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January 2011

Living Empowered: You’re Only as Good as Your Last Win

By Dr. Larthenia Howard

Larthenia_howard You’re only as good as your last win….ask Randy Shannon, ex-head coach of the University of Miami (FL) Hurricanes. On Saturday, November 27, 2010, after a loss against the USF Bulls and a four season record of 28 – 22, Athletic Director, Kirby Hocutt, announced that UM was ready to take their football program in another direction. Although the team’s bad boys’ image had shifted and the team earned its place among the nation’s top athletes in academics, good was not good enough.

What ultimately lead to Randy Shannon’s dismissal? Many would agree that inconsistency was key. Overall, there was a consistent imbalance. The team was not able to sustain steadiness by doing all the right things off the field while consistently making all the right moves on the field – translating into winning. 

So what does the firing of Randy Shannon have to do with you? Everything! You see, the lesson here, as we move into the second decade of the millennium, is that in order to consistently win, you must do the right things consistently. Success does not happen in a moment, but through momentum. It is not enough to create an atmosphere of winning; you must maintain excellence for the long haul. That takes consistency.  Jay-Z said it like this “Excellence is being able to perform at a high level for a long period of time.”

Unlike the University of Miami’s football program, the University of Connecticut’s Women Basketball team has done quite the opposite. The team just finished an impressive 89 game winning streak. As noted by the Associated Press, the Lady Huskies defeated their rivals by “playing with the relentlessness that has become its trademark.” So I ask - what has become your trademark? How easily do you give up when faced with opposition? How consistently are you forging towards your dreams?

In lieu of another year of failed resolutions, resolve to commit to the consistency of creating a trademark that is unlike one you have ever lived before.

Here’s to an Empowered New Year!


Larthenia Howard holds an Educational Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. She is certified through the Certified Coaching Federation as a Personal and Executive Empowerment Coach. Other areas of certification include:   Diversity Awareness and Sensitivity, Emotional Intelligence, Team Building, and the Continuous Improvement Model.  For speaking engagements and inquiries visit


Justice for Akil Larue Oliver: "Losing a life over 7 cents don't make no sense." [VIDEO]

Mr. Willie Moseley fights for justice for his grandson, Akil Larue Oliver, who was beaten death.


“There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958

After attending the Martin Luther King Parade in West Perrine on Saturday, January 15, 2011, I found myself at the site of the protest of the murder of Akil Larue Oliver. This was not a planned stop but one of those moments where I was not in control but was being led to do God’s will. Anyway, before I lose some of you on a spiritual tip, let me just say that it was encouraging to see this small but dedicated group of people continue this boycott in seeking justice for Akil Larue Oliver and economic justice for the people who have patronized the Quick Shop convenience store in Perrine.

It’s 2011 and I keep feeling as though there is a need to fight for basic rights just as my parents did in the 1960’s. There are many issues that need to be addressed surrounding this store, the activities that allegedly have taken place in the store and the brutal beating death of Akil Larue Oliver.

We will continue to ask questions about this situation and interview those involved in the protest and resolution of this situation. We’ll talk about respect, disrespect and self-respect. Nothing happens to one person that doesn’t impact someone else.

On this day that we celebrate the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s think on this:

“If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, "There lived a great people - a black people - who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization."  This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., address to Holt Street Baptist Church, 5 December 1955


Martin Luther King Parade in West Perrine [PHOTOS]

Here are photos of yesterday's 21st Annual West Perrine CDC Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade. The weather was beautiful and people from throughout South Florida attended.

Some of the local community leaders participating in the parade were State Rep. Dwight Bullard; County Commissioner Dennis Moss; School Board Member Dr. Larry Feldman and Bethune-Cookman University Board of Trustees Chair Atty. Larry Handfield.

Local high school marching bands featured in the parade included American; Miami Carol City; Miami Northwestern; Miami Palmetto and Miramar. Local businesses including H&R Block and the Plaza Medical Center gave away souvenirs. The parade had a really cool, laid back, family reunion atmosphere. Hats off to Ed Hanna and his team for pulling together another wonderful community event.


Julio Robaina takes initial steps to run for Mayor of Miami-Dade County in 2012

Special to Blogging Black Miami:

Announces the first in a series of ideas to restore trust in county government.

MIAMI, FL-- Julio Robaina, the current Mayor of the City of Hialeah, opens a campaign account today to run for Mayor of Miami-Dade County and issued the following statement:
“For several months I have been meeting with residents from throughout Miami-Dade County to listen to their concerns and input. During those gatherings two facts resonated: Miami-Dade County government is out-of-touch with the daily reality of its residents and reform is urgently needed.

