The 44 Percent: Roe v. Wade, Florida civic training & Diddy

·4 min read

The end of Roe v. Wade. Debates on what “all men are created equal” meant in 1776. A huge blow to reversing the effects of climate change.

It’s a very scary time when there are members of Congress calling Roe v. Wade’s dissolution a “victory for white life” and comparing the ruling to the end of Plessy v. Ferguson.

I wonder how this will affect future generations. Women’s history already isn’t taught enough in schools. The same is true for Black history. And the lifetime appointment of Supreme Court justices means a special brand of conservatism — something The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer termed “undead constitutionalism” — will be the law of the land for some time to come. That last part in particular worries Serwer:

“The majority’s supposed originalism is a means to affirm novel legal interpretations grounded in present-day right-wing grudges as what the Constitution demanded all along,” Serwer wrote. Put differently, Serwer believes the Supreme Court will weaponize the Constitution to codify the latest, hot-button right-wing view into law. “That is ultimately why no rights that Americans currently possess are safe from this Court. Decisions about which rights survive and which do not are highly dependent on what it means to be a conservative at that time.”

And as Florida continues to become the bastion of conservatism, there’s a chance that some of the very policies that made Gov. Ron DeSantis rise in the G.O.P. take root nationally.

C. Isaiah Smalls II author card
C. Isaiah Smalls II author card

INSIDE THE 305

The patio at the original Wood Tavern in Wynwood, which closed in 2021 and reopened in Pizza and Beer around the corner.
The patio at the original Wood Tavern in Wynwood, which closed in 2021 and reopened in Pizza and Beer around the corner.

Closed for good: Wynwood and Allapattah just lost three local favorite hangouts:

Dear Wood Tavern,

First things first: rest in power.

You welcomed a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 23-year-old with open arms when I first moved down here. In fact, you were my first – the first bar I ever went to in Miami, that is. For that, you will forever be in my heart.

With Love,

Zay

Larry Little looks toward the audience after unveiling his plaque at Booker T. Washington High School. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Ford Motor Company paid tribute to the former Miami Dolphins great at his alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016. Little was honored as part of the Hometown Hall of Famer program.
Larry Little looks toward the audience after unveiling his plaque at Booker T. Washington High School. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Ford Motor Company paid tribute to the former Miami Dolphins great at his alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016. Little was honored as part of the Hometown Hall of Famer program.

Ex-Dolphins great Larry Little who aids college-bound teens ‘a jewel’ of Miami-Dade:

Larry Little is a Miami legend.

A graduate of Booker T. Washington High, Little went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL, be a member of the 1972 Dolphins’ perfect season and be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1993. That alone would be considered a pretty stellar resume in the 305. Little, however, wanted to do more.

And thus the Larry Little Gold Coast Foundation was born. In mid-June, the nonprofit awarded 41 $1,000 scholarships to students en route to college. Those actions are what make the five-time Pro Bowler a “jewel of the Miami-Dade community,” said Willie Carpenter, a mentee of Little’s since 1971 .

“Larry is a very humble man. He doesn’t seek recognition for what he does. Not only does he lend his name and gives his time to worthwhile causes, Larry also raises a lot of funds help the youngsters in our community,” said Carpenter, chairman of the Larry Little Gold Coast Foundation.

OUTSIDE THE 305

This is one of the slides shown during the Florida Department of Education’s training series for civics and government teachers.
This is one of the slides shown during the Florida Department of Education’s training series for civics and government teachers.

Teachers alarmed by state’s infusing religion, downplaying race in civics training:

Florida’s new civics training is raising some eyebrows.

For a state that has been on the front lines of limiting how schools teach race, gender identity and other parts of history, however, this should come as no surprise. The Miami Herald’s Ana Ceballos and Sommer Brugal have more:

Those dynamics came into full view last week, when trainers told Broward teachers the nation’s founders did not desire a strict separation of state and church, downplayed the role the colonies and later the United States had in the history of slavery in America, and pushed a judicial theory, favored by legal conservatives like DeSantis, that requires people to interpret the Constitution as the framers intended it, not as a living, evolving document, according to three educators who attended the training.

A few aspects of the training stood out:

  1. One slide underscored that the “Founders expected religion to be promoted because they believed it to be essential to civic virtue.” Without virtue, another slide noted, citizens become “licentious” and become subject to tyranny.

  2. On slavery, the state said that two-thirds of the founding fathers were slave owners but emphasized that “even those that held slaves did not defend the institution.”

  3. Throughout the sessions, teachers said, facilitators emphasized that most enslaved people in the country were born into slavery and that the colonies didn’t buy nearly as many enslaved people during the transatlantic slave trade as has been portrayed.

Barbara Segal, a 12th grade government teacher at Fort Lauderdale High School, described the sessions, which are part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative, as “very skewed.”

“We are constantly under attack, and there is this false narrative that we’re indoctrinating children, but that is nothing compared to what the state just threw in new civic educators’ faces. That’s straight-up indoctrination,” said Segal, a 46-year-old teacher with 19 years of experience.

Delou Africa Dance Ensemble member Asha Dorsey (left) performs during a video taping for Brooklyn Academy of Musics Dance Africa Festival, a virtual dance festival performance this year celebrates the ancestral energy of Haiti, in Miami, Florida on Sunday, May 16, 2021.
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble member Asha Dorsey (left) performs during a video taping for Brooklyn Academy of Musics Dance Africa Festival, a virtual dance festival performance this year celebrates the ancestral energy of Haiti, in Miami, Florida on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

An alternative history of Vodou:

Let’s be honest: many people know very little about Vodou.

That’s because the perception of Vodou has been heavily influenced by Christianity and American film, as Nadege Green recently pointed out in The Atlantic. In the United States, a growing group of Vodou devotees are trying to set the record straight.

“Vodou is very big on respecting nature, remembering the ancestors, and the rhythm and vibration through dance, song, and the drum. Vodou is energy,” Alain Pierre-Louis told Green.

As Green describes, Vodou — and those fighting to realign its meaning — is central to the “liberation ethos” of Haiti.

Tracing back to the 1600s, Vodou was founded as a unifying religion among enslaved Africans who had previously practiced different spiritual systems in their respective ethnic groups on the continent. Yet since its inception, it has been dogged by propaganda that paints it as diabolical sorcery—the perpetrators of chattel slavery led the earliest campaigns to portray Vodou as sinister.



HIGH CULTURE

Sean “Diddy” Combs at LIV
Sean “Diddy” Combs at LIV

Diddy’s Iconic BET Awards Tribute:

Hip-hop – and music in general – has historically been a young man’s game. But more than 30 years after joining Uptown Records, 30 years after finding the preeminent Notorious B.I.G. and 25 years after “No Way Out” skyrocketed him to international superstardom, Diddy — or Puffy, Puff Daddy or whatever you want to call him — is still here.

On Sunday, Diddy was presented the BET Lifetime Achievement Award that included an iconic performance featuring Jodeci, Mary J. Blige and Busta Rhyme. What a perfect way to cap Black Music Month.

Where does “The 44 Percent” name come from? Click here to find out how Miami history influenced the newsletter’s title.

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