Community Engagement News

Jan 30, 2023. 5 min read

Community Engagement News January 30, 2023


State Senator Sees Statewide Ban on AP African American Studies as a Backward Move

Sen. Jason Pizzo

Sen. Jason Pizzo provides insights into the workings of the state legislature as he participates in the “Legislative Forum” organized as part of Barry’s Campus Democracy Project. The CDP is designed to facilitate democratic engagement primarily among students. (Photo by Glenn Bowen)

By Glenn Bowen

The statewide ban on AP African American Studies is “a bizarre, draconian attack ... on progress” in our society, and it reflects the continued tendency of people in power to “pick on people seen as the weakest among us.”

That’s according to Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-Miami, who participated in a “Legislative Forum” with Barry University students and faculty members last Wednesday evening.

“It’s shameful that we’re going backwards,” the Florida legislator declared.

Asked what he thought of the ban on the AP African American Studies course from Florida high school classrooms, Sen. Pizzo linked it to the treatment of transgender youth and other population groups considered “the weakest among us” because of their smallness and vulnerability.

African Americans make up only 15.6% of Florida’s population, he pointed out.

“Nobody can explain why they have a problem with critical race theory or being woke,” the senator said. He felt that people were subjected to the “illusory truth effect” and acted accordingly.

Sen. Pizzo fielded questions about a variety of issues—from property insurance and gun control to gender affirmation surgery and the removal of African American Studies from the curriculum. He also answered questions about Florida’s Paycheck Protection Program and security deposits paid by renters; and, in the process, he provided insights into the workings of the state legislature.

Regarding property insurance, Sen. Pizzo noted the lack of affordable coverage for many Floridians. People have been paying “crazy amounts” for property insurance, he said.

Florida lawmakers recently held a special session to address property insurance concerns, but it did not result in rate reductions.

Sen. Pizzo

Sen. Pizzo responds to questions about a variety of issues raised by students and faculty participating in the forum. (Photos by Glenn Bowen)

Responding to a question about gun control, Sen. Pizzo said gun laws have become “less strict” over the years, permitting people to carry firearms even in places of worship attached to schools. He said that, as a former homicide prosecutor in Miami-Dade, he knew it was not a good idea to have a proliferation of firearms throughout the state, and he was in favor of providing more resources for law enforcement.

The state senator spoke about environmental matters, including the maintenance of sewer systems. He expressed frustration that many of his colleagues “keep saying that places in the urban core, or coastal cities have plenty of money to go it alone” while “counties that are fiscally constrained” should be given state resources. He said he wanted to make sure that places like Miami Shores, Biscayne Park, and El Portal, as well as Biscayne Bay, were not neglected as a result.

Sen. Pizzo said he told his fellow lawmakers: “We don’t have a hundred-billion-dollar state budget if we don’t have South Beach, if we don’t have Fort Lauderdale, if we don’t have students from around the world wanting to come to South Florida.”

The “Legislative Forum” was a virtual event organized as part of Barry’s Campus Democracy Project (CDP). Dr. Sean Foreman, professor of political science and CDP leader, organized and moderated the forum.

The CDP is a major project designed to facilitate civic learning and democratic engagement primarily among students throughout the university. The nonpartisan project specifically promotes and supports voter education and get-out-the vote activities.

Deadline for Submission of Nominations for Community Engagement Awards is This Friday

Community Engagement Awards

The deadline for the submission of nominations for Barry’s 10th Annual Community Engagement Awards is this Friday, February 3. Faculty, staff, and students are urged to submit nominations by the deadline.

Nominations for the awards are being accepted in seven categories: Community Impact, Community Partnership, Community-Based Research, Community-Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement Educator, Service-Learning Faculty, and Engaged Department.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for the last Wednesday of March. Additional information on the awards and the nomination forms are available at the CCSI website.

Community Service Placements Available to Students Eligible for Federal Work-Study

Community Service Placements Available

Community service placements are available to students eligible for Federal Work-Study, and students who accept such positions are enrolled in the Barry Service Corps (BSC).

The BSC is a civic engagement initiative that supports students in applying civic and academic learning to real-world problems. While serving the community through nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and local government agencies, members develop interpersonal, teamwork, and other career-related skills.

The CCSI manages FWS Community Service in partnership with the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Financial Aid. The CCSI’s approach to the program is based on interdivisional and campus–community collaboration and involves the full integration of FWS Community Service into Barry’s strategic plan for community engagement.

For further information, contact Emmanuel Ikpuri, program facilitator for FWS Community Service in the CCSI, via email:

Race Talk In Florida: Bridging The Political Divide

Barry University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service: A Pictorial Report

MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service
MLK Day of Service

Photos by Glenn Bowen (CCSI)

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting Organizers Call for Session Proposals

The organizers of NASPA’s 2023 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting have issued a call for session proposals.

The CLDE meeting—a national conference for students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners interested in advancing the civic learning and democratic movement in higher education—will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, from May 31 to June 2.

“Participants will have opportunities to network and develop their civic-minded thinking and practices through engaging plenary sessions, informative general interest sessions, interactive workshops, and roundtable discussions,” the organizers have stated.

Proposals for 50-minute conference sessions should be submitted by this Friday, February 3.

Community Engagement News: Next Week

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS: Barry students and faculty will make presentations on community engagement topics at regional and national conferences this semester.

ENGAGEMENT STUDY: Barry University will continue to participate in the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement.

CAMPUS DEMOCRACY PROJECT: As part of the Campus Democracy Project, two forums remain on the spring semester schedule.

Community Engagement News is a publication of the Center for Community Service Initiatives.

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