South Florida Spelman Alumnae Host Virtual Scholarship Fundraiser Sunday, June 27, 2021 3PM

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The South Florida Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College will present their "All That Jazz" 2021 Virtual Scholarship Fundraiser and Live Auction on Sunday, June 27, 2021, 3 PM ET.

Event co-hosts are Spelman alumnae Christie Grays Chambers, commercial realtor and founder of I am CHIC, and Betty Davis, Chief Meteorologist, WPLG-10.

You can win exquisite items while empowering the next generation of global women leaders in the liberal arts, sciences, and business.

Since 1881, Spelman College has produced notable alumnae such as Stacey Abrams, Alice Walker, Rosalind Brewer, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Esther Rolle, Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Marian Wright Edelman, and Bernice King.

RSVP at sfnaasc.org.


Celebrating Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Should Know

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American history will forever remember the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, officially signed into law a Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 17, 2021. Juneteenth is short for June 19. On that day in 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger notified the enslaved African Americans in Texas that they were free, or at least that is the big lie, so many of us were told and have repeated ad nauseam.

For 156 years, blacks in Texas have celebrated this holiday. One woman, Opal Lee, made it her life's work to see that Juneteenth became a national holiday in the United States. It took her decades, but she accomplished her mission. She is proof that persistence wins and the power of one person can move mountains.

If you don't understand anything else about Juneteenth, know that its history is messy, brutal, painful, and shameful. Depending on your ethnicity, age, and academic training, you might know a lot about Juneteenth, or you might know very little. Either way, the establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday has triggered interest and much-needed conversation about the Civil War, Reconstruction, reparations, and the vestiges of anti-black racism that remain in society.

Here are five facts you should know when celebrating Juneteenth:

1.    Blacks knew they were free BEFORE U.S. Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

In his article, The Hidden History Of Juneteenth, historian Gregory P. Downs documents a conversation of former slave Felix Haywood. He was one of more than 2,300 former slaves interviewed during the Great Depression by members of the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal agency in the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

"We knowed what was goin' on in [the war] all the time," said Haywood, "We all felt like heroes and nobody had made us that way but ourselves."

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Felix Haywood




2.    The last of the enslaved people were not free upon the legal notification of the emancipation of blacks in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

Proclamations, pronouncements, and declarations did not free enslaved Black people. Some stubborn Texans continued to keep blacks in bondage months after Granger and some 2,000 Union soldiers rode into Texas.

Remember the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Confederate States still in rebellion in 1863 (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and North Carolina), but not those in North-South border states. Blacks remained enslaved in Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky for almost six months after Juneteenth because their state legislatures rejected the 13th Amendment after Congress passed it in January 1865. Slavery was legally banned upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Also, note that Native American territories were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction in the matter of slavery. Consequently, after Juneteenth 1865, about 10,000 blacks remained enslaved among five prominent Native American tribes --- the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. It would also be a year later before enslaved blacks were freed from Native American territories. So some of you need to think on that when you hear a black person brag about having "good hair" because they have Indian in their family. [Insert side-eye.]

3. President Abraham Lincoln was not an abolitionist.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lincoln was accused of supporting "negro equality" by his opponent, Stephen Douglas. On September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, Lincoln clarified his position during a debate.
 

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and Black races," said Lincoln. He also said he opposed Blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.

So, don't get it twisted, President Lincoln freed enslaved blacks not out of benevolence but for political reasons and as a war tactic. If the secessionist Confederate States had accepted Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, enslaved blacks would have remained in legal bondage. Still, since the stubborn Southerners refused to give up, Lincoln took away their best asset, the enslaved blacks.

4. The Compromise of 1877 marked the end of the Reconstruction Era and resulted in the dismantling of much of the progress of African Americans.

Despite Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws enacted after the Emancipation Proclamation, newly emancipated African Americans made tremendous progress. Blacks ran for political office, opened schools, and started businesses.
           
During this period of Reconstruction (1865-1877), Blacks were members of the Republican Party, and the Democrats were the Party of slaveholders. Republican Rutherford B Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden were candidates for President of the United States. The election results were highly disputed, much like what the country is still experiencing since the presidential election of 2020. During a secret meeting, an unwritten deal was made; Democrat Samuel Tilden agreed to allow Republican Rutherford B Hayes to become President of the United States if Hayes would agree to pull the troops from the South that were protecting emancipated Blacks.

