How Central Florida’s Middle Eastern and Muslim LGBTQ community has found their voice post-Pulse

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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Recall two seminal moments from our recent history: Most—if not all—of us nearing our mid-thirties and beyond remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center fell to the ground. Similarly, thousands will never forget the morning they woke up and heard about the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

For many, these two events may share very little in common: the scope of the terror, the size of the cities in which they occurred, the generality or specificity of their victims, how removed or close-to-home the impact.

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07.26.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we head into the final summer month of 2018, I have been thinking a lot about the summer season from two years ago. All eyes were turned to Orlando as we were trying to make sense of a senseless act that left 49 people dead at Pulse. It was also a time when one of my college professors, Ken Carpenter, was battling for his life after a cancer diagnoses earlier in the year.

Ken was the journalism professor at Valencia College, and as I enrolled in more and more journalism classes he became a person that I started to see every single day. He became more than just a teacher to me. He became a friend and mentor, and not just to me. I can’t think of a single student who walked through those glass doors at Valencia College’s West Campus, passing by the mannequin wearing a suit made entirely out of newspaper, into the newsroom, who didn’t feel a connection with Ken that surpassed the word teacher.

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07.26.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are moments in our lives that stick with us—defining who we were, who we are or who we want to be.

Among my list of essentials are a summer with my grandmother, probably my favorite person that I’ve ever known. The two of us would take turns telling one another stories we’d make up on the spot, finishing each other’s dangling plot threads well into the wee hours of the night. She also helped cement my role as a night owl.

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