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April 2013

New Miss Tuskegee University chosen

Tuskegee, AL - Tuskegee University students elected Randi Lerai Harrison as Miss Tuskegee University 2013-2014 on April 18.

The pageant was held in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education and was judged by an independent panel. The traditional event began with an invocation, followed by a welcome, and a stylish opening dance performance by the contestants.

Harrison, a junior majoring in elementary education from Spartanburg, S.C., is the daughter of Charlton Dawkins Williams and Rayfield Harrison. She is the the 84th Miss Tuskegee University and ran on the platform, “The Dash: Paying it forward.” Harrison competed against two other contestants in areas that highlighted the young women's oratorical skills, talent, poise and appearance.

First attendant, Courtney Degraffenreid-Elliot of Tuscaloosa, Ala. and second attendant, Scotti Michele Rowser of Gadsden, Ala., will serve as the new Miss Tuskegee University’s court.

Miss Tuskegee 2012-2013 Alexandria Wilson gave her farewell address, former Miss Tuskegee Breana Watkins served as the mistress of ceremony. There were also performances by the men and women's glee clubs.

Other contestants included April Baldwin of Birmingham, Ala.; Breyon Phillips of Marietta, Ga.; Breanna D. Warren of Eufaula, Ala.; Ashlyn Goodwin of Selma, Ala.; and Ashley Hay of Tuskegee, Ala.

By: Eryk J. Pritchett, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Doctor shares research on possible treatment that can kill HIV

TUSKEGEE, AL — According to the World Health Organization’s figures for 2011, more than 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV. April 19, visiting scientist, Dr. James E.K. Hildreth shared his work with an experimental treatment that could virtually eliminate the virus in the body. Hildreth, dean of the College of Biological Sciences and professor of cellular and molecular medicine and internal medicine at the University of California, Davis, spoke to Tuskegee University students and faculty about the relationship between cholesterol and HIV.

Hildreth’s work has found that the presence of cholesterol in cells is vital to the replication of HIV and its continued presence in the human body.

“HIV is a thief that steals proteins from the host,”Hildreth explained to the audience in John A. Kenney auditorium.

In studies he has conducted on HIV-infected human and animal cells, Hildreth has found that the introduction of a sugar, Beta-Cyclodextrin, is detrimental to the replication abilities of HIV. Often used in pharmaceuticals to make drug delivery more efficient, Beta-Cyclodextrin is well tolerated by the body, but can deplete the amount of cholesterol in cells. Hildreth said the loss of cholesterol makes the cell membrane permeable; however, the cell is able to repair itself unlike the virus.

“Removing as little as 10 percent of cholesterol is enough to cause the virus to die,” Hildreth said.

Hildreth said he and his team are currently working to get approval to begin testing the use of an intravenous Beta-Cyclodextrin treatment on human patients. He also is moving forward with the development of a vaginal microbicide cream that helps block transmission of the virus. Odorless and almost undetectable, the cream acts as a chemical condom option for women to protect themselves.

“Women will have the same power and choice as men have,” Hildreth said.

For more information about Hildreth and his research, go to:

Incepture Hiring Bilingual (English-Haitian/Creole and English-Spanish) Insurance Customer Service Associates for at Miami Job Fair

(MIAMI) – Florida staffing agency Incepture is hosting a job fair on Monday, May 6 to hire a number of bilingual customer service associates for a large Florida-based health insurance company.

The staffing agency will host an open house to meet potential candidates May 6 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Florida Blue office at 8400 N.W. 33rd Street, Suite 100 in Miami. Incepture is looking for candidates who are bilingual in English-Haitian/Creole and English-Spanish.

In addition to their language skills, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, 2 or more years of experience in healthcare customer service, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Job seekers should be prepared to work shifts between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Incepture recommends that candidates create a profile on to prepare for the job fair. Interested candidates who cannot attend the job fair can apply online at Incepture’s Miami jobs page for the Bilingual Customer Service Advocate position.

About Incepture: At Incepture, we pride ourselves on being more than an ordinary staffing agency. We strive to develop a strong partnership that provides benefits both to our clients and job seekers. Visit our website for more information on our Florida employment solutions.

Source: Incepture


Immigrants and workers of Miami are invited to participate in a Public Assembly in Little Haiti to learn about Immigration Reform

Miami, FL – Immigrant and workers rights organizations, advocacy groups and community organizations will hold a public assembly to inform the community about the Immigration Reform bill currently being debated in the Senate, and engage Miamians to actively participate and demand Congress a new immigration system this year.

