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June 2013

May 2013

Town Hall Meeting on School Bond Program 5/30

MDCPS Bond Referendum Town Hall Meeting District 2
Don't miss this meeting to find out when or if your neighborhood schools will be upgraded.

A series of community meetings are scheduled held throughout the county regarding the school district’s 21st Century School Bond Program. Tomorrow’s meeting will be held in School Board District 2 which includes many of our schools with a predominantly black student body. 

Don’t miss this very important meeting. This is the meeting to attend for information and answers on the roll out of the bond program that the community voted for. Make sure you come out and get answers to your questions regarding the schools in your neighborhood. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors.



Town Hall Meeting to Discuss 21st Century School Bond Program

May 30, 2013

6:00pm - 7:30pm

Miami Northwestern Senior High School

1100 NW 71st Street

Miami, FL




Trayvon Martin Foundation Community Program of Peace, Justice and Prayer, 6/1

The trial of George Zimmerman, in the fatal shooting of Miami Gardens teen, Trayvon Martin is scheduled to begin soon. You may have already been following this case and are familiar with the defense’s attempt to assassinate the character of Trayvon.

Do understand that is would be a surprise if they didn’t attempt that tactic. There will likely be more tactics used and statements made that will anger Trayvon’s family, friends and supporters. It’s important to stay focused and informed so that justice is served. 

Join the Trayvon Martin Foundation, community leaders, clergy and concerned citizens at 3 PM, Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the Bethel Apostolic Temple, 1855 NW 119th Street, Miami for a community program of peace, justice and prayer.




WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24) voted against H.R. 1911, a Republican bill that would increase student loan borrowers’ costs by $3.7 billion according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The bill would force millions of students who are currently eligible for stable and low-interest federal loans to take out loans with skyrocketing interest rates that fluctuate year by year, worsening America’s student debt crisis.

As a lifelong educator and Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congresswoman Wilson has been a champion for student loan borrowers’ rights. She is a coauthor of H.R. 1330, the Student Loan Fairness Act, to reduce student debt burdens through conditional loan forgiveness and low-interest refinancing opportunities. Congresswoman Wilson is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act, to preserve the current 3.4% interest rate on Stafford subsidized loans and prevent future cost increases. She is also currently designing a “Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights” to cap interest rates, stop unfair lending practices, expand public service loan forgiveness programs, and protect disabled borrowers.
Following today’s vote, Congresswoman Wilson issued the following statement:

“At a time when students and graduates are struggling to pay tuition and find employment, it’s immoral and impractical to increase their costs further in order to pay for federal deficit reduction.

This Republican bill is asking students—and their families—to pick up the tab for a deficit crisis they did not create.

Everyone has a stake in increasing college access and affordability. The only way we can build a strong economy and reduce unemployment is to ensure that we have well-educated workers and world-class technologies.

I’m calling on Congress to protect the 3.4% interest rate on Stafford loans immediately. It’s about fairness. It’s about jobs. It’s about our future.”

The Best Man sequel coming to movie theaters this Fall [VIDEO]


The Best Man Holiday
The Best Man sequel premieres November 15!

Looking forward to watching the sequel to the 1999 hit movie, The Best Man, starring Taye Diggs; Morris Chestnut; Nia Long; Sanaa Lathan; Terrence Howard; Monica Calhoun; Harold Perrineau; Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall. It’s official title is The Best Man Holiday but some folks are calling it The Best Man 2. It will premiere on November 15 and show get great box office vibes based on the internet buzz alone. 


The Best Man 2

All of the main characters return.  This time around, Nia Long’s character, Jordan, appears to have moved on to a nice career at MSNBC judging from the PoliticsNation and The Rachel Maddow Show posters on the wall in her office. Joining the cast as her love interest is Eddie Cibrian (Brian McDonald). 

Although this film is a comedy, I’ve read there is drama and a few tears will likely be shed. Since my birthday is Veteran’s Day, November 11, I’ve already planned to celebrate by seeing The Best Man Holiday on opening night with friends. You’re welcome to join us. Stay tuned for more info. Let the countdown begin, family… Smooches… 





Today is Election Day in North Miami!


Today is Election Day in the City of North Miami. If you live in that city and are a registered voter, exercise your right to vote for the candidates you feel are best for your community. 

Voters will elect a mayor to succeed the term-limited Andre Pierre and a councilman for District 2 and District 3. During this cycle, election controversy and drama have run the gamut of ethnic polarization; attacks using voodoo; fist fighting and the latest, an endorsement by God.

