NEW ORLEANS – Source: STEM Global Action // Dr. Calvin Mackie, founder and CEO of STEM NOLA and STEM Global Action (SGA), said New Orleans East development projects managed separately by him and his brother, actor Anthony Mackie, will benefit community residents and help advance education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
This week, Anthony Mackie, who plays the first black Captain America, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, purchased 20 acres on the Interstate 10 Service Road at Read Boulevard. His new production company, East Studios LLC and a studio, will be housed on the site. Just across the interstate along the service road, STEM NOLA is building a STEM Innovation Hub for Black Excellence. It will house laboratory space, classrooms, meeting spaces and 21st century technology to expose, educate, train and connect students to STEM skills and careers. Supported by donations from Ochsner Health and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the 40,000-square-foot space will be the new headquarters for SGA and STEM NOLA.
In addition, Dr. Mackie announced in October that it is creating an expansive STEM District in New Orleans East as part of the first phase of Bayou Phoenix LLC’s $100 million development project reviving an abandoned 227-acre site that once housed Six Flags and Jazzland. The plan includes the STEM education center, as well as a hotel, water park, amusement park, sports complex and a warehouse and distribution center.
“Anthony and I have always worked to give back to our community,” Dr. Mackie said. “This is no different. We will be teaching students how STEM will have major roles in the operation of the various components of our development project. Our city had been through so much over the years now is the time to help our neighborhoods and our people flourish again.”
Dr. Mackie believes the development activity will trigger an economic revival for the area, citing the booming “Research Triangle” in Raleigh–Cary and Durham–Chapel Hill North Carolina. “We want to emulate their success,” he said. “We will be training students in STEM fields who find jobs in the businesses that are being created. These developments will be an economic engine for this area.”
Now, Anthony Mackie’s project, which is six miles from the Bayou Phoenix site, can also inject economic energy in the area. His studio may include development, marketing and production, as well as other aspects of the entertainment industry, delivering a boost to the state’s film and television industry.
Moreover, Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson on the Disney+ miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and becoming Marvel’s first Black Captain America, showcases the value of STEM. In the show, Wilson is never the strongest in battle. He relies on STEM to win. From his mechanical wings infused with Vibranium from Wakanda that enable him to fly, to his “Redwing” combat and reconnaissance drones, Wilson wins with a mastery of science and physics, of calculations and probabilities, and most importantly, by turning smarts and technology into paths for success.
“Kudos to Marvel for elevating a Black man to succeeding with his intellect, rather than stereotypical physical attributes like speed, agility or brute force,” said Dr. Mackie.
“Think of STEM as Captain America’s new indestructible, vibranium shield,” he said. “It can help tackle life’s toughest foes, like racism, poverty and discrimination. They are no match for it. STEM is the doorway to the future, the superhero providing careers, family security and neighborhood stability. The best part is students don’t have to live in a cinematic verse to experience it, just study hard, learn STEM and it can create pathways forward.”
Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell Announces Leadership Team
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) today announced the appointment of the following Democratic Representatives to serve on the House Democratic Caucus leadership team for the 2022-24 legislative term:
- Leader Pro Tempore: Representative Dotie Joseph (D-Miami);
- Policy Chair: Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton);
- Floor Leader: Representative Michael “Mike” Gottlieb (D-Davie); and
- Whip: Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland).
“The House Democratic Caucus is made up of some of the strongest, most fierce champions of the people in the entire state,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “It is an honor and great pleasure to work with these individuals in this new capacity, and all of them are prepared to lead the Caucus in the face of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”
As Leader Pro Tempore, Representative Joseph will assist the Democratic Leader in carrying out designated responsibilities and perform such Leadership responsibilities as are assigned, including stepping in for the Leader as needed.
“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Representative Joseph for over 20 years. From the time we were at Georgetown Law to now, she has always been a consistent champion for justice. The issues she advocates for on behalf of all Floridians makes Representative Joseph an invaluable asset in defending Floridians against extremist Republican policies,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “I look forward to Representative Joseph’s leadership as a key member of my team over the next two years.”
In her role as the Caucus Policy Chair, Representative Skidmore will be responsible for ensuring the Caucus continues to champion legislation that positively impacts all Floridians, and will lead discussions about bills before the House at Caucus meetings.
“As the previous Policy Chair for the Caucus, I know what is needed to do this job. Appointing Representative Skidmore as Policy Chair was an easy choice,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “She stood out as a prime member in understanding policy during the last legislative term. Representative Skidmore also brings with her a wealth of experience as both a former House and Senate staffer and House member. Applying her unique skillset to this new role will benefit the Caucus and all Floridians.”
In his role as Floor Leader, Representative Gottlieb will be responsible in interpreting the House Rules, ensuring the Caucus adheres to the agreed upon rules, and working with his Republican counterpart in advocating for fair amounts of time be allotted to the Caucus in debating different pieces of legislation.
“Two things I greatly appreciate about Representative Gottlieb are his refreshing candor and strong fortitude,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “As the minority party in the Legislature, we’re aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us. What we need right now is someone who is unwavering under extreme pressure to help guide our Caucus during difficult moments. Representative Gottlieb is perfectly suited for this role.”
As Whip, Representative Hunschofsky will be responsible for keeping all Democratic Caucus members apprised of Caucus policy on any bills or issues before the House.
“Representative Hunschofsky has an amazing ability to get things done,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “Not only does Representative Hunschofsky possess a wealth of knowledge due to her experience as the former mayor of Parkland, Florida, she is also a champion of many initiatives close to Floridians’ hearts, such as expanding access to quality mental health care. I know Representative Hunschofsky’s knowledge and ability will help prepare our Caucus for the challenges of the next two year.”
The Florida House Democratic Caucus will convene during Organizational Session taking place Nov. 21-22, 2022 in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session scheduled to begin on March 7, 2023.
VIDEO: State Rep. Dianne Hart elected chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Dianne Hart (D-Tampa), incoming Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, talks briefly with Florida National News on the importance of the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Saturday. The Florida Classic is an annual college football rivalry game between Bethune–Cookman University and Florida A&M University.
Hart’s Twitter Statement:
Hart’s statement: “I’m honored to have been elected as the Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.” “I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support and for trusting me to move this important caucus forward.”
During the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions, Rep. Hart served on the following House committees, including Democratic Ranking Member of the Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, Ways & Means Committee, Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee and Select Subcommittee on Authorized Gaming Activity.
Hart was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. She is also the CEO of the East Tampa Business and Civic Association.
Former State Rep. Bruce Antone Ready To Rejoin Florida House
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Former Florida State Representative Bruce Antone served 12 years (six terms) in the Florida House of Representatives and defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Travaris McCurdy during the August primary election to represent Orange County in the newly draw District 41 House seat.
Antone was among eleven candidates seeking election to county, state and Congressional seats participating in a candidate forum hosted by CFABJ, NAACP and the Florida Voters League, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
Green Party nominee Robin Denise Harris is the only potential road block in Antone’s return to Tallahassee and faces off with him in the November general election. The District 41 House seat has an overwhelmingly Democratic voter base.
During his time in the Florida House, Antone was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman of the 29-member Florida Legislative Black Caucus.
The general election is Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
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