Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Senate Confirms LGBTQ-Rights Opponent to Judgeship



by Brooke Sopelsa

The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Kyle Duncan to serve on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. While several Republicans and conservatives applauded Duncan, a lawyer nominated by Presidential Donald Trump, a number of Democrats and liberal advocacy groups slammed him as “unfit” and “extreme."

Democrats questioned whether Duncan could be an impartial arbitrator given the cases he had worked on, which include defending a North Carolina voter ID law, fighting a contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act and defending Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

A Little Reminder for the TODAY Show....from 'The G-Man'


You know what they say about karma, right? Right!?

Macron in Washington: Can He Change Trump's Foreign Policy?


Source: FRANCE 24 English

White House Press Briefing


Source: The White House

New York to Take Part in First Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium


Six states, including New York, will bring together top researchers to undertake significant new research on all manners of gun violence, data collection and analysis.

Click here for the full announcement. 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Former Dominican Republic President To Visit Bronx County


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz
District 18 Bronx County, New York

You should know that on April 26, at 8:30 a.m., the former President of the Dominican Republic, the Hon. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, will be visiting Bronx County.  

The purpose of his visit is to have a breakfast dialogue with members of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, which is chaired by yours truly.

Fernandez, at my invitation, will address about 150 pastors and ministers at Maestro's Caterers, 1703 Bronxdale Avenue in the Bronx.

President Fernandez is also scheduled to meet with the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party.

For more information contact Rev. Samaris Gross at (347) 613-1491.

I am Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz and this is what you should know.

Governor Cuomo Issues Cease And Desist Letter To ICE


Source: NYGovCuomo

How the NYPD Union Is Manufacturing Outrage About a 70-Year-Old Black Panther’s Parole



Judging by tabloid headlines appearing on New York City newsstands, it might appear as though hundreds of thousands of people object to the release of former Black Panther Herman Bell from prison. That’s how many letters, the tabloids proclaim, were written in protest of the New York State Parole Board’s decision last month to release the 70-year-old prisoner, after 45 years behind bars.

“367,000 reasons not to parole cop-killer Herman Bell,” pronounced a New York Post editorial, noting that “more than 367,000 online letters were sent to the state Board of Parole following its recent decision to release cop killer Herman Bell.” The city’s other big tabloid, the New York Daily News, cited the same figure, attributing it to the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

That sounds like an awful lot of people, but it’s not. Neither tabloid bothers to clarify that this figure in no way represents 367,000 individual people writing in protest of Bell’s release. In fact, the huge number of letters was automatically generated by fewer that 6,000 individual complaints made via the NYC PBA website.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Intercept_

Activists Demand Release of Manuel Duran, Prominent Latino Journalist in Memphis Jailed by ICE


Source: Democracy Now!

My Truth About Being a Black Man and a Black Cop


By Ronald Davis

As more and more shootings of unarmed black men and women are brought to the public’s attention, I understand the distrust that many ― especially people of color ― have against police. As a black man, I’ve been on the receiving end of profiling and discrimination. As a father to black children, I’ve had to have “the talk” with them about how to conduct themselves in encounters with law enforcement to make sure they leave with their lives. But I’m also a cop, and I know this job is dangerous and difficult and it comes with its share of fair and unfair scrutiny.

I’ve spent the last 30 years reconciling these unique and conflicting identities. This effort was not without its struggle. I’ve tried to change the perspectives of people and officers around me, I’ve denied that I had differing perspectives of my own, I’ve tried to balance each identity and fit them into a safe — often false — narrative. All of these efforts failed.

Through these experiences, and those of so many officers and people of color, I’ve come to realize that the only way to reconcile these perspectives is to accept each experience and the truth they represent, and to allow them to co-exist. So, here are my truths.

Click here for the full commentary.

Source: The Huffington Post

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Travel Ban Case


Click here for audio.

Source: C-SPAN

Facebook, Google Roll Out Changes Ahead of European Union's GDPR Privacy Rules


Source: CBS News

Republican Debbie Lesko Wins Arizona's Special Election


Source: CBS News

Governor Cuomo Issues Letter to Senator Felder


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued the following letter to Senator Simcha Felder.

Dear Senator Felder,

Given Shelley Mayer's victory in yesterday's Senate special election, your decision on Senate leadership is now pivotal. There are now 32 registered Democratic Senators forming a majority Democratic Conference. The IDC has unified, and while I understand that you conference as a Republican and run on multiple lines, you are registered as a Democrat. I strongly urge you to join the 31 other registered Democrats so we can enact meaningful legislation that will continue our state's progress at this most critical political time.

