Government & Law

 Florida’s Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates in First South Florida Debate Tonight

The first South Florida Gubernatorial Debate of the 2018 election cycle will be held this evening, June 11, at 7 PM EST at Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL 33025. SEIU (Service Employees International Union) has partnered with several organizations to host this debate, dubbed the Florida Freedom Forum. Four of the five democratic candidates are scheduled to participate: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, Chris King, and former Mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levine. Recently declared candidate, businessman Jeff Greene, is not scheduled to participate in this debate.

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If you are not one of those blessed with a ticket to watch it in person, not to fret, you can watch it online at the SEIU websiteor via their  Facebook page. There are also watch parties in TampaWest Palm BeachJacksonville, and Orlando. Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #FLFreedomForum.

PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, a Miami native, and WLRN Public Media’s Luis Hernandez will co-moderate the forum.

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Joining SEIU to host this event is a coalition of groups including Dream Defenders Action FundFlorida Immigration Coalition (FLIC) VotesNew Florida MajorityOrganize FloridaPlanned Parenthood Florida PAC, and Color of Change PAC


United State of Women is coming to Miami June 9 & 10 to Galvanize Florida

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The United State of Women (USOW) is coming to Miami on June 9 and 10 for a weekend of connecting with local allies, learning about the work being done in Florida and across the country, and training breakouts based on how women want to make an impact on this community, state, nation and perhaps world.

On the heels of the 2018 USOW Summit, USOW is convening communities across the country and equipping women with the tools they need to keep fighting for gender equity. 

The topics to be covered are:

•Running for Office, powered by VoteRunLead

•Grassroots Organizing, powered by Midwest Academy 

•Leadership, powered by Courtney A. Seard 

•Entrepreneurship, powered by BRAVA Investments

The weekend begins with a high-energy main stage session where participants will hear from local and national leaders. It also includes an Engagement Fair where attendees will be able to network with organizations making an impact in different areas of gender equality. Featured speakers include Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. 

Training of this magnitude would typically cost $1,000+. The cost to attend the Galvanize Program is $50, a scholarship application is available. Attendees are responsible for their own housing and transportation. If you need a hotel room, take advantage of the hotel block at the Hyatt Regency Miami.  

Register for Galvanize Florida here!

 

 

 


NAACP and Black Greek-Letter Organizations Mobilize for Voter Engagement, Join Webinar TONIGHT!

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Register NOW for tonight’s webinar as the Divine Nine collaborate with the NAACP to effect positive change via voter engagement. During its annual public board meeting in New York City earlier this year, the NAACP announced several key partnerships designed to expand the reach, impact and effectiveness of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organizations.

The NAACP signed agreements with announced partnerships with the NNPA: The Black Press of America; the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC); the African-American Institute, and The Links, Incorporated. As part of an overall strategy, the NAACP will shift resources towards mobilization efforts for the 2018-midterm elections and beyond.

“Working with partners remains a critical part of unifying the Black community as we prepare to make our voices heard at the polls and on ineffective public policies,” said NAACP National Board Chairman Leon W. Russell. “These groups have answered the call to work with us to expand membership and our ability to educate our community on the need for aggressive civic engagement.”

“These partnerships are part of our strategic plan to unite the various strands of our community into powerful forms of operational unity,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We have come to understand that elections have consequences and if the consequences of the most-recent presidential election means we recognize the need for greater unity among people and organizations of color; then we are moving in the right direction,” added Johnson.

Calling all members of the Divine Nine - Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated to join tonight’s webinar. Register at https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=ED54D888884C3A . 

As the NAACP strategically rolls out this mobilization and voter engagement plan, the North Carolina Legislature has already witnessed the power of the NPHC as the NC Divine Nine gathered recently for Legislative Day. As, Delta Sigma Theta member Terry Spicer wrote: “Hundreds in the majestic and powerful Colors of the Divine Nine were a sight to behold!”

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Gathering of members for the North Carolina Divine Nine Legislative Day. Photos: Terry Spicer (Facebook)

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MOU between the NAACP and NPHC (leaders of black greek-letter organizations).

 

 

 #OurVotesMatter

 

 

 

 

 


Nelson secures federal funding for Floridians

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U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) announced that the $1.3 trillion spending package Congress unveiled last night includes funding for several projects and programs important to Floridians including: increased spending  to fight the opioid epidemic, additional funding for citrus greening research and significant funding for democracy programs in both Venezuela and Cuba, as well as provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence. 

Funding for the following Florida projects and programs sought by Nelson have been included in the federal spending package: 

·         $3.3 billion to fight the opioid epidemic and mental health crises. An estimated 2.6 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder. In Florida alone, more than 5,200 people have died from an opioid-related event in 2016 – a 35 percent increase from 2015. Nelson requested additional funding for treatment, prevention and research. 

·         $67.47 million in total funding for citrus greening research and the Citrus Health Research Program. As citrus greening has hurt growers across Florida, Nelson has advocated for increased funding to study and address the problem to help the state’s citrus industry. 

