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February 2011

January 2011


MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Black History Month is almost here – the special time of year when we celebrate our culture, history and legacy. In recognition of this momentous occasion, the Black History Month Committee at Florida Memorial University has announced its campus event calendar for the month of February. As is tradition, the Committee will continue offering Florida Memorial students and the community at large an opportunity to enjoy film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, stage readings, concerts, spiritual worship services, and much more.

Activities abound during this month-long celebration. Students and the South Florida community will be introduced to Dr. Henry Lewis III, Florida Memorial University’s new president, and will have the opportunity to welcome him to the university’s family. Other highlights include the Kickoff Reception, Black Pioneers participating in Aviation Day, the Homecoming Greek Step Show and Concert, the Contextualizing Black Europe Film, Photo Exhibition & Discussion, and the Alafia: Food Festival Closing Ceremony. Florida Memorial will also be awarding students with prizes for a poster competition.

“Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements of notable African-Americans,” said Keshia Abraham, Ph.D., chairperson of the University’s Black History Month Committee. “It’s a time to reflect on our rich history, strong legacy, and consistent talent. It is through our Black History Month celebrations that we encourage renewed awareness, understanding, and admiration for our great University,” she continued.

Though most of the campus events are free of charge, donations for the African Diaspora Scholarship Fund will be accepted at each event. For more information on Black History Month events scheduled at Florida Memorial University, please visit Keshia Abraham, Ph.D. can be reached at (305) 626-3157 or [email protected] to answer any questions pertaining to the schedule.

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Florida Memorial University is really steppin’ it up for its 2011 Homecoming Greek Step Show and Concert. This year, Gyptian, Jagged Edge and Slim from 112 will perform during the University’s annual event scheduled for Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the A. Chester Robinson Athletic Center on campus (15800 NW 42nd Avenue in Miami Gardens). The 2011 Homecoming events schedule begins on February 6th and concludes on February 13th. During the show, the University’s various fraternities and sororities will compete for a cash prize and bragging rights as stepping champions.

In 2005, Gyptian (a previously unknown singer) rose to international acclaim when his debut single Serious Times hit the top of the local and overseas reggae charts, and defeated even Junior Gong’s Top Ten Billboard hit Welcome to Jamrock, to be declared Jamaica’s Most Important Song of 2005. Nominated for Best New Entertainer at the 2006 International Reggae and World Music Awards, the twenty-three year old velvet-voiced singer has been dominating the charts with a slew of hit singles including Hold Yuh, Is There a Place, Beautiful Lady, and the chart-topping ballad Mama, Don’t Cry. He recently won a Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Award and Soul Train Music Award.

Jagged Edge is a popular R&B group that was originally signed through Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Records to Columbia Records. The group has had a number of hit singles including The Way That You Talk, I Gotta Be, and Let's Get Married, among others. Jagged Edge is currently signed to Slip-N-Slide Records with an album titled "The Remedy" due out in March 29, 2011.

Slim is an R&B singer best known for being a part of the group, 112. After 112 released their fifth album, Pleasure & Pain in 2005, Slim started making solo music via the Internet. In 2008, he released the single So Fly featuring Yung Joc. It reached #49 on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album, Love’s Crazy, was released on November 18, 2008. He is currently the CEO of his own label, M3 Productions and is working on a number of exciting projects.

Tickets will go on sale during the week of January 24th. General admission tickets for the show will be $40.00 in advance as no tickets will be sold at the door. Florida Memorial University students with identification will be offered a discounted rate of $25.00 until February 4th. Additional information can be obtained by calling (305) 626-3657.

About Homecoming 2011:
All Florida Memorial University Homecoming 2011 festivities will take place from February 6, 2011 to February 13, 2011 on the University campus. This year’s theme is “United We Stand,” which reflects on the unity of our administration, faculty, staff and students, as we welcome a new president. It also sets the tone for an energetic, alumni-centered celebration while offering diverse activities in which students and community supporters can participate. Since Homecoming coincides with Black History Month, the Homecoming Planning Committee looks forward to delivering a memorable affair that reflects the institution’s rich heritage and highlights new traditions that educate and entertain.

