Community

Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III Urges the extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals

Dr. Steve Gallon III
Dr. Steve Gallon III



At today's regular monthly meeting of the Miami-Dade School Board, District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III will advance agenda item H-18, authorizing Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho to urge Pres. Donald Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals for at least another 18-month period. 
 
TPS was granted to Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010, the date of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The U.S. has provided a safe haven to approximately 50,000 Haitians who have been unable to return to their home country because of insurmountable environmental obstacles, deadly diseases and violence. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted a six-month extension in TPS to Haitian nationals on Monday. The sad reality is Haiti will be in no better position to humanely receive and care for the more than 50,000 people affected, when the extension expires January 22, 2018.
 
The vast majority of these individuals has been in the US for at least 6 1/2 years, well before the 2010 earthquake, and has strong community ties including families with U.S.-born children. Haiti’s government is in no position to insure the safety to or assimilate these 50,000 Haitians, nor to make up for their remittances should they be curtailed by their deportation, and it remains unsafe to deport them. Their deportation would consequently tend to destabilize Haiti, which is contrary to the national security interest of the U.S.
 
DHS’s announcement extending Haiti’s TPS designation for six months, rather than the usual 18 months, sends mixed signals and omits significant facts.  The announcement stresses this is likely the last extension, that TPS holders should prepare their travel documents for return to Haiti, and that conditions have greatly improved. Further, the announcement also misleadingly states, “96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps.  Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed.” This is misleading because many camps were forcibly closed due to regular, unchallenged, large-scale evictions by landowners, not because other housing had been found, which it had not been, or because residents had any place else to go.  This has been a huge problem in Haiti.  Even more significantly, several of the larger camps were reclassified by the Haitian government as "permanent housing," simply because the residents had attached so much salvaged building material to their shanties.
 
Recent leaked DHS efforts to demonize Haitians as criminals and welfare cheats as a means of justifying termination were reprehensible: inherently racist, such considerations are irrelevant since TPS is a humanitarian program, TPS recipients are ineligible for welfare, and criminals are ineligible for TPS.
 

The Miami-Dade County School Board Meeting starts 11 a.m., today, in the School Board Administration Building auditorium at 1450 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132. 

 

Taylor’s Closet completes “The Bloom Bus” after being awarded $45,000 grant by StrikeForce 421 to help girls in need through faith and shopping

Bloom Bus
Mobile boutique bus caters to girls who would otherwise be unable to participate in life-changing empowerment programs

 
 
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Taylor’s Closet, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower teenage girls in need is pleased to announce that they have completed “The Bloom Bus” project after being awarded a $45,000 grant by the StrikeForce 421 Giving Circle, a group of 100 women committed to donating $100,000 annually.
 
In keeping with their goal to expand their outreach program, Taylor’s Closet strives to empower hurting teenaged girls by “shopping” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. “The Bloom Bus,” which is an entirely new concept allows the organization to help girls who do not have access to transportation or live further away from its location at 1227 NE 8th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL, by driving the bus to wherever the girls are.
 
“We are thankful for the generosity of StrikeForce 421 for making the dream of a haven for these girls a reality,” said Greg Martin, Principal with Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Taylor’s Closet. During the past few years, Taylor’s Closet has partnered with Fort Lauderdale High School and has seen tremendous results with the girls who have attended its programs for a one-year period; more than 90 percent of participants experienced improvements in the areas of attendance, behavior, and GPA. Additionally, Taylor’s Closet recently launched the “Bloom” program where they meet with over 50 girls weekly at the Fort Lauderdale High School to bring the mission of the organization to the classroom.
 
The weekly meetings have become a safe space for teenage girls to discuss success and failures and create life-long bonds that are typically missing in high schools. The sessions include icebreakers, refreshments, lessons on key topics, as well as open discussions. The meetings culminate with the girls holding hands and talking about all the good things that happened to them throughout the week.
 
The bus, which is open to the girls who attend and participate in the Bloom program, features a mobile store filled with new clothing and accessories from a variety of designers they can shop from at no cost to them. Taylor’s Closet wishes to use the bus as a gateway to reach each girl on a deeper level. “We are thrilled at the outcome of The Bloom Bus,” added Linda Giambattista, Executive Director of Taylor’s Closet. “We wanted to use the bus as a tool to accomplish our mission of helping teenage girls realize their value and worth, and we achieved that and more.”
 
With the mission to greatly impact local Christian ministries, StrikeForce 421 is a network of 100 women who pull together to give over $100,000 in grants annually in support of ministries that touch the lives of children on a daily basis. “Rather than leaving little impact to an abundance of ministries, our goal is to fund entire projects that could take a few ministries’ influence to a whole new level,” said JoAnne Daudt, Founder of StrikeForce 421.
 
