Politics

Our Voices Matter --- We See You: Confronting the Adversity in Diversity

 
Adversity in diversity

By Carlos L. Malone, Sr.

Diversity in its definition is the inclusion of different types of people, such as people of different races, cultures, religion, groups and organizations. The idea of diversity is to create a world of different communities with different ideas and ideologies while at the same time creating equality of opportunities for all people regardless of their differences. The reality of diversity is a constitutional claim penned on pages of legally documented affirmations that ensures all are allowed a piece of the shared equity of education, employment, economics, etc... We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (that would be God, not man) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness... Now, this Declaration of Independence sounds good, but in reality, the implementation of this is conclusively prejudiced by the injustices that are often experienced by those whose skin pigmentations do not measure up to a racist status quo.

The adversity that I see in diversity is deeply rooted in the soil of the color code that gives negative life to the Color Conflict, the Color Consciousness and the Color Compromise. However, it is only the ideological ignorance that is embedded within the White Master mindset that believes that they alone can legislate without compromised prejudices, that which is best for dark-skinned people. When it comes to policy making, politics must not rule the roles of who is qualified and who is not. Racism in a robe and on the bench is a scary concept to people of color because public record proves over and over again that Black people don’t always get a fair shake. Diversity takes guts, but when there exists no guilty conscious concerning ruling right and fair regardless of race, the resistance will thicken and ultimately erupts in ways that are not always the best route for a community. Diversity is a beautiful thing if it stays away from the ugliness of racial disparity and dysfunction.

If the judicial bench in Miami-Dade County remains White in dominance, then diversity and equality become a false reality that is a premeditated lie that poisons the created intention of God for equal sharing in voice, vote and visibility. It is amazing that in most of the major sports, the bench is more white and the main players are black. In governance on every level of the judiciary, the bench is more white and the players who predominately face these judges are black in skin color. The difference between the two is that sports are a game, but the judiciary is no game, it is the most influential force and source of power in a city, state or nation. It determines the destiny of people who are pronged to do wrong by the nature of the human proclivity and in other cases their fall into human depravity.

It takes moral, ethical restraint, and discipline not to be a racist, because it is a generational disease that continues to reproduce itself from one generation to another. It is only the unethical excuses of those who choose to ignore its high level of systemic existence that allow this malfeasance to continue to escape without evacuation and execution. I will conclude this writing but definitely not this conversation by saying the following. Every White person is not a racist and every Black person is not a criminal and a source of unqualified judicial competence. The system must be racially fair, if not it is a false representation of the Constitution of The United States and to those of us who believe in God, it is a contradiction of his created intentions for the human race. Slavery is not dead. It has been redefined and redesigned through the process of a cosmetic application and corrupt camouflaging. We see you! We are committed to exposing the false idea that there is shared equity in education, employment, and economics.

I am a proud African-American man. I am pro-truth. I believe that we have qualified Black Men and Women throughout the state of Florida who can bear the competence, integrity and fairness that are mandated for those who sit on the Judicial Bench. My challenge to you is that we become true change makers and begin to make the right changes, not just for the sake of diversity but for the sake of human decency and fairness. #Ihateracism.

 

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Carlos L. Malone, Sr. is Founder/CEO of Rhema Apostolic International Network (R.A.I.N.), an apostolic training network. He is the author and publisher of several books and his recent book, ME, Your Life Transformation and Empowerment Guide, which is the first published and printed book under his own publishing company FireHeart Publishing.

Apostle Malone recently celebrated his 28th anniversary as the Servant Leader of The Bethel Church Miami and resides with his wife, Pamala, in Miami Florida.


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

 

 


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

 


The Flores-Braynon Apology: An Unforgettable Start of the 2018 Legislative Session

Flores and Braynon

Last Tuesday's opening of the 2018 Florida Legislative Session, the last for Gov. Rick Scott, was overshadowed by the joint public apology of Florida Senators Anitere Flores (R-Dist. 39) and Oscar Braynon (D-Dist. 35) for their extramarital affair. Their relationship had been the subject of rumors but was confirmed via an anonymous website which is now inaccessible. 

During last year's Legislative Session, Braynon discovered a hidden camera in the hallway of the sixth floor of the Tennyson condominium in downtown Tallahassee. The Tennyson is the temporary housing choice of many lawmakers during Legislative Session. Flores and Braynon each lived in a unit on the sixth floor. Their units were practically across the hall from each other. It was later determined that the camera had been placed by a private investigator. There is speculation that the surveillance is retribution by Sen. Frank Artiles who was forced to resign last year because of his use of racial slurs. 

While the Flores-Braynon affair is very different from the sexual harassment incidents that ensnared former Senators Jack Latvala and Jeff Clemens, Flores and Braynon have not indicated they would resign. 

 

Related Links:

Florida politicians become surveillance targets as political payback rumors swirl

Smile! Legislators Caught on Hidden Surveillance Cameras Secretly Placed in Condo Building

 

 


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!  

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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]