The Homecoming 2011 schedule can be viewed in its entirety at Events open to the public include the following:

Friday, February 11, 2011- “Spirit Day”
Event: President’s Cup Golf Tournament
Time: 8:00 am
Location: Country Club of Miami (6801 Miami Gardens Drive, Miami, FL 33015)

Event: Greek Step Show and Concert starring Gyptian, Jagged Edge and Slim from 112
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: A. Chester Robinson Athletic Center at Florida Memorial University

Saturday, February 12, 2011- “Lions Day”
Event: Homecoming Basketball Games: Florida Memorial University vs. Edward Waters College
Time: 5:00 pm (Women’s Game), 7:00 pm (Men’s Game)
Location: A. Chester Robinson Athletic Center at Florida Memorial University

NAACP Installation Ceremony

The Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP installed its officers and Executive Committee last night during a ceremony at New Birth Baptist Cathedral of Faith International. Those installed included:

Officers - Bishop Victor T. Curry; Dr. Bradford Brown, First Vice-President; Dr. Shirley Johnson, Second Vice-President; Ronda A. Vangates, Esq., Third Vice-President; Christopher Benjamin, Esq., Fourth Vice-President; Stephenia Willis, Secretary; Ernestine Mike-Petit, Assistant Secretary; Loretta Pieze, Treasurer; Patricia Daniels, Assistant Treasurer; and Kisha'sha B. Sharp, Esq. - General Counsel.

Executive Committee Members - Leola Adams; William Adams; Olanike Adebayo; Ola Aluko; Leslie Bowe; Carolyn Boyce; Romany Branch; Mable Brown; Dr. Mae Bryant; Ernest Burnes; Vanessa W. Byers; Victoria Curry; James Davis; Octavia Fambro; James Farrington; Doris Harden; C. Brian hart; Sherman Henry; Darryl Holsendorf; Art Johnson; Ebony Johnson-Jackson; Hyacinth Johnson; Stephen Johnson; Dr. Robert Malone; Dannie McMillon; Angela Nelson; William Perry; LaShannon Petit; Patrick Range II, Esq.; Gregory Thompson; Edna Thompkins; Debra Toomer; Jason Walker; Erma Wellons; Theophilus Williams; David Young and Dr. Freddie Young.

The oath was administered to the NAACP leaders by the Honorable Magna Sanchez-Llorens, Circuit Court Judge (Criminal Division) - 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida; the Honorable Bronwyn C. Miller, Circuit Court Judge (Criminal Division) - 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida; the Honorable Orlando A. Prescott, Circuit Court Administrative Judge (Juvenile Division) - 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida and County Court Administrative Judge (Civil Division) - 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

An issues forum was facilitated by President Bishop Victor T. Curry. Panelists included North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre, City of Miami Commissioner Richard Dunn and Rep. Dorothy Bendross Mindingall, School Board Member.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

A community in mourning

Much of the news today will likely center on the memorial service for recently slain detectives Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth who were gunned down by fugitive Johnny Simms last Thursday morning in Liberty City.

Expect traffic anywhere near or on major routes to the American Airlines Arena to be heavy today. The service is scheduled to start at 11 AM and if the number of people that have already paid their respects at Vista Memorial Gardens is any indication, this community is definitely in mourning.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez who is facing a recall vote on March 15 is undoubtedly realizing a positive PR bump from the face time with the media because of this tragedy. He attempted to refute some of the comments made and questions posed about the tactics the officers used to serve the warrant on Simms that fateful day. He also indicated that Simms's mother and others in that household would be questioned further. We're obviously at the front end of the investigation of this shooting and let the chips fall where they may.

In the meantime, let's continue to show unity in the community and allow this feeling to remain and multiply among each and every one of us. Thank you to all law enforcement officers who protect and serve us every day.

