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March 2014

Ex-FAMU band member to do jail time in hazing death


Former FAMU Marching 100 member, Jessie Baskin, of Miami, is the first of the defendants to be sentenced to jail time. Baskin was sentenced to 51 weeks of jail time, 5 years probation, 300 hours of community service and must pay $3,000 in the hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion in November 2011. Baskin was facing nine years in prison. Robert Champion’s parents wanted him to serve the maximum. Five remaining defendants are still awaiting trial. Read more about the case here.


Related Link:

Ex-FAMU Band Member Gets 1 Year In Hazing Death


Carl Juste: A Retrospective – A Photo Exhibit Documenting 25 years of Photojournalist’s Career “Through the Lens” – 60th Anniversary Alumni Artist Series: Exhibit 3

Carl Juste talks to some young guests about his photo essay, “Invictus: Haiti Unconquered” that opened in December, Art Basel, 2010 at the ACND Gallery.


Miami, FL_ Carl Juste (a graduate of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep ’81) presents a retrospective of his work documenting the course of his 25 year career as photojournalist for the Miami Herald and past exhibits at ACND including: "Cachao" 2007; "Havana & Haiti" 2008; and "Invictus: Haiti Unconquered.”

Under threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl Phillipe Juste fled with his family from Haiti in 1965. Settling in Miami’s Haitian community, Juste flourished academically and won a scholarship to the University of Miami. Although he intended to be an engineer, he could not ignore the photographic inner voice that had spoken to him since childhood. Responding to a clear relationship he shared with the visual world, Juste vigorously pursued photojournalism and since 1991, has served his community through his work at the Miami Herald. He has received numerous awards for his work from Picture of the Year, Pulitzer Prize, Society for News Design, Best of Photojournalism, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. Juste is founder of both the IPC Visual Lab and Iris Photo Collective.


Juste has exhibited his own work and of his students from IPC Visual Lab many times at the ACND Gallery, and has exhibited at both solo and group shows at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Little Haiti Cultural Center, and other galleries throughout South Florida.

“Our 60th Anniversary year has allowed us an opportunity to welcome alums from as far back as the ‘50’s,” commented Douglas Romanik. “Carl, however, has been constantly present. Whether it is to exhibit his own work or of his students, to mentor our students, or teach, we are very thankful for his contribution. His influence upon our community cannot go unnoticed either. I hope that everyone comes out to celebrate his achievements!”



Carl Juste: A Retrospective
60th Anniversary Alumni Artist Series Part 3
Opening Reception: 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 29, 2014
Exhibit Closes April 30, 2014
ACND Gallery of Art at
Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep
4949 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL
(305) 751-8367
[email protected]

 Photot: IPC Visual Lab



Florida Hearing on Voting

Monday, March 31, 2014

3:00pm - 7:00pm

University of Miami School of Law

1311 Miller Rd

Coral Gables, FL 33146

Attention voters, activists, elections officials and all with a stake in Florida’s elections! We invite you to come out to the University of Miami School of Law to hear about the state of voting in Florida and share your voting experiences.The hearing is free, nonpartisan, and open to the public! There will be two panels of witnesses testifying on topics such as voting discrimination, registration and polling place problems, access for voters with disabilities and language minorities, and more.

This hearing is part of a series of fact-finding hearings hosted by theNational Commission on Voting Rights that are taking place across the country. The goal of these hearings is to learn more about the current landscape of elections. Over the past few years, numerous states have enacted restrictive voting laws, while many others continue to grapple with recurring election administration and electoral reform challenges. The Commission will document what keeps voters from the ballot box and election reform efforts that expand access.

The public can participate by providing oral testimony during the hearing’s public comment periods and by submitting written testimony before the hearing by email to[email protected].

RSVP is strongly encouraged, but not required. RSVPhere.

Please share this email notice with your networks, and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag#NCVR.

For questions, please contact Rebecca Kelly Arnold at [email protected].

Register Now

Our Growing List of Partners:

Advancement Project • American Civil Liberties Union of Florida • Common Cause • Disability Rights Florida • Florida New Majority • Florida State Conference of the NAACP • LatinoJustice PRLDEF • League of Women Voters of Florida

The South Florida Black Journalists Association and FIU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Honors Women Influencers in Media and Communications at the Women In Media Roundtable for Women’s History Month

Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment

Miami, FL—The South Florida Black Journalists Association (SFBJA) and FIU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) will honor seven key women who have influenced the media and communications. “Women in Media,’’ a roundtable, will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 3 p.m. at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL 33181 in the Bayview Ballroom (Wolf University Center, Room 221). The honorees, who will share how they have navigated through the industry, include:

  • Trina Robinson, NBC6 Investigative Anchor;
  • Carolyn Guniss, managing editor for the South Florida Times;
  • Suzan McDowell, owner, president, and CEO of Circle of One Marketing;
  • Yvette N. Harris, founder and lifestyle strategist for Harris Public Relations;
  • Traci Cloyd, on air personality for WHQT-FM Hot105;
  • Julia Yarbough, author, media relations specialist for Julia Yarbough Media Group; and
  • Trenae Floyd, public affairs coordinator for Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan.

