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August 7, 2013 - Tennessee musician Ben Friberg became the first person ever to paddleboard the Florida Straits from US to Cuba. The exhausting 110-mile journey took him 28 hours...whew. His father drove a support boat near him the entire journey. When he departed the US on Thursday he told the press he was "doing this to promote peace and understanding between Cuba and the United States and to promote a healthy lifestyle". Ben hails from Chattanooga, and currently is in a trio playing some awesome jazz. Check out some of his tunes at BenFriberg.com. Read more about the journey on NBC News.com here. (photo credit: www.benfriberg.com)
August 2, 2013 - JTMP strongly supports helping those in need in our communities, and one group often overlooked and facing real hurdles are people returning to the community after being incarcerated. We supported the "Second Chance Act" (P.L. 110-199) that was passed by the US Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2008. This act establishes a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource center to help those reentering society. This act requires the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to assist those leaving incarceration in obtaining a Social Security Card, driver's license, or other official photo identification prior to release, and also help them apply for benefits such as veteran's benefits, SS benefits and more. JTMP wants to point out that the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Prisons can "implement these provisions at their discretion", so the "required to" is not really a requirement, so JTMP asks our supporters to contact their elected officials and the US Department of Justice and let them know you want the community to help these individuals as much as possible. Tell them you support the Second Chance Act, and hope it is being executed to its fullest extent. Read more about the Second Chance Act here. (Photo credit Clearly Ambiguous/Flickr)
August 1, 2013 - JTMP strongly believes in working with the community and those who have made mistakes in their past and have paid their debt to society and are trying to move on with their lives. One of the issues we support strongly is the restoration of voting rights to felons, and one of our favorite groups is working very hard on this issue, the Brennan Center for Justice. They describe how there are "nearly 4 million disenfranchised Americans who have been released from prison and are living in the community, but are still denied the right to vote." Some states and the District of Columbia automatically give felons their right to vote back once they have paid their debt to society, but there are still 35 states holding on to antiquated prejudices and discriminations against members of the community who have made mistakes in their past, have atoned and paid their debt, and need to move on with their lives. In 2011, the Brennan Center for Justice supported the "Democracy Restoration Act", that called for federal legislation to restore voting rights in federal elections to felons. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), but later died in committee. JTMP calls for the current US Congress to pick up the cause, and get a similar bill introduced and passed restoring voting rights to these disenfranchised Americans.
Read more about the Brennan Center for Justice and their efforts to restore voting rights on their website here.
Also, JTMP supports the "Ban The Box" campaign, meaning employers and others cannot ask if that person has even been convicted of a crime on job applications, housing, public benefits, insurance. loans and other services. Once a member of society has paid their debt, some time has gone by, and the crime is irrelevant to the job or situation, it is a matter of privacy and belongs in the past. It is merely callously and unnecessarily prolonging the punishment, and preventing that person from re-entering and being able to to get by in this society. Read more and get involved with the "Ban The Box" cause by visiting the BanTheBoxCampaign.org website. (photo credit: Scott*/Flickr)
Beyonce Signs and Links to MoveOn.org Petition Calling for Federal Civil Rights Charges Against George Zimmerman
July 26, 2013 - There has been some confusion lately on who is and who is not joining Stevie Wonder's boycott of Florida calling for the repeal of "Stand Your Ground Laws"; and part of it why I think some confusion is out there is because many musicians and artists have spoken out in favor of repealing the "Stand Your Ground" laws, and have been publicly speaking out in support of Trayvon's parents and #Justice4Trayvon. Jay-Z has spoke out in favor of repealing the law, and now 5 days ago Beyonce put up a Trayvon Martin tribute page on her website asking everyone to #ActNow4Trayvon, and signing her name and linking to a MoveOn.org petition calling for Eric Holder and the US Department of Justice to file Federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman who believe Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated; there are many of us who think they were and JTMP is one of them. Check out Beyonce's Trayvon Martin Tribute Page here, where you can sign the MoveOn.org petition also. So, although many artists have come out in droves of the support of repealing the "Stand Your Ground" laws, they will never be any widespread boycott of Florida by musicians and artists; too many have residences there and too much money being handed around. Having civil rights charges filed against George Zimmerman would be a sweet second prize though. Sign the MoveOn.org petition here.
July 26, 2013 - Did Jay-Z, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake signal they were going to join Stevie Wonder's boycott of Florida and then back off? Earlier this week April Ryan of American Urban Radio Network reported that the 3 musicians were going to boycott Florida along with Wonder, until the "Stand Your Ground" laws are repealed following the Trayvon Martin tragedy. But now, AceShowBiz is reporting that they is not what the artists and/or their representatives are saying now, 3 days later. The blogger is standing by her sources though. Earlier this week, JTMP also reported that those three were joining the boycott, quoting The Hill for a source.
