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–Located right in the middle of a neighborhood, The Open Awareness Buddhist Center has been open and aware for about 15 years.
-Run by Lama Karma Chotso, the center is located in a house in El Portal.
-For dozens of members, it is a place of real refuge.
-It is located right on the banks of The Little River.
-The center started in 1996, when it was located in a Hollywood bungalow.
-A patron gave the group money to purchase the property from a fellow member in 2003.
-According to Lama Chotso, there was some controversy at the time about having a Buddhist Songha in the middle of a residential street- but she was able to win over the neighbors.
-The center offers yoga sessions as well as other Buddhist related activities- including Sunday services.
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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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What The Election Of Florida’s Racist, Conspiracy Believing Governor In 1916 Should Teach Us About 2016By Contributor
By Patricia Ray
A successful businessman with no political experience decides to run for office and finds success while taping into populist sentiment.
Sound like a modern political tale, huh?
As the old saying goes, nothing is ever truly new under the sun.
The 1916 Florida gubernatorial election was not an ordinary election and Sidney Johnston Catts was not an ordinary candidate.
He was a political outsider to say the least – an ordained Baptist minister in Alabama who later moved to Florida and became an insurance salesman.
Only a few years after moving to Florida, he decided to run for governor as a Democrat, despite having no prior political experience.
In addition to his lack of experience, Catts also was known for having outlandish beliefs.
He was staunchly anti-Catholic and anti-African American, and he believed that monks from St. Leo’s Abbey and the African American population of Florida would take over the state for Kaiser Wilhelm II, and if Germany won the war, Pope Benedict XV would move the Holy See to San Antonio, Florida.
Yep. He seriously believed that.
He even carried a gun in fear that the Pope has sent an assassin to kill him.
Catts advocated for radical ideas such as women’s suffrage, taxation of church property, and a state income tax, much to the chagrin of the conservative, Democratic-controlled Florida legislature.
At the same time, his racism went so far as to claim African Americans were “an inferior race” in response to lynchings in Florida.
Catts supported prohibition and did not attend his own inaugural ball because he opposed dancing.
Catts’ slogan was “Florida Crackers have only three friends in this world: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, and Sidney Johnston Catts,” and he became known as the “Cracker Messiah.”
“People did not take him seriously [as a candidate], and when they finally did, it was too late,” Dr. Gary Mormino, a Florida historian and the Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
As eccentric as Catts’ beliefs were, many of them resonated with the public.
Due to the anxiety of World War I, anti-German sentiments were high, and Catts’ fear mongering heightened anxieties.
Florida was a primarily Protestant state, with Catholics comprising less than 5% of the population at the time.
In the years before 1916, millions of Irish, Slavic, and Italian Catholics immigrated to the United States, and many people felt uneasy about these immigrants. The Protestant population largely was also in favor of prohibition, and Florida was already in the midst of becoming a dry state.
Catts played into the zeitgeist of the prohibition movement.
These views went hand in hand, and Catts claimed, “There is no question and rum and Romanism go together.”
Dr. Mormino describes Catts as a “larger than life figure” and attributes some of Catts’ success to his charisma and strength as a speaker.
People liked his message and viewed him as “one of them”.
In past elections, whoever won the Democratic nomination for Florida governor typically won, as the Republicans were a minority party in much of the American South.
But in 1916, the Democrats were spilt in Florida.
Catts originally won the Democratic nomination by a margin of 544 votes but then lost it to William Knott by a mere 23 votes after a recount.
The underhanded dealings surrounding the nomination and the recount garnered support for Catts and painted him as a martyr the party establishment had robbed of the nomination.
In wake of this support, he ran for the Prohibitionist party nomination and won, going on to win the election with 43% of the vote and becoming the first Florida governor to win as a third-party candidate.
During his term as Governor, Catts reformed the convict lease system. He also made labor and tax reforms, furthered his prohibitionist agenda, improved transportation systems, and passed legislation relating to the care of the mentally ill.
He supported women’s rights and even appointed a woman to his staff. Despite opposition from the legislature, Catts was able to pass several legislative measures.
As you’ve probably guessed, there are many parallels between the 1916 Florida gubernatorial election and the 2016 presidential election.
Sidney Johnston Catts was a political outsider like Donald Trump whereas Hillary Clinton is seen as more of an establishment candidate, much like William Knott.
Many people also did not take Trump’s campaign very seriously until he won the Republican nomination.
In 1916, the fear of war fueled anti-immigrant sentiments towards Italians, Poles, and Slovaks, and Catts was able to play into the public’s fears, making his crazy ideas seem more palatable.
Today, fears stemming from 9/11 and other recent events has allowed anti-Muslim ideas and policies to gain alarming traction.
For example, Trump has called for a blanket ban of Muslims from entering the country.
In 1916, the conditions were just right for Sidney Johnston Catts to win the seat of governor of Florida.
After leaving office, he ran for governor twice more and once for the U.S. Senate but was unsuccessful each time.
As strange as Catts’ gubernatorial election seems, some aspects of it are paralleled today, and perhaps this oddity of the past should be considered as we look to the future.
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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Apple Apologizes After Australian Store Asks Black Kids To Leave Over Fear They Would Steal Something
”These guys are … just a bit worried you might steal something…I need to ask you to leave our store.”
Those were the words of a manager of an Apple store in Melbourne, Australia as he was asking a group of six black schoolboys to leave the premises of the tech store.
According to the BBC, the schoolboys believed that the incident was racially motivated and the American tech giant even issued an apology after a video of the encounter was released.
“Inclusion and diversity are among Apple’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation,” Apple said in a statement obtained by the BBC. “That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions. We’ve looked into the details of the situation and we apologise to the customers involved. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure all our customers are treated the way they should be.”
The local manager of the Australian also apologized.
The apologies seemed to be enough for at least one of the boys wrongly targeted.
“They apologised, so we’re chilling, no need to take it further,” Mohamed Semra wrote on Facebook according to the Daily Record.
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By Staff Report
We know that a bunch of people in South Florida were bummed out when Pope Francis didn’t stop over during his whirlwind American trip.
I mean, the pontiff did go to Cuba, a Miami trip would have made total sense.
But no worries, because a few Miami guys decided to imagine what a Pope Francis trip to the 305 would actually look like.
And after watching this hilarious video, you can probably see why the Holy See didn’t want Frank anywhere near Miami.
HT/ Jordan Blecher
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