Judge lectures Harlem families to take responsibility as he sentenced Drug Dealers. Did he go to far? Was he right on point?

Judge lectures Harlem families to take responsibility as he sentenced Drug Dealers. Did he go to far? Was he right on point?

Was Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin calling a spade a spade, or did he go way too far as he urged parental responsibility at the sentencing of five violent Harlem drug dealers, including Jaquan Layne who is seen below.
This is regarding the so called 137th Street Crew. The gang was charged with drug, gun, and conspiracy crimes in Harlem. The name may sound familiar. It’s the same gang that recruited teens, including one time preppy school student Afrika Owes. She was just 15 years old when she carried guns for her then boyfriend, the leader of the group.

In the judge’s words:
“Gun violence in Harlem is the responsibility of that community.” Judge McLaughlin said as he sent the 21-year-old leader of the W. 137th St. gang, Jaquan “Jay Cash” Layne“ away for 20 years to life.
I ask you Is it fair to paint the entire community with a broad brush? Or is this the type of tough love that the Harlem’s of America need?
“If you do nothing, you are complicit.” The Judge said.
I stop here to ask you to dig deep down in your soul in answering Judge McLaughlin statement. If you do nothing, you are complicit.”
He urged families to do more to turn their kids from crime.
“If your relative is not doing homework, if you are not going to their school and talking with their teachers, then you contribute to your child’s and your community’s destruction,” the judge said.
“If your relative has money, jewelry and nice clothes but no job, your relative is in the drug business.”
There is “no gun genie” delivering weapons to kids, the judge continued.
Guns “are in your homes, whether you know it or not and whether you are blind to it or not.”
The judge’s words seemed to shock the families of the five gang members as they sat in the courtroom gallery waiting for their sons to be sentenced.
Several family members dismissed the judge’s words as racist.
“I can’t do this,” Layne’s sobbing grandmother said as she left court – mascara streaking her cheeks.
“With all these kids being sentence like this. I think he’s prejudice,” said the woman who would not give her name.
A second of her grandsons, Jahlyl Layne, 18, was sentenced to at least 7 ½ years behind bars and up to 23 ½ years.
Was the judge telling the truth? Or was he looking down at poor African American families? Would he lecture another community like this? But, are other groups killing themselves in the numbers that African Americans are? Was the judge doing the black community a favor? Does his comments perhaps reveal a contempt on his part that has been there for years? Would you want this judge hearing other cases involving African Americans or did he simply do the right thing speaking out this time? These are some serious questions to think about.

Judge lectures Harlem families to take responsibility as he sentenced Drug Dealers. Did he go to far? Was he right on point?
Dominic Carter
Wed, 30 Nov 2011 04:45:42 GMT


Hands That Punch Also Gently Guide

Hands That Punch Also Gently Guide


AT 5-foot-7 and 220 pounds, Sonya Lamonakis has a stinging left hook. She is the Women’s International Boxing Association’s third-ranked heavyweight, and has all but assured herself a chance to fight for the world title after beating the 300-pound GiGi Jackson in a six-round bout in April.

But her powerful fists become soft, instructive instruments in her day job, as a teacher at the Family Academy, a public elementary school in Harlem.

“Ms. Lamonakis hits big ladies and knocks them down,” said Shyanne Spencer, 8, in describing what her teacher does during time off.

Ms. Lamonakis, 36, teaches technology classes during the day and heads to Brooklyn every day after school for her training sessions, which often include a round-trip run across the Brooklyn Bridge. But at some moments of the day, her identities collide; while on lunch duty, she often catches herself shadow boxing while sparring in her head.

“I’m never going to quit my job,” she said. “I consider teaching my job and boxing my hobby. I didn’t go to college for eight years to be a boxer.”

Ms. Lamonakis will not book a fight unless it fits into her school schedule, she said. In February, she turned down a fight because she had promised to take students on a field trip. Her first professional fight, in Worcester, Mass., fell on a school night. Ms. Lamonakis knocked out her 21-year-old opponent and hopped in her car and drove back to New York City; she was on time for school the next morning.

“The main thing is that she never comes back injured,” Diana Diaz, the principal of the Family Academy, said. She allows Ms. Lamonakis some schedule flexibility when she is preparing for a fight. And fight results are always posted in the main office and delivered with the morning announcements, Ms. Diaz said, “when the public address system’s working.”

On a recent weekday, during a technology class for third graders, Ms. Lamonakis unlocked a metal cabinet and handed out laptops. While she tended to a student, several others fidgeted and began straying from their desks. Ms. Lamonakis seemed to be monitoring the classroom peripherally, the way a champion boxer might size up her position in the ring while tangling with her opponent.

“Girls, have a seat — too much movement for me,” she said.

Her students are intensely interested in her boxing career, and she uses it as a teaching point.

“I always tell them that it’s good to dream but that it’s important to get their education, so they have something important to fall back on,” she said.

At the end of class, Shyanne asked, “Do you still lose sometimes?”

She laughed and said, “Not in a long time.”

After school that day, she headed straight to Gleason’s Gym for a two-hour training session of sparring, shadow-boxing, conditioning and hitting the punching bags and mitts.

“Sometimes teaching is more tiring than training,” she said with a laugh as she drove over the Brooklyn Bridge. “Driving in the car is my recovery time.”

At Gleason’s, while shirtless, glistening men pounded heavy bags, skipped rope and shadow boxed before mirrors, Ms. Lamonakis changed into shorts and a T-shirt and climbed into a ring. With her hands wrapped and gloved, training began.

Ms. Lamonakis was born in Greece and grew up in Turners Falls, Mass., working long hours at her family’s grocery store and diner. She played field hockey and softball at Springfield College in Massachusetts and began teaching while studying for one of her two master’s degrees.

Ms. Lamonakis took up boxing on a lark, at the advanced age of 27. After being invited to a boxing gym, she found she was immediately hooked, and within three months she was competing throughout New England, sweeping major tournaments.

But after her boyfriend was killed in 2005, she moved to New York to try “starting over” and landed a job as a city schoolteacher. She began training at Gleason’s and almost instantly established herself as the top amateur heavyweight in the city, becoming a four-time New York Golden Gloves champion and twice capturing the national title. Since turning pro last year, she has won all five of her fights.

Known as the Scholar — both for her master’s degrees and her strategic boxing style — Ms. Lamonakis has handled many larger, stronger and younger opponents by ducking jabs and working her way inside their punching zones, and then landing short body punches.

“She’s not just strong and aggressive — she’s strong and aggressive and smart,” said Don Saxby, one of her trainers at Gleason’s. “Her aggression is premeditated.”

Ms. Lamonakis has gained a loyal following of family and friends, as well as teachers, students and their parents. Some of them — including one of the school’s assistant principals, Eve Navarro, even show up at her out-of-town bouts. Other supporters, full of cultural pride, show up waving Greek flags, the blue and white matching her boxing trunks.

“All Greeks are fighters,” she said with a laugh. “We’re Spartans. We have it in our blood.”


Seneca Village


Date: May 29, 2011

Seneca Village was Manhattan’s first known community of African-American property owners, living on land that would become Central Park. Learn about the history of the village and property owners, and what New York City was like at the time.

Start time: 2:00 pm

End time: 3:00 pm

Contact phone: (212) 772-0210

Location: 85th Street and Central Park West (in Central Park)

Seneca Village
Thu, 26 May 2011 04:00:07 GMT