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April 2010

We're Back!

Dear Blogging Black Miami Readers:

It's been a minute since you've heard from me but know that I've not abandoned this blog nor lost my desire to share the South Florida experience with you. Unfortunately, I've been coping with...dealing with the transition of my mother, Mary Woodard.

Her death was unexpected. My mother had health challenges and was 83 years-old but her specialist said she should not have died because of her obvious issues. I won't go into details now but the fact remains, my mother is no longer on this earth. I miss her. We are human and know our day of mortality must come but that reality is still difficult to accept sometimes. 

Anyhoo, Mom's services are today and tomorrow. I'm back with the blog and continuing my political campaign. In the meantime, keep my family in prayer, we're a close knit group. I am most concerned about my Dad because he and Mom were together for 61 years. I don't know his pain but I see it and sense it.

Cherish each day and the people in your lives for we know not the day or the hour of our demise. My mom lived a wonderful life and left an awesome legacy. I'll share more later.

Peace and Blessings,


A Tribute to the Life of Mary Williams Woodard

by Hyacinth O. Johnson

Mary Woodard Mary Williams, the fourth of Lewis and Lettie  Delegol Williams’ eight children, was born August 11, 1926 in Jacksonville, Florida.  Lovingly reared by her parents, the family relocated to DeFuniak Springs, where as a youngster, this became home.

In her upbringing, Mary was taught to love and serve God; to love and support her family, and to love, respect and help her fellowman. She was baptized at an early age and along with her siblings Willie, Bertha, Rogers, Lucille, Wallace, Lesley and Charles attended Union Springs Baptist Church.

Mary received her education in the public schools of Walton County, graduating from Tivoli High School, where she was considered an active and serious student. She matriculated to Florida A&M College (FAMCee) where she graduated in the class of 1949 and later obtained the Master’s in Guidance and counseling at Nova Southeastern University.  She would later return to Tivoli as an instructor of English and Physical Education before relocating to Miami in the late 1960’s, where she served as Phys Ed/ Dance teacher and Guidance Counselor at several Miami-Dade schools.

It was at FAMCee that Mary met Arthur Woodard, the starting football player, who was to become her husband, soul-mate, confidante, friend and partner for life. She was a Cheerleader and member of the Orchesis Dance Club. It was a perfect match, and beautiful husband and wife team.  To this union were born a devoted, daughter, Vanessa Woodard Byers and a loving son, Harlan Edward Woodard.  Mary doted on delighted in her granddaughters, Jamila Ayana Byers, who preceded her in death and whom she has missed so terribly; and Nivia Woodard.

Throughout her professional life, whether as educator, community activist or friend, Mary’s concern was always that of helping people.  She was the consummate teacher to all with whom she came in contact and was proud of the many successful students who graduated under her tutelage.

Mary was a member of New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Life member FAMU National Alumni Association , Miami-Dade Chapter FAMU National Alumni Association – Chair Kwanzaa Celebration and Hospitality committees, West Little River Advisory Committee.  She was the recipient many awards, including Community Service Award - King of Clubs of Greater Miami and Florida A & M University Most Outstanding Alumni Award.

In addition to her husband, children, granddaughter, siblings, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws are the thousands of former students, sorority sisters, alumni, co-workers, neighbors and friends who will always cherish her memory.

The "Final Call" came for Mary in the late evening of April 19, 2010 in Miami, and as she peacefully departed her mortal life; a beautiful life came to an end. 


“Those we hold  most dear never truly leave us... they live on in the kindness they showed, the comfort they shared and the love they brought into our lives.”    Norton



Miami Children's Initiative News

We are pleased to announce that the Strategic Community Plan for the Miami Children's Initiative was approved by the Housing and Community Development Committee of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners on March 25. The plan is scheduled to go before the full Board of County Commissioners on April 20. To view the plan online, click here
Winifred P. Heggins, MSW
Vice President & Director of Programs
The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida



Rev. Richard P. Dunn, II


MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Rev. Richard P. Dunn, II, Senior Pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church and City of Miami Commissioner, will serve as the keynote speaker during Florida Memorial University's annual Spring Baccalaureate Service on Friday, April 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm. The service will be held at the University in the Susie C. Holley Religious Center.  

The Baccalaureate Service is a traditional religious occasion that precedes the annual Spring Commencement Ceremony and is intended to unite graduating seniors, their families, and their friends in worship, song, and prayer. Guests attending this service are encouraged to engage in spiritual reflection.

 Rev. Dunn attended Miami Northwestern Senior High School, where he graduated at the top of his class. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management at Central State University, and a Master of Divinity degree in Counseling and Pastoral Care at the Interdenominational Theological Center (I.T.C.) at Morehouse School of Religion. He is currently working toward receiving a doctorate degree in ministry.

