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April 2011

March 2011

Take back our public schools and protect your child's future!

If you have been paying attention to politics in Florida under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature, let me assure you that you are not living in a horrifying episode of the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, this madness is for real.

While the folks in the Florida Legislature continue to turn back the clock and strip us of our rights while blatantly destroying public education and preparing to hand over the business of Florida to their friends, we must send the message that enough is enough. Let’s join in the UTD sponsored WALK-IN tomorrow, March 31, 2011, 4PM-6PM at your closest public school.


I will visit Miami Central High School and Van E. Blanton Elementary School starting at 5PM. Send photos and video  of your school’s Walk-In to Let’s take back public education and send a clear message to the folks that don't represent us in the Florida Legislature.



Remembering Legendary Society Cab Driver, La Verne Louise Thomas


La Verne Louise Thomas, 59
June 24, 1951- March 23, 2011



Brothers: Jessie Britt, Jerome Thomas, Sisters: Winona Diane Trimmings, Beverly Britt.
A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, grand nieces, nephews, and friends.



Friday, April 1, 2011 - 1pm - 9pm
Richardson Mortuary
4500 Northwest 17th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33142
Phone: 305-634-4528



Saturday, April 2, 2011 @ 10:00 am
New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International
2300 Northwest 135th Street  Miami, Florida 33167

Florida New Majority: A Call to Action

Join the Florida New Majority team for a fun gathering to prepare for their call to action in Tallahassee next week!

They will be chant-making, sign-painting, drumming, and hosting a popular education session for anyone that's interested. This is open to people going to Tallahassee, and those that can't make it but want to stay involved and have a fun and educational day. 

Where: Konbit for Haiti Center . 521 NE 81 street . Miami, FL

When: Saturday, April 2nd, 10:30am-1pm

Food and refreshments will be served! 

Just RSVP by e-mailing Serena Perez at, or click here to RSVP on Facebook. 


Ms. Cookie vs. Gov. Scott: Who blinks first?

Mscookie_1289229976 Rickscott It is a scary time in Florida with Governor Rick Scott and his legislators, pushing through all sorts of attacks on low-income people of color. But folks are fighting back. 

MWC (Miami Workers Center) leader Rosalie "Cookie" Whiley filed a lawsuit against the Governor two days ago, to overturn one of the three Executive Orders made on his first day in office. Executive Order 11-01 stops state agencies from making or changing rules within their respective agencies, and transfers all power to a new, consolidated agency--the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform.

Like a lot of attacks on our communities, it sounds almost good at first, and it is couched in language that we like (accountability, reform...). That's where it gets tricky. 

This Executive Order stopped all rule-making measures taken by what were once self-governing agencies that, among other things, would have made it physically easier for Ms. Cookie, who is blind, to reapply for food stamps online. Because the Governor stripped the Department of Children and Family Services of its self-governance, all of its rule-makings in progress stopped immediately in their tracks. 

This seeming minutia of governance (agency rule-making) has a big impact, including--but not at all limited to--impeding reapplication for food stamps.

It also serves as a stark example of where this Governor is overstepping his legal powers. Ms. Cookie's complaint against the Governor asserts that the Executive Branch does not have power over agency rule-making and is, in fact, blatantly unconstitutional. 

As the attacks continue, Ms. Cookie and the rest of the leaders and members of the Miami Workers Center, LIFFT, and MIA will continue defending our rights and working towards community based solutions to the problems that confront our neighborhoods. 

Thank you, Ms. Cookie! Stay tuned for more info on her battle with Governor Rick Scott. 


MDC Homestead Campus to Host Day of the Young Child Festivities April 9

Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Homestead Campus and the School of Education invite the community to celebrate the Day of the Young Child from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, on the campus’s central lawn in Homestead.

The Day of the Young Child is a family event that is fun, informational and interactive. It celebrates young children and all those who make a difference in the lives of children and families. Families will enjoy a variety of educational and creative activities, including music and movement, face painting, a “fantabulous” marching parade, storytelling, creative art experiences and much more.

The event will kick off the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Week of the Young Child (April 10-16, 2011) and is a time to recognize the importance of early learning and early literacy, as well as to celebrate the teachers and policies that bring early childhood education to young children.

