Things That Matter

A Florida Politician Verbally Assaulted A Group Of Latinos But They Recorded The Incident

Late last month, a teenage Puerto Rican tennis player was accosted by local politician Martin Hyde at a tennis club in Sarasota, Florida. The tennis player captured the incident on video, which was later posted to social media by Puerto Rican attorney Alvin Couto de Jesus, who had originally gotten the video from the athlete’s uncle, Javier Irizarry.

In the video, Hyde is seated, speaking tersely with the athlete and his peers, before following them as they begin to leave the premises.

According to Irizarry, his 15-year-old nephew was invited to play in the Casely International Tennis Championship, which was hosted last week by Bath & Racquet Club at the Celsius Tennis Academy in Sarasota, Florida. The athlete was practicing for the tournament when, allegedly, Hyde approached him and his friends in an aggressive manner, instructing them to “cut grass” and “get out.” The video’s audio begins with Hyde telling one of the players to “keep [your] mouth shut.” The tennis player and his peers rebuke Hyde’s confrontation, calling him out for making racist comments and demanding that they leave.

“You’re telling me to cut grass because I’m Hispanic,” says one of the players. “That’s racism, man. How can you say something like that?”

The players continue to draw attention to Hyde’s racist comments before turning to leave the scene. Hyde gets up from his seat and follows them, crying, “Out! Out!” all the while.

Before leaving the Tennis Academy, the teens report the incident to Academy staff. Meanwhile, Hyde interrupts and tries to invalidate their story, accusing them of being disruptive and intoxicated.

“I don’t know what drugs they’re on,” he says, insisting that he is a “member of the club” and that he wants the teenagers to leave. The athletes repeat his comment about “cutting grass,” and while some of Hyde’s speech is muffled, his response to the teen is clear as day: “Yes,” he says. “So what?” When a staff member engages in an attempt to solve the conflict, Hyde encourages her to “throw them out,” eventually telling the teens to “shut up” before abruptly walking away.

Latino Rebels reported the story and shared the video on Friday. It has since circulated widely on social media, and as a result, Sarasota’s Bath & Racquet Club has banned Hyde from its premises.

“We have kids from all over the world, Central America, Latin America, who play here and compete to get scholarships for college,” Cary Cohenour, the director of Celsius Tennis Academy, which leases courts to the club, told NBC News. “The whole incident was out of control and though Celsius wasn’t involved, we want people to know that we denounce racism here.”

An active candidate for the District 2 Sarasota City Commission, Hyde planned to quit the race after news of the incident spread. However, he’s since announced that he may continue running. And in spite of the video evidence, Hyde adamantly denies making racist comments to the Puerto Rican tennis players, though he does admit that he acted inappropriately.

“I was rude and I regret that. It was a long day and my kids were being disturbed while they were having their lesson, because the boys were being loud,” Hyde said. “But I simply didn’t say those things, and that’s why they’re not in the video.”

Hyde also denies allegations—made by Twitter user @sergiodilan101, who Latino Rebels have identified as Irizarry’s nephew—that Hyde offered him $50,000 in exchange for the video.

In this Twitter thread, @sergiodilan101 recounts the story in great detail, expressing that before this incident, he and his compañero had never felt so “upset, frustrated, uncomfortable, and sad.” He encourages all Latinos to stand together and support each other in situations like this, and he has received an abundant outpouring of support and affirmation, both from people online, political figures, and family.

“We had a long talk about reality and I explained to him that this guy represents a really small minority and that his behavior wasn’t normal,” Irizarry told NBC News. “I hope by sharing the video we can prevent something like this from happening again.”

Additionally,  Peter Vivaldi, a former Republican candidate for the Florida state Senate—who is also of Puerto Rican descent—responded to the video by saying that “if you’re a public figure . . . you run for everybody, you represent everybody.”

He added, “This is not what we want to represent any party and less do we want that in the state of Florida, where we’re talking about Puerto Ricans that are American citizens. We need to make sure if you’re Republican or Democrat, if you’re saying things that are not appropriate, we need to call you out.”

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8 Of The Biggest Bombshells Dropped In Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview —’I was ashamed to say it at the time’

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8 Of The Biggest Bombshells Dropped In Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Interview —’I was ashamed to say it at the time’

Millions of eyes were on Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night when the three of them sat down for an exclusive interview. The interview was the first the couple has given together since they stepped away from official royal duties last year and the first time they spoke out about their life and experiences as royals.

Check out the biggest bombshells below.

The ‘Firm’ had a lot of “concerns” about Archie’s skin tone.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 25: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle on October 25, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

In one of the most shocking revelations of Meghan and Harry’s interview, Meghan revealed that the royal family expressed “concerns and [had] conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.” Later, Harry and Meghan underlined that Harry’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, were not the ones who made the comments.

It was also the Firm’s decision to not give Archie a title.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 09: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Harris – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan also revealed that while the public was told that she and Harry did not want their son to have a title, it was actually the firm that made the decision.

“They didn’t want him to be a prince . . . which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” Meghan explained. “We have in tandem the conversation of, ‘He won’t be given security. He’s not going to be given a title.’ And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”

In her darkest days as a member of the Royal Family, Meghan said she contemplated taking her own life.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gesture during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London on January 7, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

“I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it — then I would do it,” she explained. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” She went onto add that she “thought it would have solved everything for everyone.”

She also revealed that before a January 2019 outing with Prince Harry she told him about her thoughts. “I remember him saying, ‘I don’t think you can go,’ and I said, ‘I can’t be left alone.'”

Meghan added that she also asked for help from the palace and was told “there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution… it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”

The queen was not blind-sided by their exit, despite reports and suggestions.

