UM News Briefs: women’s resource fair, trash fire and new flag laws

Photo credit: Roberta Macedo

Note from the news editors: UM News Briefs are a new segment from The Miami Hurricane. News briefs provide a weekly snapshot of life at the University of Miami, in Miami and sometimes around the state, country or world. Stay up to date with UM News Briefs.


Black Awareness Month Day of Service

The Black Awareness Month committee and the University of Miami Butler Center for Service & Leadership are celebrating the achievements and contributions of people of African descent on Service Day by giving back to the local South Florida community. Students will have two opportunities to serve. The first will be on campus at Lakeside canopy from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will also be able to serve off campus at Green Haven from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For on-campus registration click here. For off campus registration click here.

For more information, contact the Butler Center for Service and Leadership at 305-284-4483 or at or Multicultural Student Affairs at 305-284-2211 or at

Patricia A. Whitely Women’s Leadership Symposium’s first annual Women’s Resource Fair

The 10th annual Patricia A. Whitely Women’s Leadership Symposium (WWLS) will be hosting its first annual Women’s Resource Fair on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lakeside Patio. In celebration of the symposium’s 10th anniversary, the resource fair aims to connect students with UM women-centric organizations and leaders.

“WWLS is a great opportunity for everyone to network and foster a sense of empowerment in what they have done, are doing, and will do in the future.” public relations chair for Patricia A. Whitely’s Women’s Symposium Committee Gema Leivas-Cerna said.

It’s On Us, Counseling Outreach Peer Education, the Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, ENOUGH and the University of Miami Police Department (UMPD) will be present. Students will also have the chance to connect off-campus community organizations and businesses including the Lotus House, Women’s Heart and Breast Initiative and Alchime Naturelle.


Trash fires in Doral cause residents to speak out

A trash pit went up in flames inside a waste-to-energy plant in Doral starting Feb. 12. Warped metal walls and collapsed roofing complicated firefighter’s attempts to control the situation.

The fire sent waves of smoke over Doral, the bustling Miami suburb of over 50,000 residents. Officials were forced to close parks while residents were told to stay inside and shut windows tightly. A report analyzing air quality by the Environmental Protection Agency reported “unhealthy” levels of concentration of particulate matter in some parts of Doral.

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a plan to build the new facility at the site of the existing plant in the summer of 2023. The project would cost an estimated $1.4 billion and take nearly a decade to build.

Residents oppose the upcoming plan as families have been dealing with the reality of living near a trash-incineration plant before the fire made headlines nationwide.

Since the fire, Doral Mayor Christi Fraga has advocated for moving trash-incineration operations out of the city in the long term. Potential trash-facility locations west of Doral would raise concerns from environmental groups, as possible locations encroach on the Everglades. County-funded research shows that the existing county-owned property in Doral would be the cheapest site to build a new plant.


Florida bill seeks restricting flag rules

A Florida Bill (HB 1011), proposed by Republican state representative David Borrero of Sweetwater, would restrict the types of flags that fly in Florida government buildings, including schools and city halls. Civil rights groups are questioning whether its intentions are patriotic or exclusionary.

HB 1011 would allow buildings to only fly the Florida flag, the American flag and flags bearing official logos of the Firefighter Memorial or Prisoners of War and Missing-in-Action. The bill also requires that every public school classroom from kindergarten to university level have an American and state flag.

“No other flag may be exposed to public view for exhibition or display, in any manner, by a governmental agency, local government, or unit of local government,” the bill reads.

Orlando Gonzales, executive director of local LGBTQ nonprofit SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone), told the Miami New Times that Borrero’s new legislation is “a fake, postured patriotic bill” that contradicts the ideals of free speech.

UN chief calls for action to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on regional and international players to help restore a political track to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

“The longer we go without meaningful political negotiations, the further these goals slip from reach. Regional and international partners must collectively work — with greater urgency and determination — to help Palestinians and Israelis restore a credible political horizon,” Guterres said at the 2023 opening session of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The current situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is deadly. Violence and tensions are high. 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs began tracking fatalities in 2005.

The United Nations stated that unilateral actions can not alter their position regarding the status of Jerusalem. Guterres made it clear that all settlement activity is illegal under international law and must stop.

Guterres urged donors to honor commitments and support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.