Inweekly June 18 2020 Issue

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by you Independent News | June 18, 2020 | Volume 21 | Number 25 | Photo By Pensacola Vibes

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winners & losers






People are sick and tired of injustice.

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10 publisher Rick Outzen

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contributing writers Savannah Evanoff, Jennifer Leigh, Jeremy Morrison, C.S. Satterwhite

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June 18, 2020


winners & losers

Steven Barry / Courtesy of

winners STEVEN BARRY The Florida-Alabama

Transportation Planning Organization Board of Directors elected the Escambia County commissioner as the new chairman of the TPO board, succeeding Santa Rosa Commissioner Sam Parker, who served as chairman since July 2019. The change in leadership is effective July 1. The Florida-Alabama TPO is the regional, intergovernmental transportation policy board for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida and Orange Beach and the community of Lillian in Alabama.


Gulf Breeze High School alum has been appointed to the bench for the First Circuit Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Frydrychowicz has been an Escambia County Judge since 2014. She previously served as an assistant state attorney in the First Circuit. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law. Frydrychowiz fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Michael Allen.


Communications and Cox Automotive helped feed families in Northwest Florida through Feeding the Gulf Coast with a $25,000 donation from The James M. Cox Foundation. The grant provided 125,000 meals to local families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The James M. Cox Foundation is the charitable arm of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications and Cox Automotive.


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Escambia County's public libraries have partnered with Feeding the Gulf Coast to provide over 20,000 free curbside pickup meals for youth since March 23. Library Services director Todd Humble said, "All of our employees have a passion for the community we serve and without feeding the body, a child cannot feed their mind." Meals are available for pickup at all WFPL library locations on Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The meals include lunch and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Youth ages 18 and under must be present to receive meals.

Matt Gaetz / Twitter

losers MATT GAETZ On Friday, June 12, the

congressman once again went for social media hits when he announced on his "Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz" podcast that he will be introducing legislation to compel the U.S. Soccer Federation to reverse its decision that required players to stand during the national anthem. The board had voted to repeal the policy in support for the ongoing racial justice protests. In a statement, the board of directors said, "U.S. Soccer affirms Black Lives Matter, and we support the fight against racial injustices." Gaetz asserted it wasn't important for the U.S. to have a national soccer team if its players didn't have to stand for the anthem. Others see kneeling as respecting the principles upon which the United States was founded.

RECYCLING Escambia County residents have lost another recycling drop-off site. The county administration discontinued the recycling drop-off site at the John R. Jones Ballpark on Nine Mile Road on Monday, June 15. Escambia County said in a statement, "This closure is due to illegal dumping and unacceptable levels of contamination commingled in the recyclable materials. The contamination increases the cost of processing recycling materials. There have been multiple complaints from citizens, commuters on Nine Mile Road and neighbors using the park." Recyclables can be taken to the Perdido Landfill DropOff Recycling Site. SUPPORT WORKING ANIMALS, INC.

The pro-greyhound racing group tried to challenge a 2018 constitutional amendment that set a Dec. 31, 2020, deadline for ending greyhound racing in Florida. On Friday, June 12, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a three-page order granting a request by Attorney General Ashley Moody to dismiss the lawsuit, which argued that the measure violated a series of rights under the U.S. Constitution, including equal-protection rights because horse racing would be allowed to continue at parimutuel facilities while dog racing would be blocked. The judge disposed of the lawsuit saying that the plaintiffs "lack standing" to sue Moody over the ban.

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outtakes By Rick Outzen

NO LONGER FROZEN While the Pensacola City Council prepares to debate the future of its Confederate monument, we also need to think of what parts of our history should be celebrated as we plan for Pensacola's 200th anniversary next year. The city shouldn't be defined by the Civil War. When Florida seceded from the Union, state officials ordered Florida troops to seize control of Fort Pickens. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg tried but failed, and by May 1862, he had evacuated his troops, leaving the city to be taken over by the Union Army. Bragg would go on to lose nearly every battle in which he engaged. Since the Civil War, Pensacola has had many great leaders, educators and innovators. Some of the city's most outstanding achievements have occurred in the last century. We believe Mayor Grover Robinson and the Pensacola City Council should appoint a monument commission to celebrate the people and events that have made Pensacola a great place to live. And while we might not be able to unveil all of them next year, the city could complete at least one and provide a timeline for the others. Councilwoman Sherri Myers has advocated for The Unity Project that would represent the struggles, aspirations and accomplishments of women, slaves, Native Americans, indigenous people, working people, people with disabilities, African Americans, ethnic minorities and diverse cultures. In 2017, the city council applied for a $3 million grant from Triumph Gulf Coast for the project and asked the city administration to establish a Unity Project Committee to work on the project, but the idea went nowhere under Mayor Ashton Hayward's administration. Myers plans to bring the committee up at the council's meeting in July. Others have suggested we honor John Sunday, a black civic leader that built hundreds of houses and commercial buildings throughout the city and helped create the Belmont-DeVilliers district when Jim Crow

laws forced black-owned businesses out of downtown Pensacola. A longtime leader in Pensacola's black community, he helped establish Pensacola's first high school for black students. He was considered one of the wealthiest black people in the South by the time he died. Pensacola attorney Chris Crawford has started a petition drive to replace the Confederate monument with a statue honoring world champion boxer Roy Jones, Jr. He told Inweekly that he would raise the money for the statue. "For years, residents in Pensacola have debated the Confederate monument on Palafox Street. Some want it to stay; some want it to go," wrote Crawford on "I have a better idea that all Pensacolians can get united behind—replace the statue with a new monument that will celebrate a legendary Pensacolian—Roy Jones, Jr., a man who has always represented Pensacola on a national and global stage." I would like to see a monument to naval aviation and the Blue Angels. We are the birthplace of the navy's venture into flight, and we should celebrate it outside of the base. We already have a group working on a monument for General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., the Pensacola native who was the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general in the armed forces, but I also would like to have his mother, Lillie Anna James, honored. She established a private school for black youths that grew into a prestigious middle school and junior high school. Another worthy honoree is Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, the former law partner of Fred Levin who was named one of the "Top 50 Floridians of the 20th Century" for his tax reform, racial justice and honesty in government. These are only a few suggestions. The Monument Commission would sift through the nominations and recommend those events and people that best define Pensacola. We have so much to celebrate and should do so as part of the upcoming anniversary. {in}

Since the Civil War, Pensacola has had many great leaders, educators and innovators. Some of the city’s most outstanding achievements have occurred in the last century.

June 18, 2020








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Chipley was born in Columbus, Ga., in 1840 and raised in Kentucky. He enlisted in the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was twice wounded and later captured by Sherman's army at the Battle of Peachtree Creek. After the war, he married and moved back to Columbus, where he traded in corn, bacon and probably other commodities. Like all Southern states, Georgia was under military rule. Gen. George Meade, who defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee's troop at the Battle of Gettysburg, was the military governor and appointed George Ashburn, a Southerner who served as a colonel in the Union Army, as a judge in Columbus. Ashburn wrote several provisions in the state's new constitution that assured civil rights for blacks. On March 21, 1868, Nathan Bedford Forrest visited Columbus William Dudley Chipley / Photo courtesy of UWF Historic Trust and established a KKK chapter. Nine days later, on March 30, Ashburn participated in a gathering of blacks and Republicans at the town's Temperance Hall. As the national debate about ConfederThat night, he was "brutally murdered in his ate monuments and their place in public own room by a party of persons disguised in spaces continues to grow, Pensacola is masks and with blackened faces," according once again questioning the statue in Lee to a military dispatch sent to Meade. Square. The case for removal is actually The civil authorities of Columbus made making more headway than ever before, no effort to bring the murderers to justice. with the city council set to vote on the topic Meade implemented martial law, removed at their next meeting on Thursday, July 16. the mayor from office and called in detecWhile everyone looks into that statue tives to investigate. Eighteen men were and name Lee Square, Inweekly decided arrested. Chipley was charged with murder to take a look into the man behind another along with Dr. Elisha Kirkscey, Robert Hudmonument with the ties to the Confederacy: son, Columbus Bedell, James Barber, William William Dudley Chipley. Duke, Robert Wood and James Wiggins. In the center of Pensacola's Ferdinand The murder and arrests drew national Plaza on South Palafox stands an obelisk attention. Southern newspapers defended honoring him as a Confederate soldier, the Columbus prisoners and declared their statesman and public benefactor whose life arrest was an attempt by the federal governreflected "the history of the up-building of ment to pin the crime on the leading DemoWest Florida and its every material adcrats of Georgia. Chipley was the chairman vancement for two decades." of the Democratic Executive Committee Separating the man from the legend of Muscogee County. The newspapers isn't easy. Before he moved to Pensacola protested the men were mistreated by the to take charge of the Pensacola railroad, he military while they awaited trial and alleged stood trial for a Ku Klux Klan mob's murder witnesses had been threatened and bribed. of a Republican judge in Columbus, Ga. He The trial was held in a military court in served as mayor of Pensacola from 1887Atlanta. Two of the people arrested testified 1890 but not by a popular vote. As chairman against the others, one of which identified of the State Democratic Executive CommitChipley as the leader of the mob. Amanda tee and one of the wealthiest men in West Patterson confirmed their testimony and Florida, Col. Chipley so dominated state identified Chipley as one of the men in the and local politics that Pensacola Commerroom when the shots were fired. As the cial called him the "little octopus" because defense, headed by former Confederate he had tentacles in everything. He also Vice President Alexander Stephens, failed revived the effort that built a Confederate to make any headway against the charges, monument at the top of the hill overlooking Southern newspapers floated the idea that downtown Pensacola.

