Celebrating Mamas + Mama Figures on this Mother's Day

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Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere. If you can give your mother a hug or talk to her on the telephone, understand that you are blessed. If your mother is no longer with you in the natural, understand that you are blessed because she is always with you. Most of all, understand that you don't need a 'special' day to show love to your mother or anyone else. 


FAMU Receives $1.2 Million Gift from Frank and Laura Baker

FAMU Receives $1.2 Million Gift from Frank and Laura Baker

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida A&M University (FAMU) is excited to announce a $1.2 million donation from Frank and Laura Baker to help students with financial restrictions graduate in four years. The gift will establish the Frank and Laura Baker Graduation Fund, which will provide funding for students who are qualified to graduate in four years but have an outstanding account balance to the university.

Frank Baker is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Siris, a leading private equity firm with more than $7 billion in AUM focused on making value-oriented, control investments in technology companies. Baker said the donation to Florida's largest, and only public, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) is an investment in the future. 

"In 2020, we established Siris' Florida office, and as part of that, we believed it was important to invest in our new community. Through our conversations with FAMU, we learned there are extremely capable students who aren't able to graduate in four years solely due to limited financial resources.  We also discovered that the four-year graduation rate is a key metric in determining the amount of funding FAMU receives from the State of Florida. This made our 'investment' decision pretty easy — FAMU students in the workforce sooner and potentially unlocking more State funding."

As part of the gift agreement, the FAMU Office of University Advancement, the Office of Student Success and Strategic Initiatives, along with Frank and Laura Baker, will review the cohort each year to determine how the Graduation Fund will be distributed. The initial $300,000 will be used to clear university balances for spring and summer 2022 graduates once the certification process is complete and to match donations during the Day of Giving "1887 Strikes" campaign on April 21-22, which raised an additional $360,000.

"This is a transformational gift that will encourage our students to finish in a timely manner and allow them to move forward less burdened by debt to the University," said President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. "We thank Frank and Laura Baker for investing in our students. Their generosity will reap untold dividends for years to come."

The agreement also puts in place a framework for the University to track recipients; they will be asked to respond to periodic surveys in the years ahead and encouraged to give back to the University.

"The timing and magnitude of this gift cannot be overstated," said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the FAMU Foundation. "It reinforces the importance of the task ahead and is a reminder that student success is at the core of our mission." 

SOURCE: Florida A&M University


CNN Senior Legal Analyst and SiriusXM Talk Show Host Laura Coates Will Lead the Miami-Dade NPHC Virtual Voting Rights Symposium at 6 PM ET on Sunday, Feb. 20

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As Americans witness the advancement and passage of laws making it more difficult to vote throughout the nation, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is hosting an important symposium on Sunday, February 20, 2022, 6 PM ET, “Voting Rights Act-The Power of Now: Why it’s important to you!” This virtual event is designed to educate, inform, mobilize and empower voters.  Visit https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj to pre-register for the event. 

The NPHC is a collaborative council of Black Greek-letter fraternities and sororities informally known as the “Divine Nine.” These organizations have historically played a significant role in fighting for civil rights in America and in Get Out The Vote initiatives. 

Laura Coates will lead this conversation on voting rights. She is a CNN senior legal analyst, SiriusXM talk show host, attorney, author and college professor. Other panelists are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (AKA), State Senator Shevrin Jones (ΑΦΑ), State Representative Christopher Benjamin (ΩΨΦ), Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association Trelvis Randolph (ΦΒΣ), and Vanessa Woodard Byers (ΑΚΑ), creator and editor of Blogging Black Miami. 

Don’t miss this lively, engaging and informative discussion Sunday,  February 20, 2022, at 6 PM ET. Join the conversation by pre-registering at https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj. 

Dr. Keietta Givens (ΔΣΘ) is president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the NPHC. 


CHI Partners with the American Dental Association to Offer Free Dental Care to Children 

CHI partners with the ADA

MIAMI – February 3, 2022 – Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI), is proud to host Give Kids A Smile Day on February 4, 2022. The annual event provides free dental screenings, cleanings, vanish, sealants and giveaways to children ages one to 16 years old.

