Florida

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

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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]

 

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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

 

 


Lucy McBath, mother of slain teen Jordan Davis, criticizes House passage of Stand Your Ground Expansion

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Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, criticizes passage of HB 245 by Florida House of Representatives.
 
HB 245 Would Effectively Require Stand Your Ground Defendants to Be Convicted Twice, Once in Front of a Judge and Again in Front of a Jury
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lucy McBath, faith and outreach leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, whose son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in a Florida gas station parking lot in a dispute over loud music, today released the following statement denouncing the House passage of HB 245, legislation that would expand Florida’s already lethal Stand Your Ground law. HB 245 would flip the burden of proof in pretrial immunity hearings to prosecutors, effectively requiring Stand Your Ground defendants to be convicted twice, once in front of a judge and once in front of a jury. The bill heads next to Governor Rick Scott’s desk.


STATEMENT FROM LUCY MCBATH, FAITH AND OUTREACH LEADER FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY AND MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:


“...Florida takes one step closer to becoming one of the few states to expand or enact a Stand Your Ground law since the senseless killings of my son, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin. Expanding the already deadly Stand Your Ground law in Florida will lead to even more families having their loved ones killed by gun violence, particularly families of color. Our lawmakers should focus on legislation that helps keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, not on measures that place targets on our children’s backs. We must continue to fight for the safety of our communities and we must hold Governor Rick Scott and other elected officials accountable for their support of legislation that will jeopardize public safety.”
 
 
 
 
Photo:  Moms Demand Action
 
 

Folk Heritage Award Recipient William “Billy the Kid” Emerson Honored in Ceremony in Tarpon Springs

TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Folklife Program and the City of Tarpon Springs recognized 2017 Florida Folk Heritage Award recipient, William “Billy the Kid” Emerson, in a special ceremony today hosted at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum. This ceremony honored Mr. Emerson for his lifelong contributions as a songwriter and producer.

William Emerson was born in Tarpon Springs in 1925, where he learned to play piano in church. Following in the footsteps of his uncle George Hannah, Emerson began performing publicly throughout the area. He joined the Navy in 1943, and after the war, resumed performing with Tampa area acts including Ivory Mitchell, the Billy Battle Band, and Alfonso Brown Band. He acquired the nickname “Billy the Kid” while playing with a band that dressed like cowboys.

Also a talented athlete, Emerson attended Florida A&M University on an athletic scholarship but left to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War. He later met Ike Turner and after being discharged, joined Turner’s Kings of Rhythm band. In 1954, he signed a contract with Sam Phillips and wrote and recorded hits for Sun Records including “When It Rains It Really Pours” (later recorded by Elvis Presley) and “Red Hot.” In 1955, he joined Vee-Jay Records, where he released “Every Woman I know (Crazy ‘Bout Automobiles).” Shortly after, he joined Chess Records as their recording manager. Emerson later formed Tarpon Records, and continued to record and perform rhythm & blues both internationally and abroad.

In 1978, Mr. Emerson rededicated himself to his faith, became a pastor and returned to Tarpon Springs where he continues to serve his congregation and compose sacred music. Although he no longer performs secular music, the compilation album, Red Hot: The Sun Years, was released in 2009, and Mr. Emerson was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

 

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William Emerson publicity photo

The Florida Department of State presents Florida Folk Heritage Awards annually to citizens who have made long-standing contributions to Florida’s cultural heritage by perpetuating community traditions. Like the National Heritage Fellowships, the Florida Folk Heritage Awards honor the state’s most influential tradition bearers for excellence, significance and authenticity as folk artists or folklife advocates. Information on how to make a nomination is available here and additional information regarding past recipients, including photos and bios, is available here.

The Florida Folklife Program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Program. For further information about the Florida Folklife Program, contact State Folklorist Amanda Hardeman at 850.245.6427 or visit flheritage.com/preservation/folklife.

 


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on direction of education under Trump and DeVos

 

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Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson released the following statement in response to President Trump’s Visit to Florida to Promote School Choice:

“I am very concerned about the direction in which President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos want to take the nation’s education system. Earlier this week, in his first address before a joint session of Congress, Mr. Trump urged lawmakers to pass legislation to fund school choice programs. Today he and his education secretary traveled to my home state to tour Orlando’s St. Andrew Catholic School and hail it as an example of how voucher programs can benefit disadvantaged and minority children.

“What both the president and Secretary DeVos failed to acknowledge is that programs like the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship do not cover the full cost of tuition and other expenses that are required when one sends a child to private school, such as books and supplies, transportation, and extracurricular activities.

“More important, vouchers drain public school systems of badly needed funding. Some of the so-called private schools that accept vouchers lack accountability and have not demonstrated the kinds of academic gains that justify siphoning taxpayer dollars out of the public school system, leaving our most disadvantaged students even further behind in underfunded schools with even fewer resources.

“Since 90 percent of American students attend public schools, children in disadvantaged communities would benefit so much more if President Trump and Secretary Devos would focus on how to provide them with high-quality schools that are equitable to those attended by children in middle- and upper-income communities, instead of superficial alternatives like voucher programs.

