Leave a comment

Ron Davis: Father and Foot Soldier for Justice

florida courier

http://issuu.com/cfcgllc/docs/floridacourier_06192015/3?e=4739009/13605054

 FROM FATHER TO FOOT SOLDIER

Filed under FRONT PAGE, NATIONAL, NEWS 

Since the murder of his youngest son, Ron Davis has become a national advocate for justice.

BY PENNY DICKERSON
FLORIDA COURIER

Father’s Day celebrations are tough for Ron Davis. The June holiday reserved for Hallmark cards and the gifting of new ties has remained solemn since the Nov. 23, 2012 death of his 17-year-old son, Jordan.

Jordan Davis endures a clothing inspection from his dad, Ron.

Davis said he will spend Father’s Day clutching the final letter Jordan wrote. In it, Jordan declared his dad his “hero.”

The student at Samuel Wolfson High School in Jacksonville was killed when Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old White male, sprayed a round of bullets into the parked SUV at a Jacksonville gas station where Davis and three friends were listening to rap music. Continue Reading »

Advertisements
1 Comment

Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin: “Agent of Change”

florida-courier-logo

Filed under BUSINESS, FLORIDA, METRO, RELIGION 

2013-Bishop__in_Gray_Suit

Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin of The Potter’s House International Ministries in Jacksonville continues to serve parishioners and patrons through the church’s thriving mall and academy.

BY PENNY DICKERSON

SPECIAL TO THE COURIER

Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin keeps it real. He is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House International Ministries and approaches evangelism with a Bible-based, down-to-earth approach.

A people-person who welcomes smart phones in the pulpit to capture baptismal moments, he is an ad-hoc comic with a servant’s heart. Moreover, he is an agent of change focused on economic empowerment – a multimillion-dollar community epicenter is his testament. Continue Reading »

Leave a comment

Flagler County: Jim Crow, Discrimination, Class Action

Daytona Times

http://daytonatimes.com/2015/08/mission-accomplished-for-flagler-students-naacp/

Mission accomplished for Flagler students, NAACP

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH, LEAD STORIES, NEWS 

Dr. Amir Whitaker, who spearheaded a complaint against the district for racial disparities in school discipline, will speak at the Aug. 29 Freedom Fund Banquet in Palm Coast.

BY PENNY DICKERSON
DAYTONA TIMES

The Flagler County NAACP annual Freedom Fund Banquet will be celebrated on Aug. 29 with a heightened triumph, thanks to its scheduled keynote speaker Dr. Amir Whitaker, attorney and educator for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

150820_dt_front01A civil rights and education stalwart, Whitaker spearheaded a federal civil rights complaint that led to a recent settlement between the SPLC and Flagler County School Board aimed at ending racially discriminatory school discipline directed toward Black students, which includes excessive suspensions or expulsions.

The class-action victory was reached in June following a three-year battle that began in 2012 when the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization filed a formal complaint on behalf of three African-American students and a same-race populous of others whose education and civil rights were similarly affected. Continue Reading »

Leave a comment

FLOTUS Speech calls for Party Unity

 

Miami Times Front Fold

Speech by FLOTUS calls for party unity to beat Trump

 By Penny Dickerson Special to The Miami Times | 7/27/2016, 2 p.m.

A timely balm to heal and unify the Democratic Party came following rifts that challenged the organization’s integrity. Dynamic speeches ...

Michelle Obama at the DNC Monday said passion is needed to elect Hillary Clinton as president.
 A timely balm to heal and unify the Democratic Party came following rifts that challenged the organization’s integrity. Dynamic speeches delivered by said Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and First Lady Michelle Obama both won the hearts and ignited delegates during the kick-off of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which convened in Philadelphia July 25-28.

“We can’t devolve into a nation where our highest aspiration is that we tolerate each other. We are not called to be a nation of tolerance. We are called to be a nation of love,” Booker said.Image result for corey booker at the democratic national convention

Booker’s thunderous oratory and prevailing words served as a motivational springboard to help unite a party that remains divided following a contested primary between the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who continues to court a legion of passionate supporters.

