Government & Law

Wilson to Host Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Hearing on the Future of Higher Education Post-COVID

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Washington, D.C. – Today, at 1 p.m. ET, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson will lead her first hearing as chair of the Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. The theme is Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant inequities in higher education and placed an enormous strain on universities and colleges and their students. The abrupt shift to remote learning has exacerbated barriers that make it difficult to successfully attend and graduate from college, particularly for low-income students and students of color who depend more heavily on the on-campus services they no longer had access to, including food and housing. While all students have been impacted by the pandemic, the biggest enrollment declines have occurred among black undergraduates and low-income students. Alarmingly, students who do not complete their educations have considerably higher levels of loan default. There is also evidence that the shift to online learning has compounded existing racial achievement gaps.

“The three relief packages passed by Congress invests more than $75 billion to help institutions and students avert crises, but we must do much more to ensure that underserved students are not left behind as the nation recovers from the pandemic,” says Congresswoman Wilson. “Bold steps will be required to strengthen student protections and expand access to student aid so that we build back a better higher education system for everyone. This hearing will explore how we can begin to achieve those goals.”

To watch the hearing, click here.

 


Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo to Lead City of Miami Police Department

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Today, the City of Miami is expected to announce Houston police chief Hubert Arturo “Art” Acevedo as Miami’s next police chief. 

Acevedo, 56, was born in Havana, Cuba. His family emigrated to the United States in 1968, when Acevedo was four years old. He grew up in California and received his bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of La Verne. 

Acevedo began his law enforcement career with the California Highway Patrol in 1986 as a field patrol officer in East Los Angeles. He rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. From July 2007  through December 2016, he served as Chief of Police for the Austin, Texas Police Department. In November 2016, Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed Acevedo to lead the Houston Police Department. Acevedo is the first Hispanic to be named to that position. With Turner’s term coming to an end, the availability of the Miami position was good timing for Acevedo. 

Comfortable on camera, as evidenced by his appearances on national news programs, the Cuban-born but West Coast reared Acevedo will be thrust into the Miami culture where his political affiliation and actions appear contradictory. Although a registered Republican, Acevedo appeared in a video segment on the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. He is also one of the few to push back on Donald Trump openly. He also condemned the killing of George Floyd and walked in the procession for the burial of his remains. 

Acevedo did not formally apply for the Miami position. There was an expectation that something was amiss as there were several applicants for the Chief of Police position and the announcement of the selection was delayed by more than a month. Insiders expect more changes at the top levels of the Miami Police Department as there are rumors that Acevedo will bring staff with him.

Acevedo follows Chief Jorge Colina, who led the Miami police department for three years and announced his retirement earlier this year. 


Florida Democrats Have a Chance to Make History: Five Things You Need to Know

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At noon tomorrow, Saturday, January 9, 2021, the Florida Democratic Party will elect a state chair and other officers.

1. A Democrat has not been elected governor of Florida in almost three decades, and the result of the 2020 general election was the most embarrassing losses in recent history. The Democrats lost two congressional seats, lost three seats, and two open seats in the Florida Legislature, lost the presidential race by 375,000 votes, and possibly permanently removed Florida from the “swing state” category to red.

2. As expected, current State Chair Terrie Rizzo bore the brunt of the blame and did not seek re-election. Six individuals declared their candidacy for State Chair — former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; DNC (Democratic National Committee) member Nikki Barnes; Environmental Caucus Chair Dr. Janelle Christensen; former State Representative and Alachua County Party Chair Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut; Orange County Party Chair Wes Hodge; and Hillsborough County Party Chair Ione Townsend.

The candidates have participated in a series of forums and interviews. The online conversations between party faithful and supporters have been fast, furious, eye-opening, and informative. The chair is just one of the offices to be determined. There must also be a vote on the first vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, and DNC members.

3. Because of a gender-balance requirement in the organization’s arcane by-laws, the chair and vice-chair must be of the opposite gender, as is the same for the secretary and treasurer. That requirement also adds an interesting element to campaigning and political wheeling and dealing. It also helps to understand why some endorsers who are also candidates line-up on certain teams.

