Gun control debates take the place of concrete action


As yet another mass shooting took place on American soil, the debate continues to rage about the merits and limitations of gun control measures.

On one side of the debate are members and supporters of the National Rife Association (NRA), who are vociferous and dogmatic in their advocacy for freely available guns of all kinds, in celebration of the right to bear arms, regardless of the escalating devastation caused by improper gun use.

Homicides in G8 Countries.

Homicides in G8 Countries.

On the other side of the argument are President Obama, legislators, survivors and family members of gun violence as well as concerned citizens who wait with dread for the next instance of atrocity committed with a gun, fearful in the knowledge that the attack can occur anywhere, at anytime.Brady-anti-gun-campaign-poster

As the debate swirls around us, however, one thing is clear: supporters of a gun utopia where every one is armed and ready to fire, are only inclined to see the other side of the situation if their loved ones lose their lives in a hail of bullets. Only then, when the tragedy becomes personal, will the message hit home that nonexistent gun control laws compromises the safety of every individual, not just the poor, but every one who calls the USA home–

3 Health Insurance tips to prepare for open enrollment after job loss

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By Charles Glover, Jr.

Adults confront many challenging options in trying to maximize income and secure adequate health insurance coverage to protect their families. Yet the issue of healthcare extends beyond receiving the best care, it includes paying for those services. After a life-altering event, such as a job loss, preparation and proactive measures are essential to proper healthcare planning, especially as the November 1 start of the open enrollment period looms.

In the state of Georgia there are hundreds of people dealing with job losses each week. This has a serious impact on each individual in the household and raises many concerns because unresolved healthcare needs can be stressful, and many people find themselves scrambling for solutions. If you or someone you know has recently lost their job and need health insurance coverage, follow these steps:

Losing your job is beyond stressful as it can make it difficult to deal with basic needs. Talking to a healthcare professional can help ease those medical concerns.

Losing your job is stressful and makes it difficult to provide for your family’s basic needs. Talking to a healthcare professional can help ease medical concerns.

1. Assess the immediate health needs of the family.
Some medical issues are more pressing than others so it important to know what medical concerns need to addressed first. This knowledge will help narrow your search for the proper care and coverage.

2. Speak with a licensed insurance professional.
Many people have familiarity with health insurance, but there are plenty of nuances that exist within the complexity that is the healthcare system. Speaking with a professional is akin to meeting with an accountant during tax season. It much more likely that all of the concerns of the family, including the need for supplemental and life insurance, are addressed.

3. Have a budget set aside to address medical needs.
Employment status aside, healthcare needs can be stressful, especially if there are concerns related to paying for medical services. Unfortunately, many people will not receive the proper medical attention they need because they think they cannot afford it. A meeting with an insurance professional can help ease the expected financial burden by exploring the most affordable coverage for the family.

ad smallHealthcare concerns are heightened when someone loses a job but it is important to remember that without your health nothing else is possible. In addition to these tips, learn about supplemental and life insurance when you speak with a licensed professional. Affordable healthcare can be just a phone call away. Part two of this series continues next week.––

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets.

Contact me directly at (646)309-1938 for your health insurance questions and concerns.



Street Roc: Exciting, versatile entertainers who thrill fans, showcase talents

The Street Roc Label has a cadre of diverse, talented musicians who bring individualism to the label.

The Street Roc Label has a cadre of diverse, talented musicians who bring individualism to the label.

By Carmen Glover

An enterprising group of youthful entertainers who cemented a strong bond of friendship while growing up in the Bronx, New York, the birthplace of hip hop, is poised to storm the music scene from their dual base of operations in Atlanta, Georgia and New York City with a plethora of musical offerings under their music umbrella, The Street Roc Label LLC.

Inspired by genres that span reggae, hip hop, R&B and Rock & Roll, the ambitious musicians are passionate about their craft and determined to make an indelible mark in the music industry. Despite having their own unique styles, they are also following in the footsteps of other memorable groups such as Ruff Ryders, which was helmed by DMX and the Fugees, which paved the way for explosive careers for its members Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel.

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With NWA’s biographical film, “Straight Outta Compton,” dominating the movie theaters this past summer and industry buzz building about upcoming releases chronicling the career of Snopp Dogg, sometimes known as Snoop Lion, the Street Roc roster mates see a viable path to carving out a competitive niche for themselves in the industry and solidifying their reputations as serious, conscious, hard-working, savvy musicians and budding entrepreneurs.