There is a new Democratic movement in this state and a new Democratic Senate Conference. We have come a long way. The New York Democratic Party is a new model of Democratic leadership. In this state, Democrats are no longer about just offering dreams but a party of dreamers and doers - a powerful combination. We have articulated a different vision for our state and we have delivered on it. We have credibility with the public because we didn't offer only words, but matched our words with actions. We have made this state the most progressive state in the nation as a matter of aspiration and reality. No state rivals our record on social progress or government accomplishment.

There is much to be proud of, but with a Democratic Senate, we could do even more. There are issues we need to address that the Republicans in the Senate refused to act upon or even bring to the floor for a vote. Not only is it a wasted opportunity to move the state forward, but by refusing to bring issues up for a vote New Yorkers don't even know where the legislators stand. 

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

DNC Statement on Democratic Victories in New York Special Elections

On April 24, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez released the following statement: 

“Congratulations to New York state Senators-Elect Shelley Mayer and Luis Sepulveda, and to all the newly elected Democratic New York state Assembly members. The voters of New York have spoken. Not only did Democrats flip one state Assembly seat, we also won two state Senate races that we need to give us the majority in the New York state Senate and put us one step closer to shifting the balance of power in a legislative chamber that has been controlled by Republicans for the better part of 80 years. Working families in New York want leaders who will fight for the issues that matter to them. They know Democrats have their back, and tonight is further proof that when we organize and lead with our values, we’re unstoppable.

“The DNC was proud to invest $100,000 in the New York Democratic Party (NYDP) through the State Party Innovation Fund (SPIF) to help expand the party’s efforts to engage and organize voters around the state. The state party has already leveraged this increased organizing capacity to lift up Shelley Mayer and start building the support we need to keep winning up and down the ballot in 2018. We look forward to working with the NYDP to keep organizing and electing Democrats across the state.”

Source: The Office of Assemblyman Michael Blake (District 79)

Judge Won't Return After Berating Inmate Who Later Died


A Florida judge will not return to the bench after a video captured her angry exchange with a frail inmate in a wheelchair. Earlier this month, Circuit Court Judge Merrilee Ehrlich snapped at 59-year-old Sandra Twiggs as she explained her ailments and breathing treatments.Twiggs died a few days later.

Source: CBS News 

Jurors Begin Deliberating in Bill Cosby's Sexual Assault Retrial


Source: CBS News

French President Macron Addresses a Joint Session of Congress

Veterans Community Doesn't Know Where VA Nominee Ronny Jackson Stands on Key Issues


Source: PBS NewsHour

US Carmakers Fear Losing Business in China


DRC's New Opposition Leader Strives to Unite Party


Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to Pilot World's First Malaria Vaccine


Germany and USA Far Apart on Trade


Source: euronews.

Iran Threatens to Withdraw from Nuclear Weapons Treaty


Source: euronews.

Mayor de Blasio Makes Announcement About Education


Source: NYC Mayor's Office

City Lying About Safety at Shelters By Undercounting ‘Critical Incidents’


By Greg B. Smith

The de Blasio administration claims in its official report on homeless shelter safety that in 2017 there were zero cases of drug possession, drug sales or drug use inside the Bedford-Atlantic Armory shelter in Crown Heights.

Zero.

This statistic was a big surprise to the Department of Homeless Services police who are assigned to enforce order inside and around the sprawling Brooklyn shelter — one of the biggest in the city.
Internal crime reports obtained by the Daily News show that Homeless Services Department police responded to 113 narcotics-related incidents at the armory last year. During that time they made 51 narcotics-related arrests — an average of about one a week.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

City Worker: Controller Axed Me for Calling Out Political Motives


By James Fanelli

A longtime employee at the city controller's office said he was demoted and ultimately fired because he raised a stink about Comptroller Scott Stringer quickly settling legal claims for political reasons.

Emilio Gonzalez, the onetime chief of the property damage division at the controller's office, filed a lawsuit against the city last August, saying his bosses told him to just go with the flow after he raised concerns that claim examiners paid out claims without due diligence.

“It was clear to Gonzalez that they wanted cases disposed of, not based on merit but upon political considerations which made the comptroller look good in the eyes of the public and his political supporters,” the lawsuit said.

