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A New HBO Documentary Tells the Story of a Young Black Man Killed in Brooklyn 31 Years Ago. Activists Lament How Little Has Changed Since Then



The tragic events depicted in the documentary Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn call to mind headlines from 2020: a black man is shot to death by a white mob, precipitating months of civic unrest and protest marches marked by anguish and determination.

But Yusuf Hawkins was shot 31 years ago, in 1989, in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn—and his death tipped a city already plagued by racial turmoil over the edge into violence once more. In his documentary, filmmaker Muta’Ali Muhammad includes scenes from that summer that resonate strongly in today’s climate: a mother’s grief; a politician’s deflection; a communal outpouring; counter-protesters’ racism, both veiled and blatant; clashes with police.

To some activists who were involved in these protests in 1989, the current protests show how far we have come as a nation; to others, the scene looks disappointingly similar. TIME talked to some of these activists for their take on the similarities and differences between movements three decades apart.

New York in the 1980s

Yusuf Hawkins, Amir Hawkins and Freddy Hawkins

Yusuf Hawkins, Amir Hawkins and Freddy Hawkins

Courtesy of Hawkins Family/HBO

The killing of Yusuf Hawkins in 1989 occurred during a tense moment in New York City history. The deaths of Willie Turks, in 1982, and Michael Griffith, in 1986, two Black men who were killed by white mobs, had shocked New Yorkers who might have thought their city was a liberal bastion of integration. That summer, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing had called attention to senseless violence enacted against Black communities, especially in Brooklyn.

In August 1989, the Black 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkins traveled from his home in East New York to Bensonhurst, then a largely Italian-American neighborhood, with three friends to look into buying a used car on sale. At the time the group traveled to the area, a large mob of white men had gathered in Bensonhurst with plans to attack a group of African Americans, one of whom was rumored to be dating a white girl they knew. Hawkins and his friends walked into the mob without knowing they were waiting for a Black person to attack. Hawkins’ friends who were with him at the time of the attack recall in the movie that several white men surrounded them, with some carrying baseball bats. Amid the chaos, Hawkins was fatally shot by someone in the group, and the perpetrators dispersed quietly into their neighborhood.

Hawkins’ family, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, decided to organize protests in Bensonhurst, which were buoyed by groups like the New York City Civil Rights Coalition, and garnered hundreds of supporters. But they were also met with racist vitriol that might have appeared out of step with a progressive image of New York. “We got all these nasty remarks, people holding watermelons, throwing soda,” Amir Hawkins, Yusuf’s younger brother who marched with Sharpton, tells TIME. “I was 14 at the time. We were walking into a danger zone. We were not just locking arms because of unity but just to keep close in case something went wrong.”

Norman Siegel, a white civil rights lawyer who joined protesters marching to demand justice for Hawkins, says that the counter protesters were more dangerous than those he had encountered in the South. “People calling me an N-word lover, throwing objects at us, including eggs,” he says. “Marches in the South, we didn’t have that heckling.” Rev. Sharpton was even stabbed by an angry onlooker and spent several weeks in the hospital recuperating.

Deeply rooted prejudices

Mural dedicated to Yusuf Hawkins in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Mural dedicated to Yusuf Hawkins in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Courtesy of Hawkins Family/HBO

When Siegel decided to talk to students in the Bensonhurst community following the killing to interrogate their responses to the protests, he found that their prejudices were deeply rooted. He, along with the Black lawyer Galen Kirkland, began holding classes in the New Utrecht High School—which Joseph Fama, the gunman convicted of killing Hawkins, attended—and found that directly addressing stereotypes allowed students to see how racial tensions form. In particular, Siegel says, they established an open and honest dialogue with students designated as “At Risk”—largely working-class teens who planned to drop out of high school at age 16—by giving them a space to speak about race, connecting racism to broader issues like sexism, homophobia and classism, and dismantling stereotypes. Kirkland’s role surprised the students, Siegel says.

“Galen would always wear a suit; the white students would come to me and say, ‘Mr. Siegel, I never saw a Black guy like Mr. Kirkland,” he says.

Kirkland and Siegel held classes at New Utrecht for 11 years, discussing civil rights history, the origins of stereotyping and peaceful protest strategies with the students. “When you’re establishing a level of trust, it’s gotta be a sustained dynamic,” Kirkland says. “You can’t show up a couple times then disappear. And eventually, it was really inspiring: it affirmed the idea that there were lots of decent people in our city who wanted to make positive change.”

