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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The U.S. Police killed almost 1200 people in 2015

u.s police killed more people in 2015 than in 2014. while exact numbers have various sources, the website killedbypolice.net stated almost 1200 people died because of police shootings in america.

their data shows white people are the largest group killed by the police. but collectively, asians, blacks, indigenous people and latinos surpass the number of people killed by the police. 

thinkprogress noted black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than young white men, according to a propublica analysis. in 14 cities this year, every victim of a police killing was black. 

the centers for disease control and prevention also compiled similar data. they reported california, florida and texas lead the u.s. in terms of deadly police encounters. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Will there be mercy or justice for Sandra Bland?

on december 21, the grand jury said it will bring no charges in the death of black lives matter activist sandra bland. she died in jail last july, three days after a traffic stop in waller county, texas. two videos of the stop went viral. the medical examiner said she hanged herself with a trash bag.

her family doubts it was suicide. jail officials did not think she was depressed, even after she told them she tried to take her life last year after a miscarriage. they did not put her on suicide watch.

"in prisons, it is not at all uncommon to find a prisoner hanged or burned to death in his cell. no matter how suspicious the circumstances, these deaths are always ruled "suicides." they are usually black inmates, considered to be a "threat to the orderly running of the prison." they are usually among the most politically aware and socially conscious inmates in the prison." - assata shakur.

the u.s. department of homeland security (dhs) admits they keep an eye on black matter lives through the internet for "situational awareness purposes" to ensure that critical information reaches appropriate decision-makers in federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments," but denies it keeps files on anyone in the movement. 

the fbi behaved similarly with the black power movement in the 60's and 70's under cointelpro.

the grand jury heard nine hours of evidence. the hearing was in secret, there was no judge present, and no lawyer to question the evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecutor. these dynamics are common with grand juries.

the grand jury decision was presumably based mainly on the autopsy. yet, that same autopsy says bland had high levels of marijuana in her blood - levels so high she would have had to have smoked marijuana in jail.

the grand jury will meet again in january to decide "other issues." one such issue is whether the arresting officer, brian encinia, broke any laws during the traffic stop. encinia, a white male, is currently on paid leave. 

the bland family has brought a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against the following: encinia, jail officers elsa magnus and oscar prudente, the sheriff's office, the texas department of public safety, and waller county. 

there are key parts of the autopsy which are missing, and this has profoundly impacted their own independent autopsy. sadly enough, the bland family does not have the report on bland's arrest or her death. after the grand jury meeting in january, they hope more answers will be forthcoming.


When A Child Dies by Mumia Abu-Jamal

newsbreak: cleveland officials announce no charges to be filed in the police killing of 12 year-old tamir rice.

there is something shattering about the death, the killing, of a child. 

when a child dies the natural order is torn, the stars weep and the earth quakes. we have become so accustomed to this system we suppose it is natural, instead of a human imposition. 

politicians in the pocket of so called police unions bow before bags of silver and blink away the death of a child - especially if a black child.

what man-made institution is more precious than a child? what job? what so called profession? what office? what state? when a child dies, adults don't deserve to breathe their stolen air. 

when a child dies, the living must not rest until they have purged the poison that dared harm such a one. when a child dies, time runs backward and attempts to right such a wrong.

this should inspire movements worldwide to fight like never before. for something vile has happened. a child has been killed, and in america, because it's a black child - it means next to nothing.

from imprisoned nation, this is mumia abu-jamal  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2016 NFL Pro Bowl Team

the carolina panthers (14-0) have 10 players selected to the 2016 nfl pro bowl. the arizona cardinals, new england patriots and seattle seahawks each have seven pro bowl players.

patriots quarterback tom brady received the most votes. panthers qb cam newton was second. three rookies were selected: kansas city chiefs cornerback marcus peters, seahawks return man tyler lockett and st. louis rams running back todd gurley.

offensive players

quarterbacks: brady; newton; carson palmer, arizona cardinals; aaron rodgers, green bay packers; ben roethlisberger, pittsburgh steelers; russell wilson, seahawks.

running backs: devonta freeman, atlanta falcons; gurley; doug martin, tampa bay buccaneers; lesean mccoy, buffalo bills; adrian peterson, minnesota vikings.

fullbacks: marcel reese, oakland raiders; mike tolbert, panthers.

wide receivers: odell beckham jr., new york giants; antonio brown, steelers; larry fitzgerald, cardinals; a.j. green, cincinnati bengals; deandre hopkins, houston texans; calvin johnson, detroit lions; julio jones, falcons; brandon marshall, new york jets.

tight ends: tyler eifert, bengals; rob gronkowski, patriots; travis kelce, chiefs; greg olsen, panthers.

centers: travis frederick, dallas cowboys; ryan kalil, panthers; alex mack, cleveland browns; mike pouncey, miami dolphins. 

guards: david decastro, steelers; mike iupati, cardinals; zack martin, cowboys; josh sitton, packers; trai turner, panthers; marshal yanda, baltimore ravens.

tackles: jason peters, philadelphia eagles; tyron smith, cowboys; joe staley, san francisco 49ers; joe thomas, browns; andrew whitworth, bengals; trent williams, washington redskins.

defensive players

ends: ezekiel ansah, lions; michael bennett, seahawks; chandler jones, patriots; khalil mack, oakland raiders; j.j. watt, texans; muhammed wilkerson, jets.

