The mass shooting in Orlando has taken at least 50 lives and over 50 more people are still fighting to survive in area hospitals.
You can make a difference.
Equality Florida, an LGBT civil rights organization has opened up a GoFundMe page to raise money to support the victims of the attack.
From the group:
“We are reeling from the tragic news that a gunman opened fire on the 2am capacity crowd at Pulse leaving 50 people dead and over 50 injured according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country.
Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. June commemorates our community standing up to anti-LGBTQ violence at the Stonewall Inn, the nightclub that has become the first LGBTQ site recognized as a national monument.
We have received a steady stream of emails and messages from those seeking to help or to make sense of the senseless. We make no assumptions on motive. We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger. We stand in solidarity and keep our thoughts on all whose lives have been lost or altered forever in this tragedy.”
As of 12:00 PM EST, over $21,000 has been raised out of a goal of $100,000.
Cover Photo Credit: Tim Evanson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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I’m A Convicted Felon Who Got His Rights Back And Made History. We Need To Make Sure All Have That Same Chance
Steven Shulman is an insurance broker, real estate investor and the founder of a nonprofit charity that saves the lives of pets in distress, Animal Care Now. He grew up in Miami Beach and served two years in prison after being arrested for possession of quaaludes. He received his civil rights back in the 1980s and has become an advocate for convicted felons who have been denied the same privileged he has received. Shulman just released a memoir of his life called, My Uncle Gloria.
I’m a convicted felon.
Back in April 1981, I made a mistake in trusting an acquaintance.
That mistake got me arrested, convicted, and sentenced to five years in state prison for possession of methaqualone.
After completing two years in prison, two years parole, and being released from all government supervision, I applied to Florida’s office of executive clemency to have my civil rights restored.
I was lucky.
The process only took me a few years.
I have done incredibly well with my life because I was afforded a second chance.
In 1988 I had all my civil rights restored, including: the right to vote, travel abroad, perform jury duty, hold public office, and be employed in certain government organizations.
Since then I’ve created a great life for myself.
I’m a successful insurance broker, real estate investor, published author and founder of a nonprofit charity that saves the lives of pets in distress.
I hold the proud distinction of being the first convicted felon to be issued a real estate license in Florida, and the first convicted felon in Florida to be issued an insurance license.
I made a mistake when I was young.
I served my time.
And I have done incredibly well with my life because I was afforded a second chance.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with a governor like Rick Scott.
There is of course a massive irony in all of this.
He’s a man with absolute dictatorial power who routinely denies people their right to vote after they’ve paid their debt back to society.
Scott doesn’t care if people turn their lives around.
He wants to keep them as second-class citizens- forever.
25% of Florida’s black population is currently unable to vote due to prior felony convictions.
And right now, there’s more than 1.8 million people with felony convictions who have been permanently disenfranchised and cannot vote.
There is of course a massive irony in all of this.
In 1997, Scott’s healthcare company was charged by the federal government with the largest Medicare fraud in history.
Scott resigned as CEO during the investigation, pled the fifth 75 times when questioned by government attorneys, while the company pled guilty to 14 felonies and paid $1.7 billion in fines.
Scott lied his way out of criminal prosecution and a felony conviction.
He could easily have ended up as one of the millions of Floridians who are currently without their full civil rights restored.
But justice looks different for millionaires.
On November 6th, as Florida voters, we have the chance to change that.
We can take this issue out of the hands of politicians and give our fellow citizens their right to vote.
You’ll be amazed with what they do with it, if given the chance to be treated like everybody else.
Take it from my experience.
I was given a second chance and I made it count.
Others deserve the shot I got.
Vote for Amendment 4.
——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——
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When I first met GB three years ago, I didn’t know at the time of his ambitions and goals nor of the immense level of talent he had.
I only knew him as a young man looking to get initiated into the fraternity that I was advising at the time.
Flash forward three years later and he’s on the cusp of reaching the next level.
GB is the definition of a millennial artist using the resources at his fingertips to put his music out there and take advantage of the open web to leave his mark. It was important for me to use the platform I have elevate GB to a larger audience.
I remember distinctly hearing GB play his guitar here and there and I thought, man this kid has talent. Of course I didn’t know what was yet to come. From performing at sorority philanthropy events to performing at actual nightclubs for the first time, his future is brighter than ever.
I asked GB, who is now in his senior year at Florida Atlantic University if he wouldn’t mind me speaking with me to share his story, his ideas and his passion.