By Rick Outzen

the intruders had only intended to tar and feather Ashburn and they had to defend themselves when Ashburn fired his pistol. The trial lasted 20 days and eventually was halted when Georgia agreed to ratify the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to former slaves, in exchange for Meade's termination of the trial. On July 21, the Georgia state legislature ratified the 14th Amendment. On July 24, Meade dissolved the military court and ordered the prisoners be released on a $2,000 bond each. Because the prisoners and Southern newspapers complained so much about the treatment of Dudley and others and charged "their unparalleled prosecution was attempted solely for political purposes," Meade was forced to issue a report defending the Army's actions. Chipley returned to Columbus and after a few failed businesses and a bankruptcy found work with several Southern railroad systems. He moved to Pensacola to take charge of the Pensacola Railroad that ran a line from the city to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) depot in Pollard, Ala. In 1881, he was named vice president of the newly organized Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad (P&A), which had been given over three million acres of state and federal land to build a railway from Pensacola to Chattahoochee. L&N bought a majority of the new railroads' stock before any work began on the new system. As Chipley's prominence grew in Florida, the story around his infamous trial changed. The Atlanta Constitution and New Orleans' Times-Picayune wrote the Columbus prisoners had been acquitted. The "Biographical Notes, Memoirs of Florida, Volume 1," which was published after his death in 1902, says Chipley was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, even though military courts don't have civilian juries. The biography claims his widow had a letter that Stephens wrote to Chipley, "in which the government apologized to Chipley and offered him freedom because the prosecution had no evidence. Chipley turned down the offer and instead waited for vindication at the trial." A biography on an Ohio State University website misspells Chipley's name as Copley in several places but seems to have picked up the same myth—"The federal goverment (sic) admitted that the prosecution lacked evidence and apologized to Chipley." Inweekly found no newspaper clipping of the trial coverage that stated a jury acquitted Chipley. Meade's report didn't state a verdict had been reached. Ashburn is considered the first murder victim of the Klan in Georgia.


In Pensacola, Chipley wielded considerable political power. What was good for the railroad was good for Pensacola and very, very good for Chipley. He not only built the

Photo by Tim Bednarczyk

railroad that connected Pensacola to east Florida but controlled the land sales of the acres surrounding the railway. The county seats of all the counties in the Florida Panhandle were established along the rail line. When railroad wanted to establish a stop in Washington County, it changed the name of Orange, Fla., to Chipley because the state had seven other post offices named Orange. DeFuniak Springs was developed as a resort by Chipley and named for his boss, Frederick R. De Funiak. As chairman of state Democratic Party, he handpicked who ran for the state legislature as the white Democrats began to wrestle control of state government away from Republicans and black politicians at the end of Reconstruction. He defeated several attempts to create a railroad commission to regulate his industry. Chipley created the Pensacola Tammany Association to control Pensacola politics. He helped Pensacola attorney Edward Perry get elected governor in 1884. Within days of being sworn into office, Perry pushed bills through the state legislature that abolished the city's charter and forced the black elected officials out of office. He appointed a six-man city commission that included his political benefactor, Chipley. The commission chose one of its members to serve as its president, who took the title of mayor and was the city's chief magistrate. In October 1887, Chipley was elected president by his fellow commissioners and became mayor after a series of political maneuvers that got his cronies placed on the commission by Gov. Perry. No fan of Chipley, the editor of the Pensacola Commercial wrote, "The little octopus is earning his salary as the political representative of L&N system in the councils of city and state." In early 1890, Chipley resigned as mayor of Pensacola and began an effort to unseat U.S. Sen. Wilkinson Call. In April of the year, he revived a project started by Perry, who had died the previous year after serving only one term in office. Three years before he was elected, Perry wrote a letter that was published in Pensacola's Semi-Weekly Gazette that appealed for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties to be "foremost in contributions for a monument which shall be some small token of June 18, 2020

our appreciation of what is due to an honest soldier's dust." In late 1889, Perry and former Confederate President Jefferson Davis died two months apart. Perry's widow had taken on the task of raising funds for the monument, but her efforts stalled. In April 1890, Chipley proposed the monument be built in Pensacola in Lee Square in front of the city's public school "where coming generations will learn with their daily lessons to honor our beloved dead." He added, "While the monument will be to 'our dead,' I would suggest that the ladies be directed to provide a special slab to the memory of General Perry." At the monument's dedication, the daily newspaper declared June 17, 1891, would go into history as "the most glorious day that the old city has ever known." The monument honored Jefferson Davis–"The only man in our nation without at country"—on its east face; Perry—"… faithful in every position to which his merit advanced him"—on its west face; Pensacola native and Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory—"Tis not in mortals to command success…—on its north face; and "The Uncrowned Heroes of the Southern Confederacy" on its south face. Chipley would become a Florida state senator. In 1896, Chipley focused on replacing U.S. Sen. Wilkinson Call. The Florida Legislature—state legislatures chose U.S. senators then—roll-called through 25 successive ballots, "with votes switching like quicksilver," according to author Gene Burnett in "Florida's Past, Vol. 2: People and Events That Shaped the State." When it appeared Chipley might prevail, the liberal Democrats persuaded Call to withdraw in favor of a moderate compromise, Stephen Mallory of Pensacola— the son of the Mallory on the monument. Three state senators switched their votes, and Mallory was elected senator. Despite losing, Chipley took a victory tour on the railway he built and was honored by crowds at whistle stops in Chipley, DeFuniak Springs, Bonifay and Pensacola. A reporter noted, "No defeated candidate in any state ever received such an exhibition of loyalty." Chipley's loss is considered by historians to be the end of the railroads' hold on state government. The colonel died in December 1897 while on a trip to Washington D.C. {in} 7


Cedric Alexander / Photo courtesy of City of Pensacola

By Jeremy Morrison Cedric Alexander can recall other instances when people have expressed outrage with the state of policing in America—but nothing like now. This is different. "Different than anything I've ever seen before," Alexander said recently. "And it isn't just me saying that. Anybody that's paying attention will tell you this is very different." In the wake of last year's fatal police shooting of Tymar Crawford, the city of Pensacola tapped Alexander, a retired law enforcement officer with a national reputation, to work internally with the Pensacola Police Department, as well as externally on the department's relationship with the community it serves. As he assesses what changes may be needed locally, he's also watching the national, and even global, stage, where he's sure reforms are on the horizon everywhere. "Reform is coming," Alexander said. "And it's going to come across this nation in sweeping form. Every department, everywhere, no matter how small you are, it's coming." As he prepares to lead a just-formed citizen oversight committee in its mission to work with local law enforcement, Alexander spent time with Inweekly discussing his local charge, as well as the larger issue of systemic racism within America's law enforcement and how that issue might be best addressed. This is not a new issue, but this time may be different. Changes may be finally coming. "People are definitely being heard," he said. "Watch and see what this reform does."


The city's relationship with Alexander grew out of a very specific instance—for88

mer PPD Detective Daniel Siemen's killing of Tymar Crawford last summer. Siemens shot him seven times at close range during a traffic stop. But a lot has happened since last July. "Look where we are a year later," Alexander said. "It is not just a localized issue around officerinvolved shootings. We now have an American and global movement, where people are asking for systemic change in law enforcement." For the past several weeks, the nation has been consumed by protests against systemic racism in law enforcement. The match that sparked the fire was the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in handcuffs late last month as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more nearly nine minutes. "George Floyd was not the tipping point. George Floyd was many of the tipping points," Alexander noted. "Rodney King was a tipping point, right? Michael Brown, August 9, 2014, was a tipping point. And then you had a succession of tipping points. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. The names go on and on and on, that we all have become too familiar with." After so many tipping points, meaningful discussions about reforms to law enforcement have begun. "People are sick and tired of injustice," Alexander said. "Black and brown people are certainly sick and tired of it. And everybody else is sick and tired of it." While the country as a whole is now experiencing a full-scale reckoning, Alexander believes the city may actually have a jump on the reform effort. As it happens, its police force is already waist-deep into discussions about issues like implicit and explicit bias, as well as a concerted focus on training. "Let me tell you something, there's departments out there all over the place, they aren't doing implicit bias training," Alexander said. "What is more important right now, when it comes to interactions with people, than to be able to have that training under your belt?" Alexander's work internally with the PPD is nearly complete. And he's encouraged with the takeaways. "You have a good department here, but it's not about just being good. It's about continuing to grow and moving towards perfection, which there's never an endpoint," he said. "I think you have a depart-

ment here that has a willingness to learn and continue to evolve over time. You have a department here where people are sensitive to the community in which they work."


Following the shooting of Crawford, Pensacola Dream Defenders issued a list of demands to the city. Among the demands was that the city create a citizen committee to work with law enforcement in an effort to improve its interactions in the community. Mayor Grover Robinson and the Pensacola City Council are filling out the 11-member panel with their appointees this month, with community input sessions to follow. While the committee has yet to define its function and purpose, Alexander said he envisions the group as a conduit through which to explore potential reforms and pass along recommendations to the mayor. "People are going to have a myriad of ideas as to how to enhance public safety or enhance policing or law enforcement," he said. "I think it's an opportunity for community voices to be heard in a very coordinated way." Alexander said he did not view the citizen committee as a finite exercise, but rather an ongoing effort will evolves. "Because as our society changes, as our community changes, as it grows, it becomes an opportunity," he said. "Because new things occur all the time. There's new ideas, new philosophies, new ways of doing business, new training and new engagement opportunities." Alexander continued, "I mean, so much changes so quickly in this fast pace technological environment that we live in that you always want to have opportunities for a community committee and its law enforcement, right? They always want to have that open-door opportunity." Some reform concepts being discussed by protesters nationwide as well as at the local level have been shorthanded in slogans like "defund the police" and "dismantle the police." While he feels the language used is inaccurate, Alexander said he understands and sympathizes with the root of the sentiments, which stress the need for "structural changes." "In many departments across this country, everybody now is being forced to look inside their organizations, at their policies, the way we do business, our interactions," Alexander said, explaining that he's in favor of reassessing both budgetary specifics—potentially redirecting funds to social service purposes—as well as a department's focus or priorities. He added, "It is a healthy exercise, because what we need policing to do in this country is to move from this me-trying-tobe-everything-to-everybody and getting back to what policing was designed for— crime prevention."

Also on the table for discussion—deprioritization of lower-level offenses, like marijuana possession. Or perhaps better examples would be the alleged counterfeit $20 bill Floyd was confronted over or the selling of loose cigarettes that led to the killing of Garner. Alexander said such instances may demand an officer to use more "discretion." "I think what people are saying, a lot of these low-level types of offenses have been putting police officers in these positions where people have been killed," Alexander said. "I think what we hear people across the country saying is how do law enforcement begin to look at some of these calls for service that we're going through?" He continued, "And many cities are already doing it, by the way. They've taken out some calls of service that they don't go to anymore. Low-level kind of stuff, they don't tend to them anymore. Y'all resolve it. If it turns south or something, you call us."


