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Florida’s Supreme Court Bans Diversity Requirement, Cruises Restart, & How Rita Moreno Goes For It

Cruises in Miami
Matias J. Ocner
Miami Herald

Florida’s Supreme Court decides that mandating diversity equates to quotas. Cruise ships are about to open for business in South Florida ports. Plus, a new documentary explores legendary actress Rita Moreno's life.

On this Monday, June 14, episode of Sundial

Florida’s Supreme Court Bans Diversity Requirement

The Florida Supreme Court is canceling a requirement that aims to increase diversity in the legal profession.

It determined that requiring the inclusion of lawyers of color, and other minority groups, as speakers in legal seminars was equivalent to a quota — which the court says is discrimination.

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Florida's the first, and only, state to make this move.

Some legal experts say the ruling sends a message about how the state’s highest court views the value of diversity.

“It benefits us if we have a global perspective on the respective areas of law. It actually exposes us," said Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor, who is also the first Black man to hold that position. "Some of us who may not have connections with a member of the LGBTQ+ community or members of the Black community, members of other communities that I might not interact with or others may not interact with on a day-to-day basis — and truly understanding how to interact with those communities and how the legal system affects those communities. These CLEs [Continuing Legal Education] offer that perspective to attorneys."

Advocates and the American Bar Association — which has called the court to modify this ruling — have a few weeks to formally petition the court to reverse the decision.

Florida’s Supreme Court Bans Diversity Requirement

Cruises Restart

After more than a year of being at a standstill, the first cruise ship will set sail from the U.S. in just a few weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the industry the green light recently but added some conditions to keep people safe.

First, they need to conduct test cruises, with volunteer passengers and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Second, if cruise lines want to avoid test cruises, they have to guarantee that at least 95% of passengers and crew on board are vaccinated against the virus.

That scenario is something the industry and most passengers are advocating for.

“Not all cruises are going to be fully vaccinated. One of the obvious reasons is children. Families travel with children. Many of those children will be below the eligible age, which is now 12, [and] will not be able to be vaccinated. So those are going to be mixed,” said Brian Salerno, the senior vice president for global maritime policy at the Cruise Lines International Association.

Also, the vaccine requirement clashes with a new Florida law that bans companies from requiring proof of vaccination from their customers.

Cruises Restart
Carnival Cruise Line's Ecstasy is docked amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 27 in Jacksonville, Fla. Carnival says it's planning to resume cruises beginning in August

How Rita Moreno Goes For It

Rita Moreno entered Hollywood in the 1950s, when Latino actors were very limited in the roles they could pursue or book.

She was often typecast as the foreign woman, who lacked complexity or compassion.

But she owned her roles and became a star, winning an Academy Award for her performance as Anita in the film "West Side Story."

There’s a new documentary celebrating her life’s work called "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It."

Big names and iconic actors like Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria appear throughout the course of the film.

“The reason why I wanted to have Eva as part of the people that I interview is because I wanted to show how everything that happened to Rita 50 years ago, also kind of happened to Eva in terms of those stereotypical roles, those roles that they wanted her to have an accent," said University of Miami graduate Mariem Pérez Riera, who directed the film. "And Eva doesn't have an accent, but they wanted her to have an accent. “It's crazy that it still happens today.”

The film is playing in theaters across South Florida starting Friday.

How Rita Moreno Goes For It
Actress Rita Moreno in 1976.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.