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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly



Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: SCREENSHOT VIA FLORIDA CHANNEL, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Controversial Florida bill to crack down on protests



Florida Governor Ron DeSantis first proposed a bill to crack down on violent protests last September. Last Wednesday, with extraordinary timing, the Florida House and Senate released their latest version of the bill as supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. DeSantis says the legislation would protect Florida from similar mob revolts. But the truth is that his proposal was born in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. And Florida’s Democratic lawmakers say it’s designed to silence Black and Brown people. Senator Perry Thurston calls it “overkill.” As Thurston points out, this bill treads on free speech rights for “every group that the governor or the government disagrees with,” no matter what banner they fly. …


Image: Hanlon’s Razor, studenthandouts.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Review of Florida’s response to COVID19 in 2020



So, 2020 is finally over: Let’s review. We shopped online for masks. We baked bread. We hoped for our colleagues’ pets to pop up onscreen during too-long Zoom meetings. And we experienced most of the important events of the day through our screens, as the lockdown dragged on, and on, and on. The principle of “Hanlon’s Razor” holds that we shouldn’t credit malice for actions that can be explained by incompetence or stupidity, but in Florida this year, sometimes it was tough to tell the difference. As other countries and states worked together to flatten the curve and return to something approaching normality, those who scrupulously observed safety protocols watched helplessly as those who refused to packed restaurants and bars, …


Image: Second Harvest Food Bank Volunteer, feedhopenow.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Helping Others is the Best Way to Help Yourself



Whether you or your loved ones have been sick, you’re feeling the financial pinch of pandemic unemployment, or you’re just lonely in the lockdown, it’s completely normal to be feeling a little blue this month. But there’s a reason everyone from Mother Teresa to Barack Obama has uttered the old cliché about how helping others is the best way to help yourself — because it’s true. There are dozens of local groups from big to small that assist Orlando’s needy, and all of them could use your time and/or money. For instance, our largest local food bank, Second Harvest, has been helping feed the hungry for more than 30 years. They’re doing their best to keep up with heartbreakingly high …


Image: Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change, holocaustedu.org

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Holocaust Memorial Center Exhibit “Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change”



Last month, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland opened a powerful photography exhibit called “Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change.” A couple of days after protests began in Minneapolis in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, photographer John Noltner went to the intersection where Floyd died in police custody, set up a makeshift backdrop, and took photos and did brief interviews of protesters at the spot. Each portrait is accompanied by some words from the subject, most on the topic of justice, community or tolerance. Aside from the geographic context, nothing connects Noltner’s exhibit to George Floyd himself — there are no photos of Floyd, or even mentions, aside from a hashtag. But national attention focused on the …


Image: One Fair Wage Logo, https://onefairwage.site/

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Food-Service Workers Reported an Increase in Hostility and Sexual Harassment from Customers during the Pandemic



Four in 10 food-service workers reported an increase in hostility and sexual harassment from customers during the pandemic, says a new study by service industry advocacy group One Fair Wage. Nearly 250 of the surveyed workers shared comments they’d received. A substantial portion were requests from male customers that waitresses remove their mask — for instance: “He asked me to take my mask off so they could see my face and decide how much to tip me.” While openly deciding a tip based on a server’s looks is cringey enough, other data were even more disturbing. Sixty percent of workers who rely on tips say they’re hesitant to enforce pandemic protocols with customers, and 65% reported decreased tips when they did. And it’s not just …


From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Over one million reported cases of COVID-19 in Florida



This week, Florida reached a milestone that nobody wanted to see: it exceeded 1 million reported cases of COVID-19 and 18,679 deaths. Governor DeSantis said this week he is focused on plans for vaccines and reiterated his view that government imposed mandates such as requiring people to wear face masks and shutting down businesses won’t prevent the spread of the disease. Just before Thanksgiving, he extended his order explicitly forbidding local governments from imposing fines or other penalties on businesses that ignore social distancing guidelines. DeSantis said, “the state has continued to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures … and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business.” The family …


Image: SCREENSHOT VIA FLORIDA CHANNEL, Orlandoweekly.com

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Health Experts Warn- After Large Thanksgiving Gatherings, Plan Small Christmas Funerals



U.S. COVID numbers are exploding. Cases are surging throughout the country, and some states have gone back into lockdown, closing schools and businesses in an attempt to save lives. Not Florida. Our Legislature convened for the first time this week to plan the March session, and its new Republican leadership renounced any responsibility for mitigating the spread of the virus, saying it was not their role. Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees, whose role it definitely is, hasn’t been seen in a press conference for months, and his top spokesperson, Alberto Moscoso, left or was removed from his job on Wednesday. All communications on COVID will now go through the governor’s office for approval. Governor DeSantis has offered no new guidance …