First Anti-Gang Violence Education Clinic in Harlem

First Anti-Gang Violence Education Clinic in Harlem

Daa’iya L. Sanusi, New York Amsterdam News (via New America Media) | June 7, 2011

“There are no closed doors in my mother’s house” was one of the first lessons offered by Iesha Sekou, executive director of Street Corner Resources during the first annual Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright Anti-Gang Violence Education Clinic, organized by Wright and his chief of staff, Jeanine Johnson, and aide, Maurice Cummings.

The clinic was organized as an emergency response to the unprecedented murders engulfing the partially gentrified community of Harlem and was held at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on May 18.

Wright, who has served the Harlem community for 19 years, is taking bold steps for the people who have been left out of the wave of ownership, academic privilege and job success that have transformed many pockets of Harlem-the people left behind in the projects and nearby areas.

“In New York City there are roughly 2,500-3,000 gang members, with the majority in northern Manhattan-over 50,000 gang members are in New York State. Nearly 12 percent of Black and Latino youth have been reported as having joined a gang and they are becoming more and more dangerous,” explained Wright.

“We are here to learn how to end the plague of gangs in our neighborhoods,” he continued. “How to identify the signals that your children could be involved in gangs; successfully intervening if your loved one is in a gang. We are here to offer successful prevention tools and methods to keep gangs from further infiltrating our schools, our communities and homes.”

The Rev. Vernon Williams, co-founder of the Save Our Children Project and member of the Harlem Clergy and Community Leaders Coalition presented several alarming stories of young people who might have been spared had it not been for “KKK.” “Some people think about white sheets and burning crosses when I say ‘KKK,’ but it’s a mentality that says it’s OK to kill Black and Brown babies: ‘Kids Killing Kids.'”  (Read more)


Rangers, Astros draft paralyzed baseball players

Rangers, Astros draft paralyzed baseball players

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press (via The Grio) | June 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnathan Taylor and Buddy Lamothe may never play baseball again after accidents left them partially paralyzed.

That didn’t matter to the teams that picked them Wednesday during the final rounds of the Major League Baseball draft.

Taylor, an outfielder from the University of Georgia, was a 33rd-round pick of the Texas Rangers, while Lamothe, a reliever from San Jacinto College, was the Houston Astros’ 40th-round selection.

Taylor was left paralyzed from the chest down after he broke his neck in March during a game when he collided with teammate Zach Cone, the Rangers’ supplemental-round pick Monday. Texas director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said the team’s selection of Taylor was “something we felt was right.”

“We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach’s draft status,” Fagg said. “Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player.”

Taylor hit .335 last year as a sophomore for the Bulldogs, and was hitting .182 with two RBIs in 11 games at the time of his injury.

Fagg added that he and a few other Texas officials visited Cone during “the course of normal pre-draft activity” and gave him a Rangers jersey to give to Taylor that was signed by the entire Rangers team.  (Read more)


Saggy-pants laws: Red herring to control kids

Saggy-pants laws: Red herring to control kids

Marc Lamont Hill, Daily News | June 8, 2011

EARLIER THIS WEEK, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority in Texas announced that it will “get tough” on enforcing a dress code that bans sagging pants from the city’s public transportation.

The Texas decision is nothing new. Over the past several years, cities around the country have made similar decisions regarding the hip-hop-inspired fashion trend. A year ago, New York state Sen. Eric Adams drew national headlines by unveiling the “Stop Sagging” campaign, a series of billboards and viral Web videos that decry the practice of wearing pants below the waist.

In Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and Florida, politicians have taken the anti-sagging movement even further by passing laws that outlaw the fashion trend through the creation of public-decency ordinances.

Do we really have nothing better to do?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a huge fan of sagging pants. The older I get, the more absurd and unattractive I find the practice. Still, the fact that legislators around the country can devote serious time, energy and political muscle to the sartorial predilections of teenagers means that we have seriously misplaced priorities.

Much of the outrage over sagging pants is rooted in the belief that the trend is an outgrowth of prison culture in which inmates are forced to sag their pants because they aren’t permitted to wear belts. Others argue it’s a sign of prison homosexuality, as gay inmates expose their buttocks to let others know that they are sexually available.  (Read more)




Let 'Em Drag!

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I don’t really think the saggy pants debate is that interesting.  I don’t tend to mind a little sag on a slim body but for the most part, I think exposure of the entire ass and underwear is ridiculous.  I find the constant policing of black bodies to be quite annoying, sagging pants included.  Most of the time it is older whites and blacks telling young folks how to dress but young black people challenge one another, it is a great thing.  Check out this video.  Satire rules!

War on Drugs: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

So the Global Commission on Drug Policy has released a report stating that the War on Drugs is a fail. Welcome to the party, sirs, you’re 40 years late but please, sit. What clued you in on this failure? The wasted dollars, the overflowing prisons, lives lost, lack of actual resources dedicated to rehabilitating addicts?

This never happened.

America thrives on the drug trade. Its capitalism, and therefore imperialism are so tightly intertwined with the drug trade that it’s hard to tell one from another. The failing “war on drugs” has kept capitalism afloat by creating a permanent lower class. A lower class that is essential to the continued growth and flourishing of capitalism. To actually win this war would require some self-sacrifice on the part of the system and that’s really not happening any time soon.

Young, Black, and in the Process of Surviving the Life of the Mind

Three years of college done. And After surviving ¾ of my undergraduate life, I am now left to reflect, remember where I have come from, and try to figure out where I’m heading in the future. University of Chicago has not only allowed me to live a life of the mind, but it has also enabled me to live a life of activism, community engagement, and personal growth. I am “here”, but I have come a long way to be here. I am from a place that rarely achieves any level of intersection with universities like Chicago. In my high school in East Cleveland, Ohio, there is a 50% graduation rate, and only half of the students who graduate will go on to college. Most of those who do will be women.

In my city only 3 out of 100 black men will graduate from college and I will be the first person in my family to do so.  My presence at this University is a symbol of odds being defeated.  The University of Chicago was the only school I applied to. When I applied I knew from the very beginning that I was starting a process of breaking barriers. These are barriers that commonly exist between poor inner city communities and elite colleges and universities, but also barriers that remain concrete between black communities and colleges in general.