“Every year we see children who have never been to the dentist on this day,” said Dr. Sheri Watson Hamilton, D.M.D., CHI Dental Director. “That’s a sad state of affairs, as lack of dental care can leave a child in pain or suffering with other health related consequences.”

CHI, a non-profit healthcare company has been a beacon of hope providing access to high quality healthcare for all regardless of insurance status, income level or background since 1971. To mitigate against the COVID-19 virus, various safety protocols have also been implemented to promote a safe, welcoming environment. As such, appointments will be required to ensure patient safety.

In partnership with the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation, the Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program provides oral healthcare to underserved children at no cost. Since 2003, local GKAS events have helped more than six million children get access to dental services with the help of dentists and healthcare organizations across the United States.

“With so much focus surrounding the pandemic, it is important to remember not to neglect routine healthcare,” said Dr. Watson-Hamilton. “Children should not be deprived of good oral health, which studies have shown can have a positive impact on the body’s overall health and wellbeing.”

CHI will be offering these free services for children at the following locations:

  • Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami FL 33190

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • West Perrine Health Center 18255 Homestead Ave. Perrine FL 33157

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • South Miami Health Center 6350 Sunset Dr. South Miami FL 33143

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • West Kendall Health Center 13540 SW 135thAve. Miami FL 33186

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • Martin Luther King Health Center 820 SW 1st. St. Homestead FL 33030

8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Appointments are required, call (786) 272-2100.


Alpha Kappa Alpha Presents MLK Virtual Youth Symposium, Sun. Jan. 16, 2022, 2pm ET

Social Distancing from the Dream

The W.I.S.H. Foundation (Women Involved in Service to Humanity), Incorporated, in partnership with Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated presents the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 16, 2022, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  This year’s theme is "Are we Social Distancing from the Dream?".

This event is free and open to students of all grade levels from elementary through senior high school. Organization mentoring groups, church youth auxiliary groups, parents and organization members are encouraged to attend. The deadline to register to attend this event is January 12, 2022. Please note that parents must register separately and join the Parent's Forum on event day via a separate device.

Dr. Martha Johnson-Rutledge is the president of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter. Islamiyat Nancy Adebisi Elus is the Chairman of the W.I.S.H. Foundation, Incorporated. This is the eleventh year the organizations have presented this community event. Click HERE to register.


Give Thanks

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In the midst of the madness, we continue to experience each day, we give thanks. We celebrate friends and family that make our lives better and worth living each day. We pray for peace, love  and understanding during a time that sees us divided and disconnected. We give thanks for the courageous among us that fight the demons among us sent to keep us ignorant, fearful, and divided. 

In the spirit of our ancestors, we pray and give thanks on this day and everyday. Amen.


Election 2021: A Time for Change or More of the Same?

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Tuesday, November 2, is Election Day in various municipalities throughout South Florida. In the City of Miami, races for the mayor and two commissioners are on the ballot. Conventional wisdom dictates Mayor Francis Suarez and District 3 Commissioner Joe Carollo will be easily re-elected. Both men have been involved in controversy, lately for one and historically for the other, but they also have amassed huge campaign war chests that will allow them to prevail in this low voter turnout race.

The District 5 Commissioner race is one of the most highly contested local races this election cycle. Seven candidates are on the ballot: François Alexandre; Zico Fremont; Michael Hepburn; Christine King; Revran Shoshana Lincoln; Stephanie Thomas; and Jeffrey Watson. 

Of the District 5 candidates, it appears that Hepburn, King, and Watson are the most viable. 

The energy and ideas of Michael Hepburn have garnered him a lot of attention late in the campaign cycle. He earned the coveted recommendation of The Miami Herald editorial board and expanded his reach with the endorsement of famed filmmaker/activist Billy Corben. If he wants it, Hepburn has a future in politics. He has been a candidate for State Representative - District 108 and U.S. House of Representatives - District 27. He could benefit from establishing himself in one general area and building relationships to allow his much-needed people-centered ideas to come to fruition. 

