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.
The WISH (Women Involved In Service to Humanity) Foundation, Incorporated and Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated invite youths, mentoring groups, and auxiliary groups in Miami-Dade County and Broward County to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 19, 2020, from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, at Miami Carol City Senior High School, 3301 Miami Gardens Drive, Miami Gardens, FL. Registration is scheduled for 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Please RSVP on Eventbrite by January 15, 2020.
This is the ninth year of this annual gathering of youth from throughout South Florida in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The theme is ”Never Too Young: A Youth’s Role in Activism”. The event is designed to empower young people to activate Dr. King's teachings to address modern day issues confronting our community, country and the world.
~NAACP says statements by Florida Department of Education and Polk County School District leadership is deeply concerning and they are watching developments closely statewide. ~
“Polk County Public Schools proudly display a statement across their website that reads “PCPS 2020: Focused on Excellence”. While these words are advertised prominently, we are increasingly frustrated to find that the solutions presented by Commissioner Richard Corcoran are contradictory to this vision. His attempt to intimidate, discourage, and discount the significance of thousands of teachers across the state of Florida is vile. For far too long, Florida educators have demanded adequate public funding, resources, and staffing for the betterment of their students and have received nothing but empty promises and fleeting appeasements. Without equivocation, the NAACP stands firmly with those protesting and commanding that their voices are heard throughout this process. These teachers who have toiled tirelessly to foster a generation of forward-thinking students deserve better than bad policies and low salaries. It is high time Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Governor Ron DeSantis recognize and rectify the egregious behavior of the Florida Department of Education. We can no longer teach our Florida students about our history as a nation and our rights under our democracy, while their teachers are being marginalized, mistreated, and misused. The NAACP will continue to advocate and fight for the rights of these teachers, as they are indispensable to education and the state of Florida,” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.
Miami, FL – The South Florida Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ-South Florida) is hosting a Town Hall meeting entitled "Breathing While Black." This public event precedes NABJ's Convention and Career Fair, Aug. 7-11 at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry. The town hall will be hosted by Jawan Strader and Trina Robinson of NBC 6. It will be live-streamed on www.nbc6.com during a special edition of “Voices with Jawan Strader.” The event will take place on Tuesday, August 6, at Florida Memorial University.
“We’re proud supporters of NABJ,” said Larry Olevitch, President and General Manager at NBC 6. “Voices with Jawan Strader gives a platform to South Florida’s diverse community every week, talking about real issues and highlighting true difference makers, so it made perfect sense for us to be partners in bringing this town hall to life.”
Confirmed panelists for the event include FIU Police Captain Delrish Moss, Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s Rodney Jacobs, Jr., BSO Deputies Association President Jeff Bell, activist Phillip Agnew, Dyma Loving and her attorney Justin Moore.
“We think it’s important that we have these inclusive conversations impacting the community, particularly, the black community,” said Russell Motley, president of NABJ-South Florida. “We appreciate NBC 6 and NBC 6 Voices for guiding this discussion to help work toward solutions.”
For more information, visit NABJ’s Convention site here.
At today’s regular monthly meeting of the Miami-Dade County School Board, District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III will proffer Agenda Item H-11 on the Review of Student Arrest Data. The item is crucial to the Black community due to the disproportionate number of Black students impacted.
The issue of school safety and security has been elevated since the tragic event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School on February 14, 2018. That tragedy lead to numerous state legislative and local policy reforms and provisions, including resources and requirements for school police and/or armed staff on school campuses throughout the state. Although the presence of increased police officers on school campuses appears to be a noble strategy, the unintended consequence of engaging police officers in school-related matters often results in referring students for school discipline related issues to law enforcement.
As Miami-Dade County Public Schools remains committed to both a spirit and practice of fairness, equality, and equity in the education of its students and administration and operation of its schools and departments, a review of data, policies, and practices relating to student arrests is prudent.
"Black kids are more likely to be suspended even in preschool," says Michelle Morton, the juvenile justice policy coordinator at the ACLU Foundation of Florida and author of the study. "The same behavior from a white child versus a black child will be viewed completely differently."
The school-to-prison pipeline is real.
"This issue of student arrests is one that perplexes school districts across the nation. The unfortunate criminalization of school related disciplinary issues needs to end. It is incumbent that we not only talk about data, but lean strongly into real, frank and open discussions about race and racism and the implicit biases that lead to these disparities among black student arrests as compared to their white counterparts and other groups within our system, in our collective efforts to find meaningful, sustainable and genuine solutions," said District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III.
The agenda item was supported and co-sponsored by School Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman, Vice Chair Dr. Martin Karp, Susie Castillo, Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Mari Tere Rojas and Dr. Marta Perez at the School Board Committee Meeting held Monday, July 22.
Miami filmmaker Dorian Munroe receives $14,000 to produce film
MIAMI BEACH – Seeking to tell the stories of the Liberty City bike riders who fill the streets on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in an act of community and protest, filmmaker Dorian Munroe took home the top prize in The Block, Oolite Arts’ new short documentary contest.
Munroe received $14,000 from Oolite Arts to produce the documentary “These Kids This City,” which he began to shoot during the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. This year, some of the bike riders, who were protesting redevelopment in Liberty City, were confronted by an angry man on the Brickell Bridge, who threatened them with a gun and racial slurs, and was ultimately charged with a hate crime.