Delegates representing the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam convened July 25-28 in the nation’s birthplace to participate in four days of caucus gatherings, momentous speeches and the pivotal task of Tuesday’s roll call. Clinton is expected to accept the party’s nomination, which, if elected, will make the former New York Senator and Secretary of State the first woman to be president of the United States of America. Democrats are hoping Clinton will gain momentum to defeat Trump following the convention.

Continue Reading »

Leave a comment

American Bar Association combats Poverty

miami times

Plagued by poverty

 Penny Dickerson Special to The Miami Times | 10/14/2015, 2 p.m.

http://miamitimesonline.com/news/2015/oct/14/plagued-poverty/

A Miami youth whose life had been paralyzed by poverty and the criminal justice system spoke openly regarding her plight: ...
 A Miami youth whose life had been paralyzed by poverty and the criminal justice system spoke openly regarding her plight: while stealing food to feed both herself and a 2-year-old sibling, she was charged and arrested for theft. With no income or support system, she was left hopeless and unable to retain legal counsel or sufficiently advocate for herself.

Previously homeless adults who had been thrust in and out of foster care through their formative years shared similar struggles. Most of their short life span had been dedicated to navigating complex systems for survival—daily battles to simply exist as respectable citizens in society.

These crisis-driven scenarios—and formidable solutions to prevent them—were among the personal narratives shared during the recent Miami launch of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) anti-poverty initiative titled, “Collaborate to Advocate: Lawyers and Communities Working Together to end Poverty.”

A STIGMA DEFINED

Poverty is arguably a dual contender with race as America’s most important conversation in the millennium. And as the national representative of the legal profession, the ABA has embraced poverty in America as one of its foremost priorities.

A common American stigma, poverty is often misconstrued by language and assumption. The varied vernacular used to describe the impoverished ranges from economically challenged, poor, disenfranchised, dispossessed and indigent. To best advance the “Collaborate to Advocate” initiative, the ABA applied the working definition for poverty as follows:

“A state or lived experience caused and perpetuated by various and often compounded factors including inadequate economic resources and opportunity to build assets, including employment, adequate income and assets to meet basic human needs such as food, housing, clothing, etc.”

CAUSE AND EFFECT

The ABA cites an ongoing trend of “societal, economic and political events” as contributors and catalysts. They include America’s 2007 economic meltdown, the mortgage foreclosure epidemic, Trayvon Martin, Hurricane Katrina, Ferguson, Missouri, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” 9/11, the “school to prison pipeline,” unaccompanied minors coming across the border, etc. to each have played a role in the number of children living in poverty as well as the disparate treatment and impacts of the law and justice systems on communities of color.

Manifestations of poverty include substandard and unaffordable housing and homelessness; disproportionate involvement in criminal and civil justice systems; inadequacies in food, health care and poor educational and health outcomes. Two of the least considered, yet relevant, poverty manifestations include lack of personal dignity and isolation from community and political infrastructure.

MIAMI’S IMPOVERISHED BLACKS

Blacks and “people of color” are faced with barriers and obstacles to justice such as disability, limited English proficiency, immigrant status and other factors at a rate higher than any other demographic.

Nearly 50 million Americans now live below the federal poverty line. In Florida, 17 percent of people in the state have incomes below the poverty line—$23,834 for a family of four, according to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. In Miami-Dade County alone, 20 percent of residents are living below the poverty line and 30 percent of them are Black.

The latter statistic is further compounded for impoverished Blacks who additionally suffer education, employment and criminal justice disparity. In Miami-Dade, Black youth enter the judicial system due to school arrests at a 58 percent disproportionate rate to their white counterparts.

Advocacy and intervention by the ABA will be integral in breaking cyclic patterns that begin with poverty and too often end with a life of crime.

COMMISSION ON POVERTY

The ABA has established the Commission on Poverty and Homelessness as a governing body for the “Collaborate to Advocate” initiative. On Oct. 2, a committed panel of community and philanthropic liaisons gathered at the University of Miami School of Law for the first of many nationally scheduled anti-poverty community roundtable discussions.

