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Image: Orlando Weekly Cover Art, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

Under Orlando’s real-time surveillance partnership with Amazon, everyone’s a suspect


Orlando Police Chief John Mina doesn’t see a privacy issue in Orlando’s partnership with Amazon for their real-time surveillance technology. Using the city’s extensive camera system, Amazon’s Rekognition program will scan people’s faces as it looks for a person of interest when it becomes fully operational. Mina says it’s similar to officers using their eyes to scan a crowd. But Clare Garvie, with the Center on Privacy & Technology, says Orlando’s use of Rekognition is actually more like police asking everyone in a crowd for individual IDs to make sure they aren’t a suspect. With little scrutiny, Orlando leaders have been experimenting for months with this powerful new technology, which they hope will help them catch criminals, find missing children …
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Orlando Weekly Cover – hemp, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

The Federal Farm Bill could make hemp farming legal – but in the meantime, Big Pharma and the FDA have quietly moved in on CBD


While the state of Florida drags its feet through the process of implementing medical marijuana, some prospective patients are relying on CBD products as a fallback. CBD is the non-psychoactive medicinal compound derived from cannabis. It’s generally processed from hemp, not marijuana. And in what seems like great news for CBD, it’s likely the Federal Farm Bill making its way through Congress will legalize hemp farming. But not so fast: Big Pharma may have made an end run around this nascent industry. On June 25, the FDA approved GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, a drug with CBD as its active ingredient, to treat epilepsy. But the FDA considers the sale of any food or cosmetic that contains the active ingredient of an …
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Photo: Observers at the Sasha Garden vigil by Monivette Cordeiro, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

A transgender woman was murdered in Orlando last week and how it was reported was awful


Last week, a transgender woman was found dead at the back of an Orlando apartment complex. Orange County Sheriff’s deputies found the body of 27-year-old Sasha Garden at the Reserve at Lake Buchanan Apartments on Holden Avenue around 5 a.m. on July 19. Investigators said her body had signs of trauma and described her death as a “homicide.” No suspects have been identified so far. Garden is the fourth black trans woman to be murdered in Florida within the span of five months. Like the other three women, Garden was initially misgendered in an offensive way by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and local TV news stations. Hours after Garden’s friends and family called them out, the Sheriff’s Office finally …
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Image: Jiha Moon’s exhibit, mennellomuseum.org
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

Jiha Moon’s exhibit “Double Welcome” at the Mennello Museum of American Art


Atlanta-based Korean artist Jiha Moon’s new show at the Mennello Museum explores the complexities of cultural exchange. “Double Welcome” mashes up traditional folk art forms and pop-culture iconography from the East and West, combining media as disparate as Korean Hanji fabric and neon acrylic paint. Sometimes one symbol works double duty – like the peach, the official fruit of Moon’s adopted home state of Georgia and a potent symbol of prosperity in Korea. “Double Welcome” was brought to the Mennello by museum director Shannon Fitzgerald as part of a strategy to make the museum more inclusive. Although the official name of the institution is the Mennello Museum of American Art, Fitzgerald wants everyone to know it’s not just about mom …
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Image: David Begnaud/Twitter, border patrol @CBP showing the McAllen, Texas detention facility.
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

After Trump signed an executive order it’s still not clear how immigrant children will be reunited with their parents


Eli García traveled down to Homestead last weekend to turn fear into power. As one of hundreds of thousands of youth using the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), García innately understands the terror of being undocumented. That feeling was heightened as more details emerged about a Trump administration policy that separated about 2,300 undocumented children from their immigrant parents. Trump has since signed an executive order ending this policy, but it’s not clear yet how these children will be reunited with their parents. Although they were afraid, members of the Central Florida undocumented community and the Hope CommUnity Center drove down to a detention facility holding about 1,000 migrant children in Homestead to protest the conditions. Some people …
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Photo by Monivette Cordeiro, Betzy’s family, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

After surviving a hurricane, ‘Betzy’ Santiago Burgos strived to make it in Central Florida. Then she was murdered


In four days, Betzy Santiago Burgos and her two children would be homeless. That’s all the 43-year-old could think about after FEMA had given her the ultimatum that morning. In March, her case manager told her the federal agency was extending the hotel voucher program for Puerto Rican evacuees who fled the aftermath of Hurricane María until May 14. But now, on April 16, FEMA had reversed course. Santiago Burgos and about 40 other families staying at the Super 8 motel off Highway 192 in Kissimmee would be kicked out by April 20. In the parking lot of the Super 8 at a protest with other families, Santiago Burgos sobbed. She couldn’t find an apartment or cheap hotel she could …
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Photo by Robert Bartlett. Brandon Wolf, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

Pulse Survivor Brandon Wolf and Multiple Community Groups to Rally at City Hall


On June 12, survivors of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse plan to grieve and remember the friends whose lives were stolen by a gunman. But on June 11, some of them plan to yell and chant at Orlando City Hall at a protest demanding an end to the epidemic of gun violence that cut short the hopes and dreams of 49 people two years ago. The rally organized by Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf and several community groups comes four months after a shooter killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Less than a month after the Parkland shooting, Gov. Rick Scott signed a $400 million measure that bans bump stocks, raises the minimum …
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Image: Orlando Weekly cover art, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

State of Florida has slashed Arts funding by 90 percent


Arts funding from the state of Florida has gone down in the past four years. In 2015, the Legislature earmarked $43 million for cultural grants. Just three years later, in 2018, funding slid to $24 million. And that decrease by almost half is alarming – until you look at the 2019 budget. Then you see that slow downward drift plummet off a cliff. The most recent state budget is the highest in Florida’s history. It’s $88.7 billion (with a B). And for the arts and cultural grants program, our lawmakers have set aside: $2.6 million. Not $26 million, which would be a small increase over last year. No, the state has slashed funding by 90 percent. Another way of putting …
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