Madison Gray, Online Journalist

A Portfolio of Madison Gray's Work

Nostrand Avenue: Why It’s the New Gentrification Flash Point

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Edmon Braithwaite remembers the struggle of finding ways to help businesses along Nostrand Avenue. The area was among the least desirable areas of Brooklyn to open a business.

As founder and chairman of the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District, he spent many days negotiating with banks and trying to persuade city officials that the artery was worth focusing on. Most of those businesses, a majority of which were minority-owned, had trouble securing loans, getting insurance and finding operating capital.

“We were under the delusion that funds would be made available to minority businesses, but it never materialized,” said Braithwaite, who owns Nostrand Avenue Wines and Liquors. Yet against the odds, many of those businesses survived. Now they face a very different challenge: Nostrand has been discovered.

Read more here: https://thebridgebk.com/nostrand-avenue-why-its-new-gentrification-flash-point/

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 2, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Video: Focusing on Wall Street, Rev. Jesse Jackson Wants Equal Rights and Equal Access

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When Rev. Jesse Jackson held the first Wall Street Project Economic Summit in 1997, Bill Clinton was president, the Black unemployment rate was 10.5 percent, Black median household income was about $25,000 and there were 823,000 Black-0wned businesses in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau information.

Two decades later, as Barack Obama has exited the White House, Black unemployment is at 7.7 percent, Black median household income is at $53,000 and now there are 649,000 Black-owned businesses in the country. It’s been a difficult tapestry to figure out and Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition is continuing to press for more equality in access to capital and opportunity.

Read more here: http://www.ebony.com/career-finance/jesse-jackson-wall-street-summit#ixzz4oWauMqPa

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

Why Jeff Sessions Could Be the Prison Industry’s Best Friend

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It’s not surprising that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a beeline to reverse one of the Obama administration’s policy changes on prisons. His conservative record leaves no indication that he’d want to get the government out of the prison business, the way the Justice Department under his predecessor Loretta Lynch did.

So the memo he sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, rescinding the order of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (who President Trump fired last month), allowing government contracts with private prisons to expire was one of the many things from the previous White House that the Trump administration intends to turn upside down.

Read more here: http://www.ebony.com/news-views/sessions-prison-industry#ixzz4oWOBPqhb

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 1, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

NYC Mayor Announces Plan to Close Notorious Rikers Island—Finally

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In what could become the biggest criminal justice news of the year, a plan has been announced to shut down the jail that has held and criminalized countless Black and Brown people in New York City over the course of the last 85 years.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has agreed on a plan to close Rikers Island, the city jail facility that sits in the East River, only a few dozen yards from the runways of LaGuardia Airport.

Read more here: http://www.ebony.com/news-views/rikers-island-de-blasio-jail-nyc#ixzz4oWJAKO2U

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 1, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

Pioneering Black Woman Judge Found Dead in NYC’s Hudson River

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Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to be appointed to the New York State Court of Appeals was found dead, floating on the shore of New York’s Hudson River on Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported.

The judge’s body was discovered fully clothed by witnesses on the Upper Manhattan side of the river just before 2 p.m., just about a mile from her home in Harlem.
Read more here: http://www.ebony.com/news-views/sheila-abdus-salaam-death-hudson-river#ixzz4oWIZ21Im

Written by Madison J. Gray

August 1, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Posted in EBONY.com

“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

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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