On this Tuesday, Feb. 2 episode of Sundial:

Florida Budget & Legislative Session

COVID-19 has squeezed the budget of many local governments as some have been forced to even furlough employees. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the state’s finances are in a strong place despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

“The Florida fiscal year 2021- 22 budget continues to make important investments in our education system and the environment. It puts Florida on solid financial footing, with 6.6 billion in total reserves,” said DeSantis, at a news conference last week.

The governor’s budget will need to be approved by the Legislature, whose two-month session is set to begin March 2. His proposed $96 billion price tag is billions more than what the legislature approved last year. We spoke with Mary Ellen Klas, Tallahassee Bureau Chief for the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, on Sundial.

“The historic rise [in the budget] is really the result of enormous amounts of federal relief money that has flowed into the economy. The state itself has received about $4.5 billion in COVID-19 relief money. Then, we’ve got revenues that have been buoyed by the federal stimulus checks and $17 billion in federal unemployment payments paid to jobless Floridians,” Klas said.

During this legislative session, DeSantis is pushing for a bill that would strengthen existing penalties for violations that occur during protests.

“It’s designed to have more of a chilling effect on the kinds of violent protests that erupt as a result of these gatherings. It does appear to be something that the governor thought of after Black Lives Matter protests around the state. There was not as much violence in Florida at all as there was in many other places. So, he seized the moment to pass a Florida law that would tighten the grip on those,” Klas said.

Florida Budget And 2021 Legislative Session, Culturally Sensitive Nutrition, Miami Art Scene

Culturally Sensitive Nutrition

Black Lives Matter protests brought wider attention to the inequalities and injustices Black people face.

And that’s not just in the criminal justice system. Those disparities also exist in health care.

More than 80 percent of nutritionists and dietitians are white. Dr. Marcia Magnus is an associate professor in the department of dietetics and nutrition at Florida International University. She argues that the lack of diversity in the nutrition field, and the bias that comes with it, can have a negative impact on the health of minorities.

“All of the Jamaicans who lived here that I know, if they told me they were seeing a dietician, I’d ask them how it went. The general impression was ‘They don’t know anything about Jamaican food,’” Magnus said on Sundial.

She recently published a book about culturally sensitive nutrition counseling.

Nzingah Oniwosan knows personally the bias that comes in the healthcare system. As a teenager, she was consistently seeing white doctors for treatment of a brain tumor and autoimmune disorder.

“In my journey, I was actually informed at one point by one particular doctor that there was nothing she could do for me because I was a Black person. I was taken aback. Imagine I’m paying to see this person. And that was the response I got as I was trying to negotiate and navigate finding some sense of wellness,” Oniwosan said.

Now, Oniwosan is a holistic health consultant and the founder of the wellness website ‘Yes Baby I Like It Raw.’ The business explores the health benefits of eating raw food, which means an uncooked vegan diet.

We spoke with Oniwosan and Magnus about the nexus of culture and nutrition in Black communities.

Florida Budget And 2021 Legislative Session, Culturally Sensitive Nutrition, Miami Art Scene

Miami Art Scene

Miami is a destination for art lovers, with it’s diverse array of art institutions, collectors and creators keeping the scene vibrant. But its evolution into an international art mecca didn’t happen overnight.

In 2002, Miami Beach hosted its first Art Basel. Over the past decade, the international art fair has exploded into an entire art week where people from all over the world arrive to see.

“Now we really are on the top of the art capital list,” said Barry Fellman, the photographer behind the new book “Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation” on Sundial.

“The arts community here in Miami, believe it or not, was very deep and cohesive even decades ago — we had that base. So we built organically from that base,” he said.

Fellman added that social media platforms, like Instagram, also helped Miami evolve into the cultural and artistic destination that it is today.

Florida Budget And 2021 Legislative Session, Culturally Sensitive Nutrition, Miami Art Scene





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