Nixon’s challenge opens second front for Cuomo

Cynthia Nixon is pictured. | Getty

Cynthia Nixon has publicly speculated about running for office for months. | Getty

ALBANY — Cynthia Nixon kicked off a left-flank challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, setting off a scramble for institutional support in New York’s Democrat-dominated political circles and making Cuomo’s quest for a third term a two-front war.

The “Sex and the City” actress registered a campaign committee and released a video that showed her with her wife and children, riding an Amtrak train and walking through streetscapes gilded and grubby.

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“I was given chances I just don’t see for most of New York’s kids today,” she says in the video. “Our leaders are letting us down; we are now the most unequal state in the entire country. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”

The announcement video was produced by WIN Media, a political consulting firm run by Matt McLaughlin and Bill Hyers, a prominent Democratic political consultant who ran Bill de Blasio’s successful 2013 mayoral campaign. The campaign will be managed by Nicole Aro, the former digital director of the AFL-CIO, according to a source close to the effort.

Nixon has publicly speculated about running for office for months. Recent events, particularly the corruption trial of one of Cuomo’s closest confidantes, Joe Percoco, helped push her into the race, a source close to the campaign told POLITICO. Last week, the New York Post reported that Nixon’s wife, Christine Marinoni, a special adviser for community partnerships in the New York City Department of Education, had quit her job. It was perceived to be a precursor to Nixon’s run for office.

“I think it was a slow burn,” the source said of Nixon’s desire to jump into the race. “As the governor became more and more steeped in his quest for power and headlines and not actually getting things done for the state, and the more you saw in the Percoco trial how state government is actually run, when you see all that — it just built up.”

A spokesman who said he was not authorized by the Cuomo campaign to give his name responded to Nixon’s challenge by saying, “It’s great that we live in a democracy where anyone can run for office. Governor Cuomo has delivered more real progressive wins than any other Democrat in the country, including passing marriage equality, the strongest gun safety law in the nation, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition, paid family leave, record setting funding for public education, expanding and protecting healthcare for our most vulnerable, and banning fracking. We look forward to building on that record as we continue to fight and deliver for New York families statewide.”

A bruising primary could hurt Cuomo’s presidential ambitions, such as they are.

But challenging Cuomo will be no easy task. He is a political scion with universal name recognition and a political war chest of $30 million and growing. That’s why would-be challengers, from former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner to de Blasio himself, have offered critiques but never declared.

The battle lines — education funding, delays on New York City’s subways, corruption and Percoco’s recent conviction — have been in the ether. But Nixon’s formal announcement will ignite a private scramble for support between Nixon and Cuomo that has been underway for several weeks.

“I’m thrilled,” said Heather Stewart, an organizer of Empire State Indivisible, a progressive group that has been organizing against a faction of Democratic state senators allied with Republicans. “I hope more step forward, too, and that it becomes an exciting race. I’m very interested in seeing how this pans out.”

Progressives around the state have long been leery of Cuomo. Many were galvanized in 2014 by Zephyr Teachout, a little-known law professor at the time who ran against Cuomo for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. She assailed Cuomo on issues such as campaign finance reform, tax cuts for corporations and the possibility of natural gas hydrofracking, which Cuomo later banned. Teachout went on to win about a third of the primary vote four years ago. A Siena Research Institute poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading Nixon 66-19 among registered Democrats.

Teachout is now serving as Nixon’s campaign treasurer.

In the two weeks since news broke that Nixon was talking with Hyers and Rebecca Katz, two political consultants with deep ties to de Blasio, Cuomo has been in a tizzy to tout his progressive bona fides and endorsements.

He released a television ad, paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee, touting his 2013 gun control law. He emailed his campaign supporters about a voting rights rally that “our friends” at Empire State Indivisible participated in this weekend. (Cuomo did not attend.)

He released the endorsement of Elton John, held a conference call with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), rallied with Al Gore about offshore drilling and met with several prominent African-American clergy about school funding transparency.

The governor already has formal endorsements in hand from several longtime backers, including 1199SEIU, which represents health care workers and supported Cuomo’s push to increase the minimum wage; the National Organization for Women; the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; and the Human Rights Campaign, which worked with Cuomo in pushing to legalize same-sex marriage.

Both Cuomo and Nixon spoke at the HRC gala in February, shortly after the group endorsed Cuomo and as it feted Nixon with its “Visibility Award.” Cuomo spoke about protecting transgender New Yorkers from changes in federal policy and promised to “fight, as governor, every action they take to limit individual rights or roll back our progress.”

Nixon that night said officials should do more.

“We have to be more than the anti-Trump party,” she said. “In 2018, we don’t just need to elect more Democrats, we also need better Democrats.”

Lots of people will be doing these calculations: Cuomo has gotten tangible results while Nixon, however prosaic her promises, has no governmental record. And Cuomo controls many levers of power as governor, starts the race as the favorite, and is known to have a long memory for those who cross him.

