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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic Win 2016 Australian Open Singles Titles

angelique kerber of germany stunned world #1 serena williams of the u.s. 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the 2016 australian open singles championship. kerber captured her first career major - while playing in her first major final - after 33 grand slam appearances. 

kerber collected $3.4 million for her efforts and is now the #2 player in the world. kerber, 28, is the first german since steffi graf in 1994 to win here, and the first lefty to win down under since monica seles in 1996. ironically, she was down match point in her first round encounter.

"i was going out there and not thinking too much that it's a grand slam final. i was enjoying the whole two hours on court. i was going out there, trying, ok i can beat her; i beat her once. and just believe in myself. if you're just hoping, you can't win against her. that was my game plan: serving good, moving good and just going for it. it works," kerber said afterwards.

williams has 21 career major singles titles. she is one win away from equaling graf's 22 majors: an open era record since 1999. williams, 34, fell short for the second consecutive major. roberta vinci beat her in the u.s. open semifinals last summer. she told kerber, "you did so well let me be the first to congratulate you. you truly played so well in the moment."

world #1 novak djokovic of serbia defeated andy murray of great britian 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 to win the 2016 australian open singles championship. djokovic equaled roy emerson's record of six australian titles, and continued his unprecedented play in the last 15 months of his career.

the defending champion djokovic has won the last three major singles titles, including four of the last five. he lost the 2015 french open to stan wawrinka of swizerland. djokovic now has 11 career major singles championships, tying bjorn borg of sweden and rod laver of australia for fifth place on the all-time list.

afterwards djokovic said, "i never experienced this much crowd and this much love. i've had the fortune to win this trophy now six times, but i never experienced such support. everything is going well privately, as well, so i feel like i'm at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony. i'll try to keep it that way."

murray, 28, became only the second man to lose five finals at one major - all to djokovic in melbourne. his career record against djokovic was 9-21 before their encounter, losing 10 of his last 11 matches. murray said later, "it's been hard, regardless of today's result. i'm proud i got into this position, just quite looking forward to getting home now." his wife is due next month. 



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Retroactive Ban on Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

the u.s. supreme court, in their 6-3 ruling on monday in the case of montgomery v. louisiana, written by justice kennedy, stated "children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change." several thousand inmates could potentially be impacted by their decision.

the court's rulings in a series of cases over the past decade suggest children are different: making the mandatory, permanent sentence of life without parole (lwop) inappropriate. though mandatory sentencing of lwop was ruled unconstitutional in miller v. alabama, states differed widely on applying the ruling retroactively.

the united states is the only country in the world to allow such unconscionable sentences for children. in 2010, the sentencing project released findings from a nationwide survey of almost 1,600 people serving these sentences. they found many of these kids had been traumatized and victimized before they hurt others.

the sentencing project also cited extreme poverty, poor legal counsel and significant racial disparities with the imposition of life sentences for juveniles. despite many disturbing patterns, they also noticed meaningful change and reform from the inmates over the years, sometimes decades, after their incarceration.    

mandatory sentences of lwop rose exponentially in the 90's during the so-called 'super-predator era,' which has now been wholly discredited as fear-based media hype and political rhetoric. 

the sentencing project works for a fair and effective u.s. justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Black college student wins $45K settlement against Barney's

a young black male won a $45,000 settlement against barney's on wednesday, january 20. trayon christian, 18, sued the high-end clothing store and the new york police department (nypd) in october, 2013, claiming they profiled him for credit card fraud and buying a $349 designer belt on april 27, 2013.

christian, a queens resident, was hassled by two nypd detectives after he purchased the reversible black and white ferragamo's belt. an engineering student and part-time employee at the new york city college of technology at the time, christian felt he was detained because they believed he couldn't afford the belt.

christian said, "they said my card wasn't real, it was fake. they said someone at barney's called to report it." they detectives asked to see his id and look in his bag and whether and where he worked. he said, "the detectives were asking me, 'how could you afford a bag like this?' where did you get this money from?"

the detectives cuffed christian and took him to the 19th precinct station house, where he was kept in a holding cell for two hours. after he was released, the nypd said he was there for only 40 minutes. in august, 2014, barney's agreed to pay $525,000 in fines to settle racial profiling claims.


White Male Officer Sentenced to 263 Years for multiple Sexual Assaults of Black Females

daniel holtzclaw, a former oklahoma city police officer, was sentenced to 263 years in prison for the rapes and sexual assaults of seven black women, and one black female teenager. holtzclaw received the maximum sentence and will serve each year consecutively.

holtzclaw is white.

during the sentencing hearing, the women each shared the pain and horror of their individual trauma. janie liggons, 59, the grandmother who blew the whistle on the predator, said she, "just wanted her life back."

in december, holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges brought against him. he was found not guilty of charges brought in the sexual assaults and rapes of five black women. sentencing was delayed temporarily as holtzclaw's defense team argued for a new trial, claiming prosecutors withheld evidence to help their client.

the lawyers said a detective's social media post and an interview with a juror compromised proceedings. but judge timothy henderson denied the motion and holtzclaw was taken back into custody. supporters and organizers crowded the courtroom, including members of the african american policy forum and the black women's blueprint.