Click here for the full article.  

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

Loeb Donates $15 Million to Success Academy for High Schools

Dan Loeb with Success parent Natasha Shannon and Raymond McGuire


By Amanda L Gordon 

Activist investor Dan Loeb isn’t backing down.

Loeb, who has angered teacher’s unions and politicians for supporting charter schools, is giving $15 million to Success Academy, its founder Eva Moskowitz said Monday night at a benefit for the New York network of 46 schools. The gift from the foundation that he created with his wife will establish the Loeb Fund to Reimagine the American High School.

“Several years ago, Margaret and I recognized that for our students to excel in college and beyond, Success Academy had to develop an entirely new model for public high school," Loeb, 56, founder of Third Point LLC, said in a statement.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: BloombergMarkets (via Empire Report New York) 

Unemployment Rate Rises in Central New York



Syracuse, N.Y. -- The unemployment rate in the Syracuse area rose to 5.6 percent in March, from 5.2 percent in the same month last year.

The state unemployment rate also rose, from 4.7 percent in March of 2017 to 4.8 percent last month. The national unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent, from 4.6 percent in March last year.

According to the state Department of Labor, there were 17,000 people unemployed in the Syracuse metropolitan area (Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties) in March, an increase of 9,000 from the same month last year. At the same time, the number of employed residents fell from 292,000 to 285,100.

The area's civilian labor force - the total number of people working or looking for work - has been shrinking. It fell from 308,100 in March of 2017 to 302,000 last month.

Click here for the full article.

Source: syracuse.com (via Empire Report New York) 

Happening in Harlem - Black Gay Life: An Exploration of Blackness, Masculinity, and Sexual Identity


On April 26 at 6 p.m., an intergenerational conversation will be held about identity and how Black gay men live in triple consciousness — Black, gay and male. 

The free event will be moderated by Emil Wilbekin, Founder of Native Son, with Marc Meachem, ViiV Healthcare; André D. Singleton, The Very Black Project; Cakes da Killa, rapper and artist; and Myles E. Johnson, critic and author.

ViiV Healthcare, Native Son and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture are presenting the event.

Click here for additional information and to register. 

Source: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Urbanworld Film Festival Accepting Submissions


Urbanworld is still accepting submissions for its 22nd Annual Film Festival, which will be held from September 19 through 23, 2018

#MakeYourMark and submit today to avoid paying the extended deadline fees. #UW22 #Urbanworld

The regular deadline is April 27.  

Click here for additional information and to submit your work. 

Source: ImageNation

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Starbucks 'Targeting' May Not Be Limited to the United States


Starbucks Employee Uses 'F' Words
Towards Black Customer During Tirade

This video was published on YouTube on September 18, 2017. 

On April 18, 2018, an update was posted on the user's channel stating the woman in this video is still employed with the company. The video, which was recorded at a Starbucks in Canada, has gone viral. The user has asked the Internet community to contact the corporate office and demand that action be taken against the employee.

From The G-Man is attempting to reach the man in the video to discuss this incident and claims that other employees have engaged in similar behavior. 

Source: Organic

UPDATE: April 25, 9:39 A.M. (EST) From The G-Man is in the process of trying to find out why the video for this report was removed from YouTube. The information will be published as soon as it becomes available.

DL Hughley on Police Chief Backtracking Starbucks Comments


This video was published on YouTube on April 20. 

Source: DL Hughley

Roland Martin To Trump, Hannity and Others Upset Over Cohen Raid: 'The Rule of Law Can’t Be Optional'


This video was published on YouTube on April 10. 

Source: Roland S. Martin

Greyhound Is Choosing To Let Border Patrol Demand Its Passengers’ Papers


By Elise Foley

Border Patrol officers routinely board buses without a warrant, without specific people they’re targeting, up to 100 miles from the border — and ask passengers for their papers. Greyhound, the nation’s largest intercity bus line, lets the Border Patrol do it and doesn’t plan to stop.

Greyhound officials say they’re just complying with the law. But 10 ACLU state affiliates argue Greyhound has the right — and the responsibility to its passengers — to demand a warrant for Border Patrol officers to board its buses.

They believe Greyhound could fight for its rights and win. But first they have to convince the company to try.