But, just like the 1985 blockbuster movie “Krush Groove” told the story of hip hop trendsetters Russell Simmons, Run-DMC and LL Cool J, and enigmatic musician Prince set the stage for independent producing when he left Warner Brothers after a public spat, the Street Roc team members are determined to have ownership of their work and shape the trajectory of their careers, a lesson many musicians fail to learn until they have lost all their earnings to extravagance and flash.

Kristoph Francis developed the name for the record label and takes great interest in the success of all the artists.

Kristoph Francis developed the name for the record label and takes great interest in the success of all the artists. His demo, “Critique Me,” was released in 2014.

Kristoph Francis, 23, one of the label’s co-founders, created the name for the company based on reactions to his childhood musical performances and because the name, Street Roc,”has a nice ring to it.”

“I came up with the name when I was in high school because everywhere we went we had the streets rocking,” he recalled. Francis, who played the Congo drums in church at age 11, describes the drums as instruments that infuse all of his musical repertoire. “When I’m making my beats, I think of the drums because they give me my music sense,” he said, explaining that his cousin plays the bass drums for reggae singer Capleton, who is known for introducing the element of fire to his extraordinarily spectacular shows.


The Street Roc Label is poised for takeoff after releasing mixed tapes “Divine Adolescence,” in 2012 and “Too Geek’d For The Streets,” in 2013.

Francis said he was influenced to pursue a career in music by Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, his stepfather and a host of artists, including reggae crooner Sanchez, who came around the family often during Francis’ childhood. Meeting Young Jeezy and M.E.M.P.H.I.S. Bleek, who signed Francis’ book of raps, piqued his interest and fueled his drive to hone his musical skills.

As he puts the finishing touches on a mixed tape, which features singles such s “Back Home” and “It’s All Yours,” Francis reminisces about the day he showed his grandmother his homework, which posed the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Francis wrote “a rapper,” which elicited much consternation and the response: “You can’t be a rapper,” which caused him to internalize his dreams until his adult mind was capable of developing a plan of action to aggressively respond to the tugging of his heart-strings and live his musical truth.

Kristoph Francis is focused on creating beats and taking the label to the fans.

Kristoph Francis is focused on creating beats and taking the label to the fans.

While also having an interest in music, the experience has been somewhat different for Francis’ brother, Malcolm ‘Dolo Pierre’ Jackson, 25, a co-founder of The Street Roc Label. Jackson combines his experience as an actor, songwriter, producer and musical artist to create a career path that is boundless in scope and richly textured with layers of possibilities.

“A lot of my musical and acting experiences come from the church because my mom was heavy in the church and I used to try to join her on the choir and they would let me sing,” he said, a thespian in his own right.

Malcolm "Dolo Pierre" Jackson delivers range as a multi-talented songwriter, producer, actor, musician and performer.

Malcolm “Dolo Pierre” Jackson delivers range as a multi-talented songwriter, producer, actor, musician and performer.

Citing reggae legend Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and iconic entertainer Michael Jackson as his two greatest influences musically, Jackson strives for range in his music.

“I’ve done reggae, hip-hop, R&B,” he said, while explaining that all of the artists represented by the label “take pride in writing our own lyrics.”

Malcolm "Dolo Pierre" is looking forward to releasing a full album early in 2016.

Malcolm “Dolo Pierre” is looking forward to releasing a full album early in 2016.

Jackson, whose musical talents gained an audience when he participated in the chorus in elementary school and the band in middle school, said that being raised in a household with ‘musically inclined’ parents made a huge impact on his sensibilities.

“Music developed naturally and soon I wanted to record,” he said.  As he continues to follow his heart, Jackson said that he plans to release an EP of “all original music early in 2016,” and strives to achieve the taste of success, which, for him, is “the look on everybody’s faces telling me that nobody has any question about my talents.”

Kristine "Phresh" Walker is the lone female on the label and she cherishes her role as a deep thinker.

Kristene “Phresh” Walker is the lone female on the label and she cherishes her role as a deep thinker.

Kristene “Phresh” Walker, 26, spent the first seven years of her life in the Bronx before relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, where the other members of the label gradually transitioned.

