Give Thanks

8473F13A-CFBB-4661-925E-10646D2F9C59
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?

FCDCADB4-2FAC-4FFE-BE50-D0D4AA90FA53

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

B53F96FE-0D11-4D78-AF81-28F7359249BE

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

1D6DAB04-6DCD-4A4F-AA2D-400C6D51A484

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.


07CAE36A-26C9-409A-BA6E-205537E392F0


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

AC1FC821-431B-4B3D-B68B-AD51EE61ADE6

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!

B6DF955B-DEB4-47DD-A008-DA14B260B751

 

 


Miami-Dade County Schools in Mask Mandate Spotlight

06732417-AFA5-45B3-B02B-D7D5AF0B78C6

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. 


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

49DDF91D-6806-4EA3-9EBE-F92B77B1B7E2

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

IMG_4857

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."

Felix-Haywood
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

5F77A99D-1D68-4E58-8AE9-65A052651B77

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

F17F3AF4-31EF-4A70-B230-7ECF5C014050

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

715E3B29-7073-4B83-BB7A-7F8D53D3D4F2

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.

4122A1CD-111D-4B8A-BB7D-71AEF9577C91