Indivisible South Florida Speakers Series
Featured at our June 25, 2017 meeting
Joanne Aye has over 30-years as a broadcast media executive, having been sales manager of Cox Media Group radio stations in Philadelphia, and later Miami. She spend 20-years at Univision where she retired as President of the Television Group, which oversaw sales and operations of 62 owned and operated stations after having served as Executive Vice President of Univision's cable networks. Currently, Joanne serves as Co-President of Broward County League of Women Voters, a community based and nonpartisan group working to influence policy through advocacy everywhere. The League of Women Voters believes in responsible government and that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote, have access to free public education that provides equal opportunity for all and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.
Speakers from our April 30, 2017 meeting
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
For more than 20 years, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has dedicated her public life to working on behalf of the people of South Florida. On January 4, 2005, she was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz represents Florida's 23rd Congressional district, which encompasses parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Before joining the U.S. Congress, she was first a Representative and later a Senator in the Florida State Legislature.
For the 115th Congress, Wasserman Schultz serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and serves as ranking member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, which means she is the lead Democrat on that influential panel. In this position, Wasserman Schultz serves on the subcommittee that determines the funding levels and priorities for military facilties and veterans issues that impact familes throughout Florida and across the country.
Wasserman Schultz also serves on the Appropriations' Energy and Water Subcommittee, where she can influence, among other vital issues, the funding challenges Florida faces in restoring the Everglades. In addition, Wasserman Schultz sits on the House Committee on the Budget, a position that allows the Congresswoman to influence an array of federal budgetary priorities. She also serves as a Chief Deputy Whip where she works to help advance legislation important to the Democratic caucus.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz is a person respected by her colleagues for her tenacity and her hard work on many important issues. In March 2009, after announcing her own battle with breast cancer, she introduced the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or EARLY Act (H.R. 1740), a piece of legislation that directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement a national education campaign about the threat breast cancer poses to all young women, and the particular heightened risks of certain ethnic, cultural and racial groups. This bill became law as part of the Affordable Health Care Act in March 2010. In 2014, she worked with Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-2) to pass a bipartisan reauthorization of the EARLY Act (H.R. 5185) for five additional years. President Obama signed the reauthorization of the EARLY Act into law in December 2014.
A fighter for South Florida families, Rep. Wasserman Schultz has worked hard to protect children. Some of her accomplishments in the field include the passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act, which creates the largest law enforcement effort ever formed for the protection of children, and, the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act to combat childhood drowning.
The first Jewish Congresswoman ever elected from Florida, Rep. Wasserman Schultz introduced a resolution, which passed the House of Representatives and called on the President to declare an annual Jewish American Heritage Month. The President subsequently did so, with the inaugural month in May 2006. Since then, Presidents have proclaimed Jewish American Heritage Month annually.
All of this experience serves to enhance her commitment to lower health care costs, improve the quality of life for our children, protect Social Security and Medicare, and provide a sensible homeland security plan to protect our citizens from the ongoing threat of terror. She continues to fight to ensure that our first responders, our local police and firefighters, have the tools they need to do their jobs. She continues to take up the fight to give our troops and veterans the equipment and compensation they deserve.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was born in 1966 on Long Island, NY. She attended the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1988 and with a Master’s Degree in 1990. She has been married to Steve Schultz for more than 20 years and together they have three children. The Congresswoman is proud to call South Florida home where she resides with her family in Weston.
Terry Lopez Preuss is a career educator who has been teaching children and adults from around the globe for over two decades. She used her work and her passion for writing to engage students of all ages in the reading and writing adventure, achieving notably high standardized writing scores, and students who discover their voice by putting pen to paper in her workshops nationally. Her goal is to raise the bar of education creating a reality where student friendly teaching thrives in every classroom and brings about high achievement and high expectations, hand in hand with high self-esteem. For many years she worked in Broward Public Schools as a middle school teacher. She also conducted motivational, and writing workshops nationally. With a vast and varied teaching history, her insight into the condition of today’s youth reveals a struggle and willingness to reach every child and to inspire other educators to do the same.
Seeing that the Broward Teachers Union (BTU) needed new leadership Terry embarked on the path to make positive changes by serving within the Executive Board of the BTU in 2012. Once there, she knew she could make an even bigger difference for the students and teachers of Broward County. In 2016 she ran and was elected as the Vice President of BTU, one of the largest Teachers' Unions in the country serving nearly 15,000 employees who directly impact students. In less than a year Terry has worked with the other BTU officers to make visible changes promoting the worth of educators and the best environment for all students. She is also an active advocate for education and student needs on social media, was an original member of the Badass Teachers Association (BAT's), and has traveled numerous times with groups to Washington D.C. in order to highlight educational concerns with legislators.
