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July 2011

June 2011

Miss Jamaica Florida Winners Crowned

Miss Jamaica Florida
From left to right: Miss Jamaica Florida, Tiana Henry; Miss Teen Jamaica Florida, Crystal Robinson; Junior Miss Jamaica Florida, Angel Ennis; and Little Miss Jamaica Florida, Asha-Mizan Cope-Edwards

The 22nd Annual Miss Jamaica Florida Pageant crowned four new beauties on this past Sunday, June 26, 2011 at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts. The newly crowned ambassadors will receive a week-long all expenses paid trip to Jamaica, with accommodations provided by the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa. They will meet with government officials and participate in humanitarian projects adopted by the Partners for Youth Foundation. 

The trip also includes visits to famous tourist attractions and national landmarks across the island as well as a prize package filled with a number of beautiful gifts to celebrate their win. These four young ladies will also participate in numerous cultural and philanthropic activities in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County throughout their year long reign. 

Contestants ages 5- 21, competed in four age categories; Little Miss, Junior Miss, Miss Teen, and Miss. This year the pageant celebrated Jamaicans around the world by embodying the theme, “I AM JAMAICA” a dedication to members of the Jamaican Diaspora that have made remarkable contributions to their respective craft and as a result have enhanced the Jamaican culture globally. 

Live performances included world renowned percussionist Willie Stewart formerly of Third World; producer, songwriter and jazz musician Randy Corinthian, DJ Louis "luga" Williams of IIcon Sound, and a special surprise performance by award winning producer and the official DJ for Sean Paul and Baby Cham, Shaun Anderson of the international DJ group Coppershot Disco. 

Sponsors for this year's winners included: The Dental Place; Stafflink Outsourcing Inc.; Classy Hair; and Phyl’s Academy Prep School.

Congresswoman Wilson Requests Release of Veteran Elisha Dawkins from Detention

Wilson: “This is a Man We Should Be Celebrating, Not Deporting”

Officer Dawkins Grew Up in the Heart of Florida’s 17th District, Attending Poinciana Park Elementary and Miami Central Senior High School

Potential Deportation of Veteran a Perfect Example of Why We Need the DREAM Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-17) today sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to request a removal of detainer on former Petty Officer 2nd Class, Elisha Leo Dawkins, who has been held for the past month in a Miami federal detention facility. Officer Dawkins was originally detained for an alleged passport violation. Even if he is released from detention, he is still at risk of deportation based on an order issued in 1992.

Mr. Dawkins was brought to the U.S. as a baby from The Bahamas and was raised believing he was a U.S. citizen, eventually rising to serve in our military with distinction. He grew up in the heart of Florida’s 17th District, attending Poinciana Park Elementary and Miami Central Senior High School.

“This is a man we should be celebrating, not deporting,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “He has bravely and heroically fought for our country and deserves our utmost gratitude. His situation is more than unfortunate; it is inexplicable. I am asking that Mr. Dawkins be allowed to continue to be the type of role model he has always been – here, on American soil.

“This is precisely why we need to pass the DREAM Act. We need comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that incidents like this never happen again to our brave men and women who served in uniform.”

In addition to awaiting a response from Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Congresswoman Wilson’s district office is working closely with all relevant authorities to resolve the case.

The story was first reported by The Miami Herald


Miami Dade College to Host Documentary Screening on Toussaint Louverture’s Life and the Haitian Revolution July 12

Miami, June 29, 2011 Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Center for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Miami have partnered to host a three-part event to bring awareness to the life of Toussaint Louverture, the leader of the Haitian Revolution. The event will include a documentary screening of Égalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, followed by a question-and-answer segment and an informal reception that will begin at noon Tuesday, July 12, at MDC’s North Campus.  The event is free and open to the public.

This program is presented in collaboration with MDC’s Office of International Education (OIE) and the Office of Student Life at North Campus. The documentary, Égalité for All, is the story of Louverture’s life and as leader of the 1791 slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue, and how his military genius and political acumen led to the establishment of the independent nation of Haiti that eventually transformed an entire society of slaves into a free, self-governing people. The success of the revolution greatly affected the institution of slavery throughout the New World, and eventually led to Louverture gaining control of the entire island.