Mayoral Candidates

  • Gwendolyn V. Boyd
  • Kevin Burns
  • Modira Escarment
  • Smith Joseph
  • Jean Rodrique Marcellus
  • Michael McDearmaid
  • Anna L. Pierre
  • Lucie M. Tondreau


Council Candidates District 2

  • Michael Blynn
  • Mary C. Irvin
  • Joseph Haber
  • Carol Keys


Council Candidates District 3

  • Philippe Bien-Aime
  • Michael A. Etienne
  • Hans Mardy
  • Jacques Despinosse
  • Katiusquie Pierre


Django Unchained
Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through
Kenya Moore: Booty Boot Camp

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture speaks to Tuskegee University graduates, opens new building

TU graduation2

TUSKEGEE, AL — Tuskegee University said farewell to the Class of 2013 during its 128th Spring Commencement Exercises Saturday in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education. The class of 400 jubilant graduates and their families were addressed by Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon and Thomas Vilsack, the secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.

In introductory remarks, Rochon told the audience that the university’s past is deeply rooted in agricultural studies. He also said agriculture still remains very much relevant in the New Millennium.

“By 2050, the world’s population is expected to surpass nine billion. In order to prepare for this growth, we must be dedicated to environmental sustainability, food security and innovative research,” Rochon said. “We are determined that Tuskegee graduates will be prepared to be on the frontlines of those issues.”


Vilsack: “Seek common ground.”

In his keynote address, Vilsack said America and the world have numerous issues in need of resolutions such as climate change food security. In order to address those issues, Vilsack urged the graduates not to cling to rigid positions, but to always try to see the perspective of the “murky middle.”  

“The future problem solvers, and that is what you have been trained to be, seek common ground and common purpose,” Vilsack said.

He went on to explain that he and everyone assembled wanted all of the graduates to be successful, but urged them to be mindful of those who contributed to their success. As they move forward, Vilsack said graduates must also remember that there are problems ahead.

“I want you to accept the challenge of your time,” Vilsack said. “Don’t be afraid to seek compromise, embrace the middle, and embrace the compromise.”

After the keynote address, Rochon conferred upon Vilsack an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa. Rochon was assisted by Luther S. Williams, provost and executive vice president and retired Maj. Gen. Charles E. Williams, chair of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees.


New science building opened

Thursday evening, Vilsack helped to open the first new science building on the university’s campus in 80 years. Vilsack, Rochon. Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and several representatives from the university community cut the ribbon for James Henry Meriwether Henderson Hall. The new facility will house state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories to support science and agricultural education programs.

James H.M. Henderson was a Tuskegee professor and administrator who spent more than 50 years at the university. He came to Tuskegee in 1945 and taught botany and plant physiology. He also served as head of the biology department, chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and director of the Carver Research Foundation.

“This building speaks to a man who made a commitment to education,” Vilsack said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “There is no greater gift.”


Urban League president urges Tuskegee graduates to make the right decisions about futures

TU graduation

TUSKEGEE, Ala.  — As they prepare to face their futures, Tuskegee University graduates were encouraged to be mindful of their choices. Friday, in his keynote address, Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, told the Class of 2013 that they are architects of their future and that their choices are a part of crafting their destinies.

After an introduction by Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon that outlined the links between the university and the National Urban League, Morial addressed the graduates.

“None of us can choose what happens to us or how people treat us all of the time,” Morial said to the audience in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education. “But we do have power in how we respond and in what we do.”

Morial also said the graduates need to make the choice about how they live their lives and what their purposes will be- to lead or to follow. As they climb the career ladder, Morial told the graduates to never forget their backgrounds or those who have not been able to attain the same successes.   

 “We all want nice things and to live comfortably, but on our way up – and certainly once we get there – we cannot forget those among us who are broken and poor,” Morial said.   

After the keynote address, Rochon conferred upon Morial an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa.

Following the baccalaureate service, graduates and their families were treated to a special reception at Grey Columns, the Tuskegee University presidential residence. The event was hosted by Rochon and his wife, Tuskegee University First Lady Patricia S. Rochon.

Skinit Tuskegee University for LeNu Case for Apple iPhone 4 / 4S

Skinit Tuskegee University for LeNu Case for Samsung Galaxy S III / S3

Skinit Tuskegee University for LeNu Plus Case for Apple iPhone 5

Florida Memorial University celebrates 134 years


Old stories, history, awards and legacies filled the day


FoundersDay13B Dr OBanner
Florida Memorial University Acting President Mary A. O'Banner

MIAMI GARDENS, FL. – The historic bell pealed in the crisp morning air, the sound of drums drifted across the campus and a sea of orange-and-blue set the scene for the Florida Memorial University (FMU) Founders’ Day.  A processional of hundreds draped in academic regalia, history and pageantry moved across campus toward the chapel with a purpose that seemed to colorfully illustrate the theme: “Moving Forward . . . The Legacy Continues.”