Protesters' charge that systemic racism exists within law enforcement isn't a revelation to Alexander, but rather wellestablished and obvious. "Yes, systemic racism exists within law enforcement," he said. "Because it exists in our American society, and every other institution is just a microcosm of a larger environment, right?" The landscape of this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in fact, offers a glaring example of such inconsistencies in policing. "On one side of town, people are getting harassed by police because they don't have their masks on," Alexander said. "But yet you go to Central Park, and people are out there sunbathing. They don't have no masks on, but police are out there passing out masks. Just that vivid. Just that blatant." These protests gripping America are simply indicative of how exhausted people have become with this state of affairs. Alexander points westward for a vivid illustration of this. "That's why you see that Seattle has taken a six-block radius and carved it out into their own city and even made them shut down a precinct," he said. "Now, we don't know how long that's going to sustain, but I think the message is here, very subtly, 'We can do this ourselves.' That's the subtle message." And although such systemic racism has always existed in law enforcement, Alexander said that he feels the energy now sweeping the world in protests signals an inevitable change. Demands for rethinking and retooling law enforcement have been issued in the streets and the status quo has been deemed untenable, in Pensacola and everywhere else. Alexander reflected, "What you see right now is not some passing protest; this is a worldwide movement." {in}

June 18, 2020


Photo by Tim Bednarczyk

WATCH LIST Keep an eye on the daily reports on COVID-19 cases in Florida. On Tuesday, June 16, the state reported a record-high 2,783 new COVID-19 cases, topping the previous high on Sunday, June 14 of 2,581. The state’s death total due to the virus has topped the number of deaths in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Florida also has increasing trends in hospitalization and percentage of positive cases. To follow the daily statistics, visit "THE TIME IS NOW" The 30-day waiting

period required prior to potentially removing the Confederate monument on Palafox has begun. The Pensacola City Council voted unanimously on Thursday, June 11, to commence that waiting period, looking toward discussing the issue during its July meeting. "What this motion does tonight is it starts the clock ticking," said Councilwoman Sherri Myers, "so that it can be on the agenda July 16, so we can make a decision on the Confederate monument." As the city is experiencing protests against systemic racism within law enforcement, calls have come once again for the 010 1

removal of the Confederate monument in Lee Square. Mayor Grover Robinson had earlier presented a more prolonged timeline that stretched to the other side of summer, as well as suggested that adding additional monuments that represented other groups would be more "respectful" than the removal of the monument.

"We should take a decisive action on the monument. I don't think it's in the public interest for this decision to be delayed and delayed." Sherri Myers During Thursday's council meeting, however, three council members—Myers, along with Ann Hill and Jared Moore— presented an add-on item to the agenda calling for the 30-day waiting period to begin. Myers, citing the momentum and thrust of the national moment, said that she believed the council needed to act as swiftly as possible on the issue.

"We should take a decisive action on the monument," she said. "I don't think it's in the public interest for this decision to be delayed and delayed." Over the past couple of weeks, numerous other municipalities, such as neighboring Mobile, Ala., have made moves to remove their own Confederate monuments. In other locales, protesters have taken it upon themselves to topple statues honoring the Confederacy. During the public comment period of Thursday's meeting, speakers implored the council to remove the monument in Lee Square, which the mayor intends to return to its former moniker of Florida Square. They painted the monument as a "divisive" element erected long after the Civil War and meant to celebrate an "antebellum social order based on slavery." While a vast majority of the speakers wanted to see the monument removed, there were a couple of voices to the contrary, which saw the monument as a "symbol of healing" and the effort to remove it propagated by "radical leftists." With its unanimous vote to start the 30-day clock, city council appears ready to dive into this issue as soon as possible. Members agreed that they should have all relevant information, such as the cost of removal, by the July 16 meeting. Myers suggested that council be prepared to make a final decision on the monument during its July discussion. "I don't think this community needs to wait," Myers said, adding that the monument should have already been removed. "The time is now. The time should've happened when this issue came up before."

West Florida police chief wrote a letter to his staff that told his officers that they have an obligation to intervene when they see something outside of a policy or a in life-threatening manner. Simmons said Sheriff David Morgan has retooled the department's use of force policy based on his recommendation. "Our policy in the past said that you have a duty to report if you see something going on," Simmons said. "I instructed our team to redo our own policy, and now our policy reflects that duty to intervene, in addition to the duty to report. Sheriff Morgan signed that policy just a couple of days ago." The chief deputy has been supportive of the protests but hasn't agreed with suggestions to dissolve the police force or prison system. "I have been to a number of town halls and neighborhood association meetings, no one has asked for fewer law enforcement officers in their neighborhood," he said. "There are some dangerous criminals that have been convicted and in prison instead of our community to do whatever damage to our community." Simmons said the sheriff's office already has de-prioritized lower level offenses. "Our top priority is the violent crime— robberies, shootings, stabbings, domestic violence and crimes against children. Do we, on occasion, have a need or the position to investigate lower level crimes? Yes, we do, which sometimes leads to larger crimes." He also said he supported a citizen oversight committee. "When I was a police chief, we had the citizens advisory committee, and we met at City Hall for a period of time. I am in support of that."

"BETRAYAL OF THE OATH" Chief Deputy Chip Simmons has watched the video of the Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd. For him, the killing of the man was "a betrayal of the oath of the badge and just a betrayal of basic human decency, quite frankly." "I have a hard time watching the video in its entirety," Simmons, a Republican running for Escambia County sheriff, told Inweekly. "Eight minutes is longer than I ever imagined it being. I find wishing that I could have been there to stop what's taken place." He said he wasn't making a political statement but was speaking from a career law enforcement professional perspective. "It was unnecessary, and I felt like it was criminal," he said. "I felt like the officers involved should've been fired, and I felt like they should be charged." Simmons added, "I know that the overwhelming majority of the people that I have worked with and work with don't have an evil heart like what we saw in the video." After Floyd's death, the University of

FLORIDAWEST "REMOTE FROM HERE" FloridaWest, Escambia County's economic development authority, sees opportunity as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions have found that they can do their jobs from anywhere, and many companies have seen that it may not matter so much where their talent is.

"The growth of work-fromhome opportunities following COVID-19 bodes well for cities like Pensacola." Alex Andrade "In the weeks and months ahead, FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance will be politely suggesting to technology and cybersecurity professionals that 'anywhere' should be right here in the Pensacola area," said FloridaWest CEO Scott Luth. State Rep. Alex Andrade agrees. "The growth of work-from-home

portunities following COVID-19 bodes well for cities like Pensacola," said Andrade. "As people are empowered more and more in their careers to work remotely, Pensacola's beautiful beaches and vibrant character will become not only more appealing but more realistic for this new segment of our workforce." The greater Pensacola area already a foothold in the cyber world. UWF President Martha Saunders and Dr. Eman El-Sheikh have done an outstanding job of turning the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity into a national center of excellence. The university and Pensacola State College are producing trained cybersecurity workers who are finding local opportunities with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency and the Navy's cybersecurity operations. "To keep these agencies and companies here, help them grow and attract others like them, we need to make sure our well of talent is even deeper," said Luth. "That's why FloridaWest will be working with local partners to develop and launch our 'Remote from Here' campaign that will highlight all the great reasons why 'work from home' should mean 'work from here.' Over the next few weeks, FloridaWest will be putting together campaign materials and sharing them as widely as possible. To learn more, visit

POLICE OVERSIGHT Also at the city council meeting on Thursday, June 11, Mayor Grover Robinson said that he was assembling the citizen advisory and law enforcement oversight committee, which will deal with law enforcement issues. The committee is one of the key demands of the Pensacola Dream Defenders. The group called for the committee following the July 5 police shooting of Tymar Crawford, a black man who had been pulled over. Robinson outlined the formula for the committee for the first time, explaining that he would appoint four people to the

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committee, with city council members each making one appointment. The mayor has already committed to one of his appointees being Hale Morrissette, a leading voice of the Dream Defenders. Robinson told council members he needed their appointments by the end of the day Friday, June 19. "Once the committee is settled, we'll task members with going into the community," Robinson said, explaining that he wanted the committee members to accompany Cedric Alexander, a retired law enforcement officer the city has tapped to lead this effort, as he conducted town halls prior to the committee getting down to business. At his presser on Monday, June 15, the mayor said he was also selecting Kyle Cole, of the KYLE Project, an active participant in ongoing protests in the city against systemic racism within law enforcement. Three city council members have also now submitted their picks. District 1 Councilman P.C. Wu has selected Laura McKnight. District 2 Councilwoman Sherri Myers has selected Charles Bare, a former councilman. And District 3 Councilman Andy Terhaar has chosen Drew Buchanan, who previously served on the mayor's transition team.

GRANT APPLICATIONS The International Paper Pensacola Mill is accepting applications for International Paper Foundation grants at through Monday, July 6. In 2019, the foundation awarded $65,000 in grants to area nonprofit organizations. The International Paper Foundation makes sustainable investments to address critical needs in the communities where its employees live and work. Signature causes include: •Education—Programs focused on helping children succeed via a comprehensive approach to education. Priority is given to literacy programs from birth through third grade. •Hunger—Programs dedicated to improving food security throughout our communities.

•Health & Wellness—Programs that promote healthy living habits. •Disaster Relief—Programs that help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters. Funding also is available to address environmental initiatives (forests, water and air), employee involvement grants and other critical community needs. Applicants must be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or qualifying federal entity to apply for a grant. To be considered, organizations must have a program that addresses critical community needs and have measurable objectives to demonstrate impact. Details on grant eligibility, guidelines and restrictions are available at Applications are routed to the local IP facility and must be completed in its entirety to be considered. If you have questions about the grant guidelines or process, contact Whitney Fike via email at

JOB FAIRS CareerSource Escarosa has announced a series of local job fairs. To learn more details, visit LandrumHR Virtual Hiring Event 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, June 18 Popeyes Virtual Hiring Event 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, June 19 Taco Bell Hiring Event 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, June 23 GEO Virtual Hiring Event 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, and Wednesday, June 24 Cerex Hiring Event 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, June 25 Popeyes Hiring Event 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, June 26

COVID-19 MICROGRANTS The Spring Entrepreneur Hub has launched a BlackOwned Small Business Microgrant program that provide grants to eligible black-owned small businesses in Escambia County.

