Central Florida Urban League President and CEO, Glenton Gilzean Jr., penned a meaningful column in the Orlando Sentinel.
I am proud of the vibrant, diverse and inclusive community that I have called my home since November.
In the most horrific of tragedies, the terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub, the resilience of our community was on display. Citizens from all walks of life rallied together to support the victims, their families and the first responders. Our response reverberated around the world, proving that our community can stand together against a common foe.
Yet, while Americans continuously rally together to oppose terrorism, we still have difficulty coming together to support one another.
A schism has developed pitting proponents of Black Lives Matter against those of All Lives Matter. Yet, we are all fighting the same fight. The Black Lives Matter movement does not diminish the value of other lives. It simply means that specific attention needs to be paid to the injustices experienced by African-Americans, particularly as it relates to law enforcement.
This movement is grounded in facts. According to Mapping Police Violence, in 2015, 37 percent of all unarmed people (102 individuals) killed by police were African-American, despite being only 13 percent of the population. Unarmed African-Americans were killed at five times the rate of unarmed Caucasians last year.
It begs us to ask the question: How could a community trust law enforcement when the system is failing it? Our solution is far from simple, but we believe that it must begin with our youth, ensuring that they have an open relationship with law enforcement.
Simply put: Respect, which goes both ways, must be taught at a young age.
Fortunately, the city of Orlando and Orange County have been beacons of hope for our country. Local law enforcement, led by city of Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, have made it a priority to work hand in hand with the community.
In the past year, we have established joint projects such as Coffee with a Cop, which allows our community to engage in healthy conversation with law enforcement, without any preconditions. This has made law enforcement more approachable and has begun the process of alleviating fears and concerns.
Law enforcement has opened up its doors to our youth through its Teen Academy, and local youth recently honored seven officers — heroes — for being a positive influence on their lives.
Our growing relationship and trust has led to real change. Respect for our law enforcement has increased, and we are working together to find solutions for local injustices. Recently, Mina and the city of Orlando issued a directive to all law enforcement to use the minimal amount of force necessary, and to immediately intervene if officers see a colleague using too much force.
Our community spoke; Mina and the city of Orlando listened.
Now, we must return the favor. Much like our community would not want to be demonized when one goes astray, we cannot vilify an entire group based upon the actions of an extreme few. We must respect these brave men and women who risk their lives daily to protect every member of our community, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Mutual respect will lead to more dialogue and change. In the coming months, the Central Florida Urban League will build upon our strong foundation and bring these conversations to all levels of law enforcement, from Florida's attorney general in Tallahassee to the newest recruit in Orlando.
We have taken great strides in our community to address racial injustices, and I am proud that the Urban League will continue to be at the forefront. I believe that the life of every man, woman and child is equally important.
Eventually, when the social media hashtag fizzles and the cameras move on to their next story, we will need to work together through a foundation of respect and open dialogue to achieve a peaceful solution.
Click here to read it via the Orlando Sentinel.
ORLANDO, JULY 1, 2016 – Through a wide variety of programs and services, the Central Florida Urban League is looking forward to playing a critical role in assisting the Sanford Housing Authority (SHA) in ensuring that the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant will benefit as many residents of Sanford as possible.
“The Central Florida Urban League stands ready to assist the residents of Sanford,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr., President and C.E.O. of the Central Florida Urban Leagues. “Our programs such as the Center for Working Families (CWF) will provide Sanford residents access to job training which will lead to high paying jobs and home ownership opportunities.”
The CWF provides for a comprehensive and integrated approach designed to help low-and moderate-income families reach financial stability, increase their net worth, and become financially secure and upwardly mobile through the provision of integrated and bundled services.
The model focuses on three key areas:
Employment and Career Development: Job readiness, job placement, occupational skills training, education and career advancement;
Income and supports: Helping participants gain access to public benefits, tax credits (EITC, and others), healthcare, financial aid and other benefits to improve their financial security;
Financial Coaching: One-on-one coaching to establish goals and a pathway to success, along with educational workshops, and access to well-priced financial products and services to help participants improve their household finances and build assets and wealth.
ORLANDO, JUNE 12, 2016 – The Central Florida Urban League is asking for all healthy men and women over the age of 16 to donate blood in light of the horrific terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in this horrific terrorist attack,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. “There is an urgent need for blood donations, so I ask that anyone who is able to donate blood, please do so as quickly as possible. As a community, we must come together and support one another.”
The need is for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate. To be a donor, you must be 16 years or older and weight at least 100 pounds.
“The first responders of Central Florida are the best in the country,” added Gilzean. “They deserve our utmost thanks and support for their service. We stand behind Chief Mina, Sheriff Demings and their staff as they continue to respond to this unthinkable attack.”
Below is a list of blood donor centers and bloodmobile locations:
- Orlando West Michigan Donor Center, 345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106, Orlando, FL 32806
- Orlando Main Donor Center, 8669 Commodity Circle, Orlando, FL 32819
- Oviedo Donor Center, 1954 W. State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765
- Asbury United Methodist Church - Bloodmobile 220, West Horatio Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751
- St. Luke's United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819
- Metro Church – Bloodmobile, 1491 East State Road 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708
ORLANDO, JUNE 1, 2016 – The Central Florida Urban League (CFUL) and the youth of Orange County will be coming together to honor local members of the law enforcement community on Friday, June 3 (11:30 am to 1 pm) at the Citrus Club (255 South Orange Avenue).