The shock of the violence of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the White House was mild in comparison to the terror, death, and destruction heaped upon Blacks after the troops were pulled from the South. Yep, the Republicans and the Democrats. [Insert side-eye, again.]


5. While June 19, 1865, symbolizes our national day of observance of the end of slavery, those of us in Florida should know our state's Emancipation Day is May 20, 1865.

After the end of the Civil War, on May 10, 1865, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to take possession of the capital from Southern rebels. On May 20, 1865, after official control of the region was transferred to Union forces, he declared the Emancipation Proclamation in effect. That same day an announcement arrived in Tallahassee sent by Major General Quincy A. Gillmore via train from Jacksonville. General Gillmore's Special Order Number 63 noted that "the people of the black race are free citizens of the United States."

 

In conclusion:

As this first Juneteenth National Independence Day comes to an end, it is incumbent upon us to ensure the true history of Emancipation Day in Florida, Juneteenth, and the Reconstruction Amendments are taught. Preferably formally in our public and private school systems and definitely in our homes and community groups.

With the expeditious bipartisan approval of the 117th Congress to make Juneteenth a national federal holiday, let's always be mindful of what this holiday represents and the progress yet to be made for equitable treatment of Blacks in America. Let's not allow Juneteenth to become just another day off from work and school. Let us demonstrate the proper homage to our ancestors. Let's share our history not from the lens of trauma porn but from a perspective of pride in the achievements of our ancestors and commitment to duplicate their success despite obstacles and deception.
 

 

 


To Our Super Heroes and Our Idols: Happy Father’s Day

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Fathers are our heroes, our protectors, our first teachers, and our biggest cheerleaders. If you can speak to your Dad or hug him, do that. If all you have at this time are memories and mementos of your Dad…smile. Being a father is not easy, but it is the best job in the world.

To all of the fathers, grandfathers, and father figures, you are loved, cherished, and appreciated on the day we designate Father’s Day and throughout the year.


Alpha Kappa Alpha Makes History with New Chapter in Wellington

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On Sunday, June 6, 2021, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated made history with the chartering of a new chapter serving Wellington and the Western Communities in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Alpha Alpha Upsilon Omega Chapter is the first African American organization actively involved with community service in the Village of Wellington.

The South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Carolyn Gause Randolph of Columbus, Ga., was the chartering officiant for the ceremony that was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Village of Wellington Community Center. Fifty-two college-educated and professional women are now forever recorded in the annals of the organization as charter members.

Prior to becoming a chartered chapter, this group of women formed the Crowned Pearls of Wellington Interest Group and set out to address needs among the disadvantaged black and brown populations in the Western Communities of Palm Beach for more than a year.

"Our mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women to improve social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of service to all mankind." Chapter President Geneva Pettis-Hassell explained, "We are committed to helping each other and positively impacting the communities in which we live and work."

Despite the pandemic, The Crowned Pearls of Wellington Interest group served their community by hosting and assisting with providing food for healthcare professionals at Wellington Regional and Palms West Hospitals, voter registration efforts, donating, and volunteering with Feeding South Florida food drives, collecting and distributing toys and backpacks. The group also hosted a virtual college fair, supported a fund-raising effort to raise funds for historically Black colleges and universities, and mentored students participating in the Village of Wellington's Students Working to Achieve Greatness (SWAG) program more.

The group's volunteer and community efforts are consistent with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Incorporated motto, "Service to All Mankind."

Notable Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated members include Vice-President Kamala Harris, U.S. House of Representatives Member Frederica Wilson, Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Award-winning Film Director Ava DuVernay, International Tennis Player and Professional Golfer Althea Gibson, First Female Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, Actress Phylicia Rashad, Civil Rights Leader Coretta Scott-King, Author and Poet laureate Maya Angelou, Inspirational Speaker and Author and Lawyer Iyanla Vanzant.

