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Jazz Jennings Calls Out Florida’s Gov. DeSantis for Signing Anti-Trans Athletic Bill: ‘It Makes Me Feel Terrible’

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“As someone who has experienced discrimination in sports, it makes me feel terrible about the message that laws like this send out to transgender youth,” transgender activist Jazz Jennings wrote on her Instagram.

What We Know:

  • The South Florida native discussed her feelings on the state’s new Fairness in Women’s Sports Act on social media. Initially, Jazz discussed how happy she felt about Pride Month beginning. However, she proceeded to call out Governor Ron Desantis for signing such a discriminatory law into effect. At the end of it, she reassured transgender youth that they were valid and encouraged them to continue feeling pride in themselves.

 

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  • The Jennings family feels strongly about transgender discrimination bills like these due to previous encounters. At 8-years-old, coaches banned Jazz from playing on her girls’ soccer team. Alongside the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Jazz’s family defended her rights to play soccer.
  • In addition to Jazz’s comments, her brother Sander told WGFL he believed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was “cruel” and “absolutely disheartening”. He also said that when the soccer team prohibited Jazz from playing, it ruined her experience as a player, and she never felt the same passion for the sport. His comments imply that he believes the new bill will ruin many transgender athletes’ love for their games.
  • Jazz took to Variety to continue speaking against the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. She told Caroline Framke that she hopes lawmakers block similar bills like these from passing in the future.

“I’m hopeful that the bills will be dismissed, or something will be passed at the federal level that prevents these bills from being able to be passed,” Jazz said. “It’s discrimination, you know?”

  • Jazz officially identified as a transgender female at the age of 5 and proceeded to appear in a 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters where she publicly declared her gender orientation. This garnered national attention to her, and by the age of 14, TLC began documenting her life as a teen and young adult in their reality show I Am Jazz. Additionally, she released a memoir in 2016 entitled Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen.

Despite President Joe Biden signing an executive order to protect children’s individual rights on the basis of gender rights and sexual orientation, states such as Idaho, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, and Florida approved anti-transgender athletic bills.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Coronavirus

Disneyland and Disney World to Require Masks Indoors Again Regardless of Vaccination Status

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The new policy follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)‘s recommendation that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in places such as California and Florida.

What We Know:

  • As of July 30, the Walt Disney Company requires all park visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face-coverings indoors at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California. The only guests who are exempt from these rules are children under the age of two.
  • On July 27, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings declared a local state of emergency due to a spike in coronavirus cases; according to Demings’ executive order, the county in which Disney World is located saw the 14-day rolling positivity rate go over 15%. Orange County also saw a new record of 1,371 cases, the highest number since the pandemic’s beginning, a day prior to the mayor’s announcement.
  • The CDC further ruled Orange County an area with high transmission levels; officials added that the virus “continues to pose a public health threat.” In addition, Anaheim, the location for Disneyland, is facing “substantial” levels of community transmission. On the week of July 30, the city saw a seven-day positivity rate of 6.33%.
  • The influx in cases comes as the Delta variant runs rampant across the country. Currently, the more contagious version of the virus accounts for approximately 83% of cases in the U.S. The more frequent occurrences of COVID-19 also stem from the fact that vaccination rates have slowed down significantly. Disney Parks might continue to enact these mandates until cases stabilize once more.

Last March, the Walt Disney Company closed down all of its parks worldwide as the world dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. Walt Disney World in Florida became the first U.S. park to reopen in July 2020. Disneyland opened its gates nine months after Disney World in April 2021.

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Headlines

Biden Considers US Technology to Send Internet Services to Cuba, Calls Cuba “A Failed State”

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President Joe Biden also declared the United States would consider providing more help to Cuba. Still, they would need absolute certainty that their government would not take advantage of the assistance.

What We Know:

  • Biden made his statements on Thursday during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He said the United States is figuring out methods to reinstate Cuba’s internet access. When protests erupted across the island on Sunday, Cuba’s communist government blocked its citizens’ internet connection; this was part of an attempt to stop the world from knowing about the demonstrations. Although leaders reinstated access on Wednesday, the service has been unreliable.

“We’re considering whether we have the technological ability to reinstate that access,” Biden announced.

  • The President also stated he would not reestablish US-Cuba remittances over concerns that the regime would confiscate the money. After this announcement, Biden also said he would permit the US may send COVID-19 vaccines to Cuba. However, he would only allow this if he was confident that an international health organization would oversee vaccine administration; Cuba rejected the World Health Organization’s invitation to join their COVAX agency to further experiment in making its own vaccine.
  • President Biden additionally dismissed communism and its effects on Cuba. He called communism a “universally failed system” and that he didn’t see socialism as “a very useful substitute.” Furthermore, he considered the island a “failed state” that is repressing its people.
  • Biden’s comments follow several Floridian leaders’ pleas for him to take action on the island. On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis sent a letter to Biden asking him to reinstate Cuba’s internet; Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Republican Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr supported DeSantis’ request and joined him in a Thursday press conference where they urged Biden to do more for Cuba.

  • On Monday, the day after riots began, President Biden released a statement in which he told the Cuban regime to stop focusing on their interests and look to that of the island. Despite this, people across Miami, home to the country’s largest population of Cuban exiles, believed a statement was not enough. As a result, citizens have held several protests this week in each of the city’s municipalities to call more attention to the island’s issue.
  • The protests serve as the Cuban-Americans’ demand that Biden prioritizes ending the island’s communist regime. The biggest one occurred on Tuesday when the Florida Highway Patrol allowed demonstrators to shut down the Palmetto Expressway.

Cuban-Americans will continue their efforts nationally. This weekend, a group will travel to Washington, D.C., and protest outside the White House to ensure President Biden takes accountability for his promises.

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Raul Castro Attends High-Level Government Meeting About Protests

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Raul Castro came out of retirement to attend the Communist Party of Cuba’s Politburo meeting on Sunday when Cubans began protesting the 62-year communist regime.

What We Know:

  • According to the Communist Party of Cuba’s newspaper, Granma, Castro discussed methods to ease tensions between the citizens and the government alongside other party members. Leader-Telegram reported his presentation at the meeting might indicate the Party doubts President Miguel Díaz-Canel can handle the situation singlehandedly. Castro selected Díaz-Canel to succeed him as President of Cuba and as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.
  • Granma additionally defended Díaz-Canel’s claims that the United States provoked the protests. Reporters wrote that party officials analyzed “provocations orchestrated by counterrevolutionary elements, organized and financed from the United States with destabilizing purposes.” The United States denies these accusations.
  • The news source also praised President Díaz-Canel for dealing with the crisis. It called his response “exemplary” and allowed him to stop “subversive actions;” when demonstrations began in San Antonio de los Baños, the president visited the town expecting to control the situation. However, his measures did not work; by Sunday afternoon, the whole country erupted in protests.
  • Instead of listening to his citizens, Díaz-Canel quickly took to television and urged his supporters to confront protestors “by any means necessary.” After facing criticism for his comments, he stated he did not invoke violence, but the demonstrators “got what they deserve.”
  • Despite Granma stating that the unrest was controlled, protests are still happening in Cuba. Cubans continue begging their leaders for basic necessities such as food and medical supplies throughout the nation; instead of listening to their citizens, the government approved violent police raids, the arrestment of several demonstrators, and an internet shutdown.

Regardless of the consequences, the Cuban people remain determined to continue fighting for political freedom.

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