“Cuomo has produced probably the most pro-worker agenda in the country as a governor,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, who said Nixon’s candidacy would distract from Democratic efforts in legislative campaigns. “Just like it was a mistake to nominate Trump because of his celebrity status as his main credential … the governor of the state needs to have demonstrated ability running government, and celebrity status does not substitute for that.”

Expect many Democrats who have been critical of the governor to try to duck the issue for as long as possible. When asked for comment about Nixon’s announcement, state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) said, “Nah, not right now,” and briskly walked away.

Cuomo tried to belittle Nixon’s celebrity two weeks ago when news broke that she was close to a run. Spokesmen for the governor’s political team did not immediately comment.

But with media outlets from as far away as Germany covering news of Nixon’s launch, it will be almost impossible for the governor to ignore her as he did with Teachout.

Teachout told POLITICO that she briefed Nixon about about her own campaign in 2014.

“I did tell her [about] some of the things that really surprised me about running against Cuomo — one was just how uncomfortable he is with being challenged, and with basic human back-and-forth,” Teachout said. “He didn’t shake my hand, he didn’t say my name, he said debates were a disservice to democracy. But it struck me as coming from a fear.”

“She’s very straightforward,” Teachout said of Nixon. “She’s not afraid.”

Annie Karni contributed to this report.

Letters from Artists and organization to the King County Council on the Eve of the End of 4Culture as we know it.

This week, I open up the blog to guest letters to the council.  The words, feelings and positions belong to these writers alone.  Let’s begin with Ann-Marie Stillion’s response to Council Member Gossett:

Hope everyone is planning to join us at the King County Courthouse Monday, March 19 at 1:30 for a showdown with the council. It’s the last chance before the final note. Here is my response to the council member’s vile letter.

“Dear Mr. Gossett,

Thank you. I received and reviewed this days ago.

Your continued willingness to misinform voters under the banner of social justice is sad. I don’t know if you are confused or willfully abusing the truth. Time will tell.

Your accusation that 4Culture lobbied for passage of Cultural Access is false as 4Culture is not a lobbying organization and did not do that.

Your accusation that 4Culture failed to apply an equity lens to the King Dome allotment is also false. The agency not only proposed to raise the minority funding and pay them first but it was a King County Council vote which was ultimately responsible for those monies.

Smearing 4Culture and me, by the way, with innuendo and falsehoods is how you treat voters apparently.

I think you have lost your way. Come back. I would love to sit down and discuss this with you. It saddens me also that you worked to takedown Cultural Access just as you are trying to takedown 4Culture.

To me, your letter only underlines that we need the Jeanne Kohl-Welles taskforce which has an equity component. Destroying 4Culture to get to the heart of structural racism will hurt everyone, all artists, including those of color.

You and Upthegrove put their fingers on the scale to stop Cultural Access for all. I hope you don’t succeed with the King County legislation.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few minutes with one of the cast from Hamilton late one night in downtown Seattle. He was on his way home from rehearsals on the touring show at the Paramount. It was eye opening and I couldn’t help wondering as he walked away how marvelous it might have been if kids from Renton could have had the same experience. Bussing kids into high-end art performance was exactly what the Cultural Access money planned to do. But of course, since you decided to put your finger on the scale in the name of social justice, most won’t. Some did, thanks to google and the Rockefeller Foundation but was a lottery, not access for all – which of course you defeated.

I strongly disagree that communities of color don’t benefit from the opportunities presented by the opera or big-time theatre experiences. It is sad to me that your political decision making doesn’t include our important art institutions. Art inspires and refreshes everyone. And we need to support the institutions which stand up every day to present it. Your falsehood that 4Culture promoted mainstream institutions over emerging small groups was carefully explained to you today in a letter from Jim Kelly at 4Culture. I hope you read it.

Our state is at the bottom when it comes to states support of the arts but 4Culture has somehow kept us at the top in terms of helping to get top-level art to all communities. Let’s keep it that way.

I used to be in your district but am no longer. But I will try to make sure you pay a political price if you fail to support the taskforce.

I met you when I worked for the Northwest Asian Weekly and photographed and wrote about you many times. Until now, I have had the utmost respect for you. Your unwillingness to tell the truth or honestly support the future of communities of color and all artists saddens me. One of your amigos, Bob Santos, always went out of his way to talk with me and demonstrate true appreciation for my work there. He once said that I am a watcher. I am.

And so are the hundreds of voters who have called, emailed, visited the offices of council members these past few months voicing their opposition to this vile ordinance.

When Trump was elected I was finishing a temporary art installation in my neighborhood park. It was on the subject of bringing Muslims and non-Muslims together. A suite of sculptures was installed in Lake City. Shortly after one of his supporters tore it down screaming we won, we won. I felt terrified for our political future. But I consoled myself that at least I lived in King County. No more do I have that sense of security.