Non-profit executive Christine King has lived in Miami-Dade County since her childhood years. She was educated locally from elementary school through law school. She has been endorsed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and County Commissioner Keon Hardemon. Hardemon’s endorsement of King for the seat he once held is no surprise as she has longstanding close ties with the Hardemon family. King touts her relationship with Commissioner Hardemon as a positive for District 5, yet some residents think she will be a puppet for the Hardemon family. King appears to be the frontrunner in this race. She has hard-hitting commercials on radio, television, and social media. In this low turnout race, she is destined for an outright win or a runoff.

Incumbent District 5 Commissioner Jeffrey Watson was appointed almost a year ago. To those unfamiliar with Miami politics, he seemed to come out of nowhere but, his history with the City of Miami government made him the perfect placeholder candidate until this election. The reality is that anyone following City of Miami politics knew that Watson would likely change his mind. Recent history harkens back to Rev. Richard Dunn, who was appointed and later changed his mind and ran. The commissioners should have made and appointment, without a stipulation, rather subject the public to more political theater. Of the candidates, Watson possesses the hometown bonafides, business and high-level government experience that are assets to the commission. He appears to be the best skilled to deal with the circus that has become Miami City Hall. When Watson speaks, it is typically in a calm manner and he displays excellent analytical skills. He is the much-needed adult on the dais at Miami City Hall. Watson has been endorsed by Carrie Meek and Kendrick Meek, both Former U.S. Representatives. He has his work cut out for him to win this seat. 

If the winner of this seat has any genuine concern about and for the residents of District 5, they will actively engage candidate François Alexandre in developing and executing plans to help the grassroots people in the community. Alexandre could easily represent District 5 well on the commission but he best serves as a community advocate who will mobilize residents and hold the commissioners accountable. 

Voters have until 7 pm to cast their ballots at their respective precinct. If no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will occur on November 16. Will there be a change or more of the same? Only the voters will decide. 


The Links Host Virtual Conversation on Estate Planning Oct. 21

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The Miami-Biscayne Bay Chapter of The Links, Incorporated will host an Estate Planning Virtual Conversation designed to educate communities of color on the importance of drafting a will to communicate final wishes and determine inheritance rights to the assets of their estate. A panel of legal and financial experts will share strategies for the process of probate/succession assets and property, ways to protect the legacy of land/home ownership and financial planning. The panelists are Marva Wiley, Esq., Vernita Williams-Eganti, Esq., and Amy Dawkins, Financial Advisor. 

Virtual Conversation on Estate Planning: How to Create Generation Wealth

Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Multiple Platforms: Zoom and Facebook

The entire community is invited to attend this free virtual event, but register in advance at: https://tinyurl.com/65ha4nh4


Gallon Calls for Revolutionary Change in Powerful Keynote at National School Board Leadership Conference

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Miami-Dade County School Board Vice Chair and CUBE (Council of Urban Boards of Education) Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III welcomed CUBE 2021 attendees to their national conference, held in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16-18, 2021. Gallon delivered a powerful and insightful speech on the State of Urban Education. School Board members and other educational leaders from around the nation listened intently to his words, encouraging them to become “deliberate disruptors in the fight to improve education for the children, districts, and the communities they serve.”

 

He reminded school board members that they “hold the key to unshackle large populations of students who are trapped in perpetual failure and generational poverty.” His message focused on revolutionizing education through school board policy by encouraging attendees to “be a revolutionary for respect, be a revolutionary for resources, and be a revolutionary for the restoration of education as a moral, professional, national, and spiritual imperative,” he said. The nation’s school districts and children “need you to be revolutionaries.”

 

The CUBE Annual Conference is designed to foster effective school district leadership through practical clinic sessions and peer-led district workshops. CUBE has convened school board members from across the nation for the past 53 years to network and share the continually evolving strategies they are using to address the unique educational challenges that exist in our nation's urban centers. 