“Growing up in Miami, I was always curious about this movement. Why Liberty City, and why on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? I’ve always seen it depicted negatively by the media, so this year I set out to see this movement first hand and to answer these questions for myself,” Munroe said. “In light of the hate crime and the viral video that captured it, this movement has been catapulted into the national spotlight.”
Munroe pitched his idea before a live studio audience and a jury of national and local film professionals for The Block, one of the ways Oolite Arts seeks to build a pipeline of local filmmakers. With stories from Hialeah to Westchester and the waters off Coconut Grove, each of the finalists received a cash prize for their film – with a total of $32,000 invested in the documentaries.
“Miami is a city of stories, and winners of The Block are helping to shine a light on them all over our county. We’re delighted to be able to give them the support they need to bring these stories to our screens,” said Dennis Scholl, Oolite Arts’ president and CEO.
All of the finalists will receive access to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive.The top three winners will receive help making their films from the University of Miami School of Communication’s Department of Cinema and Interactive Media. The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation is the lead sponsor for this program.
"By supporting these filmmakers, we're supporting the communities whose stories they're sharing,” said Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts program manager. “Homegrown films such as these allow us to understand ourselves and our neighbors across Miami more deeply."
The other winners, and their award amounts, are as follows:
Guadalupe Figueras, for “Isle of Mine” ($8,000)
What is it like to come of age on an island threatened by the effects of climate change? A group of Normandy Isle children explore their own future, by reconstructing an exact replica of their neighborhood on the gaming platform Minecraft. In this virtual world, the children rehearse future scenarios of climate change-induced disasters, in a telling re-enactment of their own trauma following Hurricane Irma. The mixed media documentary “Isle of Mine” will provide a way for them to express their feelings about the future, while imagining other possible solutions and outcomes for their hometown.
Ariana Hernández-Reguant, for “Seminola, Hialeah” ($6,000)
Every two years on a summer Saturday, the descendants of Seminola’s original settlers gather at the Hialeah neighborhood’s central green for Cotson Day, a celebration of community and history. Once a vibrant community of about 2,500 African Americans, the neighborhood has been decimated in recent years. The film will document this history, and follow past and current residents preparing for the big day.
Annik Adey-Babinski, for “Mooring” ($2,000)
For more than 30 years, 500-plus residents have called the mooring field and anchorage off Dinner Key Marina home. After monster storm Irma shredded docks and sank boats in 2017, landlubbing city officials left the community bobbing in disrepair. In “Mooring,” Mike and fellow liveaboards will reflect on the current state of the neighborhood and its storied past, and face the precarious future of their unique community.
Vincent Rives, for “El Afilador” ($2,000)
El Afilador– the knife sharpener – drives around the neighborhood in what appears to be an ice cream truck, complete with its own jingle. Yet a muffled voice blares from the speakerphone, offering the man’s services as a knife sharpener. To those not from the Westchester area, it sounds unusual. Why is this man sharpening knives in his truck? Locals know the man has brought a humble blue collar job from Cuba to the United States, and is, just like everyone else, trying to make a living.
In addition to the five finalists, the following filmmakers earned a special jury mention for their submissions, and will receive $1,000 for their projects: Daniel Rivero, Vanessa Charlot, Nicole Martinez, Alicia Edwards, Nadia Tahoun and Matthew Abad.
The Block is part of Oolite Arts’ new Cinematic Arts Program, which provides training and opportunities for local filmmakers, including a Cinematic Arts Residency which offers funding for filmmakers to make a microbudget narrative film.
Citizens of Wakanda, election season is upon us. Primary election day is August 28, 2018. If you are registered to vote in Florida, remember that you can vote by mail, vote early at any early voting site in your county or vote at your precinct on election day. See relevant information on the Miami-Dade County Elections site.
Please see these resources from the League of Women Voters: BeReadyToVote.org and Vote411.org. Remember that the people who run things are those who vote. Blacks in Miami-Dade County are not expected to vote in significant numbers as long as Barack Obama is not on the ballot. Don't get mad, just vote. Wakanda Forever!
This is how we should roll up in the polls to vote. #SquadGoals
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.
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!”
Gathering of members for the North Carolina Divine Nine Legislative Day. Photos: Terry Spicer (Facebook)
MOU between the NAACP and NPHC (leaders of black greek-letter organizations).
Social media was abuzz today as a video, posted on Facebook, showed a man face down on the ground being handcuffed by a City of Miami cop. As other cops gather, one officer, from a running position, kicks the suspect in the head. As clear as day, a compliant, handcuffed person is on the ground and kicked in the head. The officer obviously didn't know he was being recorded on video. Don't they wear body cams? The fact that the officer felt comfortable enough to inflict brutality on the suspect is quite disturbing. This incident occurred this morning at the Culmer Place Apartments in Overtown.
As quickly as that video circulated, City of Miami Chief of Police, Jorge Colina posted a tweet indicating the video had been reviewed and the officer had been relieved of duty. Before we have a Kumbaya moment, understand that the police union is involved and they will protect their members. The State Attorney's Office has been contacted about this incident and the case must take its course. The video is so clear that it's challenging to even think of a defense. Hopefully, the suspect gets a great lawyer and sues the City and that officer.
We are still awaiting details on everyone involved. A lot of things happen behind the scene so #STAYwoke.
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.
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 recentlycelebrated his 28th anniversary as the Servant Leader of The Bethel Church Miami and resides with his wife, Pamala, in Miami Florida.