Civil Rights

Florida to Launch Online Voter Registration October 1

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The Florida Department of State is scheduled to launch its new online voter registration website on Sunday, October 1, 2017. According to state officials, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov, offers Florida residents another way to register to vote or update an existing registration. The website is touted as convenient, secure and easy-to-use. The website will go live as directed by the Florida Legislature in Section 97.0525 Florida Statutes.

In 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill directing the department to implement online voter registration on October 1, 2017. Florida joins 35 other states and the District of Columbia that have online voter registration available to their residents.

Any Florida resident who is eligible to vote or is already registered to vote in Florida can use RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov to submit an application, update an existing registration or prefill an application form to print and deliver to a Supervisor of Elections office.

Contrary to current voter registration procedure, users will need a Florida driver license or state identification (ID) card and the last four digits of their social security number to register online. Currently, only one of the three is required to register to vote. Once an individual’s identity is verified and the application is deemed complete, a voter information card is issued by the local Supervisor of Elections office.

Investigations confirming Russian attempts to hack America’s elections have heightened concerns regarding potential manipulation of registration and voting data.
RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov proclaims multiple safeguards in place to verify and protect a person’s identity and personal information, including a state-of-the-art firewall, data encryption, captcha boxes, session time-out after inactivity and the use of multi-screens. The website requires information that only the person seeking to register or change an existing registration should know, such as the issue date of their Florida driver license or state ID card, their Florida driver license or state ID card number and the last four digits of their social security number. All of this information is verified in real-time in order for a person to complete the application process online. If the information cannot be verified, a person is not able to move forward with submitting the application electronically. Additionally, there is no retention of data within the RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov website because it is securely transmitted to an internal system.

RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is offered in English and Spanish, is accessible for persons with disabilities and is mobile-friendly.

If you choose to use this new system, feel free to share your experience at vbyers@bloggingblackmiami.com. What’s most important is that you get out and vote. 

 

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@vanessawbyers

 

 


NAACP Releases Report Card: Florida Failing in Key Categories

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The NAACP Florida State Conference releases a statewide Economic Development Report Card upon examining the records of cities, counties, school districts and private sector organizations.

FORT LAUDERDALE— Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and Torey Alston, State Economic Development Chair released a statewide Economic Development Report Card after examining the records of leading public and private organizations over the last several months.

“I am excited to release this year’s Diversity Matters Report Card the records of public agencies from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys,” says Adora Obi Nweze, who also serves as a member of the National Board of the NAACP. “Diversity and inclusion continue to be a challenge in Florida and the NAACP will continue to sound the alarm for equality and fairness for all Floridians.”

The Diversity Matters Initiative examined the records of targeted cities, counties, school districts and private corporations statewide.  The NAACP Florida State Conference examined their records on employment, advertising and spending with minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.  The NAACP Florida State Conference conducts this review annually, proposes recommendations and releases its findings to the public. 

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“Our Diversity Matters Report Card is an annual investigation reviewing workforce diversity, local contracting expenditures and advertising budgets in urban, rural and suburban areas,” says Torey Alston, who led this statewide effort on diversity and serves as 3rd Vice-President of the NAACP Florida State Conference. “This year’s report card continues to show cities, counties, school districts, and private companies have diversity and inclusion as the last priority.  While there are some bright spots, there is still much work to be done ensuring diversity and inclusion is reflected in all aspects of government and the private sector.”

Here is the grading scale and methodology used for the report card:

Diversity Metric /Overall Total = Grade

  • A – Excellent (25% and higher): Meets and exceeds diversity and inclusion standards
  • B – Above Average (20% to 24%): Above average performance on diversity and inclusion standards 
  • C – Average (15% to 19%): Average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • D – Below Average (14% to 18%): Below average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • F – Failing (13% and below): Does not meet diversity and inclusion standards
  • *F – Not Reported

TOTAL

GRADE

#

PERCENTAGE

A

0

0.0%

B

5

12.5%   

C

1

2.5%

D

12

30.0%

F

22

55.0%

Total

40

 

Looking closer at the report card, none of the 40 entities evaluated received a total grade of “A.” Only five entities received a total grade of “B” --- Duval County School District, Hendry County School District, Miami-Dade County School District, City of Fort Walton Beach, and Manatee County Board of Commissioners. One entity, Osceola County Board of Commissioners, received a total grade of “C.” Thirty-four, or 85% of the entities evaluated, received a total grade of “D” or “F.”

