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Erin Sullivan


Recent Stories from Erin Sullivan

Image: Divorce, orlandoweekly.com

Alimony in the state of Florida

This week, the state Legislature sent a bill to the governor that would change the way alimony works in the state of Florida. The measure would put an end to permanent support for former spouses and alter the way alimony is decided in the state according to a predetermined formula that takes into account on how long a marriage lasted and the difference in gross incomes between former partners. The argument for the bill is that men are unfairly burdened with alimony payments, sometimes for longer than a marriage lasted. As usual, the devil is in the details, and the details here include reductions not only in the amount of time that alimony lasts, but how much money judges may …

Image: Orlando Weekly cover, Photos by Nada Hassanein | Cover design by Christopher Kretzer

Muslim in Orlando

“Leave your religion – it’s violent!” That’s what a man yelled to Farhana Yunus and her daughter as they were with a Girl Scout troop in Mount Dora. “Go back to where you came from!” he barked at them. The words brought Yunus’ 10-year-old daughter to tears. When she replied, “Have a nice day,” the man shot back, “I’ll have a nice day when you leave.” Yunus, who is Muslim, says the recent political rhetoric directed at her religion has been hard to take. But rather than shrink into the background, she and her husband have made it a point to reach out and be more visible in their community. Last month, the Oviedo couple hosted a meet-and-greet barbecue for …

Image: Park Service Logo, floridastateparks.org

FL DEP Proposal to use State Parks to Generate Revenue

On Feb. 13, a group of activists, concerned citizens and speakers gathered at Wekiwa Springs State Park to protest a Florida Department of Environmental Protection proposal to use state parks to generate revenue. It was one of many similar protests held in state parks around the state. There’s currently a plan on the table to allow hunting, as well as increased cattle grazing and timbering in state parks because, according to DEP secretary Jon Steverson, the parks could be doing more to earn their keep. According to Gov. Rick Scott’s office, state parks attracted about 27.1 million visitors in 2014 and they generate “nearly $2.1 billion in direct economic impact” for the state. But that’s not enough. Now the state …

Image: Florida’s Capitol Complex, myflorida.com

FL Bills That Would Change Public Records Law

One month into the 2016 legislative session in Tallahassee, and we’ve already seen our share of controversial legislative proposals. So far, there’s been a proposal to make legal abortion a felony, a proposal to open the door to fracking interests and a proposal to prevent counties from banning polystyrene products. Now the Legislature is also considering bills that could undermine transparency in government.

Photo by Erin Sullivan, Orlandoweekly.com

The #ReclaimMLK movement

While some cities around the country reported some inconveniences and disruptions by protestors who were trying to make their voices heard on Martin Luther King Day, the Black Lives Matter candlelight vigil in downtown Orlando outside police headquarters this week was quiet. Rather than anger, it reflected sadness, solidarity and hope for change. Participants from organizations like Dream Defenders and Organize Now read the final words of some of the most recent victims of police brutality and abuse, including Sandra Bland and Eric Garner, and after a closing prayer, attendees raised candles overhead and joined in a quiet rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”

Image: Downtown Ocoee 1920, ocoee.org

The Legacy of Black Press in the Region

95 years ago, Ocoee was the site of a massacre. “RACE TROUBLE AT OCOEE CLAIMS 2 WHITE VICTIMS,” reads part of a headline from the Orlando Morning Sentinel’s Nov. 3, 1920 edition. Newspapers reported that a black man named Mose Norman became enraged when he was told he couldn’t vote because he didn’t pay his poll tax. Media accounts said he stormed the polling place with a group of angry black men, starting a massive race riot. 60 people, most of them black, were killed. Norman, meanwhile, allegedly hid in the home of a friend, who was later lynched in downtown Orlando for helping him. It wasn’t until 20 years later, when Zora Neale Hurston wrote her account of the …

Image: prisonlegalnews.org

FL prohibits distribution of Prison Legal News

If you’re serving time in prison, it would probably interest you to read news about dangerous cost-cutting measures made by for-profit prison corporations or excessive fees charged to inmates to make phone calls home. That’s why Prison Legal News, a publication that’s been serving prison-centric news and editorials to subscribers since 1990, is such a popular publication among prison inmates around the country. But in Florida, the state Department of Corrections is keeping the monthly magazine out of prisoners’ hands, claiming that ads in the magazine pose threats to prison safety. Since 2009 the state has intercepted subscriptions to prisoners, and in 2011, the publication sued the DOC charging it with violating the First Amendment. The court battle has had …