RISE: First off, tell the readers something you want them to know about you?
Something you should know about me is that I do my best to keep out negative energy. Positivity is the answer to life, you can do and be anything in the world. If you believe in yourself and set your sights on goals that incorporate your passions and talents, you will be successful.
RISE: When did you know you wanted to pursue music?
I knew I wanted to pursue music the day that I turned 20. I released my first album “Phenom” along with 20 tracks that featured my rap and singing debut. I could feel in my heart everything seeming to fall into place, each time I write, reminisce or think up something new. Music is truly my love and passion, no matter what comes out of it, I feel accomplished in knowing that.
RISE:When you dropped your first album “Phenom” what did that feel like?
It felt nice dropping my first album “Phenom” with 20 tracks because it was [and is] something that rarely anyone is doing. The doubt of my peers really pushes me harder and harder everyday, support definitely builds you the most though. I released my second album “The Bakery” with 21 tracks just to prove to people I could do it again and come even hotter. With my third album release “TRILLA G,” it was all about capturing the best aspects of my artistry. I released 8 tracks that all pushed for futuristic style and vision. My main goal now is to just keep pushing singles in hopes of making that one hit song that everyone falls in love with.
RISE:Who are your musical influences?
My biggest musical influences at the moment would have to be Bryson Tiller, Jeremih, Chance the Rapper & Frank Ocean. My passion for music started with John Mayer but I really enjoy listening to music that enhances my ear for R&B influenced hip hop.
RISE:Who are you listening to right now?
I am really selective with what I am listening to, I have been listening to Frank Ocean’s new album “Blonde.” I am in love with the pop influenced vocals; With this type of sound coming back into the mainstream, as well as influencing myself, my own music is being taken with ease to listeners of all genres.
RISE:Who would be your dream collaboration?
I would love to make a dope R&B influenced track with Bryson Tiller or a party influenced hit with Chance the Rapper.
RISE:Who are other up and coming artists that you have worked with in South Florida that you hope make it big?
My favorite artists in Boca Raton are Mansa, Vaughny Vo & Ali Embry. I have worked with plenty of producers & engineers that deserve credit too: MaClean Studios, Influence Studios, Lykia, Equus & more. They have all been big parts of my evolved sounds and I appreciate all their efforts and advice. Other than that, I have worked with so many artists, going on 100 hip hop songs in the past two years. I really enjoy working with people and making music that people can enjoy and possess as their own as well. That is what it is all about.
RISE:Tell me about what it’s like working with other people who are also trying to break into the music scene?
It is great finding those artists that have the same mindset as you. A lot of people are really only focused on breaking into the music scene and don’t have the talent or work ethic that comes with that success. The best collaborations are when the music comes from the heart, you should take each confrontation and learn from it. Each artist I have made music with has taught me something whether it be what to do or what not to do.
Listen to one of GB’s songs:
RISE:How would you describe your sound?
The sound that I am consistently working towards in my own mind is a mix of positive catchy lyrics, a marketable theme throughout, hard-hitting instrumentals topped with impressive pop vocals that could impress any listener with soothing melodies. I am very persistent on my new sounds being based around my singing.
RISE:How often do you go into the studio to record?
I record at least a couple of times a week. I have 4 studios in Boca that I flip flop between and make my music at. When it comes down to it, I built my own recording studio in my room and I am able to record literally at any moment of the day. Whenever I am feeling something heavily, I will not wait around, I definitely feel at home in the studio.
RISE:Do you ever feel creatively stifled? If so how do you combat that?
Most definitely, it happens to the best of us. Whenever I am feeling stuck on something, I will just put it away and work on another topic. It always seems to brighten a new light when I come back to something at another time with a fresh mind and full attention.
RISE:What is the headspace you put yourself in when you go into the recording studio?
I really just put it in my head to be comfortable. You never want to push it too hard or blurt something too loud, studio recording is a lot different than singing live. By the time I get in the studio I know the lyrics so well that I really try and focus on the pronunciation of every word and melody.
RISE:If you wish you wrote any one specific lyric or bar, what would it be and why?
There are countless lyrics that I love to be honest? In every song there is something that I probably enjoy most about it, but when I first started rhyming I said “Like a foreign student way he study abroad, know the heavens must be the real the way she shaped by the gods, GB must stand for Gary Blessed…” and that was how I was stuck with “Gary Blessed” being the acronym for my initials GB. Before that song, GB just stood for Gary Baker.