These are challenging times and taxpayers are right to demand that government cut back as they have had to. We have done just that in Hialeah and found ways to lower taxes while still providing the essential services citizens need and deserve.

Citizens are right to demand accountability from their government. We will not be able to create the jobs we desperately need or convince businesses to expand or relocate here until trust is restored in county government. I look forward to continue listening to the residents of Miami-Dade and sharing with them my vision for reforming county government to make it truly transparent and accountable to the taxpayers. We must work together to eliminate wasteful spending and duplicity, hold the line on taxes, deal with the bureaucracy, reengineer county structure and make it easier to start a small business and hire workers. Accountability must take on a new standard in the county government and, if I am elected, I plan to lead on this path of change and reform in order to exemplify the term “servant of the people”.

Today I am announcing the first of a series of ideas that I will be sharing with the residents of Miami-Dade in the coming weeks that are the cornerstone of the new direction we must take county government. I propose:
· term limits for both the Mayor and the County Commissioners;
· salary conditions prohibiting outside income for the Mayor as well as the County Commissioners; and
· a totally independent Office of the Inspector General.

Only by taking these initial steps on a much greater journey will we be able to create a climate that fosters job growth and restores confidence in our county government”, concluded Robaina.

Mayor Robaina has a proven track record of lowering taxes without cutting vital services. He knows how to take-on the bureaucracy to make government run more efficiently, and protect the taxpayer’s hard-earned money. Robaina’s no-nonsense approach to the management of government, and commitment to protecting taxpayers is rooted in his background as a successful business leader and the understanding that, as stewards of the people’s money, local government must be transparent and solely accountable to the taxpayer.

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Save the Dates - Guest Ministers at the Church of the Open Door

Save the Dates for powerful messages from incredible guest ministers! Sunday 1/9 Rev. Steve Sterner, Acting Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries, UCC. Sunday 1/16 Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister & President of the United Church of Christ. Sunday 3/13 Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus of Trinity UCC, former Church of Pres. Barack Obama. Sunday 4/10 Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk, Founding Director of the Center for African American Theological Studies and the 1st African American woman ordained in the United Church of Christ.


Rally BEFORE Tally on Jan. 19! Meet your legislators!

Don't miss this golden opportunity to meet and greet your local legislators. There are a number of crucial issues that must be dealt with during the upcoming Legislative Session. Folks are already grumbling about Gov. Scott's sweeping changes, especially in public education. Well, don't get mad when it's too late during the Session, get informed and make the right connections now. It's important to make sure our elected representatives understand how important public education is to our community. Spread the word to the parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens in your neighborhood. This is a serious matter.


Florida's New Foreclosure Fix: Pre-File Mediation

Tallahassee, Fla.- The Collins Center's successful mortgage mediation program is expanding to include pre-file foreclosure cases. The new pre-file program is available to certain homeowners with delinquent and defaulted mortgages that are approaching the foreclosure filing stage.


"This pre-file program is a game changer," said Ned Pope, director of the program. "We're bringing together homeowners and mortgage lenders before a foreclosure filing, saving homeowners, lenders, and our overburdened state courts time and money."


Fannie Mae has mandated that its servicers participate in pre-file mediation on its Florida loans that are eligible for the program. As a result of various court administrative orders, a loan is eligible for the Collins Center's Fannie Mae pre-file mediation program if the property is homesteaded and located in one of the judicial circuits in which the Collins Center also performs post-file mediations.


How Pre-File Mediation Works:


The Pre-Filing Mortgage Mediation program will be initiated by the lender upon the 65th day of delinquency, at which point the lender will refer the loan to the Collins Center for a determination of the loan's eligibility for the pre-file program. If eligible, the Collins Center arranges financial counseling for the homeowner and schedules a mediation appointment with the homeowner and the lender's representative. The mediation sessions are facilitated by civil court certified mediators.


About the Collins Center's Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program:


The Collins Center for Public Policy is a statewide nonprofit organization. It also manages foreclosure mediation programs in the 1st, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, and 19th judicial circuits.  Since the Center's foreclosure mediation program began in March 2009, the Center has managed more than 11,000 mediations. The post-file mediation program will continue in concert with the new pre-file program, operating in the same judicial circuits, with no up-front costs to borrowers or to Florida taxpayers.


"The foreclosure crisis hit our state like a ton of bricks," said Rod Petrey, President of the Collins Center. "Through this innovative program we will reduce the amount of foreclosure filings in our state and give more Floridians an opportunity to try to stay in their home."