·         $895 million for Kennedy Space Center to modernize launch facilities, more than doubling what the center received last year.  Nelson requested the increased funding to bolster work on launch and processing infrastructure needed for NASA’s initiative to explore deep space. 

·         $121 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase a reliable backup for its aging hurricane hunter jet.  Nelson has been pushing for a replacement since 2015. The funding comes in the wake of several incidents over the last two years when the jet NOAA uses to gather hurricane measurements was grounded during hurricane season. 

·         $76.5 million in total funding to protect and restore the Everglades. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing additional funding for Everglades restoration. 

·         $82 million to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing for additional funding for dike repairs. 

·         $279.6 million, a 14-percent increase, in funding to support Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The four historically black colleges and universities in Florida—Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville – prepare over 16,000 students for careers in STEM, aviation, law, nursing and other fields. 

·         $250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants.  Positive train control technology will help prevent deadly crashes on our railroads. It’s critically important for those railroads that carry passengers, like Sunrail and Tri-Rail.  Nelson, the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, pressed for the funding to help passenger railroads meet a federal deadline to install the lifesaving technology.  

·         $100 million for research and development program for automated vehicles. The SunTrax facility at Florida Polytechnic University is a qualified proving ground and will have the opportunity to benefit from the program. 

·         Restored and increased funds to $35 million for democracy programs in Venezuela and Cuba. Nelson requested Congress “redouble, not eliminate support for democracy and human rights” in Venezuela. The democracy programs support civil society organizations and promote human rights. 

·         Included $60 million for the Nonprofits Security Grant Program. The program helps certain non-profits harden their facilities against attack, such as organization like the Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in Orlando and Miami and elsewhere. Nelson requested this funding after JCCs across Florida received a series of telephone bomb threats. 

·         Increased funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program to $5 million. Nelson requested $5 million in funding to provide long-term support and services for Holocaust survivors. 

 

The spending package included several provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence in Florida and across the country, including: 

·         Fix NICS Act. Nelson cosponsored this bipartisan bill, which requires federal agencies and states to develop implementation plans to upload to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) all information prohibiting a person from purchasing a firearm, rewards states who comply with these plans through federal grant preferences, and reauthorizes and improves programs that help states share information on criminal records with NICS, among other things. 

·         STOP School Violence Act. Nelson co-sponsored this bipartisan bill that would allow schools to access federal funds to invest in programs, training and technology to keep students safe. 

·         CDC Gun Violence Research. The spending package included language to clarify that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can conduct research on gun violence.


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s Statement on the Passage of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018

 

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Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

 

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson issued the following statement on the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018:

“Although I am extremely disappointed that a DACA fix was not included, I am pleased that Congress has finally passed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 that President Trump signed today. After numerous temporary funding measures and unnecessarily stringent budget caps, this bill, although imperfect, funds several items that are critical to Florida and to the nation.
  

“In addition to rejecting the Trump administration’s cruel anti-immigrant agenda, the omnibus invests heavily in key priorities like child care, education, transportation and infrastructure, national security, affordable housing, public safety, election protection, medical and health care research, our nation’s veterans, and many other line items. These investments are certain to help boost job creation for America’s workers, economic growth, and support badly needed by those living in disadvantaged communities.

 

“Wins for Florida and District 24 include:

 

  • A 14 percent increase in funding for historically black colleges and universities, including Florida A&M, Florida Memorial University, Bethune-Cookman and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville
  • Additional funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending target established by WRRDA 2014, which will benefit PortMiami

  • $250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants to prevent deadly crashes on Florida railroads
  • $416 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants

  • Restored proposed administration cuts to Everglades restoration projects

  • $610 million increase for Head Start, a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program and a $300 million increase in grants to Title I schools

  • $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants

  • $22 billion for public housing vouchers for needy populations, including the elderly, disabled, and persons living with HIV/AIDS

 

“I also was very pleased that I was able to insert in the legislation $10 million for support of a “multi-partner trust fund or other multi-lateral efforts to assist communities in Haiti affected by cholera resulting from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”


There’s Still Time to Stop HB 7055 and Save Public Education

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There are still two weeks left in the 2018 Legislative Session in Florida. Education bill, HB 7055, is still making its way through the process. The Senate Education Committee has proposed tremendous changes but it is still a very bad bill for public education.

The bill is scheduled to go before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow, February 27. Contact the committee members and tell them to vote no on HB 7055.

2018 Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations

Members
Chair:
Senator Rob Bradley (R)
Vice Chair:
Senator Anitere Flores (R)

* Senator Dennis Baxley (R)
* Senator Aaron Bean (R)
* Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
* Senator Lauren Book (D)
* Senator Randolph Bracy (D)
* Senator Jeff Brandes (R)
* Senator Oscar Braynon II (D)
* Senator George B. Gainer (R)
* Senator Bill Galvano (R)
* Senator Audrey Gibson (D)
* Senator Denise Grimsley (R)
* Senator Bill Montford (D)
* Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R)
* Senator Bobby Powell (D)
* Senator David Simmons (R)
* Senator Wilton Simpson (R)
* Senator Kelli Stargel (R)
* Senator Linda Stewart (D)

You may also call your representative using the Florida AFL-CIO hotline: 855-235-2469.