RISE:What was it like to take the stage truly for the first time at Crowbar in Tampa, your hometown?
It felt so nice to be on stage performing the sounds that I had been working so hard on. I had been on stages before considering I have been making music since I was 16 and played in my own band in high school, but this was definitely the first time it was 100% my music. It felt like the start of destiny.
RISE:What is your end goal with your music?
I have really grown an obsession with music, my first end goal started out just getting a feature with my favorite rapper at the time, Cam Meekins. My ultimate end goal would be me as a major recording artists, the executive of my own label, have a few businesses that incorporate my own brand and different lifestyle aspects, and consistently release music that is noticed and perceived by the world in a positive way. In the least, I want to be recognized in the music industry and make a living from it.
You can check out all of GB’s music here: https://soundcloud.com/garyblessed
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: GB/ InstagramPost Views: 158
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By James Kardys
Let’s face it. Donald Trump is a very unpopular guy.
However, what about the remaining 21% of Republicans who would not vote for Trump or Clinton? Would they vote at all? Some, if not many, will not.
Others, however, are contemplating third party options.
The same logic applies to the 31% of Bernie Sanders supporters who may or will not cote for Clinton, and the 20% who would vote for Trump.
Perhaps the most frequently discussed of those options is that of voting for the Libertarian Party, whose online search results have reportedly surged since Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican primary on May 3.
On Sunday, the Libertarian Party nominated former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson for President, and former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld as his running mate.
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In an era where it seems that the Republican and Democratic parties are the only political parties around, and where dissatisfaction with them is near historical highs, it seems only fitting that additional options be shown to and discussed with the general public. Therefore, this article will be dedicated to doing so with the Libertarian Party.
Like all political parties, the Libertarian party determines its platform at its national convention. The result of this convention (aside from the nominees) are as follows:
-The Libertarian Party places emphasis over individual sovereignty over all else. It criticizes both the Democratic and Republican parties as being too regulating and authoritarian. It demands that the government not deny the right life, liberty, and property for the sake of itself or others.
-Under this philosophy, the following policy positions are advocated:
1. Individuals should be able do whatever they want to their bodies (appeals to liberals).
2. The government should not control the internet of mass media (appeals to elements of both sides).
3. The government should not spy on everybody (appeals to elements of both sides).
4. The government should not classify anybody by sexual preference (appeals to liberals).
5. The government should not regulate abortion (appeals to liberals).
6. Criminal laws should be limited to those involving person-to-person interaction (appeals to liberals).
7. The government should not regulate guns (appeals to conservatives).
8. The government should not interfere in property ownership (appeals to conservatives).
9. The government should not interfere in pollution regulation, for it is less trustworthy and effective than innovative civilians who seek to do the same (appeals to conservatives).
10. The government should not interfere with the energy market (appeals to conservatives).
11. The government should not rely on income taxes to produce a balanced budget, which should be mandatory (appeals to conservatives).
12. The government should not interfere in non-fraudulent banking practices (appeals to conservatives).
13. The government should not interfere in the free market (appeals to conservatives).
14. The government should not interfere in worker-employer relations (appeals to conservatives).
15. The government should not interfere in education, which should be determined by parents (appeals to conservatives).
16. The health care market should serve as any other market that operates across state lines, and not be subjected to government intervention (appeals to conservatives).
17. Social Security should be replaced with private retirement planning (appeals to conservatives).
18. Military service should be limited to voluntary defense of the country’s territory (appeals to elements of both sides)
19. Internal security should not trump individual liberty (appeals to elements of both sides).
20. All foreign aid should be ended (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to paleoconservatives).
21. Trade and immigration should not be restricted unless there is a threat to national security (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to liberals).
22. The government should not interfere in private practices of discrimination (appeals to conservatives).
23. The government should not try to rig electoral systems to create a party system with a limited number of parties (appeals to elements of both sides).
24. The people have the inherent right to self-determination (appeals to conservatives).
At the end of the day, this party is very socially liberal but very fiscally conservative.
This unique platform has the potential to either attract or repulse people on both sides of the political spectrum.
If the party wants a chance of growing to substantial polling numbers, it may have to target single issue voters.
Given that single-issue voters appear to be significant in numbers, as indicated by Gallup polls on the level of priority voters have on issues such as abortion and gun control, perhaps that may be all it needs to do, especially if it succeeds in attracting protest votes from disillusioned Republicans and Democrats.
Do you wish this party good luck in its quest? Feel free to comment and share your opinion below!
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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