Oh boy this is just too damn funny.
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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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For Women To Be Truly Empowered, We Have To Do More Than Just Tweet
By Carolina de la Fuente
Women make 79 cents to a man’s dollar every time they are paid. To many, 21 cents is chump change, but for women all around the country, these 21 cents speak volumes about the state of gender equality.
I recently participated in a research project at my college and it helped me understand feminism a little bit better and I’d like to share my newfound insight with you.
But first, a quick statement on terms: Feminism isn’t about women alone, it’s about equality of the sexes.
In this project, I specifically focused on women in the field of communications, but this information can be relevant to any woman in any field. There’s a greater picture here.
In 2013, TIME magazine stated “For three decades more women than men have graduated from college, but that academic dominance has not led to corresponding business or political success.”
There is a sort of stereotype embedded in society that tells us that women are “the softer sex” and that men are the leaders.
Sometimes, we are naturally partaking in this narrative and we don’t even notice it. The mere fact that women make up only 5 percent of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies makes this a very big concern of mine.
So how can we fix this? Calling ourselves feminists and tweeting things like “MY P*SSY, MY CHOICE” can only go so far. Though, there is some valid rationale behind that concept.
The most important thing we have to do is empower women.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, said in a 60 Minutes interview: “Women play it too safe. They must aim high and fight the instinct to hold back.”
It’s a matter of identity. We have to reiterate the narrative that it’s okay for a woman to be outspoken and assertive without having to be perceived as a “bitch.”
Women need to identify and become comfortable with all their aspirations and not let this stereotype come in the way or shy them down.
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Mindy Marques, the Executive Editor and Vice President of the Miami Herald, reinforced this notion in a recent talk she made at Florida International University.
“As women, we tend to dwell on our weaknesses, and men I think focus more on their strengths,” Marques said. “We often bring that self-criticism to the workplace as well, and so we’re dissecting our abilities; second-guessing ourselves.”
Besides issues of identity, there is a whole system that also needs to be tapped into in order to change this disproportionate number of women leaders.
In this case, it is leadership training that could be the big fix.
In order for women to become empowered, we must train them and provide them with resourceful skills to go out on their jobs and be able to ask for that pay raise, or speak up about an unpopular opinion in that business meeting.
Kathy Fitzpatrick, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Communication at American University, suggests colleges should implement a standard curriculum for leadership training in communications.
“We can learn a lot from schools of business and other schools who have taken a lead in attempting to identify the core content and objective of leadership training,” Fitzpatrick said in a recent speech at FIU.
Leadership training is a crucial skill that needs to be held as a priority in this field whether it be through curriculum reform or mentorship programs.
As fun as it is to angry-tweet when you want to feel empowered, it’s important to understand the root of the problem and the solutions we can present to our institutions.
And it is even more important to remember that a big chunk of the responsibility is on the woman herself, to feel empowered and to continue empowering.
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.
Cover Photo Credit: Ian Clark/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 735
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This Is The Oldest Building In The Western Hemisphere. We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of It
By Nick Moncy
Secluded within the groves surrounding West Dixie Highway lies a Florida Heritage site you may not have heard of – the Ancient Spanish Monastery.
A North Miami Beach relic, it boasts historic structures containing Romanesque and pre-Gothic architecture. Stretching from as far back as the 12th century, conserved artifacts take visitors into the life of medieval monks in northern Spain.
It is now considered by many historians to be the oldest building in the whole of the Western Hemisphere.
But how this wonder ended up in Miami is a long story
Here’s the condensed version:
From 1133 to 1141 AD, the monastery and cloisters were constructed in Sacramenia, a city in the province of Segovia, Spain. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was renamed to recognize its renowned abbot Bernard of Clairvaux after his canonization.
The Cloisters housed Cisterian monks for seven centuries following, after which a social shift in the 1830s had the buildings converted into a simple granary and stable.
In 1925, famous publisher William Randolph Hearst acquired the Cloisters and the Refectory (the original Monastery section still stands overseas). Both were disassembled, numbered by part, packed into about 11,000 wooden boxes and shipped to the United States. After they lay in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York for almost a decade, most parts were sold at an auction after the Great Depression ruined Hearst financially; the remainders were sent back to storage.
In 1952, Ohio businessmen William Edgemon and Raymond Moss bought the remainder of the stones looking to create a tourist hotspot in Miami.
It proved to be a challenge because the workmen involved in the grand move thirty years ago did not replace the stones in their original numbered boxes. Reconstructing the Cloisters took 19 months and almost $1.5 million (surpassing $13 million in today’s currency). TIME magazine called the effort “the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history”.
After financial struggles in 1964, the Cloisters were once again up for sale. Wealthy banker and Episcopal donor Col. Robert Pentland, Jr. swept in and purchased them for the Episcopal Bishop of Florida. The monastery now houses the Episcopal Church of St. Bernard de Clairveux.