“Once we all came down to Atlanta, it solidified what we were trying to do,” Walker said, describing herself as a thinker.  “I think a lot and I want to bring a lot of thought back into music because back in the day it was more about lyrics and I’m trying to bring it back to that and integrate the message back into music and the rhythm,” she said.


Walker, whose musical interest was awakened at age 13, also performed in church as a child. A solid artist, who sees her role as akin to Lauryn Hill with the Fugees, is striving to awaken “a more conscious and cultured element to the current crop of music, like Erykah Badu and Missy Elliott.”  For her, being a member of the Street Roc family is comforting.

“The team plays a big part because us being together pushes me to create something that never existed before,” she said. As she continues to promote her mixed tape, “Loud Silence,” which debuted in April 2015, she is also busy working on new music. “Being able to influence others and have a say, gives me a high and pushes me forward,” she said.

Lavar "Stiff Tha Godz" Stiff, is creative and entrepreneurial, a solid combination for success.

Lavar “Stiff Tha Godz” Stiff, is creative and entrepreneurial, a solid combination for success. As he promotes his mixed tape “High Times,” he utilizes concepts he learned while completing all but one semester in undergraduate studies in Business Administration. He hopes to complete his studies soon.

Lavar “Stiff Tha Godz” Stiff, 28, another of the label’s co-founders, was enthralled when he first saw Tupac Shakur having a merry time on MTV in his classic Dr Dre-produced hit “California Love,” followed by a video by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

“When I saw Tupac in ‘California Love’ I knew I wanted to be a rapper. He inspired me and MTV opened up a new gateway for me,” said Stiff, who was 8 years old at the time. “I started acting like I was on stage, like I was performing.”

Once the music bug hit, Stiff began to formulate a plan to make his dream become a reality. But he realized that he was also interested in the business side of the music industry so he enrolled in college and completed three and a half years of a degree in business administration.

"High Time" is an ode to marijuana and its impact on society.

“High Times” is an ode to marijuana and its impact on society.

“As far as entrepreneurship, I was influenced by Master P because he came from nothing to become one of the first Black millionaires just from doing rap. I’m an artist. I write music, I rap and I helped put the label together by forming the foundation,” Stiff said, while explaining that he has a lot of different things that he would like to accomplish, including learning to play the guitar. “For the future, I’m interested in film, movies and incorporating them into the musical aspect, like Michael Jackson and his long-form videos,” he said.

For a fledgling musical entrepreneur who did not grow up around much musical influence, Stiff nonetheless developed an eclectic taste for music and an admiration for genres including reggae, hip-hop, old school R&B, Rock & Roll and Blues by the incomparable B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Yet, Stiff celebrates marijuana each chance he gets and lauds the herb on his recent EP, “High Times,” which was released on September 23 2015, at

Devon "D.O.C" Riley, the youngest member of the label, is eager to make his mark in the industry.

Devon “D.O.C” Riley, the youngest member of the label, is eager to make his mark in the industry.

The youngest member of the group, Devon “D.O.C” Riley, 21, looked no further than two hip hop legends as a template for inspiration.

“Nas and Jay-Z influenced me because they are able to express themselves and the way they deliver their lyrics, they have something to say,” he explained. Riley developed an ear for music from his father, who is a DJ. “I was exposed to music at a young age. I felt the music. I used to be more on the reggae side but as I grew I dabbled into different types of music because I don’t want to be put in a box. My focus is to get people to understand both types of music—-reggae and hip hop,” he said, pondering the musical landscape.


Gotham City is DOC's take on the nuances and mysteries of New York City lifestyles.

“Gotham City” is D.O.C’s take on the nuances and mysteries of New York City lifestyles.

Riley, who is very interested in scary movies and hopes to find ways to integrate that interest into his music, is currently savoring success with his new song “Gotham City,” which is available on iTunes.

“People have different views looking out on the world. Music is the way people express themselves and I’m working on a project on duality, to use music to explain everything,” he said.

Alexander “Spazz’ Momon, 26, rounds out the crop of label mates, who function like family by nurturing each other’s independent projects while collectively investing in the success of the label as an entity.

Alexander "Spazz" Momon, is refining his compilations so that he can release his full album on November 1, 2015.

Alexander “Spazz” Momon, is refining his compilations so that he can release his full album on November 1, 2015. His single, “Bon Jour Mary” appears on the “High Times” EP.