‘We should have learned from the past’

Yusuf Hawkins with his mother Diane Hawkins

Yusuf Hawkins with his mother Diane Hawkins

Courtesy of HBO

But the great time and effort Kirkland put into reducing prejudice makes him feel even more pained to see the continued violence and discrimination against Black people that has thrust the nation into a new era of protest. “Having worked so hard for so many years, to see where we are today is heartbreaking,” he says. “It’s clear that the change in rhetoric, policies and postures from the very top has exacerbated divisions and made many people feel that what they were doing in terms of attacking other people or asserting hateful positions was being condoned.”

Meanwhile, Siegel points to the widespread segregation that still exists in New York City, both in neighborhood lines and its public school system, which is one the most segregated in the country. “It’s 31 years later and could what happened to Yusuf Hawkins happen tonight in Bensonhurst? Yes,” Siegel says. “Even though we should have learned from the past, the dynamics are very similar. People don’t want you in their neighborhood because you’re different.”

Amir Hawkins hopes the film provides an important history lesson for those who might not be aware of the racist violence his family dealt with in Bensonhurst, particularly younger people watching and taking part in the current wave of protests.

“When they see the film, it’s going to allow them to see that we were dealing with this 31 years ago,” he says. “This is not just something that’s new. Stuff like this has been around.”

Write to Mahita Gajanan at

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What Makes a Good Online Casino?




A quick search for an online casino will reveal hundreds of results. However, these casinos are not created equally. Some are better than others in many ways. That’s why you cannot settle for the first option that catches your eye. You need to do thorough research to ensure you settle for a casino that will give you a better experience – and some good money in the process.

So, what makes a good online casino?

The truth is that there are many reputable casinos online – and new ones keep popping up with each passing day. But the few bad ones spoil the name for the others. These casinos scam people. They are eager to make deposits but not keen to give players their money back, pay their affiliates, or even stick to their terms and conditions. These casinos – scam or rogue casinos – are exactly the types you want to avoid.

Unfortunately, most of these rogue casinos disguise as good ones. You might have a hard time telling them apart, especially if you are just getting started. To help you make an informed decision, here are some qualities that make a good online casino.

It does not feature in the blacklist

One of the easiest ways to tell a good casino from the bad ones is by looking at different online casino blacklists. Different reputable platforms always release yearly blacklists to protect casino players from gambling scams online. They put bad casinos on a list for everyone to see and ensure no one signs up to any of those casinos in the future. Since these sites differ, chances are you won’t find the same casinos on every blacklist. But the fact that a casino makes the list means they have one or more of these problems:

  • Change terms
  • Predatory terms
  • Slow pay
  • Unfair games
  • Nonpayment
  • Marketing spam
  • Licensing and regulation

Choice of games

As a player, you’ll appreciate the choice of picking whichever game pleases you. That’s why you need a casino that offers more games. Browse around to find the casino games that the provider offers to see if it’s a good fit.

It’s fair, secure, and serious

As you may have noticed from above, many casinos end up on the blacklist for many reasons, including unfairness and security issues. Good online casinos use random number generator that determines the chances of winning. On top of that, they work with third parties to check the fairness of games. What’s more, these casinos display various certificates on their platforms, giving you further assurance that things are conducted fairly.

Has good customer service

You can tell a good casino by how their customer support team treats you when you send a request or inquire about something. They will be willing and happy to serve you. they will also have adequate knowledge to address your concerns and be available 24/7.

Accept your payment methods

A good casino accepts a wide range of payment options, ranging from online payment options to instant bank transfers and even credit card solutions. This allows you to use your preferred payment method and not feel locked out. Stay away from sites that provide limited payment options. Some of them fail to get approved by payment platforms, which by itself is a red flag.

Has a bonus offer

It’s easy to assume bonus offers and other incentives, especially if you are new to the game. However, you should work with a casino that provides a consistent bonus offer and not just a good welcome offer. You’ll need these bonuses even as an existing client. Moreover, the site should provide promotions without deposit, reload offers, and many free spins. Don’t feel limited. Many casino sites offer these bonuses, and if the one in question doesn’t, you might as well keep looking.

Free games and easy registration

As a newbie, the last thing you want is to sign up with a casino that doesn’t provide free games. You need to practice without having to deposit money or fear that you’ll lose money. Free games allow you to practice and be good before playing real money. Additionally, the casino should have a simple registration and easy account opening process. If it’s too complicated, then maybe it’s not the right casino for you.

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How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital





These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos




What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting!

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