 In January 2010, Rev. Dunn was appointed to the City of Miami Commission to represent District 5, which includes Overtown, Liberty City, Little Haiti, Buena Vista, and Wynwood. Prior to his appointment, he served as the President of People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (P.U.L.S.E.), Chairman of the Neighbors United for Housing Task Force, and the President of the African-American Council of Christian Clergy.

 As a community activist, Rev. Dunn established single member districts in the City of Miami, and organized the largest Boycott in Miami-Dade County history over the Miami-Dade County School Board's decision to overlook a well qualified African-American for Superintendent.  He also helped to build the first detached single-family homes in Miami-Dade County history by a Black church/ Community Development Corporation (CDC).

For more information about the Baccalaureate Service, please call (305) 626-3624.


Vanessa Woodard Byers for MIami-Dade County School Board 

Is Black Miami being counted out of the 2010 Census?

In a strongly worded editorial posted on the Urban League of Greater Miami (ULGM) website, and on the organization's newly launched Census website, "We Count Too, Miami!" (, ULGM president and CEO T. Willard Fair sharply criticized the allocation of federal dollars to encourage Americans to fill out and return their 2010 Census forms, saying the Black community has been sorely neglected. But he also challenged Miami's Black leaders to step up when it comes to the Census, since crucial funding for Miami's most vulnerable communities are at stake.

Florida is currently lagging behind the nation in returning Census forms, and Miami-Dade is lagging behind the rest of the state (data here). On April 10, the ULGM and other Urban League affiliates will participate in the national "march to the mailbox," calling on volunteers to go door to door to help encourage people living in "hard to reach" communities to fill out and return their Census forms.

Check out Fair's biting commentary:

IN MY OPINION: Being counted out!

By T. Willard Fair

Black Miami, I am so tired of our leadership dropping the ball on opportunities to empower our people.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts one of the most important programs in our nation.  It sends out a questionnaire meant to count every person in every household in every community.

This decennial enumeration decides the allocation of federal funds to states and local areas for the next ten years.   It also determines our political representation and our socio-economic marketing influence

The 2000 Census had a 16 million undercount and was so horrendous that it led to the loss of millions of dollars in federal funds and under-representation of Black and other minority populations in Congress and state Legislatures.

This year, the 2010 Census was supposed to be better.  It was supposed to ensure the total involvement of the minority community in its efforts to improve the accuracy of the count.

President Barack Obama established an historic precedent and broke a 200-year tradition by taking the Census Bureau out of the Department of Commerce and placing it under the White House.

He gave it a budget of $15 billion (triple the last Census budget) and put over $600 million into an outreach campaign. This campaign was aimed at getting thousands of organizations, news outlets, minority leaders and school children to spread the word and preach the gospel about the importance of the Census.

The Census Bureau talked about getting “trusted voices” involved. The NAACP launched its “Yes We Count” 2010 Census Participation Program and my leader, Mark Morial, President of the National Urban League was appointed to serve as chair of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Advisory Committee.

But then something went terribly wrong.  The Congressional House Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee grilled Census staff as to why the Black Press of America, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and others were complaining that the Black media got very little of the multimillion-dollar advertising campaign dollars.

In Florida and especially in Miami Dade County, the Black media got virtually crumbs. The State of Florida allocated $420,000 in a communication campaign for Blacks and then did the same thing the White House did – awarded the advertising dollars to a large multinational white agency.

The Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. received a small Ford Foundation grant through the National Urban League to reach the hard-to-count (HTC) Blacks within the Liberty City, West Little River and Brownsville/Allapattah areas which we had serviced for over 50 years and which has been identified by the U.S. Census as one of the hardest to count areas in Florida.

We began to search for additional dollars for our outreach campaign.  Much to our disappointment, we got little or no response from our Black elected officials, our Black organizations, or our Black faith-based institutions.

We even applied for the State of Florida’s Census communication dollars and got nothing – neither did the NAACP, nor any of the Black ad agencies that applied.

While the Hispanic piece was awarded to a Hispanic agency, the Black piece was awarded to a white agency.  What does that say to us – about what the powers that be think about our ability to mobilize us?

We joined Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez’ Complete Count Committee (CCC) and attended the Mayor’s kickoff of his outreach campaign at the African American Cultural Arts Complex in the heart of the Liberty City Black community, several weeks ago.  Almost none of the Black leadership showed up – it was us, Mayor Shirley Gibson and a few county staff people.

As early as last October, then Miami Mayor Manny Diaz (Mayor of ALL Miamians) called the Miami Hispanic leadership together and created a local campaign with Univision “Ya es hora! Hagase contrar!” (It’s time, make yourself count).  Not one Black leader was there.

