October 14, 2017 | Florida Theatre
October 14, 2017 | Florida Theatre
Excessive weight and preventable illnesses are crippling our society. Our food supply is unsafe. Every day, people are sick and dying from preventable diseases. More than 80 million people are classified as obese and nearly 90 percent of our children can’t pass a fitness test. After struggling with her own health issues and learning about the body and what it needs to perform optimally, Bradley made the switch to a plant-based diet, a lifestyle she credits with giving her back her life, free from poor health and disease.
Brenda T. Bradley, Ph.D., became a certified health coach because of her passion for healthy eating and living. Determined to break free from the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is known to do more harm than good, she set out on her journey to research food, diseases, health, and fitness. After struggling with her own health goals and learning about what the body needs to perform optimally, she made the switch to a plant-based diet. She credits this diet for helping her not only to lose weight, but also to improve her overall quality of life. In 2016, she developed the 21-Day Vegan Challenge, a vegan-only food program that stresses the healing power of food and how its proper use can restore the body to a natural healthy state. Dr. Bradley’s goal is to inspire others to lead the charge for healthy eating and exercise.
Appalled by the notion that her state’s legislature had gerrymandered voting districts to favor themselves and their party, Ellen Freidin led a citizen’s initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to establish strict rules for the drawing of legislative and Congressional district lines. After four years of gathering signatures and campaigning for passage, what followed was six years of fierce litigation to enforce the amendments and to fight off four separate federal court challenges to the amendments. Gerrymandering isn’t unique to Florida. Across the country, Republicans and Democrats alike have used the practice to establish political advantage and help incumbents get re-elected. Freidin’s cautionary tale is an important example of how a determined group of citizens can thwart badly intentioned public officials and ensure that state laws are fairly drawn and fully enforced.
Ellen Freidin was born and raised in South Florida, went to public schools, and, but for four years away at college, has lived there her whole life. In the sixth grade, she won her school essay contest on “What Democracy Means to Me.” Before entering law school, she worked for four years as a political campaign manager and legislative aide. Since graduating from Law School in 1978, she has always been involved in politics—especially in developing policy to improve our state. She served on the 1998 Florida Constitution Revision Commission and was responsible for the amendment establishing equality of rights for women and men. She led the Florida Bar Gender Equality committee from 1991 to 1995. In 2006, she took up the cause of ending gerrymandering in Florida and led that effort until its successful conclusion in 2016. Freidin has been married for 50 years to Miami lawyer Philip Freidin and their two children, Allison and Jonathan, are both lawyers in Miami.
It’s no accident that Jacksonville and the State of Florida are at the top of every list of the worst places in America for pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. There are three main reasons for this: the design of our public spaces has been completely focused on the automobile; our laws for pedestrian crossings “criminalize” walking; and, culturally, walking and bicycling are looked down upon. As a traffic engineer that grew up and moved here from Minnesota, Jaimison Sloboden has lived and experienced what a walkable environment can and should be, and the contrasts to Florida are remarkable.
Jaimison Sloboden is a transportation practice leader for Michael Baker International in Jacksonville charged with providing transportation services locally and in the State of Florida. His 24 years of experience in a wide range of transportation projects give him a unique perspective on how a system should be built to balance mobility, sustainability, and livability objectives while meeting the needs of stakeholders. Starting with the early Smart Growth initiatives, Sloboden was involved in pilot projects to transform areas and corridors into more “complete streets.” As a traffic engineer, Sloboden has had a strong affinity with multi-disciplinary planning environments, working closely with urban designers, architects, energy consultants and market research firms. Sloboden has been a resident of Northeast Florida for 10 years. Originally from Minnesota, he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, and has a B.S. in civil engineering. He and his wife Lori have two young children, Grace and Rhys.
Arjola Miruku is a nationally certified teacher of music, and she has held positions as instructor in musicology and class piano and been on the Preparatory Division faculty at Texas Christian University. She also has held an adjunct professor of piano position at Texas Wesleyan University and directed her own private studio in Winter Park, FL; Fort Worth, Colleyville and Southlake, TX; and now in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach. A native of Albania, Miruku is currently thrilled to make her residence in Jacksonville and is pursuing her passion to run PLAY Academy of Arts (playaoa.com), a holistic approach to artistic training. Alongside her teaching positions, Miruku enjoys an active performing career specializing in solo and duo piano music.