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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Timeline for Melissa Alexander's Legal Case

august 1, 2010 - nine days after giving birth to a premature daughter, marissa alexander was attacked by her estranged husband in their home - while his sons were present. alexander writes, "in an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom. he assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while i begged for him to leave." she retrieved her lawfully registered gun and fired a warning shot upwards into a wall to prevent him from killing her. no one was injured by her weapon.

february 10, 2011 - alexander began her incarceration.

august 17, 2011 - alexander was denied stand your ground immunity from prosecution.

may 11, 2012 - alexander was found guilty of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. she received a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

july 10, 2013 - alexander was denied bond, pending her appeal of the guilty verdict.

september 26, 2013 - alexander successfully appealed the 2012 trial, the guilty verdict was overturned, and she was given the right to a new trial. the appellate court ruled the jury instructions put too much of a burden on her. a three-panel judge ruled, "the defendant's burden is only to raise a reasonable doubt concerning self-defense. the defendant does not have the burden to prove the victim guilty of the aggression defended against beyond a reasonable doubt." the appellate court did not overturn the 2012 court decision to deny alexander stand your ground immunity from prosecution.

october 31, 2013 - alexander's re-trial was scheduled for march 31, 2014.

november 27, 2013 - alexander was released on bond the night before thanksgiving. she spent 1,021 days in prison. she is currently under house arrest with special conditions, which include: posting a $200,009.00 bond; remaining under the supervision of the pretrial service program at all times; subject to 24/7 electronic monitoring, and remaining in home detention until her case is  completed.

january 7, 2014 - state prosecutor angela corey filed a motion to revoke alexander's bond release, claiming alexander violated the condition of her release. alexander's legal team filed a response to the motion, stating the correctional staff supervising her bond release confirmed she complied with all of the conditions of her bond release and is not in violation of her bond. the hearing is scheduled for january 10, 2014.

january 10, 2014 - corey's motion to revoke alexander's bond release was denied. alexander remains under home detention - and, with more restrictive conditions.

january 30, 2014 - alexander's trial was postponed to july 28, 2014.

march 1, 2014 - the florida times-union reported corey seeks a 60 year sentence for alexander if she is found guilty in her 7/28 trial. corey argued the mandatory minimum statute required alexander to serve three 20 year sentences consecutively, not concurrently, tripling the mandatory minimum.

march 14, 2014 - alexander's legal team filed a motion requesting a new stand your ground hearing.

may 16, 2014 - judge james daniel did not issue a ruling on alexander's motion for a new stand your ground hearing. judge daniel said he would rule in june, and is accepting written arguments through the month of may.

june 10, 2014 - judge daniel postponed alexander's trial to december 8, 2014. jury selection begins on december 1. the judge - and her defense team - wanted more time to see how the recent changes in the stand your ground law will impact her case. alexander's next court date is scheduled for august 1, when the judge expects to decide if she will get a new stand your ground hearing. 

june 21, 2014 - changes to florida's stand your ground law went into effect. one of the changes expands the law to cover warning shots. alexander's case is cited as an inspiration for the reform.

july 21, 2014 - alexander was denied a new stand your ground hearing. she will not receive immunity from prosecution and must defend herself again in a new trial, scheduled for 12/8.

november 24, 2014 - alexander accepted a plea deal with the state of florida. the plea deal includes time served (1,030 days); an additional 65 days in duval county jail, beginning today; and two years of probation serving house detention while wearing a surveillance monitor. she will be in jail until january 27, 2015 - the date of her next hearing.

january 27, 2015 - alexander was released from prison today. the state attorney's office tried to add two years probation to her (plea deal) sentence, but they failed. alexander intends to go to school and become a paralegal. 