Each microgrant will provide a minimum of $1,500 per business. The fund has a total of $50,000 available for black-owned companies that did not receive any of the COVID-19 state or federal programs during 2020. The black-owned business must be located within Escambia County, and its owner must be 18 years of age or older. Verification of company information—employees, revenue, income tax return—may be required. All funding must be used for payroll, rent/ mortgage or utility payments only. Funding may not be used as a founder stipend. Applications will be accepted through 9 a.m. on Monday, June 22. Winners will be selected by Friday, June 27. For more information, visit microgrant-program.


Since 2008, ITEN (Innovation Technology Education Network) WIRED Summit has connected Pensacola with cyber industry leaders, entrepreneurs and educators. The three-day event highlighted the area's cybersecurity, information technology and entrepreneurial communities and explored emerging technology and innovators in startup tech, artificial intelligence, robotics and emerging technologies on the national scene. On Monday, June 15, its board announced the 2020 summit was canceled. "Every year, we look forward to connecting with our cybersecurity and IT friends at the annual ITEN WIRED Summit," wrote the board. "But given the uncertainty this fall around COVID-19, we've made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event." The organization has reserved the dates of October 6-8, 2021, on Pensacola Beach and plans to bring back the summit next year. "While we may be on pause, we're not going away," said ITEN officials. "The planning team is working on creative ways to keep you connected and informed on the latest in cybersecurity and IT." {in}




Photo by Pensacola Vibes

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A Special Feature Showcasing Words and Photos from Inweekly Readers

When we started accepting submissions for this issue, Florida had just entered Phase 1 of reopening and George Floyd was still alive. Obviously, a lot has changed since then, and the submissions included on the next few pages reflect that. When we planned this issue, we thought it would be a fun, beach read kind of thing, focusing mostly on life in quarantine. We were excited to hear from you and to get an opportunity to publish different writing styles, like poems and short stories. But in addition to those types of submissions, we also received editorial letters and essays speaking on timely issues like racial injustice and the Confederate monument debate. And we're glad we did. Just because this issue was planned in early May doesn't mean it shouldn't evolve to fit into June conversations. We think the combination of creative writing and politically-charged essays make for a great read overall. We hope you agree. {in}

June 18, 2020


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Racism: Death by a Thousand Cuts By Charles McCaskill

Right now across this country, thousands of people are marching and demonstrating for justice for black lives. Protestors are saying the names of victims of police violence in their individual cities and all across our nation. Right now in this city, communities are arguing over the fate of a Confederate monument located at one of the entrances to downtown. Right now, people are discussing how a bar inspired by the 1960s can respectfully exist at a location segregation was fought in that very decade. Companies, leagues, teams, athletes, authors, etc. in numbers far too large to name here are speaking out after years of silence for fear of being "too political." I am writing this to say that all these conversations are connected. "Microaggression" is a phrase used to describe discriminatory acts that are not

as explicitly harmful as physical violence or outright slurs. We cannot have these conversations without understanding that "micro" and "macro" are linked. It can be considered a microaggression to make fun of an ethnic name. Then that same idea is used to subtly discredit that person's professional worth, making them miss out on jobs due to the bias of those in hiring positions. It can be considered micro to tell a crass joke at the expense of a black person's race, but then what happens when the people telling those jokes are those who are sworn to protect the community regardless of race? It is ridiculous to believe that Dylan Roof only killed black people. That he didn't make jokes around his friends. That he didn't devalue black lives in more subtle ways. And until he pulled his trigger or maybe used a slur, how

many would have been agreeing with the points he may have been making? People who do not see the full humanity in black lives are not just those killing us or calling us slurs behind a computer screen. They are also those who make tasteless jokes. They are also those who shy away from having the uncomfortable conversations in examining their own biases. They are also those who say nothing when others are spreading hatred. Many of you reading this will be asking, "Why are we talking about a Confederate monument now?" or, "Why is Sesame Street talking about BLM?" or "Why are people getting fired from posting things on their personal Facebook account?" All of this matters. All of this is connected. Racism is death by a thousand cuts. Black people are ignored when they point out problems in their cities. We

are told that racism is no longer an issue despite the fact that many of you were alive when the KKK marched in downtown Pensacola in the '70s. We are told that silence is better. We are told that we should focus on fixing the issues in black communities first before we criticize the larger community. All these microaggressions add up, and not only do they make us feel invalidated and unheard, they make other people quick to invalidate and ignore us. When we are asking that a monument be moved. When we are asking the owners of a bar to respect history that they profit off of. When we are begging for breath under the knee of an officer. We never know which cut will kill us. We never know whose indifference, like COVID, will spread to the wrong person at the wrong time and end a life.

will stay with your nephew and his family. That is your sister's son. You will remember him when you see him. They will be glad to see you. We will go and visit your sister in the hospital." They were silent for some time, and then Nohea asked, "Who are you and why are you taking me to see my Sissy?" I held my breath as I awaited her answer and prayed she did not know I was listening. She paused at her mom's question and then responded, "I'm your daughter. You remember me. I come to visit you at your place and we talk about my children, your grandchildren. I am taking you to visit your sister because she is ill." Again, silence as Nohea pondered the answer. Her eyes finally seemed to understand as they filled with tears, but her mind and her voice were not able to communicate her feelings. About this time, her daughter received a phone call from, who, I gathered, was another family member, and explained in greater detail the purpose of their visit. The older woman could easily hear the entire conversation but never showed any visible sign of comprehension. They were

traveling to see the Nohea's younger sister, who was near death. She knew her mom likely didn't understand, but she wanted her to get to say that last goodbye. They would stay with family and it would be a quick trip. Before I realized it, the delayed plane arrived and we prepared to board. I almost reached out to the younger woman to tell her how much this moment impacted me. I felt such compassion for this woman I didn't know, the woman whose heart must be broken over her mom's memory loss, yet I could not bring myself to speak up and tell her that I saw her and how kindly she treated her mom, how patient she was in such a hard moment and how surely she was earning her wings. Yet I kept quiet. I did not want to intrude or upset her. I will never forget her or her mom or this moment. It is etched in my mind. I hope that now you can see them, too.

Airport Exchange By Rocky Bowers Parra

I am haunted by an exchange I witnessed in the airport on Kauai in the summer of 2019. I never dreamed, especially after my husband's health crisis in Maui, that I would continue to think about this episode almost a year later. On July 9, our family of six sat at the Hawaiian Airlines gate waiting to board a flight to Maui. Our flight was delayed, and we experienced quite a long wait. Each of us independently stared at our screens or read a book trying to pass the time. During the delay, a Hawaiian woman, probably in her 50s, wheeled in a beautiful, serene older lady, who appeared to be in her upper 70s or early 80s, and chose an empty seat next to me. I immediately wondered if the younger woman was a nurse or a family member and if the older woman was ill or just too feeble to walk on her own and if they were traveling for fun or out of necessity. Over the course of the next hour, I eavesdropped—not out of purpose but more out of circumstance—on their conversation and learned the reason for their travels. I discovered the younger woman (Kekoa) was the eldest daughter of the

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lady (Nohea) in the wheelchair, and they were traveling via Maui to bid farewell to the older woman's younger sister (Sissy). It became obvious during their conversation that the older lady suffered from Alzheimer's or dementia. Nohea repeatedly asked her daughter where they were going and who they were going to see. Kekoa never grew frustrated or raised her voice at the incessant questioning from this woman, who I eventually learned was her mother. She patiently responded time after time, "We are traveling to Kona to see your sister. She is very ill and we are going to say goodbye." For a moment, Nohea would recall her sister, smile and say, "We are going to see Sissy. I am so excited to see her. She cannot be ill though; she is so young." She continued, "We are going to laugh and catch up. I miss her." Kekoa grew quiet each time, gathered her breath and explained, "Your sister is ill and we must go visit her to say goodbye." It was as if she were willing her mother to understand the gravity of the situation. Once Nohea asked, "Where will we stay? With Sissy or in a hotel?" Her daughter patiently replied, "We

*Note—For purposes of this story, I named the characters based on how I remember them. I did not ever hear their actual names. Older woman—Nohea means beautiful. Younger woman—Kekoa means courageous.


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Bullet Journaling Will Save Your Quarantine By Emily Echevarria

March, I, along with so many others, was trudging forward into the new reality as best I could. Setting up my newly appointed home office—now with bonus distractions— I tried to figure out ways to make the space more conducive to productivity. Sitting next to my laptop was my trusty Moleskine bullet journal, the dotted journal where I organize my calendar, daily and weekly agendas, miscellaneous lists and ideas, and daily habit logs. Looking at the lime green cover, I thought to myself that if my daily bullet journaling took a nosedive during this weird time, I would accept the break without judgment or self-recrimination, congratulating myself on my Zen-like acceptance. As the weeks of safer-at-home guidelines yawned on, the opposite happened. My bullet journaling flourished. I cracked it open several times daily, checking items off lists, scrawling a task or two, or adding doodles to the coming month's layouts. Bullet journaling at its core is a self-curated organization system in a notebook, and its creator, digital product designer Ryder Carroll, touts it as "the analog method for the digital age." I use it often as an obsessive list maker and schedule checker, and I get a lot out of it, but I get more than

ever now that we're in a reality that can feel utterly devoid of structure. I don't think everyone must go full analog and immediately purchase a dotted journal to join the heated Moleskine versus Leuchtturm debate in the #bujo community. But there are aspects of bullet journaling that can benefit anyone, especially during self-isolation when it feels like "anything goes" to get through the long days at home. As we struggle to find the balance of what we can reasonably expect of ourselves during this time, what we need to take care of ourselves and where to use up our limited energy stores, a bullet journal practice, or at least one aspect of it, can help see us through these dark and aimless times. The daily habit log, otherwise known as a habit tracker, is a popular bullet journal layout that can yield thrilling results for anyone that gets satisfaction from checking things off a list or giving themselves metaphorical gold stars. For my monthly habit log, I write 10 habits that I want to have as a daily (or almost daily) practice, including movement, creativity, connecting, yoga, journaling, getting 10K steps, Spanish lessons on DuoLingo, reading, foam rolling and taking my vitamin.