“The Republic of Haiti is an island nation steeped in rich history and tradition, and we’re looking forward to the thoughtful discourse this formidable program highlighting Toussaint Louverture will inspire,” said Dr. José A. Vicente, president of MDC’s North Campus.

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please contact Carlos Barrezueta at 305-237-3944 or [email protected]

WHAT:  Égalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution documentary screening, Q & A session and informal reception                  

WHEN:  Tuesday, July 12

            Noon - 1 p.m.  (Documentary Screening in Room A104)

            1 - 1:30 p.m. (Q & A session in Room A104)

            1:30 - 2:30 p.m. (Reception in Science Complex Plaza)                    

WHERE: Miami Dade College North Campus, 11380 N.W. 27th Ave., Buildings 1 and A (Activities will be held in separate locations. See above for room numbers).



Local Democrats Host Celebration for Elected Officials

MIAMI, FL – June 29, 2011 – After a tough Republican-driven 2011 Legislative session, Democratic elected officials from the Miami-Dade State legislative delegation will gather to speak about the bills passed and ways in which young voters can become civically engaged.

The Miami-Dade Young Democrats will host the “Fired Up! Welcome Back Celebration and School Supplies Drive” on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 7:00p.m. The event will take place at the Burgundy Room located at 3015 Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove.

As part of an ongoing initiative and a commitment to education, young democrats will collect schools supplies during the event.

The following officials have been invited: Senator Oscar Braynon II, Senator Larcenia Bullard, Senator Gwen Margolis, Senator Nan Rich, Representative Dwight Bullard, Representative Luis Garcia, Jr., Representative John Patrick Julien, Representative Franklin Sands, Representative Ron Saunders, Representative Cynthia Stafford, Representative Barbara Watson, Representative Richard Steinberg


Related Link:  Miami-Dade Young Democrats


Top Five Reasons to Vote for Carlos Gimenez for Miami-Dade County Mayor

We're down to the wire in the Miami-Dade County mayoral race. Not surprisingly, we're down to Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez. Some polls show Gimenez with a commanding lead but Robaina is a master politician and has amassed a tremendous campaign war chest so the position is truly up for grabs. After a tremendous disappointment because of the drama surrounding the coveted endorsement of Luther Campbell, and the incessant robocalls and negative campaign ads, here are my reasons for supporting Carlos Gimenez.

5. Carlos Gimenez is not under investigation by the IRS. As much as Julio Robaina would like to distance himself from the allegations surrounding his involvement in shadow banking, loansharking or a Ponzi scheme, this issue has a tremendous stickiness factor and that's not good for Robaina. He says he is a victim, let's see how that plays out.

4. Carlos Gimenez was not endorsed by Jeb Bush. Like it or not, the Bush name is still not received favorably by most blacks, Democrats and folks in public education, especially in Florida. From the Kendrick Meek-Tony Hill sit-in to so-called education reform, that endorsement will not curry favor among many voters.

3. Carlos Gimenez did not vote for Rick Scott for Governor of Florida. Carlos Gimenez said he voted for Alex Sink for Governor of Florida. Julio Robaina said he voted for Rick Scott. Both men are Republican. What does that mean? Well, for starters, Gimenez is not a go along to get along kind of person. Independence and courage are great qualities in our next mayor. Why does a statewide race matter? All politics is local and don't ever forget that.

2. Former State Rep. Ralph Arza is not a key Carlos Gimenez campaign adviser. Why is that important? Well, Arza resigned from office after repeatedly referring to then Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew, who is black, as a nigger. He also threatened a colleague. The situation was very ugly. Nevertheless, when Robaina was pressed about Arza, Robaina's response basically was that a friend made a mistake and he apologized. Blacks are always expected to accept someone's apology with no further recourse. Repeat a Bible verse. Wait a few weeks and the blacks will forget. Not this time.

1. The Robaina campaign and their friends have consistently lied about the record of Carlos Gimenez. They have also attempted to tie him to recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez. A good friend of mine frequently says, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts." Carlos Gimenez opposed many of Mayor Carlos Alvarez's initiatives such as the Marlins stadium and property tax increase. The real question voters should be asking is why the majority of the Board of County Commissioners voted otherwise but that's another story.

