It's been a while since our last update but we have some great updates!
We have MANY updates since the last time we have sent out an email and we apologize greatly for the delay! The Let Your Voice Be Heard Community Forum was postponed for the month of September due to Hurricane Irma and the adverse effects it had on Central Florida. Throughout this time our team also experienced the power outage, loss of internet, ran low on resources and more as many other families did but we could band together and use our collective efforts to work on several measures during this time.
We conducted events such as community feedings and community cookouts during this time and due to our office experiencing power outage and loss of internet for so long, we were unable to communicate this through the internet and email. Since then we have been working to revamp our communication teams and ensure that this doesn’t happen again. This will be a brief recap email about the recent events that have taken place since the last Let Your Voice Be Heard Community Forum and highlight on the upcoming events.
Youth after-school outreach begins Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 at Robinswood Middle School. We invite everyone to the Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice Orlando Chapter Pre-Launch Meeting taking place Saturday October 21st, 2017 at Southside Church of Christ (4701 S. Raleigh Ave. Orlando, FL). The next Let Your Voice Be Heard Community Forum will take place October 26th, 2017 at 7:30pm at Three Masks, Inc. (1023 W, Colonial Dr. Orlando, FL). Following that is the Community Outreach Walk on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at 10:30am meeting at the Ivey on the Lake apartments (701 S. Ivey Lane Orlando, FL).
IMPORTANT UPCOMING EVENTS
Youth After-School Outreach begins 10/04/2017
Meeting Time and Locations:
Wednesday's - 2:30 pm - Robinswood Middle School - Balboa rd. Track of Robinswood, nearest to bus loop (area will be set up with tent
Thursday's- 2:00pm - Jones High School- Intersection of Rio Grande Ave. & Gore St. (area will be set up with tent)
Friday's - 2:00pm - Evans High School - Arc Christian Center (church located next door to Evans High School 5005 Silver Star Road Orlando, FL/ area will be set up with tent)
The last Let Your Voice Be Heard Community Forum took place August 31st, 2017 (September’s forum was postponed) and centered around Youth programs, upcoming workshops, crime and violence prevention, various organizations and their missions and goals and we had a presentation on Gentrification by Michael Carroll, a realtor and investor in Central Florida. We had great interactions with the wonderful attendants of the forum and could build discussions on solutions and business models that we would like to see implemented in Central Florida. We will highlight some of the key points made at the last forum.
Lindsay Green of ModelU spoke on various ways she has worked for change in Central Florida and back in her hometown of Washington D.C. and one of the key things she wanted to do was work with youth who have proven that they are dependable and trustworthy, no matter of their background and have a business mind. The ways we can help empower them would be by having them shadow various business owners and learn real time experience in the field of their interest. This could work in conjunction with the youth entrepreneur program we have spoken on developing in the past.
Lawanna Gelzer spoke on the importance of the city council meetings, particularly the ones that concern the budget hearings. She spoke on various bills that have been passed that have favored big businesses and disenfranchised local business owners. It’s very important that we as a community are in tune with what takes place in the meetings that determine how budgets derived from tax payer money is distributed. She spoke on various upcoming meetings for the City (which also take place at the County level also).
David Porter of Porter Communications and The Wire 98.5 spoke on the importance of having more public at the city and county council events and organizing for said events. He also touched bases on how the Social media campaign that OPD is conducting on “how citizens should act when encountered by law enforcement” and voiced the need for our community to have input on this process as we are the voice of the majority when it comes to community and police relations. Also spoke on how the roles of teaching how to conduct oneself should be reversed and the community should be the ones speaking on how the police should act when encountering citizens.
Candice Haughton of Saving Our Daughters spoke on community clean up days and teaming up with various organizations to conduct larger scale events. She spoke on the upcoming events that Saving Our Daughters are working on, which will be featured in our upcoming events sections. She also re touched on the importance of having the youth job shadow the professionals in the fields they have interest in.