“The starting place is to not give your consent,” said Jordan Wells, an attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “If Border Patrol then says, ‘You know what, we actually don’t even need their consent, we’re going to just do this stuff,’ that would violate the Constitution. But we the public don’t get to have that conversation about whether this is constitutional when Greyhound gives away the game by just saying, ‘We consent, so it’s OK.’” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post 

'To Change the Church' Offers Critical Look at Pope Francis' Leadership


Source: CBS News

Net Neutrality All But Officially Dead


This report was published on YouTube on April 23.

Source: CBS News

President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized Days After Wife's Funeral

British Government Stumbles to Third Lords Defeat in Less Than a Week


Source: euronews.

Canada Shocked by Worst Act of Violence in Years After Van Driven Into Toronto Crowds Kills 10


Source: euronews.

Israel’s Migrant Crisis: Clear Government Signals, But Unclear Decisions


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Eye on Africa: Zimbabwean Nurses Call Off Strike and Return to Work


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Macron Meets Trump: A State Visit with Discord on the Horizon?


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Did Gov. Cuomo Grant New York Parolees the Right to Vote? Not Exactly.

By Victoria Law

When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he would restore voting rights to New Yorkers on parole, he won instant praise from organizers who had long pushed for criminal justice reform.

“This executive order will mean thousands more will be welcomed back into our democracy and assured that in 21st century America, the right to vote is inviolable,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s democracy program, in a press statement.

People on parole, including those who have long pressed for reform, also lauded the announcement. “It’s about time,” said David Schermerhorn, a community leader with VOCAL-NY (Voices of Community Activists and Leaders-New York), a grassroots organization of low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS and mass incarceration. “Politicians have always ignored people like me on parole because we couldn’t do anything for them. Now we have a voice.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: In Justice Today (via Empire Report New York)

New York City is Still Segregated 50 Years After Fair Housing Act


Fifty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the city’s housing stock remains segregated. And according to an analysis by Politico, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies aren’t helping to change that.

Of the 86,324 new and preserved housing units financed by the city in the mayor’s first term, about three-quarters are in neighborhoods where most of the residents are black or Hispanic, according to Politico. 

Click here for summary. 

Source: The Real Deal (via Empire Report New York) 

M.T.A. Pins Its Hopes on Unproven Technology to Fix Subway


By Emma C. Fitzsimmons

Of the many ways the New York City subway unravels on a near daily basis, it has one Achilles’ heel that remains an impediment to any significant turnaround — the balky signals that control the trains.

This has long been known to subway officials who developed a plan years ago to upgrade the system’s dilapidated signals over the next half-century. For riders, that timetable is no longer acceptable.

Now Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and transit leaders are suddenly promoting a different solution: ultra-wideband radio, a technology they say could shorten the timeline to under a decade.

But there is one problem — no one knows if it can actually work.

No major transit system has adopted it and researchers are still studying whether ultra-wideband radio can be used effectively in tunnels. Transit experts question whether it is wise to focus on an emerging technology, rather than ramping up the signal modernization efforts currently underway.

“It hasn’t shown that it can deliver,” said Richard Barone, a vice president at the Regional Plan Association, an urban policy group. “New York doesn’t need to be the guinea pig for new technologies.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via Empire Report New York) 

Low-Overhead Auto Brokers Are Changing the Game for Traditional Dealerships


Green and white balloons float above Jeep Wranglers and Dodge Challengers inside the Manhattan Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram dealership on 11th Avenue near West 48th Street. In an adjacent outdoor lot, red-white-and-blue streamers flutter above used models.

Court papers, however, tell a less cheerful story: In March the franchisees filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a debt of more than $22 million to their chief lender. The filing included a related Alfa Romeo Fiat dealership a few blocks away.

The bankruptcy was the second to hit Manhattan's auto row in less than a year. A nearby Jaguar Land Rover dealership that included Maserati and Ford franchises went bust in July with debts of more than $60 million. It sold at auction in September.

Industry experts said the two bankruptcies point to the growing pressures of a changing automotive retail landscape.

On the one hand are escalating rents in an expensive Manhattan neighborhood. On the other is increasingly intense competition from a little known but rapidly growing part of the industry: automotive leasing brokers, who market themselves on the web and base their operations in modest quarters rather than inside a sleek 11th Avenue showroom.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CRAIN'S New York Business (via Empire Report New York) 

Nixon Suggests She’ll Circulate Petitions to Get on Ballot

ALBANY — Cynthia Nixon doesn’t expect to receive enough support at next month’s state Democratic Committee to win a spot on the party’s primary ballot in September.

