VIP Fundraiser for the Honorable Michael Blake Fundraiser to be held on 01/07/2016 from 8:30pm – 12:00am

Please join us for a very special event to raise funds for the assemblyman Michael Blake  for  his re-election to   New York State’s 79th District

Hosted by: Dr. Dennie Beach, Dr. Samuel Jones, Ibrahima Cisse with sponsorship by The African Union Expo LLC, Go Africa Health LLC, & Go Africa News LLC.

Masters of Ceremonies will be the incomparable Ms. Yoliswa Cele  and special guest host Ms. Guina ( Ms.Isata Diallo ).



 Who is Michael Blake?  a 2007 Time Magazine article said, “Michael Blake may have more to do with Barack Obama’s chances of becoming President than anyone besides the candidate himself.”  Enough Said.
January 7, 2016
8:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Home of Dr. Dennie Beach: 1760 2nd Ave (between 91nd and 92nd Streets) Apt 22C New York, NY 10128
  • Co-Chair: $2000
  • Co-Host: $1000
  • Sponsor: $500
  • Friend: $250
  • Guest: $100
 For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Rafi Jafri at (917) 975 8565 or

Cocktails, appetizers and dish specialties will be served at this incomparable event. this promises to be a special evening for everyone.

This event is on 1/7/2016 from 8:30pm – 12:15 am at 1760 2nd ave apt 22C NY, NY 10128

Located between 91st & 92nd streets

Please visit the link below  to make a donation you use the selections below

and/or RSVP  your attendance and contribution below.

If you are only RSVPing your attendance and will make a contribution at the event, please select VIP Attendee below in your selection.

for more information email: or



(HuffPost Black Voices) 16 Numbers That Explain Why Police Reform Became An Even Bigger Story In 2015



By Nick Wing


Senior Viral Editor, The Huffington Post

If 2014 was the year many people began asking hard questions about problems with policing, 2015 was the year we started getting answers that showed just how big these problems are.

Motivated by a series of high-profile killings of black males over the last half of 2014 — and particularly young victims like 18-year-old Michael Brown and 12-year-old Tamir Rice — the media spent much of 2015 focusing intently on the sorts of complaints that many poorer communities and communities of color had raised.

Incidents that may only have been covered locally in years past continued to get front-page treatment across the country in 2015, bringing with them broader implications for the overall state of law enforcement in the U.S. As a result, the nation got a closer look at the ways bad policing anywhere can corrode the public’s trust in the entire institution.

Perhaps most importantly, we realized just how little we had known about trends in police violence and misconduct. In the historic absence of federally collected data on many of the most harrowing statistics, outlets began their own tracking efforts. They came up with a number of reports about the size and scope of controversies in policing. Together, national and local reporting confirmed police departments in the U.S. suffer from a variety of systemic issues.

But we didn’t need statistics to see the disturbing patterns evident in the year’s most contentious cases. The facts in many police shootings remained sharply contested, long after prosecutors effectively ruled in favor of officers. Official statements sometimes conflicted with the evidence presented to the public. Time and time again, the public was left wondering how shootings that appeared avoidable or unnecessary could also be “justified.”

These controversies were further enflamed by a legal system that sometimes operates behind closed doors, asking the public simply to trust that justice was done. And it didn’t help that the entire process crawled along at a languid pace that in some cases appeared to be both a function of careful calculation and careless indifference.

While there is hope for incremental police reform heading into 2016, the legal foundations that allow officers and departments to uphold the status quo remain fully intact. To get a better sense of what, if anything, we can expect to change in the new year, here are some numbers from 2015 that you should keep in mind.


The number of people killed by police in 2015, according to a database compiled by The Guardian.

Because their list includes all manners of death, it counts people who died in police custody, or after being struck by stun guns or police cruisers, as well as those who were shot.

Black civilians were far more likely than people from any other race to be killed by police in 2015, with 6.87 deaths per million people. That’s more than two times the rate of Native Americans, the second most likely group, who were killed at a rate of 3.4 per million. The rate among whites was 2.84 deaths per million.

Police in California were involved in the most civilian deaths this year, killing 207 people, according to The Guardian. With the figures adjusted by population, New Mexico saw the highest rate of people dying at the hands of police.


See more at The Guardian.


The number of people shot to death by police this year, according to a tracking project by The Washington Post.

Ninety of those — 88 men and 2 women — were unarmed. Eighteen of the unarmed civilians were Hispanic. With 36 unarmed black victims in 2015, black communities suffered a disproportionately high rate of police violence in this particularly troubling metric as well.

The Post also reported that the large majority of people who police shot and killed were either wielding weapons, experiencing a mental episode or threatening self-harm, or refusing officers’ orders. But in 60 percent of cases in which police fired upon civilians exhibiting what the Post calls “less threatening behavior,” the suspects were black or Hispanic.


The number of people killed by police in “justifiable homicides” in 2014, according to the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For years, this was the closest figure to an official accounting of civilians killed by police. Now that we have more comprehensive data, it’s clear that using the FBI’s parameters — felons killed by officers in the line of duty — has likely led to a severe undercounting of this statistic.

The FBI announced plans earlier this month to improve its tracking of violent police encounters. By 2017, the agency says, it will be able to provide more information on incidents in which an officer causes serious injury or death to a civilian.


