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Hastings' Legacy, The Future Of Cities, And A Letter Exchange To Ease The Pandemic Blues

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An international letter exchange connecting different cultures and languages throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, helping ease confinement blues to residents in South Florida.

A tribute to a civil rights leader in South Florida, the future of our cities and an international letter exchange for poetry month.

On this Wednesday, April 7 episode, of Sundial:

Hastings’ Legacy

For 28 years, Representative Alcee Hastings served in Florida’s congressional delegation as a champion of civil rights. On Tuesday, the longtime South Florida Democrat died at the age of 84 a few years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

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Before serving in Congress, Hastings was a longtime judge and attorney that oversaw a number of cases involving desegregation and voting rights.

“I knew that he was a fighter because I've heard him. But what I didn't realize is that in addition to being such a staunch advocate, if Alcee was your friend, he was kind and caring and compassionate and wanted to make sure — not just that the things that you were working on together were going well but to make sure — that you were doing okay,” said Broward Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, Hastings’ colleague in the House.

We also spoke with Sun Sentinel political reporter Anthony Man.

“He represented what his constituents wanted. His constituents rewarded him time after time. I mean, I looked back at all of his election results and there were plenty of times the Republicans didn't bother to run anybody against him ... he was very popular with this constituency,” Man said.

Hastings' Legacy
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The Future Of Cities

Nearly 1,000 people are moving to Florida every day, and half of them are coming to South Florida.

This increased demand for housing is welcome news for developers seeking to “revitalize neighborhoods” and transform existing communities for new residents. But can that development be done sustainably?

We spoke with Tony Cho, the CEO of Metro1, a real estate firm behind a number of key projects in South Florida — including the Magic City Innovation District and parts of Wynwood.

“The real estate development community is not equipped with the resources and the education around how to build more sustainably. I think we've gotten to a point where if we continue to develop the way that we've developed over the last couple of hundred years we're going to get to a point where we can't go back from the damage that we've cost with CO2 emissions and climate change,” Cho said.

Last week Cho launched the Future of Cities project, a global initiative to look at development in 20 different cities through a sustainable and regenerative lens.

“If we don't plan for regional, local, statewide development, then we're not going to plan for the inevitable negative consequences of development, which is loss of biodiversity, intensive traffic, reduction in quality of life and all those types of things that we're encountering here in South Florida,” Cho said.

The Future Of Cities
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A Letter Exchange To Ease The Pandemic Blues

The O, Miami Poetry Festival has an international letter exchange that can help you travel while still staying safely at home. Poets across the Americas will write you a personal letter that you can share.

We spoke with the creators of that project, Liliana Ortega Camareno and Julia Taveras.

“The target audience is the Miami-Dade community. But anybody in the U.S. can sign up to receive a letter. How it works is, we have a list of poets that we curated from all across the continent. They are in the process of sending us letters based off of a series of writing prompts that we sent to them. Then, a series of volunteers will transcribe these letters and send them out to the people that sign up for the project,” said Traveras

You can sign up to receive a letter here. The deadline is April 18.

A Letter Exchange To Ease The Pandemic Blues
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Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.