Established in 2006, Taylor’s Closet is the result a then 14-year-old girl’s dream to share her love of shopping and fashion with less fortunate teenaged girls in her community. The mission of Taylor’s Closet is to create a community in which teenaged girls in need will be empowered to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and live happy, healthy, and productive lives, realizing their God-given destiny through the power of faith and shopping. The charity allows for hurting teenaged girls to “shop” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. The organization also conducts weekly workshops focused on design and art to help teenaged girls unlock their creative talents. For more information about Taylor’s Closet, please visit http://www.taylorscloset.org/
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NAACP Releases Report Card: Florida Failing in Key Categories

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The NAACP Florida State Conference releases a statewide Economic Development Report Card upon examining the records of cities, counties, school districts and private sector organizations.

FORT LAUDERDALE— Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and Torey Alston, State Economic Development Chair released a statewide Economic Development Report Card after examining the records of leading public and private organizations over the last several months.

“I am excited to release this year’s Diversity Matters Report Card the records of public agencies from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys,” says Adora Obi Nweze, who also serves as a member of the National Board of the NAACP. “Diversity and inclusion continue to be a challenge in Florida and the NAACP will continue to sound the alarm for equality and fairness for all Floridians.”

The Diversity Matters Initiative examined the records of targeted cities, counties, school districts and private corporations statewide.  The NAACP Florida State Conference examined their records on employment, advertising and spending with minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.  The NAACP Florida State Conference conducts this review annually, proposes recommendations and releases its findings to the public. 

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“Our Diversity Matters Report Card is an annual investigation reviewing workforce diversity, local contracting expenditures and advertising budgets in urban, rural and suburban areas,” says Torey Alston, who led this statewide effort on diversity and serves as 3rd Vice-President of the NAACP Florida State Conference. “This year’s report card continues to show cities, counties, school districts, and private companies have diversity and inclusion as the last priority.  While there are some bright spots, there is still much work to be done ensuring diversity and inclusion is reflected in all aspects of government and the private sector.”

Here is the grading scale and methodology used for the report card:

Diversity Metric /Overall Total = Grade

  • A – Excellent (25% and higher): Meets and exceeds diversity and inclusion standards
  • B – Above Average (20% to 24%): Above average performance on diversity and inclusion standards 
  • C – Average (15% to 19%): Average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • D – Below Average (14% to 18%): Below average performance on diversity and inclusion standards
  • F – Failing (13% and below): Does not meet diversity and inclusion standards
  • *F – Not Reported

TOTAL

GRADE

#

PERCENTAGE

A

0

0.0%

B

5

12.5%   

C

1

2.5%

D

12

30.0%

F

22

55.0%

Total

40

 

Looking closer at the report card, none of the 40 entities evaluated received a total grade of “A.” Only five entities received a total grade of “B” --- Duval County School District, Hendry County School District, Miami-Dade County School District, City of Fort Walton Beach, and Manatee County Board of Commissioners. One entity, Osceola County Board of Commissioners, received a total grade of “C.” Thirty-four, or 85% of the entities evaluated, received a total grade of “D” or “F.”

There is significant room for improvement in the categories dealing with spending and advertising & marketing. No surprise, is the abysmal failing grade in those areas as several local individuals and organizations have complained of this disparity in contracting with black businesses for many years. All the entities received an “F” in the “Small, Veteran & Minority Business Spending” category except one. Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners received a “D.”

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The NAACP releases report cards every year. Now that this report card has been released, it is crucial that organizations and individuals throughout Florida are relentless in demanding transparency and diversity in how the tax dollars in their respective communities are allocated and spent.

 


Community Leaders on Racist, Sexist Rant by Senator Frank Artiles: Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

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As a former State Representative of House District 109, it would be impossible for me to sit in a room to create laws that impact our community with someone that has neither regard or respect for those who make those laws with him.

As lawmakers, we make laws for men, women, children, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and others who come from all corners of the world. A person who is not respectful to all is not fit to make laws for them, neither should anyone be subjected to sit on a dais with such an individual.

-Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

Miami-Dade County Public School Board Member
District 2

 

 

#STAYwoke
#ArtilesMustResign
 

ICARE on TONIGHT's Chief Jimmy Brown Show to discuss disparity in contracting with Black businesses in Miami

 

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Tonight at 9pm EST, Eric Pettus will guest host The Chief Jimmy Brown Show on 1490 WMBM. To listen, go to the web or download the app. 