“We all went to high school together and we have different styles. My musical style is more energetic and technical, like Busta Rhymes, Eminem and DMX,” he said. After careful thought, Momon, who also holds down a job so that he can pay his bills while building his musical career strategically, explained that he has “been influenced by pioneering rappers such as Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J.”

“My dad put me on to them and Wu-Tang Clan and my mother used to work in the music industry,” he said, revealing that when he first heard Rhymes’ “Dangerous,” at age 11, he was so captivated by the animation and high-octane flow that he would sneak home early from school to listen to the song over and over. Like his label mates, Momon is hard at work compiling an EP.

“My mixed tape will be ready on November 1 but I recently released the single “Bon Jour Mary” on the “High Times” EP,” he said. As he charges full speed ahead with his musical career, Momon has one objective: “I want people to understand the struggle, the triumph and the love for music,” he said.

As the multi-talented entertainers on the Street Roc Label LLC pour their efforts into a distinctive musical repertoire, they create individual projects and bring new artists along the journey to prominence. While they contemplate organizing a Street Roc tour, the label mates expect to soon hear the sweet sounds of success reverberating from coast to coast and across the globe, as they finally get their career recognition and financial rewards.

Learn more about this prolific, dynamic group of musicians and what’s next in their careers at

Pope Francis tackles issues that resonate with the masses

Pope Francis greets a multi-ethnic group of five children on the tarmac in New York City.

Pope Francis greets a multi-ethnic group of five children on the tarmac in New York City.

There has been a palpable air of excitement even for non-Catholics as Pope Francis mingles with the populace on American shores and addressed concerns that span generations.

President Obama greets Pope Francis.

President Obama greets Pope Francis.

Speaking on the White House lawn during a welcoming ceremony, the Pope evoked the words of iconic Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said it was time to collect on the unpaid “promissory note.”

Pope Francis takes pictures with worshippers in Washington D.C.

Pope Francis takes pictures with worshippers in Washington D.C.

Addressing Congress, Pope Francis tackled climate change, immigration, poverty, homelessness and the importance of being kind to one another. He also referenced King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 50 years ago, while Rep. John Lewis applauded

At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, he talked about the scourge of priests and other Catholic officials sexually molesting and preying on vulnerable children.

Pope Francis addresses Congress.

Pope Francis addresses Congress.

And all the while, the Pope has made it abundantly clear that his heart belongs to the common man. He has chosen to ride around in a tiny Fiat, blanketed by enormous SUVs that make up his security detail.

The Pope is flanked by an impenetrable security detail in New York City.

Pope Francis is flanked by an impenetrable security detail in New York City.

The Pope has blessed believers, charmed children, talked with dignitaries while making his message of love, compassion for others and humility the focus of presentations.

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As Pope Francis continues with his US trip, his mere presence provides a soothing reminder that religious leaders who take an oath of service need to focus on tending to their flock, rather than being seduced by the trappings of power.–

Jamaican delegation to participate in UN General Assembly

Hon. A. J. Nicholson will lead Jamaica's delegation to the UN General Assembly.

Hon. A. J. Nicholson will lead Jamaica’s delegation to the UN General Assembly.

Kingston, Ja, Sept. 23: Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade leads the Jamaican delegation that will participate in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Minister Nicholson heads a delegation which includes Ambassador Sheila Sealy-Monteith, under Secretary for the multilateral affairs division, Nicholette Williams, assistant director of the international organizations department and staff at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in New York, which is helmed by  Mr. Courtenay Rattray.

Jamaica's Ambasador Courenay Rattray.

Jamaica’s Ambasador to the UN, Courenay Rattray.

The UNGA session, which started on September 15 and will conclude in December, has special significance this year as the organisation will be celebrating its 70th anniversary. Importantly also, this year’s UNGA will see the adoption of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development – the successor agreement of the 2015 millennium development goals, which expires end of year.

The Honourable Minister will address the UN summit on Friday, September 25, during a ceremony to mark the adoption of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. He will also deliver Jamaica’s policy statement to the General Assembly in the plenary debate on October 2.

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Jamaica will also participate in high level meetings such as: the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of the Group of 77 and China; the ministerial meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States and the ministerial meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Other issues of particular importance to Jamaica include: international economic cooperation; Small Island Developing States; climate change and environmental governance; promotion and protection of human rights; debt sustainability; development cooperation; crime prevention and criminal justice; the advancement of women; and the protection of the rights of children.

