Current Affairs

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.

 

 
 
 

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.

 

 

 


NAACP Statement on the Renewed Muslim Ban

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BALTIMORE, MD — The NAACP today released the following statement regarding the most recent Muslim Ban executive order from President Trump.

The new executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries is just the latest in a series of actions that threaten our nation’s values.  In a few short months, this administration has withdrawn from voting rights cases, reversed course on private prisons, revoked guidance on transgender youth, intensified immigration raids, and announced its intention to limit investigation of abusive and discriminatory law enforcement.  The message is clear: this administration is unwilling to protect and is in some cases actively targeting vulnerable communities.

Even though the new executive order purports to be rooted in national security interests, it cannot mask its true origins. The civil rights community is keenly aware of seemingly neutral laws that mask intentional discrimination. We have seen poll taxes and literacy tests being imposed as supposedly race-neutral voter qualification measures.  We continue to see voter ID laws that act as modern day poll taxes that rob communities of their vote.  Regardless of the smokescreen of security justifications, this executive order is a continuation of the administration’s stated goal: the implementation of a Muslim ban.

Just as we fight against voter suppression and police brutality, the NAACP continues to stand against discrimination based on racial identity, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.  We know that actions that rely on unfounded assumptions about dangerousness will always come at the expense of the most vulnerable populations.  We have seen the results of the divisive rhetoric that form the true rationale for this executive order.  We are witnessing a record number of hate crimes—including the death of an Indian student, Jewish cemeteries being defaced and community centers being threatened, and numerous attacks based on xenophobia and Islamophobia. We know that this hatred is poisonous and antithetical to the ideals that we fight to uphold.

The NAACP is made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and more.  Our members are individuals of many religions and some of no religion.  We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We will join in protest of this ban.  We will continue to fight for equal rights for all, for policies based on evidence and not on fear.

 


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s Statement on the 58th Presidential Inauguration

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Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson released the following statement on why she is not attending President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration ceremony: 

Much has been made about Democratic lawmakers sitting out President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration ceremony. I struggled for months to make the choice between the ceremony and a family wedding also scheduled to take place this weekend. I truly felt torn and it was a difficult decision, but I ultimately decided to stay in Miami to attend my god-daughter’s nuptials.

I will, however, witness the historic transfer of power from President Obama to President Trump in my district office with a group of young men who participated in the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. They feel for obvious reasons an emotional connection to Mr. Obama, but the next few years could profoundly impact their lives and it is important for them to be equally engaged.

Mr. Trump’s inauguration speech will provide an unparalleled opportunity for him to set the tone for his administration and share his vision for how he will be a “president for all Americans.” I am eager to hear what he has to say.

There are some issues on which we will inherently disagree, such as plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But more important, there are issues on which we can find common ground and work together for the good of the American people. 

As a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I look forward to working with this new administration on initiatives to end the school-to-prison pipeline and implement Title III of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provide communities and schools with the resources they need to help students stay invested and engaged in both their educations and their futures.

 


The First Principle of Kwanzaa: Umoja which means Unity

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Greeting: Habari gani! (What’s the news?) 
Response: Umoja! (Unity)

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa and the principle is Unity. To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community. Unity is needed to build the foundation of a self-sustaining, productive community. All productive people groups have practiced that. Light the black candle in the center.

Please spread the word:
27TH ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Friday, 12/30/2016, 4:30PM
African Heritage Cultural Arts Center 
6161 NW 22nd Avenue 
Miami, FL 33142

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated. 

RSVP online at KwanzaaMiami.eventbrite.com.

For more information call the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture at (305) 343-9088. Harambee!!!

#wakeUP #STAYwoke #Kwanzaa #NguzoSaba #umoja #kujichagulia #ujima#ujamaa #nia #kuumba #imani #unity #selfdetermination#collectiveworkandresponsibility #cooperativeeconomics #purpose#creativity #faith #FAMU #MiamiDadeChapter #FAMUAlumni#OsunsVillageMiami #AMWFEC #commUNITY #KwanzaaMiami2016

 


It's Kwanzaa Time! Let's Celebrate in Miami! [VIDEO]

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Today is the first day of the week-long celebration of Kwanzaa. This is the fiftieth year that Kwanzaa has been celebrated. Now, more than ever, we need to live the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa all year long. Kwanzaa is not an anti-Christmas observance as some would have you to believe. Kwanzaa is not anti-religious either. Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political celebration intended to unite, educate, uplift, and strengthen the Black community. No one is going to save us but us. 

Please spread the word:
27TH ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Friday, 12/30/2016, 4:30PM
African Heritage Cultural Arts Center 
6161 NW 22nd Avenue 
Miami, FL 33142

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated. 

RSVP online at KwanzaaMiami.eventbrite.com.

For more information call the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture at (305) 343-9088. Harambee!!!

 

#wakeUP #STAYwoke #Kwanzaa #NguzoSaba #umoja #kujichagulia #ujima#ujamaa #nia #kuumba #imani #unity #selfdetermination#collectiveworkandresponsibility #cooperativeeconomics #purpose#creativity #faith #FAMU #MiamiDadeChapter #FAMUAlumni#OsunsVillageMiami #AMWFEC #commUNITY #KwanzaaMiami2016

 


Kwanzaa Celebration in Miami Friday, 12/30

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"Kwanzaa, the Nguzo Saba and Our Constant Striving: Repairing, Renewing and Remaking Our World" 

Join us for the 27th ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION in Miami, Florida. This joyous celebration of family, friends and community is the largest and longest-running local public celebration of the Nguzo Saba (Principles of Kwanzaa). 