The Public Assembly will be held On Wednesday, May 1st at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL 33137) from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Immigration Reform is not a law yet, and we have to keep participating to make it become a reality for thousands of Floridians and millions of aspiring American families,” says Kathy Bird, from the Florida Immigrant Coalition, one of the organizers of the event. “After the Senate’s Gang of 8 filed their proposal for Immigration Reform, many in our community were confused and thought it had passed… it has not! Now more than ever everyone needs to participate actively and reach out to our Members of Congress until Immigration Reform becomes a law.”

The event will be held on May 1st to commemorate International Workers’ Day. This date has become a tradition for immigrant workers in the United States, who have come to this country to work and earn a better future for their families.

“Work unites us all. America was built by our hard work and we take pride in it. However, the most humble of our immigrant workers are the least protected in our country, and are often victims of abuse, unpaid salaries and inhumane working conditions.” says Andy Mates, President of the South Florida AFL-CIO. “A real and comprehensive Immigration Reform will give an opportunity and help protect immigrant workers who wake up every day to collect our food, serve our hotels and restaurants, build our houses, open businesses and create jobs, and even make incredible contributions to science and technology.”

The Public Assembly will be open for all members of the community. Translation to Spanish and Kreyol will be provided.

Organizations preparing the event include: the Florida Immigrant Coalition, South Florida Jobs with Justice, SEIU, 1Miami, South Florida AFL-CIO, National Council of La Raza, Unite Here, Haitian Women of Miami, Dreamer's Moms.


Miami, FL — Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) will host the grand opening of the 24th Congressional District office in Miramar, on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Miramar district office is located on the first floor of city hall, at 2300 Civic Center Place, Miramar, Florida 33025. The public is invited.

“The 24th Congressional district is growing due to increased population and boundary changes. As a result, my Congressional office must grow with it and extend its reach to be more accessible to my constituents in Broward County. The newly opened Miramar district office will provide convenience and direct access to my Congressional staff, to address the concerns and meet the needs of my constituents,” said Congresswoman Wilson.

The Miramar Congressional district office will open every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHO: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

WHAT: Grand Opening of 24th Congressional District Office in Miramar, Florida 33025

WHEN: Tuesday, April, 30, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Miramar City Hall, 2300 Civic Center Place, 1st Floor

Career Opportunities

Early Education Co-Teacher
United Way of Miami-Dade's Center for Excellence in Early Education is seeking a co-teacher to help provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to encourage their social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. An Associate's Degree in Child Development/Early Childhood, and Infant/Toddler CDA required. Bilingual Preferred. Salary range is $24k-$29k. Please send resume to [email protected].

Storybook Reading Volunteers
Read aloud to K-1 students in summer camp with the Read To Learn Initiative. Volunteers needed all over Miami-Dade County. Great opportunity for education majors, retirees, or unemployed. Stipend available to cover transportation costs. Contact: (786) 388-3000 or email [email protected]. To register to volunteer, click here.

Grant Clinical Supervisor, Temporary Therapists, Targeted Case Managers
The Institute for Child and Family Health (ICFH) has openings in the following areas: grant clinical supervisor, temporary therapists, targeted case managers, peer specialist and secretary. Visit for a summary of qualifications and application instructions. ICFH is an EOE and D/F/W/P. Background screening required. Contact Sylvia Sanders at (305) 685-4231. Email resumes to [email protected].

Head Start Teacher/Teacher Assistants & Substitutes
Paradise Christian School has openings for Head Start teachers, teacher assistants and substitutes. Candidates should be dedicated, enthusiastic, creative individuals who enjoy working with young children. Minimum requirements, National CDA, preferrably, B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Contact Luzy Garcia at (305) 828-7477. Email resumes to [email protected].

I&R Specialist/Chat Counselor
Switchboard of Miami has an opening for a Chat counselor to provide information and referrals to social service agencies,crisis counseling and suicide intervention services for callers contacting the Contact Center. Bachelor\'s degree in social work or social services and two years customer service experience. For details, contact Carolyn Broughton at (305) 358-1640 or email [email protected].

Accountant (part-time)
Switchboard of Miami seeks an accountant to prepare grant and contract billings, compile contract reports,cash receipts journals,perform monthly general ledger closing, Accounts Receivable, and reconcile bank accounts. Bachelor's degree in Accounting, two years accounting experience required. Contact Carolyn Broughton at (305) 358-1640 or email [email protected].

City of Miami Gardens Taps Sonshine Communications as PR Agency for the City’s 10th Year Anniversary Campaign

Miami Gardens, FL -- Marking the 10th Anniversary, the City of Miami Gardens has announced a new business relationship with one of Florida’s leading public relations, marketing, and advertising agencies.