Adrienne Skinner of Let Your Voice Be Heard spoke on the importance of structuring the youth entrepreneur program and ensuring we have the proper resources and tools to equip the youth with. She spoke on the Entrepreneurial center in Fashion square mall and the African American Chamber of Commerce and other resources readily available for any aspiring entrepreneur.
Charlotte Davis of Let Your Voice Be Heard spoke on the neighborhood crime rates and what’s been happening since the heavy gentrification in the black and brown neighborhoods. She spoke on the various efforts she has been a part of to help victims of crime. Along with Let Your Voice Be Heard, Charlotte has helped families obtain victim compensation in the form of finances, mental health, family assistance and more. This is an effort to ease the blow of violence and crimes but more preventative measures must be put in place.
We also had a presentation from Michael Carrol on the effects of gentrification and ways that his realty firm has come up with investment tips to get ahead of the change. His presentation was very valued and well needed and we are very appreciative of it. A separate communication will be made with his presentation soon.
From City of Orlando website: “There will be a workshop on Monday, October 9, 2017 beginning at 10:00 a.m. consisting of presentations from the City’s economic development organization partners: Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF), Prospera (HBIF) and National Entrepreneur Center (NEC). Agenda Review will be held immediately following the 10:00 a.m. workshop and the City Council meeting will begin at 2:00 P.M. “
Just A Little More Catching Up
Since the last forum we have also been working on various efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and more recently Hurricane Maria. Regarding Hurricane Harvey, we assisted Alpha Omega Foundation, based in Sanford, with a drive for clothes, nonperishable food items, resources and more for the victims in Houston, TX. A U-Haul truck was obtained and filled with the items and sent to Houston, TX to known areas of need. It was a great collaborative and swift coming together that benefitted many.
When it came down to Hurricane Irma, Let Your Voice Be Heard was one among many organizations such as Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, New Florida Majority, Make the Homeless Smile, Saving Our Daughters, Game On, Community Problem Solvers, The Marquer Agency, Beautiful Safe Beginnings, 1 Community 1 Orlando and more that banded together to help those in need. We conducted community cookouts, barbecues, drives for relief items, made deliveries, performed outreach in devastated areas and assisted anyway we can from assisting those with FEMA applications to bringing those who were in need whatever was necessary. It was a beautiful effort that many people, part of organizations and not part of made happen. We have been working with organizations now that have a mode of delivery for Hurricane Maria affected islands to donate items to now. We will keep everyone updated.
We also conducted our last community outreach walk on September 16th, 2017 in the Mercy Drive community in the Windsor Palm Apartments, Palm Grove homes, Palm Grove apartments and other surrounding areas. We conducted surveys, helped those in need with applications for assistance and employment, signed youth up for programs, advised the residents of the upcoming cook outs and assisted any way we could. The next upcoming Community Outreach Walk will be October 28th, 2017 in the Ivey Lane Community meeting between 10:00am-10:30 at Ivey on the Lake apartments (701 S. Ivey Lane Orlando, FL).
We want to thank Professor Cynthia Schmidt for inviting the Founder and President of Let Your Voice Be Heard, Inc., Miles Mulrain Jr., to speak at FAMU College of Law for her social justice class. It was a great and informative night where Miles could speak on the challenges and victories of fighting for social justice and how Let Your Voice Be Heard has been aiding the fight. The students were very receptive and many signed up to volunteer for Let Your Voice Be Heard in many ways. It was also featured in a website on UCF’s website and in their newspaper and we thank UCF, FAMU College of Law and most of all Professor Cynthia Schmidt for this opportunity.
What’s Coming Up
Youth After School Outreach
This resumes October 4th, 2017. Since the last week of 2016 we have been greeting the youth after they are released from school with chips, drinks, snacks and other refreshments and talking to them about important programs and events taking place, sometimes even job opportunities. We also give them a handout with a reference of programs that help youth and families.
The main purpose of outreach is to establish a connection with the youth and help reduce the misfortunes that take place by being proactive and proving assistance. We also can advertise to them different and opportunities and events taking place that our organization or another’s may be hosting that will be of great use to the youth.
