated press she never felt snubbed by the academy for not being nominated before. dee said, "i didn't have the kind of talent or personality that kept me dreaming about hollywood. they don't hire little colored girls to do this or that. after i got that in my head, i took another direction."

dee and davis were equally active in the civil rights movement. dee was a member of the congress of racial equality, naacp, southern christian leadership conference and student nonviolent coordinating committee. dee and davis eulogized their friend, malcolm x, at his funeral in 1965, and his widow, betty shabazz, at hers in 1997. they also traveled to lagos, nigeria as goodwill ambassadors. 

their marriage of 57 years culturally affirmed black love, integrity and success. davis made transition in 2005. in the book, with ossie & ruby: in this life together, the iconic couple shared tales of acting, activism, marriage and parenting (they had two daughters and one son).

dee and davis were honored together for their artistic achievements. they were inducted into the naacp image awards hall of fame in 1989, received the national medal of arts in 1995 and the screen actors guild's life achievement award in 2000. 


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal Win 2014 French Open Singles Titles

maria sharapova of russia defeated simona halep of romania 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to win her second french open championship in three years. sharapova now has five major singles titles. she emerged triumphant at wimbledon in 2004, the u.s. open in 2006 and the australian open in 2008.

their highly competitive match was the first women's roland garros final to go three sets in 13 years. both women showcased explosive offensive shotmaking, lengthy baseline exchanges and tremendous defensive play for three hours and two minutes. sharapova improved her ranking from #7 to #5. halep, in her first major singles final, is now world #3.

sharapova said, "this is the toughest grand slam final i've ever played." its not her favorite surface, but she's 54-4 with seven titles on clay since 2012. sharapova said, "if somebody had told me at some stage in my career, that i'd have more roland garros titles than any other grand slam, i'd probably go get drunk, or tell them to get drunk. one or the other." 

rafael nadal of spain defeated novak djokovic of serbia 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 to win his ninth french open singles championship, and fifth in a row, both records. the world #1 now has 14 major singles titles, equaling american pete sampras for second best all-time. roger federer of switzerland has 17 career major titles.

nadal leads world #2 djokovic 23-19 in their unheralded rivalry among men historically. nadal is 6-0 against djokovic at roland garros, beating djokovic in the 2012 final and 2013 semi-finals. afterwards nadal said, "sorry for him today. i think he deserves to win this tournament. i am sure he will do it in the future."

their physically demanding battle lasted three hours and 30 minutes. dueling in 80 degrees under a clear blue sky both men were resilient. but once again, nadal - the king of clay - reigned supreme. his french open record is 66-1. since losing to robin soderling in the fourth round in 2009, nadal has 35 consecutive wins. nadal said, "for me, playing here in roland garros is just unforgettable, forever."   

Thursday, June 05, 2014

2014 All-NBA Teams

on Wednesday the 2014 all-nba teams were announced. listed below are the honorees:

First Team______________________________________

Center:    Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Forward:  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Forward:  LeBron James, Miami Heat
Guard:     Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Guard:     James Harden, Houston Rockets

Second Team____________________________________

Center:    Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Forward:  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Forward:  Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Guard:     Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Guard:     Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Third Team_____________________________________

Center:    Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats
Forward:  LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland TrailBlazers
Forward:  Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Guard:     Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
Guard:     Damian Lillard, Portland TrailBlazers