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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rent Freeze in New York City

on sunday june 27, the new york city rent guidelines board voted for a zero percent increase on one-year lease renewals for rent-stabilized apartments. the board also approved an increase of two percent on two-year leases, providing more stability for long time renters.

these changes will go into effect for all rent-stabilized leases signed after october 1. last year's rent freeze was the first in 50 years. this year's rent freeze offers security for hundreds of thousands of working families.

the rent guidelines board bases its decisions on months of research into the costs and pressures facing owners and tenants alike. they also consider the voices of new yorkers who engage in the rent guidelines board's public process.

there are 1.6 million new yorkers who currently live in a rent stabilized apartment. each of their leases are coming up for renewal between october 1, 2016 and september 30, 2017. this rent freeze affects them all.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cavs make history, and beat Warriors for 2016 NBA Title, first in franchise history

the cleveland cavaliers beat the golden state warriors on sunday 93-89, in game seven on the road to win the 2016 nba championship. this is the cavs' first nba title in franchise history. they are the first team in nba history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit; the previous 32 teams down 3-1 all lost.

lebron james was named finals mvp for the third time in his stellar 13-year career. james played 47 minutes and finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and three blocks. james became the first nba player in finals history to lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.

"i don't know why the man above gave me the hardest road, but...the man above don't put you in situations that you can't handle...i just kept that same positive attitude. instead of saying, why me? i said, this what he wants me to do. and cleveland, this is for you," said james afterwards.

the cavs' improbable and miraculous championship ended a 52-year major title drought for the city. for over five decades, cleveland has collectively suffered 1) the fumble (browns); 2) the drive (browns); 3) the shot (cavaliers); 4) the single (indians); and 5) the decision (james). 

in 1964, the cleveland browns defeated the baltimore colts to win the super bowl. and, they were the last major professional sports team in cleveland to win a title. the browns were led by hall-of-fame running back jim brown, who sent james a congratulatory tweet after the cavs' incredible win.

james was deemed the golden child after being drafted straight out of high school by the cavs in 2003 for their #1 pick. kyrie irving was also drafted #1 by the cavs in 2011 despite injuries limiting his freshman year at duke to 11 games. irving had 26 points and six assists in game seven - and outplayed unanimous regular season mvp stephen curry the entire series. 

with just 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter of an 89-89 game, irving's three-pointer over curry's outstretched hands silenced a raucous crowd. james blocked andre iguodala's breakaway layup with about 90 seconds left to break the spirit of a team who set a regular season record with 73 wins. golden state opened the season 24-0, but finished the season 0-3.  

early last year, cleveland' forward james jones developed an idea to unify their postseason run. the cavs would create a puzzle with 16 pieces - one for each win needed to win a title. when put together, it would form the larry o'brien championship trophy. jones said, "we needed something to bring us together. we assembled this team. so we had to assemble the puzzle."

the final piece of the puzzle was in the shape of the state of ohio. it was placed by rookie coach tyronn lue as the cavs poured champagne over each other in the visitors locker room at oracle arena in oakland, california. lue, their assistant head coach, became head coach after david blatt was unceremoniously fired halfway through the season, despite the cavs leading the eastern conference.

throughout the seven-game series, tristan thompson, richard jefferson and j.r. smith each played integral roles in the cavs' unlikely success. their collective defense, rebounding and scoring complimented the outstanding play of james and irving. also, the injured, maligned and under-achieving kevin love finished with a game-high 14 rebounds, four offensively.   

Friday, June 17, 2016

Washington, D.C. Board of Elections assists voters in jail

various staff from the washington, d.c. board of elections went to the d.c. jail and to the correctional treatment facility. their efforts helped allow eligible individuals cast absentee ballots during the june 14 primary there.

washington, d.c. is one of only a handful of jurisdictions to facilitate voting in jail. the program was started in 2004 primarily due to the efforts of charles sullivan of citizens united for rehabilitation of errants (cure), who advocated for onsite absentee voting programs.

the board of elections also distributes voter guides with information on the candidates prior to voting day. "the vast majority of the 700,000 people in local jails are eligible to vote since they are either awaiting trial or serving time on a misdemeanor conviction, but not a felony," said marc mauer, executive director of the sentencing project.

mauer also said, "but there are only a handful of jails in the country where there's any ongoing effort to make the voting process accessible to this group of people, so the district of columbia is a leader in this regard." 

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.  




Saturday, June 11, 2016

Former Corrections Officer convicted of various assault charges on Rikers Island

a former new york corrections captain was convicted on friday of beating an inmate and attempting to cover up the incident at rikers island jail. two subordinate officers were convicted of lesser charges tied to the crime.

the 12-week trial was the latest in a string of prosecutions targeting rikers employees over the last four years. officials seek to end corruption and violence which continues to plague new york city's main jail complex.  

department of corrections captain gerald vaughn was convicted at the bronx supreme court of first-degree attempted gang assault, second-degree assault and other charges in the beating of inmate jahmal lightfoot in 2012. vaughn faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence on the top count.

corrections officers harmon frierson and dwayne maynard were convicted of official misconduct, a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail. vaughn, frierson and maynard are scheduled to be sentenced on september 6.