 

Pictured above from left: Alma Henry-Morman, 1st Vice-President;Marcia Rowe Hayden, Vice-President of Operations; Carolyn Gause Randolph, Regional Director of the South Atlantic Region; and Jenny Pettis-Hassell, President

 

 


Cordae Partners With Disney to Support Students Attending HBCUs By Funding Scholarships

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GRAMMY®-nominated and acclaimed rap artist Cordae has partnered with Disney Dreamers Academy, held at Walt Disney World,  and ESPN's The Undefeated to award scholarships to youth from underrepresented communities attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Cordae is a featured artist on Liberated / Music For The Movement Volume 3 which will be available this Friday.  His song, "What's Life," also features GRAMMY® - and Academy Award®-winner and Florida A&M University alumnus Common. It is a celebration of what's really important in life – family, friends, loved ones, chasing dreams, having goals and living life to its fullest potential.  Chasing dreams and having goals were imperative to Cordae and his vision, which ultimately led to his desire to want to fund scholarships.

When approached to be part of the LiberatedEP, Cordae immediately decided to donate his proceeds from the album release to fund the scholarships.  Said Cordae, "So many people need the money more than I do.  I feel as though when you're in such a blessed position, it's important to pay that forward to be a blessing to others.  It's especially important to me to invest in our youth and the future.  Young people are the future of our society and the world, so we must do all we can to ensure they are properly positioned to succeed.  If I can spark the brain of a few future world leaders and geniuses, I'll die a happy man." 

When The Undefeated and Disney Dreamers Academy learned of Cordae's intention of donating his recording fees to fund scholarships for HBCU students, they matched his donation.  Disney Dreamers Academy and The Undefeated share Cordae's passion to impact young people in realizing their dreams and providing underrepresented youth with a higher education. 

Cordae will appear as a special guest on Friday's episode of Stephen A's World on ESPN+, which will feature a performance of "What's Life" in celebration of Juneteenth. Cordae will also be performing "What's Life" and presenting an award at ESPN's Sports Humanitarian Awards.

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Miami-Dade County Observes Juneteenth

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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. While the holiday is celebrated on June 19, 1865, this year, June 19 falls on a Saturday, so County offices and libraries will be closed on Monday, June 21 in observance.

Solid Waste Management will collect curbside garbage or trash, as usual. Miami‑Dade Libraries will be closed, and Transit will operate on a normal schedule.

Please note that while we celebrate Juneteenth (June 19, 1865), it is the day enslaved African Americans were notified of their freedom in Texas. Emancipation Day in Florida is May 20, 1865, but enslaved African Americans were not free until the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was signed on December 6, 1865.

 

P.S.   This is not Critical Race Theory; it is American history. Teach the truth.


Tracy Martin Among Fathers to Address the Loss of Their Sons in Virtual Conversation Moderated by Steve Harvey on Saturday, June 19

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Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown Jr., and Daunte Wright, are three young men whose deaths shook the world and re-ignited the focus on racial injustice in America. At noon ET, on Saturday, June 19, 2021, the eve of this nation’s celebration of Father’s Day, the fathers of these young men, Tracy Martin, Michael Brown Sr., and Aubrey Wright will share the pain of losing their sons to injustice and how they have turned their pain into passion, purpose, and a promise to fight for change for future generations. This important and much-needed conversation will be moderated by entertainer and philanthropist, Steve Harvey.

To RSVP as an individual or as a group, visit: https://aka.ms/RSVP-FATHERSDAYMANCODE.


Know the Rules Before You Protest in Florida

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Despite recent laws enacted in Florida to suppress the vote, stifle free speech, and whitewash history, now is not the time for Floridians to live in fear. Now, more than ever, Floridians must speak up and speak out.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has developed some general guidelines you should know before demonstrating or protesting in Florida. Check them out. 

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Juneteenth Unityfest, Livestreamed Celebrity Event, June 19, 2021 5pm-9pm ET

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Juneteenth Unityfest, a star-studded live streamed event presented by the Robert Randolph Foundation (RRF) is designed to commemorate and celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. GRAMMY™ Award-winning artists India.Arie and Ledisi have been added to the lineup.

Hosted by actress and author Amanda Seales and comedian JB Smoove, Juneteenth Unityfest will include musical performances by: Robert Randolph, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, India.Arie, Darius Rucker, Dave Matthews & Carter Beauford, Ledisi, Black Pumas, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Bebe Winans, Khruangbin, Phony Ppl, Judith Hill, Jimmie Allen, Korean Soul, The Soul Rebels, and Greg Phillinganes, with more acts to be named soon.