Let your voice be heard. This bill still has to be heard by the entire a Senate and agreed upon by the House before it can become law. Although Republicans control all branches of Florida’s government, we owe it to those who came before us and to our future to say something and do something. 

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Photo:  Bradenton Herald

 

 


Village of Palmetto Bay Recognizes Alpha Phi Alpha for Community Service

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From left to right, Village of Palmetto Bay Commissioner Larissa Siegel Lara, Village Clerk Missy Arocha, Iota Pi Lambda Chapter Vice-President Leslie Elus; Mayor Eugene Flinn; and Commissioner David Singer present proclamation to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
 
The Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was honored by the Village of Palmetto Bay Commission for the organization's years of service to Miami-Dade County. Mayor Eugene Flinn highlighted the fraternity's national programs and the chapter's local initiatives hosted throughout the county. The Village Commission joined the Mayor to applaud and support the chapter's continued civic and philanthropic activities.
 
 

CALL TO ACTION! - The Shameless Assault on Public Education in Florida Continues with Dirty HB 7055

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Florida's Republican leaders are at it again. If you are not following the shenanigans in Tallahassee during this Legislative Session, please take a moment to listen to comments by Rep. Shevrin Jones (Dist. 101) and Rep. Kionne McGhee (Dist. 117) regarding the very bad education bill — HB 7055. These are just a few points of which we should be aware. Recognize this for what it is. The continued dismantling of public education, redirecting public dollars to private entities, destruction of public schools in predominantly black neighborhoods, and assault on the middle-class and poor in Florida. Please commit to helping concerned parents and citizens put a stop to this madness.   

 

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CALL TO ACTION from the Florida AFL-CIO (adapted). HB 7055 will go before the Florida House on Wednesday, February 7 for questions and Thursday, February 8 for vote and debate.  HB 7055 is a massive last minute education bill full of poorly vetted policies aimed at defunding public education in our state and busting up teachers unions. 

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

Hidden in this legislation is the same public union-busting language that House leadership rammed through the process last week. HB 7055 specifically strips our state’s educators and staff from having a voice on the job.

HB 7055 also sets up a system that tells children who have been bullied to simply leave their public school and go somewhere else. Rather than focusing on programs that directly combat the problem of bullying in Florida schools, House leaders are using this issue as another means to please their donors and expand the unaccountable for-profit charter school industry in our state.

At over 200 pages, this bill is so big that it also includes provisions to divert hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private, for-profit schools, reduces accountability for student performance, and hurts programs for struggling students.

Call 855.235.2469 NOW and leave your local representative with a message to vote NO on HB 7055. This bill would spell disaster for the future of public education in our state. We need the Florida House to say NO to this massive scheme to bully our students, our schools, and our teachers.

Still Not Convinced? - WATCH THIS

 #SayNOtoHB7055   #SaveOurSchools #Dirty7055

 


Thank You Desmond Meade and the FRRC! Almost 2 Million Floridians Are One Step Closer to Having their Rights Restored!

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Congratulations to Desmond Meade and the team of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition for leading the movement that has gotten 1.68 million disenfranchised Floridians one step closer to having their voting rights restored. Shout out to all of the grassroots organizations and dedicated individuals who made a seemingly unreachable goal a reality. Now the amendment needs at least 60% approval from the voters. Start now encouraging your family and friends to vote YES on  Amendment 4 on the November 2018 ballot. 

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6pm until 10 pm, South Florida will celebrate the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment making the November 2018 ballot. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/148648512464863/.

  

#SayYEStoSecondChances   #Redemption

 


Obamacare the Hot Topic at Pumps, Pearls & Politics Forum Nov. 5

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Miami, FL – October 30, 2017 – The Fifth Annual Pumps, Pearls & Politics presented by the Connection Committee of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority switches its signature event to a community conversation format with the hot topic of Obamacare taking center stage.

In an increasingly polarized political environment, health care reform has been caught in the cross fire of the partisan struggle, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Special guest, health-care attorney and author Daniel E. Dawes, will present the truth on the secret backstory of the Affordable Care Act, shedding light on the creation and implementation of the greatest and most sweeping equalizer in the history of American health care. His eye-opening and authoritative narrative written from an insider’s perspective, 150 Years of ObamaCare, debunks contemporary understandings of health care reform. It also provides a comprehensive and unprecedented review of the health equity movement and the little-known leadership efforts that were crucial to passing public policies and laws reforming mental health, minority health, and universal health.

If You Go:
What: Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2017: The Truth About the Affordable Care Act
When: Sunday, November 5, 2017, 4:00 PM
Where: Allen Chapel AME Church, 1201 NW 111 Street, Miami, Florida 33167
Admission: FREE (Register at http://pumpspearlspolitics2017.eventbrite.com.)

For more information email Natasha Hines, Connection Chair at pumpspearlspolitics@gmail.com.