What’s News In This Story?
–Surterra Wellness opened their storefront Monday at 1523 Alton Road after a “big effort” to get it opened.
–It is the company’s first South Florida dispensary and one of only a handful in the region.
–The shop technically opened on April 20 (4/20, duh)- but was forced to relaunch on April 23.
–Florida is one of 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana.
–A petition drive to get a measure to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use on the November ballot failed earlier this year.
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By Kelsey D’Auben
Last month Netflix premiered it’s latest collaboration project with Marvel Comics- Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
Starring Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, the show follows a troubled New York private investigator who doesn’t play by the rules and also happens to have super strength and the ability to (kind of) fly.
Jessica Jones is the first female lead in the Marvel cinematic universe with special abilities. But her super powers are not what makes her so special.
Jessica Jones isn’t a super hero. She doesn’t wear a cape, or fight evil villains who are trying to take over the world. The evil Jessica Jones faces is a very real one, one that many real women face everyday. Jessica Jones isn’t trying to save mankind from a super evil mastermind; she is fighting against her abuser.
Kilgrave is the notorious villain of the show played by David Tennant. He has the power of mind-control and throughout the show viewers are shown flashbacks of Kilgrave and Jessica’s past “relationship” when she was under his control.
Not only does he force her to commit violent and heinous crimes, including murder, he also forces her into an abusive relationship. Using his powers he forces her to stay by his side while he tells her what to wear, when to smile, and even forces her to have sex with him. He controls her every move, all the while she remains helpless and unable to fight back.
She is able to escape from him, but only to suffer from PTSD accompanied by severe alcoholism, isolation, and insomnia for months after. When Kilgrave makes his return he wants only one thing – Jessica back. And he’ll do anything or hurt anyone to get her. He justifies all his horrific actions because he is doing so out of “love” for her.
Now, if you eliminate the superpowers and car chases from the show, the relationship between Jessica Jones and Kilgrave is very much real. He abuses her, but not physically. He never lays a finger on her because he doesn’t have to.
Everything Kilgrave does to Jessica are things that happen to people in mentally and emotionally abusive relationships. The way he obsesses over her and stalks her, the way he isolates her from her friends, when she tries to go to the police they don’t believe her, how he honestly believes he loves her, and how after all of the terrible things he has done to her Jessica genuinely believe it’s her fault.
Mental and emotional abusive tend to be overlooked when discussing issues of abuse in relationship. But they are just as harmful and need to be talked about, and that is why Jessica Jones is so important. This show brings to light real terrors that face women every day and show a realistic woman fighting against them.
And that is why Jessica Jones is one of the most important characters that Marvel has ever had.
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Cover Photo Credit: Facebook/ Marvel’s Jessica JonesPost Views: 213
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Climate change is real.
Most people in South Florida understand that things are changing in the local environment as the king tides seem to be getting worse, and as Hurricane Irma showed, we are at serious threat for more dangerous storm surge due to sea level rise.
Again, most people in this town believe that climate change is real.
Sadly, a glaring falsehood about what happens to certain Miami neighborhoods during king tides will only muddy the waters and give climate change deniers more ammunition in their fight to ignore reality.
Rolling Stone excerpted a few thousand word section of a freshly released book by one of its writers, Jeff Goodell.
The book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World seems like an interesting and important read.
Full disclosure: I have not had the chance to read it.
Goodell seems to be a top notch reporter who has spent a great deal of time on the ground researching the book.
But, how can he explain this, from the excerpt?:
“In Miami Beach, streets are being elevated and LEED-certified condo towers are rising, but in low-income neighborhoods like Miami Shores, you have to walk through shit-filled water every time a big tide arrives.”
A few points here.
One: to anyone who has even spent a few hours traveling around South Florida would realize, Miami Shores is not a “low-income neighborhood”.
VIDEO: storm surge caused by Hurricane Irma in Miami Shores:
Miami Shores is geographically close to some of the poorest areas of Miami-Dade County, but the village itself is considered a wealthy one.