I applaud the Mayor for taking care of his community, but my question is who’s taking care of our community?

Taking the Mayor’s lead, the Hispanic Media “saturated” their communities with radio/TV and print ads, while Black-owned and operated media in South Florida are complaining that “We haven’t seen a dime”.

But where are the resources for the Black media from the Black leaders?  Where are our Black preachers, our Black leaders, our Black organizations – the 100 Black Men, the Deltas, the Omegas, etc., etc., etc?

Mayor Shirley Gibson (also co-chair of Mayor Alvarez’ CCC) has taken the leadership in the City of Miami Gardens Census count and has worked closely with the Miami Urban League to get all of our Black folks counted.  But all attempts to reach out to other Black leaders have neither generated concern nor funding for outreach.

Democrat, Republican, Black, white, Hispanic – seems like nobody cares about us.  But the real issue is why aren’t we as Blacks just as concerned about getting counted as everyone else seems to be? Where is our coalition?

The Pew Hispanic Center survey shows 9 out of 10 Hispanics intend to participate in the Census.  Where is the survey for Black folks?   It seems 9 out of 10 Blacks either don’t know or don’t care about the Census.

So if we don’t care, why should anybody else?

At the end of the day, when 9 out of 10 Hispanics are counted and only 1 out of 10 Blacks are counted, I guess we will do what we always do – wait until the process has been completed, complain that the process was unfair, and then scream “racism”.

That seems to be the only thing we know how to do.  When will we learn how to get ahead of the game and stop being left behind?


T. Willard Fair has been the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. for the past 46 years.

UM BLSA Presents Community Forum: “What Obligation Does President Obama Owe to the Black Community?” Fri. April 9 [VIDEO]

University of Miami Black Law Student Association

What obligation does President Obama have to the black community? Should the first African-American president in U.S. history have a particular interest or obligation to the black community? This is the intriguing topic to be addressed at an upcoming University of Miami forum, “What Obligation Does President Obama Owe to the Black Community?”

Led by Harvard Law School professor and Obama family friend Charles Ogletree, who is a visiting professor at UM’s School of Law, the event will take place on Friday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Storer Auditorium on the Coral Gables campus.

Professor Ogletree serves at Harvard Law School as the executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, as well as director of the Trial Advocacy Workshop and Saturday School Program. He is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law.

The panel will discuss race-related topics and hold a question-and-answer session after the discussion. Panelists will include Donald L. Graham, federal judge; Rodney Baltimore, Hot 105 Talk Radio host; Joaquin Willis, pastor; Vernell Reynolds, officer and president of Miami Community Police Benevolent Association; Charlton Copeland, UM professor; Vanessa Byers, immediate past president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University Alumni Association; and Lionel Moise, UM Student Government president.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. Storer Auditorium is located at the School of Business Administration.

More on Charles J. Ogletree.

Official website of University of Miami Black Law Student Association


Resurrection, MLK and Barefoot Sunday [VIDEO]

Mlk with lbj This year, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination falls on the same day as Easter. and to commemorate it, the King family is partnering with a nonprofit called Samaritan’s Feet to deliver an Easter message unlike any before – on Barefoot Sunday.

“Every time I come around to this period of time, I miss him,” said King’s daughter, Bernice King, who like her father is a minister.

A mere child when her father was killed, Bernice King has come to understand his eloquent message of love for humanity. So it wasn’t a stretch when she heard the idea of pastors preaching in their bare feet.

“After we were introduced to the project, I had already scheduled to go through my closet,” she said.

Now, nearly 5,000 pastors will be preaching their Easter sermons shoeless — drawing attention to the estimated 300 million children around the world who don’t have shoes.

“We take these things for granted,” she said.

Why not just ask people to donate shoes or money?

“It’s the identification,” Bernice said. “It’s helping those without know there are those who identify with them.”

Dr. King talked about rising above our individual concerns – and Bernice says she believes this is a perfect fit with her father’s message.

“Our father was really focused on the issue of poverty,” she said. “Right before he was assassinated he was preparing for the Poor People’s Campaign to bring attention to the plight of the poor.”

To help in a meaningful way, people in the pews will be asked to make a $10 donation that’ll go towards buying, sorting and shipping shoes.

“The goal is to raise at least a million pair,” she said.

But that is just part one of a two-part plan. the shoes collected will be distributed in the week leading up to the King holiday and day of service next January.

“When the children come to those different church grounds their feet will be washed,” Bernice said. “It’s an act of humility and service.”

Bernice King says her father was about more than marches and rallies. she said he wanted people to serve and love each other. that will be lived out on Barefoot Sunday — on the rare occasion when the anniversary of Dr. King’s death and the resurrection celebration of Easter just happen to fall on the same day.

On the Web

For more information visit

Barefoot Sunday