Anyways, as of today, all 3 are saying their are NOT boycotting Florida. No word on the other musicians and artists mentioned on the web such as The Rolling Stones, Kanye West, and others. Did they make a commitment and then change their mind? Did the musician's representatives mess up? Are the journalists wrong or mess up? Who knows....tell us what you think about the boycott and what might have happened on the JTMP Facebook Page. JTMP will post updates about what is going in with the Florida boycott almost daily, so check back. Read more on AceShowBiz website here. (photo credit: Joella Marano/CC)
July 24, 2013 - Yaslin Bey, also known as rapper Mos Def, underwent the Guantanamo Bay standard force-feeding with a tube procedure; and it is all caught on video and was released on the Guardian website. The American hip-hop artist is a practicing Muslim, and at the start of Ramadan on July 8 (it runs till August 7) got together with the human rights group Reprieve to make a video showing in graphic detail the procedure being inflicted upon 46 of the 105 Guantanamo detainees on a hunger strike, protesting their conditions and detainment. Mr. Bey said, "When the tube went in, the first part of it is not that bad but you get this burning, I got this burning and it starts to get really unbearable like something that was going into my brain and it reached the back of my throat and I really couldn't take it."
In 2007, JTMP teamed up with activist band Op-Critical and Velvet Revolution to make an anti-torture PSA and music video for their anti-torture song "Exile", and one of the band members was actually water boarded, similar to what Mos Def has done. Watch the two videos below, but be warned...both videos are extremely graphic and is disturbing to many viewers. They should be, because it is all torture. JTMP calls for the US to cease torturing and force-feeding detainees. Read more on the Guardian website here.
July 24, 2013 - Jon Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, and Jennifer Hudson will be teaming up with the Obama administration to help raise awareness and educate young people about the new Affordable Health Care Act, or "Obamacare", and how young people will need to be signing up and buying individual health-care coverage as of October 1, 2013. This crowd is the toughest crowd to sell this too, because young people tend to not want to pay for health insurance, for they feel invincible, and don't feel they need it; but everybody needs health-care sooner or later. If young people do enroll in health-care coverage in droves, costs for health-care coverage should lower considerably. JTMP recommends that our young supporters enroll in health-care coverage, and help bring down the costs of health insurance, and get regular checkups, eat healthy, and make our society healthier and safer. The White House says they need about 2.7 million young people to enroll in health insurance coverage.
The Obama administration have also urged organizations and websites to help in their efforts to educate the public about this, and JTMP will be helping out over the next few months. The website Funny or Die has pledged to make videos to educate young people about the Affordable Health Care Act, and other organizations will join in as the date draws closer.
If you are curious on how the Affordable Health Care Act will affect you, check out the Affordable Health Care Act website the White House has set up here. Read more on WashPo here. (photo credit: John Shankbone/CC)
July 23, 2013 - HuffPo has an post up about the Israeli heavy metal rock band Orphaned Land and Palestinian band Khalas will tour Europe together, even sharing the same bus. Khalas' bass player Abed Khathout said, "We are metal brothers before anything", and Orphaned Land's lead singer Koby Farhi said, "Having a brotherhood, sharing the stage, simply shows that Rock and Roll music is above politics." Orphaned Land has been using music as a bridge for over 20 years to reach out to Palestinians to help bring about peace between their 2 peoples. Justice Through Music totally supports these bands efforts, and is all about using music as a catalyst for positive and progressive change in the world, it is in our name! Read more on HuffPo here, including a video with clips of the two bands. (photo: Orphaned Land 2010 - credit: Dark Apostrophe/CC)
UPDATE JULY 26, 2012 - Earlier reports of Jay-Z, Rihanna and Justine Timberlake may be incorrect. Even though April Ryan is sticking by her sources, all 3 musicians have now said they are not boycotting Florida.
July 23, 2013 - More musicians have joined the boycott of Florida that was started by Stevie Wonder, as they call for the repeal of the "Stand Your Ground" laws in Florida and other states. The Rolling Stones, Kanye West, Jay Z, Young Jeezy, Wale, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Rihanna, R. Kelly and Alicia Keys have all joined the boycott. Many musicians have also expressed support for Stevie Wonder's stance, such as Bruce Springsteen, who dedicated a song "to justice for Trayvon Martin" at a recent concert in Ireland. Beyonce and Jay Z met with Trayvon's parents recently at a rally in New York City. Read more on The Hill website here. What do you think? Start or join a conversation on our Facebook Page.
What's hilarious, is the website Breitbart.com put up a post that Stevie Wonder's call for other musicians to join his boycott was an "Epic Fail" and that "Musicians Ignore Wonder's Florida Boycott". No, your post and your hateful website is an EPIC FAIL. (photo credit: Antonio Cruz/CC)
July 19, 2013 - The gospel duo Mary Mary has joined the boycott of Florida that was started by Stevie Wonder in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, calling for "Stand Your Ground" laws to be abolished. JTMP joined the boycott immediately, and calls for more entertainers to join also; we have had self-defense laws on the books for over 200 years that suited us fine. We don't need armed citizen vigilantes standing over dead bodies giving only their version of the "altercation" and walking away scott-free. Email your favorite entertainer and ask them to Boycott Florida until "Stand Your "Ground" laws are gone! Also, a Change.org petition to repeal the "Stand Your Ground Laws" as a result of the Trayvon Martin shooting has been started by Asia Lamb Cole HERE, so make sure you sign it! Below is the Tweet by Erica and Tina. (photo credit: Krisanne Johnson/Public Domain)