White supremacist Richard Spencer drowned out by shouts at UF: Thousands of students at the University of Florida heckled, booed and protested white supremacist Richard Spencer and his speech spreading a message of a white ethno-state. Gainesville Police arrested three of Spencer's supporters for allegedly shooting toward a crowd. In a gospel-tinged clapback at the white supremacists who descended on campus, the school's carillon bell tower played "Lift Every Voice and Sing." James Weldon Johnson wrote the song as a poem in 1900 for 500 children to recite in a segregated Jacksonville school. In a time of lynchings, Jim Crow laws, segregation and racial terrorism against African Americans, the hymn, later known as the "Black National Anthem," was written for the children of a generation freed from slavery who were still determined to continue the fight to secure their rights as American citizens.
Deputies break up rally of Disney workers demanding living wages: Orange County Sheriff's deputies broke up a rally of more than 1,200 Disney union workers last week demanding $15 per hour from the Orlando theme park. Laborers with one of six local unions that make the Service Trades Council Union protested for two hours at the intersection in front of the Crossroads entrance to Disney at State Road 535 and Hotel Plaza Boulevard, and at one point, they marched in a large circle that blocked traffic. After initial bargaining negotiations in August with the unions, Disney has offered a 2.5 percent salary increase for its employees while keeping the minimum wage at $10 an hour for new workers. The unions say out of the 38,000 Disney workers they represent, 23,000 cast members make less than $12 an hour, and out of those, 8,000 earn $10 an hour.
County transfers comfort quilt received after Pulse to Las Vegas: Following a bittersweet tradition, Orange County officials gathered to honor the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting and transfer ownership of the "Comfort Quilt" received locally after the Pulse massacre. The quilt came to Orlando in 2016 after a gunman killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse from San Bernardino, where 14 people were murdered in a 2015 shooting. The "Comfort Quilt" was originally made in 2001 by Ohio first-graders from St. Hilary Catholic School to send to children at a New Jersey Catholic school who had lost family members and friends in the 9/11 attack.
SeaWorld cuts 350 jobs due to decrease in attendance:
SeaWorld announced last week it would be cutting about 350 jobs in order to save costs. In 2013, the documentary Blackfish, focusing on an orca named Tilikum who killed several people while in captivity, caused controversy for the theme park and highlighted the way it treats its animals. Three whales have died this year, including Tilikum, who died of bacterial pneumonia. Since 2012, the company's theme parks have seen a 10 percent drop in attendance and revenue cuts, from $1.42 billion to $1.34 billion in 2016.