There is significant room for improvement in the categories dealing with spending and advertising & marketing. No surprise, is the abysmal failing grade in those areas as several local individuals and organizations have complained of this disparity in contracting with black businesses for many years. All the entities received an “F” in the “Small, Veteran & Minority Business Spending” category except one. Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners received a “D.”

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The NAACP releases report cards every year. Now that this report card has been released, it is crucial that organizations and individuals throughout Florida are relentless in demanding transparency and diversity in how the tax dollars in their respective communities are allocated and spent.

 


Community Leaders on Racist, Sexist Rant by Senator Frank Artiles: Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

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As a former State Representative of House District 109, it would be impossible for me to sit in a room to create laws that impact our community with someone that has neither regard or respect for those who make those laws with him.

As lawmakers, we make laws for men, women, children, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and others who come from all corners of the world. A person who is not respectful to all is not fit to make laws for them, neither should anyone be subjected to sit on a dais with such an individual.

-Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

Miami-Dade County Public School Board Member
District 2

 

 

#STAYwoke
#ArtilesMustResign
 

UPDATE #2: Calls for the Resignation of Senator Frank Artiles Escalate, Complaint Filed

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As more is learned about the racist, sexist tirade of State Senator Frank Artiles on Monday evening in Tallahassee’s exclusive Governors Club, the calls for his resignation escalate.

Some earlier reports of the incident implied Senators Artiles, Gibson and Thurston were socializing together. You know, drinks among friends. However, Senator Artiles “approached” Senators Gibson and Thurston when he unleashed his verbal attack on her.

We also learned that Artiles felt emboldened to drop the other “f-bomb” that evening, and called two lobbyists faggots. Once again, alcohol is a truth serum.

As expected, Artiles “apologized” from the Senate floor. No other comments were allowed by Senate President Joe Negron. If you’ve been following this situation, Negron is the colleague Artiles referred to as a “pussy.” If you happen to view video of that moment, please note that Artiles read a prepared statement that was lacking in sincerity. The way the scene rolled out was sterile and dismissive.

Senator Perry Thurston filed a formal complaint to expel Senator Frank Artiles. Senate Rules Chair Lizbeth Benacquisto has appointed Dawn Roberts, Senate general counsel, to complete and report on the investigation of the complaint by next Tuesday, April 25.

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In the meantime, continue this CALL TO ACTION.

1.  Contact Senator Frank Artiles and ask him to resign. There is no place for his hateful, racist and sexist thinking in American politics. 

Here are ways to contact Senator Artiles:

District Office

13501 SW 128th Street

Unit 115A

Miami, FL 33186

(305) 252-4300

 

Tallahassee Office

308 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5040

 

Email: artiles.frank@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artiles40

Twitter: @Artiles40 (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

2.  Contact Senator Joe Negron, President of the Florida Senate, and ask him to have Senator Artiles to resign. 

Here are ways to Contact Senator Negron:

District Office 

3500 Southwest Corporate Parkway

Suite 204

Palm City, FL 34990

(772) 219-1665

Toll-Free (888) 759-0791

 

Tallahassee Office

305 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5025

 

Email: negron.joe@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joenegronfl/

Twitter: @joenegronfl (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

3.  Stay tuned as this is an evolving situation. We are expected to react with anger and then go away. Not this time. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for taking action. 


If Senator Artiles’ apology was sincere, he would have made it to Senator Gibson earlier and without being forced. If Senator Artiles’ “apology” were sincere, he would have already resigned. He brought disgrace to the Florida Legislature via prior bad behavior and insults. Enough is enough.