There are more reasons to vote for Gimenez that have been documented elsewhere. Barring any more election drama, we should know who the new mayor is on Tuesday night. Many voters are intentionally sitting this one out because they don't particularly like either candidate. What a shame. In a few weeks the new mayor has to present a budget that plugs an anticipated $400 million budget hole and deal with other important issues. If you sit this one out you have no right to complain. Campaigning starts again for the mayor's race in 2012. Whoopee!

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Wilson Receives Visionary Award from Bethune-Cookman Alumni

[Nassau, Bahamas] United States Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson was honored in Nassau, Bahamas with the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Visionary Award on Friday June 17, 2011. As the first US Congresswoman of Bahamian descent, Congresswoman Wilson was recognized for capturing the legacy of Dr. McLeod-Bethune through her 18 years of public service and her continuous dedication to helping develop the lives of young people. The award presentation took place during the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Corporate Breakfast which is a part of the 43rd Annual Conference hosted by the Bethune-Cookman University National Alumni Association.

From left to right: Lyndell Mims, President of Mims Construction, Inc., Ray Brinson, President of B-CU National Alumni Association (NAA) Kimberly Simmons, Ms. B-CU NAA Queen 2010-11 Congresswoman Frederica Wilson Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, President of Bethune-Cookman University Evelyn Walker, Past President, B-CU NAA Gladeez McCoy, Ms. Maroon, 2010

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[BREAKING NEWS] Two Miami Central graduates headed to UF involved in tragic accident

It has been reported that two recent Miami Central graduates, Melissa Broderick an Ledina Demercy were involved in an automobile accident while headed to Gainesville to start college at the University of Florida. Either one of both of Ledina's parents were killed, we are not sure of that yet.

There are no details on when, where and how this accident occurred but both young ladies were injured and survived the accident. They lost all of their possessions they were taking with them and must deal with the loss of a parent. The Miami Central Alumni Association is poised to take action to help these young ladies overcome this tremendous challenge. Check this space for updates as your assistance may be needed also.

Please keep these young ladies and their families in your prayers.

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Pan-Hellenic elects new officers

Congratulations to the newly-elected officers of the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Miami-Dade for 2011-2013.


Rho Sigma Chapter, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
First Vice President
Anderson Eldridge                
Beta Beta Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
Second Vice President
Tennial Marhonte                
Mu Gamma Zeta Chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Chris Stevenson                   
Iota Pi Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
Recording Secretary
Mawiyah Skinner                 
Eta Kappa Sigma Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority
Corresponding Secretary
Lulu Orange                         
Beta Tau Zeta Chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Financial Secretary
France Marie Canal                
Eta Nu Zeta Chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Demarco Tyler Banks              
Richmond-Perrine Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity



Father and "Sons" celebrate Father's Day through artistic collaboration

Andrew Philp, Geoffrey Philp and Patrick Pollack

Miami, June 16, 2011 – Award winning Jamaican writer, Geoffrey Philp, and his "sons," Andrew Philp and Patrick Pollack, have published a children's e-book, Marcus and the Amazons. Livicated to Kamau Brathwaite, who was Philp's mentor at the Unversity of Miami's Caribbean Summer Writers' Institute, the e-book has been published just in time for Father's Day.

"I couldn't draw to save my life," said Philp. "I'd never written an e-book before, but with Andrew's help with formatting the text and Patrick's with drawing the characters, I think we've created something special."

Patrick Pollack, a naturally reticent young man who bears a striking resemblance to reggae icon, Bob Marley,agreed. "I'd never used a tablet before or created in a virtual medium," he said. "But when Pops—that's what I call Andrew's dad—told me he needed the illustrations in less than two months, I panicked. But with Andrew's help, Marcus looks awesome."

"My dad wrote the story and we did the rest," said Andrew proudly. "Patrick, who has been like a brother to me, created amazing illustrations, so it was easy for me to work with them in Adobe. I also helped my dad with the formatting of the text because he's kind of old fashioned."