“We are proud to be hosting the tenth annual Day of the Young Child at MDC’s Homestead Campus and spreading awareness of the importance of early childhood education. It is vital to preparing children for success in school and in the community,” said Dr. Jeanne F. Jacobs, president, MDC Homestead Campus.

“The early childhood education program at Miami Dade College provides an excellent education to meet the needs of our diverse community.” 

The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

WHAT:   Day of the Young Child Event Hosted by MDC’s Homestead Campus and the School of Education

WHEN:   Saturday, April 9

             11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE:  Miami Dade College Homestead Campus, Central Lawn, 500 College Terrace, Homestead

COST:     Free admission

For more information, please contact Beverly Tate, professor of early childhood education, at 305-237-5123 or


In Business: The Chess Factor Retains Brash Media as Marketing and Public Relations Agency of Record

(Miami, Florida)---Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - The Chess Factor has retained Brash Media as Marketing and Public Relations Agency of Record.  The Chess Factor CEO, Sonia Chess specializes in coaching, ghost and freelance writing, training, motivational speaking, publishing, facilitating workshops and seminars. 
As an advocate for literacy and a change agent, Ms. Chess lends her time, talents and resources to the needs of organizations, youth, abused individuals and troubled teens. An expert in writing in various genres both professional and personal, Ms Chess facilitates writing workshops where the core curriculum is centered on "Healing through the Arts". As a coach and mentor she has assisted countless individuals on the path to healing, hope and self direction.  Sonia's keynote series on success, growth, and healing is founded on the belief that change begins with the creative force from within! 
Ms. Chess's book, Coffee Colored Pain, takes readers on a journey to healing and discovery. Soon to be released The Change Factor is a captivating read that blends the principles of success and healing into a melting pot of hope.  As a multi-talented author, Ms. Chess takes her younger audience down the path to greatness as well with Princess Bria:"The Great I Am," Time for Bed; an insightful read that places an emerging generation into the path of hope.
Cheryl Waide, Owner of Brash Media, will lead the marketing and public relations initiatives and campaigns for The Chess Factor. Brash Media specializes in public relations and social marketing.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson Announces Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship Opportunities

ImagesCA3MFMD2 Washington, DC – Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-17) today announced the details for scholarship opportunities provided by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the CBC Spouses. She encourages any and all eligible constituents to apply by visiting .

Following is a complete listing of all scholarships, including application deadlines and eligibility requirements:

CBC Spouses Education Scholarship

Application Deadline: June 1, 2011

This scholarship fund was established in response to federal cuts in spending for education programs and scholarships. This is the foundation’s first educational program. The CBC Spouses Educational Scholarship is a national program that awards scholarships to academically talented and highly motivated students who intend to pursue full-time undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degrees. The Educational Scholarship Fund was established in 1988 and has experienced substantial growth. Recipients for this program are selected through volunteers in the district offices of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). CBC Members work through local scholarship committees to award money to academically talented and highly motivated students.

CBC Spouses Cheerios Brand Health Initiative Scholarship

Application Deadline: June 1, 2011

This scholarship program focusing on health was established in 1998 as the CBC Spouses partnered with the naming sponsor, General Mills, to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in the fields of medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition and other health-related professions. Since the inception of the program, General Mills has invested more than $1,000,000 to underwrite this initiative. The CBC Spouses Cheerios Brand Health Initiative Scholarship has served hundreds of students over the years, and has helped to create leaders in the medical and health related fields.

CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship

Application Deadline: April 29, 2011

Established in the year 2000, the CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship program was developed in honor of the late Curtis Mayfield to ensure that students pursuing a career in the performing arts receive the financial assistance to achieve their goals.

CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship

Application Deadline: April 29, 2011

The CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship was established in 2006 for students who are pursuing a career in the visual arts.

CBCF Louis Stokes Health Scholars Program
Application Deadline: April 14, 2011

The Louis Stokes Health Scholars program seeks to increase the number of qualified, yet underrepresented, college students entering the health workforce. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate an interest to work in underserved communities. Students currently attending two-year institutions are strongly encouraged to apply. 

CBCF/Wal-Mart Strive for Excellence Scholarship

Application Deadline: April 1, 2011

The Strive for Excellence scholarship was established in 2006 with a generous gift from Walmart to expand CBCF scholarship and internship programs. Walmart believes in a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Accordingly, scholarship recipients have demonstrated the potential to make the greatest impact on the local community. The Strive for Excellence scholarship requires that the CBC member elect to participate in the program.