Local youth were asked to nominate members of the law enforcement community whom have made a significant impact on their lives. After receiving the nominations, a committee selected seven individuals: six nominated by the youth and one by the Central Florida Urban League, whom will each be presented with a special honor during Friday’s luncheon.
While these nominees are aware that they are being recognized on Friday, they do not know who nominated them for this special honor, ensuring that the will be surprised by seeing first-hand how they truly impacted the youth of Orange County.
“We wanted to showcase that the police officers in our community are doing extraordinary things. We received an overwhelming number of nominations, truly demonstrating that there is so much good being done by law enforcement,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. “Honoring Our Heroes is just one of many initiatives that the CFUL has organized with the goal of bridging the gap between our community and law enforcement.”
The CFUL would like to thank: the City of Orlando, the Walt Disney Company, Orange County Public Schools, the Orlando Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Brighthouse Networks, Orange County and the Florida Office of the Attorney General for their support of this initiative.
Click below for the Honoring Our Heroes PSA, sponsored by Bright House:
ORLANDO, MAY 13, 2016 – The future leaders of our community are set to come together from June 10 to 12 at the Rosen Centre Hotel (9840 International Drive) for the 4th Annual Florida Young Professionals Retreat.
This annual retreat brings together the five Florida-based chapters of the Urban League Young Professionals (ULYP) for a weekend of community service, professional development and networking.
Guided by the theme of Create Your Own YP Magic, the weekend will focus on encouraging and empowering young professionals to do the work that it takes to create the magic that they desire in their lives. During this retreat, attendees will get the chance to enhance their personal and professional skills through a variety of workshops with influential community leaders.
“These retreats have really made a difference in my life and overall perspective,” said Jasmine Burney, President of Central Florida Urban League Young Professionals. “This is an opportunity for young professionals across the state to come together, learn, grow, and develop a stronger bond in the movement. I have had the chance to make lifelong friends and I am forever grateful for that opportunity.”
This retreat is open to all young professionals in Florida. Membership in the Urban League is not a requirement. To learn more or to register, please visit: http://ypretreat.wix.com/2016 or contact Neasha Hodge at email@example.com or Kristin Fulwylie, Vice President of the CFUL YP at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-274-5127.
ORLANDO, APRIL 27, 2016 – The Central Florida Urban League (CFUL) applauds the implementation of reforms by the Orlando Police Department (OPD) that will address the use of excessive force.
“We have been working very closely with Police Chief John Mina and the OPD to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and our community,“ said Glen Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. “This announcement represents a significant step forward in bridging the gap that exists.”
In March, the CFUL participated in Coffee With A Cop, an event that brought together police officers, including Police Chief Mina, with citizens for a friendly conversation over coffee. Events such as this will be held once every three months to ensure that the relationship between the OPD and the community continues to strengthen.
“Our community truly appreciates the efforts of Chief Mina and Chief Administration Officer Byron Brooks in addressing the concerns of our community,” added Gilzean. “Safety should be the top priority for both citizens and officers.”
On June 3rd, the CFUL will be Honoring Our Heroes. The first-annual event will recognize members of the law enforcement community whom have gone over and above to make a difference in the lives of local youth. Every individual to be recognized at the event will be nominated by local youth.
ORLANDO, MARCH 25, 2016 – With a massive investment in the Central Florida market, CVS Health, the parent corporation that operates 7,800 pharmacies throughout the Untied States has reached out to the Central Florida Urban League (CFUL) to fill more than 500 job vacancies for the positions of Clerk/Cashiers, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Supervisors, Pharmacy Technicians and Customer Service Reps.
Through the CFUL’s many programs, including their job training and financial literacy initiatives, the CFUL will be working with CVS Health to ensure that interested individuals receive the necessary information and training to potentially qualify for these vacancies.
“Our partnership with CVS Health is directly in line with our commitment to Central Floridians,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the CFUL. “Our role within the community is to ensure that we create systemic changes. The first step in this process is to help the unemployed and underemployed by providing them the resources they need to build a better life and CVS Health has enabled to help more than 500 Central Floridians achieve this goal.”
Benefits for CVS Health employees include: Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance, Free MinuteClinic Health Screenings & Immunizations, a 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan, Employee Stock Purchase Program and much more.
CVS employs over 200,000 individuals in the United States in its 7,800 Retail Stores, 970 MinuteClinics and 10 Corporate Offices. Annually, the pharmacy fills over 1 billion prescriptions.
For more information, please visit: http://jobs.cvshealth.com/orlando-jobs
ORLANDO, MARCH 24, 2016 – With a contribution of $7,500 to the Central Florida Urban League (CFUL), UPS and the UPS Foundation have truly shown Central Floridians that Brown can truly do something special for you.
In line with the UPS Charter, which ensures that the company not only maintains sustainable business practices, but also contributes to the communities in which they serve, the donation will directly benefit Central Floridians through the diverse programming provided by the CFUL.
“It is always special when a large corporation such as UPS gives back to the community,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr. President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. “While the financial contribution is significant, we equally appreciate the example that UPS is setting for their employees and the business community as a whole. I cannot thank them enough for supporting our organization and our efforts to empower Central Floridians.”