"These are women who have spent their careers delivering news or otherwise facilitating the storytelling process. While many are household names, they often toil without receiving the full amount of recognition they deserve. These women have been "leaning in" well before the best-selling book generated today's buzzword about women and leadership, " states SFBJA President Terrence Shepherd.

Each woman was chosen for her distinguished career accomplishments and contributions to the South Florida media landscape. Suzette Maylor will moderate the panel.


WHO: Seven powerhouse women in media and communications—Trina Robinson, Julia Yarbough, Suzan McDowell, Carolyn Guiness, Yvette N. Harris, Trenae Floyd, and Traci Cloyd

WHAT: Honoring Women in Media, a Roundtable to Celebrate Women’s History Month

WHEN: Saturday, March 29, 2014

WHERE: FIU Biscayne Bay Campus—3000, NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL 33181—Bayview Ballroom (Wolf University Center, Room 221)

TIME: Networking, 3 p.m.; Program starts at 4 p.m.

COST: $15; $10 for SFBJA members; free for FIU students.



International Soccer Star, David Beckham and FMU President, Dr. Roslyn Artis


(BLACK PR WIRE) – Florida Memorial University (FMU) received an unexpected surprise by International Soccer Star, David Beckham.

Beckham was greeted by University President, Dr. Roslyn Artis, followed by a brief private meeting. The two discussed South Florida and Beckham’s upcoming plans to bring MLS soccer to the community. Dr. Artis shared some of the University’s history and discussed their upcoming development plans.

FMU is among the leading higher education institutions in our community and I am so pleased that Mr. Beckham took the time to come on campus and see what our University is about,” said Dr. Artis.

Following their meeting, Beckham and Artis surprised the FMU soccer team during an afternoon scrimmage. “I was thrilled to see him in person and here at FMU,” exclaimed soccer player Francisco Allegro. “It is good for the University and I hope his goodwill efforts help both our University and community, shared Head Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coach, Fernando Valenzuela.

Florida Memorial University’s Soccer Program is among the best in the Sun Conference. For a listing of the FMU soccer teams’ upcoming games, visit the website at


David Beckham, Dr. Roslyn Artis, FMU soccer coaches and members of the FMU soccer team



Miami, FL—On Saturday, March 29, Miami’s heat will sizzle when The Links, Incorporated, Greater Miami Chapter host its 2014 ‘Scandalicious Affair’ Book and Author Luncheon. The luncheon will feature acclaimed author and crisis management expert Judy Smith, who is best known for being co-executive producer and the inspiration behind the popular ABC television series Scandal.

“The Greater Miami Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is excited to welcome Ms. Smith to Miami as this year’s Book and Author Luncheon headliner,” said chapter president Rene Beal. “Guests will not only get to hear from a dynamic author, but they will also be supporting scholarships and educational, civic and inter-cultural programming.”

Smith is the founder and CEO of the crisis management firm, Smith & Company, makes a living by helping to fix the lives of high-powered individuals when personal disaster strikes. Some of Smith & Company’s most notable clients have included Monica Lewinsky, Wesley Snipes and Michael Vick. Her experiences with some of the stickiest situations faced by high-profile politicians and celebrities were the inspiration behind her phenomenally popular tv show, Scandal.

The luncheon will feature Smith reading excerpts from her latest book, Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back from a Personal Crisis (2012), luncheon and raffle. Good Self, Bad Self promises to give readers insight into the mind of the ultimate “fixer” and help you learn how to manage personal crisis.

The 2014 ‘Scandalicious Affair’ begins at 11:30 a.m. at Jungle Island, Treetop Ballroom, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami, FL 33132. Tickets are $125 and include an autographed copy of the book. Tickets may be purchased online at For additional information, contact Rene Beal, Greater Miami Chapter President, at 305-951-2749.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson Travels to Haiti for Discussions with President Martelly’s Administration about Reconstruction Efforts and Haiti Elections

MIAMI - Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) will travel to Haiti today at the invitation of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman-emeritus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27). The purpose of the trip is to examine the findings of a Governmental Accountability Office report, commissioned through the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which reviews the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) assistance efforts in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. The delegation, which also includes Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), will also assess the security situation in Haiti and receive an update on the status of local elections.

“It has been four years since the worst natural disaster in recent memory occurred in Haiti—the Haiti Earthquake of 2010. Despite heavy investment in Haiti, many projected goals have not been met.