“This convening serves as our official launch of the commission’s new, multi-year initiative,” said Ted Small, chair of the ABA Commission on Poverty and Homelessness. “The initiative is aimed at identifying and promoting best practices for eliminating legal and justice system-related policies, practices and procedures that unfairly perpetuate or worsen the harmful effects of poverty in low-income communities.”

POVERTY PANEL

Panelists in attendance collectively represented the voices of anti-poverty expertise from the state and local government, service providers, religious, academic, political and legal communities.

Included were Amy E. Horton-Newell, director, Commission on Homelessness & Poverty; Oliver G. Gilbert III, mayor of Miami Gardens; Lars Gilberts, United Way of Broward County, (Director, ALICE); Barbara “Bobbie” Ibarra, executive director, Miami Coalition for the Homeless; Paco Velez, president and CEO, of Feeding South Florida and a host of others.

“I am happy we are finally thinking about the generational causes and effects of poverty. Far too often we treat poverty like a headache that we can get rid of; take two special programs and call me in the morning,” said Mayor Gilbert. “It’s more like a genetic predisposition that can be planned for and planned around. But it all begins with diagnosing it and treating it like it is something real that won’t just go away because we want it to.”

ROUNDTABLE GOALS

The goal of each roundtable is to bring together a consortium of 10-15 community stakeholders. Professor Kele Stewart, associate dean of experiential learning, at the University of Miami School of Law, served as moderator and led the consortium through an interview-style dialogue.

Queries posed included, “How can those who are already addressing poverty in Miami/Dade-Fort Lauderdale/Broward work more collaboratively and in a cross-disciplinary fashion?”

“This [roundtable] was a good start to identifying synergies and shared priorities that will hopefully lead to collaborative initiatives,” said Stewart.

“The roundtable also included powerful insights from community advocates who have themselves experienced first-hand the harsh realities of homelessness and community displacement in Miami,” Stewart added.

POSITIVE OUTCOMES

The four-hour, Miami anti-poverty roundtable discussion informally “kicked-off” an ongoing collaboration of community representatives. Most panelists work in tandem on a regular basis, but the roundtable provided a forum for future motivation.

“What I walked away with most was the exposure to actual youth and adults who had experienced poverty and homelessness,” offered Brett McNaught, CEO and founder of Educate Tomorrow.

“They were able to give roundtable guests and the commission some real firsthand stories and experiences. I think the take away is they all found value from having support from a mentor, coach, or someone in the community organization who had taken time to get to know them and help them get out of situations,” McNaught added.

Future poverty roundtables are scheduled and include San Diego (Feb. 5, 2016), a variety of communities in Alabama (Spring 2016), two communities in Oklahoma (including a rural convening with tribal representation), and San Francisco (Aug. 5, 2016—with the possible addition of a convening with farmworkers in northern California).

marguerite casey foundation

Penny Dickerson is a 2015 Journalism Fellow of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private, nonprofit grant-making organization, which seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the issues and policies that affect families living in poverty. Through profiles, vignettes and features, Dickerson’s series hopes to shift public perception and broaden awareness in areas that critically affect the definition of poor people of color by reporting from four-quadrants of the state: Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona and Miami.

Continue Reading »

Leave a comment

Destination Orlando: Experience “Grown Folks Magic.”

Ebony_Magazine_Logo
Click link to original EBONY.COM original article with photo gallery
14  February 2014

Life  /  Travel

Destination Orlando: Grown Folks’ Magic!

Hey travelers, don’t sleep on the Central Florida haven. It’s so much more  than you thought.

     The Aloft Hotel
           
Don’t get me  wrong ─ Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell’s pixie dust still  rule, but the city of Orlando, Florida’s tourism epicenter also embodies a plethora of  ­­treasures designed to satisfy the adult travelers’ insatiable  thirsts. Forget packing the kids and a salivating Labrador in the family SUV for  a multi-day, whine-a-thon. It’s the 21st Century folks. It’s time for  some “Grown Folks Magic!”

