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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly



Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: Cares Act Relief, hhs.gov

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Seizure of Wages for Consumer Debts are not Protected during COVID-19 Economic Crash



Federal, state and local officials have all taken steps to protect Americans from the economic crash caused by COVID-19. Governor Ron DeSantis – if somewhat grudgingly – has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures first signed in April through August 1st. Congress temporarily halted collections on student loans. The CARES Act blocks the IRS from taking money from your tax refund or stimulus check for back taxes. But one of the most aggressive and common forms of debt collection has been allowed to continue: seizure of wages for old consumer debts. As a result, anyone with credit debt lucky enough to keep their job is still at risk of losing part of their paycheck. The main protection Americans have …


Image: Photo by Jennifer H. Desire, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Black Lives Matter Mural Graffiti Raised Valid Points



They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Few would claim that city leaders had anything but the best intentions in mind when they painted the words “Black Lives Matter” in letters 30 feet high on the surface of Rosalind Avenue. But many Orlando residents, Black and white alike, question the utility of the mural. Last Friday Orlando volunteers finished painting the 400-foot-long statement in Pan-African colors. But as is so often the case in the nation’s discourse, anonymous commenters had something to add. Overnight, the phrases “Defund OPD” and “Not enough,” among others, were spray-painted across the giant letters. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he was “deeply saddened that a symbol of our commitment to ending …


Image: John Bolton Official Photo, Wikipedia.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s New Book



This week, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who’s rarely met a country he didn’t want to bomb, published the umpteenth insider tell-all to emerge from the first three years of the Trump administration. Like most of the previous ones, it paints President Trump as an incompetent, corrupt buffoon. The 500-page book spotlights conduct that falls somewhere between embarrassing and impeachable, covering Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine; his advice to China’s president to move forward with Uighur Muslim concentration camps; and his defense of the Saudi crown prince in the wake of his murder of a journalist. Just before publication, the Department of Justice sued to halt the book’s release, claiming the book contained classified information. A judge ruled …


Image: Photo by Kayla L. Smith, Justice for George protest, downtown Orlando 2020, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Orlando Police Department’s use of Tear Gas



Florida, like the rest of the country, is currently in the grip of twin exigencies: the pandemic and the protest movement. But as demonstrators assemble, risking their health to call for necessary changes in our nation’s law enforcement, police are using tear gas and pepper spray to dispel them — an incredibly dangerous decision in the middle of a respiratory disease epidemic. Orlando police deployed tear gas on large crowds twice last week. OPD Chief Orlando Rolón says this was because protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers, and he promises there will be a use-of-force review. Tear gas is banned in international warfare, yet it is classified as a “riot control agent” that law enforcement can use for crowd …


Image: PHOTO BY MICHAEL LOTHROP, OrlandoWeekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Local Black Lives Matter Protest Organizers Are Just Getting Started



If you thought the Black Lives Matter protests in Orlando were simply going to cool off after a few days, you couldn’t be more wrong. The young and passionate local organizers are just getting started. Every day last week in downtown Orlando – and in Kissimmee, and Sanford, and Winter Park – hundreds or thousands of people assembled to express outrage over the epidemic of violence that is disproportionately directed at Black bodies. These actions were organized not by a political party but by young adults, many of whom were preteens when Trayvon Martin was murdered. Torrential rain couldn’t stop them – not even Sunday’s tornado could stop them. This week will bring more protests. Some will dismiss the efficacy …


Image: Minneapolis memorial mural to George Floyd – PHOTO VIA MUNSHOTS/UNSPLASH, orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: George Floyd’s murder and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s words about protests and civil unrest



A Martin Luther King Jr. quote has made the rounds this week, as civil unrest erupted in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder-by-cop last Monday: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” But we do ourselves a disservice by reading this line, nodding, and stopping there. Dr. King continued, “What is it that America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” For centuries, white America has failed to hear, valuing “tranquility” over Black “justice, equality, and humanity.” These protests aren’t just about Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while three …


Image: Harbor House of Central Florida Logo, www.harborhousefl.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Domestic violence centers are working hard to make sure victims reach services during the COVID-19 outbreak



The stereotype of domestic abuse is that it’s loud. So loud, somebody around overhears. But in fact, that is rarely the case, and during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s been especially quiet in Florida. In many parts of the country, domestic violence reports have spiked, but in Florida, reported cases have stayed the same or decreased. Right now, getting out of the house isn’t easy. Neither is getting through the end of a phone call to the Victim Service Center serving Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties at 407-500-4325. After the statewide “safer-at-home” ordinance was announced, acceptable reasons to leave the house were reduced to essential activities like outdoor exercise or grocery shopping. For those enduring domestic violence, these rare and brief …