Nixon, who is best known for appearing in “Sex and the City,” would need the support of convention delegates representing 25 percent of the weighted vote to automatically earn a primary spot. If not, as an enrolled Democrat, she can circulate and file nominating petitions.

“We’ll see,” Nixon told reporters on Monday at an environmental march near the Capitol. “But I tend to think we’re going to be collecting signatures.”

Click here for summary. 

Source: Politico (via Empire Report New York) 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights


The U.S. Department of Education was investigating why black students in Bryan, Texas, are almost four times as likely as white students to be suspended. Then Betsy DeVos took over.

by Annie Waldman

This story was co-published with Mother Jones.

Beside a highway in Bryan, Texas, tucked between a motorcycle bar and the county jail, stands a low-slung, sprawling complex with tinted windows, sandstone walls and barbed wire lining parts of its roof. A roadside sign identifies it as the Brazos County Juvenile Justice Center.

One Friday afternoon last October, after an incident at nearby Arthur L. Davila Middle School, a police officer arrested 13-year-old Trah’Vaeziah Jackson and brought her to the juvenile detention facility. She cried as employees patted her down, cut off her hair extensions, and took her photo and fingerprints. She was served dinner — chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and an apple in a styrofoam box with a carton of milk — but had no appetite.

In the shower room, guards applied thick anti-lice shampoo to Trah’Vaeziah’s hair. As she washed and combed it, clumps fell out. Afterwards, she reluctantly changed from her school clothes, a T-shirt and jeans, into the detention uniform, an orange shirt with matching shorts. Then she was locked in her cell, which contained a sink, a toilet, and, instead of a bed, a stuffed blue mat atop a brick base. High on the wall was a sliver of a window, but she wasn’t tall enough to see outside.

Only after 8 p.m. was she permitted a phone call. She called her mother and sobbed into the receiver.

How could this accident have turned into a jail sentence?


Click here
for the full article.


Source: ProPublica

White House Press Briefing



The briefing begins at the 25-minute mark.

How Black Students Helped Lead the 1968 Columbia University Strike Against Militarism & Racism


Source: Democracy Now!

Advocates Call on Governor Cuomo to Walk the Talk on Climate

Click on the photos to make them larger. 

Albany – Advocates from across the state gathered today in Albany to hold Governor Andrew Cuomo accountable for meeting his climate and clean energy commitments.

“Today, New Yorkers delivered a message to Governor Cuomo: Walk the talk on climate action; follow through on your words, because lasting change only happens through action and putting goals into law," said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY). 


"For too long, the Governor’s rhetoric has far outpaced his deeds on strengthening our environment or protecting our communities against climate change.

"New York has a remarkable opportunity to be an international leader on climate if, and only if, we embrace a future powered by renewables. The people of the state will continue to remind Governor Cuomo of this opportunity until he takes advantage of it.”


Photo source: EANY

Sanders to Host Sexual Assault Defense Training

Click on the flier to increase its size. 

In recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) is presenting his Sexual Assault Defense Training for the third consecutive year.

A self-defense expert will teach you how to fend off an attacker, and the NYPD will provide safety tips. There will also be resources to help victims.

The event is open to women and men and will be conducted with the support of the 103rd Police Precinct, NY Self Defense Academy, Recoveries R US, Created For Greatness Leadership Group, and the South Ozone Park / Richmond Hill Lions Club.

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: April 30 Could Mark a Turning Point in the Case


The following statement was submitted by Seth Nosanchuk of Prison Radio

A lot is happening at Prison Radio. Mumia Abu-Jamal just published his visionary new book Murder Incorporated. In the midst of the excitement over his new book, there is a crucial court date in a case that could eventually lead to his freedom. Click here for additional information. 

To our people in the Bay, there is an exciting opportunity on May 6 that you do not want to miss: a conversation about Murder Incorporated with co-authors Mumia Abu-Jamal and Steven Vittoria, along with many other special guests including Pam Africa and Emory Douglas. Click here for details. 

NYPL: Tell Us Why You Love the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture!


The following invitation was submitted by Caryl Soriano, Director, Mid-Atlantic Library - The New York Public Library (NYPL). 

What does your library mean to you? Maybe it's a safe space and place of equal-opportunity. You might think of it as your go-to for free classes and programs, or maybe somewhere to get lost in a good book or find a community.
 