This year, we are excited that Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs will join us as our keynote speaker. Hobbs is a historian, professor, author, professor, and social commentator. We will also be treated to the talents of musician, dancer and artist, Prince Emmanuel Abiodun Aderele and the OsunDara Dance Theater, Grammy-nominated spoken word artist Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns and the award-winning Next Generation Dance Academy. 

Culture influencer, philanthropist, speaker and mogul-in-the-making, Zoe Terry returns with her Zoe’s Great Doll Give-Away. Zoe’s Dolls collects and distributes little brown dolls for little brown girls. 

In addition to the Kwanzaa Celebration traditions of uplift and unity, there will be a special community prayer for healing in our prayer and for the victims of senseless gun violence that have taken so many lives.

Our unsung hero community salute goes to William “DC” Clark and his recently activated DCS Mentoring Program for young males. Clark, along with other like-minded, committed men, and a few women, teach young men self-respect, discipline, responsibility, etiquette and other valuable life skills.  

Hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor. 

The event is FREE but please register at KwanzaaMiami.eventbrite.com. Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political, family-friendly holiday. Enjoy the Soul Food Feast, music, dancing and celebrating with friends.

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions, email Vanessa Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343-9088.  HARAMBEE!

#KwanzaaMiami2016 #NguzoSaba #TheSevenPrinciples

 


Congresswoman Frederica Wilson Awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree by Bethune-Cookman University

Rep. Wilson hooded at BCU Graduation

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Congresswoman S. Wilson (FL-24), was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) for her contributions to society and commitment to service at the BCU fall commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 10, 2016, in the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center in Daytona Beach.  The degree was presented by BCU President Dr. Edison O. Jackson, and Board of Trustees Chairperson Dr. Joe Petrock.

Wilson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Fisk University, a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Miami, and an Honorary Doctorate degree from Florida Memorial University.

 

 


Gallon Sworn-in as School Board Member [Videos/Photos]

 

Gallon Swearing-in
Newly elected Miami-Dade County School Board Member, District 1, Dr. Steve Gallon III is sworn in by Dr. Solomon C. Stinson, former School Board Chair, retired educator and administrator as Kastevia Gallon-Martin, daughter of Dr. Gallon looks on.

Veteran educator Dr. Steve Gallon III was sworn-in as Miami-Dade County School Board Member for District 1, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 before a standing room-only audience in the School Board Administration Building Auditorium. 

After being sworn-in by his mentor, former School Board chair and retired educator and school district administrator Dr. Solomon C. Stinson, Dr. Gallon delivered rousing and heartfelt remarks from the dais. It would not be an exaggeration to describe it as a Barack Obama-like moment as evidenced by the cheers from the audience. 

 

Video by Alecia Bethel

Congratulations to all of the other newly-elected and re-elected School Board members: Mari Tere Rojas; Lubby Navarro; Dr. Larry Feldman; Dr. Martin Karp and Susie Castillo. The new Board Chair and Vice Chair are Dr. Larry Feldman and Dr. Marta Perez

In addition to Dr. Stinson, other retired MDCPS veterans in attendance included Dr. Jim Moye; Dr. Mike Wagner; Tom Cerra; Dr. Shirley Johnson; Nelson Diaz and Delio Diaz. Community leaders present included Atty. H.T. Smith; Atty. Rod Vereen; Pastor Arthur Jackson; Pastor Wayne Lomax; Mayor Enid WeismanPierre Rutledge; Ronda Vangates; Treska RogersDC Clark; Kat Tynes; Larry Williams; and Darryl Holsendolph

 

Gallon District Swearing
Pastor Arthur Jackson of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens and School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III


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The celebration continued the same evening with a swearing-in ceremony in District 1. During his campaign, Board Member Gallon stressed the importance of community engagement for the students, parents and stakeholders in District 1 which includes Miami Gardens;  North Miami; Opa-Locka; and portions of Miami Lakes and North Miami Beach. 

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The staff of the North Region Office, Carol City Middle School and the 5000 Role Models collaborated to present a wonderful event highlighted by student performances and Grammy-nominated spoken word artist Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns

At the community ceremony, Dr. Stinson stood with Dr. Gallon as the oath of office was administered by Dr. Gallon’s daughter, Kastevia Gallon-Martin. Greetings were given by City of Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. Remarks were given by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. City of North Miami Vice Mayor Alix Desulme made a presentation on behalf of his city. 

Additional dignitaries joining in the community celebration included Commissioner Audrey Edmonson; Commissioner Betty T. Ferguson and UPPAC leaders; Atty. Larry Handfield; Pastor Dwayne Richardson; Pastor Johnny Barber; James Wright; Terry Wright; Councilman David Williams, Jr.; Councilwoman Felicia Robinson; Retha Boone-Fye and PTA/PTSA representatives from surrounding schools. 

 

 

 


Get Out the Vote Block Party in Liberty City Sun. 11/6

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To all my people in Liberty City and all my urban art lovers, on Sunday, November 6, 2016, the Florida Democratic Party and Hillary for Florida will host "Our Issues, Our Vote,” a block party. This event was designed to encourage residents to vote early in the November General Election. The party will be staged in the Broadway Arts District, a local urban art culture oasis of which you may not be aware. There will be music from DJ Big Boy and live performances. Enjoy free food and the talents of nationally-renown artist Marvin Weeks who will add another mural to the landscape of the District.  

Sunday is the last day of early voting. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Rides will be provided to nearby early voting sites. Spread the word about this event. Thank you. See you there! 

If You Go: 

Our Issues, Our Vote Block Party
3:30 PM
Sunday,  November 6, 2016
Broadway Arts District
6214 NW 18th Avenue
Miami, FL 33147

 

 

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 @vanessawbyers