BREAKING: NYC mayor launches major mental health initiative

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

By Carmen Glover

On Monday, November 22, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked by his wife, two children and staff, announced a major mental health initiative that is right on time since studies show that people who have mental illness often feel more lonely and hopeless during the holiday season.

“Maybe there’s a little hope that we can stare down these challenges and not be afraid to talk about them and seek the help that people deserve,” Mayor de Blasio said, in announcing that he will allocate $800 million over four years to fund his bold and much needed initiative named “Thrive NYC: A Road Map for Mental Health.”

Among the highlights of the initiative is the plan to train 2,250 mental health first aide workers, hire 100 school mental health consultants and hire 400 doctors for the NYC Mental Health Corps.

For a video of the Mental Health Road Map in action click here:

The mayor is no stranger to mental illness and substance abuse because he grew up in a household with a father who struggled with both. His father was an alcoholic who committed suicide when the mayor was 18. Also, de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, 20, has battled substance abuse, anxiety and depression. Asked how she was coping during the press conference convened to talk about the initiative, Chiara smiled and said: “I’m doing better. I would say there’s always challenges.”

New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, who has spearheaded her husband’s mental health agenda, was pleased with the massive financial commitment to the issue.

“The good news is that mental illness is treatable. We know what works. We have the tools.”

As the homeless population has exploded in New York City, data has shown a correlation between mental illness and homelessness. The new mental health initiative will go a long way towards curbing homelessness by reaching affected individuals before they descend into despair and provide vital services to those who already suffer in silence––




Flip Saunders, Timberwolves’ coach/president of basketball operations, has died


By Charles Glover Jr.

Phil ‘Flip’ Saunders, the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has died from cancer at age 60. His death has prompted an outpouring of grief across the NBA, with his two main teams, the Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver releasing statements, which appear below:

“It is with tremendous difficulty and deep sadness that the Timberwolves acknowledge the passing of our President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach, Flip Saunders. Flip was a symbol of strength, compassion, and dignity for our organization. He was a shining example of what a true leader should be, defined by his integrity and kindness to all he encountered. Today is not a day to reflect on Flip’s accomplishments in basketball or what he brought to us as an organization on the court, but rather to indicate what he meant to us as a co-worker, friend, member of the community and the basketball world at large. We as an organization are devastated by his passing, and our hearts and prayers go out to Debbie and the entire Saunders family as they endure this extraordinary loss,” the Timberwolves’ statement read.


“It is with tremendous sorrow that the Detroit Pistons organization acknowledges the passing of Flip Saunders. He will be remembered by Pistons fans as one of the franchise’s most successful head coaches – leading the club to three consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances and a franchise-record 64 wins in 2005-06. Flip was a great ambassador for the Metro Detroit community and had a positive influence on those who had the opportunity to spend time with him. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Debbie, his children Ryan, Mindy, Rachel, Kimberly and all his friends throughout the extended Detroit Pistons and NBA family,” the Pistons’ statement read.


“The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders. With more than 40 years around the game, 20 of them in the NBA, Flip’s untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more so than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team and the game. On behalf of the NBA, we offer our most sincere condolences to Flip’s wife, Debbie, their four children and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization,” NBA Commissioner Adam Sliver’s statement read.

The entire NBA family and fans mourn the loss of Saunders’ talent and legacy——

NABJ mourns the loss of former president Sidmel Estes

Former NABJ President

Former NABJ President Sidmel Estes has died.

WASHINGTON (October 6, 2015) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns the passing of former NABJ President Sidmel Estes (1991-93). Estes was the first woman to be elected president of the association. She also served as an NABJ regional director and president of the Atlanta chapter. Estes, 60, died October 6.

Estes began her career at WAGA-TV/Fox 5 in Atlanta, where she served as the executive producer of numerous programs. She was the co-creator and executive producer of “Good Day Atlanta,” which became the number one show in its market and won seven Emmy Awards under her direction. In 2006, Estes left WAGA-TV to start BreakThrough Inc., a media consulting firm with clients including the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, the McCormick Tribune Fellows Foundation, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry. She also taught as an adjunct professor at Emory University and Clark Atlanta University.

A pioneer and journalism industry veteran, Estes’ contributions will never be forgotten.

“NABJ grieves for Miss Sidmel. Our hearts are so heavy. Sidmel’s in-your-face leadership style was my introduction to the best of NABJ as a new student member in 1993,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said. “‘Holy smokes! This lady is for real,’ I thought. She took news organizations to task and members, too. If you were not doing right, she would not hesitate to let you know. Sidmel was an admired journalist and loving mother. She was the working woman who media moms could model and aspire to be. She handled all her roles gracefully. I’m so sad she is gone, but her passion and love for NABJ lives on in all of us.”

