UrbaNERD: Where Have You Gone, Robin Hood?

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Thomas Good, Metro Centric, Anthony Lanzilote, Pablo029, Atomische, DIana Robinson/Mayor's Office

Robin Hood? More like Hood Robbin’ … or something
We thought we knew Paul Tudor Jones, multi-billionaire and philanthropist who founded The Robin Hood Foundation to help fight poverty. But a new report alleges that our storybook hero actually takes from the rich (just a little, from himself), gives to the poor, then gives even more to the rich, and kicks the poor while they’re not looking. On Saturday, Tudor Jones (whom I thank wholeheartedly for naming his foundation Robin Hood and allowing for so many punny jokes) will find community activists at his doorstep wondering how can, on the one hand, fund such a wonderful foundation, while on the other hand support via political donations Republicans whose policies often speak directly against support of the poor. (He’s also backed Gov. Cuomo and charter schools, two things the groups protesting Jones also dislike.) So far, Jones has not commented on the report, which acknowledges that, “There’s no doubt the [Robin Hood] Foundation has noble intentions and has had some successes in its mission to fight poverty.” But if this is what they’ve got on Robin Hood, what are we going to learn when the reports about Little John, Will Scarlett and Alan A’Dale come out?

Proposed sexual violence legislation too unspecific?

In light of the governor’s new legislation to deter and punish sexual violence in school settings, Laura Harshbarger has published the first installments of an ongoing review of the “Enough is Enough” legislation. While the proposal is certainly one of those “UGH, FINALLY” moments for anyone who has noticed an ongoing trend of lax punishment for sexual assault in educational institutions, Harshbarger notes significant flaws. Her issue this week is that the measure calls for mandatory punishments for specific crimes, offering little room to take into account the specific circumstances of the individual situation. This is not about those disgusting “she was drunk” or “she was sending me signals she didn’t know about,” victim-shaming claims. It’s about the fact that the wording in here could mean that an unwanted kiss demands expulsion, or at least suspension, from the school.

A different way to protest
A group of protesters involved in the Black Lives Matter movement have taken on a new form of protest for the movement: Movement! They have taken on the issue of police brutality with a series of performances including chants, poems, songs, and dances at venues around the city including the prestigious Armory art show. Since the Millions March in December, many of us (the author included) have put this issue to the side, failing to show up at the smaller protests that have charger onward through the tough winter. But as the ice thaws into piles of poo and cigarette butts, we have a chance to renew a commitment to social justice and participate with any combination of words, actions, or artistic expression. For more information on how to get involved, visit http://blacklivesmatter.com/

Model commuters
Usually a ride on the MTA is at best boring and at worst an unspeakable tragedy of involuntary human contact, emergency brakes, sick passengers, trains crossing in front of you, dispatchers deciding to hold you in a dark tunnel and other inconveniences for which the disembodied voice apologizes. But local artist Clifton sees a side of the subways not often visible to to the public. He has begun a photo-series called
Underground NYC
, where he photographs models gorgeously recreating the commuting experience. Follow him @Underground_NYC to see how he can transport a frustrating turnstile (that just won’t take your swipe even though you know you’ve been doing it right because you’ve lived here your whole life) into an artists’ platform.

Can a better world be part of a bottom line?
Some local firms (whose names I can’t type without losing my train of thought) have come together with the city’s Economic Development Corporation to create
“Best For NYC,”
a campaign to motivate the city’s companies to cultivate practices that not only benefit them, but their employees and the community at large. The push promotes companies that have the most positive overall impact each year by improving low-wage jobs, enhancing benefits, increasing support for community ac, and generally upgrading quality of life. The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development has joined this task force at the same time that Mayor de Blasio’s administration launched WE NYC, a program to encourage female entrepreneurs.

Individual innocence=systemic guilt
In Brooklyn these days, the bad news is good news, too: We’re learning that more and more people spent years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit—but we’re learning that because the court system is releasing them. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle sat down with new Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson, who looks back on his first year on the job, explains how convictions can go so wrong and details his efforts to combat police brutality.

Other weekend reading:

Homeless shelter conditions founds to be disgusting, dangerous

An actual plan to dramatically reduce poverty in New York City

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jasmineJasmine Pierce is a New York City-based comedian and writer. She writes for the internet, including bylines at Reductress.com and TheNationalSomething.com. In addition to stand up, she creates comedy with her sketch team, Fun With Jerks, and runs the Sleepyhead Podcast.

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