4. As of this writing, Nikki Barnes, Wes Hodge, and Dr. Janelle Christensen have suspended their campaigns. All three have endorsed Dr. Chestnut.

5. If elected, Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut could make history as the first Black person elected to lead the Florida Democratic Party. Being the first is not new to her. Dr. Chestnut is the first Black woman elected to the Gainesville City Commission; the first Black woman elected Mayor-Commissioner of Gainesville, the first Black woman elected to the Florida House of Representatives from Alachua, Marion, and Putnam counties, and the first Black woman elected to the Alachua County Commission.

Dr. Chestnut, a Tallahassee native, is well-known throughout the state of Florida. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Nova Southeastern University. She is also a member of The Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

She is a life-long Democrat and proven leader who is uplifting but doesn't tell you what you want to hear just to get your support, and genuinely welcomes everyone to the “Big Tent” the Democrats like to brag about.

Dr. Cynthia Moore Chestnut embodies the “magic” that so many outside our community seem to have just discovered, but we see every day. The nation has seen it in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams. Democrats can win again if it returns to its grassroots and listens to the voters. Tomorrow’s Florida Democratic Party election will determine the political trajectory of Florida. Stay tuned for the results.

 

 

 


City of Opa-locka Hosts Swearing-In Ceremony for Newly-Elected Commission Members

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Clockwise, from top left, City of Opa-locka Mayor Matthew Pigatt; former Judge Shirlyon McWhorter swears in Vice Mayor Veronica Williams; former City of Opa-locka Mayor Dr. ML Taylor swears in son John Taylor Jr.; and  City of Opa-locka Commission, from left, Commissioner Chris Davis, Vice Mayor Veronica Williams, Mayor Matthew Pigatt, Commissioner Alvin Burke, and Commissioner John Taylor Jr.

 

(OPA-LOCKA, FL)  —  The City of Opa-locka hosted a Swearing-In Ceremony for the newly-elected Commission Members Vice Mayor Veronica Williams and Commissioner John Taylor Jr. on Thursday, November 19, at the Sherbondy Village Community Center. 

City of Opa-locka Mayor Matthew Pigatt served as the Master of Ceremony which began with an invocation from Rev. Dr. Ranzer A. Thomas, Sr., Senior and Founding Pastor of New Generation Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Kay Williams-Dawson, Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Praise, introduced newly-elected Vice Mayor Williams. The Honorable Judge Shirlyon J. McWhorter, former Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge, swore in newly-elected Vice Mayor Williams.

Next, newly-elected Commissioner Taylor was introduced by his wife Monica Taylor. Dr. M.L. Taylor, former Mayor of the City of Opa-locka and her husband Bishop John Taylor then swore in their son, newly-elected Commissioner Taylor. Other program participants included: John E. Pate, City Manager; Commissioner Chris Davis; and Commissioner Alvin Burke.

“I believe that now more than ever we needed more leaders that will talk less, listen more, and work together for the community and the citizens that we were selected and elected to serve. So, time’s out for secret agendas, time’s out for cliques, time’s out for ununified behaviors. We were elected by the people to support the people,” said Commissioner Taylor. “Let me fight for you and be your advocate. To the 1,600 plus people that reside within the walls of the great City of Opa-locka, I stand here for you and because of you.”

“Service for people has always been at the forefront of everything I do. I follow the footsteps of many trailblazing African-American women in politics in Miami. To the many black and brown women stepping up to the plate to shape our communities and our country⎯⎯this is why I decided to be the change agent that I wanted to see in my community,” said Vice Mayor Williams. “I am ready to work with everyone to form a new vision to create a new and better reputation for the City of Opa-locka because I am Opa-locka!”

To view the event, visit: City of Opa-locka’s Facebook page


Photos: Gregory F. Reed

 

 


THE MIAMI-BISCAYNE BAY (FL) CHAPTER OF THE LINKS, INCORPORATED HOSTS VIRTUAL FORUM ON FLORIDA’S CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

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Miami, FL — This year’s November general election ballot includes six questions proposed to amend Florida’s constitution. The Miami-Biscayne Bay (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, wants to make sure the community is informed when ballots are cast on these important issues. In partnership with the Miami-Dade and South Dade Branches of the NAACP and the Miami-Dade National Pan-Hellenic Council, The Links will present a virtual issues forum, “WE THE PEOPLE: Get the FACTS Before Voting on Florida’s Constitutional Amendments!” The forum is scheduled for 6:30 PM-7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 and will be broadcast on Facebook Live and Zoom.