If completing these 10 things each day seems fully aspirational among the hustle of work/ family/daily life in general, it generally is. Just aiming toward completion offers benefits, even if not everything gets a check mark every day. Set up a habit log. On the left side of a page, write down a list of habits—10, five, three, whatever works for you—that you'd ideally want to do every day. Horizontally along the top of the page, write down the days of the month so that under each day you can check off each completed habit you listed. Choose your habits/practices. Make some simple, some more striving. Is there a good habit you already do most days to easily check off and get some momentum? Or is there a practice that needs a little push, like drinking more water? For most of us, now is not the time to revamp your whole routine; pick and choose the things that will add the most to your current situation. Decorate. (Or keep it simple.) For many bullet journalers, there's a stress-relieving quality to designing aesthetically pleasing pages or mastering modern calligraphy. If brilliant colors and fancy lettering bring you joy, grab the markers and go wild.

Try for a week, reflect and repeat. You've been getting a tiny rush of joy as you fill in the square or mark an X for each good habit for the last seven days. Look back at your log and see if there are blank sections for any particular item. Think about how you can re-work your days to include it or drop it altogether if it's not serving you. Give yourself a break. For many healthy habits, you don't have to give it your all to get some benefit. There's no need for an all-or-nothing approach. If you realize the intense HIIT workout you'd planned for your exercise habit isn't in the cards today, go for a little walk instead. If you wanted to finish that novel today but never got around to it, read a few pages before bed and call it a night. If there's ever a time to lower your standards, it's right now. You still get your gold star, and you'll feel better than if you'd done nothing. Emily Echevarria is a professional writer who lives in Pensacola, Fla,. with her doting husband and brilliant toddler. She is an avid bullet journaler and has presented on numerous occasions for the UWF English Department on the topic of Bullet Journaling for Habit Management.

My Grandparents' Table By Lizzy Chaloupka

Every morning, as far back as I can remember and probably since long before that, my grandparents would start their day with a rousing game of dice. The game was Farkle. Farkle was serious business in our family. Every one of us knew how to play and played often, especially when we were all together. The competitive spirit in our family was relentless—even cutthroat, at times— but I don't think anyone took it as seriously as my Memaw and Papaw. Each morning, they played Farkle at the kitchen table, and the loser paid the winner out of a jar of coins they shared (the winner's score minus the loser's score, one penny for every hundred points). My mom, a notorious Farkle risk-taker and resulting chronic Farkle loser, has had to pay up anywhere from 5 cents to 10 dollars a game). Now, when I say that my grandparents were serious about Farkle, I mean you couldn't play if

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you couldn't pay; there was no borrowing and no excuses. Winnings were due to the winner immediately upon the game's conclusion. These stringent rules always struck me as particularly hilarious considering most of the time, losing a game of Farkle would cost you about 50 cents. Yet as a child, more than once I appealed to a sympathetic aunt or uncle to bail me out when my point deficit exceeded my coin purse. And thus, the game went on. Thousands upon thousands of games of Farkle have been played at that kitchen table over the years. Its surface is absolutely pitted by countless rolls of dice. There are layers upon layers of names and scores faintly scratched into the wood. There are heat stains from where hot cups of coffee have marred its finish. By most standards, these things would diminish its worth, but for me, its blemishes tell stories that are beyond value.

I remember visiting my grandparents in the summer, all of the grandkids' sleeping bags lined up in a row on the living room floor, aunts and uncles and cousins crammed in together, playing Farkle at the table in their pajamas and nightgowns, the smell of my dad cooking breakfast for everyone between sips of coffee. I remember a hodgepodge of mismatched seating pulled from every corner of their home to supplement the six dining chairs—the stool from my Memaw's dressing table, the bench from my Papaw's workshop, folding chairs, whatever was around—all three of the table's leaves put in to make room for everyone. I remember the matching hutch proudly displaying my Memaw's china among various other prized miscellany. During holidays and special occasions, the china was set, honored and quickly cleared away for the allure of Farkle. Or bingo. Or cards. Our family played a lot of Euchre.

I can still hear my Papaw saying, "Hearts for my partner!" But more than anything, I remember us all gathered around the table, sharing simple but lovingly-prepared meals and endless, endless laughter. My Memaw and Papaw are both gone now, and it has been a long time since those days we were all gathered together around the table. Another family has moved into their house and is presumably making their own cherished memories in what used to be my grandparents' dining room. However, my grandparents' dining table and matching china hutch—two icons of our family's history and reminders of beloved days gone by— were passed down to me. Today they sit in what has easily become my favorite space in my apartment. And while I may not begin each day with a game of Farkle, I always keep a set of dice and a pack of cards on the table, paying homage to my grandparents, our family and our stories. 15

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An Open Letter to GoDaddy By Lloyd Reshard, Jr.

As an African American male and performing artist, it has been hard to describe my emotions apart from volatile. Tensions are running high for everyone in light of the current social climate and global pandemic. And, while it is great to see companies taking a stand and inspiring the masses to keep going amidst near economic collapse, we must be mindful how we frame these narratives. GoDaddy, a leading online web hosting and domain registrar, released a commercial recently encouraging small business owners to keep going and use their resources, with the emotional narrative driven by the most beautiful Australian voice singing a cover of “Beautiful Dreamer” by the “Father of American Song” himself, Stephen Foster. Having died in 1864, Stephen’s music was wildly popular after his death— so much so that in 1935, Florida changed its state song to Foster’s “Swanee River,” which highlights Northwest Florida’s famed Suwannee River in the lyrics. However, in today's socially charged climate, referencing songwriters that exploited and mocked people of color can be problematic. GoDaddy, I recognize you mean well by sharing this advertisement, but as an American, person of color and singer, I do need to bring to the company's awareness that the songwriter of "Beautiful Dreamer" was a known minstrel songwriter and performer. For context, minstrel shows were performed by black and white people who made caricature representations of blacks/Africans/people of color for the entertainment of white people, including the use of blackface makeup. During his lifetime, that may not have been prob-

lematic, but today, particularly in the light of the protests, this commercial sends a haunting and subversive social message. "Beautiful Dreamer" as a song does not seem racially insensitive, but when you think that you are promoting businesses to stay open through these tough times and you show people of color in the ad, it gives the impression you are making a joke of their hard work and efforts. It feels like a mockery of their contribution to our economy. I don't think GoDaddy means to portray that sentiment. However, by using songs and text from a person that thought it OK to subjugate and dehumanize people for the color of their skin, the commercial almost becomes a type of minstrel show. Therefore, I ask that this advertisement be edited with a different enduring song with a similar sentiment, such as "Smile"— music by Charles Chaplin, lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons—or "Tomorrow" from “Annie” by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. The United States of America has a long way to go in the journey of reconciling its history with the ethnic diversity of the present. But it is not impossible. By educating ourselves and sharing our experience, we each can play a part in changing the narrative and living peaceably with one another. But it will take us having to make these seemingly tedious steps to the beautiful dream the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. heralded.

But it is not impossible.

Author and opera singer Lloyd Reshard, Jr. grew up and currently lives in Northwest Florida. The Artistic Director of Viola! Song Cycle, commissioned by Pensacola’s Kukua Institute, Lloyd strives to share untold American stories in song and theater.

A Letter to Pensacola

By Glenn Taylor

Tell me your favorite things about living in Pensacola. Go on; I’ll wait. Maybe you love living by one of the most beautiful beaches on God’s green earth or the fact that Pensacola takes pride in the military and the city’s rich Colonial history. Pensacola has a thriving arts scene. Certainly, the unparalleled charm of downtown, with its locallyowned restaurants and boutiques, comes to mind. I am a fifth-generation Pensacola native, and I appreciate all of these things. But more importantly, I cherish my family and you. Pensacolians are a gracious, humble, kind and patriotic people with much to be proud of. When you paused to reflect about why you enjoy living in Pensacola, you probably shared my thoughts but didn’t consider anything about dissent terrorism or treason. But that’s exactly what the obelisk on North Palafox commemorating the “uncrowned heroes of the Southern Confederacy” represents. To those of you who take satisfaction in the city’s heritage, you are absolutely correct that seceding from the United States is an unfortunate chapter of our city’s colorful history. Florida formally seceded on January 10, 1861. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. Pensacola belonged to the Confederacy for four years and three months, or for %0.009 of its existence. That is not very long. And the men “whose joy it was to suffer for a cause they believed just” who are celebrated at Lee Square took up arms against the United States, the nation that has given refuge and opportunity to my ancestors and so many others, to defend the institution of slavery. As demonstrations calling attention to systemic racism and police violence

against black Americans continue across the United States and all over the world, and a petition regarding the fate of “The Monument to Our Confederate Dead” circulates, it is incumbent upon the fine people of Pensacola to be responsible stewards of this moment. The time to remove a relic of our past that should have never been erected is now. Rest assured that should City Council opt to remove the monument in question and rename Lee Square, we would not be comprehensively obliterating a large swath of American history. In fact, removing or relocating the monument is not a loss at all but an opportunity to place it in an educational context so that we may always continue to understand the Antebellum South and the racism, sexism and classism by which it is marked. History is taught in schools and at museums, by teachers and through books, artifacts, etc. Monuments are erected to glorify. Exalting the Confederacy is simply un-American, and it is a hateful slap in the face to black citizens who descended from enslaved people that the Civil War freed. I implore you to please consider what Pensacola means to you and if the monument in question is a physical incarnation of our ideals. In 2011, Southern Living called Pensacola “a city on the rise,” and I certainly agree that Pensacola’s best days lie ahead. Together, we can continue to improve life in Pensacola for all people. So contact City Council members and tell them how you feel before they put this to vote next month. Register and vote in local elections. Begin organizing your mayoral campaign. Always remember your Pensacola values—unless racism is one of your ideals, in which case, get new ideals.