During Estes’ tenure as president of the association, NABJ increased its membership to more than 2,000 journalists and was included in Ebony magazine’s list of Top 100 Black Organizations. In 1994, she was a leader and co-creator of the first UNITY: Journalists of Color conference, and was instrumental in the release of its report, “Kerner Plus 25: A Call For Action,” which outlined steps the media industry should take to improve racial diversity.

Estes was born on November 27, 1954 in Marysville, California, to Emellen Estes and Sidney Estes. She attended elementary and high school at public schools in Atlanta. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1976, and her Master of Science in Journalism in 1977, both from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago, where she was later inducted as a charter member of the school’s Hall of Achievement.

NABJ Vice President of Broadcast Dorothy Tucker recounts the advice and mentorship that Estes offered to many.

“At Northwestern, Sid was the big sister who would give you about five seconds to cry on her broad shoulders before delivering the message that defines of our world: ‘Now wipe your eyes and get  your A– back out there.'” Tucker said.

As a result of her commitment to the community, Estes has received numerous awards from civic, community and church organizations. During her career in television and journalism, she has been recognized numerous times. Atlanta’s Mayor Andrew Young proclaimed “Sidmel Estes-Sumpter Day” on November 18, 1988, after she was named Media Woman of the Year by the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Media Women. She was featured in Ebony’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans in 1993, and in More Magazine’s book “50 Over 50.”

Estes was honored with the Silver Circle Award from the Television Academy and has won several Emmy Awards. She received Northwestern University’s Alumni Service Award after being elected as president of the Northwestern Black Alumni Association in 2004.

“She was a giant in our industry who helped countless young people achieve their dreams of becoming journalists through her presidency of the National Association of Black Journalists and, recently, as an adjunct professor at Clark Atlanta University,” AABJ President Eric Stirgus said in a statement from the chapter.

Estes is survived by two sons, Joshua and Sidney.

NABJ extends its sincerest condolences to Estes’ family and the countless friends within the journalism community who she leaves behind. The association will provide information on her funeral and where condolences can be sent as soon as those details are provided.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For more information, please visit––

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.––



Carey Gabay, Gov Cuomo’s staff, critically hurt in pre-carnival gang shootout

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.

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

By Carmen Glover

Carey Gabay, 43, First Deputy Counsel for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was shot in the head at about 3:30 a.m., on Labor Day, as he walked with a group of family and friends on Bedford Avenue, in Brooklyn New York, one block from the route for the West Indian American Day Parade.

Close to two million revelers usually flock to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn every year to enjoy the variety of Caribbean food, music and costumes in celebration of their cultural pride. But several Caribbean nationals have lost interest in the annual Labor Day parade because of violent incidents that occur during the week-long series of events that culminate in the Labor Day parade. The events are coordinated by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.

Heavy police presence is seen at site where Garey Gabay, Gov. Cuomo's First Deputy, was shot in the head.

Heavy police presence is seen at site where Carey Gabay, Gov. Cuomo’s First Deputy Counsel, was shot in the head.

Although Gabay was shot near the parade route, there is no indication that the parade or its organizers had any involvement in the criminal incident. However, the proximity to the parade route tarnishes the reputation of the parade and what it represents.

“It was mortifying man, my best friend got shot,” said Kevin Cummins, as he spoke to a reporter for WABC Channel 7’s Eyewitness New. “We all got up to make sure everyone was okay. I walked around. I saw Carey laying on the floor. I can’t believe it. I started to cry but then his brother was there and he just lost it.”

Cummins described the graphic scene as what appeared to be rival gang members erupted into gunfire, seriously wounding the prominent, Harvard-educated lawyer. “He was down. They shot him when he was down.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's First Deputy Counsel, Garey Gabay, was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head this morning.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s First Deputy Counsel, Carey Gabay, was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head this morning.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Carey Gabay and his family. He’s a wonderful public servant and I am hopeful for a speedy recovery,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

“Everyone should pray because he can come out of it,” Cummins said in appeal for his wounded friend.

Gabay’s wife, who is reportedly pregnant with the couple’s first child, is with other family members praying for him at Kings County Hospital, where he received a blood transfusion and is breathing with the aid of a respirator, according to Cummins.

Governor Cuomo visited Gabay in the hospital before leaving for a one-day business assessment trip to Puerto Rico.–

Breaking: Julian Bond, civil rights icon, has died at age 75

Julian Bond, civil rights icon, has died at age 75.

Julian Bond, civil rights icon, died at age 75 on Saturday, August 15 in Florida.

By Carmen Glover

Civil rights icon Julian Bond, an-11-year-chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who tirelessly advocated for civil and equal rights throughout his life, died in Florida, at age 75, after a brief illness, according to a statement released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC). In the statement, Morris Dees, who co-founded the SPLC with Bond, said:

“We’ve lost a champion. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond, SPLC’s first president. He was 75 years old and died last evening, August 15, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

“From his days as the co-founder and communication director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s, to his chairmanship of the NAACP in the 21st century, Julian was a visionary and tireless champion for civil and human rights. He served as the SPLC’s president from our founding in 1971 to 1979, and later as a member of its board of directors.

