GOP Bans On Teaching About Racism Drive Out Educators

Date on which the Florida Senate Education Committee gave initial approval along party lines to a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. and championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” when teaching about racism: 1/18/2022

Number of days later that a Florida school district canceled a college professor’s seminar for teachers on the history of the civil rights movement, citing in part concerns over critical race theory: 1

Month in which DeSantis held a campaign-style event in which he called critical race theory — a decades-old academic movement examining the intersection of race and law — “crap” and said he’d press for legislation banning it from being taught in his state’s schools: 12/2021

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Despite Historic Minimum Wage Increases, The South Still Trails Behind

2022 marks 10 years since fast food workers in New York first went on strike to demand higher wages, better working conditions, and the right to unionize — sparking the Fight For $15 movement. Since that time, the movement has gained traction, with California raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour and several other states passing legislation that will gradually do so.

As the ongoing global pandemic has drawn attention to the fact that the people who keep the country running are overworked and underpaid, workers have continued to strike for higher wages and union rights. In many cases, their demands are being met.

Showing the tremendous strides made by Fight for $15, a record number of states and localities are raising their wages this year.

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Dear President Biden: Release Leonard Peltier

We write to request the expedited release of American Indian elder Leonard Peltier, who is 77 years old and who has served more than 44 years in federal prison, some in solitary confinement, in numerous prisons across the United States.

He suffers from severe health conditions, such as diabetes and an abdominal aortic aneurysm that can be lethal if ruptured. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic authorizing the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to release elderly inmates and those with underlying health conditions from federal prisons.

Mr. Peltier is currently imprisoned at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida. Given his underlying health conditions and age, we ask he be granted clemency and immediate action be taken to release him from federal custody.

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Public Housing To Be Demolished In Tampa For New Development

Robles Park Village is a 433-unit public housing complex in Tampa Heights, Florida, near Ybor City. After months of inspections, city officials found that a small portion of this community was built on top of Zion Cemetery, a historic Black cemetery, forcing 88 units to be vacated to move forward with cemetery preservation processes. Following several surveying sessions, the remaining Robles Park residents were told by Tampa city officials that their homes were set to be demolished.

The Tampa Housing Authority along with Baker Barrios Architects and Property Markets Group announced a “master plan” for the Robles Park Village which is set to include over 1,000 new houses, resource facilities, and a Zion Cemetery memorial site. The Tampa Housing Authority reports that 85 percent of the new development will be “affordable rental housing” while

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In Florida, Protesting Can Cost You Your Right To Vote

Delilah Pierre first got involved with the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) in 2019, during a campaign to stop the capital city from building a new police headquarters in the same shopping center as the only grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Today, as Vice President of the grassroots organization, she has her sights set on taking down larger forces: A state law that levels felony and misdemeanor charges against protesters like her, and prevents them from posting bail until their first court appearance.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida House Bill 1, the Combating Public Disorder Act—also known as the “anti-riot” bill—into law in April, following Senate approval along party lines.

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The Buried Documents That Linked The Infamous Cult To The CIA

Washington – Concerning the Finders cult — the elusive Washington, D.C.-based outfit whose antics and ties we began examining in Part 1 of this series — one set of documents in particular held the most explosive allegations made against the group and against the CIA for allegedly covering the story up. Despite their contents, almost no corporate press ever quoted from these documents or addressed the concerns they raise. This article will attempt to remedy that deficit of coverage by fully exploring what the documents have to say.

I previously described the 1987 arrest of two well-dressed men in Tallahassee, Florida, on charges of child abuse relating to six children found neglected, dirty, and hungry in their care.

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As Floods Become More Frequent, Climate Change Threatens Seminole Tribe

Valholly Frank is 18 years old. She grew up in South Florida, spending her time between the Big Cypress Reservation, one of the six reservations of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Weston in Broward County. The rising tides of water, whether from a hurricane, storm surge or king tide, surround her and her community, from Miami to the reservation.

She, like many in South Florida, have watched as poor planning and policy have layered more problems on top of climate change, including impending oil drilling, and brackish water and blue green algae where once the water was fresh. Native plants and animals are moving, with some, like the manatee, in the midst of a mass die-off as a result.

When Frank was 15, she entered into a lawsuit, joining several other young people, ages 13 to 21, in suing Florida’s political leaders over their lack of action on climate change.

