Misty Copeland: America’s First Black Principal Ballerina

Misty Copeland is now the Principal Ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre) ABT).  In the 75 year history of the ABT it is the first time that a black person has been selected as the principal ballerina. Ms. Copeland is delighted.  She says since she was 13 years old her dream was to be a principal ballerina.   Clearly, she has earned the honor.   On June 30, 2015, the American Ballet Theatre, one of the three top classical ballet companies announced that she was now its Principal Ballerina. The dream has been realized and conferred.   Misty can soar like an eagle; she can perch like a cat;  she floats through the air with grace and beauty.   Whatever she does, she does with grace, elegance, glamour and style.  Learn much more about her at her official site: http://www.mistycopeland.com/home.html  Here CNN makes the official announcement: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/30/living/feat-misty-copeland-dancer-abt/ 

Misty started dancing late for the ballet culture.  She grew up in less than affluent circumstances; she did not have many ballerinas of colour to inspire her, and by ballerina standards she was not the ideal.  Being 5′ 2″ she had her doubts about her future in classical Ballet.  Most ballerinas are taller, but Misty had passion, commitment, desire and determination.  All these have paid off; she has arrived at the pinacle of the Ballerina World.  As a soloist for the past eight years she has been admired around the world; she has been treated like a rock star (especially when she travels).   Characteristically, here is what she said as a soloist:  “My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company,” she wrote in her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” published in 2014. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”  No one can ever feel that now Misty.   You are an inspiration to many little girls and boys of color. For our readers below are various images of Ms. Copeland performing or just being photographed. She certainly is telegenic. Misty Copeland Made the Cover of Time Magazine, April 16, 2015.   She was chosen as one of the magizine’s “100 most influential people.”                                                                                         

  

                                                                                           

 Photo: Henry Leutwyler

This picture of Misty Copeland highlights all her defined muscles, and is truly motivation to hit the gym.

 
Misty Copeland on June 30, 2015
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Misty Copeland in American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake

 

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Misty Copeland (below) as a soloist in “Le Corsaire” with the American Ballet Theatre.

Misty Copeland as a soloist in “Le Corsaire” with the American Ballet Theatre.

She SOARS Elegantly, Gracefully, and seems to do so effortlessly. This is Misty Copeland at her most beautiful

Below are images of Misty Copeland at various stages of her development before and with the American Ballet Theatre. She started dancing at the mature age of 13 for the world of ballerinas.

  Image result for images of Misty Copeland   Image result for images of Misty Copeland    Image result for images of Misty CopelandImage result for images of Misty Copeland   Image result for images of Misty Copeland    Image result for images of Misty Copeland

The epitome of gorgeous, talented, brilliant womanhood.  

 Story by Bill Whitaker, CBS News, June 30, 2015, 7:26 PM

 

​ Misty Copeland, a tour de force, breaks ballet barrier

 NEW YORK – A promotion made public Tuesday has launched Misty Copeland into ballet history. The 32-year-old was named the American Ballet Theater’s principal dancer, making her the first African-American female to hold that position in the company’s 75-year history.

“I had moments of doubting myself and wanting to quit because I didn’t know if there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,” said Copeland Tuesday.

“At the same time it made me so hungry to push through to carry the next generation so it’s not me up here and I’m constantly saying that it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position and all the little girls who can see themselves through me it’s giving them a brighter future.”   “Something happens when you feel that energy and excitement from the audience,” Copeland told “60 Minutes.” “You jump higher than you ever have and it’s just this really magical thing that happens in those moments.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/misty-copeland-a-tour-de-force-breaks-ballet-barrier/

Misty Copeland Is Officially The First Black Female Principal Dancer In American Ballet Theatre History. By , June 30, 2015

History was made in the ballet world this week when soloist Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer, thereby becoming the first black female principal in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre.

Copeland, now 32 years old, has been dancing with the American Ballet Theatre for over 14 years, nearly eight as a soloist. Most recently, she starred as Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” at the Met, a role dance critic Alastair Macaulay called “the most epic role in world ballet.

“Two aspects of [Misty’s] performance … proved marvelous,” Macaulay wrote in his review. “One: that it all happened successfully. Two: the curtain calls.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/30/misty-copeland-principal-dancer_n_7697872.html

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities. 