Julian Bond was an active member of SNCC and co-founded the SPLC.

Julian Bond was an active member of SNCC, SPLC and the NAACP.

“With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for cause of justice. He advocated not just for African-Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.

“Julian is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, and his five children. Not only has the country lost a hero today, we’ve lost a great friend.”

In a statement via Twitter, the NAACP said: “The NAACP mourns the passing of Chairman Julian Bond, civil rights titan and our brother. May he rest in eternal peace.’

In a statement President Barack Obama said: “Julian Bond was a hero and, I’m privileged to say, a friend; Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life–from his leadership at the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to his founding role with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to his pioneering service in the Georgia legislature and his steady hand at the helm of the NAACP. Michelle and I have benefited from his example, his counsel, and his friendship–and we offer our prayers and sympathies to his wife, Pamela, and his children.”

Bond , who was born Horace Julian Bond on January 4, 1940, attended Morehouse College and served in the two houses of Georgia’s Legislature for 20 years. During that time, Bond sponsored bills to ensure low-income housing and establish a majority African-American congressional district in Atlanta. Bond taught at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel College and served as a prominent commentator and writer.–

CDC called in as 10 die in Bronx Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, speaks about the outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease in the South Bronx, which has claimed 10 lives so far.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to request help from the CDC, as Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak  spreads in the South Bronx, killing 10 and infecting 100 residents.

By Carmen Glover

As the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease widened in the South Bronx, New York, claiming ten lives and sickening 100 residents, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr appealed to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to call in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday, August 6, to investigate and provide specialized assistance.

Stating that the level of anxiety “is very high,” Diaz solicited intervention from the governor, as Mayor Bill de Blasio downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak, while City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett insisted that the city was taking the issue “very seriously.”

“During the course of our actions fighting the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in the Bronx, it has been revealed that there is no inspection mechanism for coolant systems, rooftop water tanks and other standing water infrastructure that could be a breeding ground for this disease and others,” Diaz said in a statement, “The city must create a new inspection system for these systems just as we inspect other critical systems such as elevators.”

legionnaires outbreak

Legionnaires’ disease has infected and killed more people in the Bronx than the three people who died from Ebola disease in the entire United States in 2014 when a national effort was coordinated to keep the nation safe.

The disease was traced to cooling towers in five area buildings, including Lincoln Hospital, which treats hundreds of patients daily for ailments ranging from mental health disease, drug addiction to respiratory disease. The South Bronx is considered an epicenter for asthma in the city. Governor Cuomo has indicated that business owners in the city and state can request for their cooling towers to be tested for contamination, at no cost to them.

Lincoln Hospital was the site of confirmed cases of Legionnaire's Disease and the hospital's cooling towers were subsequently disinfected and cleaned.

Lincoln Hospital was the site of confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s Disease and the hospital’s cooling towers were subsequently disinfected and cleaned.

On Monday, August 3, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, hosted members from the New York City Health Department in an informational session at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on the Grand Concourse, where worried residents sought answers and reassurance that they would be safe.

In the meantime, de Blasio has instructed a response team to make emergency calls to building owners and property managers in the Bronx to make sure that wherever cooling towers are located, they are cleaned within 14 days.

Residents of the South Bronx, New York City, line up to ask questions about Legionnaire's Disease at a public forum this week.

Residents of the South Bronx, New York City, line up to ask questions about Legionnaire’s Disease at a public forum this week.

This new outbreak comes on the heels of a similar Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in Co-op City in the North East Bronx, last year, which left residents violently ill. So far, the residents who have died from the disease in the South Bronx have been elderly and had pre-existing health conditions which weakened their immune systems.

However, because the disease is spread from mists in the air, every person who walks in the South Bronx can potentially inhale the deadly mist and contract the disease, which made the mayor’s refusal to seek assistance from the CDC a head-scratcher for nervous residents.


29-year-old Co-op city resident Ron Hines, is embraced by his father. Hines was sickened with Legionnaires’ disease in November 2014 and has still not fully recovered. He filed a lawsuit early this year. Residents sickened in the latest outbreak in the South Bronx have also begun the process of filing lawsuits.

Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease travels in the air and is often concentrated in cooling towers from which the infected mist sprays into the atmosphere. The disease triggers a severe form of pneumonia that is especially brutal for residents who have pre-existing health conditions such as respiratory disease, those who are very young or elderly.

As the new round of the outbreak spreads in the South Bronx, the first lawsuit was filed against the city. Residents who were sickened in Co-op City filed lawsuits early this year.–