Britain’s Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (L), Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (C) and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence (R) watch from a balcony as they attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 10, 2019. – Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite reports that Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave their posts as senior working royals was sudden, Harry said the opposite was true. 

“No, I never blindsided my grandmother,” he explained that he had three conversations about the subject with the Queen and two conversations with his father Prince Charles adding he had “I have too much respect for her.”

Kate was the one who made Meghan cry and not the other way around.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 09: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Harris – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Six months after their wedding, headlines reported a pre-wedding feud that left Kate Middleton in tears in 2018. In actuality “the reverse happened.” 

“I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something,” she explained. “But she owned it, and she apologized and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing.” Meghan later called Kate a “good person” and lamented headlines that pit the two royal women against one another. 

Meghan was silenced. Punto.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 25: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle on October 25, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“Were you silent, or were you silenced?” Oprah asked at the top of the interview. In response, Meghan replied, “The latter.”

“That was really hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” she explained. “They weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”

Later, Meghan shared that her biggest regret from her experience in the royal family was thinking she’d be protected by them. “I regret believing that because I think had I really seen that that wasn’t happening, I would have been able to do more, but I think I wasn’t supposed to see it,” she explained. “I wasn’t supposed to know and now because we’re actually on the other side, we’ve actually not just survived but are thriving.”

Meghan and Harry were married before the big wedding.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex dance as they arrive for a visit to the “Justice desk”, an NGO in the township of Nyanga in Cape Town, as they begin their tour of the region on September 23, 2019. – Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan arrived in South Africa on September 23, launching their first official family visit in the coastal city of Cape Town. The 10-day trip began with an education workshop in Nyanga, a township crippled by gang violence and crime that sits on the outskirts of the city. (Photo by Betram MALGAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read BETRAM MALGAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Meghan revealed that she and Harry actually were married in a civil ceremony in their backyard. The small wedding was overseen by just the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their publicized 2018 wedding. “I think we were both really aware, even in advance of that just, this wasn’t our day,” she explained. “This was the day that was planned for the world.”

It’s a girl!

Prince Harry (2L), Duke of Sussex and Meghan (L), Duchess of Sussex arrive to visit the District Six museum in Cape Town on the first afternoon of their tour of the region on September 23, 2019. – Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan arrived in South Africa on September 23, launching their first official family visit in the coastal city of Cape Town. (Photo by HENK KRUGER / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HENK KRUGER/AFP via Getty Images)

In the sweetest and most loving portion of the interview, Meghan and Harry revealed that they are expecting a girl.

“To have a boy then a girl — what more can you ask for?” Harry told Oprah.

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They Made Fun Of Her Accent During A Zoom Meeting But This Latina Councilwoman Clapped Back With Pride

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They Made Fun Of Her Accent During A Zoom Meeting But This Latina Councilwoman Clapped Back With Pride

Have you ever not spoken up out of fear for how people might judge your accent? Or maybe you’ve heard racial comments about how your abuelos or your tías speak?

Well, one Latina councilwoman knows exactly how so many of us feel after having experienced racist comments during a Zoom meeting on racial injustice amid her community’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. But instead of remaining silent, she is urging anyone with an accent, especially Latinos in her community, to speak up and wear it with pride.

A chat about racism led to racist comments about Navarro’s accent.

A Maryland county was hosting a virtual meeting the racial disparities taking place amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, when two people giggled and mocked the accent of the county’s only Latina councilmembers.

During the, Nancy Navarro, a member of the Montgomery County Council, spoke passionately about the county’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, which she said is failing people of color. According to CDC data, Maryland ranks near the bottom when it comes to getting vaccines in people’s arms.

“For me personally, I’ve always had this interesting dilemma in my years of public service, which has been this bizarre disconnect in terms of who we are in Montgomery County,” Navarro, the first Latina and the only woman serving on the council, said. “We’re still perceived as a totally, we’re like some other hologram of a county that doesn’t look anything like who we actually are.” 

As Navarro spoke, there was some chatter and laughter in the background — two people who apparently thought they were muted were talking about Navarro’s accent. 

“I love how her accent comes out and pronounces words like she thinks they’re pronounced,” one person said, specifically calling out the way Navarro pronounced the words “represent” and “hologram.”

Navarro spoke up and urged anyone with an accent to wear it with pride.

Navarro wasn’t aware that the incident had happened until two staff members notified her of that the employees had said in the background.

“What happened to me on Tuesday was not an isolated incident, it fits a pattern of microaggressions and racist acts that wittingly and unwittingly make the workplace, and by extension, our community spaces hostile spaces for people of color,” Navarro told CBS News.

“Make no mistake, these dysfunctions are deeply ingrained in our county and in our country, racism has become a public health crisis,” Navarro added. “What hurt was that these employees are part of our team, charged with working daily with a diverse team of Council members and staff on initiatives that require a sensitivity to and respect for racial and ethnic differences.”

Since the incident happened, Navarro is urging Latino immigrants with a Spanish accent to “wear it with pride and keep moving forward.”

Navarro’s story is one that so many of us can relate to.

Like so many of us, our friends, and our family, Navarro’s story is one that is widely reflected in our community. She was born in Venezuela but came to the U.S. with her family when she was 10. Her family eventually returned to Venezuela but Navarro came back to the U.S. for college and moved to Maryland with her husband, where they’ve lived since the 1990s. Her story is 100% American.

Navarro hopes that this incident will drive people to consider the impact of their words and actions. And, ultimately, she hopes the council will strengthen its efforts to hire a staff that reflects the diversity in its community.

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