Sonshine Communications has been retained to assist in providing marketing, production and creative support services to the City of Miami Gardens. The first of many tasks the agency mastered included the development of video promotions in celebration of the City’s anniversary, which featured the Mayor and Council Members. The campaign, coined after the anniversary theme – “Cultivating Possibilities” - made its debut during the 2013 Jazz in the Gardens concert and celebration.

“We recognize the need to move to the next level and looked for an agency that could help fulfill this ambitious initiative in a creative and meaningful way,” says Mayor Oliver Gilbert. “We’re pleased with the collaboration and know great things will come from it.”

With an impressive 20 years in the business, Sonshine is a full service public relations, marketing and advertising agency. Owned and operated by Bernadette Morris, a lifelong resident of Miami, her company has implemented campaigns for clients and organizations around the country. They are the recipient of numerous ADDY awards and honors from peers in the field including PRSA and Chambers throughout the city, county and beyond.

Pictured (l to r): Bernadette Morris, president/CEO of Sonshine Communications with City of Miami Gardens Mayor, Oliver Gilbert.

National Action Network - Community Leaders Gather To Stop Gun Violence

A forum on gun violence was held Monday night at Miami Jackson Senior High School. (CBS4)

MIAMI (CBS4) – Hundreds gathered at Miami Jackson Senior High School to talk about ways to stop gun violence.

The National Action Network hosted the forum Monday night.

In an auditorium packed with people, 15 year old Aaron Willis sat in his wheelchair. The 9thgrader at Booker T. Washington Senior High was shot in the back in December while riding his bike.

Aaron says he’s adjusting to life without the use of his legs.

“I got more used to being in a wheelchair,” he said.

But his father Sammie Willis says this isn’t something any teen should have to get used to.

“It’s absolutely necessary for someone to do something, to step up and stop this violence. There [are] kids out here killing each other with guns. It’s just time for the violence to stop,” he said.

Sammie Willis participated in a panel discussion about stopping gun violence in the community.

“You’ve got to cure the cancer and it’s going to take some time but it has to start somewhere,” he said.

Organizers of the forum say just discussing the problem is a step in the right direction. They were pleased to see a large crowd at Miami Jackson.

The school lost a student to gun violence just last December. Straight-A student, Bryan Herrera, was shot and killed while riding his bike to a friend’s house to do homework.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says 99 children in Miami-Dade became homicide victims between 2009-2012, including 81 shooting victims.

“Since I became superintendent, I’ve attended over 50 funerals, viewings, burials of my children. This has to stop. It’s in our control to make it stop,” said Carvalho.

Carvalho says schools need to partner with community groups to keep occupied before and after school and on weekends.

“Kids are safe in schools,” said Carvalho, “It’s what happens on the streets it’s what happens in the parks.”

Other shooting victims who survived to tell their stories hope others will learn from them. Brandon Allen was 17 when he was shot in the neck in February of 2012 on his way home from school.

“Just walking, a normal day taking my regular route home, a car pulled up on the side of me and my friends and opened fire, and before I knew it I was on the ground blood everywhere,” he said.

Aaron Willis, who will have to be homeschooled until next year said his message is this: “There’s better ways to do it, there ain’t a reason to go around shooting.”

Organizers say it will take the entire community working together to stop violence among young people. They said the large turnout for Monday’s forum is a step in the right direction.

League of Women Voters of Florida Responds to Today's Passage of Ethics, Campaign Finance Bills

Tallahassee, FL-- Today, the Florida House took positive steps forward in the area of ethics reform via passage of SB 2. Meanwhile, the Senate moved in the opposite direction by passing a campaign finance bill (HB 569) that significantly increases campaign contributions, undermining the voices of Main Street Floridians.

According to LWVF President Deirdre Macnab, "Today's passage of SB 2 represents the most significant effort at ethics reform in 37 years in Florida. Among the many positive improvements made by the bill are: an increased ability for the Ethics Commission to collect fines that are owed, a requirement that financial disclosure forms to be put online where the public can easily review them, and stronger safeguards against elected officials utilizing their public office for personal financial gain."

Conversely, the League is disappointed by the campaign finance bill passed by the Senate today. Macnab elaborates, "While we might agree that the bill has some important provisions, the League believes that the bad aspects of this proposal sadly outweigh the good. Raising the limits on campaign contributions not only reduces the likelihood of contributions from ordinary Florida voters, it also has been show to reduce voter turnout, something that Florida can ill afford. Components of this bill include a six-fold increase in amount of money that statewide candidates can accept from individuals and corporations, and a two-fold increase for other candidates. This is not only unnecessary in light of the staggering amount of money that already floods our political process, but it also drowns out the voices of average citizens. The League echoes the sentiments of Governor Scott on this issue, who stated, 'No one has shown me a rationale for raising these limits, so I don't know why we would be doing it.'"