The number of days that passed before a prosecutor announced that officers would not face charges in the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said Monday that a grand jury had determined that two officers were justified in driving up to Rice as he was playing with a toy gun at a park and shooting him within a matter of seconds.

The wait of more than 13 months attracted criticism from the family’s lawyers, who repeatedly accused the prosecution of deliberately stalling the case in order to come to a decision that wouldn’t hold the officers accountable for the shooting. While the prosecution waited to announce its final conclusion, it courted controversy by releasing a number of findings by independent experts who said they believed officers were justified in opening fire on Rice. The announcement came during the slow stretch between Christmas and New Year’s, meaning it’s safe to call this a news dump of significant proportions.

Beyond the inevitable questions about whether grand jury reached the correct decision, Rice’s case exposes a much broader problem with the often sluggish pace of the legal system responsible for bringing officers to justice in cases such as these.


The age of the youngest victim of a fatal police shooting this year. Jeremy Mardis, an autistic boy, was shot by Louisiana police in November.

Mardis was in the car with his father when Marksville city marshals Lt. Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, approached and opened fire, discharging at least 18 rounds. Police body camera footage of the incident showed Mardis’ father, who was also shot and critically wounded in the incident,with his hands raised at the time of the shooting, according to a lawyer for the family who had viewed the video.

The shooting drew attention to a small-town police force that has been plagued by problem officers, including Stafford and Greenhouse, who had both been named in a number of civil complaints. Other reports suggested there was an escalating turf war between two law enforcement departments in Marksville, and that the two officers may have been given more leeway to patrol the town and issue citations as a result.

Stafford and Greenhouse have been indicted on first-degree murder charges and remain in jail.



The number of shots fired at Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man, as he ran away from North Charleston police officer Michael Slager following a traffic stop in April.

Police initially described the shooting, recorded by a bystander, as a response to a scuffle in which Scott had overpowered Slager and gotten control of the officer’s Taser. Slager feared for his life when he pulled the trigger, authorities said. The subsequent release of the video called this narrative into question and quickly led to Slager being charged with murder in the killing. He remains in jail.

The video was played over and over again online and on cable news, once again exposing the power of bystander footage to change the trajectory of a police shooting case — and leading to further concerns that the death of black people has become a spectacle in U.S. culture.


The number of officers charged this year with murder or manslaughter for their involvement in on-duty shootings, according to Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University who has researched police killings. This includes a number of officers who were charged for incidents that took place in previous years.

The average over the past decade has been closer to five officers charged each year, Stinson said. He believes the increasing presence of bystander video has played a role in the uptick this year.

Stinson, himself a former police officer, told HuffPost earlier this year that the increased attention being paid to police brutality may have also contributed to the rise in prosecution, though he added that it’s too early to tell whether 2015 will be a statistical outlier or an early indication of an upward trend. At any rate, he said a handful of charges likely wouldn’t eliminate skepticism about the general failure to prosecute police officers.

A protester sits outside the Charleston Courthouse during bond hearing for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)


The number of officers convicted this year on murder or manslaughter charges stemming from on-duty incidents.

This serves as a reminder that 15 indictments only looks like progress given the overwhelming resistance to charging police officers — and that the few officers who do face serious charges for their involvement in police killings are rarely actually punished for their actions.


The number of fatal on-duty shooting incidents a single officer has been directly involved in over the course of his career, according to a Washington Post review of police shootings in 2015.

That officer, a sheriff’s deputy on a SWAT team in Broward County, Florida, pulled the trigger in three fatal shootings from 2009 to 2011. In June, he shot for a fourth time during a deadly confrontation with a suspected bank robber.

The Post reported that 55 of the officers who fatally shot civilians this year had previously fired their weapons in other deadly on-duty shootings. A number of others had been involved in two previous incidents.


Only one of the nation’s 60 largest cities went the entire year without a fatal police shooting, according to a report by Mapping Police Violence, a project headed by activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. That means 59 of the largest 60 cities saw law enforcement kill at least one civilian this year.

Police in Riverside, California, didn’t kill a single one of the city’s more than 300,000 residents in 2015. About 170 miles north, in Bakersfield, population 360,000, police were ranked the most lethal, killing at a rate of more than 13 people per million, more than three times the national average. They killed a total of five civilians this year.


A separate graph from Mapping Police Violence compares deadly police violence to overall levels of violent crime, and finds that there’s no correlation between the two numbers. This knocks down the popular argument that police are more likely to kill people in high-crime areas, ostensibly as a response to a threat posed by a suspect or other members of the community.

In other words, black-on-black crime has nothing to do with police violence.



Only two major U.S. cities have fully implemented their police body camera programs, according to a HuffPost review earlier this year.

Among 27 large cities across the nation, only Albuquerque and New Orleans have finished equipping their officers with body cameras. The Justice Department had previously investigated both city police forces over allegations of civil rights violations by their officers.

Many U.S. cities of all sizes have begun to explore police body cameras as a tool for fostering transparency and accountability. The vast majority of departments currently find themselves in the planning stages of their programs, however. Some are still waiting for funding, comparing different devices or testing the use of cameras with a small portion of their officers before rolling out the equipment more widely.

While police and the public tend to agree that body cameras are a good first step toward rebuilding trust between departments and civilians, the slow speed of getting the technology up and running has only exacerbated concerns that police could end up making sure body cameras won’t bring about the change many had hoped to see.


The number of days it took for Chicago to release a video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old who was killed following a confrontation with police.

The publishing of the dashboard camera video followed a lengthy court battle in which authorities reportedly worked to suppress the chilling footage of officer Jason Van Dyke gunning down McDonald in the middle of a busy street. County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced first-degree murder charges against Van Dyke shortly after releasing the video. The series of events led some to claim Chicago officials were intent on covering up the incident, and that they might have been successful had a whistleblower not aired concerns that the shooting wasn’t going to be adequately investigated.

The footage offered a dramatically different account than the one initially provided by police after the shooting. While officials claimed McDonald had lunged at officers before the shooting, the video — which police said was recorded without audio — showed Van Dyke firing the first shot from about 10 feet away and firing the final shot nearly 15 seconds later, as McDonald lay seemingly lifeless on the ground.

Van Dyke was later released on bail that was set at $1.5 million, of which at least 10 percent had to be posted.

A frame from dash-cam video of the final seconds of Laquan McDonald’s life. (Chicago Police Department via AP)


The number of complaints of biased policing the LAPD sustained between 2012 and 2014, according to a recent Los Angeles Times report. More than 1,300 such complaints were filed over that period.

The figure led officials to admit that something had to be wrong, with one LAPD commissioner telling the Times that it “strains credibility to suggest that … there were zero instances of biased policing.”

Police officials said that the lack of action on these cases is in part due to the difficulty of proving that officers knowingly initiated a civilian interaction because of the civilian’s race or other physical factors. But the remarkable record also leads to further questions about whether police should continue to be allowed to investigate themselves if they consistently find that they did nothing wrong.

$248.7 million

The amount paid out last year by the 10 largest U.S. cities for settlements and court judgments involving police misconduct cases in their departments,according to a Wall Street Journal report. These cities paid out more than $1 billion over five years, with the annual total increasing nearly 50 percent from 2010 to 2014.

Taxpayers in these cities are typically on the hook for these payments, meaning that they can end up getting victimized twice — both as the direct casualties of police misconduct and the unwilling enablers who must eventually pay for that misconduct.

$5.7 million

The amount Baltimore taxpayers shelled out in police misconduct cases between 2011 and September 2014, when the Baltimore Sun published an explosive report on excessive force by the city’s police department.

As the Sun reported, that money “would cover the price of a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds.” And this doesn’t include the nearly $6 million the city spent defending officers against these claims.

This money could have gone to much better causes in other cities as well. In Chicago, for example, the $521 million taxpayers coughed up in police misconduct cases between 2004 and 2014 would have been enough for the city to cover nearly the entire cost of a new, state-of-the-art research hospital being built downtown.


The number of officers killed in attacks suffered in the line of duty this year, according to an independent count compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks law enforcement deaths.

That makes 2015 one of the safest years on record for law enforcement. In 2013, the safest year in documented history, 27 officers were killed as a result of felonious acts, according to the FBI.

While critics tried to combat the increasingly vocal push for police reform by branding this activism as a “war on cops,” it’s now clear this claim was bogus. Police may have felt like they were “under attack” — it’s difficult to hear public criticism when you have so long been insulated from it, after all — but these were never physical threats. Data shows that non-lethal violence against police is also on the decline.

And if this so-called “war on cops” was supposed to be coupled with an increase in crime because officers were too scared to do their jobs, that also didn’t pan out. While some cities did see disturbing increases in murder rates, the overall rate of violent crime and murder — including in many of those same cities — has still been in decline for the last 25 years. That trend is projected to have continued in 2015.

Let’s all remember that as we talk about policing and the pressing need for reform in 2016.

This article was published on Huffington Post Black Voices.

(Newsweek) The Real Africa, Through the Lens of African Photographers

By On 12/22/15 at 2:00 AM

Africa has long been irresistible to art photographers. The diversity of its 54 nations, its natural phenomena—even, say some photographers, the difference in light compared with Europe and the U.S.—have spawned vast bodies of work and helped inform the way many in the international community regard the continent. The problem is that these photographs have, until recently, been taken by non-African photographers. Through their lenses, we have seen the continent’s beauty and its rawness, the savannahs and the cities—but rarely have we seen this through the eyes of those who actually call Africa home.

The problem comes from a mix of access and interest. African photographers have been showcasing their work within the continent for years. One of the best-known photography festivals in Africa, the Bamako Encounters biennale in Mali, which has run since 1994, is aimed at promoting trends in contemporary African photography and video. The West, however, has been slow to take note. Of the 48 photographer-members represented by Magnum Photos—arguably the most famous and prestigious international photo agency—just one, South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky, lives in Africa.

“Photography is a $10 billion industry, and what part of that does Africa have?” asks Aida Muluneh, a photographer and founder of the Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia, a biannual event since 2010. “The majority of photos of Africa come from [non-African] white photographers.” That lack of visibility is problematic for more than just monetary reasons. Since the majority of archived images of Africa were taken by non-African whites, many of the continent’s surviving historical documents show not the experience of Africans but the experience of colonizers and the native Africans they often subjugated.