Shame on everyone who hasn’t called for the resignation of Senator Frank Artiles. Shame on everyone who is putting Party over people in this latest situation. Senator Frank #ArtilesMustResign.

 

 

Related Links:

CALL TO ACTION: Florida Senator Frank Artiles Must Resign After His Racist, Sexist Tirade [WARNING: Profane language]

UPDATE: Senator Artiles Apologized for his Racist, Sexist Tirade, Stripped of Committee Chairmanship — Not Enough!  

 

 


UPDATE: Senator Artiles Apologized for his Racist, Sexist Tirade, Stripped of  Committee Chairmanship — Not Enough!  

Negron - Artiles
From left, Florida Senate President Joe Negron and Senator Frank Artiles

I watched Florida Senate President Joe Negron field interview questions via The Florida Channel online. His responses were a reminder of just how tone deaf, disrespectful and dismissive our elected leaders are here in Florida. Senator Negron seems to feel his job is complete since Senator Artiles apologized from the Senate floor and he stripped Artiles of his committee chairmanship. Tone deaf. Disrespectful. Dismissive.

Senator Frank Artiles must resign. His racist, sexist comments cannot be tolerated and must not be excused by any self-respecting individual, especially those who took an office to represent the people of Miami-Dade County and/or the people of Florida.

As a Black person and a woman, I will not excuse nor accept the apology of Frank Artiles. I am tired of Black people being insulted an apology is later offered and we are supposed to accept it and go away. NO! As a woman, I am tired of men thinking they can treat us like brainless body parts and receptacles and we are supposed to accept that. NO!

How would you feel if Senator Gibson was your wife, sister, mother, cousin or friend? You should be disgusted by how she was treated just because she is a woman.

I am asking you to continue to contact Senator Artiles and Florida Senate President Joe Negron. I am asking all elected officials, especially black elected officials, and women elected officials, to take a stand and demand the resignation of Senator Artiles. 

This is a matter of RESPECT. No excuses. #ArtilesMustResign

 

In the meantime, continue this CALL TO ACTION.

1.  Contact Senator Frank Artiles and ask him to resign. There is no place for his hateful, racist and sexist thinking in American politics. 

Here are ways to contact Senator Artiles:

District Office

13501 SW 128th Street

Unit 115A

Miami, FL 33186

(305) 252-4300

 

Tallahassee Office

308 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5040

 

Email: artiles.frank@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artiles40

Twitter: @Artiles40 (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

2.  Contact Senator Joe Negron, President of the Florida Senate, and ask him to have Senator Artiles to resign. 

Here are ways to Contact Senator Negron:

District Office 

3500 Southwest Corporate Parkway

Suite 204

Palm City, FL 34990

(772) 219-1665

Toll-Free (888) 759-0791

 

Tallahassee Office

305 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5025

 

Email: negron.joe@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joenegronfl/

Twitter: @joenegronfl (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

3.  Stay tuned as this is an evolving situation. We are expected to react with anger and then go away. Not this time. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for taking action. 

 

 

Related Post: CALL TO ACTION: Florida Senator Frank Artiles Must Resign After His Racist, Sexist Tirade [WARNING: Profane language] 


CALL TO ACTION: Florida Senator Frank Artiles Must Resign After His Racist, Sexist Tirade [WARNING: Profane language]

 

Artiles-Gibson-Thurston
From left, Florida Senators Frank Artiles; Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston. Artiles dropped the n-bomb and referred to Gibson as a "fucking asshole," "girl" and "bitch."  He also said six Republican niggas were responsible for Joe Negron becoming Senate President and later referred to Negron as a "pussy." To make matters worse,  Artiles  later tried to justify dropping the n-bomb by saying he's from Hialeah. 

 

 

On Monday evening, Florida Senator Frank Artiles, who represents District 40 here in Miami-Dade County, went on a racist, sexist tirade at the exclusive Governors Club in Tallahassee. Artiles verbally attacked fellow Senator Audrey Gibson from Duval County. Also present was Senator Perry Thurston from Broward County and others. Gibson and Thurston are black.

