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 22, 2015

FCC Caps Predatory Prison Phone Rates

today the federal communications commission (fcc) is voting to cap the costs of predatory prison phone calls. their decision will make all calls from prisons and detention centers around the country more affordable for families and their loved ones.

the vote is a major victory for black families and communities of african descent, who already cope with disproportionate incarceration rates, racially oppressive policing, and overly priced phone companies. 

for over a decade advocates have fought to end the phone industry monopolization. families are often forced to choose between food and communication. prison phone companies like global tel link have made billions of dollars charging outrageous prices for inadequate services.

in 2013, over 25,000 color of change members called on the fcc to end predatory prison phone prices for people calling across state boundaries. earlier this month, they hand delivered 65,000 signatures from their members to the fcc to lower those prices.

commissioner mignon clyburn, chairman tom wheeler and commissioner jessica rosenworcel have shown tremendous leadership in holding the fcc accountable. as such, the fcc is now poised to fix what clyburn says is, "the clearest, most egregious case of market failure ever."

nearly three million children in the u.s. have a parent in prison. one of every nine of these kids are black. consistent communication plays a critical role in maintaining family unity, reducing inmate recidivism and working to cultivate successful productive members of society.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Minnesota Lynx Win 2015 WNBA Title

the minnesota lynx defeated the indiana fever 69-52 in game five to win the 2015 wnba championship. the lynx captured their third crown in five years. center sylvia fowles, acquired from the chicago sky on july 27, was named the finals mvp. she had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

the last five game series was in 2009. in 2011, the lynx captured their first franchise crown. they lost the following year to the indiana pacers, and beat the atlanta dream in 2013. minnesota now join the houston comets, detroit shock and phoenix mercury as the only teams to win three wnba finals. the comets won the league's first four titles.  

this was the first championship minnesota clinched at home. the raucous crowd at the target center inspired a defensive masterpiece: indiana scored just four points in the second quarter. the lynx forced 21 turnovers and held the fever to 36% field goal shooting. 

lynx coach cheryl reeve later praised veteran all-stars seimone augustus, rebekkah brunson and lindsey whalen for their leadership, resiliency and toughness in overcoming injuries all year. augustus finished with 16 points, and brunson had 10 points and 14 rebounds. 

augustus said, "the way we grinded together, a lot of things happen throughout the season that people don't even know. we kept grinding and working despite everything that we've been through." coach reeve was asked how they persevered. before shedding tears, reeve sarcastically remarked, "it was a piece of cake. i'm just proud." 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Texas Court halts execution of death row inmate

the texas court of criminal appeals on monday halted the execution of an inmate on death row. his lawyers argued he was sentenced based on false testimony from major witnesses. the court stayed the november 3 execution of julius murphy without elaborating on its decision.

murphy, 36, was convicted in 1988 of fatally shooting jason erie in the head during a 1997 robbery. lawyers for murphy asked the court in september to put the execution on hold. they said they have new evidence which shows prosecutors coerced dishonest testimony.

"mr. murphy's conviction and death sentence were procured through prosecutorial misconduct," said catherine stetson, a lawyer for murphy. the office of the texas attorney general was not immediately available for comment. it previously said murphy was properly convicted.

murphy's lawyers said prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of two witnesses, christina davis and javarrow young. the lawyers said they had sworn statements which show both witnesses were unduly coerced into testimony - and lied about the evidence.

in his new statement, young said one of murphy's co-defendants was the actual shooter. murphy's lawyers said young was threatened with a murder charge if he did not testify against their client. they also said davis was threatened with a conspiracy to commit murder charge if she did not testify.

lawyers for murphy have tried unsuccessfully to halt the execution by arguing he was mentally disabled, and putting him to death would be unlawful. since the u.s. supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, texas has executed 529 inmates - the most of any state in the nation. 

in recent years, texas has instituted various reforms in the judicial process. although some activists believe these measures are woefully inadequate, the initiatives are designed to increase funding for public defenders, and provide greater oversight of prosecutors.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