Adoption • Paternity • Dependency/DCF Hearings Prenuptial Agreements • Postnuptial Agreements Divorce • Child Custody and Timesharing Child Support • Child Support Modifications Alimony • Collaborative Divorce • Divorce Mediation • Pre-Suit Family Law Mediation

127 Palafox Place Suite 100 (850)466-3115 616 1

by you The Media is Not Real By Stephanie Sharp

I’ve been a writer longer than I’ve been anything else. For 20 young years, I’ve been putting words on pages, knowing that I’ve never admired anyone the way I admire other writers. As I see the firestorm of public opinion continuing to mount in opposition of the monolith known as “The Media,” I can’t avoid speaking up any longer. Let’s have a little chat, fellow readers. I’ve personally put in the hours and racked up a portfolio at the independent alt-weekly newspaper you’re reading right now. Starting with weeks of tedious research and community calendar building, I slowly learned how you keep journalism alive. Over the summers, at the same desk and on the same computer, I watched as media consumption habits shifted. Social media and budget cuts gutted newsrooms and steamrolled what was left of our precious journalism ecosystem. Disenchanted and discouraged, I personally veered off into the bright and shiny world of public relations. I finally escaped PR to the greener pastures of freelance writing and marketing entrepreneurship, where search engine optimization was the newest way to turn writers into mercenaries for the sake of using our talents to pay the bills. Meanwhile, the 2016 election cycle ended in a catastrophe that would have serious ramifications for an industry already in peril. I know this sounds like a lot of doom and gloom, but there are bright spots. Plenty of genuine, talented people continued to serve diligently in the trenches of local and national newsrooms. Locally, Inweekly continued to defy the trends and remains a staunch blockade of encroaching entropy. Now, as 2020 blazes on, I personally wrestle with the point of writing at all. When the novel coronavirus pandemic started, there was an influx of writing. I saw critiques of how everyone was about to write the next great American novel. I felt bad for wanting to process through this art form, for wanting to use my obligation-free time to return to something I have always loved. At the same time, I took up old journalism habits. I started watching press conferences and seeking out raw data. I started watching local government meetings and updating friends on relevant votes. Meanwhile, the volume knob on social media continued to ratchet higher and higher with the voices of everyone and their favorite conspiracy theories.

When the Black Lives Matter uprising finally began, I was reminded yet again of the power of the free press. But of course, the din of social media has grown into a cacophony of outrage, liberation and resistance. The full-throated lament over injustice and racism in our nation is met with the indignant cries of exposed ignorance. So why then, exactly, am I using this opportunity to tell you, dear reader, about all of this? Honestly, I think you need to know that the problem isn’t “The Media.” The problem is you. We no longer have the luxury of being lulled into a false sense of complacency or misplaced outrage while scrolling. What you see and share on social media is not, by default, true. You have a responsibility to be direct and surgical in your criticism of misinformation. National broadcast news is not “The Media.” Social media feeds are not “The Media.” Influencers are not “The Media.” The Media is a human profession made up of individuals who are called to bear witness, to be the gatekeepers and the watchers, to be investigators and truth-tellers. Anything else is either entertainment or propaganda. Painting all of “The Media” with your broad brush of disapproval doesn’t solve any of the very serious issues our society is facing. Now is the time to learn how to read to understand, to think critically, to research and to fact-check. Find multiple, reliable sources for information and do the work to understand all of the relevant issues at hand. While we’re at it, a quick etiquette reminder—Having a social media account doesn’t make you or anyone else an expert, no matter how many people follow. Your timeline is not a magical, never-ending fountain of confirmation or well-spring of validation. It’s an open well in a wild and unforgiving frontier. You are responsible for how you consume it and what you pour into it. Look, I get it. Talking about media literacy isn’t nearly as sexy as lampooning an entire profession and an irreplaceable resource that you don’t actually understand. However, it’s your duty as an informed citizen to figure out how to be a better reader and how to conduct yourself online. At the end of the day, though, you can stay mad. Your posts, comments and likes will disappear one day. Journalism will always be the first draft of history.

Honestly, I think you need to know that the problem isn’t “The Media.” The problem is you.

June 18, 2020


by you

poems & photos For Teddy By Margeaux D. Gibson (aka Mama) Today, you ran. In and out and up and down. Heavy footsteps. Purposeful as you flew, giggling & speaking your own language...Hitting hard each time you fell. My warm chest, a nest made by a lifetime of 31 years for your cool, soft and squishy cheek Brow clammy as you fight sleep Testing always to see where I stand Moving wildly within the net of my attention, within the breadth of my love. Taking up maximum space within my world. And then some. We are the same. I smell you and I forget myself. Your head. Silky soft hair. Peanut butter from breakfast. I am not a she with a name. I am giving. I am loving. I am mother. Yes I will return to tend to myself & my needs...I am not a martyr and you are not a drain. I weave in and out of my role as yours and into my personhood again. The biology of it all is palpable. We were once nothingness, but I was always tumbling through space heading for the chance to be your mother. Sweet one, I am tired, sometimes resisting this role like fighting my own inability to slow down, but you right me, and through it all, I will keep you safe. I’m full of motherhood. It overflows from me the moment you are asleep. I hear your fantom cry at work. Drowning in the unknown of this brand new life, but also equally centered. So knowing that this job is THE job. Never has it been more crucial to arise into the moment. Breathe. Before bedtime, one more trip outside. One of a hundred today. I absorb the earth & she cradles me. Sky turning a faint pink...the coolness of an evening breeze reminding us that summer is coming but keeping the mosquitos away. You are perfect...waddling in your diaper, skin the color of wet sand. Grieving my selfishness but my heart nestled in endless meaning. You storm, tossing rocks on kitty with a squeal, reaching out a hand, running full-speed into me for a wide and glorious hug. Before you, I could spend days in quiet rest. I didn’t know my stamina. My resilience. Today, we are together. Life will inch forward & we won’t notice until its done. The weight of this beauty rushes my whole being as though each tick of the second hand is filled to the brim with God. We are both alive, together, now. Isn’t it just right, as though lifetimes have churned to find this equilibrium that is me and you? Here to love each other in your fleeting babyhood. Deep knowing that you will grow toward the sunlight as I watch. The gift is to behold & release. The gift is how fast it all ends.

Model: Samantha Burke / Photographer: Charlotte Bergan

I am yours, and you are wild.

Sky on Fire

818 1

By Kandace Lee

The sky here bursts into flames over the bay Every summer night Golden and scarlet and rosy colored it burns, smolders, and smokes Then dies out into the cool shade of night Only to wake up again in the morning And shed its light over the bay again The iron train track rusts A solitary electric street lantern flickers out The pier is eaten by barnacles and the ocean’s salty spray Termites make a meal of the wooden bridge Nature does not give a damn about what man builds But the sky is always there to repeat its cycle Of burning out at night to be born again Phoenix-like The next morning Someone had their flame snuffed out too soon In place of their flame, mourners light a thousand candles These flames burn out too As night throws its indigo blanket over the sky The mourners march home But there will be more flames to come Nature is in us all too As are some fires That never stop burning.

Only Thorns Left

By Steven Poulin

Lovely roses, And I gave them to you Pretty flowers That never got to bloom Chile peppers, blood oranges, tattoos Shades of red never looked so blue, I wanted to match you but could never find the hue Bruises on the fruit, Browner shades of you Pretty things can be ugly too, You said about models, movie stars and everything taboo We had nightcaps, long gaps, exchanged words untrue Lovely roses A sheep chameleon with your rotary poses Pretty flowers, But only thorns left for you

Nights in Your Room By Jasmyn Prevatte

Never stop being sad. Irreplicable damage, Greatness once had, Hence the åcartilage, Tasting your own oceans is the only way to Stay sane. Imagined cabaret, Narcotized plain. Yellowback piles, On a drop from our windowsill, Ubiquitous juveniles, Rolling primrose hill. Reconnaissance of friends, Observing existence from the contended bed, Outsiders judging sins, More so seeing red.

By Kayla May

No Name Island

poems & photos Bristled, jagged, rough, and royal Sit upon you when they gather Calling out for a mate They are the objects of attraction But you are the object of my affection Hard to reach, yet easy to see Constantly intrigued. I have passed Quiet then fast But never yet stood upon your breach What are you? A piece of the past who now dwells here alone? Made up of stone? No tide high enough To hide your rough Skin I may never pass you again

Whistlin' Joe By Pat Meusel He's crossing o'er that footbridge and headin’ down the tracks we spy him from atop that place where trains would go across The bridge long gone but he remembers when Pennsy crossed the Reading To us it's just a playground And a place to throw things off of There he goes on down the tracks we follow him behind the bush across an orange crick of stink pretending we're the US Army and he's a Nazi soldier

The stick he carries The tune he whistles His dungarees are dirty The same since we were little He's old and always will be We're young and run ahead The crick turns right The tracks go straight Under the bridge we hide We look up through the rail ties Sweaty laughter keep it down He'll hear us - here he comes

by you

Junk Drawer By Sam Hoskins We finally did it. Quarantine is a hell of a drug We are cleaning out the junk drawer We do not search haphazardly WE are calculated and precise in our action... BLACK LIVES MATTER bad police are bad police... Once a junk drawer always a junk drawer. it is serendipitous the way it always returns to its resting state Oppression without reaction is unrivaled Terrorism searching for answers is not always cut and dry the world is a messy junk and hate intertwined go search for the good why do the oppressors want inaction... after all, the drawer is DIRTY But seriously, I miss rummaging in the drawer for good hopefully, we find what we are looking for feels like we are on our way.

