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-Bianca Pratorius has helped usher in a backyard beekeeper movement in South Florida by training a clutch of local amateurs in the art of the bee.
-She has turned part of her northeast Miami-Dade backyard and her roof into a beekeeping paradise. (And her neighbors are totally cool with it too.)
-While Bianca only views beekeeping as a hobby, she is able to generate enough honey to sell at local farmers markets.
-Bianca has mentored Danielle Bender in how to be a beekeeper. Danielle took that knowledge and won a grant from the Miami Foundation for a project called Public Hives.
-Public Hives places beehives in public spaces in order to increase the local bee population. They also train local residents on how to tend to bees.
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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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I met my best friend when I was fourteen.
Of course, she wasn’t my first best friend.
She’s not even my only one now.
Since I was little, I’ve surrounded myself with girls that push me in every possible way.
However, it wasn’t until recently that I really started to appreciate those relationships.
The lack of strong female relationships in pop culture is sort of like your heartbeat.
You spend years not noticing it.
But when you do, you can’t stop noticing it.
Even as I started to write this piece, I was shocked by how many of my favorite female characters don’t have a single strong relationship with another girl – at least not one the audience gets to see.
The moment I started to notice my heartbeat, I was still really young.
When I was 8, my favorite TV show was Wizards of Waverly Place.
For any of you who’ve ever watched it, you know that the relationship between Harper and Alex is incredibly strong and incredibly complex.
That was a friendship that changed my life.
I could see me and my friends, finally represented on screen, and it felt amazing.
Not only that, but I wanted to work to improve the friendships I had with other girls.
Nowadays, I hardly ever consume any pop culture that doesn’t have a strong female relationship at its forefront.
The best part is, they’re all different.
My favorite show is New Girl, where the relationship between Jess and Cece is both one of the show’s most subtle, while also being its very bedrock.
My favorite artist is Taylor Swift, someone who became widely known for the strong female relationships she developed.
Teen Wolf is unabashedly one of my favorite shows on TV, and its highlight of female friendships changed the way I think about them.
This is a show that finds a way to put female relationships at its forefront, despite being centered around males.
The friendships between Allison, Lydia, Malia, and Kira, in all their different combinations, display an incredibly wide variety of relationships.
Some of them have dated the same boy, some of them have tried to kill each other, and some of them have every petty reason to hate each other, but they don’t.
This show has decided that its female friendships are more important than any love triangle, even though those do exist.
The show doesn’t pretend those obstacles don’t exist, they just demonstrate that the relationships formed among girls are way stronger than anything they could face.
They have found a way to put complex, varied, and oftentimes confusing female relationships on display, something I see in very few corners of the pop culture world.
I’m not the only one who’s felt the effects of seeing strong female relationships on TV.
I asked a few of my own strong female friends to talk to me about when they’ve seen their life changed by viewing those types of friendships in pop culture, and here’s what they said:
“Ann and Leslie [of Parks and Recreation] taught me that women should strive to build each other up, and that nothing is stronger than a female friendship built on pure love, loyalty, and trust. Female friendships don’t have to be filled with drama, and the best ones consider a five hour phone call about anything and everything equally as important as huge celebrations and milestones.” – Maggie
“Cristina Yang and Meredith Gray from Gray’s Anatomy depict what not only is a wonderful friendship, but a support system for one another. The fictional characters from the show have inspired me to not only be in my friends’ lives during the good times but to be there for support during the hard times.” – Sreelekha
More and more female friendships being represented is crucial, but the way they’re portrayed is also really important.
And while we like to think all female relationships in pop culture are great examples of representation, some miss the mark.
Here’s the biggest issue with the way pop culture sometimes displays female relationships – they exist only in a two-dimensional world.
An example of this comes from an often-raved about female friendship that just premiered this winter – Betty and Veronica on The CW’s Riverdale.
Now, I watch and love Riverdale, and I think there’s a lot of potential for the relationships to develop in new and interesting ways, but the way Betty and Veronica’s relationship exists now is very two-dimensional.
Disregarding the discussion of queerbaiting, and any sexual tension fans have picked up on, Betty and Veronica have the quintessential Strong Female Relationship.
Sure, they’ve both had feelings for the same guy, but that doesn’t matter!
They’re Strong Female Friends, and all they do is lift each other up.
The reason this comes across as a little unrealistic is because it is.
Look, I love my best friend with my everything I have.
I really would die for her, but sometimes I want to be the one doing the killing.
We’ve fought – a lot – and we have fought about boys!
The reason I consider our friendship one of the strongest in my life isn’t the fact that we’ve had jealous, petty moments – it’s the fact that we were able to move on.