Monday, February 16, 2015

West defeats 163-158 in 2015 NBA All-Star Game

the western conference held on to defeat the eastern conference 163-158 and emerge victorious in the 2015 nba all-star game. held at madison square garden in new york city for the first time since 1998, amidst frigid temperatures, fans were treated to a showcase of the game's elite players.

russell westbrook, the dynamic, explosive and fiery point guard of the oklahoma city thunder was named most valuable player. westbrook finished with 41 points - one shy of the all-time record set by wilt chamberlain in 1962. he set an all-star game record with 27 points at halftime. "it's amazing. it's a blessing to be here in new york city," he said.

james harden of the houston rockets had 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the west. lebron james of the cleveland cavaliers led the east with 30 points. "don't get no better, man. you play in the garden in front of these fans," james said. kyle korver, in his first all-star appearance at age 33, hit seven three-pointers. three of his atlanta hawks teammates also played. korver leads the nba with a 52.3% three-point field goal percentage.  

pau gasol of the chicago bulls and marc gasol of the memphis grizzlies became the first brother duo to start in the game's history. san antonio's tim duncan played in his 15th all-star game, three behind abdul-jabbar's record of 18. kobe bryant of the los angeles lakers, anthony davis of the new orleans pelicans and blake griffin of the los angeles clippers were voted in as starters for the west, but injuries prevented them from playing. 

several other records were tied or broken last night. both teams combined for 165 points at halftime, which tied a previous mark. westbrook hit 11 field goals in the first half, tying the old record. the west's 163 points tied a record. both teams' combined 321 points is a new record. the west shot 25-for-68 in three-pointers, both records. both squads were 68-for-133 in threes: another record.

19 year-old rookie zach lavine of the minnesota timberwolves electrified the crowd and won the slam dunk contest. stephen curry of the golden state warriors won the three-point shooting contest. patrick beverley of the houston rockets won the skills challenge. hawks legend dominique willkins, chris bosh of the miami heat and swin cash of the new york liberty won their third straight shooting stars contest.  

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win 2015 Australian Open Singles Titles

world #1 serena williams of the u.s. on saturday defeated world #2 maria sharapova of russia 6-3, 7-6 to capture the 2015 australian open women's singles championsip. williams now has 19 major singles titles, one more than hall-of-fame legends chris evert and martina navtrailova. steffi graf of germany holds the record in the open era with 22 major wins.

williams' record in grand slam majors is 19-4, the best in the open era. this was her sixth title down under - another record. she won her first major as a teenager in 1999 at the u.s. open. today, at age 33, she became the oldest woman to win a major championship. furthermore, williams beat sharapova for the 16th consecutive time: modern tennis' most one-sided rivalry.

"i never thought that i would be sitting and having this discussion," williams told a small group of reporters after the match. "before i just had a dream and a racket and two wonderful parents who supported me. a part of me thinks, wow, i really have a chance to create history, and a part of me thinks, wow, i've done so much, this is amazing. i just try to look at both sides of it," she said.

williams struggled in her early matches, twice coming back from a set down. a recurring cough lingered in her chest for much of the fortnight. in fact, she vomited off court during a rain delay in the second set. sharapova elevated her game and forced a dramatic tiebreaker - saving two match points with powerful forehand winners. but williams, undaunted, intensely smacked an ace - her 18th of the match - to emerge victorious.

world #1 novak djokovic of serbia defeated world #6 andy murray of great britain 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 to become the 2015 australian open men's singles champion. djokovic now joins andre agassi, jimmy connors and ivan lendl with eight major titles apiece. he won his fifth trophy down under and improved his career record at melbourne park to 5-0.

"there were a lot of turning points in the match. regardless of the record i have here, we both knew we had equal chances to win. it was a cat-and-mouse fight, it always is with us," djokovic said. at the end of the match, he threw his racket into the crowd at rod laver arena. several aussies - former champions - were present, including rod laver, roy emerson, ken rosewall and margaret court.

djokovic won the grueling first set tiebreaker. the second set was delayed for about five minutes after the seventh game when a court invader protesting australia's refugee policies was removed by security after jumping out of the stands and onto the court. other spectators in the stadium unfurled a political banner. organizers said two people were arrested, and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

after two and a half hours of physically demanding tennis, the match was tied at one set apiece. it appeared murray had the momentum, but when djokovic broke his serve in the third set, he never looked back, despite enduring a bruised hand and leg ailments. a new husband and father, djokovic is adored internationally. some serbian fans yelled, "adje nole," which is serbian for "come on nole," his increasingly popular nickname.