"these convictions close a chapter in rikers island's sad, brutal history...they send a clear message that a uniform and a badge do not absolve anyone from committing a crime, and that even an inmate deserves to be treated like a human being," said district attorney darcel clark.

prosecutors accused ten guards in the vicious assault. lightfoot was left by these officers to endure a broken nose and fractured eye sockets. five other correction officials were convicted on tuesday in the brutal incident. 

rikers island is one of the country's largest jail complexes, housing about 10,000 people. nyc mayor bill de blasio's administration has instituted a comprehensive plan to reduce violence there - by inmates and officials - including better training, more cameras and updated use-of-force policies.  

Monday, June 06, 2016

Garbine Muguruza and Novak Djokovic win 2016 French Open Singles Titles

garbine muguruza of spain defeated serena williams of the u.s. 7-5, 6-4 on saturday to capture the french open singles championship. muguruza, 22, won her first major singles title and will become the #2 player on tour when the new rankings come out monday.

the fourth-seeded muguruza used her powerful groundstrokes to keep williams off balance for most of the highly-competitive match. muguruza broke williams' serve four times - including three in a row. this was her second major final; she lost to williams last year at wimbledon.

muguruza overcame early jitters, serving nine double faults. but she was aggressive from the baseline and had just 21 unforced errors. afterwards, muguruza said, "i can't explain with words what this day means to me. i have grown up playing on clay, so for spain, and for me, this is amazing."  

williams, the #1 player and defending champion, was seeking her 22nd major singles title, remarkably, at age 34. steffi graf of germany holds the open era record with 22. margaret court of australia has the all-time record of 24. williams said, "she has a bright future, obviously...she knows how to play on the big stage...and i think she played the big points really well."

novak djokovic of serbia defeated andy murray of great britain 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on sunday to capture the french open singles championship. world #1 djokovic has won 28 major singles matches in a row, beginning with his victory last year at wimbledon.

djokovic, 29, now has 12 major singles titles. only roger federer (17), rafael nadal (14) and pete sampras (14) have more. this was his first victory (in four finals) at paris. he joins don budge and rod laver as the only men to hold the australian, french, wimbldeon and u.s. open simultaneously.

after the match, djokovic said, "it's really a very special moment...perhaps the greatest moment of my career. i felt today something that i never felt before at roland garros. i felt the love of the crowd, i drew the heart on the court, like guga (gustavo kuerten), which he gave me permission to do. my heart will always be with you on this court."

murray, now 2-8 in major singles finals, said, "it's so rare in tennis, and for me personally, it sucks to lose the match, but i'm proud to have been part of today. it's going to take a long time for it to happen again." murray was trying to become england's first male champion in paris since 1935. 


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation reaches settlement with Chinese laborers from WWII

mitsubishi materials corp., one of dozens of japanese companies to use chinese forced laborers during world war two, reached a settlement on wednesday covering thousands of people. the landmark agreement includes compensation, and an apology.

the historic deal was signed in beijing, tokyo with three former workers representing over 3,000 oppressed laborers. nearly 40,000 chinese were brought to japan in the early 1940's to make up for a domestic labor shortage. many were treated harshly by the japanese and died of malnutrition and violence.

under the settlement, mitsubishi materials will pay100,000 yuan ($15,000) to each of the workers and their families. laborers were forced to work at 10 coal mines operated by mitsubishi mining corporation, as it was formerly known. the corporation said it would try and locate all workers. payments would total 370 million yuan ($56 million) if everyone came forward.

one of the workers, yan yucheng, 87, said, "world war two ended 70 years ago. our forced labor case today has finally come to a resolution. we have won this case. this is a big victory that merits celebration."

"the company did it not for reconciliation, but to try to relieve the pressure on the japanese government," said kang jian, a lawyer representing 60 former workers who filed a case against mitsubishi materials in a chinese court. last year, the corporation apologized for its harsh treatment of u.s. prisoners of war, also used as forced laborers.

chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman hua chunying remarked beijing would pay close attention to how japan deals with such matters. chunying said, "china urges japan to adopt a responsible attitude and properly handle the relevant issue of history." 

in a statement at the signing ceremony, the corporation "expressed its sincere apologies regarding its historical responsibility to the former laborers and the apologies were accepted by the three former laborers...we promise to continue to seek a comprehensive and permanent solution with all of its former laborers and their families."

mitsubishi materials also said it would construct memorials at the sites where the company's mines were located, and organize memorial ceremonies. several groups - representing workers and their families - sued the corporation two years ago. but one of the groups, representing 37 plaintiffs, rejected the settlement.