Environmental Studies Scholarship
Application Deadline: April 14, 2011
The Environmental Studies scholarship seeks to provide financial awards to minority and women college students pursuing a degree in environmental science or other related fields of study. Applicants should have a junior class standing in college with a declared major in environmental science or a related field, and understanding and acceptance of ServiceMaster’s core values. This scholarship offers $5,000 per semester to two students.

Louis Stokes CBCF Scholarship at Case Western University

Application Deadline: January 15, 2011

Every year, Case Western Reserve University awards the Louis Stokes CBCF scholarship at Case Western Reserve University to two outstanding nominees who are nominated by CBC members. Intended to help economically and educationally disadvantaged students attain an education at Case Western Reserve University, the scholarship offers a full-tuition award, renewable for up to five years; a grant of up to $2,500 to cover the purchase of a computer and books; and assistance securing a paid summer internship.



Students participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new North Dade Middle and North Dade Center for Modern Languages Elementary schools with adults including from (left to right) Dr. Maria A. Castaigne, Principal of North Dade Center for Modern Languages Elementary; Mr. Lowell C. Crawford, Principal of North Dade Middle School; The Honorable Shirley Gibson, Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens; Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, School Board Member; Mr. Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman, School Board Vice Chair, and Mr. Freddie Woodson, Deputy Superintendent, District and School Operations.

MDC Student Athletes among Players Awarded with Prestigious 2011 Southern Conference Player of the Year

Miami, FL – In one of the country’s most prestigious athletic competitions, a Miami Dade College (MDC) student and member of the women’s basketball team, Ashley Wilkes, was named the 2011 Southern Conference Player of the Year. Additionally, she was named to the 2011 All-State/All-Regional Team, the 2011 First Team All Southern Conference, and is now a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) award candidate.

For the last two seasons, Wilkes has been consistently ranked among the top players in the nation and, last year, was selected to participate at the NJCAA All-Star games in Pensacola, and was named to the Florida Community College Activities Association (FCCAA) All-State/All-Region team.

In addition to Wilkes, five other MDC student athletes were named to the 2011 All Southern Conference Team: Melanie Ducott (first team), Kandis Frederick (second team), Smiljana Cuk (second team), Tori Stephens (second team), and Kiana Morton (second team).

A psychology major, Wilkes has averaged a double-double for the MDC Lady Sharks with 20.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. She also shot 45 percent from the floor, averaged 1.3 blocks and 1.9 steals.

The women’s basketball team finished their 2010-11 season with a record of 11-15, 6-6.

MDC’s athletic teams have earned a total of 33 NJCAA titles, including 13 in women’s sports. Most recently, the college’s softball team became national champions and won the 2010 national ladies fast-pitch softball championship.

For more information about MDC’s sports programs, contact Pia Cruzalegui at 305-237-2753.

2011 Southern Conference Player of the Year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


HOLLYWOOD, FL ---  On Saturday, March 19, 2011, in recognition of Women’s History Month, Ford Motor Company Fund, in partnership with a Miami Gardens based non profit mentoring program, The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc., hosted its South Florida Freedom’s Sisters Luncheon at the Hollywood Beach Marriott recognizing 20 remarkable women. "This was one of our best attended luncheons and the paparazzi were very impressive, said master of ceremonies, Kevin Frazier, co-host of the entertainment show 'The Insider'. He added, "South Florida really has a wealth of talent - these ladies are doing some outstanding work in this community.” Ford selected the honorees after conducting a citywide search for exceptional women who exemplify dedication to social causes and humanitarian efforts - attributes possessed by the 20 phenomenal women who are part of the original Freedom’s Sisters national exhibition.

“We were amazed by the inspirational stories of the extraordinary women who touched the lives of people in the South Florida community,” said Pamela Alexander, Director, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “It was a challenge to select just 20 South Florida Freedom’s Sisters as all of the nominees truly embodied the spirit of the nationally recognized Freedom’s Sisters."