The program will be moderated by Bobby Henry Sr., publisher of The Westside Gazette, Broward County, Florida’s oldest and largest African American owned and operated newspaper.

Joining Henry for a spirited discussion and deep dive into the amendments are: 

  • Yolanda Cash Jackson, Shareholder, Becker & Poliakoff, and member of the Greater Miami (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated;
  • Donald Jones, Professor, University of Miami School of Law; and
  • JoLinda L. Herring, Shareholder, Bryant Olive Miller, and member of Miami-Biscayne Bay (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

“Voting is one of our most important responsibilities as American citizens, we should be sure we are informed when we exercise that right,” said Miami-Biscayne Bay Chapter President Georgia H. McLean. “The goals of this forum are to make sure we have dissected each proposed amendment and that each attendee logs off informed and ready to vote.”

The forum is scheduled for 6:30 PM-7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 and will be broadcast on Facebook Live and Zoom. Click here to register in advance. Submit questions, in advance, to mbbclinksinc@gmail.com. 

 


Oprah Winfrey, NAACP and National Voting Rights Leaders Join Together for National Town Hall: “OWN YOUR VOTE: OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT”

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Winfrey To Discuss Her New Initiative “OWN Your Vote” with NAACP President and CEO and Other Key Leaders in the Fight for Voting Rights, Focused Specifically on Mobilizing Black Women to Vote 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22, 2020) – Oprah Winfrey and OWN have joined together with the NAACP and national voting rights leaders to host “OWN Your Vote: Our Lives Depend On it,” a virtual conversation aimed to inspire and equip thousands of voters and community leaders with specific steps they can take to register to vote, request their absentee ballots, and mobilize voters throughout their community. Slated to take place on September 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM EST, the hour-long conversation will include remarks from leaders in the fight for voting rights, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Stacey Abrams (Fair Fight), Minyon Moore (Power Rising), Tiffany Dena Loftin (NAACP Youth and College), Judith Browne Dianis, and other key leaders. Join this conversation by visiting bit.ly/OprahZoom and registering today!

“We are excited to work with OWN, Ms. Winfrey and other key voting rights leaders as we engage our members, activists, and community leaders around the country about the importance of this election and their vote,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “Her voice during this critical time when communities not only need reassurance in their ability to affect change but encouragement and enlightenment on how to do so with clear impact cannot be overstated.”

As the nation reels from the effects of COVID-19, racial injustice, and voter suppression, OWN Your Vote seeks to shed light on the solution through a bipartisan registration and a get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at providing OWN’s audience of Black women with tools and resources to overcome voter suppression in the November election. The pro-social campaign connects people to urgent political actions and gives their concerns a powerful microphone by placing a spotlight on crucial community issues.

“OWN is proud to partner with the NAACP and prominent voting rights leaders to hold this important conversation to energize and engage our community to vote this November,” said Tina Perry, president of OWN. “This is a critical time in our history to come together and raise our voices.”

Along with shedding light on why this moment is paramount for Black women to use their voice, Ms. Winfrey will also moderate a panel discussion that will bring attention to barriers to voting, what everyone should know about this election, and how they can overcome voter suppression in their community.

The OWN Your Vote campaign has been informed by a study OWN conducted with over 700 Black women of voting age to identify critical issues affecting them. The political impact tracking study determined that affordable health care and racism/discrimination are the two most relevant issues to Black women this election season.

OWN Your Vote Partner Organizations include:

Advancement Project National Office

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

AME Church Social Action Commission

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Fair Fight Action

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights

The Kapor Center

The King Center (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Links, Incorporated

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Council of Negro Women

National Urban League

Power Rising

Power to the Polls

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

Sistahs in Business Expo

Vote Run Lead

Vote.org

VoteAsIf.org

When We All Vote

Woke Vote

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated


Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 24

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The Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated presents the second in a series of Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meetings! On Thursday, September 24th at 9 PM EST, witness "Politics, Faith & Media: Harnessing the Collective Power of When We All Vote." Joining the one hour 15 minute discussion will be one of the most powerful men in politics, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, renowned activist and faith leader, Bishop William Barber and journalist/talk show host Roland Martin. The meeting will be shown live via Facebook telecast, on the Southern Area Website (www.salinksinc.org) and via Youtube.