“I am hopeful, however, that Secretary DeVos and the president will be willing to work with Democrats on ways in which we can strengthen our nation’s public school system, without focusing exclusively on superficial alternatives like school choice programs.”


Here's why YOU should VOTE NO on Amendment 1

By now you've either heard the commercials on the radio or seen the commercials on television touting Amendment 1 as favorable to Florida's consumers. Don't fall for the okey doke. Here's what you need to know AND share with your family, friends, co-workers, etc. VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1!

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Drivers Licenses Restored for Hundreds at Reinstatement Event

 

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Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (left) and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan (right) helped hundreds of drivers restore their licenses at local reinstatement event.

MIAMI, FL – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, in conjunction with the Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit County Court Criminal Division, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles helped hundreds of people with suspended driving privileges restore their licenses at a driver license reinstatement event on Friday, October 21, 2016, at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami-Dade County. 

“Many people who came today were thankful and said that this event was a lifesaver,” said Congresswoman Wilson.  “A suspended license can create a vicious cycle that is difficult to break as traffic fines continue to collect interest.  This event has put many people on the road to prosperity because they can now get to school or work and improve their quality of life.” 

The reinstatement event, coordinated by Chief Judge Samuel J. Slom and other members of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit County Court Criminal Division, alleviated the burden of traffic fines and fees that had previously hindered over 350 individuals from securing their licenses.  The event was offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to individuals with specific citations in Miami-Dade County excluding driving under the influence, felony-involved traffic offenses, habitual traffic offenses, and suspensions for failure to pay child support. 

“Since the year 2000 the cost of tickets has risen 170%, while the minimum wage only rose 53%,” said Judge Samuel J. Slom.  “It’s easy to see by those statistics why people are unable to pay tickets that have been assessed.  Today we’re giving people a chance to modify those obligations so they can get their licenses and seek employment.” 

More than 1.5 million people in Florida have had their licenses suspended for a variety of reasons including seat belt violations, unpaid traffic tickets, and broken tail lights.  Nearly 500,000 of those people live in Miami-Dade County.  A suspended license limits transportation options and hampers the livelihood of a major facet of the community.

“My mantra since I’ve been in Congress has been jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Congresswoman Wilson.  “Events like this are part of furthering that mantra.  I am certain we can reduce our nation’s deficit if people who want to work, can work.” 

 


BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: 7-Eleven Brings Back Zero Franchise Fee Program on 32 Florida Stores and 300 Nationwide

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7-Eleven Brings Back Zero Franchise Fee Program on 
32 Florida Stores and 300 Nationwide
 
MIAMI - (March 21, 2016) - 7-Eleven, Inc. is bringing back its successful Zero Franchise Fee initiative to 32 stores in Florida and 300 stores nationwide as an ongoing program to offer a low-cost investment opportunity for both proven business owners and would-be entrepreneurs.

In the program, 7-Eleven® will waive the franchise fee on a select number of its U.S. stores available for franchising, a savings of up to $80,000. Last year, the Zero Franchise Fee initiative allowed 100 people to become new 7-Eleven store owners or multiple store-owners. (Download program details

"We had such a great response last year when we launched the limited-time Zero Franchise Fee offer that we decided to bring it back," said Lawrence Hughes, 7-Eleven vice president of franchise systems. "Hard-working Americans are always looking for great opportunities, and I think 7-Eleven is one of the best around. Becoming a 7-Eleven franchisee without the upfront expense of a franchise fee makes it an attainable goal for many who otherwise might not be able to own their own business."

Approximately 300 eligible stores are available across the country in markets like Dallas, Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C.; Virginia Beach, Va., and Buffalo, N.Y. These stores typically have lower sales volume compared to the national average. In Florida, Zero Franchise Fee stores are available from Miami to Jacksonville and from Naples to Orlando. 


In the last five years, 7-Eleven has grown its store base by more than 1,600 locations through acquisition and new construction. The retailer is looking to transition these stores from company to franchise operations now that they have an established customer base. 

The convenience retailer is offering these stores to prospective, qualified franchisees as well as existing 7-Eleven franchisees who want to grow their retail business by adding stores.

To qualify for the Zero Franchise Fee offer, a candidate must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency, have three to five years of retail, operations and management experience, have excellent credit and, at least, $50,000 in liquid assets. Prospective franchise owners will still be responsible for the costs of licensing, permits and the initial down-payment on inventory, totaling approximately $30,000. Prospective franchisees for Zero Franchise Fee stores will undergo the standard franchise approval process, which takes between five and seven months.

After extensive training, 7-Eleven franchisees open their doors with a fully-equipped and stocked store with intuitive retail technology, merchandising and advertising support, high-quality national and private-brand products, and some of the world's most recognizable brands like Slurpee® and Big Gulp® drinks.
"Not only do franchisees get the power of the 7-Eleven brand behind them, but also a proven business system, extensive training and ongoing support as they build their businesses," Hughes said.

In business publications and websites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Franchise Direct, and FranchiseRankings.com, 7-Eleven continues to rank at or near the top of their lists of best franchises to own. Military Times also named 7-Eleven as one of its "Best for Vets" franchises.

All Zero Franchise Fee opportunities also qualify for 7-Eleven's Gross Income Support Program that provides additional, limited-time financial support.