01_01_AfricanPhotography_02 People fill vessels with fuel from an overturned tanker. African photographers are revealing previously hidden sides of the continent. George Osodi/Panos

But a shift is occurring in the international arts community, and combined with the increasing affordability of cameras and improvements in smartphone lenses, it has led a new generation of Africans to the photographic medium. Some are photojournalists, while others work largely in art photography, sharing their experiences and viewpoints with a global audience. New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently exhibiting 100 years of portrait photography from West Africa. The increased exposure has benefited emerging photographers, who are being scouted by international galleries and agents at a much higher rate than ever before.

“Many African photographers are using their work to explore identity, and often this identity is linked to the past,” says John Fleetwood, head of the South African photography school Market Photo Workshop. “Colonial photography prompted the world to become used to a certain image of Africa, and photographers from the continent are now trying to represent it in a different way.”

Sammy Baloji is one such artist. In 2014, he was made a graduate of Rolex’s mentoring program, which pairs young, gifted artists with more experienced ones for a year. Baloji, who splits his time between his hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Belgium, exhibited at London’s Tate Modern in 2011 and at this past year’s Venice Biennale. Much of Baloji’s work focuses on the Congo and the ways he and his countrymen confront their colonial past.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the Congo, as it was formerly known, gained independence and an identity separate from its colonizer, Belgium, though peace was still slow coming. Shortly after its emancipation, coups and a bloody civil war hit the Congo. Ever since, the country has struggled to reconcile its identity before and after colonization—a confusion that comes through in Baloji’s work, which frequently features images of the country’s past superimposed on photographs from its present.

“Many people in the DRC think we have lost our culture—that is, our pre-colonization culture,” says Baloji. “The role of colonization was not just exploiting minerals but educating people in a Western way that erased what came before.”

In one of Baloji’s earlier exhibitions, 2006’s “Mémoire,” washed-out color photographs of the Congolese city of Lubumbashi are overlaid with black-and-white archival images of workers who toiled in the industrial city’s Belgian-owned mines. In one haunting image, two Congolese laborers, one chained by his neck, work in a ditch, watched over by two men. The ghostly, enslaved figures are the only clear markers on the landscape—modern buildings and what appear vaguely to be cellphone towers in the far background are so faded as to be almost unrecognizable.

George Osodi, a Nigerian artist and former photographer, earned international recognition for his photographs of his country—especially a series in which he exposed some of the injustices taking place in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. As oil companies flocked to the south of Nigeria, their activities began to slowly poison the environment and force many Nigerians into poverty. Though the Delta is one of the country’s most profitable regions, its people remain some of the most destitute in all of Africa. Osodi’s photographs, from six years of documenting the area, show slums, billowing clouds of black smoke and the flames of gas flares. In one of the most jarring photographs in the collection, a charred skull looks directly into the camera—the remains of a villager killed in 2003, when oil pouring from a compromised pipeline exploded. In another, from 2006, titled Water Drum, a young girl grips a plastic bucket by the rusting water container—an oil barrel stamped with the white logo of Exxon Mobil Corp. Osodi’s work is currently on display at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England.

01_01_AfricanPhotography_01 A girl holds onto a jetty as a boy paddles a canoe on Lagos Lagoon in the Makoko district. George Osodi/Panos

Osodi says he entered the world of photography because “a lot of things, unjust things, were happening. There was mismanagement of the country, and this needed to be documented visually.” Just as Baloji is driven to make sense of his surroundings and find identity and a sense of self in them, Osodi says he “had a drive to photograph things that needed to be changed. I needed to photograph to make people aware—that was my driving passion.”

It’s a passion that could have real benefits for the international understanding of African identity. “Photography in Africa has grown dramatically in its popularity, because people want to understand the diversity of the world,” says Fleetwood. As more and more people across the continent gain access to photographic equipment and realize there is a demand for their images, African photography could become a common fixture on the global art scene.

Immigration reform may be in political and legal limbo nationally, but in New York officials used a national conference on the issue on Monday to announce plans to bolster support for immigrants in the city and across the state.

Nisha Agarwal, the city’s commissioner for immigrant affairs. Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who has pushed immigration reform as part of his progressive platform, said the city would spend $7.9 million next year to boost its immigration services throughout the five boroughs, deploying community organizations to help residents seek free legal assistance to apply for protection from deportation or even for citizenship.

At the same time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vowed to continue to crack down on wage theft and the exploitation of workers — many of whom are immigrants who fear reporting abuse to the authorities — and said that the state had already recovered more than $28 million for workers who had been cheated out of their wages.

Mr. de Blasio, speaking in an address to the National Immigrant Integration Conference at the Brooklyn Marriott, said the city wanted to reach up to 75,000 immigrants in the first year of its plan, called ActionNYC. Read more

(New American Media) Slaves, Experiments and Dr. Marion Sims’ Statue: Should It Stay or Go?

a_caballero_statue_500x279New America Media, News Report, Andres Caballero, Posted: Dec 08, 2010

NEW YORK CITY—The statue of Dr. James Marion Sims, a surgical pioneer considered the father of modern gynecology, stands amid fallen autumn leaves in northeast Central Park, bowing to passersby who look with curiosity, but fail to recognize him.