Starting in July we began our workshops portion on July 8th, 2017 at the Central Florida Community Care Fair. The workshops will be Saturday events (approx. 4 hours) which will feature motivational speaking, skits, live role plays, lessons, recreational activities, and more. This will serve as a Saturday recreational/educational event and will feature different subjects from Mental Health, Know Your Rights, Crime Prevention, mental health, anti -bullying, sexual and domestic abuse, victim advocacy, learn how to build a business, finance security and more. We are inviting all volunteers and organizations to partner up with us in this effort. Each workshop will take place once a month and will feature a main session and a break out session which will have a youth and adult version. This will serve a time where we can also bring in other groups and have an area where the youth and families can sign up for programs and services that other organizations may offer to. This will be done on a major scale and we are inviting corporate sponsors to collaborate with us on this project. If you wish to volunteer, help plan or have suggestions for this workshop series please email us. The next tentative workshop is Let’s Talk Mental Health part 2 on December 8th, 2017.
Community Outreach Walks
Come join us for our monthly community peace walk as we walk and greet residents spreading information about great resources and opportunities and conducting surveys to meet the community needs. Come be a part of the change we are all seeing and let your voice be heard!
Each month we conduct a community outreach walk in various communities which we greet residents with information about: Programs and resources available, Upcoming events, Conduct surveys to assess and assist with needs, Conduct clean-ups and more! We welcome other groups and business owners to join us with information about their opportunities as well!
Our Community Outreach during the day is an opportunity for us to engage and interact with the residents of Central Florida. This month we will meet on October 28, 2017 between 10-10:30am at Ivey on the Lake Apartment Homes (701 S. Ivey Lane Orlando, FL) and will be performing outreach in the Ivey Lane community going door to door and talking to residents. Our community outreach walks are not protests or demonstrations in any shape or form but simply a way for the community to gather and provide information about important resources and opportunities in Central Florida.
We will conduct surveys and align residents with professionals in certain fields that can service their needs. We will spread awareness about upcoming community events that are wonderful places for people to attend.
Youth Entrepreneur Program
We are beginning the process to bring a youth entrepreneurial program to Central Florida. This is another means in our fight to stop the violence. The primary concept is to host a workshop styled class series that will last approximately 6-8 weeks and consist of real-time and hands-on practice as an entrepreneur. We are attempting to secure business owners and professionals with proven practices and companies to demonstrate key tips and knowledge that is needed to succeed. We will also be attempting to procure a financial instructor with the proper credentials to facilitate and in theory have this class sanctioned as a legitimate course. This is still a work in progress.
Throughout the course the youth would be able to develop business proposals and processes, test them out, have a safe environment in which they can be creative and innovative and even compete for a chance to be awarded a business grant from the community to take the first steps to make their dream a reality. Not only would this lead to the youth developing a strong business sense, it would also cultivate a business minded culture within the youth and provide them with a means to be productive. This will require fundraising and sponsors to make this a reality. Please email us if you will like to be a part of this initiative.
Hood 2 Hood Mentoring Program
We are now ramping up with our Hood 2 Hood Crisis Mentoring program. “Hood 2 Hood” is a program that offers experienced crisis mentors that will travel domestically and internationally to neighborhoods experiencing rashes of violence and crime, and extend on the scene mentoring and crime intervention to youth and young adults.
We offer intense motivational workshops that will give the youth an up close and brutal account of life in the streets and the system, and equip them with tools that will help them to be on the right path! We will also provide employment and training opportunities to deter any youth crimes.
We will be accepting new mentors and volunteers for this endeavor. There will also be fundraisers and sponsors welcomed to facilitate this. This is another effort to reduce the violence in the city and provide new and alternative ways. Please email us if you’re interested.
Crime Survivors Pre-Launch Meeting
We also introduced the new program that we are bringing to Central Florida and the entire state of Florida, Crime Survivors. This program is developed and facilitated by an organization named Alliance for Safety and Justice and Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and will be ran in conjunction with Let Your Voice Be Heard in Florida.