interior lineman: geno atkins, bengals; calais campbell, cardinals; fletcher cox, eagles; aaron donald, rams; gerald mccoy, buccanneers; kawann short, panthers.

inside/middle linebackers: navorro bowman, 49ers; luke keuchly, panthers; clay matthews, packers; bobby wagner, seahawks. 

outside linebackers: jamie collins, panthers; thomas davis, jr., panthers; tamba hali, chiefs; justin houston, chiefs; von miller, denver broncos; demarcus ware, broncos.

cornerbacks: malcolm butler, patriots; chris harris, broncos; josh norman, panthers; marcus peters, chiefs; patrick peterson, cardinals; darrelle revis, jets; richard sherman, panthers; aqib talib, broncos.

free safeties: tyrann mathieu, cardinals; reggie nelson, bengals; earl thomas, seahawks.

strong safeties: eric berry, chiefs; kam chancellor, seahawks; charles woodson, raiders.

special teams players

placekickers: stephen gostkowski, patriots; dan bailey, cowboys.
punters: sam koch, ravens; johnny hekker, rams.
return specialists: darren spoles, eagles; tyler lockett, seahawks.
special teamers: matthew slater, patriots; justin bethel, cardinals. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Race and Bail in America

the bail system for people of african descent in america is criminal. richard pryor once said, "there is no justice for black people - just us." listed below are statistics recently cited by the pretrial racial justice initiative (prji).

* african-americans are 2.5 times more likely to be arrested than white americans.

for non-violent drug arrests:

* african-americans are 2 times more likely to be detained than whites. 
* hispanics are 2.5 times more likely to be detained than whites.
* 1 in 15 african-american males are incarcerated.
* 1 in 36 hispanic males are incarcerated.
* 1 in 106 white males are incarcerated. 

race and bond amounts are significantly correlated:

* african-american men - 35% higher bond than white men.
* hispanic men - 19% higher bond than white men.

drivers of racial discrimination:

* implicit biases of system actors.
* jurisdictions that allow non-lawyers to make bail decisions.
* lack of adequate information to make informed decisions.
* monetary bail system.
* no oversight of discretionary decision-making.

short periods of pretrial detention increases the likelihood of:

* failure to appear in court.
* new criminal activity while awaiting trial.
* post-disposition recidivism.

defendants held for the entire trial period faced:

* four times greater likelihood of being sentenced to jail.
* three times greater likelihood of being sentenced to prison.
* three times longer jail sentences.
* two times prison sentence.

pretrial risk assessment can help to level these disparities through:

* education of implicit biases.
* move from monetary to risk-based system.
* multiple stages of release.
* oversight and accountability.
* require articulation of bail decisions.
* review of bail determinations.  

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Chicago Police Superintendent Fired after video of slain black teen surfaces 13 months later

chicago police superintendent garry mccarthy was fired tuesday by chicago mayor rahm emanuel amid disturbing racial issues within the department. after the video of 17 year-old laquan mcdonald being executed by a police officer last year surfaced just last month, community outrage and national protests led to his dismissal.

in the shocking dashboard camera video, mcdonald is seen walking away from a line of police cruisers. just six seconds after getting out of his car, officer jason van dyke shoots mcdonald. he spins around, writhing on the ground, and van dyke continues to shoot: 16 times. mcdonald had a three-inch blade knife, but didn't threaten the officer.

several patrol cars responded, yet only van dyke fired his weapon. the cook county medical examiner conducted an autopsy on mcdonald. the examiner lists the 16 wounds one by one: arms, back, chest, elbow, hand, left scalp, legs and neck. nine of the gunshots entered from the back.  

van dyke is white. mcdonald is black.

jay darshane, district manager for a burger king where mcdonald was seen running in the video, said shortly after the teenager was fatally shot, four chicago police officers demanded to see the security film. darshane also said 86 minutes of the film was deleted by the police department.

a spokesperson for the independent police review authority said, "we have no credible evidence at this time that would cause to believe cpd purged or erased any surveillance video." but darshane says the cameras were up and running all night. he said, "we had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files. i mean, we were just trying to help the police officers."

jeff neslund, an attorney for the mcdonald family said, "our first time down at the burger king restaurant when we started talking to employees, watching the burger king video, when we realized video had been deleted, or is missing, absolutely we knew something was up."  van dyke was charged with first-degree murder - a first in chicago for a cop.

chicago's black caucus and the chicago sun-times called for mccarthy's immediate ouster. under his tenure, the city has suffered with recurring street violence and controversial police-related shootings. last month, nine year-old tyshawn lee was shot and killed in an alley on the south side of the city. his tragic death was reportedly gang-related. 

in 2012, rekia boyd was shot by detective dante servin. a week after servin was acquitted in boyd's death, mccarthy defended the detective. he said dervin shouldn't have been indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges because he "hit the individual who he was aiming at," and only "happened to hit" boyd.

servin is white. boyd is black.

emanuel said (of mccarthy), "he has become an issue, rather than dealing with the issue, and a distraction." the mayor also said mccarthy was fired because of "the undeniable fact that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded."    

last year, chicago surpassed new york as the nation's murder capital. additionally, the city has spent millions of dollars trying to defend racist police misconduct. undaunted, the black and brown people disproportionately impacted by their oppressive dehumanization continue to demand justice.