The whistling grows louder As he walks right over top of us Old boots and cigarette smoke What is that song? He's looking down He's looking down

Oh God By Ericka Streeter Hodge Oh, God, I get angry sometimes when I think there’s no way up for us from here because it seems you’re way up there just watching. I get sad when I know mothers slap their babies then hate their sons because they look like their fathers and the fathers hate everyone because they can’t love themselves. They weren’t taught to. Oh, God, how can we see hope when for every act of kindness when there are a thousand acts of cruelty? You know what? Let me stop questioning how this God stuff works and the hows and whys of the hearts of others. I know how to do God stuff. So I'll be here hugging folks and holding hands, spreading my bit of sunshine in the shady places, letting my little light shine in some dark spaces. Like when I saw the little boy, lost as he was, laid out on that pavement shaking and heaving, I knew he felt only fear—fear that he was breathing his last breaths, fearing he would die there in front of all those strangers. Oh, God, I saw in his eyes he only wanted to erase that day; he wished he’d walked the other way. I knew he just wanted his mother, so I was there in her stead praying the prayers I knew would be in her heart and felt the ache I knew she’d have in her bones. As I knelt low beside him; I rubbed his back. I felt the sweat from his efforts to live and the grit from where he’d first fallen. I placed my hand on his forehead and said, “Baby, you gon’ be alright. I’m with you.” As blood and bile came from his mouth, love came from my heart so he would know he was wrapped in hope and grace abound just for him. I’m growing into the understanding that my little corner of the world is connected to someone else’s little corner of the world, and the edges aren't really edges at all but hands clasped together, holding onto the truth that we are all connected, all one. We just have to help each other heal, show each other what love is. I don’t get it all right all the time, but I’m trying. So, God, when you’re ready to do something greater than before, just make it plain and show us that we’re more alike than different, open to every beautiful deed and closer to having our heaven here on Earth. June 18, 2020

Model: Emily Bowman / Photographer: Nicholas Gunter 19




309 SOUTH REUS ST. | 850.607.6320 020 2

a&e happenings Attending "normal" events might not be happening yet—but that doesn't mean local businesses and nonprofits aren't still keeping the community connected in creative ways.



sacola Humane Society 2020 Doggie BatheIn season begins on Saturday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with proceeds going to fund its foster program and kitten supplies. Bathe-ins offer low-cost dog bathing and flea dips during the warm weather season. Events are held the third Saturday of the month, April through October, and continue as follows: Saturday, June 20 Saturday, July 18 Saturday, Aug. 15 Saturday, Sept. 19 Saturday, Oct. 17 Charges are based on the dog's weight and range from $8-$11. Please bring your own towels, or you may rent a towel for a $1 donation. Pensacola Humane Society is located at 5 N. Q St. For more information, visit



food tastings and check out African jewelry, whipped body butters, precious stones and plants at the Solstice Market. The market is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at Asher & Bee Apothecary and Tea House, located at 3014 N. Ninth Ave. For more information, visit


Looking for something for dad? Head to Fiore's Father's Day Mini Market from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at 405 S. K St.


T.T. Wentworth and Pensacola Museum of Art (PMA) have reopened with limited hours on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Both museums are operating at limited capacity. In order to ensure social distancing guidelines are kept, visitors must reserve a $5 timed ticket online. The tickets are good for both museums for one day only. Current exhibitions at PMA include Poppy Garcia's "Bless Your Heart," the annual Members Show, and "DocuFlorida 3" and "Lessons in Ink" at T.T. Wentworth. You can also still enjoy virtual tours of exhibitions and collection highlights. For more information on both, visit and


City Art Center (FCA) is adapting its popular event next month. Hot Glass Cold Brew: Home Edition will take place virtually on Facebook Live on Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m. The Facebook Live event will feature a pottery demonstration, Gallery 1060 virtual tour, glassblowing demonstration, raffle and live auction. This online event will be interactive, as viewers will be encouraged to ask quesJune 18, 2020

tions about the process and will receive realtime answers from an FCAC staff member. Keeping with tradition, unique glass and ceramic cups will be available for $30 starting June 12 in an online store. Cups can be picked up at First City Art Center, 1060 N. Guillemard St., prior to the event. Each cup purchase will include a raffle ticket and a BOGO pint voucher to Pensacola Bay Brewery. For more information, visit


all of the ways opera is being transformed and reinvented in this free, virtual Opera University session at 7 p.m. on June 18. Pensacola Opera staff and artists will share how composers are writing for modern audiences and sharing stores that haven't been on the opera stage before. Attendees must register by noon on June 18. Find the link at, and you will receive an email with the Zoom link.


The Pensacola Museum of Art has teamed up with Wine with Hilary Shaffer and Pot Roast & Pinot to bring their popular "Collection Uncorked" wine tasting into your home. Collection Uncorked invites visitors to learn more about our permanent collection through curated wine and art pairings. Chief Curator Anna Wall and Shaffer, a certified specialist of wine, are collaborating to match works of art with wines whose flavor profile or origins complement the art, artist or subject matter. This limited-edition curated box of three wines allows you to recreate the experience at home. Inside, you'll find reproductions of the works of art with narratives to guide you on your journey. Each box is $65. Order by noon on Wednesday of each week and pick up at Pot Roast & Pinot the following Saturday. For more information, visit potroastpinot. com/product/collectionuncorked.

BALLET PENSACOLA VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING The Ballet Pensacola Virtual Programming Series gives ballet fans a look at performances in the comfort of their own homes—or anywhere their devices take them. Utilizing a new soundstage built by the ballet's technicians, the artists will reimagine, repurpose and relaunch two beloved ballets from the Ballet Pensacola repertoire—"Alice in Wonderland" (a 2017 premiere) and "The Matrix " (a 2013 premiere). For more information, visit


to follow Pensacola Symphony Orchestra on Facebook to see videos of orchestra musicians performing special works from their homes. To watch, visit pensacolasymphony.

OPERALIVE Pensacola Opera is keep-

ing patrons connected through their new online series OperaLIVE. Episodes typically include things like

interviews and performances with artists, plus appearances by Pensacola Opera staff. For updates on new episodes or to watch past ones, visit pensacolaopera. You can also subscribe to their channel on YouTube.


Face-to-face workshops have resumed at Studio South. Stop by Studio South for the free workshops Handcrafted Happiness on June 19 from 10-11 a.m. and Fiber FREEStylin' on June 23 from 4-7 p.m. Studio South is located at 955 E. Nine Mile Road, Ste. 101. For more information and to see a complete list of June events, visit


University of West Florida has chosen 25 finalists for the Songs of Impact contest. Now, it's your turn to vote. The song with the most votes wins. Once voting closes, the votes will be tallied and the winners contacted to confirm acceptance of their award. Following confirmation of winners, an official announcement will be released on Monday, July 1. Cast your vote at

SINGERS' CINEMA Every Friday afternoon through August, enjoy a movie pick from the Choral Society of Pensacola. Information on each week's movie and where to find it online will be available on their Facebook page, Some can be viewed free; most are available for rent for under $5. Watch the movie over the weekend, and then join the Choral Society Monday evenings for a Zoom session to share your thoughts.


KEEP IT 100 The next Artel exhibition is

titled "Keep it 100." There are no size or theme requirements for this show, but all works must be for sale and priced at $100. Dates of the show are now through July 23. For more information, visit

PIECES ADRIFT ART SHOW Keep Pensacola Beautiful is recruiting artists to participate in their Pieces Adrift Art Show and Silent Auction. Pieces Adrift is a Keep Pensacola Beautiful programming fundraiser and pollution awareness event. Artists are welcome to participate with any level of experience, whether hobbyist or professional. Each piece submitted should be comprised of at least 50% litter. Due to COVID-19, KPB recommends using your discretion when picking up litter off the ground. Art pieces may also be created using trash from your home. Artists may also pick through sorted bins of trash at the KPB office left over from last year. "Pieces Adrift is a creative and unique way to unite the community in achieving a common goal—making Pensacola a beautiful place to live, work and play. It brings awareness to the perpetuating issue of litter and ocean pollution on our beaches and roadways. By repurposing trash as

art, we hope to inspire our community to be mindful of what and how they throw it away," says Madelyn Newton, Marketing and Development, VISTA. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1. For more information, please email



Shaker is back with live music through the month of June. Nathan Mulkey Band plays June 18, Class X is June 19-20, Dizzy Juke Band is June 21 and Tyler Mac Band is June 24. For more information, visit

LIVE MUSIC AT RED FISH BLUE FISH Live music is back at Red Fish Blue Fish 6-10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. on Sundays. For a calendar of bands, visit

MONDAY NIGHT BLUES Blues Society of Northwest Florida and Seville Quarter present Monday Night Blues every week at 7 p.m. On Monday, June 15, The Flavors will be the featured act. The opening act will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the host band at 7:30 p.m. and the Blues Jam at 9 p.m. For more live music times, visit THE HOODOOS AT SEVILLE QUARTER

Enjoy Jack Grimley from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on June 19 and 20 at Lili Marlene's in Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. For more live music times, visit


is Jazz Night at Seville Quarter. Listen to smooth jazz with saxophonist Noah Hall and other artists at 6 p.m. For more information, visit


PERFECT PLAIN RUN CLUB Perfect Plain now has a weekly running club. Tuesdays at 6 p.m., meet up at Perfect Plain Brewing Co., 50 E. Garden St., for a 5K run through downtown Pensacola. All runners will receive free beer at the end of the run. For more information, visit perfectplainbrewingco. YOGA CLASSES AT EVER'MAN Stretch

your muscles with this Beginner Yoga with John at 10 a.m. on June 18, 4:30 on June 23 and 11:45 a.m. on June 24. Funky yoga is at 6 p.m. (eight person limit) on June 23, and Vinyasa Yoga Flow is at 6 p.m. on June 24. All classes at Ever'man, located at 327 W. Garden St. For more information, visit


Twin Hearts & Healing Energy is at 6 p.m. on June 18, and Transmission Meditation World Service is 1 p.m. June 21. Both are located at Ever'man, located at 327 W. Garden St. For more information, visit for more listings visit 21

free will astrology WEEK OF JUNE 18 ARIES (MARCH 21-APRIL 19): My Ar-

ies friend Lavinia told me, "The fight I'm enjoying most lately is my fight to resist the compulsion to fight." I invite you to consider adopting that attitude for the foreseeable future. Now and then, you Rams do seem to thrive on conflict, or at least use it to achieve worthy deeds—but the coming weeks will not be one of those times. I think you're due for a phase of sweet harmony. The more you cultivate unity and peace and consensus, the healthier you'll be. Do you dare act like a truce-maker, an agreementbroker and a connoisseur of rapport?