We have got our own Betsy DeVos and Rick Perry with right here on the council. And their names are Dave Upthegrove, Rod Dembowski, Kathy Lambert and Larry Gossett. I am not fooled anymore with the council’s false rhetoric about social justice and good government in King County after spending two months with you all.

Ann-Marie Stillion


And Lauren Davis of ArtXchange Art Gallery, La Sala and Board Member of the Mount Baker Neighborhood Center for the Arts:

For what it’s worth, here’s another letter. Redacted some specifics because I don’t want to call out orgs and artists by name on FB, but I feel he disrespected them in his form letter.

Dear Mr. Gossett,

Thank you for your response to my letter. I support your desire to further racial equity in the arts but I strongly disagree with your methods. Both of the grants mentioned in my previous letter put 4Culture funds directly into the hands of people of color – about 60 Latino and Black artists from King County were paid for their artistic work based on those two grants alone. Your issues with 4Culture seem to based an a few personal anecdotes and two particular programs, but your information on these programs is flawed.

Many amazing PoC artists are standing up for 4Culture, yet you call them out as ‘successes’ created by 4Culture, which is very disrespectful to the decades of effort they have put into this community and building their careers.

4Culture has done proactive outreach to the organizations I volunteer for (which serve PoC and the disabled community), encouraging the organizations to apply for grants and scheduling us for meetings to hear our future plans. 4Culture staff proactively scheduled a meeting with Mount Baker Neighborhood Center for the Arts (have you heard of it?) to discuss ways that 4Culture could do better for artists with disabilities.

4Culture has taken deliberate steps over the years to look at their processes and increase equity in their funding practices. 4Culture created a new grant called Community 4 Culture that removed many of the application procedures that impede emerging PoC artists, and it is only offered to artists who have not received funding before. (redacted some specifics here)

The task force suggested by your colleague Jeanne Kohl-Welles addresses equity and is a more reasonable response to your concerns. King County Council has always had influence at 4Culture. The Building 4 Culture project you speak of? The council unanimously approved the appropriation of these funds. If any council member wanted to vote against appropriating the funds or against or against Building for Culture in general, they could have.

Instead, the task force proposed by Kohl-Welles shows TRUE interest in and advocacy for the arts organizations in the county that are PoC led and serve PoC. Partnership, outreach, listening and then empowering these on-the-ground arts organizations to suggest changes at 4Culture. What you suggest is just taking power from one ‘powerful’ group (the board) and giving it to another powerful group (the Council). That’s not equity.

I’m quite surprised by the lack of transparency and openness to community discussion that you are showing on this issue. Until you can show more voices (enough to constitute a majority or even just more than two or three) supporting your positions, I no longer believe you, as my representative, are acting in the best interests of your district.


Lauren Davis
Board Member: La Sala Latinx Artists Network
Board Member: Mount Baker Neighborhood Center for the Arts


The ever articulate, soulful and on-point advocate Christian French wrote this in response to CM Larry Gossett’s recent letter. Please do read it. It’s remarkable.

Letter of response to King County Coucilmember Larry Gossett from one of his constituents:

Dear King County Councilmember Gossett,
As one of your constituents, I have been following in dismay your willingness to plow forward in the ill-advised plan to structurally re-engineer 4Culture. I appreciate that you have in fact made a public statement with regards to your motives, and while I don’t intend to impugn your integrity, the action is wrongheaded, and the effective outcome would be to undermine 4Culture’s perceived autonomy, as well as it’s standing as a nationally recognized force for cultural development.

I have read your response. I share your conviction that we as a nation, as a region, and as an arts community, have a large amount of work to do to reach out, foster and serve many communities who have been left out of or excluded with regards to funding and other support. Your record as a champion of equity and parity is exemplary, and I am not here to school you, even slightly. However, since you are the only councilmember who has foregrounded these concerns, I still think the essential motivation behind this push at the council level lies elsewhere. The whole thing looks and smells like an attempt to politicize the oversight of the agency merely to gain access and influence, especially where it comes down to the new sources of revenue coming down the pike. The very fact that each council member will be empowered to appoint their Dentist, regardless of core competency in the arts or its administration says to me that instead of a commitment to excellence and rigor the council wants to insert itself for the sake of power. The fact that the council is only singling out one specific PDA as opposed to rewriting the rules for all PDA’s is telling.