Mayor Carlos Alvarez was right

Unfortunately, Mayor Carlos Alvarez's law enforcement expertise was on point on Michael Putney's This Week in South Florida, when providing an explanation of the procedures Detectives Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth used in serving the warrant for first degree murder suspect, Johnny Simms. Apparently there have been comments about the lack of presence of SWAT or U.S. Marshals. Mayor Carlos Alvarez explained that the presence of that additional force would not have prevented the tragic outcome that occurred in Liberty City last Thursday morning and he was proven correct today.

Ironically, a shoot out with a suspect in St. Petersburg, FL has resulted in the death of two police officers and wounding of one U.S. Marshal. Who could have imagined Mayor Alvarez's expertise would have been proven true so quickly?

It's also important to note that there was a shooting in Detroit where the gunman walked in to a precinct and started firing his weapon. Four Detroit officers were wounded and the gunman is dead. This madness really must stop. Let's stop dancing around the issue and deal with gun control, especially with assault weapons.

MDC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Offers Free Help to Low-Income Residents

Tax preparation services available Jan. 27 through April 7

Miami, Jan. 21, 2011 – Miami Dade College (MDC) is continuing its long-standing commitment to help low-income, elderly, and non-English-speaking residents complete their 2010 taxes with the “always free” Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).

The VITA program is administered and staffed by faculty and MDC business students who volunteer their time to help the public in preparing their tax forms.

Students are trained beforehand and must pass an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) exam of basic rules, regulations, and tax preparation skills before they assist taxpayers. Divided into three groups, their functions are administrative, tax return preparation, and quality review.

The VITA program was started decades ago by the IRS in an attempt to help those who need specialized attention in preparing their tax forms. All MDC VITA sites have the ability to file electronically.

Now in its 17th year of providing free tax assistance to the community, MDC’s business department chairperson Dr. Ana M. Cruz says the program “has been very successful over the years because of our attention to quality.” She added, “MDC faculty supervises each tax assistance site to make sure tax returns are accurate and properly filed with the Internal Revenue Service.”

Federal income tax returns must be in the mail and postmarked no later than April 18, 2011 (April 15 is a holiday in the District of Columbia).

Individuals interested in having their taxes done through the MDC VITA program must bring the following documents to the center with them:

• Social security card and the social security cards of any dependents to be claimed
• Picture I.D.
• W-2 earnings statement
• 1099 MISC (for self-employed individuals only)
• 1099 INT (interest income)
• Any documents pertaining to expenses to be claimed (receipts, etc.)

Below is a list of this year’s IRS/MDC VITA tax service locations, their schedules and contact info:

Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center (EEC), 6300 NW 7th Ave., Room 1209, Miami, FL 33150
4-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 1, 2011 to April 5, 2011
Contact: Julio Borges, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-1199
Languages spoken: English; Creole available upon request. Customers must be signed in by 6:00 p.m.

Hialeah Campus, 1776 W. 49th St., Room 324 (Building 1800), Hialeah, FL 33012
4-7 p.m., Tuesdays, Feb. 1, through April 5, 2011
Contact: Geoffrey Danzig, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-1519
Languages spoken: English and Spanish. A maximum of 25 clients per evenings and must be signed in prior to 6:00 p.m.

Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace, Room D307, Homestead, FL 33030
By appointment only, Jan. 27 through April 7, 2011
Contact: José Luis Hortensi, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-5143
Languages spoken: English and Spanish. By appointment only.

InterAmerican Campus, 627 SW 27th Ave., Room 3207, Miami, FL 33135
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays, Feb. 1 through April 5, 2011
Contact: Elisa Fernandez, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-6484
Customers will only be accepted until 3:00 p.m.

Kendall Campus, 11011 SW 104th St., Room 6343/Business Office in Room 6319, Miami, FL 33176
2-5 p.m., Feb. 8 through April 7, 2011
Contact: (Laura) Hoa N. Burrows, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-2283
By appointment only. Last appointment is at 4 p.m.

North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave., Computer Courtyard, Bldg. 2, Rm. 2201, 2nd Flr, Miami, FL 33167
4-7 p.m., Tuesdays, Feb. 1 through April 5, 2011
Contact: Julio Borges, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-1199
Languages spoken: English and Spanis; Creole available upon request. Customers must be signed in by 6:00 p.m.

Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2nd Ave., ETCOTA Center, Room 7109, Miami, FL 33132
1-4 p.m., Tuesdays, Feb. 1 through April 5, 2011 (closed March 1, 2011)
Contact: Christine Balmori, VITA Coordinator at 305-237-3151
Languages spoken: English and Spanish. The center will be accepting customers until 3:30 p.m. and will serve a maximum of 25 customers per Tuesday, whichever comes first.

Speak On It: A Voiceless People…

By: Dave Vaval

I have never been one to sit by and tolerate injustices. When I was a sophomore in high school; my Biology teacher gave us an assignment to copy down questions at the end of 3 different chapters, and answer them. I refused. I raised my hand and told her to do her job, teach me! I got kicked out the class. She was my homeroom teacher, so I had to see her the next day. I raised hell then again; because she had a similar assignment on the board for us to do. This time I demanded that we do a lab that we had paid our lab dues for. She kicked me out AGAIN. I came back the next day and this time I was destined to get the answer I was looking for. Let’s just say by day 3 the whole class was behind me. She kicked me and another student out and this time she wrote me up. She told me to go to the discipline office. I didn’t, I walked STRAIGHT to the principals office. He and I had built a relationship over my time at school. When he saw me he said “what’s up Dave?” I told him I got kicked out of class because I told his employee to do her job. (Yes I reported myself to the schools highest administrator). He shook his head. He knew what type of person and student I was. Needless to say there was no disciplinary action taken against me that day and I was transferred out of her class and into another teachers. Guess what? My VERY first day in the class I did a worm dissection lab!

I say all that to say this; “A voiceless people is a hopeless people”. If you KNOW you’re right and what you’re doing is right, don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise. Months ago the Haitian people gathered to vote in primaries for their next president. This was a HIGHLY publicized election, probably the most publicized ever. You would think that the Haitian government would be on its best behavior right? WRONG! They corrupted the election and placed their candidate in the primary, who received little to no votes, omitting the most popular candidate, and by reports, the one who received the most votes. The country went WILD. Lighting barely on fire, keeping elections officials trapped in the election office, fighting amongst supporters of the candidate who corrupted the election; the list goes on. The president begged the people to maintain peace and respect the results of the election, which HE rigged in his favor. His message didn’t help. By then the candidates for the election had already banded together to declare robbery and that they wanted a fair and orderly revote. It didn’t happen. The president then came out and begged the candidates to ask their supporters to calm down. They too refused. The people were destroying what little was left of Haiti, and rightfully so.

The election was the voice of the Haitian people. The government muted it in its favor. The people reacted. They practiced the notion of action speaking louder than words. They tried it the government’s way; it didn’t work, so they’re going to do it their way. Guess what? It worked! After the UN condemned the actions of the Haitian government, public scrutiny, and continuous protests by the Haitian people; the people’s voice were FINALLY heard. There’s a quote on the bottom of the Haitian flag “L’ Union fait la Force”. An army of many is better than an army of one. They banded together for something they believed in and refused to settle for anything less. They got what they asked for. At this current juncture, the two most popular candidates from the primaries are now those vying to become president (whenever that happens).

Let us not forget what Martin Luther King, Jr. fought against; and also what he fought for. “A journey of thousands of miles begins with a SINGLE step.” My journey led me to a better experience in Biology. That of the Haitian people now has the rightful candidates competing to become president. All is right in the world now; well at least in the Haitian political spectrum. Actions do speak louder than words. I personally believe in Hammurabi’s principle. While I may not practice it literally, I also do not practice those of Martin Luther King. If we sit idly by complaining of the issues, but fail to act on them, our voice is silenced. The Haitian people are SPEAKING, and they are now being heard loud and clear. Let’s see how the government deals with this attention they have now; the world is literally watching.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

New Report Finds Conservative Policies Worsen Racial Economic Gap, Hit Black and Latino Communities the Hardest

State of the Dream 2011: Austerity for Whom?