TAURUS (APRIL 20-MAY 20): "The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask," wrote physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn. That's always true, of course, but it's especially true for you right now. I recommend that you devote substantial amounts of your earthy intelligence to the task of formulating the three most important questions for you to hold at the forefront of your awareness during the rest of 2020. If you do, I suspect you will ultimately receive answers that are useful, interesting and transformative. GEMINI (MAY 21-JUNE 20): "A finished

person is a boring person," writes author Anna Quindlan. I agree! Luckily, you are quite unfinished, and thus not at all boring—especially these days. More than ever before, you seem willing to treat yourself as an art project that's worthy of your creative ingenuity—as a work-in-progress that's open to new influences and fresh teachings. That's why I say your unfinishedness is a sign of good health and vitality. It's delightful and inspiring. You're willing to acknowledge that you've got a lot to learn and more to grow. In fact, you celebrate that fact; you exult in it; you regard it as a key part of your ever-evolving identity.

CANCER (JUNE 21-JULY 22): "To hell

with pleasure that's haunted by fear," wrote Cancerian author Jean de La Fontaine. I'll make that one of my prayers for you in the

By Rob Brezsny

coming weeks. It's a realistic goal you can achieve and install as a permanent improvement in your life. While you're at it, work on the following prayers, as well—1. To hell with bliss that's haunted by guilt. 2. To hell with joy that's haunted by worry. 3. To hell with breakthroughs that are haunted by debts to the past. 4. To hell with uplifts that are haunted by other people's pessimism.

LEO (JULY 23-AUG. 22): Experiment

#1—As you take a walk in nature, sing your five favorite songs from beginning to end, allowing yourself to fully feel all the emotions those tunes arouse in you. Experiment #2—Before you go to sleep on each of the next 11 nights, ask your dreams to bring you stories like those told by the legendary Scheherazade, whose tales were so beautiful and engaging that they healed and improved the lives of all those who heard them. Experiment #3—Gaze into the mirror and make three promises about the gratifying future you will create for yourself during the next 12 months.

VIRGO (AUG. 23-SEPT. 22): Vincent van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night" is one of the world's most treasured paintings. It has had a prominent place in New York's Museum of Modern Art since 1941. If it ever came up for sale it would probably fetch over $100 million. But soon after he created this great masterpiece, van Gogh himself called it a "failure." He felt the stars he'd made were too big and abstract. I wonder if you're engaging in a comparable underestimation of your own. Are there elements of your life that are actually pretty good, but you're not giving them the credit and appreciation they deserve? Now's a good time to reconsider and re-evaluate. LIBRA (SEPT. 23-OCT. 22): Now is a

favorable time to make adjustments in how you allocate your attention—to re-evaluate what you choose to focus on. Why? Because some people, issues, situations and experiences may not be worthy of your intense care and involvement, and you will benefit substantially from redirecting your fine intelligence in more rewarding directions. To empower your efforts, study

these inspirational quotes—"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."— philosopher Simone Weil. "Attention is the natural prayer of the soul."—philosopher Nicolas Malebranche.

the fresh opportunities flowing your way, while at the same time you'll remain properly skeptical about certain flimflams and delusions that may superficially resemble those fresh opportunities.

SCORPIO (OCT. 23-NOV. 21): Scorpio

AQUARIUS (JAN. 20-FEB. 18): "If it

poet Marianne Moore's poem "O To Be a Dragon," begins with the fantasy, "If I, like Solomon, could have my wish . . ." What comes next? Does Moore declare her desire to be the best poet ever? To be friends with smart, interesting, creative people? To be admired and gossiped about for wearing a tricorn hat and black cape as she walked around Greenwich Village near her home? Nope. None of the above. Her wish—"O to be a dragon, a symbol of the power of Heaven—of silkworm size or immense; at times invisible. Felicitous phenomenon!" In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to be inspired by Moore in the coming weeks. Make extravagant wishes for lavish and amusing powers, blessings and fantastic possibilities.

SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 22-DEC. 21): "Poems, like dreams, are a sort of royal road to the unconscious," writes author Erica Jong. "They tell you what your secret self cannot express." I invite you to expand that formula so it's exactly suitable for you in the coming weeks. My sense is that you are being called to travel the royal road to your unconscious mind so as to discover what your secret self has been unable or unwilling to express. Poems and dreams might do the trick for you, but so might other activities. For example: sexual encounters between you and a person you respect and love; or an intense night of listening to music that cracks open the portal to the royal road. Any others? What will work best for you? CAPRICORN (DEC. 22-JAN. 19): "We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart." Capricorn hero Martin Luther King, Jr. said that, and now I'm conveying it to you. In my astrological opinion, his formula is a strategy that will lead you to success in the coming weeks. It'll empower you to remain fully open and receptive to

makes you nervous—you're doing it right," says the daring musician and actor Donald Glover. Personally, I don't think that's true in all situations. I've found that on some occasions, my nervousness stems from not being fully authentic or being less than completely honest. But I do think Glover's formula fully applies to your efforts in the coming weeks, Aquarius. I hope you will try new things that will be important to your future, and/or work to master crucial skills you have not yet mastered. And if you're nervous as you carry out those heroic feats, I believe it means you're doing them right.

PISCES (FEB. 19-MARCH 20): Piscean

author Patricia Hampl understands a lot about the epic tasks of trying to know oneself and be oneself. She has written two memoirs, and some of her other writing draws from her personal experiences, as well. And yet she confesses, "Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste." She suggest that it's often easier to be someone you're not; to adopt the ways of other people as your own; to imitate what you admire rather than doing the hard work of finding out the truth about yourself. That's the bad news, Pisces. The good news is that this year has been and will continue to be a very favorable time to ripen into the acquired taste of being yourself. Take advantage of this ripening opportunity in the coming weeks! THIS WEEK'S HOMEWORK: What is the greatest gift you have to offer your fellow humans? Have you found good ways to give it? Rob Brezsny © Copyright 2020

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news of the weird WHY NOT? The 95-year-old Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, California, is a National Historic Landmark, but it, along with all of the other rides in the park, has been closed to riders since March. To keep it in good repair and ready for reopening, the coaster must run 12 times every day, and park mechanics discussing how reopening would happen hit upon an idea: They loaded the coaster's 24 seats with giant plush animals from the park's midway games prize stash. "People are loving it," Steve Thomas, the park's general manager, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "We've seen tons of videos and pictures that people have been posting online." Thomas said when the coaster reopens, he may keep the furry riders on board to help with social distancing rules. LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINAL An unnamed 29-year-old man in Berlin, Germany, triggered alarms at a supermarket on June 5 when he tried to leave without paying for $5.65 in merchandise. The Associated Press reported that police had little trouble apprehending the man because, in his hurry escape, he left his 8-year-old son behind. Not only did the burglar's "accessory" help police identify him, but the thief fell down as he was escaping and ended up in the hospital. CAN'T POSSIBLY BE TRUE The Daily Star reports that a 30-year-old man turned up at Zhaoqing First People's Hospital in Guangdong, China, on June 3 suffering from abdominal pain. Doctors performed a series of scans before discovering a freshwater fish in the man's large intestine, the presence of which he explained by saying he had accidently sat on it. "Do you think I'm an idiot?" one of the doctors replied. The spiny fins of the Mozambique tilapia had caused ruptures in the man's intestine and had to be removed through his abdomen by surgery, but the man survived the ordeal and recovered. THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT Canadian Glen Richard Mousseau's adventure with Michigan law enforcement began on May 10, when he was arrested in St. Clair County driving a U-Haul truck and in possession of $97,000. He cooperated with authorities, admitting he was the owner of a submarine seized by the Border Patrol April 23 and he had been using it to ferry drugs between Michigan and Ontario, Canada. reported Mousseau agreed to await the investigation's outcome in a local hotel, but on May 22, federal agents said he had absconded, leaving behind five phones, a laptop and a diving suit. On June 5, Border Patrol officers observed packages thrown into the Detroit River from a vessel entering U.S. waters and found Mousseau unconscious in the water with 265 pounds of marijuana tethered to him with a tow strap.

By the Editors at Andrews McMeel

He's being held on charges of smuggling and possession of a controlled substance. FAIL Several sailors of the Royal Navy found themselves in over their heads on May 30 as their plan for a barbecue and beers got out of hand. A witness told The Sun, "They were smashed and hadn't bothered to watch for the tide." The Daily Star reported that one partier became cut off from the group, and when another went out to rescue him, they both struggled. Emergency services had to be called in, and one of the sailors had to be lifted off a cliff with a winch, the coast guard confirmed. The Royal Navy expressed its regret that emergency services were needed, but they "remain grateful for their help." QUESTIONABLE JUDGMENT Shaun Michaelsen, 41, told police in Jupiter, Florida, he was only trying to be a "cool father" when he let a friend's 12-year-old daughter drive his Jeep on June 8. Officer Craig Yochum saw the Jeep make an illegal Uturn and speed away, the Associated Press reported, so he followed as the vehicle hit speeds of 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. The underage driver told Yochum that Michaelson, who admitted he had been drinking, told her to drive fast. He was arrested and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail. OVERREACTION Richland County (South Carolina) sheriff's officers are searching for a man and woman who held a Pizza Hut manager at gunpoint on May 29 in Columbia — because they didn't receive the 2-liter bottle of Pepsi they had ordered for delivery with their pie. The manager told WIS the couple entered the restaurant complaining about the delivery, then came behind the counter and as the man held out a gun, the woman removed a bottle of Pepsi from the cooler. Once the goods were in hand, the man put his gun away, and they left the store. OOPS Seniors at Ashley Ridge High School in Dorchester County, South Carolina, were excited about attending their in-person graduation ceremony on June 10. Administrators planned limited proceedings on the field at Swamp Fox Stadium, where students and spectators could spread out in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions. But as Principal Karen Radcliffe began to introduce the valedictorian and salutatorian, the field's sprinklers switched on, spraying the field and sending people scrambling. "Everyone started running to the sides to try and avoid getting soaked before getting their diploma!" senior Megan Mowrer told WCBD. {in}

From Andrews McMeel Syndication News Of The Weird Š 2020 Andrews McMeel

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