Perhaps it's all of the above, or something else entirely.
 

Whatever your reason for loving libraries, click here to tell City Council leaders why libraries matter to you  —and to millions of New Yorkers. It only takes a second. Grab a (digital) sticky note and add your voice!

Everyone belongs at The New York Public Library. There are as many reasons why people love and depend on their neighborhood libraries as there are New Yorkers.

Taskforce Formed to Address Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes



A comprehensive initiative has been established to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcomes, building on the State's commitment to addressing maternal mortality across the state. The multi-pronged initiative includes efforts to review and better address maternal death and morbidity with a focus on racial disparities, expanding community outreach, and taking new actions to increase access to prenatal and perinatal care, including establishing a pilot expansion of Medicaid coverage for doulas. 

"Maternal mortality should not be a fear anyone in New York should have to face in the 21st century," Governor Cuomo said. "We are taking aggressive action to break down barriers that prevent women from getting the prenatal care and information they need. This comprehensive initiative will work to correct unacceptable racial disparities in maternal mortality and help ensure a healthier and stronger New York for all."

The initiative builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to reducing maternal mortality and addressing racial disparities. While New York State has made improvements in reducing maternal mortality rates since 2010, when it was ranked 46th in the nation for the lowest mortality rate, the state still ranks 30th in the nation. Moreover, racial disparities persist, as black women are almost four times more likely nationally to die in childbirth than white women and three times more likely in New York. Research shows that in New York City highly educated black women still fare significantly worse than white women with less than a high school degree.

To continue to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcomes, the Governor is launching the following initiatives:

Create the Taskforce on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes: The task force will provide expert policy advice on improving maternal outcomes, addressing racial and economic disparities and reducing the frequency of maternal mortality and morbidity in New York State. The taskforce will comprise OB-GYNs, hospital representatives, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls Melissa DeRosa, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and appointees from Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, as well as other stakeholders and members of the community. The taskforce will be led by: Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health; Sascha James-Conterelli, DNP, CNM, LM, President of the New York Association of Licensed Midwives;     Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP- President of SUNY Upstate; and Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, NYC Health and Hospitals, Kings County.

Establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board: At the recommendation of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls, the Governor will direct DOH to establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board, composed of health professionals who serve and/or are representative of the diversity of women and mothers across the state, to work in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the City of New York to review each maternal death in New York State. The Board will also be tasked with making policy recommendations to DOH to improve maternal outcomes by reducing maternal mortalities and morbidities, and recommendations would specifically contemplate racial and economic disparities.

Launch the Best Practice Summit with Hospitals and OB-GYNs: The Governor will launch a summit with the Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, ACOG, and other stakeholders to discuss the issue of maternal mortality and morbidity, including racial disparities. The Summit will address statistics, best practices, community awareness, medical school curricula, graduate medical education, and practicing physician training, with the goal of implementing immediate measures and identifying future action items to improve maternal care and management.

Click here for the full announcement. If not posted, check the site a little later.

Source:  The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Trailblazers in Black History: Henry Armstrong


An African American boxer, Henry Armstrong was the only professional boxer to hold world championship titles in three weight divisions simultaneously. In his boxing career from 1931 to 1945, Armstrong fought 181 bouts, won 151 matches, lost 21 fights, and  scored 101 knockouts. After his retirement, he became an ordained minister and devoted himself to underprivileged youth.

Click here for additional information. 

Source: Black History in America

Prince’s Death Reveals How So-Called ‘Friends’ May Really Be Enablers



I don’t know the people Prince considered to be his friends. I don’t know the kinds of things they did to warrant their place within the entertainer’s inner circle.

And it is impossible for anyone to say what may or may not have been in their hearts. But two years after the musician’s death, one thing is clear.

Prince Rogers Nelson’s friends betrayed him.

On Thursday, law enforcement investigators in Minnesota announced that no one would be charged in the 2016 death of the performer, whose body was found in an elevator in his Paisley Park home and recording studio.

According to documents from the investigation released online last week, Prince had nearly 68 micrograms of fentanyl per liter of blood in his system at the time of his death. That’s 22 times the amount absorbed by a cancer patient who regularly wears a prescription fentanyl patch to manage pain.

The fentanyl tablets Prince concealed in aspirin bottles on a bedside table were obtained illegally. 
With so many people constantly clinging to his celebrity, someone surely knows how they ended up there.

But apparently no one is talking. And that’s a shame.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Chicago Tribune