Special from the Human Services Coalition:

Miami, FL – Conservative attacks on government, public sector workers, social safety nets and the progressive tax system widen the racial economic divide because they disproportionately harm Blacks and Latinos, according to a new report. These findings were released today by United for a Fair Economy in State of the Dream 2011: Austerity for Whom?, released in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

“Through their policy proposals, Republican leaders – at all levels of government – are suggesting that we postpone not only the recovery, but also the prospect of a better future,” said Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy and co-author of the report. “GOP austerity measures will ratchet down the standard of living for all Americans, while simultaneously widening our nation’s racial and economic divide.”

HSCàCatalyst Miami finds this particularly corrosive to the work carried out by the Prosperity Campaign, which links residents in need of economic stability with the financial services and healthcare programs that can help. Our network of Prosperity Centers offers services including free tax preparation, economic benefits counseling, homeownership counseling, financial coaching and more. We also help operate a farmers market in Overtown that accepts food stamps and doubles the value of purchases made with food stamps.

State of the Dream 2011 documents how the conservative agenda increases economic inequality and deepens the racial divide. Forty-two years after Martin Luther King’s death, Blacks earn only 57 cents, and Latinos 59 cents, to each dollar Whites earn. The tax cuts advocated by conservatives will worsen this divide by flowing disproportionately to wealthy White households, while the proposed cuts to social safety nets and the public sector work force will disproportionately harm African-Americans and Latinos.

Continue reading "New Report Finds Conservative Policies Worsen Racial Economic Gap, Hit Black and Latino Communities the Hardest" »

CAC-Florida Medical Centers opens in Liberty City

CAC-Florida Medical Centers will host a ribbon cutting and free community event for the grand opening of a new comprehensive full-service medical center in Liberty City.  CAC's investment of approximately $2.5 million in the new Liberty City medical center will provide area residents with a wide range of social, health and lifestyle services and programs with an ultimate goal of improving the quality of life and health of residents in the community.

Grand opening activities are scheduled for Saturday January 22, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with VIP ribbon cutting from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the  Liberty City CAC-Florida Medical Center, 6269 NW 7th Ave., Miami, FL 33150.


In Celebration of Black History Month the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and Larry Rosen present Jazz Roots



 The program will explore the two musical sides of Miles Davis’s work, and showcase one of the greatest pieces of music ever produced in

Tutu Revisited, The Music of Miles Davis

MIAMI, FL -- Now celebrating its Fifth Anniversary Season, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and Larry Rosen present JAZZ ROOTS: A Larry Rosen Jazz Series CELEBRATING MILES in commemoration of Black History Month in February. The program features an all-star lineup of jazz greats and former Miles Davis collaborators paying tribute to one of the greatest jazz innovators of our time, on February 25, 2011 at 8 p.m. in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Jazz Roots: Celebrating Miles will showcase the two musical sides of this legendary artist’s work. The first half of the program features Miles Davis protégé and trumpeter extraordinaire Wallace Roney, with his sextet, featuring acclaimed bassist Ron Carter, one of the original members of the second great Miles Davis Quintet. This section of the program will focus on Davis’s acoustic period, featuring the music from his classic Columbia albums, Milestones, Round About Midnight, and leading up to what is arguably the most important jazz record in modern history, Kind of Blue. The second half of the concert highlights the electric side of Miles Davis with legendary musician, producer and bass guitarist Marcus Miller, bringing his highly anticipated show, Tutu Revisited, The Music of Miles Davis, giving an inside look into the making and artistry of one of the greatest pieces of music ever produced. Joining Miller onstage for the Tutu program is Grammy-nominated, young jazz lion Christian Scott.

Tickets range from $25 to $130 and are on sale now!  Tickets may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at

JAZZ ROOTS also features an in-depth educational partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools which will bring more than 900 music students to the Center for a unique behind-the-scenes experience, including a pre-concert sound check and a Q&A session with featured artists followed by a workshop with a local jazz expert that will highlight the music, the artistic process and the practical skills needed for a career in the arts. In addition, the Center has developed a curriculum which will be distributed to 800 music, English and social studies teachers throughout the MDCPS school system, potentially serving 24,000 children.