This program was birthed out of the historical movement and organization, Californians for Safety and Justice which was one of the biggest driving forces behind some of the biggest criminal justice reforms such as Proposition 47 and 57 in California, the Neighborhood Improvement act of 2017 in Illinois and more. The model is based on victim advocacy and transforming the meaning of “victim “into survivor. This movement is led by survivors of crime who have found a way to achieve “healing through action” in various forms such as support groups, mental health advocacy, legislative changes, rallies, events and workshops, conferences and much more. They can re-define what the face of criminal justice looks like and advocate for rehabilitation over incarceration.
We will be actively training new members who want to speak up and let their voice be heard through this channel and speak on the way their lives have been directly impacted from crime or trauma. We also played videos at the forum of a speech that Miles Mulrain Jr. of Let Your Voice Be Heard gave at a rally called Survivors Speak in 2017 in Sacramento for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and an introductory video about the program. The latter can be found at https://youtu.be/bcvRuF-1Rf0.
Let Your Voice Be Heard invites all community organizations, partners, residents, business owners, and persons directly impacted by crime and violence to the Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice Orlando Chapter Pre-Launch Meeting! This will take place Saturday, October 21st, 2017 at Southside Church (4701 Raleigh St. Orlando, FL 32811) from 11:00am-2:00pm. Please join us as we welcome our national partners from California, Alliance for Safety & Justice, as we conduct our Pre-launch meeting and discuss what a Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice Orlando Chapter consists of & how with survivors of crime and partners in the community, we can change the narrative.
Murdered Victim Family Program
We are working with one of our partners Equal Justice USA on a program to bring awareness to the needs of murdered victims’ families and the lack of help extended to them. This is also an effort to show how the system has forgotten so many victim’s families but has used their voice as a narrative to enforce harsh law and justice measures in the form of mass incarceration, prejudice assistance and more.
The program will focus on highlighting cases of those families’ who have lost loved ones to violence or murder in Orange County. We are actively meeting with our partner and the families of the victims who feel they will one day want to speak up and advocate for new policies and laws, protest the current laws in place and fight for change. The goal also is to highlight the people who have been forgotten or cases have gone cold and their families still mourn. We are working on getting resources to families of loved ones who've been murdered in Orange County in the form of financial compensation, mental health services, re-openings of unsolved cases and more.
If you're the family of a loved one who was murdered or know of someone who has lost a loved one to and want to be a part of this program then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is one of the lead organizations in the fight for an amendment initiative, that if voted in can restore voting rights to over 1.65 million disenfranchised returning citizens and formerly incarcerated persons. The Amendment will include a provision that grants voting rights to felons (non-capital crime offenders) who have completed the terms of their probation and/or parole. The amendment initiative has been approved by Florida Supreme Court but hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions are still needed to make sure this amendment initiative is on the ballot for 2018. We will be actively canvassing throughout our outreach walks and various events to obtain signatures fort this amendment to be solidified.
City and County Council Meetings
We can meet at Forums and among ourselves but unless we propose our ideas to the elected officials of the local government, changes will not be made. If we don’t attend meetings we can look up our local officials online and write them with our concerns, there is power in keeping records of our requests. However, we can attend meetings if we swish to do and it’s crucial that we conduct thorough research on each topic we present at meetings and deliver attainable and practical solutions.
Upcoming meetings for the City of Orlando Council meetings are taking place on October 9th, 2017 and October 23rd, 2017. The City of Orlando Council meetings commence at 2:00pm in the Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 400 S. Orange Avenue. For additional information, please contact the City Clerk’s Office, 407.246.2251. Upcoming meetings for the Orange County Board of County Commissioner meetings are October 17th, 2017 and October 31st, 2017. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners meetings take place at 9:00am at the Orange County Government Administration Center, 3rd Floor 201 S Rosalind Ave. We will attend the upcoming meetings and observe what takes place and report back to the next forum what has occurred and what our thoughts were. We encourage anyone who has the availability to come to the next meeting with us.