Census data shows that the median value of owner-occupied housing units in Miami Shores is $397,800.
The county average?
When looking at various Census data points, Miami Shores (on a per capita basis) could be considered wealthier than Miami Beach.
Look at median household income.
Miami Shores- $97,500.
Miami Beach- $44,342.
Miami-Dade County- $43,129.
Sorry to be a stickler, but when dealing with such an important crisis, all the facts matter.
Now, on to the second and far more important point.
Just to recap:
“…in low-income neighborhoods like Miami Shores, you have to walk through shit-filled water every time a big tide arrives.”
That is just not true.
I grew up in Miami Shores and my family has lived in the community for nearly 40 years.
None of us have ever heard of raw sewage flooding the streets during king tides.
A king tide just happened last week.
There were no reports of “shit filled water” flooding the area.
This is not to say that Miami Shores doesn’t have a shit problem.
In the village council election that took place in April, candidate Eddie Lewis made the potential for climate change induced septic issues, a centerpiece of his campaign. (The point was largely ignored by local voters.)
But he wasn’t talking about it as a current issue.
Lewis was projecting into the future and arguing for a proactive solution to tackle climate change issues before they arise.
Miami Shores, like many old South Florida neighborhoods, doesn’t have a municipal sewer system for the over 3,000 homes in the community.
Instead, it relies on an expensive and fragile septic tank and drain field systems.
This can be extremely problematic if the ground around the tank becomes overly saturated with water.
As Quartz explained in a poop primer piece published prior to the pummeling from Hurricane Irma:
“Backed up toilets are also becoming a more common occurrence. The waste produced by about a third of the people going to the bathroom any given day in Florida (that includes tourists) goes into a septic tank. In order for a tank to do its job, there needs to be room for the liquid portion of the waste to slowly filter down into the ground. When groundwater levels go up, though, they push the waste back up, sometimes resulting in a poop flood.”
Again, Miami Shores probably does have a real long-term problem here.
Florida had a raw sewage crisis unfold after Hurricane Irma.
And the Biscayne Waterkeeper recently discovered a pipe in Biscayne Bay that is spewing raw sewage into the water at a potential rate of millions of gallons a day.
And its been spewing for over a year.
So we’ve got real problems down here man.
We know it.
If we don’t get the world to make serious changes, there is a good chance that the place that we love will become Atlantis.
But, that’s why we need to stick to facts and not get sucked into hyperbole.
I’m sure that Goodell just made a mistake, and we’ll give him the chance to clear it up.
But climate change deniers take every mistake and twist them to undermine the overall reality.
We can’t let that happen.
Otherwise, we’ll end up drowning in the shit.
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Over the course of American history, politicians have adopted a clever, yet nefarious way of using racial stereotypes as a tool for political gain.
From the War on Drugs that frames black men as “criminals” to the emergence of the so called “welfare queen,” history has shown us that framing particularly disadvantaged groups as “dangerous” or “unworthy” enables politicians to gain political support from the public, particularly white middle and low-class Americans.
If I had to sum up, in two words, the United States’ racial marginalization of the poor and financially dependent, “welfare queen” is as good and as bad as it gets.
The myth of the welfare queen is still a prominent weapon used today in U.S politics that tends to go unnoticed.
The U.S political system has maintained these false ideas about marginalized people in our society by reducing them to a second class citizen status and enacting discriminatory policies that perpetuate durable systems of injustice within our democracy.
The legacy of legal discrimination persists in our society today as low-income mother’s struggle to gain and maintain financial benefits from the government.
The burden of the welfare queen has become one of the most cutting stereotypes that plagues families across the United States.
It hurts because it has worked in changing policy.
The birth of this political myth emerged after the criminalization of Linda Taylor, an African American woman, who quickly became the embodiment of a pernicious stereotype after being sentenced to prison for welfare fraud in 1977.
