Dear Mr. Man: Let America Be America Again

All of history’s greatest figures achieved success by having pistis, “trust; commitment; loyalty; engagement.”

Dear Mr. Man - A documentary

Might not be in the back of the bus
But it sho’ feel just the same
Ain’t nothing fair about welfare
Ain’t no assistance in AIDS
Ain’t nothin’ affirmative about your actions
Till the people get paid
“Dear Mr. Man”
Prince
Where are the Black and Brown Mark Zuckerbergs? That was essentially the question — the challenge — that the late musician Prince asked Van Jones, civil rights activist, founder of the Dream Corps, and host of CNN’s The Messy Truth with Van Jones.

Prince Van Jones
Langston Hughes

We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
“Let American Be American Again”
By Langston Hughes
Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) take a knee during the National Anthem prior to their season opener against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, CA. The Niners won 28-0. (Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: DGCA101

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Dear Mr. Man, Why Don’t Black Activists Fare Too Well?

Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid (35) and Colin Kaepernick (7) take a knee during the National Anthem prior to their season opener against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, CA. The Niners won 28-0. (Daniel Gluskoter/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: DGCA101

Might not be in the back of the bus
But it sho’ feel just the same
Ain’t nothing fair about welfare
Ain’t no assistance in AIDS
Ain’t nothin’ affirmative about your actions
Till the people get paid
“Dear Mr. Man”
Prince
Prince was a great musician

“Prince came in, and he said to the labels, ‘Do not try to just put me with the urban group; I want the world. I want to be with the pop staff. I’m going to make rock and roll, as well as soul, as well as funk…I don’t want to just go to Soul Train, I don’t want to just open up for Rick James, I want to be on Dick Clark.’”
But more importantly, Prince was a great activist
“[Prince] helped so many people. Most people don’t know that. He wanted to keep his charitable activities a secret. He wanted to keep his passion for underprivileged people between him and his god.”

“We spent hours talking about [Prince’s] concerns about technology and getting those skills to inner city youth.”
Often in the United States, Black activists don’t fare too well

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NYC Schools are Very Segregated

De Blasio visits school

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visits a second-grade Spanish class at Amber Charter School in Manhattan on the first day of NYC public schools, Sept. 4, 2014, in New York City.

According to a report by UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project:
New York has the most segregated schools in the country: in 2009, black and Latino students in the state had the highest concentration in intensely-segregated public schools (less than 10% white enrollment), the lowest exposure to white students, and the most uneven distribution with white students across schools. Heavily impacting these state rankings is New York City, home to the largest and one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation.
An Op-ed for The New York Times Editorial Board:
Despite its polychromatic diversity, New York City has one of most deeply segregated school systems in the nation. When asked about this last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio dodged by saying that the schools are a reflection of historical housing patterns, and, “We cannot change the basic reality of housing in New York City.”
Segregation in the city’s schools cannot be dismissed as an unsolvable problem. And though housing plays a role, decades-old educational policies have reinforced inequality and placed many low-income black and brown children on the road to second-class citizenship.
The Times’s Elizabeth A. Harris and Ford Fessenden made that clear last week in “The Broken Promises of Choice in New York City Schools,” an investigation of how a school choice initiative actually traps many low-income children in an inferior system-within-a-system.
The choice system was constructed not for the poor, but to keep white middle-class families invested in the public schools. Even some who supported the strategy 20 years ago, though, now recognize that it promotes class segregation and presents enormous obstacles to vulnerable families. As The Times article points out, the racial isolation of black and Hispanic students is just as great in high school as in elementary schools, evidence that the choice system is failing.

A Little History
Milton Galamiso, Adam Clayton Powell, and Malcolm X

Rev. Milton Galamison, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, and Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X in March 1964

On February 3, 1964, the Rev. Milton Galamison led the largest student boycott in the history of the New York City public school system, with 464,361 students staying home to fight for the end of school segregation.

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The Lack of Diversity at Tech Companies is Embedded

Jeff Bezos and Harvey Weinstein

In October, former head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price resigned. This was just days after producer Isa Dick Hackett publicly accused Mr. Price of sexual harassment. Hackett, an executive producer of the popular Amazon show “The Man in the High Castle,” said Mr. Price had lewdly and repeatedly propositioned her in 2015.
Hackett says that in 2015, she and Price were in San Diego to promote The Man in the High Castle at Comic-Con. At one point, she alleges, she wound up in a cab with Price and another Amazon executive who has since left the company. In the cab, Hackett says Price began to proposition her, saying, “You will love my dick.” Despite her expression of disinterest, Hackett says Price later said, “anal sex!” in her ear once they arrived at an Amazon party, where she had been speaking with other executives.
Jeff Bezos and Roy Price

Jeff Bezos and Roy Price

Rose McGowan, an actress who had reached a settlement with Harvey Weinstein in 1997 after an episode at a film festival, posted a series of tweets directed at Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon. In them, Ms. McGowan said she had told the head of Amazon Studios that Mr. Weinstein had raped her.
Before that series of tweets, Ms. McGowan had directed a Twitter message at Mr. Price concerning Mr. Weinstein, asking, “Remember when I told you not to do a deal with him and why?”
Roy Price and Harvey Weinstein

Roy Price and Harvey Weinstein

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I Could Be… The Documentary: Power Comes From Faith

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)

Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, wrote in a Forbes article called “You Can’t Predict Who Will Change The World:“
“It is high time to recognize that we humans are far better at doing than understanding, and better at tinkering than inventing. But we don’t know it. We truly live under the illusion of order believing that planning and forecasting are possible. We are scared of the random, yet we live from its fruits.”
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
~ Matthew 6:25
Hope Community Services

HOPE Community Services is the largest food pantry/soup kitchen in Westchester County. Former HOPE Volunteer Coordinator Sue Gedney, former New York State High Chess Champion Joshua Cola, 96 years old volunteer Iris Freed, and Terrance Jackson.  Photo: Gene Shaw

I spent over five years homeless mostly 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

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AI Researcher and New Rochelle Native Professor Zachary Lipton

“Elon Musk doesn’t really deserve to have a voice in the public discourse about machine learning. He’s not an expert…”
Zachary LIpton

Professor Zachary Lipton, Assistant Professor in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

Professor Zachary Lipton is an Assistant Professor in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, with an appointment in the Machine Learning Department. He recently completed four years of PhD studies at UC San Diego’s Artificial Intelligence Group.
His research interests are eclectic, spanning both methods, applications, and social impacts of machine learning (ML), there exist a few notable clusters. He is especially interested in modeling temporal dynamics and sequential structure in healthcare data, e.g., Learning to Diagnose. Additionally, he works on critical questions related to how we use ML in the wild, yielding The Mythos of Model Interpretability, and more recent work on the desirability and reconcilability of various statistical interpretations of fairness.
He is a native of New Rochelle, New York, attended Columbia University as an undergraduate, and is a jazz saxophonist.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning

Terrance Jackson: What is the difference between artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning?
Zachary Lipton: From the crazy way these topics are covered in the media, it can be hard to tell the meanings of the various terms. Often they are compared to each other, e.g. what deep learning can do vs what machine learning can do. The most faithful, simple way to put it is that they have a subset relationship. AI was a field long before people were interested in machine learning. It encompasses the study of how to do, with machines, all things that we think requires something like human intelligence. Of course that makes it a bit of a moving target. Once we know how to do something well, such as playing chess, then we sometimes don’t subsequently view it as a critical piece of AI.

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All Our Children Can Create

The Key to New York’s Future is Education.

When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.
That’s why we are introducing students to artificial intelligence (A.I.), computer vision, data science, machine learning, robotics and blockchain technology.
Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence (A.I.) where typical A.I. specialists can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock.
We must educate our children for the 21st Century
Government is the instrument that citizens use to guarantee protection and empowerment for all. We all, together, provide what is needed for a decent life. Individual accomplishment rests on what other Americans have provided and keep providing.
Building the economy requires public investment — in public infrastructure, education, research, and much more.
Success is much more than money. It is your contribution to America as a whole — whether it is teaching, raising children, providing food, healing the sick, making useful products, guaranteeing our rights and our safety, or running businesses that make life better. America needs us all. And we all depend on each other.
America needs us all. And we all depend on each other.
The key to New York’s future is education. And we can show fairly conclusively that all our children can create. The challenging part is that there is no magic moment of creation. Creators spend almost all their time creating, persevering despite doubt, failure, ridicule, and rejection until they succeed in making something new and useful. There are no tricks, shortcuts, or get-creative-quick schemes. The process is ordinary, even if the outcome is not.
Creating is not magic but work, and we must teach this to our children.

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