 

“It was a tremendously blessed, professional, and beneficial experience to join school leaders from around the nation,” Dr. Gallon said. “I am  humbled and honored to not only serve as CUBE Chair, but to kick off this sold-out conference and deliver words that prayerfully moved those in attendance to action on behalf of their districts, schools, and most importantly, their students.”


If you care about children and public education, you owe it to yourself to watch and listen to Dr. Gallon’s multifaceted address. And after you watch it, ask yourself if you are complicit or a culprit? Whether we are educational professionals or parents of students, or taxpayers, we must get off the sidelines and be advocates for our children. We must reject the status quo and shift the paradigm in education. Let’s work!

 

 


Town Hall Meeting on MDCPS Comprehensive Disparity Study, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 6pm

A critically important community town hall meeting on the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Comprehensive Disparity Study will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. EST. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and in-person in the auditorium of the School Board Administration Building, 1450 N. E. 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132. Register online: bit.ly/3k7802H.

The small percentage of business contracts awarded to Black-owned businesses has been a sore subject in the community for many years. While the pandemic has captured most of our energy and attention for the last couple of years, don’t miss this meeting and get your questions answered.

It’s short notice but do your research and be prepared.


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City of Miami District 5 Candidate Forum, 6 PM, Tuesday, October 5

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One of the hottest local political races is the City of Miami District 5 Commissioner race. A forum is being held this evening, Tuesday, October 5 at 6 PM at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 740 NW 58th Street, Miami, FL 33127. The election will be held on November 2, 2021. The run-off is scheduled for November 16, 2021 should no candidate realize more than 50 percent of the votes cast. 

The candidates for the City of Miami District 5 seat are François Alexandre, Zico Fremont, Michael Hepburn, Christine King, Revran Shoshana Lincoln, Stephanie Thomas, and incumbent Jeffrey Watson. Hot 105’s Rodney Baltimore will serve as moderator. 

The forum is being hosted by Faith in Florida and the African American Council of Christian Clergy and Central Dade Pastors. It will be presented in person and online.  Should you choose to attend in person be advised that CDC guidelines must be followed.

The forum will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook. Get informed and Go Vote!

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Miami-Dade County Schools in Mask Mandate Spotlight

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Almost three million people in Florida have contracted COVID-19, and more than 41,000 have died. Of those statistics, Miami-Dade County represents more than 583,000 of those cases and almost 6,500 deaths. The Delta variant of COVID is much more contagious and severe. Yet, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican leaders have manipulated some parents to use a CDC (Center for Disease Control) preventive measure to protect school children, parents, and employees as a first amendment parental right. No matter how much the Board of Education says it’s not about mask-wearing, it clearly is. To suggest or declare anything different is a lie. Risking lives by politicizing COVID is shameful and illegal. It is tantamount to child endangerment.

 

This unbelievable attempt at political bullying and intimidation will come to a head in Miami-Dade County at 11 AM today when the school board convenes. The School Board and Superintendent are in the media spotlight and in the crosshairs of Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Board of Education, and the State Commissioner of Education because of non-compliance with the governor's ban on mask mandates. 

 

Gov. DeSantis threatened to withhold budget from non-compliant districts and Pres. Joseph Biden interceded in support of Broward County and Alachua County school boards and superintendents who have stood their grounds. 

 

Will the Miami-Dade County School Board and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho protect the District, or will they cave to the authoritarian Republican leadership of the state? Based on public comments, it appears that at least one Miami-Dade School Board Member has already said no to the mask mandate, and others might try to please everyone, which will be a sure failure to the students, parents, and employees of the District. 

 

Situations such as this test the integrity and courage of leaders. There are few if any, options to compromise while the Delta variant ravages our community and more COVID mutations are on the way. It’s so unfortunate that elected, and appointed leaders are willing to choose politics over people, but we’ve seen this before when they choose profits over people.

 

Here is the link to the subject board agenda item, H-17, proffered by the Vice-Chair of The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida,  Dr. Steve Gallon III -   http://pdfs.dadeschools.net/Bdarch/2021/bd081821/agenda/h17rev.pdf. Please tune in online or attend  in-person  today.