Ronald Reagan gave a speech in his unsuccessful 1976 campaign for president that managed to frame poor African American and Latina mothers as “users of the system” without any concrete evidence other than the act of a single woman.
“She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.”
One woman who cheated the system evidently became the face of all welfare recipients, despite the fact that white families, typically, have been more likely to be on welfare.
Although it is not entirely clear all of which she fraudulated, Reagan’s intent became less about exposing the ways in which “liberal policies” had fractured the economy and more about turning the white American majority against minorities as a tool for political gain.
Reagan’s attack on welfare suggested that programs such as these, paid by tax dollars, only aided irresponsible black people.
Using the story of Linda Taylor, Reagan labeled millions of America’s poorest people as “deceitful” and funneled the belief that welfare fraud was a nationwide epidemic that needed to be terminated.
This image of widespread and unbridled welfare fraud allowed Reagan to convince voters to support his cuts to public assistance spending.
This was not the first instance that an American politician used self serving tactics to turn the public against the poor and displaced.
Much like the coined term “American Negro” the welfare queen became a convenient target for hate by simply framing Linda Taylor as the stereotypical lazy, black con artist.
Despite the fact that Reagan gave Taylor the most critical identity, the welfare queen stemmed from a longer and much deeper racialized history of prejudice and animosity toward families receiving welfare benefits in the United States.
This inequitable idea of the “deserving poor” and “undeserving poor” became a political weapon that Reagan introduced into U.S politics that his forerunners would all sustain.
Today, over 20 years after the implementation of Bill Clinton era welfare reform, the unwarranted stigma against poor women of color remains.
This telling of the “welfare queen” as users of the system continues to influence public policy by distinguishing between those who are “deserving” of support and those who are not.
President Donald Trump’s administrative budget cuts are now putting Americans on edge, especially those who rely heavily on public assistance programs.
Trump’s budget will potentially force millions of poor people off of food stamps and benefit programs such as Medicaid.
A recent article from Time Magazine states:
Cuts include a whopping $193 billion from food stamps over the coming decade — a cut of more than 25 per cent — implemented by cutting back eligibility and imposing additional work requirements, according to talking points circulated by the White House. The program presently serves about 42 million people.
Among these 42 million people, is my own mother, a 59 year old, single Latina mother suffering from chronic kidney disease, who directly relies on welfare benefits.
Being raised by a single mother on public assistance has allotted me with a perspective that a majority of politicians and policy makers could never understand.
It is clear that public policy continues to reflect the interests of the elite rather than the needs of the poor.
Such conditions only further the economic and racial divide in the U.S and perpetuates existing stereotypes about families and women receiving government assistance.
Although my mother has been on welfare my whole life, she is not your stereotypical “welfare queen.”
She is not Linda Taylor nor is she a “user of the system.”
My mother is a woman who managed to raise six children on her own with the little help she did receive from programs like Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Yet, our story will remain under the scrutiny of those who may have never had to step foot in a welfare office.
Ending the myth of the welfare queen within public policy means acknowledging how we manifest these stereotypes in our everyday lives.
It means recognizing that one person’s mistake cannot suddenly be the burden of others that look like them.
For far too long, our society has reduced people of color to a second class citizen status, resulting in the unremitting struggle to overcome the burden of such baseless conclusions.
We must overcome this myth by restructuring and developing policy around families as they are—not who society deems them to be.
Rather than stigmatizing recipients of public assistance programs, the government must strengthen the ways in which these programs respond to critical social and economic needs.
Even more so, we must acknowledge how failure to reconcile the racial discrimination of our nation’s past infringes our ability to ensure that all Americans have the dignity they deserve in the present.
We can fight against this stigma by advocating for the full participation of all Americans our society and the economy.
Instead of dwelling on individual failures or mistakes, we should be asking ourselves how we got here and how we can move towards a more equitable society.
RISE NEWS is a news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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Cover photo credit: U.S. ArmyPost Views: 332
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