Sims’ contributions to science and medicine are revered by many, but reviled by those who know of the pain endured by female slaves on whom he operated without anesthesia in the mid-1800s: he was trying to find the cure for a painful post-birth condition known as vesico-vaginal fistula.

“There is no doubt that he carried out experiments on women, and that he was only able to do so because they were slaves,” says Deborah McGregor, a history professor at the University of Illinois and author of From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology.

The issue now is whether the city should continue to honor Sims’s achievements or signal its disapproval of his methods by removing his statue from its place at Fifth Avenue near 103rd Street, opposite the New York Academy of Medicine, a historically African-American neighborhood that is now largely Puerto Rican.

“Should the NYC Parks Department remove the statue of Dr. Marion Sims from its East Harlem location considering his experiments on female and infant slaves?” asked a recent poll on EastHarlemPreservation.Org, an advocacy organization that promotes and preserves the neighborhood’s cultural, architectural and environmental history.

Of the 650 respondents, 62 percent voted for removal, while 16 percent wanted to keep the statue in place, and 23 percent said they needed more information.

A 2007 petition by the office of New York City Councilmember Charles Barron to remove the statue went nowhere, said Marina Ortiz, president and founder of East Harlem Preservation. But Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito has told the group that she is open to advocating for the statue’s removal.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the NYC Parks and Recreation department says there have been no requests to get rid of the statue. Frances Mastrota, chair of the Community Board 11 Parks and Recreation Committee, says she did not know about the statue, but added that she would look into possible requests to have it removed.

Sims was a controversial figure even in his lifetime. Born in South Carolina in 1813, he attended medical school in his home state and in Philadelphia, and spent the early part of his career practicing in Alabama, where he owned slaves. In addition to his pioneering work in the field of gynecology —among other things — he invented the speculum, an instrument that allows doctors to see into the vagina—he boasted of being the first doctor in the South to successfully treat clubfoot and cross-eyes.

A major focus of his gynecological work was finding a way to repair vesico-vaginal fistula, a painful and embarrassing disorder caused by prolonged labor that results in the complete loss of urinary (and often fecal) control, as well as other side effects. In Sims’s era, the condition was “a physical and social calamity,” as one researcher puts it, and women with the condition were forced to avoid contact with other people, and were sometimes sent away from their families.

Sims operated on at least 10 slave women from about 1845 to 1849.

Although anesthesia became available in 1846, at least three of the slaves—Lucy, Anarcha and Betsey — endured surgery without it.

A New York Times article in October 1894 explains how Sims’s “first operation was on a female slave and was unsuccessful. He operated again and again on the same subject [Anarcha], and finally, in his thirtieth trial, he was successful.”

In his autobiography, Sims wrote about Lucy: “The poor girl, on her knees, bore the operation with great heroism and bravery. Lucy’s agony was extreme.”

After perfecting his technique and repairing the fistulas successfully in Anarcha. Sims then repaired those of several other slave women. Only after these surgeries proved successful did he try the procedure on his white female patients, this time with anesthesia. (According to McGregor and others, Sims also operated on infants born to slaves).

Sims moved to New York in 1853, becoming famous over the next few decades for a number of advances in the treatment of female patients. During the Civil War, he traveled to London and Paris, where his patients included Empress Eugenie. He was named president of the American Medical Association in 1875 and the Gynecological Society in 1879. He died in New York in 1883.

Sims’s bronze and granite statue, designed by German sculptor Ferdinand von Miller II, was first erected in Bryant Park, near the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, in 1892, and moved to East Harlem in 1934. A placard on the monument reads: “Surgeon and philanthropist, founder of the Woman’s Hospital State of New York. In recognition of his services in the cause of science and mankind.”

The current backlash against Sims has its roots in the women’s movement of the mid-1970s. But Sims also has his defenders, including L. Lewis Wall, a doctor and professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Sims’s modern critics have discounted the enormous suffering experienced by fistula victims, Wall wrote in a 2005 article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, adding that Sims’s failure to use anesthesia on his black patients in the 1840s was not necessarily racist:

“Acceptance [of anesthesia among doctors at the time] was not universal, and there was considerable opposition to its introduction from many different quarters, for many different reasons.”

Walls noted: “The evidence suggests that Sims’s original patients were willing participants in his surgical attempts to cure their affliction—a condition for which no other viable therapy existed at that time.”

“I think it’s important to add that he did help some of the women by creating a working treatment for a miserable condition,” agrees McGregor, the history professor. Still, she adds, “I sympathize with the desire to remove the statue. Perhaps the best compromise is to make a statue honoring Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy.”

But Ortiz, of East Harlem Preservation, believes the Sims statue should go.

“I don’t think that the average Puerto Rican in East Harlem would find this statue representative of their community,” she says, adding. “Building a statue of the three [slave] women won’t solve the issue.”

Andres Caballero is currently an MS student at Columbia  School of Journalism.

The article was published on New American Media.