Sunshine Meeting Between County Commissioners Regarding Renaming Miami International Airport

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A Sunshine Meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m., tomorrow, Monday, September 14, 2020 regarding the renaming of the Miami International Airport. The meeting is between Commissioners Esteban Bovo, Vice-Chairwoman Rebecca Sosa and Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson. We don’t know any additional details. There was a previous attempt in 2018 by Commissioner Jean Monestime to rename the airport after Former City of Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre. Commissioner Sosa objected; the airport is located in her commission district.

Meeting details are in the notice below.   

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

PUBLIC NOTICE

NOTICE IS GIVEN that a Sunshine Meeting between the Honorable Commissioner Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 13; the Honorable Audrey M. Edmonson, Chairwoman, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, District 3; and the Honorable Rebeca Sosa, Vice-Chairwoman, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, District 6, is scheduled for Monday, September 14, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., to discuss Miami International Airport Renaming. This meeting will only be held virtually utilizing communications media technology made permissible pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders.

Interested parties may:

(1) Join the meeting live online to speak where permissible or listen to the meeting by registering in advance at: https://miamidade.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4iY3NPRdTdyoXP8D3YmawA. Zoom registration will be available beginning September 10, 2020;

(2) Call into the live meeting by phone to speak, if permissible, or listen to the meeting by dialing in at: US Toll-free 877-853- 5247 or 888-788-0099 and using Meeting ID: 992 5401 6580; to avoid delays you may register in advance at https://miamidade.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4iY3NPRdTdyoXP8D3YmawA

(3) if you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may join the meeting using Florida Relay Service by dialing 711 on your telephone.

  1. Miami-Dade County provides equal access and equal opportunity in its programs, services and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of disability. To request materials in accessible format, a sign language interpreter, Communication Access Real-time Translation services, and/or any other accommodation to participate in any County meeting, please contact Lenna Borjes, (305) 375-5380, Lenna.Borjes@miamidade.gov at least three days in advance of the meeting to initiate your request. TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

If you have any questions or require additional information regarding the virtual meeting, please contact Lenna Borjes at the Office of Commissioner Esteban Bovo, Jr. (DIST. 13) at (305) 375- 5380 or send an email to: Lenna.Borjes@miamidade.gov. (Due to COVID -19, staff is currently working remotely, but will respond within a reasonable period of time to messages which have been received).


HARVEY RUVIN, CLERK

MELISSA ADAMES, DEPUTY CLERK


URGENT: COVID-19 Testing Protocol for Visitors to The Bahamas

Bahamas Protocol

Effective immediately, all travelers to The Bahamas will be required to complete an electronic Bahamas Health Visa application before departure from the place of embarkation. This can be found at travel.gov.bs. Travelers are required to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test and provide contact information. 

The Government of The Bahamas will accept the negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test if the sample was taken within (10) ten days of arrival. Tests over ten (10) days old will not be accepted. 

An automated response will be provided once the application is completed. The only persons approved to travel are those who have received a green color-coded response, as proof of approval. This confirmation must be presented upon arrival in The Bahamas. The Health Visa application process will take twenty-four to forty-eight (24-48) hours and should be completed with adequate lead time. 

Failure to comply with the stated requirements will result in denied entry. It is recommended that all travelers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their traveling party at www.bahamas.com/travelupdates before booking a trip. 

For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit www.bahamas.com/travelupdates. You may also contact the Ministry of Tourism COVID-19 travel hotline at (242) 502-0829 Monday to Friday, 8 AM – 6 PM, or via email at contactusteam@bahamas.com. 

 


Important County Commission Meeting on West Grove

See Public Notice below. A Public Hearing has been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 9:30 AM, to address issues including the establishment of a West Grove Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and to prepare a community development plan for the area. The meeting will be webcast. See instructions to participate by Zoom or by phone. 

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