I watched, and listened, with dismay during the public hearing while several councilmembers, including you, acted and spoke derisively of the chorus of appeals presented to you. Testimonies as to the rigor and integrity the 4Culture and its staff bring to all phases of their work. Ways in which the existing structures are designed to provide maximum benefit for all of the residents of King County. That the council patently ignores such public input reinforces my assumptions about what is going on. The fact that your response paints a distorted picture of the allocation process and obligations under Cultural Access for All and Building for Culture, as rebutted in a recent 4Culture statement is disappointing. The fact that at the public hearing you made the claim that since 4Culture “used” to be a County Agency, that nobody should cry foul at this power grab was disappointing. Why do you elide the fact that 4Culture’s very independent status was a response to being tossed out of the County budget and forced to live in the wild, foraging for it’s own sustenance? By virtue of it’s status as a PDA it is empowered to go after contracts and funding sources unavailable to it as a County agency, and it has succeeded remarkably well (Vis: National Acclaim vs Misinformation, et alia). I found your comments then to be disingenuous and nothing you’ve presented since have altered my feeling. You don’t get to kick 4Culture out of the nest and then come back to poach it just for sport. Period.

People of good faith can disagree. You record speaks highly of you. The rest of them, I don’t know what to say. But you are my Councilmember, and you are the one I hold most liable for any diminishment in 4Culture’s capacity, especially when the option of establishing a workgroup for real analysis of the issues presented is still an option. By ignoring such a step, you convince me that you, and the rest of the council aren’t interested in solving problems, and I’ll have to conclude your motivations lie elsewhere.

Sincerely, Christian French


Many thanks to Advocate 4Culture, the many artists fighting for 4Culture and you for calling, writing and at least not making this lost cause an easy one for the Council to just plow through.  We all know this is a done deal, but at least we can all say we were on the right side.


RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Art as An Instrument of Healing or Harming

By Ron Petit, Winter Wellness

Complimentary Story

   Knowing a little about induction and the power of symbolism from my work as a counselor for the last 44 years, I was appalled and shocked by two of the recently revealed past paintings of the black artist, Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama’s official portrait painter, that showcased two beheaded white woman’s heads.  He explained that these two paintings were part of the “Kill Whitey” thing.  He also said these paintings “Translate the image of a courageous powerful woman into a contemporary version that resonates with fury and righteousness.”  

   The shocking part of this is that symbolism, particularly that of art, is subliminal.  It crosses into our unconscious mind and spirit and bypasses, for many, their critical thinking mind.  That’s its power.  It’s meant to evoke the emotions and the spirit.  That’s why it is effective.  Advertisers know this all too well.  Witness the use of this cunning art in today’s internet and visual art that is enlisted to sell almost anything.

   So what is this “artist” selling with such a vile, depraved, violent painting.  Is it fury and righteousness or is it violence and self righteousness?  And why now at this particular time in our society?  I say it is meant to strike at the core of the non-black family, the female, the traditional primary nurturing one in the family.  As such, it is a perpetration from a perpetrator of the most violent message imaginable in visual form.  Having worked with domestic and sexual abuse perpetrators for the last 40 years, I can say that this painting or these paintings are revenge- and power- oriented.  There is an evasiveness and perversion of the meaning of words going on in the artist’s explanation of his work.   

   All perpetrators are preoccupied with the need for power and control and revenge, always at the expense of an innocent and usually more vulnerable person.  Why?  The reason is that this preoccupation and the actions that follow allow the download of rage and hurt they feel from their own victimization from their own having been perpetrated upon.  This artist is mirroring the hurt and rage of the black community, which is real and legitimate, but he is driving this turmoil, hurt and rage into the heart of the white culture, the woman, in an attempt to get revenge and power (ie, “Kill Whitey thing”).  

   This will never heal the black community.  It will only create a new generation of victimized, hurt and then angry people.  When this “artist” chooses to do this kind of “art,” he is choosing to be a perpetrator every bit as harmful as the “knock out game” perpetrators in the inner cities of America.  This behavior will deliver short term relief from genuine gnawing abuse carried inside the people  involved but will not heal the hurt.  Similarly, the epidemic of black-on-black violence in Chicago is understandable and will give the perpetrators a short term relief from their own rage and feelings of victimization, but at a terrible price.  The same is true for any individual of any race in any culture, not just the black culture.  

   This talented visual artist has fallen into the trap of “get evenism” and has subverted and perverted his considerable artistic talent in that effort.  The context of the message is contemporary and positioned for our culture at this point in time, despite the artist’s claiming it is based on a renaissance work by Caravaggio and Gentileschi depicting the story of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes.  The colors, the lines, the intensity and vividness of the art is significant but the message delivered is dark, violent and satanic.

   Why Satanic?  Because Satan is the father of all lies.  And what are the lies in this art?  That the violation of white women and white families and white culture will heal and bring resolution, satisfaction and peace to our black brothers and sisters.  It will not.  Standing up to violence, racism, sexism etc will strengthen our boundaries and bring needed limits and guardrails into our own hearts and communities and provide the needed integration with our God-given desire to nuture and love. Perpetration will not accomplish this.

