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, February 25, 2016

Federal Judge Approves $940 Million Settlement between Native American Tribes and Obama Administration

a federal judge in albuquerque, new mexico on wednesday approved a $940 million settlement between native american tribes and the obama administration. the class-action lawsuit claims the government shorted tribes for decades on contract costs to manage education, law enforcement and other federal services.

the judge's recommendation begins a process to release payments to the tribes attorneys said could take several months. michael gross, a lawyer for the tribes said, "the end result was there were no objections to the settlement and no objection to the fee request. this showed a unity among indian tribes that is absolutely astounding."

the ruling also authorized a $1.2 million reimbursement for lead plaintiff's costs, and an agreement for attorneys to receive 8.5% of the final settlement amount. nearly 700 tribes, or tribal agencies, are expected to claim compensation, with amounts ranging from an estimated $8,000 for some alaska native villages and communities elsewhere to $58 million for the navajo nation.

val panteah, governor of zuni pueblo, described "a financial death spiral." he said it came as his government tried to offset losses from the contracts in new mexico. other tribal leaders described trying to stem losses from the underfunded contracts with painful budget costs as they tried to meet critical needs in their communities.

the case was originally filed in 1990 by the ramah navajo chapter, a community of about 4,000 people. they became the case's lead plaintiff, along with the oglala sioux tribe in south dakota and zuni pueblo.

in 2012, the case went before the u.s. supreme court. the court sided with the tribes and sent the case back to the lower courts before the interior department announced a proposed settlement last fall. since the supreme court ruling, congress has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars to fully fund contract support costs for tribes.

the settlement is the latest in a recent string of major agreements between the interior department and native tribes to resolve legal disputes which languished for years. in the largest agreement, the government agreed to pay $3.4 billion to resolve claims over royalties owed to generations of individual landowners.

kevin washburn, former interior department assistant secretary for indian affairs said, "it just shows the obama administration has been working throughout two terms to stop litigating with tribes. now, even in the last year of the administration, they're getting this lengthy case settled."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Florida's seatbelt violators are Racially Profiled

black motorists in florida are stopped and ticketed for seatbelt violations nearly twice as often as white residents statewide. in certain counties, blacks are stopped up to four times as often as whites, according to a new report from the american civil liberties union (aclu).

the study is based on data produced since the 2005 florida safety belt law was enacted. the aclu says black motorists tend to wear seatbelts less often than whites, yet this fact doesn't explain the large difference in racial disparity with seatbelt ticketing. 

additionally, black motorists' higher rate of stops and tickets expose them to a disproportionate financial burden - and risk of police force: unlike white motorists with similar citations. the alarming report was featured in the january 27 issue of the guardian. 

in response to these disturbing findings, the aclu is asking for an investigation by the florida attorney general's office of civil rights. the organization is also calling for the promotion of fair and bias-free policing, and for legislation to penalize agencies failing to collect and report data.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maryland Legislature Expands Voting Rights for People with Felony Convictions

maryland lawmakers on tuesday expanded voting rights for people with felony convictions by overriding governor larry hogan's veto of house bill 980. the action restores voting rights to about 40,000 people on felony parole or probation. maryland was one of 35 states who disenfranchised people on parole or probation: individuals living in the community but unable to vote.

marc mauer, executive director of the sentencing project said, "maryland lawmakers have taken an important step in expanding the vote to people with felony convictions living in the community. restricting voting rights is deeply problematic for a democratic society and compounds the social isolation of formerly incarcerated persons from their communities."

nationally, 5.85 million americans are prohibited from voting due to laws disenfranchising citizens convicted of felony offenses. these policies vary by state, and arbitrarily oppress people in prison, on parole, probation, or with past convictions. maryland now joins connecticut and rhode island as states to recently expand voting rights to such people.

felony disenfranchisement has produced broad racial disparities in its impact as well. in america, one in every 13 black adults cannot vote as a result of a felony conviction. moreover, in two states in particular - florida and virginia - more than 20% of black adults suffer disenfranchisement.

civic participation has been linked to lower recidivism rates. in one study, among individuals who had been previously arrested, 27% of nonvoters were re-arrested, compared with 12% of voters. although the limitations of the data available preclude undeniable proof of direct causation, its clear voting appears to compliment pro-social behavior, which might impact lower crime rates.

nicole d. porter, director of advocacy of the sentencing project said, "we are encouraged by state officials who are reconsidering unfair disenfranchisement policies. 23 states have enacted reforms since 1997. this reform offers an opportunity to strengthen the democratic process and we hope this will be followed by a commitment to notify impacted persons their voting rights have been restored."


Sunday, February 07, 2016

Denver Broncos Win Super Bowl 50

the denver broncos defeated the carolina panthers 24-10 to win super bowl 50 at levi's stadium in santa clara, california. denver linebacker von miller was named most valuable player. miller had six tackles, two and a half sacks and two forced fumbles.

denver (15-4) sacked carolina (17-2) qb cam newton seven times - a super bowl record for sacks by one team. broncos defensive lineman demarcus ware also had two sacks. one of miller's forced fumbles resulted in a touchdown early in the first quarter, and they never lost the lead.

broncos' peyton manning, 39, became the oldest qb to win a super bowl, and first starting qb to win on two different teams. he now has 200 career regular and playoff wins: most all-time. asked about his future plans, he said, "i'll take some time to reflect. i got a couple priorities first. i'm going to kiss my wife and kids. i'm going to drink a lot of budweiser tonight." 

carolina's potent offense, number one during the regular season with 500 points, was held to its fewest points of the year. denver allowed just 194 yards, another super bowl record for the least amount given up by a vince lombardi trophy winner. league mvp newton completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards and no touchdowns.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

2016 NFL Honors and 2016 Hall of Fame Class

listed below are the winners of the 2016 nfl honors:

air player of the year - carson palmer, qb, arizona cardinals
ground player of the year - todd gurley, rb, st. louis rams
offensive rookie of the year - todd gurley, rb, st. louis rams 
offensive player of the year - cam newton, qb, carolina panthers

salute to service award - vincent jackson, wr, tampa bay buccaneers
clutch performer of the year - drew brees, qb, new orleans saints

coach of the year - ron rivera, carolina panthers
art rooney award - charles woodson, s, oakland raiders
defensive rookie of the year - marcus peters, cb, kansas city chiefs
assistant coach of the year - wade phillips, denver broncos
greatness on the road award - antonio brown, wr, pittsburgh steelers

defensive player of the year - j.j. watt, de, houston texans
most valuable player - cam newton, qb, carolina panthers
rookie of the year - jameis winston, qb, tampa bay buccaneers
comeback player of the year - eric berry, s, kansas city chiefs

fantasy player of the year - antonio brown, wr, pittsburgh steelers
deacon jones award - j.j. watt, de, houston texans
walter payton man of the year - anquan boldin, wr, san francisco 49ers
performance play of the year - aaron rodgers, qb, green bay packers

2016 hall of fame class
eddie debartolo, owner
tony dungy, coach
brett favre, qb
kevin greene, lb
marvin harrison, wr
orlando pace, ol
ken stabler, qb
dick stanfel, ol