“The Law Needs Legitimacy” T-Shirt Project

To help close the achievement gap, a crowd-sourcing campaign to sell t-shirts to support The Genius Factory

The Law Needs Legitimacy T-Shirt

“The Law Needs Legitimacy” T-shirts will be:
  • Grown in the USA with organic cotton
  • Made in North Carolina
  • Transparent supply chain
  • Water-based inks

The Genius Factory

The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
According to an American Psychological Association article, a group of social and cognitive psychologists have approach this problem not based on the idea that at least some of these disparities are the result of faulty teaching or broken school systems, but instead spring from toxic stereotypes that cause ethnic-minority and other students such as women to question whether they belong in school and whether they can do well there. While such a major problem might seem to require widespread social change to fix, the psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference.
I adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that I offered at Larchmont Library last October.
At Larchmont Library we conducted five sessions with local 5th – 8th graders on the following Wednesdays: October 15th, 22nd, 29th, November 5th, and 19th. This is the game that they created:
Roll-a-Ball

Roll-a-Ball

Click here to play.
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Terrance Jackson for Congress

New York’s 13th Congressional District

Terrance Jackson for Congress

When the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience. It produces the opposite. It leads to backlash.

malesinc

Putting It All TogetherIn 1991, Terrance Jackson wrote Putting It All Together addressing mass incarceration as government policy. He endured people calling him crazy and an “conspiracy theorist.” 24 years later, mass incarceration as government policy is common knowledge. We need representation that will be proactive and not reactive.

Ed Burns

It’s not a war on drugs. Don’t ever think it’s a war on drugs. It’s a war on the Blacks. It started as a war on the Blacks, it’s now spread to Hispanics and poor Whites. But initially it was a war on Blacks. And it was designed basically to take that energy that was coming out of the Civil Rights Movement and destroy it.
~ Ed Burns
Co-creator of “The Wire”

HSBC

According to an article by Avinash Tharoor, Bank of America, Western Union, and JP Morgan, are among the institutions allegedly involved in the drug trade. Meanwhile, HSBC has admitted its laundering role, and evaded criminal prosecution by paying a fine of almost $2 billion. The lack of imprisonment of any bankers involved is indicative of the hypocritical nature of the drug war; an individual selling a few grams of drugs can face decades in prison, while a group of people that tacitly allow — and profit from — the trade of tons, escape incarceration.
According to the Corporate Crime Reporter:
Corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.Whether in bodies or injuries or dollars lost, corporate crime and violence wins by a landslide.
The FBI estimates, for example, that burglary and robbery – street crimes – costs the nation $3.8 billion a year.
The losses from a handful of major corporate frauds – Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Enron – swamp the losses from all street robberies and burglaries combined.
Health care fraud alone costs Americans $100 billion to $400 billion a year.
The savings and loan fraud – which former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called “the biggest white collar swindle in history” – cost us anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion.
David Simon

David Simon, co-creator of HBO’s “The Wire”

The factories are not going to be here anymore. We don’t need these people so the least we can do is hunt them. And when we hurt them we at least provide jobs for cops, DEA agents, lawyers and prison guards.
~ David Simon
Co-creator of HBO’s The Wire
Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath:
[L]egitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to fell like they have a voice—that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another….
[W]hen the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience. It produces the opposite. It leads to backlash.
Joanne Jaffe

Kids playing football with then NYPD Housing Bureau Chief Joanne Jaffe [now Community Affairs Bureau Chief] at PSA 6’s National Night Out event at the Grant Houses in Harlem.

A New York Times article reported on the NYPD’s Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program (J-RIP) created by Chief Joanne Jaffe:
The New York City Police Department has embarked on a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, essentially staging interventions and force-feeding outreach in an effort to stem a tide of robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them.
Officers not only make repeated drop-ins at homes and schools, but they also drive up to the teenagers in the streets, shouting out friendly hellos, in front of their friends. The force’s Intelligence Division also deciphers each teenager’s street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of the teenager’s associates, not unlike the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime.

