Friday Round-Up: June 12, 2020
I think you will agree it has been a tough week. Though our community is opening more and working our way through Phase 2 , we have been reminded that there is more going on than the current pandemic.

My daughter has been living at home and doing her college studies remotely since the start of the pandemic. We have had a lot of time to talk and this past week engaged in some serious conversations on race – everything from systemic racism, white privilege, implicit bias and equity. She asked me what the difference was between equity and equality; what was systemic racism and how did we get here? I admit that I have a better understanding and was more prepared to answer her questions now than perhaps a few years ago, because I am involved with the FutureMakers Coalition and their Equity Action Team. This has given me the opportunity to get involved in our community’s effort to make a difference. 
The FutureMakers’ Equity Action Team , which is comprised of community partners, developed and now facilitates an all-day Implicit Bias Training (implicit bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that impact our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner). The FutureMakers Coalition is committed to facilitating community conversations to shine a light on these topics to strengthen our community's educational systems and workforce. The Equity Action Team had temporarily put these trainings on hold due to COVID-19, but has resumed trainings. Their next in-person (following the CDC guidelines) session is on Saturday, June 20. If you are interested, here is the link to learn more.
Florida Gulf Coast University is offering a virtual session about inclusivity, “Fostering Inclusivity in Your Lives: An Enduring Challenge” on Friday, June 19. Dr. Jan-Martijn Meij, assistant professor of Sociology at FGCU, is presenting the session, which begins with interactive components that help participants recognize that reality is socially constructed, and that inequality is pervasive and not a quick fix. This is followed by an exploration of concepts such as the matrix of domination and is meant to help people to become allies to marginalized identities in their communities. Participants will leave this session with tools and resources to help foster inclusivity in their own lives. You can use this link to register.
Michele Hylton-Terry, executive director of the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency , shared with me a new Facebook page: Green Book Lee an online directory of Black-owned businesses in Lee County. Currently on Facebook, it will have its own website soon. The Green Book Lee directory welcomes Retail/Restaurants/ Medical/Legal/Non-profits/Community service organizations/Religious organizations/Education/Arts & Culture, and more. If you would like to submit your business, email greenbookfm@gmail.com .
One of the biggest resources for us at the Chamber is the Florida Chamber of Commerce . As I mentioned in previous emails, we have a weekly call with their team to go through the most recent updates and to get our questions answered. We are #ChamberStrong .

I want to share two relevant topics with you this week. The first concerns unemployment . We learned that if you accepted PPP funds you are required to notify DEO if you offer an employee their position back and they decline. We understand that some employees on unemployment may be making more than if employed but they are obligated to return. Here is the number to discuss this with the DEO, 833-352-7759.

The second topic that everyone is watching is virus-related lawsuits . On Wednesday, Mark Wilson shared this:

“We’ve warned about the tsunami of virus-related lawsuits headed our way, and legal eyes across the nation will be watching an Illinois court today for a glimpse at how the court system will react to an SEIU labor union-backed class action lawsuit against Chicago-area McDonald’s restaurants . Read more on how this case will test the ‘public nuisance’ claim in workplace cases here . The Florida Chamber’s Litigation and Regulatory Reform Center continues to defend job creators, and call on elected leaders in Tallahassee  and  Washington, D.C. to support targeted and timely protections against ‘gotcha lawsuits.’ And, as chairman of the National Association of State Chambers, I’ve been very engaged nationally on bringing federal and state level safe harbor protections to our Chamber members. We’ve joined our partners at the U.S. Chamber in calling on members of Congress to provide businesses a safe harbor from unwarranted lawsuits, and we’re leading Florida’s efforts by encouraging local chambers to sign onto our letter supporting safe harbor protections from meritless lawsuits . Now is the time to do so. Be sure to read Florida Businesses Need COVID-19 Liability Protections , the latest white paper from William Large and our partners at the Florida Justice Reform Institute. Contact David Hart at dhart@flchamber.com to learn how you can get involved.”
Our local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) shared information on how to complete the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application . Click here to access this material. If you need additional assistance completing the form, connect with Doug Heffner at dheffner@fgcu.edu . Doug is part of our morning Pathways 2 Profit groups. He can meet with you virtually or in-person if needed. 
Last weekend, I took an impromptu “girl’s weekend” with E (almost 21), my friend Kelly, and her 17-year-old daughter Avery. As you can imagine, the conversations covered every spectrum – from current affairs, college, music and some of the crazy and socially eye-opening Netflix documentaries we have been watching. But what I really learned is that Twitter is “it” for their generation. They get all their news through Twitter – and they don’t follow a single news source. Twitter is a great source of information and news for me, I follow national and local news sources, my favorite artists, our local craft breweries and as a die-hard hockey fan, I follow the Florida Everblades ( @FL_Everblades ) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. I tend to do more “liking” and retweeting than composing of new tweets. But I had no idea the power Twitter has and the influence that strong Twitter accounts have on their thoughts and decision making. E is an avid sports fan and hopes to work in the field one day. She follows Nicole Lynn ( @ AgentNicoleLynn ) who is a NFL & NBA sports agent and often shares her stories with me. E finds Ms. Lynn strong, knowledgeable and passionate about the young people she represents.

So, I will close with this – who do you follow on Twitter that influences you, maybe makes a difference or simply shouldn’t be missed? It can be a cute one, like Thoughts of Dog ( @dog_feelings ) or are you getting ready for Island Hopper Songwriter Fest ( @IslandHopperSWF )? You are welcome to follow me @ColleenDePasqu1 if you want to, but unless you are interested in the Pens, the Giants and similar posts, you might be bored until I hear back from some of you!
Have a great weekend!

Distance socially, shop locally.

Colleen