   Perpetration derives from a thought distortion (lie) that tells the perpetrator that he is entitled to do this violence due to what was done to him or his people.  This also is another thought distortion (lie) as one is never entitled to violate and abuse another as one was abused themselves.  The lie is that revenge will heal all of this.  In truth, revenge only downloads the trauma from the nervous system temporarily.  It creates no lasting healing for the individual as the person’s true spirit, is not in the equation and it damages others in the process.

   Revenge, entitlement, violent fantasies and perpetration and the use of art to deliver it comes from Satan’s play book.  He is clever and he knows art crosses into the spirit and stays there, particularly visual art.  Music does the same thing.  

   I challenge this artist to humble himself and open his heart up to his brothers and sisters and his black community.  Without doubt, rage and violence will tumble out as it needs to come out.  Then, inevitably, with patience, the underlying hurt and anguish will also surface and be able to be witnessed and attended to.  With the love and support that clearly is there in the black community, the hurt can be embraced, accepted, validated and loved on.  Once more of his healing and healing in his own community occurs, then this same process needs to happen between the black and non-black community as well as other communities.  These communities clearly need to do the same kind of soul searching and healing for this final step to be successful.  Everything said here about the black community also applies to the white or other communities.   One can see how this might be able to work if everyone does their own part.  This is hard work.  It takes courage. Yes, rage needs to come out but it needs to be contained rage: Rage contained by strong, healed elders who can hear and validate and help direct and integrate it but NOT indulge it.  Then, and only then, can the deeper hurt, anguish and heartbreak come out.  Violent perpetration art cannot do any of this.  It is only a symptom of the profound pain underneath it.

   Only elders guided by love and truth can help facilitate this needed work.  Only those familiar with their own truth, both positive and negative truth, can do this work.  Only those who have faced their own evil and brokenness can help guide this work.  Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth and the life.”   In my mind then, it is clear that only those with a relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit and thus the Father can do this work.  A perfect relationship?  Highly doubtful.  On their way to a deeper walk with Christ, the Holy spirit and thus the Father, through humbling oneself, confessing their errors and endeavoring to do His will?  A definite yes. 

   In the end, I believe that it isn’t even those with this relationship with God that are doing the actual work because in truth, it is God Himself doing this work through these people surrendered to His will.  For as Paul said, “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”  When this is the case, then all manner of miracles become possible.  When this is the case, then factions and divisions and nations can become healed and identity politics and the culture war can wind down.  When that is the case, then the power of the Holy Spirit comes into play and one can better discern the log in his own eye so they can better remove the splinter in their neighbor’s eye.  Art and music can be a part of that healing, but art that heals, not art that harms.  May it be so.  

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Why African American Communities Must Be Tra

Laughing matter? Pantaleo waved at the camera that captured his killing of Garner

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Last week’s chokehold killing of a Staten Island resident by a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer is another atrocious example of the brutality African-Americans face at the hands of police here —and, indeed, throughout America.

African Americans need to be trained in how to protect themselves against thugs like Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who strangled 43-year-old Eric Garner, of Port Richmond, with a chokehold.

To borrow from Garner, “This has to end.”

Since the chokehold is banned by NYPD, will Pantaleo be punished for the violation and face criminal charges for the unjustified death he caused?

Pantaleo appears to be a sexual pervert. He’s alleged to have strip searched two males in public in 2012, forcing them to pull down their pants and then slapping their testicles.

Over the weekend, Rev. Al Sharpton became involved in protesting the killing of when hundreds of concerned New Yorkers congregated at Sharpton’s National Action Network offices in Harlem to hear him speak about the chokehold killing?

“There are many crises that we are dealing with but none have impacted more and more than the recurring problem with the New York City police,” said Rev. Sharpton. “This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred.”

The case will no doubt test the administration on Mayor Bill De Blasio.

On Friday, Police Commissioner William Batton announced that the NYPD will be investigating Garner’s death. Two officers have reportedly been placed on desk duty—apparently, including Officer Pantaleo who caused Garner’s death. Officer Pantaleo has been accused of police abuse in the past.

Officer Pantaleo is apparently the one seen choking Mr. Garner in the video recording. During the disturbing violent video, several cops can be seen throwing Garner to the ground—while he was being choked by Officer Pantaleo.  Several times, Garner complains he can’t breathe. He appears dead on the Staten Island sidewalk.

EMS workers also came under fire for their lack of effort to preserve the life of Mr. Garner. On video footage of the incident, someone can be heard asking why no CPR was being done. Did these EMS workers know he was already dead? Four EMS personnel have been suspended, without pay—unlike the cops.

This killing is being compared to the 1994 killing of Anthony Baez, a Latino male, in the Bronx. Mr.. Baez was killed by Officer Francis Livotti  after a dispute—because a football accidentally hit a cop car. “It brings up everything like it was yesterday,” said Iris Baez, mother of Anthony, who spoke out on the Garner killing. “They keep on doing the same thing as before. Like they can do what they want.”