The Marriott's Grand Ballroom on the beautiful Spring afternoon cushioned by waves from the ocean only feet away, was silenced on two occasions. The first, during 10 year-old Rena Ingraham's performance of "The Greatest Love Of All" which garnered her two standing ovations, followed by activist, author and poet, Dr. Sonia Sanchez, a Legendary Freedom's Sister as she offered her sweet and melodic keynote speech about the power of women. "She is truly a legend and to have my daughter be in her company to hear and speak with her is a priceless experience," said Myrna Johnson, mother of Embrace Girls member, Gabrielle Michel-Johnson, who acted as a Junior Freedom's Sisters in training and Honoree escort for the day along with several other program members. "This was a beautiful and empowering day for both us."

A sentiment echoed by the event's organizers and embraced by the honorees and invited guests. "What I love about the selections were that the women truly reflected a wide range of professions said Melba Pearson, Director of Events and Fundraising for The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc.  "I was shocked to not only learn that I was nominated but actually selected said, Armenthia Dozier-Hodge, Teacher and Kindergarten Department Head at Beacon Hill Preparatory School where she has taught toddlers for 30 years.

Recognition, Dr. Sonia Sanchez expressed deep appreciation for, "It is an honor to be here today everything is so beautiful and its always so special to me when I am in the presence of children and they are inspired, it brings joy to my heart," said Sanchez as she signed autographs and took pictures with the more than 100 guests in attendance who patiently waited for their moment with her and the true Queens of the Day, the official 2011, South Florida Freedom's Sisters:  Nichole Anderson, Police Chief of South Broward County; Alison D. Austin, CEO TACOLCY Center; Marleine Bastien, CEO FANM - Haitian Women of Miami; Armenthia Dozier-Hodge, Educator, Beacon Hill Preparatory School; Dorothy Jenkins Fields, CEO, The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.; Karen Andre, Attorney and Legislative Consultant; Georgia Jones Ayers, Director, The Alternative Programs, Inc.; Felicia M. Brunson, Vice Mayor, City of West Park; Audrey M. Edmonson, Vice Chair, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners; Persephone Taylor Gary, Facilitator, Youth Advisory Council; Shirley Gibson, Mayor, City of Miami Gardens; Rosie Gordon-Wallace, Director, Diaspora Vibe and Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator; Barbara J. Jordan, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 1; Dr. Sonjia Kenya, Professor of Family Medicine  and Community Health at the University of Miami; Frederica S. Wilson, Congresswoman, CEO, 5000 Role Models; Thelma Gibson, CEO, Theodore R. Gibson Memorial Fund; Camille Jones, Director, Hands 2 Help, Inc.; Sharon Kendrick-Johnson, Founder, Pumps, Pearls and Portfolios (PP&P); Saliha Nelson, Vice President, URGENT, INC. and Kathleen Woods-Richardson, Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management.

The Freedom's Sisters national exhibit features 20 black women who fought for justice and freedom during the civil rights movement. The South Florida Freedom's Sisters enhances their contributions internationally. South Florida is the fifth celebration to honor local women for their service in their respective communities. 

Embracing Girl Power! Freedom's Sisters Honorees

Top Row Left To Right: Armenthia Dozier-Hodge; Saliha Nelson; Marleine Bastien; Karen Andre; Rosie Gordon-Wallace; Pamela Alexander, Ford Fund Director; Kathleen Woods-Richardson; Persephone Taylor Gary; Dr. Sonjia Kenya and Alison D. Austin.

Middle Row Left To Right: Camille Jones; Felicia M. Brunson; Barbara J. Jordan; Dr. Sonia Sanchez; Shirley Gibson; Georgia Jones Ayers; Audrey M. Edmonson and Thelma Gibson. Not pictured: Frederica S. Wilson and Dorothy Jenkins Fields.

Bottom Left To Right: Embrace Girls Representatives: Sharon Jackson; Miesha Darrough; Alicia Brown; Velma R. Lawrence; Francheca Wright and Phalencia Louisy. Not pictured:  Melba Pearson


Freedom's Sister Honoree Armenthia Dozier-Hodge shares a moment with Embrace members and Junior Freedom's Sisters for the day: Jeanette Dawson; Gabrielle Michel-Johnson; Dahlia and Camelia Miles.


Embrace member Gabrielle Michel-Johnson poses with Freedom's Sister Honoree Karen Andre. 


Embrace member Gabrielle Michel-Johnson posses with legendary, poet, author and activist, Dr. Sonia Sanchez.