Special invited guests are Darryl Holsendolph, Larry Williams and DC Clark who will discuss diversity issues related to government contracting particularly Miami Dade County Public Schools. You don't want to miss this one!!! 

Again, tune into www.WMBM.com or download the app. Call in to ask a question or make a comment by dialing any of the following numbers 305-953-9626 or 954-525-1490 or 888-599-WMBM. 


I've Been Nominated for a BOMA Award!

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For several years I've been sharing news, information and commentary through Blogging Black Miami via several social media platforms. It is a labor of love. My mind is so blown that I have been nominated for a #BOMAAward - for Best Communicator of the Year- Digital!

Join me on Wednesday, April 26 for the 2017 BOMA Awards Luncheon! Tickets are available at https://2017bomaawards.eventbrite.com. Thank you to the Black-Owned Media Alliance for this awesome honor. Thank you to all of the readers, subscribers, contributors and supporters of Blogging Black Miami. 

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 @vanessawbyers

 

#BOMA#BlackOwnedMediaAlliance #2017BOMAAwards #BOMAAwards #VaVaNewMedia#socialmedia #digitalinfluencer #socialinfluencer #citizenjournalist #blogger#communicator


 HBCU ALUMNI, STUDENTS TO RALLY ON CAPTIOL HILL

 

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Call for direct-action from HBCU supporters to urge Congress for resources

WASHINGTON, DC -  Concerned alumni, students and friends of Historically Black Colleges and Universities are set to gather on Capitol Hill on April 27 for a National Day of Action to increase support for black institutions of higher learning.

The direct-action was organized to ensure accountability by the White House and members of Congress to not only maintain funding, but increase resources to HBCUs – pillar institutions to educating and supporting thousands.

The HBCU National Day of Action is organized by the HBCU Collective, a group of alumni, students and friends of HBCUs who work in politics and advocacy and are determined to preserve, support and grow HBCUs.

“Alumni and students play an integral role in preserving and growing our HBCUs,” said co-leader of the HBCU Collective Robert Stephens. “We’re here to make sure our elected officials see and feel the importance of HBCUs – and we’re here to hold them accountable for their support.”

On April 27, the HBCU Collective expects to galvanize support from more than 100 HBCUs across the nation on Capitol Hill to advocate to their members of Congress. And engage thousands through an online and social media based outreach to urge them to call, write and tweet their federal and state elected officials to make HBCUs a priority in state legislative sessions and in Congress.
 
The HBCU Collective has three asks from state and federal elected officials:
  • Increase financial support for students
  • Increase access and funding for federal research grants
  • Increase funding and assistance for facility upgrades
“We care about the existence of our institutions and we are going to make sure elected officials do exactly what they promised, and that is to support our HBCUs and their students financially,” said Dominique Warren, co-leader of the HBCU Collective.

HBCU Collective plans to host meetings with elected officials and staff members in their home districts and in the districts of HBCUs to make allocating funding and resources a priority during this Congressional session, and every session in the future.
 

2nd Annual State of Black Miami conference to advance common agenda

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Black Miamians of all nationalities and backgrounds will come together to advance a common agenda at the second annual “One Heritage: State of Black Miami” forum.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime and  his colleagues on the Miami-Dade Commission in association with Florida Memorial University, and other community stakeholders will convene a community conversation and assessment of Black Miami’s state of economic prosperity, community development, and our youth next generation as well as bridging the gap on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Florida Memorial University Lou Rawls Theater, 15800 NW 42nd Ave., Miami Gardens, FL 33054.

The goal of the forum, which is open to the public, is to collectively pursue recommended ideas, initiatives, and legislative items that address the progress of Black Miami. There will be three separate roundtable discussions during which expert panelists will cover a range of topics including jobs, housing, transportation, education, health and criminal justice reform. Breakfast and lunch will be served. 

For more information or to RSVP, visit www.stateofblackmiami.org or call 305-694-2779 or send an email toRSVPd2@miamidade.gov.

 

 
 
 

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DR. STEVE GALLON III TO SALUTE 5000 ROLE MODELS CLASS OF 2017 WILSON SCHOLARS AND RECOGNIZE SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKERS AND NATIONAL SOCIAL WORK MONTH

Gallon School Board Meeting

At the upcoming School Board Meeting on March 15, District 1 School Board Member and Role Model, Dr. Steve Gallon III, will salute 62 Miami-Dade County Public School students who comprise the 2017 graduating class of the 5000 Role Models known as Wilson Scholars. He will also recognize the invaluable contributions of school social workers and March, as National Social Work Month.