Terry is also a two time literary award winning author, recognized by The Miami Herald's Tropic Magazine for her personal narrative, A Helping Hand, about discovering her mother’s aristocratic past in pre-Castro Cuba, and Florida International University's Josephine Friedman Award for Short Fiction for her story, Cat Soup.
Terry is the mother of two teenage sons and presently lives with her husband in Florida.
Speakers from our March 26, 2017 meeting
Born in Honduras, Julio Calderon arrived the United States as an unaccompanied minor in 2005 escaping poverty. Julio started his work with Students Working For Equal Rights (SWER) by pushing for the DREAM Act in 2010. Years after He served as the END (Education Not Deportation) Coordinator for the State of Florida, which also helped to build a campaign around DACA. After DACA he became the Outreach Coordinator for DACA eligible immigrants and successfully helped turn out more than 450 applicants during the first clinic.
In 2014, Julio joined other students in Tallahassee to fight for in-State tuition. The strategy and mobilization allowed them to win the campaign. Julio is now the Access to Higher Education Organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. He is working on his Bachelors in Economics at the Florida International University.
Dean Trantalis represents District 2 on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. He took office in March 2013 after a special election and was overwhelmingly re-elected in March 2015. In April 2016, his colleagues on the City Commission named him to serve as the city's vice mayor.
Vice Mayor Trantalis previously served on the Commission from 2003 to 2006 and previously was vice mayor between 2005 and 2006. Since he returned to the Commission, he has been named to represent the city on the board of directors of the Broward League of Cities, the Broward County Homeless Continuum of Care Task Force, the Broward Water Resources Task Force and the Broward County-Palm Beach County Joint C-51 Reservoir Work Group.
Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Vice Mayor Trantalis attended high school at Norwich Free Academy. At Boston University, he majored in political science and graduated cum laude and with distinction in 1975. He received a Juris Doctorate in 1979 from Stetson University School of Law, while completing international law courses in Eastern Europe, Russia, and London.
Vice Mayor Trantalis was admitted to the Connecticut and Florida Bar Associations in 1980 and has practiced law in Broward County since 1982. He currently maintains a successful general law practice in Broward County with some emphasis in the areas of real estate, probate, estate planning, bankruptcy, and corporate matters. Vice Mayor Trantalis is a member of the Federal Bar and the National Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys.
He entered the local political arena more than two decades ago when Broward County voters were considering a referendum to adopt a human rights ordinance. In 1995, Vice Mayor Trantalis served as co-chair of Americans For Equality and oversaw the successful enactment of the human rights ordinance. It provided individuals with protection from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on their sexual orientation.
In January 1999, Vice Mayor Trantalis co-wrote and assisted in the successful passage of the Broward County domestic partnership law. The legislation extended spousal-like benefits not only to county employees, but to all employees of entities doing business with Broward County.
Vice Mayor Trantalis has been extremely active in the community, serving on numerous boards and committees including the Fort Lauderdale Citizen Review Board, Broward House, Dolphin Democrats, Riviera Towers Co-Operative Board, Broward County Planning Council, and John Graves Foundation Board of Trustees.
Vice Mayor Trantalis also received the Small Business Award from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce in 2007. In spring 2015, he was one of the inaugural honorees of the Diversity Honors awards presented by the Harvey Milk Foundation in conjunction with The Pride Center at Equality Park. He also was honored to be one of the first recipients of the Community Champion award from the Broward County Commission and the Broward County Human Rights Board for his work on behalf of civil rights.
Anna Fusco, President of the Broward Teachers Union, has been in the classroom as a teacher and worked as a union steward, area coordinator, delegate, and executive board officer for many years. Anna has a close family. She and Tony care for Tony’s mom, Nat and two dogs at home. They have one son, Diono, who is pursuing a fire rescue career. Anna’s many friends feel like her extended family and are very important to Anna. She makes everyone feel at home and part of the family as you get to know her. This quality makes her a unionist of the best kind, one who is inclusive.
As BTU President, Anna has changed the atmosphere of the BTU in a short time to a forum for concerns, a place where issues can be discussed and problems will be solved. Whether she is addressing the school board, on the phone with the superintendent, or meeting with a bullying school principal, the needs of members are first and foremost in her mind. When she is told “no” she doesn’t quit until it becomes a “yes”. When she is told she is too pushy, she pushes harder. Always thinking of her fellow members, she is a true unionist. She is a true union president, who is a protector, security guard, mediator, friend, and listener for the members.