According to reports from the Miami Herald, Artiles dropped the n-bomb and referred to Senator Gibson as a “fucking asshole” a “girl” and a “bitch.” In this day and time, a male elected official, who is also an ethnic minority, that feels comfortable enough to spew such vile words must not be allowed to represent the people of Florida, especially Miami-Dade County. To make matters worse, Artiles also tried to justify dropping the n-bomb by saying he’s from Hialeah. Really? Hialeah? Hmmm….

As expected, there have been weak condemnations of Artiles’s outburst by his fellow Republicans and an expected announcement of an apology from the Senate floor today. An apology is an insufficient resolution to this situation. Artiles must resign. 

The Florida Democratic Party has called for Artiles to resign. The Black Caucus has called an emergency meeting regarding this matter. 

In the meantime, this CALL TO ACTION is requested.

1.  Contact Senator Frank Artiles and ask him to resign. There is no place for his hateful, racist and sexist thinking in American politics. 

Here are ways to contact Senator Artiles:

District Office

13501 SW 128th Street

Unit 115A

Miami, FL 33186

(305) 252-4300

 

Tallahassee Office

308 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5040

 

Email: artiles.frank@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Artiles40

Twitter: @Artiles40 (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

2.  Contact Senator Joe Negron, President of the Florida Senate, and ask him to have Senator Artiles to resign. 

Here are ways to Contact Senator Negron:

District Office 

3500 Southwest Corporate Parkway

Suite 204

Palm City, FL 34990

(772) 219-1665

Toll-Free (888) 759-0791

 

Tallahassee Office

305 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5025

 

Email: negron.joe@flsenate.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joenegronfl/

Twitter: @joenegronfl (Use hashtag #ArtilesMustResign.)

 

3.  Stay tuned as this is an evolving situation. We are expected to react with anger and then go away. Not this time. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for taking action. 

 

This is a matter of RESPECT. This is a teachable moment. Our children are watching how we handle this situation. #ArtilesMustResign

 

 


 HBCU ALUMNI, STUDENTS TO RALLY ON CAPTIOL HILL

 

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Call for direct-action from HBCU supporters to urge Congress for resources

WASHINGTON, DC -  Concerned alumni, students and friends of Historically Black Colleges and Universities are set to gather on Capitol Hill on April 27 for a National Day of Action to increase support for black institutions of higher learning.

The direct-action was organized to ensure accountability by the White House and members of Congress to not only maintain funding, but increase resources to HBCUs – pillar institutions to educating and supporting thousands.

The HBCU National Day of Action is organized by the HBCU Collective, a group of alumni, students and friends of HBCUs who work in politics and advocacy and are determined to preserve, support and grow HBCUs.

“Alumni and students play an integral role in preserving and growing our HBCUs,” said co-leader of the HBCU Collective Robert Stephens. “We’re here to make sure our elected officials see and feel the importance of HBCUs – and we’re here to hold them accountable for their support.”

On April 27, the HBCU Collective expects to galvanize support from more than 100 HBCUs across the nation on Capitol Hill to advocate to their members of Congress. And engage thousands through an online and social media based outreach to urge them to call, write and tweet their federal and state elected officials to make HBCUs a priority in state legislative sessions and in Congress.
 
The HBCU Collective has three asks from state and federal elected officials:
  • Increase financial support for students
  • Increase access and funding for federal research grants
  • Increase funding and assistance for facility upgrades
“We care about the existence of our institutions and we are going to make sure elected officials do exactly what they promised, and that is to support our HBCUs and their students financially,” said Dominique Warren, co-leader of the HBCU Collective.

HBCU Collective plans to host meetings with elected officials and staff members in their home districts and in the districts of HBCUs to make allocating funding and resources a priority during this Congressional session, and every session in the future.
 

NAACP Statement on the Renewed Muslim Ban

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BALTIMORE, MD — The NAACP today released the following statement regarding the most recent Muslim Ban executive order from President Trump.