This blog about Misty Copeland is intended to inspire our young and not so young people who do not believe they can achieve great things.  They certainly can.  Misty Copeland achieved because she had a vision, a desire, the determination and she worked very hard.  Today she has achieved something that has not been done by many in this America.  Congratulations Ms. Copeland; you believed and you achieved.

 Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our Civic & Community Engagement efforts at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/civic_engagement/index.html We are about Community Involvement & Public Good and we work to make Positive contributions to our community.  We also sponor a middle school oratory competition and various education forums for young people.

OneWorld’s YouTube is here: http://goo.gl/jkPaiQ And Face Book is here: http://goo.gl/8v19VB

Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Xfinity) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26. In Hamden, New Haven and West Haven find us Mondays at 8pm on Comcast, Xfinity, Channel 26. Please “like” OneWorld on Face Book.

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Supreme Court Rules 5-4 for Same-Sex Marriage Equity

CIVIC & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: June 26, 2015
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) is clearly in her element in this picture

With this Supreme Court 5-4 ruling in support of Same-Sex Marriage Equity, America has taken a giant step towards fairness today. Let’s reflect on what that really means. While we are unlikely to ever get to 9 – 0, we are moving in a positive direction.

IF ENDING RACISM & BIGOTRY COULD ONLY BE AS CLEAR-CUT AS THIS 5-4 RULING. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go yet, but let’s keep working and being honest about the challenges ahead. (N’Zinga Shäni, OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc)

Gay Marriage Backers Win Supreme Court Victory

Mandagere, left, and Natalie Thompson outside the Supreme Court following the 5-4 ruling by the court Friday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.

Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” 

Sadly, when it comes to racism and its devastating effects on the lives of millions, it is impossible for many black Americans to realize their potential, or to even become real couples (as black people together). The practice of racism and bigotry takes a grave toll on the psyche and on the ability to be all that we can be. (N. S. Shäni)

Read the complete story in the NY Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html?  Peace all.

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement. We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.
Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our Civic & Community Engagement section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/civic_engagement/index.html

At OneWorld we are about Community Involvement & Public Good, and we work to make Positive contributions to our community. We produce and broadcast (on public access channels) television programs and community forums that inform the entire CT community.  We focus on Health Literacy (“21st Century Conversations); Education Agenda and Civic Engagement. We have been doing this since June 1996.  We ask for your support.
OneWorld’s YouTube is here: http://goo.gl/jkPaiQ  And Face Book is here: http://goo.gl/8v19VB
Please share our information with others. Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Xfinity) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26. In Hamden, New Haven and West Haven find us Mondays at 8pm on Comcast, Xfinity, Channel 26. Please “like” us on Face Book.  Please visit our YouTube channel to see examples of our work:   http://goo.gl/jkPaiQ

You can make a donation through PayPal, or you may send us a check made payable to: OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc.   Mail it to: OneWorld, Inc. P. O. Box 8662, New Haven, CT 06531.  Your donation is tax deductible. 

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Marva Collins: Activist, Educator, She Inspired Learners

Marva CollinsMarva Collins, Activist Educator, 1936 to June 25, 2015.  Her methods of engaging students, and her ability to inspire, and to instill in students a love of learning and of critical-thinking, will live on in those she taught.  I was inspired by Marva Collins in the mid-1980s.  Mrs. Collins passed away today, June 25, 2015.  She was 78.  Mrs. Collins gave her students and the teachers she trained her all. She was the consummate educator; she believed in her students.

Mrs. Collins cashed in her teacher’s pension and started her Westside Pre-K-8 School in 1975.  After being praised and recognized for the extraordinary success she had teaching black children from poor neighborhoods, some of these children were not thought to be educable, she started getting accolades.  President Reagan reportedly courted her to be Secretary of Education. 

Mrs. Collins wanted to be in the classroom where she could see the difference she was making.  She wanted to be in the classroom teaching children who were considered too difficult to teach. These children were from challenging environments.  Marva Collins believed it was important to instill a love of learning and an ability to think critically, through classic literature, in all students.

