News & Features » News

ICYMI: Bethune-Cookman grads were not here for Betsy DeVos, church bells for Pulse and more



Mothers of Pulse victims want church bells to toll 49 times:

Mothers of victims who died in the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse are asking churches around the world to toll their bells 49 times at noon on June 12, as a tribute to the 49 people who died a year ago at Pulse. The mothers have also sent a letter to Pope Francis and other faith communities throughout the world asking them to honor the 49 victims with their church bells or by posting the number "49" on their signs if their place of worship does not have a bell. So far, 41 churches have signed up, including a number of churches in Orlando and throughout Florida.

Bethune-Cookman University grads boo Betsy DeVos during speech:

Students from the historically black university in Daytona Beach booed and turned their backs to the education secretary during her commencement speech at their graduation. The school's president, Edison Jackson, interrupted the speech and told graduates their degrees would be mailed to them if their behavior continued. The students' actions were partially in response to a comment DeVos made that historically black colleges and universities founded during racial segregation were the "real pioneers" of "school choice." Of course, those "pioneering" black students had no choice, as they had no other options – African-Americans were barred from education in some parts of the country before the Civil War, and later, Jim Crow laws prevented them from attending schools with white students.

Corrine Brown convicted on 18 counts of fraud and tax charges:

The Jacksonville Democrat who served decades in Congress was found guilty of a charity scam last week. The Justice Department says Brown lied on her taxes and raised thousands of dollars in donations that were meant for student scholarships but that actually went to finance Brown's lavish lifestyle of parties, vacations and luxury boxes at concerts and football games.

Orlando residents call for removal of Confederate statue at Lake Eola:

Orlando residents are calling for the removal of a 100-year-old Confederate soldier statue at Lake Eola Park before Orlando United Day. The United Daughters of the Confederacy placed the monument in the public park in 1917 to honor Confederate soldiers. But opponents call it an "icon of white supremacy" and a racist remnant of slavery. In 2015, a petition by Organize Now asked the city to move the monument from Lake Eola, which sparked counter-petitions asking officials to keep it there. City staff was directed to explore options for the future of the statue, a process that is still ongoing, says Cassandra Lafser, spokeswoman for the city.