Her philosophy is that the members are the union and the union is its members. As such, she has opened up the union hall and welcomes all members and prospective members. She has instituted town halls to hear member concerns and willingly shares her cell for those that need to speak to her privately. She is the person you want “on your side”.
Gina Bogart, Planned Parenthood, is a dedicated Democrat who volunteers for Planned Parenthood and cares greatly about women’s healthcare and equality for all. She works in the healthcare field as a clinical dietitian.
Currently Planned Parenthood is fighting for women’s rights by contacting representatives to Oppose HB19/SB1140: Abortion Provider Liability as well as Oppose SB1130/HB969: "Pregnancy Support Services".
In October 2016, Planned Parenthood turned 100 years strong. Planned Parenthood was founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits. Today, Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
Planned Parenthood is America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. Our skilled health care professionals are dedicated to offering all people high-quality, affordable medical care. One in five American women has chosen Planned Parenthood for health care at least once in her life.
The heart of Planned Parenthood is in the local community. Our 56 unique, locally governed affiliates nationwide operate nearly 650 health centers, which reflect the diverse needs of their communities. These health centers provide a wide range of safe, reliable health care — and the majority is preventive care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers.
Speakers from our February 26, 2017 Meeting
Khurrum Wahid, Co-Chairperson of Emerge USA Inc., a 501c(4) that seeks to engage, educate and empower Muslim, South Asian and Arab American (MASA) communities through educational events, voter initiatives, and leadership development for the purpose of creating a community of equitable, knowledgeable and motivated citizens. Khurrum is a partner at Wahid, Vizcaino, LLP.
It is the first American Muslim lobbying organization of its kind. The foundation has three programs that help fulfill this mission: Emerging Leaders, Emerging Voters and Emerging Data.
Khurrum also sits as the Chair of Emerge PAC, a national political action committee that supports local, State and Federal candidates based on their support for civil rights, minority rights and a diverse America where underrepresented communities are seen as a part of the social fabric of our nation.
Rabbi David Paskin
In early 2016, Rabbi David began the Come Together Against Hate movement to counter the hatred and bigotry of the Trump for Presidential Campaign. In 2017, in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump and the implementation of his campaign promises, Rabbi David created Praying With Our Legs.
As people of faith we have a moral obligation to stand up for justice. This group is inspired by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, after marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that he felt he was "praying with his legs". The group welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds and believes that every person is created in the image of the Divine. They stand for religious tolerance, justice, freedom and peace.
Emma Collum, Esq., Woman’s March State Co-Chair, is a graduate of State University of New York at Albany with a B.A. in Public Policy, and a graduate of City University of New York Law School with a J.D. She is a Hudson Valley New York native and resides in South Florida.
Emma’s legal background in New York City Court’s was dedicated to representing tenants, domestic violence survivors, union workers and environmental policy. Her legal experience working with under-represented communities as well as her time in both New York State and New York City politics has inspired her interest in Grassroots Movements.
Currently, Emma actively practices law as an In-House Attorney and volunteers for women and children organizations in her South Florida community. She is the founder of Women's March Florida as well as The National Committee of Women's March which facilitated and organized 27,000 Florida Marchers and over 1.2 million marchers in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017. Emma is now the Executive Director of Women's March Florida with over twenty chapters in Florida as well as the Head of State Operations for National Women's March Inc. facilitating the movement throughout the fifty states.
Dan Cook, of the Broward Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, has been an ACLU member since 1984. He graduated from J.D. Indiana University School of Law in 1993, was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1993 and is now a non-practicing attorney. He served on the ACLU of Indiana Board from 1999-2009 and as Indiana's first Affirmative Action Officer from 2001-2009. As an intake volunteer from 2012-2014, Dan returned to the ACLU Indiana Board from 2013-2016 at the request of Indiana’s National Board Representative. He's been a Board Member of the Broward Chapter of the ACLU since March, 2016 and has served as a Board Member of the ACLU of Florida since September, 2016.
The ACLU is a broad-based community of people from many trades and walks of life including homemakers, business owners, lawyers, students, educators, healthcare workers, and all who love liberty and the guarantee of liberty in the U.S. Constitution. The leadership of the Broward Chapter is a Board consisting of members and officers elected from the membership, by the membership. The active Broward Chapter welcomes the gifts of members who contribute their time to serve on committees, attend special events and speak to legislators, schools and community groups.