Livotti was acquitted by a State Supreme Court judge in 1995 but was tried and convicted in 1996 on federal charges of violating Baez’s civil rights and sentenced to seven years in prison.

That is indeed the awful fact Black people in New York City—and all over America—must change. It’s time to do a lot more than hold protest marches if killer cops are to be stopped. The Black community in America needs to get serious about policing the police who are intent on victimizing the community. More on that momentarily.

The slaying of Mr. Garner is a telling example of the disregard far too many in White America have for the Black lives, hence the conducted of police officers like Pantaleo. Commissioner Garner announced that officers will be retrained on the use of force; that’s a diversion. No amount of training can remove the prejudice from Pantaloons heart.

Earlier this week, I was told by two White folk that Rev. Sharpton was the “biggest racist” and problem around—with regards to race relations when the issue of Garner came up. One of them even, gallingly, asked me why Rev. Sharpton had never spoken up for any White person, presumably who had faced racial discrimination.

I tried to reason, rationally, about the idiocy of such statements. Did Rev. Sharpton ever rob anyone—including Steven Pagones—of livelihood or life? Are White people being chokehold-killed in White enclaves by Black police officers? When has that happened?

However, it became clear these two White men had no concept of what real racism is. They just wanted to claim  “reverse racism” nonsense. Racism is a thing of the past they maintain; and Black people who talk about it are merely belligerent malcontents out to smear innocent White people.

The two shut their ears when I explained that simple name-calling sin’t real racism, because it lacks the essential element of a necessary power to victimize the individual—like the power to deny a person a job, loan, residence, or,  in extreme cases such as Pantaleo’s action against Garner, deny someone their liberty and life.

Are most Blacks in a position to deny White people these things? Naturally, these kind of questions are never taken into account.

Black people in America—and Whites of real conscience—must seriously engage in a debate, and action regarding the continual double standards built into the foundation of America’s so-called criminal justice system. It’s not just the police—the courts and prisons are all bastions of bigotry toward Blacks.

Many Whites are clueless and callous when the subject revolves around the humanity and lives of Blacks—especially, Black men. One of the men I spoke with parroted the police line that Mr. Garner had sold illegal cigarettes. But when asked if a man deserves to die for something like this—even if true—neither could answer.

And the reason was clear: the dead man lying on that sidewalk looks nothing like them or their friends and family. Would they have even equated cigarettes with loss of a life if the victim looked like them? Garner’s humanity, apparently, was not recognized by them.

They din’t seem to conceive Mr. Garner had friends and family—including six kids that loved him. This incident highlighted the “who cares” attitude many Whites have when Black lives are hanging in the balance.

But Blacks must — only the victims can end the harassment, the violence and racism that is being imposed, not just by police, but by the criminal justice system.

This means the victims must become prepared to defy some laws. Vicious NYPD officers like Pantaleo have been empowered to kill in the streets with impunity. Right now police punks like Pantaleo have no fear of the consequences of killing Blacks.

That must change.

A thug-in-uniform like Pantaleo knows when he kills government officials and the courts will do everything in their power to make sure he escapes punishment for the crime. He is seen waving cheerily at the camera of the young man videotaping the chokehold killing; that’s how contemptuous and confident he was.When cops violate the rights of Black people haven’t they delimiting themselves as “peace officers?”The City of New York must also be assessed increased liability for deploying an officer with Pantaleo’s  reputation in the community.

At the same time, we must adopt the stance that we will not watch killer cops rob Black lives. The Black community must empower themselves to stop these crimes through training. African Americans who have served in the armed services or the police forces must become involved in training and organizing self-defense teams throughout our communities.

They are constitutionally allowed to legitimately protect their lives.

Since government officials seem unable—or unwilling—to stop sadistic criminal cops like Pantaleo what’s the alternative to community-organized protection teams?

Standing back to be terrorized is not an option and then attending funerals is not an option.

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Museums and tours during Cherry Blossom Festival

A guide to the museums and specialty tours offered during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The Big House Museum

11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 16 and March 22-24; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 18 and 25. 2321 Vineville Ave. Tour the house that was home to the Allman Brothers Band, their roadies, friends and families. Groove with musical instruments and clothing that belonged to the original, former and current members of the Allman Brothers Band, plus posters, photos and memorabilia. $10-$15. 478-741-5551.

Cannonball House

10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 16-17 and March 19-24. 856 Mulberry St. Visit the 1853 Greek Revival house, and see the unexploded shell that crashed into the home during the 1864 Federal attack. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it contains period furnishings and more. $4-$8. 478-745-5982.

Free Birds & Night Owls Music History Walking Tour

1-2:30 p.m. March 19-23. Meet at the Rookery, 543 Cherry St. Presented by Rock Candy Tours, see the homes, offices, crash pads and favorite haunts of some of Southern music’s most legendary players during this 1.5-hour, easy walking tour that focuses on downtown Macon’s entertainment district. $15 cash or check, reserve online with a credit card.

Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16 and March 20-23; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 17 and 24. 301 Cherry St. Immerse yourself in Georgia’s greatest sports moments while touring 14,000 square feet of exhibits featuring heroes such as Bobby Jones, Hank Aaron and more. $3.50-$8. 478-752-1585.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 16 and March 19-24; 1-4 p.m. March 18 and 25. 934 Georgia Ave. One of Georgia’s most historic homes, the Johnston-Felton-Hay House in Macon was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Visitors will enjoy tours showcasing the 1855-59 Italian Renaissance Revival mansion. $7-$11. 478-742-8155.

Museum of Arts and Sciences

10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16 and March 20-24; 1-5p.m. March 18 and 25. 4182 Forsyth Road. Explore four galleries, the Discovery House with hands-on activities, live animal habitats, the Mark Smith Planetarium, an observatory, nature trail and gift shop. $5-$10. 478-477-3232.

Museum of Aviation

9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Ga. 247 at Russell Parkway, Warner Robins. Aviation history comes alive with more than 100 authentic U.S. Air Force aircraft and missiles. It’s the second largest museum in the United States Air Force and the fourth most visited museum in the Department of Defense. Free. 478-926-6870.

Ocmulgee National Monument Lantern Light Tours

7:30-9:30 p.m. March 16-18 and March 23-25. Tours every 10 minutes. 1207 Emery Highway. $1-$6. Grab a lantern and stroll along the path from the Visitor’s Center to the Great Temple Mound. Meet costumed characters with ties to Ocmulgee, which has had 17,000 years of continuous habitation. Open for free self-guided tours from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 478-752-8257.

Sidney Lanier Cottage

10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 16-17 and March 22-24. 935 High St. Tour the nationally-registered 1842 birthplace of the famous poet and musician of the Old South. Among the objects on view are one of Sidney Lanier’s flutes, Mary Day’s wedding dress of 1867, and several portraits and first editions. $2-$5. 478-742-5084.

Spring Spirits Stroll

6-6:45 p.m. March 16-18 and March 22-25. Tours begin every 15 minutes; please arrive 15 minutes early. Historic Riverside Cemetery, 1301 Riverside Drive. Take a guided walking tour of the cemetery with actors representing the spirits of some of Macon’s most fascinating characters. Appropriate for all ages. $10. Tickets available online at

Tubman Museum

9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16-17 and March 20-24. 310 Cherry St. See exhibitions devoted to African-American art, history and culture. $6-$10. 478-743-8544.

Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens

8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Middle Georgia State University, 100 University Parkway. Enjoy an easy-to-follow, self-guided tour of the gardens. Be sure to see the Cherry Tree Garden. Free.

Woodruff House

10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 16-25. 988 Bond St. This Antebellum mansion overlooks downtown Macon offering spectacular views. The Ikebana Japanese flower arranging exhibit is also on display thanks to members of the Middle Georgia Chapter of Ikebana International. Free.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Politics | Sexual Consent Education, Tobacco & More: This Week at the State House

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sexual consent education bill okayed by House, bill filed to raise tobacco purchasing age to 21 and more. This Week at the State House. 

House OKs Solomon legislation that would allow sexual consent education

The House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) that would permit the teaching of sexual consent in the context of existing family life courses in secondary schools. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Click here to see news release.

House OKs Bennett bill to allow students sunscreen in schools

Students in Rhode Island schools would not be denied the right to possess and apply sunscreen under legislation sponsored by Rep. David Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) and unanimously approved by the House. Current regulations prohibit anyone other than a school nurse from administering medications, including Food and Drug Administration-approved substances like sunscreen, or possessing them without a doctor’s note or prescription. Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, where it was heard this week.

Click here to see news release.

Rep. Kazarian, Sen. Euer bill would safeguard access to contraception

Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) have introduced legislation that would require health insurance plans to provide coverage for a 12-month supply of birth control to all those who are insured or their spouses or dependents.  If passed, health care providers would be able to prescribe birth control up to a full year at a time, and would ensure it is covered without co-pay.

Click here to see news release.

Rep. Tanzi, Sen. Coyne file bill to raise tobacco purchase age to 21

Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) have introduced legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Rhode Island from 18 to 21. The legislation would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and would take effect upon passage. 

Click here to see news release.

Rep. McNamara bill would create position of student loan ombudsman

Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights. The act would authorize the creation of the position of student loan ombudsman within the office of the commissioner of postsecondary education.

Click here to see news release.

Sen. Euer bill would restore licensing for medical lab professionals

Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) has introduced legislation to re-establish licensing for medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory technicians, medical histologic technicians and cytotechnologists and set standards that include minimum education and training requirements. Licensing for the profession previously existed, but was eliminated in 2015. Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) has introduced the bill in the House. 