Largely in thanks to Edgemon and Moss’ contribution, this story physically unravels across the space in several parts.
At the front of the property is a moderately-sized lobby area full of ancient artifacts. Though they are protected by glass cases and velvet rope, one can whiff a hint of rust. There are corbels used to support the weight of wall fixtures, a hearse that carried dead bodies, even a hymnarium propped on a refectory table that monks read from while gathered for meals. There are cabinets covered with fresco paintings by a student of Raphael’s done alla prima, a rapid style that required oil paintings to be completely finished before the first layer of paint dried. At the back of the room there is even a full suit of armor from the 1600s.
Double doors open to an outdoor path toward the monastery, an escape from the onslaught of outdated vocabulary. An iron gate introduces the spacious, elegantly-pruned garden, a nursery before the Monastery’s arrival. It resembles a maze: narrow, crunchy gravel paths lead visitors all over.
The Ram’s Head Pillar, Baptismal Font and donated statues of Jesus and Mary stand scattered throughout the garden. One shaded path at the back right goes to the refectory section of the Monastery, which holds the chapel in which North Miami Beach Anglicans congregate.
Getting back on the central path leads to the Cloisters’ foreboding wooden doors. Above them is a detailed relief of Mary’s crowning by angels; lions representing Leon and Castille are visible in the scene. A metal bell up above once clanged boisterously to summon monks for meals long ago, but these days there is only tranquil silence.
The atmosphere inside the Cloisters is still, accompanied only by echoed footsteps and occasional chanting. Its main area is composed of hallways and chambers bordering a roofless, central courtyard. The contrast between the illuminated patio and the dark columned hallways is an aesthetic phenomenon that illustrates the Cloisters’ harmony with Miami tropics. In the halls on opposite corners are life-size statues of both Alfonso VII, king of Leon and Castille during the Monastery’s construction, and his grandson Alfonso VIII. In all, this is certainly hallowed ground.
Though the Monastery is a masterpiece from the past, its history continues to grow today. The twenty-acre attraction alone contains about one thousand unique plant and tree species. Fifty-thousand people visit annually, with sixty-five percent of that crowd being tourists. It also draws in members of the northern Miami community: last year, nine hundred public, private and homeschooled students received educational programming that met Florida’s curricular standards. The Ancient Spanish Monastery Foundation non-profit recognizes local leaders and outstanding figures each year at its Legacy Gala and pours all its proceeds back toward the preservation efforts for the site.
If you stop by for a tour, one figure you’re sure to meet is Tania Witten. An employee at the Monastery since 1999, she organizes bridal events. “It gets crazy here sometimes,” Witten said in an interview. “This place is used for weddings, quinceñeras, and even yoga four times a week.” She also noted the intriguing fact that despite its prominence, the Monastery and Cloisters are hidden gems to most North Miami Beach natives. “No one knows about us, really, even people who’ve lived here for fifty years. They’d say, ‘I never knew this was here.’”
Photo Credits: Nick Moncy/ RISE NEWS.
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There’s A Bleak Outlook For Artists And Businesses In Industrial buildings
By Paulus Choy
HONG KONG- When tourists step into the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, their sights are usually occupied by the cliched high-rises, shopping malls and night-life of this international city.
Unbeknownst to them, the robust and often run-down industrial areas here also offer entertainment.
Walk into some of the industrial buildings here, and you may find little boutiques, art galleries or restaurants. These establishments although raw on the edges, showcase unfiltered passion and creativity, that you can’t get while walking in air-conditioned shopping malls.
However, artists and entrepreneurs alike are scared for their future in Hong Kong, due to recent industrial building evictions in the city, amid public safety concerns for these buildings after accidents occurred in them.
Hong Kong’s industrial past
As one of the “four little dragons”, Hong Kong relied upon its industrial and manufacturing market to make her mark since the 60s. As the owners started to shift to the mainland to lessen costs, more of these buildings were abandoned.
Our economy shifted towards a seemingly diversified economy, whilst exclusively fostering growth in the service and finance industry.
Nowadays the manufacturing industry is almost non-existent, with industrial production dropping yearly, according to the Census and Statistics Bureau.
We have award winning restaurants, tourist attractions and of course, high rent prices; For the sixth year in the row, Hong Kong have been crowned with the most unaffordable housing market, by the International Housing affordability survey Demographia.
Our expensive commercial rent prices forced many start-ups to scavenge for deals, where many stumble into cheaper industrial spaces.
Now, you can find pretty much everything in these industrial spaces: according to the Planning Department, non-industrial uses include art showrooms, shops and restaurants, with about 21% of these being for shops and services in 2014.
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Wary of this trend, the HKSAR government decided to set up Industrial building revitalisation scheme in 2009’s policy address.