NBA Player Thabo Sefolosha Found Not Guilty in April 2015 NYPD Incident

atlanta hawks guard thabo sefolosha was found not guilty on all charges against him relating to an incident outside of a manhattan night club in april of this year. sefolosha was visibly relieved, but has not decided on whether to file a civil lawsuit against the nypd.

police claimed sefolosha and hawks teammate pero antic were slow to leave the area where they investigated the stabbing of indiana pacers forward chris copeland. sefolosha's lawyers argued he was falsely apprehended. he suffered a broken bone in his right leg - after his arrest.

sefolosha said after the decision on thursday, "i want to assure (jury) this was the right verdict. they were on the right side of truth and justice." nba players association director michele roberts tweeted, "thabo acquitted! justice prevails! thabo had the courage to fight the charges. we are so proud! #notguilty."

the swiss-born defensive specialist has returned to practice. however, sefolosha did experience leg pain late last month. the team is unclear when he'll be ready to play at 100% capacity. the eastern conference finalists' hawks open the regular season against the detroit pistons october 27.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Family of Black Man killed by White Cop reaches $6.5 million settlement with North Charleston

the family of the late walter scott has reached a settlement with the city of north charleston, south carolina for $6.5 million. the north charleston city council approved the decision on thursday night.

scott was fatally shot by former north charleston police officer michael slager on april 4 this year. the unarmed 50-year old scott was reportedly pulled over for a broken brake light, and later was struck in the back after running from the police.

scott is black. slager is white.

slager was charged with murder in the high profile case. state circuit judge clifton newman denied him bond last month. newman said his possible release "would constitute an unreasonable danger to the community."

the city of north charleston faced the possibility of a tedious, polarizing and expensive legal battle with the scott family. but after the announcement of this rare financial agreement - involving a black male and white cop - the lawsuit is now over.

"i'm glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit," said north charleston mayor keith summey. the mayor praised scott's family amidst their pleas for calm immediately after the national outrage scott's tragic death spurred.

scott's mother, judy scott, told cnn's anderson cooper she "felt forgiveness in my heart, even for the guy that shot and killed my son." anthony scott, walter's brother, said his family will donate portions of the settlement to the ongoing red cross disaster relief efforts. parts of south carolina have recently succumbed to deadly flooding and torrential rains.

scott publicly thanked the small-town city for their big-time compromise on behalf of his brother. scott said, "the city of charleston's actions have ensured that walter did not die in vain. the city sent a message, loud and clear, that this type of reckless behavior will not be tolerated."     

Saturday, October 03, 2015

WNBA 2015 Year-End Awards

the wnba year-end awards highlight the outstanding achievements of players, coaches and executives in 2015. listed below are the winners:

most valuable player - elena delle donne, chicago sky
rookie of the year - jewell loyd, seattle storm
defensive player of the year - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
sixth woman of the year - allie quigley, chicago sky
most improved player - kelsey bone, connecticut sun

coach of the year - bill laimbeer, new york liberty
kim perrot sportsmanship - delisha milton-jones, los angeles sparks 

peak performers
scoring - elena delle donne, chicago sky, 23.4 points per game
rebounds - courtney paris - tulsa shock, 9.3 rebounds per game
assists - courtney vandersloot, chicago sky, 5.8 assists per game

all-wnba first team
forward - elena delle donne, chicago sky
forward - maya moore, minnesota lynx
center - tina charles, new york liberty
guard - dewana bonner, phoenix mercury
guard - angel mccoughtry, atlanta dream

all-defensive team
center - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
forward - tamika catchings, indiana fever
forward - nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
guard - briann january, indiana fever
guard- angel mccoughtry, atlanta dream

all-rookie team 
jewell loyd, seattle storm
ramu tokashiki, seattle storm
brittany boyd, new york liberty
kiah stokes, new york liberty
natalie achonwa, indiana fever
ana dabovic, los angeles sparks