Things That Matter

Floridians Are Showing Overwhelming Support For Amendment 4 Allowing 1.4 Million People The Right To Vote

Floridians will be voting on a amendment on whether or not to extend the right to vote to as many as 1.4 million people. Technically, it would return the right to vote to these people, all of whom have felony records and have completed their debt to society (jail, probation, fees, etc.).

Florida is one of just three states in the country that legally prohibits felons from ever getting to vote for the rest of their lives once convicted. It’s voter disenfranchisement on the largest scale in the nation and it’s perfectly legal today.

Here’s the story behind the ballot measure that could change all of that.

Florida is the swampiest of swamps.

@VISITFLORIDA / Twitter

I’m from Miami. This is the home state of Jeb Bush. The home state of the “Florida Man.” This is President Trump’s favorite place to vacation. Politicians in the Sunshine State have consistently voted for measures and pushed for measures to restrict the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, African-Americans and any other group you can think of.

Amendment 4 does not grant voting rights to murderers or felonious sex offenses.

@LBC / Twitter

Many organizations feel that this loophole perpetuates the dehumanization of people convicted with those charges, but however you feel about this stipulation, 1.4 million new voters gives the 2020 election a whole new outlook.

Once a convicted felon has completed their sentence, they’re still going to have trouble finding a job and housing because of their record. At the very least, they should be able to participate in their democracy.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) has made the existing process for felons to regain their voting rights next to impossible.

@FLGovScott / Twitter

He has it set up so that these people have to wait as long as seven years to even apply. From there, it will take years for public offices to review the application.

According to the Florida Commission on Offender Review, of 30,000 applicants who have since applied through Scott’s process, only 3,005 have been approved. That means felons have a 10 percent chance of getting their voting rights restored, if they even have the resources to apply.

More than 27 percent of all disenfranchised felons in the U.S. live in Florida.

Untitled. Digital Image. Vox. 23 October 2018.

Not only does Florida have some of the harshest voter restriction laws in the country, but it may even have the most felons of any state in the union. That means that 10 percent of the entire state of Florida cannot vote because of their felony record.

Floridians are rallying to change that.

@BeckNaftel / Twitter

The Second Chances: Yes on 4 campaign has folks phone banking from home, crafting personal postcards to mail out to Florida voters and even has an option to “text bank.” You don’t even have to live in Florida to participate in this campaign.

The Second Chances Campaign doesn’t have a lot of funding, but it’s sweeping support across the state.

@BenJerrysTour / Twitter

In a true grassroots movement, 1.1 million Floridians petitioned for Amendment 4 – the Voting Restoration Amendment – to reach the ballot. Their slogan?

“Floridians from all walks of life believe in forgiveness, redemption, restoration and, ultimately, second chances.”

Meet the founder: Desmond Meade

@yesto2ndchances / Twitter

Meade is himself a convicted felon.

Caption: “Since his release from prison in 2004, Desmond Meade graduated Summa Cum Laude from Miami-Dade College and finished law school at Florida International University. But he is still not eligible to vote. Vote #Yeson4 and help fix Florida’s broken system.”

Of the 1.4 million votes that could be restored, hundreds of thousands are Latino.

@yesto2ndchances / Instagram

Today, 21 percent of all potential black voters in the state are unable to vote due to felony records. We don’t know the numbers for Latinos because the Florida Department of Corrections under reports Hispanics by 250 percent according to research at University of Central Florida.

The most recent poll shows 74 percent support for the Amendment to pass!

@Public_Citizen / Twitter

This is incredible news, but you should know that the Yes to Second Chances amendment requires 60 percent of the vote to pass. That means it has a 12 point margin between now and November 6.

Remember how everyone thought Hillary had it in the bag? Don’t trust the polls. Get your friends and family registered to vote.

Democratic nominee for governor Andrew Gillum supports the bill.

@DisavowTrump20 / Twitter

Thankfully, Rick Scott’s term limit is up, though he’s still trying to run for Senate. There’s a lot you can do with your midterm vote this year, you guys.

He’s for gun reform, healthcare for all and is all about raising teacher’s salaries.

Puerto Rican Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, Frances Colón, has thrown in her support.

@fcoloninFL / Twitter

Listen to her. She sounds smart.

Caption: “Hey #Florida, VOTE Yes on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to over 1 million who have completed their sentences. It’s about second chances, preventing recidivism by giving rights and responsibilities back, and ending voter suppression. November 6, your vote is your voice.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo is also in favor of the measure.

@carloslcurbelo / Twitter

Curbelo is the son of Cuban exiles in Florida. He tried to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and was denied because of his vote in favor to repeal Obamacare and his unwillingness to cosponsor the DREAM Act. A Democratic challenger to his seat, which includes Miami-Dade County, forced him to adopt more positions that favor the Latino community.

John Legend is pulling through to support voters’ rights.

@FLRightsRestore / Twitter

Legend knocked on doors to ask Orlando residents to vote Yes on 4. According to The Tampa Bay, Legend said, “There are very few Americans that don’t have family members who have been through the system. As much as we think it’s certain neighborhoods, it’s certain folks, it’s really all of us.”

He came through for a charity concert and this is the crowd reaction:

@FLRightsRestore / Twitter

The charity concert happened in a high school’s auditorium and everyone was clearly screaming. I mean, same.

Volunteers are knocking on doors.

@yesto2ndchances / Twitter

If you’ve never canvassed before, I promise you’d be great. We were raised with our mothers slamming doors on us, so we have tough skin.

Students are rallying in their quads.

@BenJerrysTour / Twitter

Literally, Ben and Jerry’s joined in on the campaign offering free ice cream to anyone who registers to vote, while promoting the Yes on 4 campaign. BRB, gotta go buy more Ben & Jerry’s.

Young Democrats are canvassing in groups to talk to their neighbors.

@electyoungdems / Twitter

Folks from all different campaigns are throwing their hat in for Amendment 4 to pass. Look, it’s not like it’s some extremely progressive act. It’s just removing Florida from the worst state on voter suppression to just average.

Plus, if passed, this will be the largest voter rights win since woman’s suffrage.

So who is on the opposition? Guess.

Untitled. Digital Image. American Greatness. 23 October 2018.

Republicans voted NO on this amendment. It’s not even about the felons. It’s about securing power for their party. Everyone knows that anyone who has experienced a broken system votes Democrat.

Florida gave us Trump by only a few hundred votes. Imagine what a million would do.

@yesto2ndchances / Instagram

Anything less than restoring voters’ rights is perpetuated systemic racism and subjugation of power of minorities. The laws are already stacked against us. We’re already more likely to be arrested and convicted of a crime than a white person.

This is more than just breadcrumbs. This is power to change the future.

@yesto2ndchances / Twitter

If you have voting power in Florida, you have the power to grant that same right to people who have made mistakes and paid their dues. Put an end to Scott’s lifetime ban on voting. Every drop in the bucket is what makes a blue wave.


READ: Florida Passed Their First Gun Safety Measure In More Than 20 Years And The NRA Has Already Filed A Lawsuit

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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