The new kid on the block and beacon of light in the city skyline is the Aloft─the  quintessential hotel and hub for millennium travelers seeking “style at a  steal.” The usual bells and whistles dubbed amenities are inclusive, but these  rooms boast some serious cool; the sleek ambiance alone frees endorphins.  Eclectic décor complements massive living space and mature guests gather nightly  in the WXYZ lounge for wasabi almonds and Smirnoff smiles.

Valet park and experience frugality with finesse by engaging downtown  Orlando on foot ─ grown folks hate traffic! Cultural entertainment is on deck at  Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (November 2014) and a brisk walk several  blocks leads to Church Street Station for hip nightlife and diverse dining  from sushi to subs.  Start with happy hour and end with midnight martinis.  All choices in between are ideal for responsible adults perusing town sans  wheels.  When you’re ready to bounce, Orlando Magic hoops are a  trek away at the Amway  Center.

But, what about your inner child? For those who still crave youthful  engagement, I’ve got three words for you: The History Center.  This multicultural museum is  “Smart, Surprising, Fun” and welcomes The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons through March 2014.  So, get ready to revive your Looney Tunes  memories.  What know this generation about a Wabbit or a Putty cat?   Orlando is the popular cultural capital of the world for its theme park  allure, but this exploratory jewel is so inexpensive, it’s free every Monday  during the summer. “Grown Folks” love free!

Hidden in the heart of Orlando’s municipal district, the Orange County  Regional History Center is a Smithsonian Institute affiliate encompassing four  floors of a restored 1927 courthouse. Interactive limited release exhibits  complement permanent installations like the impressive How Distant Seems Our  Starting Place.  James Weldon Johnson’s poignant poem birthed the  title and patrons of every race can celebrate African-American heritage.   Ancestral beginnings progress to an awareness of Central Florida trailblazers  like Bessie Coleman, the nation’s first licensed black pilot; Folklorist and  author Zora Neale Hurston; and Paul Perkins, the areas first black  lawyer.

Meet the Mack Daddy of Magic in exhibits that chronicle how Walt Disney altered the city landscape with a world that now  includes Africa ─ no passport required.  A short drive invites you to  indulge the Disney Animal Kingdom Resort and Serengeti.  Embrace authentic  African cuisine at Jiko [The Cooking Place] or head back to town for  soul food at Chef  Eddies, a 40- year legacy.

For business or just a quick getaway: visit Orlando. It’s ripe with options  and “grown folks” love alternatives. —Penny Dickerson

Share THIS on twitter with  #Ebony hashtags

Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/photos/life/destination-orlando-grown-folks-magic-987#ixzz2tdzGWcy2

Follow us: @EbonyMag on Twitter | EbonyMag on Facebook

Leave a comment

Soul Food – Healthy & Alternative Preparations

florida-courier-logo

A NEW ERA FOR SOUL FOOD

Filed under FOOD, METRO

Some African-Americans have adapted new approaches to cooking, which leads to better health and living longer.

Editor’s note: This is the second installment on the legacy of soul food. Part 1 appeared in the Feb. 17 issue of the Florida Courier.

BY PENNY DICKERSON
FLORIDA COURIER

Soul food has taken center stage in the millennium as both a Southern indulgence and palate pleaser.

Restaurants boasting the original recipe of elderly relatives have opened throughout the Southeastern region of the country, and the ubiquitous food genre is even the focus of the reality television show, “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s.”

According to Adrian Miller, author of the James Beard award-winning book, “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time,’’ “Traditional (soul food) places are having a generational moment. The people who started them are retiring, or dying off, but the kids in the family and other employees are still interested in carrying on the business.”

Soul or Southern?
Originated by the resourcefulness of enslaved African-Americans, soul food remains controversial for its heritage and its high sodium, fried foods and bountiful sugar content, which contributes to debilitating diseases. Included are hypertension, diagnosed arthritis and diabetes, all types of heart disease, and cancer.

“Southern food is the mother cuisine that soul food claims heritage to, but soul food is distinct unto itself,” Miller said. “Part of the confusion surrounding soul food is that it stems from cultural stiff-arming that occurred in the 1960s.

Continue Reading »

%d bloggers like this: