2020 Election Could be Historic for Miami-Dade School Board

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Election 2020 could be historic for the School Board of Miami-Dade County. Joining Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall who is not up for re-election and current Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III who was re-elected without opposition, could be long-time, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss and professor and long-time community advocate Dr. Marie-Flore Lindor-Latortue. 

There have never been more than two Blacks on the school board, concurrently. Term-limited in his County Commission seat, Moss has thrown his hat in the ring for the District 9 school board seat which is open because the incumbent, Dr. Larry Feldman, is not seeking re-election. Lindor-Latortue is seeking the District 7 seat currently held by Luby Navarro.

Every election is important. These races could be decided as a result of the August 18 Primary Election, so it’s crucial to get registered by July 20 and vote. 

 




CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE RESIDENTS ONLY: COVID-19 Rental Assistance Applications Available Online

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Housing and Community Development office will offer rental assistance to eligible residents of Fort Lauderdale who experienced job loss due to COVID-19. Funding is limited and assistance will be provided on a first-ready, first-served basis. Under the program, a lease agreement must already be in place, rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord, and rents should be reasonable and meet fair market rent rates. Eligible residents will receive up to three months of assistance not to exceed a maximum of $5,000 in total benefits. Assistance is contingent upon available funding. 

 

Applications are currently available online at bit.ly/39ULt0k 

 


CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE RESIDENTS ONLY: COVID-19 Rental Assistance Applications Available Online

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Housing and Community Development office will offer rental assistance to eligible residents of Fort Lauderdale who experienced job loss due to COVID-19. Funding is limited and assistance will be provided on a first-ready, first-served basis. Under the program, a lease agreement must already be in place, rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord, and rents should be reasonable and meet fair market rent rates. Eligible residents will receive up to three months of assistance not to exceed a maximum of $5,000 in total benefits. Assistance is contingent upon available funding. 

 

Applications are currently available online at bit.ly/39ULt0k 

 


CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE RESIDENTS ONLY: COVID-19 Rental Assistance Applications Available Online

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Housing and Community Development office will offer rental assistance to eligible residents of Fort Lauderdale who experienced job loss due to COVID-19. Funding is limited and assistance will be provided on a first-ready, first-served basis. Under the program, a lease agreement must already be in place, rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord, and rents should be reasonable and meet fair market rent rates. Eligible residents will receive up to three months of assistance not to exceed a maximum of $5,000 in total benefits. Assistance is contingent upon available funding. 

 

Applications are currently available online at bit.ly/39ULt0k 

 


Miami-Dade County Libraries to be Used for Pick up and Drop Off of Unemployment Applications

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Miami-Dade Public Library System to provide Reemployment Assistance Applications at 26 library locations

Printed copies will be available in English, Spanish and Creole

MIAMI ( April 06, 2020 ) — 

In an effort to help Miami-Dade County residents applying for state unemployment benefits, especially those who do not have computers at home, the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) will be providing printed copies of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Reemployment Assistance Applications at 26 library locations beginning Wednesday, April 8.

Unemployment applications in English, Spanish and Creole and envelopes to return them in will be available for pickup at tables outside the library entrances from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Residents can take the application home to fill out and then return it in the sealed envelope by dropping it off in the library location’s book drop or at any CareerSource South Florida location. Applications will be picked up from the book drops every day and delivered to CareerSource South Florida where trained staff will send them securely overnight to DEO in Tallahassee for processing. Residents can also download and print a copy of the application from DEO's website and return it to any participating library’s book drop.

MDPLS will be practicing social distancing at the library sites, with informational signage and markings on the ground spaced six feet apart.

The following are the 26 library locations where residents can pick up an application:

  • Allapattah Branch
    1799 NW 35 Street
    Miami, FL 33142

  • Arcola Lakes Branch
    8240 NW 7 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33150

  • California Club Branch
    700 Ives Dairy Road
    Miami, FL 33179

  • Coconut Grove Branch
    2875 McFarlane Road
    Miami, FL 33133

  • Concord Branch
    3882 SW 112 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33165

  • Coral Reef Branch
    9211 SW 152 Street
    Miami, FL 33157

  • Country Walk Branch
    15433 SW 137 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33177

  • Edison Center Branch
    531 NW 62 Street
    Miami, FL 33150

  • Fairlawn Branch
    6376 SW 8 Street
    West Miami, FL 33144

  • Golden Glades Branch
    100 NE 166 Street
    Miami, FL 33162

  • Hialeah Gardens Branch
    11300 NW 87 Court
    Hialeah Gardens, FL 33018

  • Hispanic Branch Library
    1398 SW 1 Street
    Miami, FL 33135

  • Homestead Branch
    700 N. Homestead Boulevard
    Homestead, FL 33030

  • International Mall Branch
    10315 NW 12 Street
    Doral, FL 33172

  • Kendale Lakes Branch
    15205 SW 88 Street
    Miami, FL 33196

  • Miami Beach Regional Library
    227 22nd Street
    Miami Beach, FL 33139

  • Miami Lakes Branch
    6699 Windmill Gate Road
    Miami Lakes, FL 33014

  • Naranja Branch
    14850 SW 280 Street
    Miami, FL 33032

  • North Dade Regional Library
    2455 NW 183 Street
    Miami Gardens, FL 33056

  • North Shore Branch
    7501 Collins Avenue
    Miami Beach, FL 33141

  • Northeast Dade - Aventura Branch
    2930 Aventura Boulevard
    Aventura, FL 33180

  • Palm Springs North Branch
    17601 NW 78 Avenue
    Hialeah, FL 33015

  • South Miami Branch
    6000 Sunset Drive
    Miami, FL 33143

  • West Dade Regional Library
    9445 Coral Way
    Miami, FL 33165

  • West Flagler Branch
    5050 West Flagler Street
    Miami, FL 33134

  • West Kendall Regional Library
    10201 Hammocks Boulevard
    Miami, FL 33196

Residents may also call 305-375-2665 to find their nearest library location providing the printed applications. CareerSource South Florida is available to provide assistance with completing the application by calling 305-929-1547.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, information and resources, visit www.miamidade.gov/coronavirus.


NAACP/BET Unmasked A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Beginning on Wednesday, April 8, at 8pm EST/ 5pm PT

As reports from around the United States confirm what many have suspected -- blacks are hardest hit by the coronavirus global pandemic, the NAACP has partnered with BET to present the 4-week community program, ”Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series”.

 

The  first virtual town hall will be presented this Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm ET, 5pm PT. Part one of the four-part series will feature a candid discussion on the health, mental, and economic tolls this crisis has had on our communities and how people of color can apply pressure to ensure the congressional response to this pandemic is equitable.

 

Click here to register online. 

 

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CHI to Hold News Conference and Announces Change In COVID-19 Testing Locations

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Miami, FL - Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) will hold a news conference on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10am at Loren Roberts Park, 627 NW 6th Ave., Florida City, Florida to announce the first drive through Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to come to both Florida City and Homestead. CHI will be providing drive-through COVID-19 testing at Loren Roberts Park in Florida City on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. In addition, starting Monday April13th CHI will conduct drive through COVID-19 testing at its Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Plus, April 8th from 9am to noon will be the last day for COVID19 testing at the Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami FL 33190. CHI is scaling back its Doris Ison COVID19 operation due to the new testing location down the street at the South Dade Government Center.

“I am so proud of our teams, they are giving their all to make sure that people have access to this critical test,” said Brodes H. Hartley Jr., President and CEO of CHI. “We have done so at no cost to those in need and ensured that our testing is for everyone, regardless of age or profession.”

Unlike some other testing locations throughout South Florida, CHI’s testing operations are completely free. 

“Thank you, Colonel Hartley, for being so responsive and meeting the tremendous need in the deep South Dade area,” said Florida City Mayor Otis T. Wallace.

Those looking to get tested need to meet the following criteria: They have recently traveled to any of the high-risk countries or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath. 

Drive through testing for CHI’s three locations is as follows:

Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami, FL 33190; last day of testing here on April 8, 2020. (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

Loren Roberts Park, 627 NW 6th Ave., Florida City, Florida every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm. (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm starting April 13th.  (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

CHI Marathon Health Center 2805 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Must be a resident of Monroe County and meet testing criteria. Call first (305)216-2107 or email KeysCovid19@chisouthfl.org

 

CHI has also integrated behavioral health staff into its COVID-19 testing operations. This team of therapists and mental health technicians helps to ease anxiety and stress related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

CHI’s health centers remain open during this time as patients are being screened at the entrance for COVID-19 as a precaution for safeguarding the general patient population. Those with symptoms are not allowed inside so that primary care, behavioral health, dental, OB/GYN, pharmacy, vision, radiology and urgent care visits can continue. (only emergency dental visits will occur at this time) In addition, CHI is now offering telehealth visits for primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health for adults and children, OB/GYN and dental to improve continuity of care. Most insurances cover telehealth and CHI offers a sliding fee scale based on income for the uninsured. 

 
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Coalition of Florida Organizations Urge Need for Equity in Accountability Policy

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Joint Press Release on behalf of 20 Florida organizations on the urgent need for equity in accountability policy

 

All children, including Florida’s quarter-million English learners, deserve schools with policies that help them to achieve their highest potential. Forcing children to experience repeated failure on high-stakes tests in a language they don’t understand causes students to feel incompetent and less likely to try. It robs them of their hope, steals their opportunity to achieve the American dream, and drives children away from school. Policymakers, teacher preparation institutions, and instructional leaders are left with inaccurate test results as the only data to guide their planning.

 

We are disappointed that the 2020 Florida Legislature did not heed the requests of the public or the leadership of the bipartisan and diverse group of sponsors and cosponsors of native language assessment bills. These bills would have required the Florida Department of Education to provide state content assessments in languages that students understand. We request that all newspapers and other organizations conducting interviews for this fall’s elections ask candidates for state office to declare their position on this issue. Voters deserve to know what to expect from those who seek their support.  

 

We are confident state policymakers will not continue to block schools from doing right by 10 percent of our students. We will be back in 2021 to ask the governor and legislators to give them tests in a language they can understand. Our students deserve legislative outcomes that advance equity and policies that produce improved outcomes for ALL students. Anything short of this fails our students.

 

Save their hope, help them dream, let them show what they can do.

 

Mari Corugedo

LULAC Florida State Director

mcorugedo@lulacflorida.org

 

Zelalem Adefris

VP of Policy & Advocacy

Catalyst Miami

 

Juana Brown
RCMA Director of Charter Schools
RCMA – Redlands Christian Migrant Association

 

Arlene Costello, Ed.D.

President

Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (SSTESOL) of Florida

 

Maria R. Coady, Ph.D.

President

Florida Association for Bilingual Education (FABE, fabefl.org)

 

Neyissa Desir

Outreach Paralegal

Southern Poverty Law Center

 

Manuel Hartman

President

South Florida LCLAA Chapter.

 

Carla Huck, Ed.M.

President

SWFL TESOL

 

Linda Kearschner

President

Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

 

Sadaf Knight

CEO

Florida Policy Institute

 

James Lopez

Executive Director

Power U Center for Social Change, Miami

 

Gepsie M. Metellus

Executive Director

Sant La, Haitian Neighborhood Center, Inc.

 

President Adora Obi Nweze

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 

NAACP FL State Conference

 

Kathleen Oropeza

Founder

Fund Education Now https://fundeducationnow.org/  

 

Carmen R. Pedrogo

President

The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW)-Miami Chapter

 

Maria Rodriguez

Executive Director 

Florida Immigrant Coalition 


Kira Romero-Craft

Managing Attorney

LatinoJustice PRLDEF

 

Debbie Soto

President of the Board

Organize Florida 

 

Marcos Vilar

Executive Director

Alianza for Progress

 

Marisol Zenteno

President

League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County 

 


The ‘Tammy Jackson Act’ One Step Closer to Becoming Law

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The bill ensures protections for pregnant incarcerated women and their babies 

 

Tallahassee, FL — Today, the Tammy Jackson Act (SB 852, titled Restrictive Housing for Incarcerated Pregnant Women) by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-West Park) passed the Florida Senate. With newly amended language, the bill now needs one final House vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk. On the House side, HB 1259 was co-introduced by Representatives Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) and the bill has passed unanimously in all committees and both chambers.  

The Tammy Jackson Act ensures that pregnant incarcerated women are transported to an appropriate medical facility without delay, given proper medical care, and not placed in restrictive housing involuntarily while in labor. The legislation also sets critical standards for the treatment of pregnant incarcerated women by aiming to create a safer, more respectful environment for women behind bars. 

The Dignity Coalition, a grassroots effort led by formerly incarcerated women and supported by several community organizations in Florida, works to advance the rights of incarcerated women and girls in Florida. Just last year, the Coalition won the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, a bill to ensure that incarcerated women have access to hygiene products. Passing the Tammy Jackson Act was a team effort, led in large part by Valencia Gunder, a community activist and formerly incarcerated woman herself who also serves as Campaign Manager for Dignity Florida.

“We now need the Florida House to act one more time with a final vote, to send this bill to the Governor’s desk and do right by our incarcerated women and babies,” said Valencia Gunder, Campaign Director for Dignity Florida and the New Florida Majority. “Our women are more than prisoners; they are mothers, nurturers, and caregivers and it is time they are treated as such, with dignity, respect, and humanity. The future is female, she’s strong, she’s Black, she’s Brown and she will not be incarcerated.”

No pregnant woman should ever be put in solitary confinement; it is inhumane, unsafe and cruel, both for the mother and her child. Currently, Florida has the second-highest incarceration rate for women in the United States, and yet, women’s basic needs and rights are not being met or respected. Ensuring that incarcerated people, including those who are pregnant, are safe, healthy and treated with dignity, especially during labor, is the responsibility of the state.


‘Tammy Jackson Act’ Unanimously Passes the Florida State House

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The bill ensures protections for pregnant incarcerated women and their babies 

 

Tallahassee, FL — Today, the Tammy Jackson Act (HB 1259, titled Restrictive Housing for Incarcerated Pregnant Women) by Representatives Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) was unanimously approved by the Florida House of Representatives. On the Senate side, companion bill SB 852 filed by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) is ready to be heard on the Senate floor. Though the House’s approval is a critical step forward, SB 852 provides stronger protections for incarcerated pregnant women by comparison. 

 

The Tammy Jackson Act ensures that pregnant incarcerated women are transported to an appropriate medical facility without delay, given proper medical care, and not placed in restrictive housing involuntarily while in labor. The legislation also sets critical standards for the treatment of pregnant incarcerated women by aiming to create a safer, more respectful environment for women behind bars.

 

“Just the news of this bill passing starts to restore the dignity and hope for women and girls -   including juveniles - incarcerated in Florida. Today's action of our state legislators is an example of us moving towards a more equitable Florida,” said Valencia Gunder, Campaign Director for Dignity Florida and the New Florida Majority. “Our women are more than prisoners; they are mothers, nurturers, and caregivers and it is time they are treated as such, with dignity, respect, and humanity. The future is female, she’s strong, she’s Black, she’s Brown and she will not be incarcerated.”

 

No pregnant woman should ever be put in solitary confinement; it is inhumane, unsafe and cruel, both for the mother and her child. Currently, Florida has the second-highest incarceration rate for women in the United States, and yet, women’s basic needs and rights are not being met or respected. 

 

Ensuring that incarcerated people, including those who are pregnant, are safe, healthy and treated with dignity, especially during labor, is the responsibility of the state.


Grand Lucayan Sold

 

By Robyn Adderley

 

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucayan on Monday, March 2, 2020 to a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and ITM (Bahamas Port Investments Ltd.), which is expected to make a $250 million investment between the hotel and the redevelopment of the cruise port. 

 

The Heads of Agreement Signing Ceremony was held on the Great Lawn of the property, some 11 months following the signing of the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

 

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis described the day as a wonderful one, as the government’s intention was never to hold on to the   property, but initially purchased it to save jobs of Grand Bahamians and businesses. 