South Florida’s only historically black university recently celebrated 134 years since its founding in 1879. It was also the 45th anniversary of the university’s move to Miami. Bishop Billy Baskin, class of 1971 and pastor of New Way Fellowship Praise & Worship Center, delivered a message of history and hope.

”The Founders’ Day Convocation is the most important activity held on the campus,” said Acting President Mary A. O’Banner, after she addressed an overflow crowd at the university’s Susie C. Holley Religious Center.  “I believe that our founders would be proud to know that we are continuing the legacy on the 134th anniversary of this institution.”

The convocation featured several alumni who attended the school just after it was relocated from St. Augustine, including a local minister and a current student whose FMU legacy dates back for at least four generations.

Priscilla Dobbs, class of 1972, is a retired elementary school teacher who worked for 34 years with the Dade County Public Schools.  Dobbs, who now works with the School of Education at FMU, was on program to speak about the university’s history.

“I remember when the university moved here from St. Augustine,” Dobbs said. “It was a very good year because the average family income was $ 7,850, the cost of gas was 34 cents and a movie ticket was $1.50. The big movies were ‘The Graduate‘ and ‘Guess Who's Coming Dinner.’ ”

Dobbs, who grew up in Miami, said: “I decided that I would attend Florida Memorial because of the way they embraced our community and made the community feel a part of it . . .  a number of local students decided to attend.”

She deftly entertained the audience with her tales of yesterday. She said she wanted to tell the history her way: “You don’t let anyone tell your history,” she said. “You tell your own history.”

Shaconna Derico, a fourth-generation,  junior broadcast major from Pompano Beach, told the appreciative audience that more than 20 members of her family have attended – and graduated from the university that will soon become her alma mater, as well. Additionally, a cousin is on his way to join the Fall Freshman class.

“Every year, I’ve been learning more and more about this part of our family history,” she said after the program. “There’s a long list of about 20 people who are FMU alumni. I believe there are a few marriages that have come out of here. . . There are a lot of pastors on this list, as well.”

She remembered the first time she set foot on the Florida Memorial campus and how that solidified one portion of her life’s journey : “ I came to the Baptist Youth Camp when I was in middle school. That’s when I met a lot of other family members, toured the campus and just thought ‘This must be a great place.’ I just felt like I was at home. I fell in love with it.”

“When you see the blessings come down like this through generations,” Derico said, “it’s real.”

The convocation closed with a moving candlelight tribute to the five founders and with awards presentations to three community leaders who have been strong supporters of educating youth in the Miami area. The following honors were given:

The Humanitarian Award

This award, which recognizes individuals who have given outstanding service to their community, was presented to The Rev. Canon Richard L. Marquess-Barry, Rector and Pastor/Retired, of the historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church.  When his congregation asked what they could do upon his retirement, he asked them to help him raise $50,000 for scholarships. He has contributed $12,500 to Florida Memorial, along with $12,500 each to his alma mater, St. Augustine College; Bethune Cookman University (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Edward Waters College (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Sarah Blocker Meritorious Service Award

Barbara Wright, president of the Senior Women’s Auxiliary of the Progressive M&E Baptist State Convention of Florida, was the recipient of the highest honor the university can bestow upon a woman, the Sarah Blocker Meritorious Service Award. Wright, of Tampa, was noted for scholarship funds provided by the Convention totaling more than $300,000. 

The Nathan B. Collier Meritorious Service Award

The Nathan B. Collier Meritorious Service Award, the highest award the university bestows upon a man, went to William “Bill McCormick, class of 1987. McCormick, president and chief executive office of Medivance, was recognized for his continuous financial gifts for scholarships.

In the end, alumni told stories of yesterday, awards were presented and the FMU history was recounted. . . As the recessional began, one young man in an orange-and-blue bow tie was overheard saying, almost to himself:  “The legacy continues.” 

Founders Day DSC_0270
Florida Memorial University's Founders' Day Service

Happy Mother's Day


Mary Woodard
Remembering my mother, Mary Woodard, on Mother's Day and everyday. Love you always. Sleep in Peace.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere. If you can give your mother a hug or talk to her on the telephone, understand that you are blessed. If your mother is no longer with you in the natural, understand that you are blessed because she is always with you. Most of all, understand that you don't need a 'special' day to show love to your mother or anyone else. 

If you feel so inclined, give a shout out in our comments section to your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, godmother or any woman who nurtured you and helped you become the person you are today. Peace.