On a final and very personal note: I was able to post six or eight times daily for many years. I can't do that now. Sometimes I can do three or four posts a day. Sometimes I can't do any. But I can elevate and report "our" news, issues and concerns to global platforms. Unfortunately it takes very many hours, days and weeks to write, report, interview, transcribe, travel and elevate your work so that you can get a "like" from MIT, SciAm, The Atlantic, EBONY, international fellowships, universities, the GLAAD Media Awards, etc. Some people can't understand that. Others are envious, resentful and spread false rumors. I'm okay with that. Sometimes you need fewer people around you—fewer "likes" and fake "friends"—if they have negative energy and try to sabotage your success. Leave them behind and laser-focus on your goals. Thanks to all who have supported me all along.
CNN's John King was the first to report incorrectly on Wednesday that authorities had identified a suspect in Monday's bloody terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. King claimed authorities were looking for a "dark skinned male."
"I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things. I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this is a dark-skinned male. I'm making a personal judgment—forgive me, I think it's the right judgment—not to try to inflame tensions. They say it's a dark-skinned male."
The suspect description and claims of an arrest were later found to be false. "CNN [incorrectly] reported an arrest and the Associated Press stated that
a suspect was taken into custody and was expected at a Boston
courthouse," adds CBS News.
Watch MSNBC's Al Sharpton slams CNN and John King's reporting AFTER THE JUMP ..
An ugly outbreak of racist and white supremacist graffiti in Massachusetts. Medford Police and the Tufts University Police Department are looking for the culprits who defaced the town and campus with "many" swastikas, racist symbols and messages, reports CW56 and the Tufts Daily.
The messages were discovered [Sunday] morning at Bello Field, according to an email sent to the Tufts community Sunday evening. ... Medford police are working with area gang units in an attempt to identify the signs, many of which were very specific, according to Rudolph. Beyond swastikas and racial slurs, the tags included clovers and the words “Crew 28,” according to reporting by local affiliate FOX 25.
"For me personally, and for many Black folks at Tufts, it is paramount to recall that the Slave Quarters still stand just beyond the Cousens Gym Complex. For many us, hate speech and white supremacy are not new, but compounded and relived daily on campus."
Wilson is referring to the "Royall House" slave quarters described as the "only structure of its kind still standing in the northern United States," by the Tufts Magazine. "Much of Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus sits on what was once a six-hundred-acre [slave] plantation presided."
In related news: Oberlin College canceled all classes on March 4 after a month-long series of "racial, anti-Semitic and homophobic incidents" culminated in the report of one person seen on campus wearing a Ku Klux Klan-type hood.
For the first time in history there will be two Blacks serving in the United States Senate. Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has appointed his former chief of staff William "Mo" Cowan to serve as the state’s interim United States senator, reports the Boston Globe.
In addition to being the second Black in the current Senate, Cowan will also become Massachusetts' second Black senator.
Cowan said he was “honored and humbled” to get the temporary post, which will make him the first African-American to represent Massachusetts in the Senate since Edward Brooke held the seat as a Republican from 1966 to 1978. ... Cowan succeeds Kerry, who this week formally resigned from the US Senate seat he held for 29 years and was also confirmed as the nation’s secretary of state by his Senate colleagues in an 94-3 vote.
Cowan is a North Carolina native and Duke University graduate who came to Boston to attend Northeastern University Law School in the early 1990s - and never left the region. One of the city’s leading African-American lawyers, Cowan is a former partner in the politically connected law firm of Mintz Levin.
Cowan has also mentored many black professionals and has served as a talent scout frequently called upon to help diversify the city’s institutions. He helped Governor Mitt Romney, who faced criticism for the lack of diversity in his judicial picks, identifying lawyers of color who would make good judges.
"Mo’s service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government," said Gov. Deval Patrick in a statement. "The people of the Commonwealth have benefited from his wisdom and good judgment during his time in our office, and will again in the Senate."
Massachusetts voters will select former Sen. John Kerry's replacement on June 25th in special election.
Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown lost his bid for re-election to Elizabeth Warren in November. Scott has indicated that he may run again this summer.