For more information, visit


The Circus that is City of Miami government continues

I don't know Mayor Tomas Regalado or Chief of Police Miguel Exposito personally and I don't think I know them because of what I read, see or hear in the media. I do hope that while they stand by their respective positions on this latest controversy, that they will spare the citizens of Miami-Dade County any more embarrassment because of their bickering.

While some people who live in the County and not in the City proper, would like think this controversy doesn't affect them, rest assured that folks outside of South Florida make no such distinction and put us all in the same basket.

The allegations leveled by the Chief against the Mayor are quite serious. The actions by officials sympathetic with of either of these two gentlemen will likely be scrutinized and add fuel to the growing fire. Let's just not allow allegations of police interference and questions about police involved shootings to be glossed over in the midst of the sensationalism.

Quite frankly, questions raised about the number of black men killed by the City of Miami police should have been seriously addressed a long time ago and not when Regalado and Exposito are at odds. Whether you agree or disagree that the shootings were justified, some activists in the black community have been pushing for answers to questions about the shootings for a long time. Getting on the bandwagon now and asking for the Chief to be fired is too little too late and gets commingled with other foolishness.

Now that the Chief has contacted the FBI, let's hope our officials just get on with the City's business and allow the FBI investigation to disclose the facts. For those of you who don't pay attention to politics or hold our officials accountable, what does it take to get your sustained attention? Watch out for the weapons of mass distraction.

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Rattlers release 2011 football schedule

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 6) - The Florida A&M University Department of Athletics released its 2011 football schedule which features four home games, a September match up with a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent and two Classic events.

Last season the Rattlers finished with a record of 8-3 and 7-1 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play, by winning their last six of seven games and handing, Bethune-Cookman their only regular season lost in the Annual Florida Classic.

FAMU will open its 2011 campaign Sept. 3 with a non-conference home contest against Fort Valley (Ga.) State in Bragg Memorial Stadium.

After the season opener, the Rattlers will hit the road for three weeks, travelling to Armstrong Stadium for their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener Sept. 10 against Hampton University at Hampton, Virginia.

The Rattlers will then travel to Tampa, Fla., to take on the University of South Florida at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 17, then will conclude their three-game road swing on Sept. 24 in the annual Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic at the Georgia Dome.

FAMU returns home, resuming MEAC play against Delaware State on Oct. 1 and Howard University on Oct. 8, before making their first-ever trip to Savannah, Ga., on Oct. 15, to take on MEAC provisional member Savannah State at Ted A. Wright Stadium.

The following week, the Rattlers will trek to Orangeburg, S.C. for a critical MEAC matchup against South Carolina State on Oct. 22 at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, then have an open date (Oct. 29) before returning home for a conference match up against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 5.

In November, FAMU will have two road trips, taking on MEAC provisional member North Carolina Central for the first time in 38 years on Nov. 12 at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in Durham, N.C., before closing out the year in the 32nd Florida Classic against arch rival Bethune-Cookman University on Nov. 19 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Start times for all games will be announced at a later date.

With conference expansion in effect, the new league scheduling format has the Rattlers not facing longtime foes Norfolk (Va.) State or Morgan (Md.) State this season.

09-03 Fort Valley State (TBA) HOME/Bragg Memorial Stadium
09-10 @Hampton University (TBA)* Hampton, VA/Armstrong Stadium
09-17 @University of South Florida (TBA) Tampa, FL/Raymond James Stadium
09-24 Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic Atlanta, GA/Georgia Dome
10-01 Delaware State (TBA)* HOME/Bragg Memorial Stadium
10-08 Howard University (TBA)* HOME/Bragg Memorial Stadium
10-15 @Savannah State (TBA)* Savannah, GA/Ted Wright Stadium
10-22 @South Carolina State (TBA)* Orangeburg, SC/Dawson-Bulldog Stadium
11-05 North Carolina A&T (TBA)* HOME/Bragg Stadium
11-12 @North Carolina Central (TBA)* Durham, NC/O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium
11-19 Bethune-Cookman (TBA)* Orlando, FL/Florida Citrus Bowl##
(*)-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games; (##)-Florida Classic

Coach Joe Taylor’s team will return seven starters on each side of the ball and a full compliment on special teams.

Redshirt sophomore Austin Trainor returns to lead the Rattler offense at quarterback, while juniors Eddie Rocker and Lavantae Paige will battle for the starting spot at running back. T.J. Lawrence and Kevin Elliot will anchor the receiving corps, while veterans Brandon Curry and Franklin Carter return to anchor the offensive line.

On defense, the linebackers should anchor the defense, with the return of Alvis Graham and Willie Ferrell. Padraig Scott and Joshua Newkirk will anchor the defensive front, with veterans John Ojo, Anthony Shutt and Jarral Stewart holding down the secondary.