  • At one time there were two schools. Mrs. Collins also taught thousands of teachers annually. 
  • In 1981 Cicely Tyson played Mrs. Collins in the Marva Collins Story, a made for TV movie.
  • Marva Collins former students have become doctors, lawyers and educators.
  • Most were students  who many believed were not capable of learning or of succeeding academically.  She sought out students from disadvantaged homes.
  • Marva Collins believed in them; she taught them to love learning; to love good literature and to think critically.
  • Mrs. Collins became a sought-after speaker. She invested much of what she earned from speaking engagements into her schools so that the tuition would remain affordable to children from poor families.
  • She wrote several books: The Marva Collins Way (written with Alex Haley);

Ordinary Children, Extraordinary Teachers    Values: Lighting the Candle of Excellence : A Practical Guide for the Family      Marva Collins' Way
Ordinary Children, Extraordinary Teachers, and Values: Lighting the Candle of Excellence: A Practical Guide for the Family

Mrs. Collins was also celebrated with several awards, and was the recipient of the Jefferson Award; the Humanitarian Award for Excellence; as well as honorary doctorates from institutions like Amherst, Dartmouth and Notre Dame. In 2004, President Bush honored her with the National Humanities Medal.

There are private schools using her method of teaching and cultivating scholars today.

After dwindling financial support and low enrollment, Mrs. Collins closed both schools in 2008. She was disappointed and saddened, but had no choice. At the time she said she wished that the community had been more supportive.  She seemed resigned to the fact that she had no choice but to close her schools; enrollment had dwindled to about 30 students. Biography says: Marva Collins is a pioneering school founder and education activist whose methods have transformed the lives of thousands of students.” What Mrs. Collins did will have an impact for generations to come and will continue to make a positive difference well into the future.   We hope that the teachers and students that she taught will go on to teaching and inspiring others.

OneWorld salutes the contributions made by Mrs. Marva Collins, educator extraordinaire.   Learn more about this phenomenal educator at the links below: http://www.biography.com/people/marva-collins-5894#background  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-marva-collins-obituary-met-20150625-story.html 

 Marva Collins Biography – Influenced by father

Collins was born Marva Delores Nettles on August 31, 1936, in Monroeville, Alabama. She has described her childhood as “wonderful” and filled with material comforts that included riding in luxury cars and having her own horse. Her father, Alex Nettles, owned a general store and later purchased a ranch and a funeral home. He was very attentive and supportive to Marva and her younger sister, Cynthia. By challenging Marva to use her mind, he gave her a strong sense of pride and self-esteem. Read more: http://www.notablebiographies.com/Co-Da/Collins-Marva.html#ixzz3e8r72bfv
http://www.notablebiographies.com/Co-Da/Collins-Marva.html

The Marva Collins Quest: Replicating Successful High Poverty Schools  Posted by & filed under CGR Staff, Rochester Business Journal. http://blog.cgr.org/kent-gardner/the-marva-collins-quest-replicating-successful-high-poverty-schools/

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our web education section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/education/index.html

Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: Frontier (formerly AT&T), Channel 99, drop down; Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast (Optimum) Channels 10, 15, 18 & 26. 

OneWorld’s YouTube is here: http://goo.gl/jkPaiQ And Face Book is here: http://goo.gl/8v19VB  Please share our information with others. 

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ACA Law of the Land – Supreme Court 6 -3 Decision

HEALTH LITERACY: AFFORDABLE CARE STANDS: SWORD OF DAMOCLES GONE – SIGN UP FOR HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST.

If you have had a life-changing event since the close of the sign-up period in Feb. 2015, you may still be able to sign up for health care coverage in CT without waiting for the next open-enrollment period.
Contact AccessHealthCT to see if you qualify now to get health coverage. 

  • President Barack Obama has succeeded in doing something America had not been able to do constructively since 1935. 

Except for the Medicare Act implemented in 1965 (under President Johnson), this is the first time that average Americans– who do not have coverage through an employer or  through personal wealth– have access to affordable health coverage.  Most European countries have had some form of subsidized health coverage as far back as Germany’s  compulsory sickness insurance in 1883. 
http://www.pnhp.org/facts/a-brief-history-universal-health-care-efforts-in-the-us

PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS! NO ONE IN AMERICA SHOULD DIE FROM AN ABSCESSED TOOTH DUE TO A LACK OF ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE.

Fox News Falsely Claimed no Americans Are Denied Health Care. 