Female relationships are just like any other relationship in life – they’re complicated.
The right way to portray a strong female relationship isn’t by following the rule book about what you think that should be.
It’s about embracing the different ways girls interact, the different ways they form bonds, and the different types of relationships that rise from those bonds.
One show that’s done this perfectly is HBO’s Big Little Lies.
Much of the miniseries is based on petty fighting between these women, but the end result (no spoilers here) is all the more satisfying because of that.
The show portrays female relationships exactly as they are – complex, frustrating, petty, and most of all, different.
All five of the main characters have extraordinarily different personalities, and the show doesn’t pretend those don’t exist.
In fact, every episode up until the finale points in a certain direction that is the destruction of those bonds.
However, the final episode clearly puts on display the way relationships between women are stronger than anything else in this life, even if their personalities don’t exactly mesh.
Despite all of this, all strong female friendships are good, just like all strong female characters are good.
The reality is, when a girl sees two other girls being friends, whether on TV, in a movie, in a book, or in real life, she’s inspired to develop those same sorts of ties with her friends.
And the effects of that are really, really good – like, scientifically proven good.
A UCLA study from 2002 suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.
Hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.
Relationships among women aren’t only good for the women themselves, they’re a necessary foundation to our entire society.
When women build each other up, instead of tear each other down, everyone wins.
And as women work to unlearn the decades of media that taught them girls should always fight over boys, the representation of female friendships in pop culture will be more important than ever.
My list of strong female relationships in pop culture to check out, not already mentioned:
Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica: FRIENDS
Blair and Serena: Gossip Girl
Cher & friends: Clueless
Hailee Steinfeld’s music
The Clone Club: Orphan Black
Ginny and Luna: Harry Potter series
Sansa Stark and Margaery Tyrell: Game of Thrones
Selena Gomez’s “Me & My Girls”
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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MIAMI- Alberto Paradela and Victor de Zarraga stood near the bakery section of Versailles, the famed Cuban restaurant that serves as an anchor point for the diaspora forced out by the brutalities of Fidel Castro.
The two young men, both 23, took deep puffs from cigars while staring out in awe of the scene before them.
“This is our generation’s Berlin Wall,” Paradela said.
They both looked out on SW 8th St, better known as Calle Ocho in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami.
Around them were thousands of people. Some young, many old. Most were Cubans, and everyone seemed to be in a joyous mood.
A constant melodic buzz of car horns, mixed with the occasional vuvuzela burst, drum line tap, and air horn squeal made the street sound like a sporting event.
But for Paradela and de Zarraga, this was personal.
Not only are there the descendants of one of the first flights from Castro’s despotism in 1961, they both also graduated from Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in southern Miami.
Castro was himself a grad from Belen when it was located in Havana.
But when he came to power, Castro forced the Jesuit religious community from the island. They relocated to Miami where the school became a breeding ground for anti-Castro thought and action.
“Fidel was taught the same things as us but he used it for evil,” Paradela said. “This is a night where we can move past that history.”
“It’s still a journey but a giant motivating for progress [moving forward,” de Zarraga said of the impact on Castro’s death.
While this younger generation of Cuban Americans feels excited about Castro’s death, there is also a level of surrealness.
“It’s very hard for us because our families talk about a Cuba that doesn’t exist anymore,” Paradela said.
Mauricio Pons was born and raised in Miami like Paradela and de Zarraga. He is very politically active, serving as the president of the FIU college Republicans.
“Most of us have been waiting for this for a very long time,” Pons said. “We’ll go out and celebrate the death of a tyrant and the opportunity for the process for Cuba to become a democratic state.”
Some of the young Cuban Americans in the crowd wore pro-Trump shirts and “Make America Great Again” hats.
However, one recent college graduate whose parents were born in Cuba, and didn’t want his name published, said that he felt a bit uncomfortable about the celebration of a man’s death. He said that he is a member of the Green Party.
A few hours later as the steady rain slowed, Paola and Carla Llaneza banged on pots and pans in front of the entrance of Versailles. Sisters, their parents were born in Cuba.
Paola heard the news of Castro’s death while watching Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them in a theatre. She jumped up and came to 8th Street.
“We’ve been waiting for years,” Paola said. “We thought it was going to be like this.”
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This interview is part of the “Tomorrow Lives Here” Conversation Series presented by Miami Business School.
–Sandy Goldstein started leading cyber consulting firm Capsicum Group in 2000.
–A University of Miami graduate, Goldstein spoke to Miami Business School Dean John Quelch about the threats that businesses face on a daily basis when it comes to hacking and how the Magic City is well positioned to lead in the sector.
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