(CBS News) Mark Zuckerberg faces criticism over his $45 billion pledge

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 8.15.57 PM

By BRIAN MASTROIANNI CBS NEWS December 4, 2015, 1:02 PM

Days after announcing he would donate billions of dollars to charitable causes over his lifetime, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has drawn some backlash from critics who questioned how that money would be used.

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced the arrival of their baby daughter Max and pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares over the course of their lives to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Those shares are currently worth some $45 billion. The couple said they set up the initiative with the mission to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research, and energy,” according to its Facebook page.

But after Zuckerberg got a windfall of positive publicity, critics started to question his motives and where the money will go.

The controversy stems from the initiative’s status as an LLC, or limited liability company, rather than a nonprofit.

“Zuckerberg is not ‘giving away’ 99% of his FB wealth. He’s ‘donating’ his FB shares to an LLC that he controls, for minimizing taxes,” Twitter user @ollieblog wrote.

Zuckerberg is not “giving away” 99% of his FB wealth. He’s “donating” his FB shares to an LLC that he controls, for minimizing taxes.

— olliander (@ollieblog) December 3, 2015

“And b/c Zuckerberg’s thing is an LLC, he can give to political organizations, SuperPACs, all that stuff, w/money that was never taxed,” tweeted ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger.

And b/c Zuckerberg’s thing is an LLC, he can give to political organizations, SuperPACs, all that stuff, w/ money that was never taxed.

— Jesse Eisinger (@eisingerj) December 2, 2015

“A charitable foundation is subject to rules and oversight. It has to allocate a certain percentage of its assets every year. The new Zuckerberg LLC won’t be subject to those rules and won’t have any transparency requirements,” Eisinger explained in a piece published in the New York Times.

“The donation has been characterized a little too simplistically as an outright charitable donation of 99 percent of his wealth,” Robert Willens, one of the country’s foremost corporate tax experts, told CBS News.

“Certainly it could wind up being that if he directed all of the LLC’s funds to charity,” Willens added, noting that such charitable arrangements are becoming common among wealthy people. “But the jury is still out regarding what percentage of his wealth will be directed to charity.”

To try to address these concerns, Zuckerberg took to the the social media network he helped found.

“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiaitve is structured as an LLC rather than a traditional foundation. This enables us to pursue our mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates — in each case with the goal of generating a positive impact in areas of great need,” Zuckerberg wrote on his public Facebook. “Any net profits from investments will also be used to advance this mission.”

“We receive no tax benefit from transferring our shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,”Zuckerberg wrote. “And just like everyone else, we will pay capital gains taxes when our shares are sold by the LLC.”

In fact, he noted that had they donated shares to a more traditional nonprofit foundation, they would have received “an immediate tax benefit.”

Zuckerberg said that by using this financial approach, “we gain flexibility to execute our mission more effectively.” For example, he said, “our education work has been funded through a non-profit organization, Startup:Education, the recently announced Breakthrough Energy Coalition will make private investments in clean energy, and we also fund public government efforts, like the CDC Ebola response and San Francisco General Hospital.”

Willens agreed that for Zuckerberg, the main benefit of shifting his shares to an LLC is control over how the funds are ultimately used.

“He wanted to have more flexibility to invest in profit-making operations,” Willens said. “He didn’t want to be constrained by rules that govern foundations and other tax-exempt entities, while having maximum control over the funds — and what’s wrong with that?”

As for the suggestion that Zuckerberg’s and his wife’s formation of an LLC means the money may not actually go to charity, Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, whose clients include wealthy families and corporations, downplayed the notion. “They are clearly fairly visible people. If no giving, or impact or social purpose investing ever came of this LLC, I think people would pay attention to that.”

In the Facebook post Tuesday first announcing his plans, Zuckerberg said the Initiative will focus on “promoting equality,” an objective that Gabriel Zucman, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, found commendable — and ironic.

“Promoting equality starts with paying one’s taxes,” Zucman said in an email to CBS News, while noting that Facebook shifts billions of dollars of profits to zero-tax locales like the Cayman Islands. “If billionaires are free to choose how they contribute to society, why shouldn’t I? Why do I have to pay taxes?” asked Zucman, who criticized the stance taken by Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley billionaires as harming the social contract and very goals he “pretends to pursue in his letter.”

Like other U.S. multinationals, Facebook has used a range of accounting techniques to minimize its taxes. Those include funneling profits to tax havens overseas, a practice critics say deprives the U.S. government of revenue.

Zuckerberg previously signed The Giving Pledge, joining an elite group of billionaires like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Richard Branson in declaring he would give away more than half his fortune over his lifetime.

But some of his past philanthropic efforts have missed the mark. In 2010, Zuckerberg made a splash by announcing on “Oprah” that he was donating $100 million to turn around the failing public school system of Newark, New Jersey.

Five years later, that plan is widely regarded as a failure. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on restructuring and shifting children to charter schools, but “those changes were really not transformational, as hoped,” Dale Russakoff, author of “The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools,” told CBS News.

Read Zuckerberg’s complete Facebook post responding to critics below:

I want to thank you all for your heartwarming congratulations on Max’s birth and on starting the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This whole community has been so loving and supportive.

If you’re interested in following the philanthropy work we’re doing with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, I encourage you to like the page here:

Since we announced this a couple days ago, many people have asked about what we’re planning to focus on and how we’re structuring our work.