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I Could Be… a documentary addressing inequity

I Could Be

I could be a congresswoman
Or a garbage woman or
Police officer, or a carpenter
I could be a doctor and a lawyer and a mother
And a good God woman what you’ve done to me
Kind of lover I could be
I could be a computer analyst, the Queen with the nappy hair raising her fist
Or I could be much more and a myriad of this
Hot as the summer, sweet as the first kiss
And even though I can do all these things…

~ Jill Scott
The Fact Is (I Need You)

While Americans tend to be religiously devout, we paradoxically tend to know very little about religion, our own or others’. Religion scholar Stephen Prothero has shown that America is composed of “Protestants who can’t name the four Gospels, Catholics who can’t name the seven sacraments, and Jews who can’t name the five books of Moses.” Religious illiteracy increases the odds of misunderstanding and conflict….
The extent to which we believe God interacts with us and offers us blessings has a profound effect on what we think is right and wrong and what we feel we should do doing with our lives….
Knowing a person’s image of God, therefore, provides us with an opportunity to understand the most intimate moral and introspective conversations they have. Simply put, our picture of God is worth a thousand queries into the substance of our moral and philosophical beliefs…
Our image of God is never simply a reflection of the beliefs of our religious community. The traditional method of classifying people as Catholics or Baptists or Jews tells us little of consequence about what they believe.
~ American’s Four Gods
By Paul Froese
& Christopher Bader
In Jesus’s time there was the practice of sacred sounds and sacred words, which means the actual words that Jesus spoke are a very important part of his teachings.
The prayer that Jesus (Yeshua) gave when a disciple asked “Lord teach us to pray…”

Matthew 21:22

One reason that Hip Hop is so powerful is that Urban Youth have unconsciously tapped into the power of sound.
Hope Community Services

HOPE Community Services is the largest food pantry/soup kitchen in Westchester County. HOPE Volunteer Coordinator Sue Gedney, New York State High Chess Champion Joshua Cola, 94 years old volunteer Iris Freed, and Terrance Jackson.  Photo: http://www.geneshaw.com/

Following in the footsteps of people such as Jack London and George Orwell, Terrance Jackson spent over three years homeless in New Rochelle, NY and discovered the power of empathy to fuel innovation and creativity:
I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.
It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising. ~ Roman Krznaric
Roman Krznaric - Empathy

RSA Animate – The Power of Outrospection – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG46IwVfSu8

The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
~ Matthew 22:39

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“love jones” Writer & Director Theodore Witcher

Theodore Witcher

Theodore Witcher

Theodore Witcher’s love jones, released on March 14, 1997, was based on his own dating experiences living in Chicago. The film only grossed a little over $12 million at the box office but is on many top film lists (check herehere, here, and here). Many consider it a classic with no small thanks to its soundtrack, which included tracks by Maxwell and Lauryn Hill.
We emailed Theodore some questions and he graciously answered.
Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosley in love jones

Larenz Tate as Darius Lovehall and Nia Long as Nina Mosley in “love jones”

Q: Larenz Tate in recent interview said:
I’ve done a lot of work. There’s ‘Dead Presidents,’ ‘Menace,’ ‘Crash,’ ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’ No, hands down, ‘Love Jones’ is the one that gets a mention every day. Hands down, there’s no comparison. The audiences love that movie.
How does it make you feel to have your movie make such an impact?
A: Gratified, of course.

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Advertising Creates a Climate of Violence Against Women

Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

“We all grow up in a culture in which women bodies are constantly turned into things, into objects.”

budweiser-bikini-girls-violence

“Of course this affects female self-esteem. It also does something even more insidious. It creates a climate in which there is wide-spread violence against women.”

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Jessica Alba: Becoming A Billionaire

Jessica Alba Sin City 2

Jessica Alba who last year starred as stripper Nancy Callahan in Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For is also a co-founder of The Honest Company. And according to their website:
We created this company because we care passionately about helping families and giving all children their best and healthiest start in life. There are 2.2 billion children in the world, and 75 million in the United States, and through our Social Goodness work, we believe it is our job to make a difference in the lives of all families. That is why your product purchases helps us fuel a movement of philanthropic change and impact that will result in greater health and safety for all children.
Cash Warren, Jessica Alba, Honor, and Warren

Cash Warren, Jessica Alba, and daughters Honor and Haven Warren

Can a woman who portrays a stripper in the movies run a successful family-friendly business?
Why not?