Click here to see news release.

Rep. Corvese sponsors bill with Secretary of State to support elections integrity 

Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) has introduced legislation on behalf of Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea to help maintain elections integrity around the nation by requiring that Rhode Island notify other states when their former residents register to vote here. Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist.22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) has introduced the measure in the Senate.

Click here to see news release.

Rep. O’Brien introduces Teachers Bill of Rights legislation

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has introduced legislation that would create a comprehensive bill of rights for school teachers in Rhode Island.  The legislation would amend the definition of “teacher” by adding school nurses, school guidance counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists to be classified as teachers. The legislation also lays out rights that would be afforded to teachers such as having all teachers work in an environment free from bullying and harassment from administrators, students, parents, and other teachers.

Click here to see news release.

Rep. McLaughlin bill would provide daycare for children of active military

Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) has introduced legislation that would provide daycare for the children of Rhode Islanders who serve in active duty in the armed forces.

Click here to see news release.

Rep. Phillips legislation would eliminate $10 fee for sales tax permits

Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) has introduced legislation that would eliminate the $10 fee businesses must pay to obtain a sales tax permit.

Click here to see news release.


Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.


Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%


When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%


Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50…

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%


In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don’t know/Refused: .6%


What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%


Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don’t know/Refused: 5%


Over the same time, has your family’s financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don’t know/Refused: 1%


Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don’t know: 4%


Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don’t know/refused: 17%


What particular ethnic group or nationality – such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth – do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%


Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%


Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%


Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%


Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%


Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%


Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%


Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%


Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%


Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%

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African American illustrators featured at NCCIL

George Ford’s cover illustration for Sharon Ray Mathis’ “Ray Charles” shows the young musician with his hands spread over a piano, lips curved into a smile of joy. Behind the boy, the same face beams, older and with light dancing in his characteristic sunglasses.

Seeing that image, and those from the other 100 award- and honor-winning books featured in “Our Voice” at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature makes Dr. Claudette McLinn feel like dancing herself.

“When you walk into a room, you want to see something of you there,” she said. “And when something of you is there and it looks beautiful, you know: I matter. You know I’m important. you know I’m not invisible. And that’s why it’s important for people to see themselves, in books and on the walls.”

The images, drawn from the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and honor his wife, Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

The NCCIL exhibit celebrates the 2019 50-year anniversary of the awards, focusing on winners and others honored for illustration.

“Our Voice” is the largest collection of CSK Illustrator Award and honor-winning art ever assembled, McLinn said.

The first award celebrating illustrators was given in 1974, with Ford as the first recipient.

The exhibit in Abilene, which will later travel to other museums, is both a “wonderful culmination,” and a celebration of that yet to come, said McLinn, chairwoman of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee.

“It wasn’t easy, it was a struggle, and we’re still pressing on,” she said of the awards and what they represent.

The CSK Book Awards were created through a discussion in 1969 between two librarians, Glyndon Flynt Greet and Mabel McKissick, and publisher John Carroll, the impetus being that no African American writer or illustrator had ever been honored by the prestigious Newberry or Caldecott Awards, established in 1922 and 1938 respectively.

The first Coretta Scott King Book Award was presented to Lillie Patterson during the New Jersey Association meeting in May 1970, for the biography “Martin Luther King Jr.: Man of Peace.”

Over the next 12 years, without official recognition from the executive board of the American Library Association, the presentations continued. In 1982, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards became an officially recognized ALA award.

The works presented are often awash in color, the images they depict everything from historical to fantastical. A variety of art styles are on display. Collage and layered works that create a sense of three dimensions find their home by more traditional art styles.

But no matter the technique, it’s what’s in the images that’s most important.

Familiar figures, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, join mermaids, storytellers spinning tales of the world’s creation, and people who can fly.

All are bound together by their powerful representations of black protagonists, images that reflect the worth and hope of each told tale.

Many times in older works, the illustrations depicting African Americans were stereotypical and often purely negative, McLinn said.

She recalls seeing some of those images herself, and cringing because of the way they made her feel, she said.

Now “we can create beautiful images of our own culture – true images, and that’s so very important,” McLinn said.

“This encourages other young people to do the same thing,” she said. “It just warms my heart and makes me dance and makes me smile.”

Picture books are perceived to be only for elementary school children, McLinn said.

But that’s not the case, such works spanning potential readers and audiences from childhood well into adulthood.

Ultimately, everyone, no matter who they are, wants to be accepted, McLinn said.

“Everyone wants to feel accepted and loved,” she said. “When you walk into a room, you want everyone to give you a welcome look.”

“When you walk in and see these beautiful illustrations on the wall, you say: ‘Look at this: I matter, I belong here in the world,'” she said. “Someone hears me, somebody sees me.”

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, 102 Cedar St., is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  “Our Voice” remains at the NCCIL through May 19.


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