Our initial focus areas are personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We’ve already made many investments over the past five years in these areas — education, science, health, internet access and inclusion — and you can see a summary of our investments on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative page timeline.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is structured as an LLC rather than a traditional foundation. This enables us to pursue our mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates — in each case with the goal of generating a positive impact in areas of great need. Any net profits from investments will also be used to advance this mission.

By using an LLC instead of a traditional foundation, we receive no tax benefit from transferring our shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, but we gain flexibility to execute our mission more effectively. In fact, if we transferred our shares to a traditional foundation, then we would have received an immediate tax benefit, but by using an LLC we do not. And just like everyone else, we will pay capital gains taxes when our shares are sold by the LLC.

What’s most important to us is the flexibility to give to the organizations that will do the best work — regardless of how they’re structured. For example, our education work has been funded through a non-profit organization,Startup:Education, the recently announced Breakthrough Energy Coalitionwill make private investments in clean energy, and we also fund public government efforts, like the CDC Ebola response and San Francisco General Hospital.

We’ll have more to share soon, and if you want more information I recommend liking the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative page.

Thanks again for all of your support and interest. This community has been amazing and we’re excited to get started on this work together when we’re back from parental leave!

This article was published on CBS News.

(NYT) Influx of West Africans in the Bronx Spurs Demand for Interpreters

Conversations were still bubbling when Afua Atta-Mensah took the microphone and welcomed everybody to the African Community Town Hall, held in the basement of the Bronx Museum of the Arts this month.

“Ete sen?” Ms. Atta-Mesah, the program moderator, shouted in one of Ghana’s primary language groups, Twi. The crowd of 300 cheered. She had simply asked, “What’s up?”

Listening to a French translation at the African Community Town Hall this month. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

According to a new report released last month by the United States Census Bureau, more than 192 languages are spoken in the New York metropolitan area, making the city the most linguistically diverse in the country. The rise in African languages significantly contributes to this panoply, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Bronx. According to the Census Bureau, more than 16 African languages are spoken in the Bronx, a number that is quite likely far lower than what is actually spoken in homes in the borough, linguists say. In West Africa alone there are more than 800 languagesRead more

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New York City will begin offering the SAT free to all public school juniors during the school day, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Monday, part of a push to encourage more students to apply to college.

black business faces

Education officials said that by removing barriers to entry — like the required fee, or fee waiver, and the very act of signing up — the hope is that students who might not otherwise have taken the test will do so.

“The opportunity to go to college should never be decided by students’ backgrounds or ZIP codes,” Ms. Fariña said in a statement. “I only became the first person in my family to go to college because a teacher let me know it was an option and supported me through the application and enrollment process so I could follow my dreams of becoming a teacher.”

With this change, which will take effect in the spring of the 2016-17 school year, New York City joins several statewide efforts to increase the number of students taking college entrance exams, like the SAT or ACT. States including Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin already require that students take the ACT to fulfill their high school testing requirements, and earlier this year, Connecticut announced all 11th graders would have to take the SAT. Read more

The Go Africa® Mimosa or Ginjan® Mimosa

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The Go Africa® Mimosa or Ginjan® Mimosa

2 Mimosa Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Ginjan® Premium brand organic ginger juice
  • 4 ounces of Brut champagne

Recipe Instructions:

Fill champagne flute with 2 ounces  of Ginjan® Premium brand organic ginger juice and top up with brut champagne.

For a true, old-school Buck’s Fizz, add 1/2 teaspoon grenadine; for a true Mimosa, it’s a teaspoon or so of Grand Marnier (not enough, we’re afraid, to compensate for the champagne deficit).

saying they work 50 or more hours


You might be at work, but that hardly means you are working.

Mitesh Bohra thought that projects at his software company, InfoBeans, were taking too long. “Something was supposed to be done in a thousand hours and it would end up taking 1,500,” he said. “We were racking our brains to figure out where the time went.”

Increasingly, bosses have an answer. A new generation of workplace technology is allowing white-collar jobs to be tracked, tweaked and managed in ways that were difficult even a few years ago. Employers of all types — old-line manufacturers, nonprofits, universities, digital start-ups and retailers — are using an increasingly wide range of tools to monitor workers’ efforts, help them focus, cheer them on and just make sure they show up on time.

The programs foster connections and sometimes increase productivity among employees who are geographically dispersed and often working from home. But as work force management becomes a factor in offices everywhere, questions are piling up. How much can bosses ratchet up intensity? How does data, which bestows new powers of vision and understanding, redefine who is valuable? And with half of salaried workers saying they work 50 or more hours a week, when does working very hard become working way too much?


Myrna Arias, a saleswoman for Intermex, a money-transfer company, has claimed in a lawsuit that she was required to download an app on her cellphone that tracked her whereabouts 24 hours a day. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

“The massive forces of globalization and technological progress are removing the need for a lot of the previous kind of white-collar workers,” said Andrew McAfee, associate director of the Center for Digital Business at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. “There’s a lot of competition, global labor pools of pretty good quality, automation to make you more productive and make your job more 24/7. These are not calming forces.”

Indeed, one way employees are pushed to work harder is tethering them to the office outside of normal business hours. Nearly a third of workers in a Gallup poll last year said they were expected to “check email and stay in touch”when they were not working.