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Governor DeSantis Signs Unprecedented Anti-Protest And Anti-Public Safety Law

Tallahassee, Fla. – This morning, just days after the Republican-led Florida Senate voted to pass an unprecedented, costly and racially charged bill (House Bill 1) to censor protest, preempt local policing budgets and preserve symbols of white supremacy, Governor DeSantis is signing it into law. The bill passed despite widespread opposition by Floridians of all political ideologies and diverse sectors, after Governor DeSantis made it his number one legislative priority and lobbied behind doors to make sure it passed both Chambers as early as possible. The new law, which does nothing more than silence dissent and criminalize peaceful protestors, will disproportionately censor, incarcerate, and kill Black Floridians simply exercising their constitutional rights, setting a dangerous precedent of criminalization and repression.

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The Real Threat To Free Speech? Florida’s Courts

Gov. Ron DeSantis and some other Florida Republicans are worked up over a perceived threat to the freedom of speech of politicians, but they’re ignoring a more significant threat to the public’s right to speak.

They’re upset that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have begun to suppress posts they deem flagrantly false or socially offensive, particularly those from their favorite ex-president.

But that isn’t a First Amendment issue. Those are private corporations, not government entities.

The legitimate First Amendment threat they are ignoring is the misuse of Florida’s courts to suppress and punish attempts by citizens to influence government agencies on issues involving public versus private interests.

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Florida Teachers Face Setback In Fight For Safe Schools

The Broward Teachers Union’s fight to secure work-from-home orders for about 1,100 teachers seems to have ended with an arbitrator’s decision.

The BTU filed a lawsuit against Broward County Public Schools, demanding those teachers with health concerns be allowed to keep special accommodations which were granted in October. The district said only the most seriously ill teachers, about 600, would be allowed to teach from home as the rest were needed in the classroom.

The arbitrator sided with the district.

“This is a win for our students,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie. “We recognize the health concerns of our teachers and will continue to balance their needs with the needs of students who are struggling and must be back in a safe and healthy school for face-to-face learning.”

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UF Students Announce Boycott Against Aramark

Four organizations are taking a stand against UF’s official food service provider to protest its use of prison labor. 

The Gainesville Chapter of the Dream Defenders, UF NAACP, the UF Black Student Union and the Coalition to Abolish Prison Slavery at UF launched a monetary boycott against Aramark, the food service giant, Tuesday. The goal is to pressure the university to contract a new food supplier that doesn’t use prison labor, Dream Defenders member Ava Kaplan wrote in an email. 

UF Graduate Assistants United also announced its support for the Reitz Union Boycott Thursday through a Facebook post. 

Aramark has been UF’s official food provider since 1995…

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Arrest Warrant Issued For Ex-Florida Data Analyst Rebekah Jones

The state has issued an arrest warrant for ex-Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones.

Jones announced Saturday on Twitter that she learned of the warrant and plans to turn herself in on Sunday. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed there is a warrant for Jones’ arrest but said it cannot disclose what charges she faces until she is in custody.

Agency spokesman Gretl Plessinger said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times that “agents have been working with her attorney to have her turn herself in.”

Jones once managed Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard. Then she was fired in May from her position as the geographic information system manager for the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control and Health Protection.

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Stop Government Attack On COVID-19 Whistleblower

Florida state police barged into Jones’ home Monday with guns aimed at her and her family. They seized her phone, computer and several hard drives, preventing her from continuing to publish data on COVID-19 outbreaks. After the raid Jones tweeted: “They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids… This was DeSantis. He sent the gestapo.”

Jones tweeted Friday that she has learned that Circuit Judge Joshua Hawkes was appointed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in September, and one of his first acts as a judge was to sign the search warrant that led to the seizure of her technology.

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Ocean Seismic Blasting Halted

Florida – After years of advocacy and legal back-and-forth, environmental conservation groups are celebrating a victory: The government will prohibit the use of sonic blasts in the ocean this year, which could help save the lives of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

During an Oct. 1 conference, officials from the seismic blasting industry announced they won’t pursue efforts to employ seismic blasting to search for offshore oil, a move that dozens of environmentally-focused conservation groups and coastal communities, including New Smyrna Beach and Flagler County, have signed resolutions against. 

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BLM Activists Hospitalized After Police Kneel On Her Neck

Protesters said Jae Passmore had been leaving a demonstration in downtown Tampa on Wednesday night when she was detained by police, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

In on video shared on Instagram, Passmore is seen being pinned to the ground by several officers as protesters shout at them to free her.

“Stop! Get your knee off her neck!” A protester can be heard repeatedly yelling. Another is heard screaming: “Get off of her like that!”

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