The show also features guest appearances by: Phylicia Rashad, Billy Porter, Jon Hamm, Van Jones, Wayne Brady, Holly Robinson Peete, Aisha Tyler, Craig Robinson, Zach Galifianakis, Gail Devers, Lynn Nottage, Jason Wright, Krystal Mackie, Zina GarrisonWilson Cruz,Roger Guenveur Smith, LeVar Burton, Ms. Opal Lee, Adesola Osakalumi, Baratunde Thurston, and Jesse Williams.

Throughout the program, many community organizations and HBCUs will be highlighted. Some of the over 35 partners include:  HBCUs Benedict College, Fisk University, Lincoln University and Mississippi Valley State University; community organizations: Heal America, AARP Pennsylvania, The Africa Center, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, beGirl.world, The Hip Hop Caucus, The HollyRod Foundation,  The Links, Incorporated, The Muhammad Ali Center, Reel Works, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Usher’s New Look, We Are Family Foundation, the Zina Garrison Foundation, and UNCF.


AKAs and Other Local Organizations Collaborate to Present Wrap-Up of Florida’s 2021 Legislative Session

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One of the most controversial legislative sessions in Florida, in recent memory, has concluded and the Connection Committees of Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter and Alpha Alpha Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated are presenting a virtual legislative wrap-up on key bills from the 2021 Legislative Session. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 10, 2021, via Zoom.

The Connection Committee is the civic engagement arm of Alpha Kappa Alpha. For this community presentation, they have joined forces with the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP and the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association.

Panelists are State Senator Jason Pizzo (Dist. 38); State Rep. Dotie Joseph (Dist. 108); State Rep. Christopher Benjamin (Dist. 107); and State Rep. Felicia Robinson (Dist. 102). Dr. Cassandra Arnold and Dr. Tisa McGhee will serve as moderators.

Key bills to be covered include:

  • HB 1: Combating Public Disorder
  • SB 90: Elections
  • HB 7051: Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices
  • HB 7045: School Choice
  • HB 1463: Department of Economic Opportunity

Don’t miss this opportunity to get informed. A well-informed citizenry is vital to our survival as a democracy. To register, visit http://akagzo.org.


Memorial Day: Remembering Sgt. Edmond L. Randle Jr.

 

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On Jan. 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq.
 
Today is Memorial Day. It is the day we honor those that have given their lives in military service to this country. It is not just a day off from work or school or a day to have a barbecue with family and friends; it is a day to celebrate men and women such as Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr., known by family and friends as Dake.
 
On Jan. 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq. Randle was one of three soldiers who died that day when their vehicle was struck by a homemade explosive device near Baghdad. I recall sitting through Dake’s funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Miami, listening to the FAMU Band play and the moving tributes to him by friends and military officials. I'd known Dake’s parents from high school; his dad and I were classmates at Miami Central and later at Florida A&M.
 
Dake attended American Senior High for part of his high school years but continued the family tradition by graduating from Miami Central Senior High. Like his Dad, Dake was a standout musician in the Marching Rockets at Miami Central and continued at Florida A&M University where he earned a music scholarship and was a section leader in the famous Marching 100. Because he wanted to be a pharmacist, Dake gave up his music scholarship and volunteered for the Army which would help fund his educational plans. He was the type of young man not celebrated enough, in life, in this community.
 
The war in Iraq takes on a different meaning when you actually know a soldier that was killed. Like Sgt. Edmond L. “Dake” Randle, many other lives have been lost and are being lost in service to this country. On Veteran's Day, I honor several men and women I know, living and deceased, who have served and are serving this country. Dake, however, is the only soldier I know personally that died in military service. I have remembered him each Memorial Day since his death, that is the least I can do.
 
If you have loved ones who died while serving this country, take a moment to thank them, feel free to leave their names in the comments section. For all of our fallen heroes, known and unknown, thank you, you are not forgotten.
 
 

North Miami District 3 Race Results Stand; District 2 Recount Scheduled

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The Canvassing Board met this morning to certify the May 11, 2021 Regular Election for the City of North Miami. Mary Estimé-Irvin was officially declared the winner of the District 3 Councilperson race. A recount of the votes in the District 2 race is scheduled for 10 AM, tomorrow, May 15, 2021, at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

The Canvassing Board members for North Miami are Vice-Mayor Dr. Alix Desulme, Councilman Scott Galvin, and Councilwoman Carol Keys.