The special teams remain intact from 2010, headed by redshirt junior placekicker Trevor Scott, along with All-MEAC punter Brandon Holdren, and senior long snapper Jay Culpepper returning as well. Jarral Stewart and T.J. Lawrence will serve as kick and punt returners respectively.

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Adrian Speaks: Why New Year’s Resolutions Don't Work: The Power of Creating A Strategic Life Plan

By Adrian D. Freeman, MBA

In this 4-Part article series, I will explain how a Strategic Life Plan (SLP) differs from traditional goal setting and how to use the plan effectively. This first article will provide insight to how strategic planning began in the corporate sector and has now been tailored for use in personal growth and development. After using strategic planning for years corporately to lead various departments to success, I’ve created a model that first served as a guide for my personal successes and has been proven to work effectively for others as well.

Statistics show that 87% of all people dream of success. Of the 87%, only 12% begin working towards it. Of those 12% however, only 1% achieve their aspirations. Based on these statistics alone, your chances of achieving your goals are slim. For every 100 people who read this article, less than 1 will actually make it to their self-defined finished line. I use “self-defined” intentionally because this journey is personal. As you move along your chosen path, you must be careful not to allow anyone to define what success means or looks like for you. Your success has to be defined on your terms. But there is no need to fret because help is on the way.

Have you found yourself thinking how 2011 will be different from 2010? I'm sure those same thoughts flooded your mind when 2010 rolled in. You were consumed with dreams of starting your own business, losing 30 pounds, or taking the vacation of dreams, but a year later, those dreams are no closer than they were 365 days ago. While studies vary, most are consistent in noting that by midyear, more than half of the people who set a New Year’s Resolutions are no longer working toward them. As I have found through personal coaching with clients, making a New Year's Resolution or setting a goal is simply not enough. There is a key ingredient missing that increases your odds of achieving success.

What is Strategic Planning?

In the early 1920s, Harvard University’s Business School created the first methodology used for strategic planning in private businesses called the Harvard Policy Model. In the 1950s, the focus moved from policy creation to industry growth, sustainability, and long range planning. By the 1960s, most Fortune 500 companies were using strategic planning to proactively plan for company growth. These theories and ideas have now been modified to include Strategic Life Planning which focuses on an individual aligning their life to a personal vision and mission statement to achieve results. In the same vein as a corporate entity would create their strategic plan to outline their course of action for a specified period, your strategic life plan should incorporate goals and action plans that are focused on future achievement, centered in the knowledge of personal growth and achievement, and aligned to your personal vision and mission.

It Starts With A Dream

I remember as a child being encouraged to dream and being told that anything I dreamed could come true. Admittedly, being from Central Florida and having multiple family members who worked for Disney, I spent more time at the Magic Kingdom than most, but those same themes were also echoed in my home. Even today I spend countless hours speaking to my daughters, community organizations, and youth groups about the power dreaming. The message however, doesn’t end there. As my dad would say, “a dream alone doesn’t cut the mustard, you must have a plan.” And having a plan separates those who succeed from those who don’t. A solid strategic life plan asks the following 5 questions and clearly outlines the expectations of each: who, what, when, where, how, and why?

Create Your Personal Vision and Mission Statement – Step 1

The first step in creating an effective SLP is to write your personal vision and mission statements. Yes, these are two separate statements and the purpose of each is often confused. A vision statement speaks to the future of who you are to become. It describes where you are going and allows you to articulate your dreams. The only limitation is your imagination. A mission statement defines who you are now. It answers the question “why are we are?” The mission statement focuses on your present whereas the vision statement focuses on your future.

Writing a vision and mission statement can be tedious and time-consuming. It requires soul-searching and should take an honest look at where you are and where you aren’t as it provides the framework for strategic planning. There are several great sites what walk you through the process of writing your statements. Search the web for resources for email me directly for assistance.

Once you’ve written your vision and mission statements, you will have completed the first step of the strategic planning process. After all, it’s impossible to set meaningful goals if you haven’t clearly defined where you are going.

In the next article, I will walk through the process of setting SMARTER goals that get results. 2011 is yours for the taking. Begin now to create the framework to live your life purposed by design. To a phenomenally, prosperous new year…

© Copyright 2011 Adrian Freeman

Adrian Freeman is a motivational speaker and personal coach. Using a series of strategic goals, meaningful actions, and accountability, Adrian's approach has proven successful for those he's mentored either individually or as a group. Adrian's idea of success is seeing others achieve their greatest potential. For speaking engagements or to request additional articles, visit or email Adrian at [email protected]

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