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, March 10, 2015

Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Racist Chants Fuels University Suspensions

several members of sigma alpha epsilon on sunday were caught on video chanting supremacist views while riding on a charter bus. university of oklahoma fraternity white males, hands raised, fists pumped, in unison, sang, "there will never be a nigger in sae, you can hang them from a tree but they will never sign with me, there will never be a nigger sae."

university president david boren on monday severed the school's ties with the national fraternity. boren ordered its on-house campus be shuttered; members have until midnight tuesday to remove their belongings from the fraternity house. boren said frat members "violated all that we stand for."

boren attended a pre-dawn rally organized by students. he called the frat members involved "disgraceful," publicly admonishing their behavior as "irresponsible." at a mid-day news conference, he said, "this is not who we are. i'd be glad if they left. i might even pay the bus fare for them." 

the president, notably outraged with their bigoted remarks, also said the university's legal staff is exploring whether the students who initiated and encouraged the chant may have violated title six of the civil rights act, which prohibits racial discrimination.

national leaders of sigma alpha epsilon said late sunday their investigation confirmed members took part in the chant. additionally, they announced the local chapter will be closed, saying they were "embarrassed," by the "unacceptable and racist," behavior.

ou unheard, a black student group on campus, posted a link to the video after someone anonymously called it to the group's attention sunday afternoon. on monday, communications director alexis hall, a junior, said, "we immediately need to share that with the ou student body. for students to say they're going to lynch an entire group of people...its disgusting."

"i was shocked they were just doing it openly on the bus, like they were proud of it. from the chant you could tell they had done it before. it wasn't a first-time thing. and it was everybody. and the fist-pumping," said jared scarborough, a junior in construction science.

north mesquite (texas) high offensive tackle jean delance tweeted monday morning he has decommitted from oklahoma. delance, ranked in the scout 150, said he was impacted by the video's messages, and it played a role in his decision to begin looking elsewhere for his collegiate aspirations. 

similarly, atlanta-based rapper waka flocka flame aborted his upcoming concert at the school. according to his instagram post, flame said, "i'm disgusted and disappointed in the actions of the sae fraternity at university of oklahoma and i will be cancelling my scheduled performance for them next month. racism is something i will not tolerate." 

university of oklahoma sooners football coach bob stoops, who attended a morning rally on the campus, humbly cancelled the team's afternoon practice. the players and coaches walked into the practice with linked arms, gathered to say a prayer, then left.

located in the southern oklahoma city suburb of norman, the student population is about 27,000. less than five percent are black. sigma alpha epsilon was founded in 1859. their mission "is to promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for our members based upon the ideals set forth by our founders and as specifically enunciated in our creed, "the true gentleman." 

the greek system remains largely segregated. 




Monday, March 09, 2015

Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act of 2014 re-introduced by Senators Paul and Reid

u.s. senators rand paul (r-ky) and harry reid (d-nv) re-introduced the civil rights voting restoration act of 2014. this bipartisan piece of legislation was originally introduced by paul in the senate on june 26, 2014, read twice and referred to the committee on the judiciary of the 113th congress (2013-14).

the civil rights voting restoration act of 2014 declares the right of a u.s. citizen to vote in any election for federal office shall not be abridged or denied because the individual has been convicted of a non-violent criminal offense; unless, at the time of the election, the individual is serving a sentence in a correctional facility or a term of probation.

the bill, known in congress as s.2550, restores the right to vote of an individual on probation: 1) on the date the term of probation ends, if such term is less than one year; or 2) one year after the date the individual begins serving the term of probation, if such term is one year or longer.

also, the bill directs the attorney general to determine and establish a list of the criminal offenses under federal and state law deemed non-violent criminal offenses. s.2550 provides for enforcement of, and remedies for violations of, this act. the bill also sets forth requirements for state and federal notification of individuals of their voting rights pursuant to this act.

moreover, s.2550 prohibits a state, local government, or other person from receiving or using federal grant amounts to construct or improve a place of incarceration unless that person has in effect a program under which each incarcerated individual is notified, upon release, of his or her rights under this act.       




Saturday, March 07, 2015

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders Wins $825K Suit against the team

a group of tampa bay buccaneers cheerleaders settled for $825,000 after winning a lawsuit against the team. former bucs cheerleader manouchcar pierre-val filed a class action lawsuit against the team last may. she alleged they paid the cheerleaders just $100 per game - nothing for practice, and only limited money for other team events.

the suit states, "the squad makes approximately 300 community appearances every year for both non-profit organizations and corporate events. the ladies are actively involved in the community relations activities and programs generated by the organization. additionally, the team is invited to serve as ambassadors for the nfl across the country and overseas on various military tours, bringing smiles to the men and women who valiantly serve the united states."

additionally, the suit contends, "the cheerleaders are required to attend at least four (4) to fifteen (15) hours of mandatory practices per week, arrive approximately four (4) hours prior to home game start times, and are required to perform at least forty (40) hours of community appearances, but they do not receive any compensation for this time."  

pierre-val, on behalf of herself and 93 other bucs cheerleaders, was demanding $661,000. she received $825,000 after settling with her former employer. after $264,000 goes to the lawyers, the cheerleaders will divide $561,000. each woman should expect to net about $6,000. pierre-val started with tampa bay in 2012, and also worked full-time as a registered nurse.


Monday, March 02, 2015

TGI Fridays sued by Black waiters

nearly all of the black waiters at a tgi friday's in manhattan were replaced by "light-skinned" workers - mostly hispanic - when the chain closed a busy midtown location and opened a new store. according to a lawsuit filed thursday in bronx supreme court, just one black staff member was rehired after being fired.

when the workers protested, a restaurant manager told one of them he preferred hispanic workers because they "work harder," the class action discrimination suit alleges. one of the plaintiffs, lisa baker, said, "it was their opinion that black people are lazy." the 48 year-old waitress also said, "we weren't even given a chance."

managers openly referred to the old location as the "ghetto store," or the "black friday's," and wanted to rid themselves of that reputation, the suit contends. former employees said they were promised an equal opportunity to work at the new restaurant, a 15,000-square-foot franchise on 34th street, but never heard from their employers.   

"they knew exactly what they were doing," said tony pringle, 42, another plaintiff. he earned $850/week and was not rehired. pringle said, "they were basically not hiring blacks." one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, matthew bilt said, "the only reason these people are not working right now is because of their skin color. heck, this isn't the 1950's."

a spokesman for tgi friday's owners, national restaurants management inc. - a family-run business known as the reise organization - said the company "is proud of its 75-year tradition of positive employee relations with a diverse workforce." their spokesman pat smith asserted, "the restaurant in question has a workforce, including managers, that is more than 80% non-white." 

lawyers for the former waitstaff are seeking $500,000 for each of the 10 fired employees. the $5 million suit pursues "loss of wages, emotional distress and punitive damages."