Faith & Family

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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Oakwood University Crowned Champion at 28th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

 


-Oakwood University awarded $75,000 institutional grant from Honda


-Bowie State University, Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University rounded out the top four teams


-Robert Batten, Dean of Bowie State University, named Coach of the Year

HCASC 2017 Oakwood


TORRANCE, Calif., April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- After twenty rounds of intense competition, Oakwood University was crowned the 28th annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament (NCT) champion on Monday, April 10, taking home the championship trophy and earning a grant of $75,000 for their HBCU. The four-student team demonstrated its academic prowess by quickly and accurately answering questions about history, science, literature, religion, the arts and popular culture. Oakwood University was one of 48 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) teams that qualified for the NCT by competing in a series of regional competitions on campus throughout the academic year.

A packed studio audience filled with HBCU students, school presidents, alumni, volunteers, fans and Honda associates watched as Oakwood University clinched the title over runner-up Bowie State University. This is the third time Oakwood University has won the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge.

Coached by Dr. Rennae Elliott, the winning team included Caleb Briggs, Olivia Campbell, Joshua Nwaoha and team captain, Sesly Huerfano.

"I've seen firsthand how the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge changes students' lives by building their confidence and giving them a place to belong on campus," said Dr. Rennae Elliott. "We have a whole network of people back home and across campus who have supported us throughout the tournament; it truly has been a team effort." 

Runner-up Bowie State University earned a $30,000 grant, while the third and fourth-place finishers – Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University – earned $20,000 each.

"Honda congratulates Oakwood University on their exciting achievement in the National Championship Tournament, and we applaud all of the students who participated in this year's Honda Campus All-Star Challenge program," said Steve Morikawa, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "HCASC is made possible each year through the efforts of the many volunteers and we extend our thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who helped make this annual tournament a success."

In addition to honoring the top four teams, Honda recognized outstanding individuals who have made an impact during this year's Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. Robert Batten, 11-year HCASC coach and Dean of Bowie State University, was named Coach of the Year. Danian Medearis of North Carolina Central University was selected by fellow HCASC players to receive this year's Ernest C. Jones Sportsperson Award. Named for one of HCASC's early volunteers who mentored students in the program, the award recognizes a student who epitomizes team spirit, camaraderie, good sportsmanship and academic focus.

Honda established the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge in 1989 as a way to highlight and recognize the academic talents of HBCU students. More than $8.5 million in grants from Honda have provided support for books and tuition, scholarships, enhancement of student programs and other investments to improve campus facilities. This year's journey to the championship began in the fall, with 89 HBCUs competing for a spot in the finals. Nearly 100 volunteers, including Honda associates, helped produce the 2017 National Championship Tournament, hosting the students, conducting registration and serving as game officials.

For photos, videos and more information about the 2017 HCASC competition, including a full list of the 48 teams that qualified, visit HCASC.com. Connect with HCASC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the conversation using #HCASC.


 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.
 

A Community Conversation on Education

Opa-locka town hall on education

If you are really concerned about public education (and you should be), push away from your computer, put your cell phone done, and participate in this community conversation on education.  Opa-Locka Vice Mayor Joseph Kelley and Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III invite you to come out, 6 pm, Thursday, March 30, 2017, Sherbondy Village Auditorium, 215 Perviz Avenue, Opa-Locka, FL 33054. Get informed! Get involved! No excuses!

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 


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.

 


BMe Community Giving Away Over A Quarter Million Dollars to Black Men Doing Positive Works in the Community

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MIAMI, FL – January 2, 2016 – BMe Community wants to reward unsung "Black Men's Genius" in Miami. From now until February 21, black men who share their remarkable stories of creating opportunities for others will have a chance to become BMe Leaders.

The BMe Leader Awards come with national recognition, a $10,000 grant, and travel to Washington DC for induction into a lifelong fellowship of their peers. Men such as:

BMe Leader Derick Pearson who co-founded BlackTech Weekend with his wife Felecia Hatcher to increase the number of startup founders, technology executives and engineers of color. Both are venture-backed entrepreneurs themselves. http://blacktechweek.com/

BMe Leader Jonathan Spikes overcame the violent death of one brother and the shooting of another plus his own cancer diagnosis to show young people a way out of similar traumas. His "Let's Talk It Out" conflict resolution curriculum has been adopted by Miami-Dade Public Schools, one of the largest and most diverse school districts in the US. http://www.jonathanspikes.org/

Compared to other social innovation awards, the BMe Leader application process is short and easy.

BMe scores candidates on the remarkableness of their stories, authenticity, willingness to work with others, community engagement, and diversity of age and fields. BMe is especially interested in those who work to improve health, wealth, know-how and community.

"BMe is redefining social entrepreneurship," said Miami Community Manager, Benjamin Evans, III. "BMe Leaders are social entrepreneurs who build assets and opportunities in places where other innovators fail to do so."

BMe also awards some leaders whom others dare not.

Shaka Senghor in Detroit (2012) and Chris Wilson in Baltimore (2014) each served over 16 years in prison for unrelated murders they committed as teens. BMe recognized each as BMe Leaders within 2 year of their release - sooner than anyone else. And BMe was right about them.

By 2016, Wilson was named 40-Under-40 by the Baltimore Business Journal and Senghor's life story was told by Oprah and he became a New York Times bestselling author and activist. That year, both men were invited to the White House to receive the President's Voluntary Service Award along with 60 different BMe Leaders.

"We don't define people by a past that they can never change," said BMe founder Trabian Shorters. "We define people by the changes they're making today for the good of humanity."

Apply or nominate someone at www.BMeCommunity.org today.

BMe Community is a movement inspired by black men to build a more caring and prosperous America together. Since 2013 BMe’s 40,000 subscribers have helped themselves and 2-million others to improve their health, wealth, hope and communities.

BMe is backed by individual donors and leading foundations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and The Heinz Endowments.

 

 


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