To reflect on the news of the day, Jacksonville Today seeks to include a diverse set of perspectives. These opinion columnists are independent contractors who are paid for their contributions and are not involved in news decisions.
Featured image for “OPINION | Can DeSantis overplay his hand?”
April 24, 2022

OPINION | Can DeSantis overplay his hand?

In the week since my column last ran in Jacksonville Today, Gov. Ron DeSantis got everything he wanted from the Florida Legislature. The Republican-leaning congressional map? Delivered without amendment from the Republican-dominated Legislature, then signed quietly Friday in Tallahassee before the governor left for a much less quiet bill-signing ceremony in Hialeah. The Disney smackdown? The Mouse smelled what DeSantis

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Featured image for “OPINION | DeSantis Republicans run the show”
April 20, 2022

OPINION | DeSantis Republicans run the show

It’s pretty clear that much of the Tallahassee Establishment – the TE – still doesn’t get it. This detachment from reality began in 2010, when the TE rallied around then-Attorney General Bill McCollum and anointed him the next governor of Florida. Rick Scott had different ideas. Scott, who spent his life in the private sector, ran a campaign against “career

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Featured image for “THE JAXSON | 7 historic Arab American sites in Jacksonville”
April 19, 2022

THE JAXSON | 7 historic Arab American sites in Jacksonville

Arab Americans have a long history in Jacksonville tracing back to the 19th century. Between 1890 and 1920, hundreds of immigrants arrived and settled in Jacksonville from an area of the Middle East that is now home to the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and other territories. Early settlers established themselves as grocers, peddlers and small-business operators, and dispersed

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Featured image for “OPINION | I’m at a loss over racism”
April 18, 2022

OPINION | I’m at a loss over racism

I am trying to understand racism. I know what it is. I know why it exists. I know the history of how it came to be the barometer by which all of mankind is measured, but I don’t understand it. I don’t understand that level of hate. I don’t understand why some will go to such extremes to kill people,

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Featured image for “OPINION | Who wants to be a congressman?”
April 17, 2022

OPINION | Who wants to be a congressman?

There was no surprise, none at all, for readers of this column regarding what the Florida Legislature would do with the problem of the new congressional reapportionment map. We wrote it over two months ago: “Ron DeSantis isn’t bluffing about his map.” Lots of poetic justifications of the current Congressional District 5 followed, all sound and fury signifying nothing when

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Featured image for “OPINION | 5 types of missing middle housing Jax should revive”
April 12, 2022

OPINION | 5 types of missing middle housing Jax should revive

Missing middle housing represents many types of residences ranging in scale between single-family homes and massive apartment buildings. From shotgun homes to duplexes to bungalow courts, missing middle housing was once common in Jacksonville – and could be a weapon to fight the housing crisis. What is missing middle housing? It’s a modern term for an old phenomenon. Made up

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Featured image for “Capturing the magic of Black motherhood despite the maternal mortality crisis”
April 11, 2022

Capturing the magic of Black motherhood despite the maternal mortality crisis

It’s one thing to know something. It’s an entirely different experience to be immersed in your knowledge, feel it with your heart, and see it reflected back at you. That is exactly how local curator, writer, wife and mother Shawanna Brooks wants you to feel when you experience her visual and literary art exhibition, Magic, Mirth, & Mortality: Musings on

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Featured image for “OPINION | Confederacy of dunces”
April 10, 2022

OPINION | Confederacy of dunces

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  That’s a line from William Faulkner, but it’s also an apt description of Jacksonville’s historical hangover, which was illustrated in stark relief last week. Mayor Lenny Curry and others kicked off the city’s bicentennial celebration with a press conference, but elsewhere there were strong indications that Jacksonville’s history isn’t exactly unifying.

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Featured image for “OPINION | Dissolving Disney’s special district is complicated”
April 6, 2022

OPINION | Dissolving Disney’s special district is complicated

While the Reedy Creek Improvement District (“RCID”) may sound like an organization that handles trash pickup for your local neighborhood, its existence has probably had a greater impact on the history of Florida than any state governmental entity outside of Tallahassee. You see, RCID built Walt Disney World.  When Walt Disney himself was gathering contiguous parcels of land in Central

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Featured image for “THE JAXSON | 6 surviving Chitlin’ Circuit sites in Jacksonville”
April 5, 2022

THE JAXSON | 6 surviving Chitlin’ Circuit sites in Jacksonville

Home to the country’s largest concentration of Gullah Geechee descendants, Jacksonville emerged as Florida’s premier Chitlin’ Circuit destination during the formative years of vaudeville, ragtime, jazz, and blues. The Chitlin’ Circuit was the collective name given to a series of Black-owned nightclubs, dance halls, juke joints and theaters that were safe and acceptable for African American entertainers to perform in

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