Madison Gray, Online Journalist

A Portfolio of Madison Gray's Work

“Ban the Box” Is Reality in NYC; It’s Time to Do It Nationwide

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This question was once a frustrating brick wall if you were an ex-convict living in New York City and applying for a job. There, within a box on almost any application: “Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Felony?”

Those eight words consistently dashed the hopes of generations of people who had paid their debt to society,  and achieved rehabilitation.  All they were trying to do was move on with their lives, despite the scarlet letter of perhaps a stupid adolescent mistake, an act of anger or passion, or a moment of non-critical thinking.

The box ultimately meant that a potential employer had the right to discriminate against an applicant simply because he or she had done time – even a short amount. It was more restraining than the bars they were just freed from.

But those days are now over in New York thanks to the Fair Chance Act taking effect this week after being signed into law last summer. And this should be the case everywhere.

Read more here.

Written by Madison J. Gray

May 12, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

Tagged with , ,

The NYPD’s Asinine Search Policy: A Bogus Christmas Gift

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The young police officer was direct when I caught his eye as I approached the entrance to the subway station: “Sir! I need to search your bag!”

It caught me off guard because the only thing on my mind was making it from Rockefeller Center to points south to finish my Christmas shopping. But I paused, realizing that this was one of the NYPD’s many “safety” tactics designed to keep us protected from terrorism.

However, I felt it was a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights, so I calmly replied: “No disrespect, officer, but I do not consent to any searches.”

Saying no must have been the ultimate insult to this cop because without missing a beat he ordered me out of the subway as his partners began to approach me, ready for a public incident.

He told me that if I refused the search, as the nearby sign said I had the right to, then I had to exit the station…which the sign somehow neglected to mention.

He peered into my face, making sure he could make a visual description, in case something happened, and ordered me out again. Reluctant to walk out into the rainy evening, I made my way toward the stairs and took out my cellphone to make a call. A female officer approached me to loudly shoo me away like a stray dog. I didn’t argue. I left.

Read more here.

Written by Madison J. Gray

May 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Missed It: The 10 Most Underreported Black Stories of 2015

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The daily news cycle is full of repetitive stories whose narrative we memorize over the course of days, and that is compounded by social media. But there are those stories that are either too obscure or not given enough attention to make it across everyone’s radar. That is doubly true when it comes to news about the global Black diaspora. So here are 10 items — among the many — that may have slipped past you, but were still worth knowing about in 2015.

Read more here.

Written by Madison J. Gray

May 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Yesterday Was Columbus Day, But I Forgot on Purpose

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About a block away from our New York office, the annual Columbus Day parade went by Monday afternoon, with all the pageantry, music and celebration that have come to be expected from the event. Children waved at marchers, politicians waved back and the entire Big Apple enjoyed a day where parking restrictions were relaxed.

But nobody here in our JPC newsroom celebrated. In fact, nobody here even mentioned the day. It was almost as if we forgot it.

And if we did, well, so? What was there really to cheer about?

Read more here.

Written by Madison J. Gray

May 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

End of the Amen Corner: It Will Take More Than Prayer to End Mass Shootings

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The front page of the New York Daily News said it all: “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

The fact that prayers from politicians is not a solution should be obvious by now. Prayers didn’t fix it after Sandy Hook. Nor did they didn’t fix it after Columbine High School. Or Aurora, Colorado. Or Charleston, South Carolina.

And they certainly haven’t fixed it on the South Side of Chicago. Or in Detroit. Or Cleveland. Or Baltimore. And now we can add San Bernardino, California, to that lengthy list.

The coming days and weeks will reveal the story, but so far not much is known. According to reports, two suspects—identified as Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27—went on a gun rampage at a social services facility, killing 14 and wounding 21 others. They were killed four hours later in shootout with police on a residential street about two miles away. No motive has been established yet, but authorities are speculating anything from a disgruntled worker situation to terrorism.

Read more here.

Written by Madison J. Gray

May 12, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

Tagged with ,

Bail Equals Inequality: The Kalief Browder Case & Why Freedom Costs Money

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For the three years Kalief Browder sat in New York’s Rikers Island, he probably wondered what the difference would have been if his family could have posted the $3,000 bail that would have gotten him out of the jail and back on the street to await trial.

Instead he languished there, just a couple football fields away from LaGuardia Airport, experiencing the pre-trial punishment that inmates endure — for being accused of stealing a backpack. The then 16-year-old insisted he was innocent, that there was no reason for him to be locked up.

Ultimately he did get out, he tried to assume a normal life. Work, family, friends. But the malnourishment, the fights with other inmates, the beatings by guards (which were caught on video), the nightmarish conditions he lived in were etched in his mind.

Last weekend, the demons still inside got to be too much. He had tried to commit suicide before, but was unsuccessful. This time, his internal struggles led him to tie an air conditioner cord around his neck and hang himself.

He was only 22.

Read more.

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 4:16 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

Grand jury indictments announced in Freddie Gray case

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State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced grand jury indictments against the police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray Thursday.

“These past two weeks, my team has been presenting evidence to a grand jury that just today returned indictments against all six officers,” she said, indicating that charges are often revised based upon evidence discovered. However they were largely similar to the ones Mosby announced earlier in May.

Read more.

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 4:14 am

Posted in CBSNews.com