Community

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. 

 




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 

 


‘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.


#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.

 

 

 


Early voting has begun in Florida’s 2020 Presidential Preference Primary

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Early voting starts today and goes through Sunday, March 15, in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary. Florida is a closed primary state so only Democrats can vote for Democrats and only Republicans can vote for Republicans.

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At stake are the state’s 248 Democratic delegates, of which 29 are superdelegates. Donald Trump has opposition but none of them is a threat to him being the Republican nominee. 

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Voting actually began weeks ago with the mailing of vote-by-mail ballots. Since that time, many of the Democratic candidates have dropped out of the race. Uninformed voters are likely to waste their vote if they are not aware of each candidate’s status. 

 

UPDATE 1: Here is a markup of an actual Democratic ballot. These are the active Democratic candidates as of the posting of this article. Amy Klobuchar is suspending her campaign. More candidates are likely to drop out after tomorrow’s Super Tuesday contests. Be informed. Share this information with your family and friends. 

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Dr. Steve Gallon’s Fourth Annual Black History Showcase pays homage to HBCUs and the Divine Nine

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Brilliance, creativity, and talent were on full display at Miami Carol City Senior High, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as District 1 School Board Member and School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III held his 4th Annual District 1 Black History Showcase. This year’s show entitled “D1 Chella” celebrated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) also known as the Divine Nine. Performances included dance,  step, chorus, spoken word, drama, jazz band, and  drumline.

 

The event master of ceremonies was District 1 and Andover Middle School’s 8th grader Ramaria St. Hilaire. Schools represented in this year's showcase included: Golden Glades Elementary, North Dade Center for Modern Languages, Parkview Elementary, Rainbow Park Elementary, Scott Lake Elementary, Norland Middle School, Carol City Middle School, North Miami Senior High, Miami Norland Senior High, Jan Mann Educational Center, and Miami Carol City Senior High. There was also a special performance by Ricky Danco, a Haitian American dance company.

 

Event partner was City of Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson. More than 500 were in attendance and included Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Councilman David Williams Jr., Councilman Reggie Leon, Trayvon Martin Foundation executive director Sybrina Fulton, North Region Superintendent Jose Bueno, UTD Vice President Antonio White, and North Region administrators and school staff.

 

A special visual presentation was featured reflecting on the past and highlighting the present status of HBCUs and the Divine Nine. The showcase received a long and resounding standing ovation and continuous praise by everyone as the audience exited the auditorium.

 

“Once again, our community has been able to serve witness to the artistic beauty and brilliance of our students, as well as the power that the arts plays in their education and empowerment,” said Dr. Gallon. “The night also provided an opportunity for us to reflect, recognize, and celebrate the educational journey of Blacks in higher education and the powerful role and influence that Black fraternities and sororities have played in binding us in power and purpose. The night’s performances also provided us with a challenge. How do we top this?”

 

To view highlights from the show, visit:

https://youtu.be/M9HVmXPlfDI

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CALL TO ACTION: Turning Around Public Schools or Taking Away Public Schools?


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Turning Around Public Schools or Taking Away Public Schools?
 
The public school Turn Around bill (SB 1498), which would push privatization to new levels, advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education meeting today. As written, this bill would:
 
  • Throw a school district into instant turnaround status upon earning its first D or F grade (currently, a school would not face a turnaround model unless it receives two consecutive D’s or one F grade).
  • If a D or F turnaround school does not earn a C or better within one year, the Commissioner of Education may recommend closing the school, re-purpose it as a charter school, or assign it to an external operator.
  • Allows state universities or colleges to be considered as external operators, therefore bypassing school board authority.
  • Makes no provision to restore “turnaround” schools to the district.
  • Shortens the time allowed for school districts to help struggling schools.
  • Accelerates path to privatize or close low performing schools.
  • Robs districts of their constitutional authority to oversee their own schools.
  • Grants the Commissioner of Education new powers to deny district requests by closing schools.
 
In the words of a fifth grade public school student who testified in the committee meeting today, “My school grade doesn’t tell you the best parts about my school. My school has helped me grow as a student and as a person. If the state forces her school to close, her family will lose its education choice and her neighborhood will lose a place that brings people together.” We couldn’t agree more.
 
We need to unite our voices to save our public schools! Please contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (the next and final committee stop) and tell them to amend Senate Bill 1498 by leaving school districts, particularly those that are “A” and “B” rated with a proven track record of improving schools, the full flexibility to improve school performance locally.
 
 
Chair Sen. Rob Bradley - 850.487.5055 - @Rob_Bradley - bradley.rob@flsenate.gov
 
V. Chair Sen. Wilton Simpson - 850.487.5010 - @WiltonSimpson - simpson.wilton@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Aaron Bean - 850.487-5004 - @AaronPBean - bean.aaron@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto - 850.487.5027 - @lizbethkb - benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Lauren Book - 850.487.5032 - @Book4Senate - book.lauren@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Jeff Brandes - 850.487.5024 - @JeffreyBrandes - brandes.jeff@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Oscar Braynon, III - 850.487.5035 - @OscarJB2 - braynon.oscar@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Anitere Flores - 850.487.5039 - @anitere_flores - flores.anitere@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. George Gainer - 850.487.5002 - @senatorgainer - gainer.george@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Audrey Gibson - 850.487.5006 - @SenAudrey2eet - gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Travis Hutson - 850.487.5007 - @TravisJHutson - hutson.travis@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Tom Lee - 850.487.5020 - @TomLeeFL - lee.tom@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Debbie Mayfield - 850.487.5017 - @debbie_mayfield - mayfield.debbie@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Bill Montford - 850.487.5003 - @BillMontford - montford.bill@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo - 850.487.5028 - @kathleen4swfl - passidomo.kathleen@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Bobby Powell - 850.487.5030 - @BobbyPowellJr - powell.bobby@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Darryl Rouson - 850.487.5019 - @darrylrouson - rouson.darryl@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. David Simmons - 850.487.5009 - @DSimmonsFL - simmons.david@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Kelli Stargel - 850.487.5022 - @kellistargel - stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Linda Stewart - 850.487.5013 - @LindaStewartFL - stewart.linda@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Perry Thurston, Jr. - 850.487.5033 - @SenatorThurston - thurston.perry@flsenate.gov
 
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