The new executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries is just the latest in a series of actions that threaten our nation’s values.  In a few short months, this administration has withdrawn from voting rights cases, reversed course on private prisons, revoked guidance on transgender youth, intensified immigration raids, and announced its intention to limit investigation of abusive and discriminatory law enforcement.  The message is clear: this administration is unwilling to protect and is in some cases actively targeting vulnerable communities.

Even though the new executive order purports to be rooted in national security interests, it cannot mask its true origins. The civil rights community is keenly aware of seemingly neutral laws that mask intentional discrimination. We have seen poll taxes and literacy tests being imposed as supposedly race-neutral voter qualification measures.  We continue to see voter ID laws that act as modern day poll taxes that rob communities of their vote.  Regardless of the smokescreen of security justifications, this executive order is a continuation of the administration’s stated goal: the implementation of a Muslim ban.

Just as we fight against voter suppression and police brutality, the NAACP continues to stand against discrimination based on racial identity, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.  We know that actions that rely on unfounded assumptions about dangerousness will always come at the expense of the most vulnerable populations.  We have seen the results of the divisive rhetoric that form the true rationale for this executive order.  We are witnessing a record number of hate crimes—including the death of an Indian student, Jewish cemeteries being defaced and community centers being threatened, and numerous attacks based on xenophobia and Islamophobia. We know that this hatred is poisonous and antithetical to the ideals that we fight to uphold.

The NAACP is made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and more.  Our members are individuals of many religions and some of no religion.  We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We will join in protest of this ban.  We will continue to fight for equal rights for all, for policies based on evidence and not on fear.

 


Blogging Black Miami 2016 General Election Recommendations

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” ― Larry J. Sabato 

Here are our recommendations for the upcoming November 8, 2016 General Election. If you are like many of us, you have had enough of this 2016 election cycle. It is said that politics is a contact sport but this season will be one for the record books.

We are well into the early voting period in Miami-Dade County and tomorrow is the deadline to request a ballot to vote by mail. Please take action and be sure to vote in this election (and every election). It has been reported that the number of Black voters is down. Don't wake up November 9 wallowing in regret. You have heard or read it before, your vote is your voice. Please don't take it lightly.  

BBM 2016 General Election Recommendations

 


Making America Great Again? Miami homeowner refuses to remove racially-offensive Halloween display

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

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Picture from Three Lakes neighborhood in southwest Miami-Dade County, Florida. Halloween display depicting lynching of two men dressed in urban-themed clothing. Homeowners refuse to remove display.

A Halloween display of a mock hanging of two men in the gated Miami community of Three Lakes has caused quite a bit of controversy. A Trump-Pence campaign yard sign is also near the hanging dark-hued dummies dressed in urban-themed clothing. The yard sign is actually in the adjoining yard of a neighbor and exacerbates an already racially-sensitive situation. Donald Trump has encouraged violence against protestors at his presidential campaign rallies and his campaign is closely associated with white nationalists. Nooses... hangings... lynchings... are symbols of the history of terror that Blacks have been forced to endure. This Halloween display is not a good look for the Trump-Pence campaign and it's definitely not a good look for Miami.

The homeowners refused to remove the display. They also declared the display is not racist it's just Halloween fun. Hmmm... Let me keep this 100 and translate that response for you: Listen Black people and bleeding heart liberals, we don't care about you and your feelings! Yeah...that sums it up. 

Meanwhile, please go to the updated Miami New Times story on this Halloween display and share it far and wide with all of your networks of family, friends and various organizations. Also, get more information via the related links to this post. Since today is Halloween, let's see how soon the homeowners take down the offensive display. 

Is this how we make America great again? I don't think so. Wake up. Stay woke.

 

Va-va sig 75x39

 @vanessawbyers

Halloween decoration in Miami showing mock lynching of two black men
This is the homeowners' response to complaints about their Halloween display of the mock lynching.


  

Related Links:

Miami New Times - Dummies Lynched Next to a Trump Sign for Halloween in Kendall UPDATED

WPLG Channel 10 - Halloween display sparks controversy in southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood (Please note that the Channel 10 report refers to the hanging decoration as "classic.")

The Legacy of Lynchings in Halloween Decorations (Please read this for a historical perspective.)