  • Fox News host Eric Bolling denied that anyone in the United States has ever been deprived of health care. He’s wrong — millions of people have been denied care or have had their insurance coverage rescinded, denied, or altered by insurance companies due to pre-existing conditions, policy loopholes, and various other reasons.   Below are just a few examples of average Americans suffering and dying due to a lack of health insurance; there are many more.
  • http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/09/27/because-fox-asked-here-are-examples-of-people-w/196139

Man Dies From Toothache, Couldn’t Afford Meds – Sept. 2, 2011 By CARRIE GANN, ABC News Medical Unit

  • A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn’t afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.
  • According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis’ wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.
  • When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn’t afford both, so he chose the pain medications. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/insurance-24-year-dies-toothache/story?id=14438171  

Tragic Results When Dental Care Is Out Of Reach – June 26, 2012, 9:50 pm ET by Gretchen Gavett – Death of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver

  • Your mouth is full of bacteria. With daily brushing and flossing, supplemented by regular visits to the dentist, this bacteria usually isn’t a problem. But what if it goes unchecked?
  • “Ultimately, in rare instances, oral disease can be the focal point of a disease process that leads to death,” Dr. Bill Calnon, the president of the American Dental Association, tells FRONTLINE.
  • This is exactly what happened in two high-profile cases over the past five years. In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver  died after bacteria from an abscessed tooth traveled to his brain. And in 2009, 24-year-old Kyle Willis, the nephew of musician Bootsy Collins, died after being unable to afford antibiotics to treat a tooth infection.
  • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/health-science-technology/dollars-and-dentists/tragic-results-when-dental-care-is-out-of-reach/
  • #3) Seventeen-Year-Old’s Insurance Revoked After He Tests HIV Positive. According to Huffington Post, in 2009:  Before the cancellation of the policy, an underwriter working for Fortis wrote to a committee considering whether or not to rescind his policy: “Technically, we do not have the results of the HIV tests. This is the only entry in the medical records regarding HIV status. Is it sufficient?” The underwriter’s concerns were ignored and the rescission went forward. [Huffington Post, 9/17/09]  There are dozens more cases. 
  • www.OneWorldpi.org  hopes these things will no longer happen; we will do our best to provide people with good information to sign up for health coverage

Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies

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Kalief Browder: Black, Poor, Young ≈ A Death Sentence

Being Poor In America Is A Crime Particularly for Many Black People. This is specifically true for young black men in inner-city areas; so many of whom find themselves profiled, arrested and imprisoned.  Because they are poor, most often they have to depend on inexperienced and unprepared public defenders. Kalief Browder was such a young man.  He committed suicide on June 6, 2015. In fact, he was murdered years earlier by the American Criminal Justice System as practiced in our courts, and applied at Rikers Island and in other prisons across America. 

KALIEF BROWDER

What happened to Kalief Browder is an abomination. He was falsely imprisoned without charge for three years; he was repeatedly abused by other inmates and by prison guards.

After his release from prison he attended Bronx Community College.  There he wrote a research paper about Solitary Confinement; he had an excellent GPA of 3.55.  However, he was gravely affected by the abuse he suffered in prison and particularly in Solitary Confinement.  After being released from Rikers, he struggled to adjust to the outside world. He suffered deep bouts of depression, became increasingly paranoid, spent time in a psychiatric hospital, and made multiple attempts to end his own life.  “Ma, I can’t take it anymore,” Browder reportedly told his mother shortly before his death. According to his family, it was the demons Browder developed while in solitary confinement that would eventually lead to his suicide.” http://goo.gl/lKvcfs

Below are information about Kalief’s tragic situation from various sources.  If some seem repetitive it’s intentional.

So much of what goes on in our Judiciary system are vile and repulsive; yet, as a country, we claim to be number one in so many ways.  How can our Dept of Corrections (DOC) management system tolerate the vileness that goes on at Rikers Island (and in many other prisons)?  Because that vileness is an integral part of our system of injustice, racism, and bigotry. The guard who was seen on video abusing Kalief is still working at the prison months later.  How is that possible?  Read on.

  • Maybe because like so many other poor, uneducated, and mentally ill black men in our prisons, Kalief Browder was not perceived to be a human being.
  • It does not matter the color of his abusers. 
  • Our system of incarceration dehumanizes inmates; those who are black, poor and mentally ill are fodder for many of the egomaniacs who run the system.
  • Our criminal justice system is one of the worst features of our society. 
  • Maybe one of the reasons so many conservative politicians wanted to push Eric Holder out of office before his second term was up is exactly because he was starting to investigate the racism and corruption that permeates the criminal justice system, starting with many of the police depts, district attorney offices and state penal system.