After the UNGA General Debate, Minister Nicholson will represent Jamaica in Chile at “Our Ocean Conference,” a forum for discussing new voluntary commitments to help protect and preserve our ocean, scheduled for October 5 and 6.–

Carey Gabay, Gov. Cuomo’s aide, has died after Labor Day shooting

Garey Gabay, First Council for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was shot in the head and seriously hurt in pre-West Indian Day Carnival shootout.

Garey Gabay, First Council for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was shot in the head after being caught in a gang-related crossfire  in pre-West Indian Day Carnival. He died on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

By Carmen Glover

Attorney Carey Gabay, 43, the accomplished son of Jamaican immigrants, and an aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, lost his valiant battle for his life on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

Gabay was hospitalized in a coma on Labor Day after he was shot in the head when rival gang members shot in a crowded street of pre-parade revelers. Gabay, who, with his wife, was expecting his first child, succumbed to his injuries and will never experience the joy of seeing his child smile. He was declared brain-dead and subsequently taken off life support.

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His distraught family issued a detailed statement, which appears in full below:

“We are saddened to announce that after an arduous week, Carey Gabay, our husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, has been declared brain-dead as of late Tuesday,” the statement read. “There are difficult decisions we will face in the coming hours and days as our family struggles to process what this means for us. We ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time.

“Many have come to know Carey through professional life, but he is also a kind-hearted and selfless soul who has touched the spirit of everyone he’s met. His zest for life speaks volumes.

“Carey has been fighting bravely surrounded by the loved ones to whom he has brought so much joy with his jovial nature, generosity of spirit and enduring smile.

“Our family is grieving that a man in the prime of his life who has impacted so many lives could be struck down by such a callous act. Carey embodies the American story. A son of Jamaican immigrants, he rose from Bronx public housing to earn an undergraduate and law degree from Harvard and then went on to a distinguished career as a lawyer in private practice and well-respected public servant.

“This is a nightmare that’s shaken our resolve and tested our faith. As we continue to try to make sense of this tragedy, the family would like to extend its thanks to all those who have supported us. We also extend a special word of thanks to the doctors and staff at Kings County Hospital Center.

“We ask that anyone who may have information related to the criminal case contact law enforcement as they conduct their investigation.––



Are sororities, fraternities defined by hazing, death, and cover-up?

Chung 'Michael' Deng

Chun ‘Michael’ Deng, a student at CUNY’s Baruch College, was hazed to death by fraternity members at a rental property in the Poconos.

The announcement that up to 37 members of the Asian fraternity Pi Delta Psi will be charged in the murder of Baruch College freshman, Chun “Michael” Deng 19, offers little solace to his heartbroken family. Deng lost his life when he was beaten by members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity in a hazing ritual, at a rental property in the Poconos, miles from his college campus of Manhattan, New York.

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On Tuesday, September 15, police officials in Pennsylvania announced a litany of charges, including third-degree murder, assault, hazing and criminal conspiracy. But the fact that the culprits were charged with a gamut of crimes stands as a firm reminder to incoming freshmen at colleges across the nation.

Robert Champion, a member of the FAMU marching band, was hazed to death in pursuit of 'brotherhood."

Robert Champion, a member of the FAMU marching band, was hazed to death in pursuit of ‘brotherhood” in 2011.

At this stage of the college semester, students are settling into their classes, dormitory rooms and cliques. Many are considering pledging to different sororities and fraternities, lured by the ‘bond’ of sisterhood or brotherhood.

But before taking the plunge, it is wise for impressionable college students to conduct extensive research about hazing, many of which occurs covertly or ‘underground,’ which means that although the college, sorority and fraternity leaders verbally state that they do no tolerate the practice, off the record many of them not only support the deadly practice, they participate in the hazing activities themselves.

Victoria Carter, a freshman at East Carolina University, died trying to pledge to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Victoria Carter, a freshman at East Carolina University, died trying to pledge to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 2010.

Every year, there are reports of college students losing their lives as they blindly try to pledge allegiance to sororities and fraternities for the bond that these groups purportedly provide. And with each death, comes the ritualistic cover-up from the groups’ leaders, as they cowardly try to preserve the reputations of their groups, at the expense of their innocent victims. So before you are lured by the alleged glamour associated with joining a fraternity or sorority, conduct extensive research on hazing deaths: It could save your life–