The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, founded in 1993 by then-Miami-Dade County School Board Member, Dr. Frederica S. Wilson, now a member of the United States House of Representatives. A dropout prevention program, the mission of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project is to intervene in the lives of at-risk youth and provide them with alternatives to dropping out of school and self-destructive behaviors. The program pairs male students, ages 9-19, with successful professional adult mentors, who provide them with advice, guidance, and educational assistance.

This year, Wilson Scholars in Miami-Dade County include students from the following senior high schools: Booker T. Washington, Coral Gables, Coral Reef, Felix Varela, Miami Beach, Miami Carol City, Miami Coral Park, Miami Jackson, Miami Lakes Educational Center, Miami Norland, Miami Northwestern, Miami Palmetto, North Miami Beach, South Dade and William H. Turner Technical Arts. Since the inception of the program, over $10 million in scholarships have been awarded to graduating seniors.

The primary mission of the School Social Work profession is to enhance well-being and help meet the basic needs of all students, especially the most vulnerable or at-risk. School Social Workers embody the theme of this year’s National Social Work Month Theme, “Social Workers Stand Up!, and School Social Work Week on March 6-10, 2017, “Be The Change” by working with students, parents, schools, and local entities to improve and maintain a safe learning environment and empowering students to reach their academic and social/emotional potential.

For over 100 years, school social workers have provided services to students who face serious challenges to school success, including poverty, disability, discrimination, abuse, addiction, bullying, loss of a loved one, and other barriers to learning. School Social Workers also advocate ensuring equal rights for all students, including females, African-Americans, Latinos, people who are disabled, people who are LGBTQ and various ethnic, cultural and religious groups.

The next School Board Meeting is Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., in the School Board Administration Building Auditorium at 1450 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132.


Pastors and Principals Met to Address Spirituality and Violence

Rev Sharpton and Rep Wilson at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit
Rev. Sharpton and Rep. Wilson at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit

MIAMI, FL – To address the growing trend of gun violence and crimes against children, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) hosted the Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit on Friday, March 3, 2017, at Jungle Island.  More than 500 people, including 100 pastors, were treated to an inspirational message from National Civil Rights and Social Justice Activist Reverend Al Sharpton and House Assistant Democratic Leader Congressman James Clyburn (SC-6).  Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, and Pastor Carl Johnson, spiritual leader for the Miami-Dade “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative, and other community and faith leaders also addressed the audience on the urgency and ways in which they could work together to improve the lives of children.

Community activists, including members of Mothers of Murdered Children, principals, and students from schools that are most affected by gun violence, crime, and where children have been murdered were also in attendance.  “We have to reign in the senseless violence that is gripping our communities,” said Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).  “I am grateful that Congressman Clyburn and Reverend Sharpton issued powerful charges to our faith leaders as we transform places of worship into safe havens for our youth.”

The Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit was the first step towards pairing schools with places of faith to ensure students have safety nets to keep them safe from danger and deter them from committing crimes.  In addition to being inducted as mentors in the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, faith leaders pledged to complete several initiatives.  Among the commitments were the identification of male congregants to serve as mentors to boys, the transformation of church parking lots into basketball courts for students, the establishment of a weekly prayer conference call to prepare students for their upcoming school week, and the development of a character education curriculum for Sunday schools or youth ministries. 

Faith leaders will also reach out to parents of children living within a one-mile radius of their places of worship to engage parents in the necessity of spirituality as a component to eliminate crime in our communities.  The leaders also pledged to host an annual 5000 Role Models Youth and Mentors’ Day at their places of worship on June 4, 2017.

“Addressing gun violence is not a new commitment of Congresswoman Wilson or many of the faith leaders who are present today,” said Reverend Al Sharpton during his keynote address.  “But, there is no quick fix.  We’re burying too many of our children.  So, we have to work together collectively, strongly, and more diligently with the forces here today until we can bring a level of self-expectation to these young people.” 

The summit concluded with remarks from keynote speaker Congressman James Clyburn, who recognized the faith leaders’ role in developing boys into wholesome men who will make great contributions to our communities.  “We must still find a cure for cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and other infirmities,” said Congressman Clyburn.  “I sincerely believe that each of these young people, if given the right experiences, could very well grow to be the person who makes these great discoveries.”

“These are babies and their futures are being stolen by gun violence,” said Congresswoman Wilson.  “It is going to take a village to keep our children safe.  Our faith leaders have accepted the charge to engage in this new initiative which will use spirituality as a method to reduce crime in our communities.”

 

Faith Leaders at Pastors and Principals Fighting Crime through Spirituality Summit
Faith Leaders at Pastors and Principals Summit, March 3, 2017 at Jungle Island.