Every decent American should be outraged; we should all be writing to elected officials, Corrections authorities and to the states’ attorney general. 

  • But who has time to even read the reports in the NY Times or  the New Yorker, much less care about ‘criminals?’  This is the comment I often hear. 
  • Like so many other young black men falsely accused and imprisoned, Kalief did not commit the crime of which he was accused and for which he was imprisoned for three years.  He spent 23 months in solitary confinement! 
  • Kalief was never officially charged; no one swore out a warrant against him.

Kalief Browder Part 1 (Posted in the GNH Community Ning on June 13, 2015)  A Poor Black Man, 22-Y-O Kalief Browder, Died June 6, 2015

Young, Black, Poor, Mentally Ill, Exploited, Wrongfully Accused and Preyed Upon at Rikers Island for 3 Years Without A Trial, Committed Suicide on June 6, 2015. He sought and found relief in death.  Since the age of 16, when he was accused and locked up, Kalief’s life was HELL!

America has many sects; there are:  the Koch Brothers, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, and the Hollywood Jet-set; the KKK, Rand Paul, John Boehner, Clarence Thomas, and the evil-perpetuating guards at Rikers Island; there are the prosecutors who build their careers on the persecution of poor, uneducated immigrants and ill-informed, desperate and ill-prepared Americans of every stripe. 

  • Kalief Browder represents a significant part of America.  That part of America most of us don’t want to know anything about. 
  • That part of America to which some of our aspiring leaders occasionally refer as proof that they are in-touch with “the little people.”  It’s a part of America that makes most of us uncomfortable. 
  • Since we believe that we cannot do anything about it, it’s best to ignore it.  We often underestimate the power of letters from voters, from us the politicians’ constituents. 
  • America is only as good as the worst of us, and as bad as the best of us.

Guards at Rikers Island –and at every prison in America where inmates are exploited and abused — keep doing what they do because it is condoned by the prison administration. 

  • Prisoners are things to be used or misused as guards and administrators please; there is no accountability.  Why is that? Prisoners are America’s dump, and prisons are the dumping ground.  This is why so many young black men are railroaded into prisons. Every decent American should be outraged!
  • Thugs pick on the weak and vulnerable; those in power use inmates as rewards to the guards/thugs from whom they want something. 
  • If administrators lost their jobs based on what goes on in their facilities, the crimes and abuse would be reduced by 90 percent within 90 days

“Kalief Browder was sent to Rikers Island when he was 16 years old, accused of stealing a backpack. Though he never stood trial or was found guilty of any crime, he spent three years at the New York City jail complex, nearly two of them in solitary confinement.” At Rikers Kalief was repeatedly brutalized by guards and other inmates.  Some beatings were seen on videos.  He was locked up for 3 years because his parents “reportedly” did not have the money to pay bail for him!

What kind of a system do we have where the most vulnerable (the poor and the mentally ill) can be treated so inhumanely and after the fact have politicians bemoan their abuse and tragic deaths? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/nyregion/kalief-browder-held-at-rikers-island-for-3-years-without-trial-commits-suicide.html

Many journalists wrote about Kalief Browder after his suicide; Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, wrote about Kalief Browder before his suicide. She published the video of him being abused.  He was released after being imprisoned for three years, but he got no real help to deal with his pain and the damage done to him in prison.  See Ms. Gonnerman’s article below.

April 23, 2015  Exclusive Video: Violence Inside Rikers –  By Jennifer Gonnerman  “In May, 2010, Kalief Browder, a sixteen-year-old high-school sophomore, was arrested in the Bronx for allegedly stealing a backpack. He insisted that he was innocent, but he was taken to Rikers Island, New York City’s four-hundred-acre jail complex. Browder spent the next three years at Rikers, awaiting trial while his case was repeatedly delayed by the courts. In May, 2013, the case against him was dismissed. (Last fall, I wrote about Browder for the magazine.) This week, The New Yorker obtained two ​surveillance-camera video clips that depict the dual horrors of Browder’s years in jail: abuse by a guard and by fellow-inmates.”  September 23, 2012: Inside the Bing: Watch the gross abuse. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/exclusive-video-violence-inside-rikers

Rikers Island and the Death of Kalief Browder –  The NY Times editorial wrote:

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, JUNE 9, 2015

 “The Justice Department and the City of New York are expected to reach an agreement this month on a reform plan that is intended to end the barbaric abuses that have long dominated the Rikers Island jail complex.