Cowan joins South Carolina Republican Tim Scott to become the second Black serving in the current Senate. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley appointed the former congressman to fill retiring Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate seat in December. Cowan and Scott are ideological opponents–Scott is stridently anti-gay, opposes a woman's right to choose and opposes other progressive causes. Would love to see Cowan spar with Tim "Tea Party" Scott on the Senate floor.
The film was written and directed by 23-year-old Amir Dixon, a friend of R20 and the creator of the web-based talk series BrotherHood TV. The documentary is described as "a mix of one-on-one interviews, group interviews, narrative pieces and poetry" inspired by Essex Hemphill’s writing and the 1989 film Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs. Dixon says his film was necessary because Black gay men "need to know and share our history."
"I looked back on my childhood and realized my parents could teach me
about being a Black Man in America, but could not teach me about being a
Black Gay Man and all it came with. When I got my heart broken, when I
dealt with homophobia, when I struggled with the intersections of my
identity they didn’t know where to begin. So I turned to my elders, my
ancestors and called on them through their work and their words. Essex
Hemphill’s work laid the foundation for my film. His work around race,
religion, activism and community was where I started. I wanted to
capture the stories of other young black gay men and get their thoughts
and stories on camera."
A federal appeals court in Boston heard oral arguments Wednesday on the landmark rulings that found a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The hearings were also the first time that DOMA has been argued in a federal appeals court.
The historic hearings in the First Circuit were followed two July 2010 rulings by a federal judge in Boston that struck down Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act. Section Three prohibits federal recognition of same-sex couples and denies all federal benefits, such as Social Security and health care. U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro, a Nixon appointee, ruled in two separate cases brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).
Initial arguments focused on the "rational basis" standard of scrutiny, reportsWashington Blade's Chris Johnson.
Stuart Delery, who’s gay and the Justice Department’s acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, surprised many when he said the Obama administration wouldn’t defend DOMA on any basis, including under rational basis review.
Last year, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend DOMA in court, on the basis that President Obama had determined that the anti-gay law fails heightened scrutiny because it discriminates against gay couples. Asked by Judge Juan Torruella whether the administration has a position on the rational basis test for the law, Delery replied, “We don’t.”
Delery’s position is significant because U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in 2010 ruled in favor of plaintiffs on the basis that DOMA didn’t pass the rational basis standard review, or a rational means to a legitimate governmental end. Judges on the First Circuit will have to decide whether to affirm or overrule this decision.
Delery maintained that the name “DOMA” itself indicates that the anti-gay law was intended to discriminate against LGBT families. "It was a defense against something, and that something was same-sex couples," Delery said.
Defending the anti-gay law in federal appeals court was Paul Clement, the former solicitor general in the George W. Bush Administration. House Speaker John Boehner hired Clement last year to advocate for DOMA on behalf of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which voted along party lines to take up defense of the law.
BrotherhoodTV is a new web-based talk series that debuted in July. The show features six young Black and Latino gay men from the Boston area, discussing current events and offering a youth perspective.
Twenty-one-year-old co-creator Amir tells Darian Aaron that the show "fearlessly celebrate[s]" LGBT youth. "My goal through this show is to let other young Black and Latino Gay and Bisexual men know that they are beautifully made, and that it is imperative that they stand in their truth. But above all it is important that they know they aren’t alone.”
Bravo to the hosts for their new project and having some initiative ... and for having the courage to be open, honest and discussing their lives. The two most recent eps of BrotherhoodTV focus on relationships, sex and dating. Watch them AFTER THE JUMP ...
The NFL is "investigating" a sexually explicit video of Brandon Spikes, the New England Patriots rookie linebacker and former Florida Gator star. The video is a recording on the random web-cam-based chat service Chatroulette. The sexually explicit video shows Spikes lying in bed with a woman and receiving oral sex.
ESPN.com reports NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello says, "We are looking into it." Spikes faces a fine and possible suspension by the NFL over violating the league's personal conduct policy. In the 48 hours ago since it surfaced, Reebok has also decided against finalizing an endorsement deal with the footballer, reports the Boston Herald.