“People in sales are continually measured and always know where they stand. Now this is happening in the rest of the white-collar work force,” said Paul Hamerman, a workplace technology analyst with Forrester Research. “Done properly, it will increase engagement. Done in the wrong way, employees will feel pressured or micromanaged.”

Myrna Arias, a Southern California saleswoman for Intermex, a money-transfer company based in Miami, was required to download an app on her cellphone that tracked her whereabouts 24 hours a day, she claims in a lawsuit now pending in federal court. Ms. Arias’ suit quotes her manager as saying, perhaps jokingly, that he knew how fast she was driving at all times.

“Ms. Arias believed it was akin to wearing a felon’s ankle bracelet,” said her lawyer, Gail A. Glick. She deleted the app and was fired. Her suit, which accuses Intermex of invasion of privacy and wrongful termination, seeks $500,000 in lost wages. Neither Intermex nor its lawyers responded to requests for comment.

Companies making work force technology that relies more on engagement than enforcement say it increases transparency and fairness.

“In the office of the future,” said Kris Duggan, chief executive of BetterWorks, a Silicon Valley start-up founded in 2013, “you will always know what you are doing and how fast you are doing it. I couldn’t imagine living in a world where I’m supposed to guess what’s important, a world filled with meetings, messages, conference rooms, and at the end of the day I don’t know if I delivered anything meaningful.”

BetterWorks is focused less on measuring how employees spend their time at the office than in making them more connected to it. One way to do that: Make it feel more like Facebook.

One of its clients, Capco, a financial services consultant, is seeking to make the millennials happy. “They are looking for gigs, not careers,” said Patrick Gormley, the chief operating officer. “The things that would keep them tied to a job in years gone past — a mortgage, a car loan — have evaporated. That really challenges us to create an outstanding employee experience, so we can retain the best.”

Capco’s 3,000 employees, who are spread out geographically, post their most ambitious goals for the year electronically for all colleagues to see and they, as well as executives, can issue “nudges” and “cheers” to each other.

“Transparency is a tough culture change, particularly for management,” Mr. Gormley said. “We’re not used to admitting that we’re not perfect.” He noted that 12 people had nudged him electronically, versus 52 cheers.

Other work force developers are enhancing the traditional process of evaluating employees, which used to be annual and backward looking. Now it is more spontaneous.

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, uses an internal tool called Anytime Feedback, which allows employees to submit praise or criticism to management. The company says most of the remarks are positive, though some Amazon employees complain that the process can be hidden and harsh.

Workday, which is based in the Bay Area, has developed a tool called Collaborative Anytime Feedback. Colleagues use it to salute each other — everyone in the company can see who is saying what.

“People wouldn’t put something negative in a public forum, because it would reflect poorly on them,” said Amy Wilson, Workday vice president of human capital management products.

The software also enables employees to comment privately, however, to a colleague’s manager. Workday says these remarks range from positive to at least constructive.

Workday also sells an employee time-tracking program, which it advertises as being able to increase worker productivity, along with reducing labor costs — presumably in human relations departments — and minimizing compliance risks.

Brown University is one of Workday’s customers, offering an endorsement on the company’s site. A university spokesman declined to comment on how the program was used at the Rhode Island campus.

 Some say time tracking simply replaces a manual time sheet and encourages honesty.

“We tell people not to focus on the Big Brother aspect. This is all about efficiency,” said Joel Slatis, founder, which makes clock-in software used by 1,400 small companies. “If you fill out a paper timecard and write down 8 a.m. when you come in at 8:02, no one is going to bat an eye. But if you do that when you leave too, that means you’re getting 5 minutes more a day. After a year, that’s a few days more vacation.”

Jamie Clausen, who clocks in and out of her job in customer service at a State Farm insurance office in Silicon Valley from her home using Timesheets, says she accepts it as a modern reality.

“It shouldn’t be an option to just show up at 9:15,” she said. Ms. Clausen, 29, previously worked in a call center, where she was closely monitored. She added that she had been watching “Mad Men,” and its portrayal of freewheeling 1960s office life “seemed crazy.” “It was a totally different world, back then.”

At InfoBeans, an Indian company whose United States headquarters is in the Bay Area, managers feared that workers’ inefficiency would lead to financial losses and client defections. So it began to use a software system called Buddy, which is made by Sapience, an Indian firm that is expanding into the American market.

Khiv Singh, a Sapience vice president, noted that data surrounds us. “We have pedometers to measure how far we walk, apps to monitor our blood pressure, stress level, the calories we’re taking in, the calories we’re burning. But the office is where we spend the majority of time, and we don’t measure our work.”

When InfoBeans first began using Buddy, Mr. Bohra was surprised by what he found.

“Engineers would write on their time sheets that they were doing development for eight hours, but we started to see a very different set of activities that people are performing,” Mr. Bohra said. “Meetings. Personal time. Uncategorized time. Performing research on something that maybe already should be a part of our knowledge repository.”

Mr. Bohra declined to let any of his employees be interviewed. But he said the work was more focused now, which meant smaller teams taking on bigger workloads. Eliminating distractions, including some meetings, lets people go home earlier, he added.