But this agreement will come too late to save Kalief Browder, who was held at the jail for three years without trial, starting in 2010, when he was 16. The psychological trauma caused by spending about two of those years in solitary confinement at Rikers remained long after his release. On Saturday, Mr. Browder committed suicide at his family’s home in the Bronx. He was 22.

Mr. Browder was accused of stealing a backpack, a charge he strongly denied. Partly because his family was unable to make bail, he remained at Rikers all that time, only to have the case dismissed.

The beatings he suffered at the jail were captured on video that became public in April. In one incident, Mr. Browder is brutally assaulted by a guard; in another, he is attacked and beaten by a gang of inmates. He tried to kill himself several times. According to a lawsuit filed against the city on his behalf, his condition was made immeasurably worse by guards who sometimes denied him meals, medical care and bathing privileges — and fabricated disciplinary infractions to extend his stay in isolation.

Last year, the city eliminated solitary confinement for adolescents at Rikers. The court system has put in place a new plan to shorten court delays and to prevent people from being held for lengthy periods without trial.

These are important changes. But a serious, legally enforceable reform plan will be needed to remake what a damning Justice Department report issued last August described as a “deep-seated culture of violence” at the jail. The report called for a thorough overhaul of Correction Department operations and also recommended that adolescents be removed from Rikers and placed in a facility elsewhere. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature could alleviate a great deal of suffering — and bring New York into the 21st century — by passing a bill that would keep children under the age of 18 out of adult prisons.

The Justice Department warned in August that the city would find itself in court if reforms were not quickly carried out. Federal prosecutors made good on that threat a few months later when they joined a pending class-action lawsuit, Nunez v. City of New York, which charges the Department of Correction with abetting violence by failing to discipline officers who participated in abuse.

By joining a lawsuit that was already underway, federal prosecutors put themselves in a better position to get a court-monitored agreement that would produce enforceable, verifiable reforms. Mr. Browder’s death makes it all the more imperative that the reforms have teeth.” 

Of course, Kalief is gone; nothing will bring him back, or even prevent the same from happening to another young man elsewhere in the system.  We need systemic change at the core.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/opinion/rikers-island-and-the-death-of-kalief-browder.html

Injustice Anywhere: http://www.injusticeanywhereforum.com/viewtopic.php?

How we killed Kalief Browder: The brutality and Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Rikers Island are out of sight, out of mind. By Errol Louis (NY Daily News)

Mr Louis’ piece is quite poignant and echoes the sentiments of this  writer.  We strongly encourage you to read it.  We also linked it to OneWorld’s Face book page. As a society too many of us believe that ALL prisoners are criminals getting their just desserts. Unless we have been directly involved with the system, we tend not to pay close attention. That it exactly what the system and its callous, Kafkaesque administrators depend on; this is why they operate with total abandon.  Louis says: As a 16-year-old, Kalief fell victim to the outright brutality of officers on Rikers Island,

Rest In Peace Dear Kalief

OneWorld has written a second blog about inmate abuse at Rikers Island. It’s about the physical abuse and death of Ronald “Knowledge” Spear.  The guards involved — with the aid of other guards and administrators tried to cover up the murder of Mr. Spear. Read our next blog titled: Ronald Spear – Beaten to Death At Rikers – Just Another? It is linked here: http://oneworldpi.org/blog/archives/3056

Closing Commentary: America’s criminal injustice system is corrupt, racist, bigoted, and disproportionately affects the poor, the mentally ill, and the undereducated; it affects poor innercity black men most. The system needs courageous attorney generals all across Amercia, along with ethical, committed politicians, willing to clean it up.  Congress NEEDS to lead the way.  Eric Holder is a great loss to America’s political and justice systems.  It’s understandable that he needed a rest.  We which Attorney General, Loretta Lynch well.

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our Civic Engagement section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/civic_engagement/index.html We are about Civic Engagement & Public Good.   We are striving to make a POSITIVE difference in our community.

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