Marcus and the Amazons is about a courageous ant who saves his colony from an evil tyrant without resorting to violence or warfare.

"This is the first time I've worked with Andrew and Patrick in this capacity," Philp confessed. "I've watched them from the time they were boys shooting hoops in our driveway to now creating an e-book with them. They've grown up into fine young men."

Marcus and the Amazons may be purchased online at Smashwords and Amazon and is available on all major mobile platforms including Android, Blackberry, and iPhone apps.

Geoffrey Philp, an award winning Jamaican poet and fiction writer, teaches English at Miami Dade College, where he also chairs the College Preparatory Department. A critically acclaimed author, Philp's work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and theOxford Book of Caribbean Verse. He maintains a blog at

Andrew Philp is a graduate of Dr. Michael Krop Senior High. He is a film and computer science major at Miami Dade College.

Patrick Pollack is a senior at Dr. Michael Krop High School. In the fall of 2011, he will be attending Miami Dade College to major in art. A prolific cartoonist, Marcus and the Amazons is the first project that Patrick has worked on as an illustrator.

Contact: Geoffrey Philp, 786-556-7192, MabrakBooks [at]
Marcus and the Amazons is on sale at, of course.

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The proverbial spotlight is being shined on an unheralded segment of African-American and in fact American history. Under the watchful and respectful care of the recently formed national Black Railroader’s Historical Society, Black Railroaders are finally getting some recognition. The society has made its mission putting history on the right track and they are doing so with the First Annual Black Railroaders’ Reunion and Juneteenth Jubilee. The reunion and jubilee are scheduled for the weekend of June 18th and 19th, in Richmond Heights, Florida on the grounds of the Gold Coast Railroad Museum.

The museum is home to an actual refurbished Jim Crow rail car and is currently housing an amazing exhibit of Black railroad memorabilia compiled by Artist/Author Alan Laird. Femi Folami Browne, one of the founding members of the society along with Mr. Laird says, “There is no recollection of the history of the railroad system in the United States without the recollection of the contributions of African-Americans in it – or at least there should not be.” The society is partnering with other organizations to make the weekend a historical and festive success including the A. Philip Randolph Institute Miami-Dade Chapter.

APRI Chapter President Lovette McGill said it is important the national community, especially those with ties to Black railroaders whether porters, maids, mechanics or other others, to attend this event. “It is so important for all Black history to be recognized. Many people in have forgotten or don’t know the history of Blacks on railroads. Many in Miami, and probably other places, don’t remember that many people worked on the trains that ran through Miami; and not just Amtrak but others. We have forgotten the history that blacks helped build from laying tracks to repairing trains.”

The weekend begins with an installation breakfast Saturday morning, June 18, 2011, hosted by Miami Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss at the Biscayne Bay Marriot. The breakfast will be capped with a lecture on the Black influence on American railroad history by Author Theodore Kornweibel. Next the community is invited to see railroad history through various trains and an art exhibit chronicling Black railroad history pre-Word War 1. From there the celebration moves to a gala dinner that evening also at the Biscayne Bay Marriot in collaboration with the Miami-Dade chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute. The event will feature the recognition of NBRSH inductees. Notables expected to attend the events include former Pullman Porter Sollie Mitchell (who will celebrate his 96th birthday as part of the celebration), Community Activist Georgia Ayers (whose family was displaced as part of the Colored Railroad Shop Families), Pamela Beckford (who was part of the first all Black-female conducting and engineering crew with Amtrak) and Carlyle Smith (the Obama Campaign Train conductor).

The weekend additionally includes a two day celebration at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum (at the entry gate just before Zoo Miami). The celebration on Saturday (11am – 4pm) and Sunday (11am – 2pm) will feature area artists, train rides, exhibit tours and the opportunity to hear presentations by some of the notables in railroad history. The event will close out Sunday afternoon (1pm) with a wine tasting by South Miami native Author Gwenda Kenon. Kenon will discuss her soon-to-be-released book WINES AND COLLARD GREENS, and the wine tasting. The tasting will feature a sampling of collard greens.

Visual artists and other vendors still have the opportunity to participate in the commemorative weekend. Details and applications for all processes are available at

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