Hong Kong’s chief executive announced a set of tools to support revitalisation, yet until now many building tenants still opt to operate without the government’s permission.
Half of the applications this year got approved according to the Development Bureau, meaning some of the tenants have to tread carefully and operate without proper land lease conversions.
Government crackdown on “illegal” industrial buildings
Secretary for Development Chan Mo-po announced that buildings in violation of land leases, that attracted crowds and had premises inside with licenses to handle Dangerous material, shall be ordered to restore the space to its original state within 30 days, or else the government will repo the whole building.
Amongst the 11 buildings inspected, 73 cases were found to have match the considerations.
The checks were initiated after two big fires that occurred with these industrial complex. one fire started in a storage facility, that eventually cost the lives of two firefighters, sparking public outcry to beef up regulations on these buildings.
The recent evictions forced many of the artists and small businesses to move out; According to the Lands Department, 19 of the 73 cases have ceased operating, these include band rooms, gyms and restaurants.
The government has not provided any support after their eviction, many are left to lookout for themselves.
Read More: What The Walk21 Conference Taught Me About The Future Of Hong Kong
Many tenants are worried of these evictions; Factory Artist’s concern group issued a public letter to the government, expressing their concern on the recent evictions on cultural activities in industrial spaces, urging officials to loosen up regulations for cultural/artistic activities, and provide support to evicted tenants.
Culprit of the accidents
These evictions were to raise safety standards of the buildings, according to the Lands Department, saying these evictees attracted crowds, with buildings at risk of developing accidents.
According to local newspaper SCMP reports, there has yet to be an identified cause to the fires. Are tenants the sole culprit of these accidents?
Certain industrial complex do lack in fire safety precautions: According to a territory-wide survey done by the Fire and Services Department, there are over 300 buildings without proper sprinkler systems.
But to Paco Wong, who owns a few units in an industrial building here, management companies in these buildings are also responsible for fire safety standards.
He said tenants are responsible for fire fighting equipment within their units, but management companies are responsible for areas outside of the rented units.
He said a lot of the management companies don’t do a lot, as doing less and spending less money from collected management fees, means more profits for the management companies. The office- owner said many management bodies would tighten controls only when government checks begin.
Complex land lease conversions
Evictees were accused not only for safety standards, but also for conflicting land leases.
Many of these abandoned buildings were stipulated for industrial use in its land lease, so for people who want to set up businesses or workshops, they would have to convert the land lease in order to legitimise their operations in the complex, which will involve wholesale conversions. according to the government’s announcement in Legco.
Most of the buildings have leases falling into the “Industrial use” or “other uses(business)” as shown in the area assessment, done by the Planning Department.
If individual tenants of the complex want to convert their lease, they would have to obtain consent from every tenant in the building, initiating certain structural changes to the area, which doesn’t help when over 60% of these buildings have multiple owners.
Read More: Ethnic Minorities Need To Be Embraced As Fellow Hong Kongers
These modifications range from fire safety precautions, to parking lot additions, these projects take time and money, which were sorely lacking in a lot of the applications, even though government has announced financial aids including waivers and lowering application threshold.
Those who could afford conversions, are usually big corporations with the resources to sustain the changes. This raises doubts on whether the scheme can also help the middle/small-sized enterprises here, who can’t entertain the soaring commercial property prices.
Mr. Wong said few of the tenants attempted to do conversions, many of them were paying rent whilst waiting for the conversion approval. By the time they got approved, the tenants had to move out as they could not bear the costs any more. He also said the conversions require land premiums, which would raise rents.
He said the only ones who could have complete a conversion are people with a lot of money, or big corporations.
This could explain why there were subsequent withdrawals, after initial applications have been accepted by the government, according to data provided by the Secretary of Development.
Different government departments are involved when dealing with industrial buildings, which not only clogs down the operations, but it is often confusing to shop owners applying for spaces in industrial areas.
Right now, an application have to go through several departments at the same time, including the Planning Department, Lands Department, Fire and safety department etc.
One single department should be set up dedicated to these areas, with uniform and refined laws regulating the shop space, given there has been genuine demand for industrial spaces amongst artists and entrepreneurs.
This should be coupled with more government financial support, especially during the conversion period. This could encourage tenants to operate their businesses legally, instead of fearing for government checks every second.
Some of these buildings are at risk of developing accidents, but instead of fidgeting and closing down everything, government should examine and tackle the situation systematically.
They should identify businesses that could be in-risk of developing accidents; those that are not at risk of developing accidents, attracting small amount of people at the same time, should be allowed to continue.
Of course the details of the standards should be hashed out and be accessible to the public for reference.
Moreover management companies should also be held accountable, the government should also examine the performance of these companies, conducting regular checks on these management bodies.
With individual conversions and a dedicated guideline around it, tenants can operate their businesses legally, and improve safety standards at the same time, so that they can continue enriching Hong Kong.
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.
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