 

“As we stated at the time, it was our intention to privatize the property as quickly as possible. We wanted to ensure that we found the right buyer who shared our vision for the renewal of Grand Bahama. Our vision was the renewal and rebirth of Grand Bahama’s tourism sector and product as an essential element in the restoration of this island’s potential.

 

 

 

The Prime Minister also noted that discussions are currently ongoing to determine the best way to redevelop the Grand Bahama International Airport, which will require a major investment. 

 

Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, said, “I am extremely excited that the intended purchasers of this hotel are Royal Caribbean and the ITM Group. Between them, they are well funded to bring to the table a great deal of experience in the tourism sector, and have a proven track record of successful projects.”

 

The development projected for the Grand Lucayan will bring about a total transformation of the resort. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested into the property to refurbish/renovate/reconstruct 500 rooms in Phase One and another 500 rooms along with 500 villas in Phase Two. Additional features will include a new casino, a spectacular water theme park and a new shopping, restaurant and retail center. In addition, a new cruise port will be built in the Freeport Harbour to accommodate three ships in Phase One and up to seven ships in subsequent phases. As a result of the purchase, 3,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in construction as well as in employment at the hotel and cruise port.

 

Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, gave welcome remarks. Also giving remarks were Robert Shamosh, Chief Executive Officer, Holistica Destinations; Mauricio Hamui, Chief Executive Officer, ITM; and Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. 

 

Also, in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest and other Ministers of Cabinet; Members of Parliament, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Government Officials, representatives from the business community, taxi drivers, and straw vendors.

 

Immediately following the official ceremony, guests were treated to the pulsating sounds of a Junkanoo Rushout followed by a reception. 

 

 

 

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SIGNING CEREMONY -- The Government of The Bahamas and Bahamas Port Investments Ltd. signed a Heads of Agreement with respect to purchase of the Grand Lucayan today, March 2, 2020. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis (standing, second right) said the multi-million dollar investment "will go a long way in revitalizing Grand Bahama, with myriad economic and employment opportunities for more Grand Bahamians." Seated at left are Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley (left) and CEO of ITM Mauricio Hamui, representing the Developer; and at right, Secretary to the Cabinet Camille Johnson (second right) and Director of Investments Candia Ferguson. Standing from left: Minister Iram Lewis, Minister of State Kwasi Thompson, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, and Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)

 


#WeAreTheVote Festival, Sunday, March 8 at Miramar Amphitheater

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The #WeAre Foundation is a new non-profit organization that uses the arts and artists to bridge the gaps between us, and connect our communities to our collective voice and vote. They’ve created a space for us to come together by holding a free #WeAreTheVote festival to attract and create awareness around the importance of civic engagement, and help empower as many people as possible to make their voice count at the polls.

 

The festival is scheduled for Sunday, March 8, 2020, Noon - 8 PM, at Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater, 16801 Miramar Parkway, Miramar, FL 33027. The community festival with live entertainment, food trucks, voter registration, music and activities will celebrate everyone who pledges to vote. 

 

The co-founder of #WeAre Foundation, BRANDON VICTOR DIXON, will be available to meet and greet the public. You remember Dixon because he played lawyer Terry Silver on POWER. His body of work includes his roles as Aaron Burr in HAMILTON on Broadway, and Judas in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live.” 

 

Representatives from HeadCount and the WeAre Foundation will be available to answer questions about local voter registration requirements and assisting with voter registration on-the-spot.

 

“The growing divisions in our politics and social interactions inspired us to build an ecosystem of citizens and organizations that can remind us all that the more we fight for each other, the less we have to fight for ourselves,” said Dixon. “In 2020 we will demonstrate the connective power of the arts to help communities realize the power of their voice and collective vote!"

 

HeadCount is thrilled to partner with the #WeAre Foundation in 2020. This partnership epitomizes our mission, bringing artists, volunteers, and communities together in the pursuit of positive social change. Together, we will reach thousands of voters and get-out-the-vote in 2020.