I am committed to restoring Haiti for the good of its people, who are more than our neighbors: they are the loved ones of my constituents, my staff, and my friends and family. It is time to renew our efforts to rebuild Haiti by insisting on accountability and transparency,” said Congresswoman Wilson.

Throughout her life, Congresswoman Wilson has been a champion of Haitian causes. In 1982, she stood up for the fair treatment of Haitian women refugees who were incarcerated at the Krome Detention Center.

Congresswoman Wilson’s tireless activism led to a change in policy and improved living conditions for women at the Krome Detention Center.

Congresswoman Wilson has traveled to Haiti numerous times, including soon after the devastating 2010 earthquake. She fought to extend and expand temporary protective status (TPS) for Haitians, led the effort to get the State Department to add Haiti to the list of now-58 countries eligible for the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa program, and introduced a resolution to combat gender-based violence.

FAMU Institute of Public Health Students Secure 100 Percent Pass Rate on National CHES Exam

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – Since 2009, 19 students have become eligible to take the Certified Education Health Specialist (CHES) credentialing exam at the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Institute of Public Health. Each of those students successfully passed the exam, allowing FAMU to hold the distinction of having a 100 percent pass rate on one of the nation’s most respected health education competency exams. The Institute of Public Health recently learned that it once again achieved this feat, securing a 100 percent pass rate on the 2013 exam and surpassing the national average score of 71.56 percent.
To succeed in passing the CHES exam, students must display extensive knowledge in the seven areas of responsibility expected of health education specialists: assessment needs, planning of programs, program implementation, evaluation of programs, program administration, acting as a resource and communications and advocacy.
Though the exam is not required for public health professionals, the Institute encourages FAMU students and graduates to take the exam to gain advantages in the competitive job market. Ivette Lopez, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science and health education, said students and graduates of the Institute of Public Health often opt to take the exam because they want to position themselves to attain the nation’s top job offerings. “Our students are ambitious,” Lopez said. “They always want to do the best they can, and always want do a little extra.”
Sherese Bleechington, Ph.D, a 2012 graduate of the FAMU Institute of Public Health doctoral program, is an example of the FAMU students who have gone the extra mile to ensure success in their careers in health education or related industries. Bleechington took the CHES exam in 2007 while obtaining her degree and now works as a senior health evaluation leader, managing and overseeing the research and evaluation work of several Centers for Disease Control (CDC) contracts.
According to Bleechington, taking the CHES exam has helped to accelerate her career because employers have viewed her CHES credentials as an indication that she possesses a higher level of competency than others who work in public health. Bleechington explained that the exam does not only provide advantages in the job search and interview process, but it also provides advantages in the day-to-day work of a public health specialist.
“I would strongly recommend it,” Bleechington said. “With many of the positions I’ve applied for, the CHES is a preferred credential. For several job opportunities it was a requirement. Credentials are definitely necessary to set you apart because everyone has degrees nowadays.” Bleechington said she first learned of the CHES exam from her former adviser at FAMU, who helped prepare her for the exam by providing her with study materials. She applauded the FAMU faculty and staff for their continued efforts to push students to look beyond simply attaining a degree and encouraging them to obtain credentials.
“The FAMU Institute of Public Health is a very good environment for professional development,” Bleechington said. “I just want to encourage students to never settle, that is what I was taught [at the Institute]. If you can get a master’s, you can get a doctorate. You can always go higher.”
Torhonda Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science and health education echoed Bleechington’s sentiments. “Employment announcements will say ‘test preferred’ and that gives our students the edge,” said Lee, who holds a Master CHES certification. “Our students’ ability to pass the exam speaks to the their academic preparation and their ability to perform on a competency exam. Taking the exam encourages people to improve and displays a commitment to continuing to develop as a professional.”
Institute of Public Health Director Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D., said the faculty and staff play an integral role in the success of graduates taking the exam and their transition into their chosen career paths. She explained that the Institute’s professors and advisers work tirelessly throughout the academic year to help prepare students for the exam by hosting test preparation workshops and implementing competency-based instruction.
Harris not only credits the quality faculty and staff for the consistent achievements of the Institute of Public Health, but also acknowledges the hard-working students who continually strive for excellence. “We are very pleased with the student performance,” Harris said.  “They’ve had really prestigious internships where individuals specifically request that students come from FAMU. We’re very proud of them.”


Swim With The Sharks At Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference In Columbus, OH May 14-17

ABC hit show Shark Tank will hold open casting calls as hundreds of entrepreneurs, business experts and aspiring business owners gather at the 2014 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo


NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ -- Join the Small Business Revolution as BLACK ENTERPRISE holds its 2014 Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted byNationwide Insurance on Wednesday, May 14 through Saturday, May 17, at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, with a powerhouse line-up of some of the nation's most accomplished and celebrated entrepreneurs.


The Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, which annually brings together hundreds of the country's leading entrepreneurs and corporate executives, is designed to provide attendees with the newest and most innovative strategies from today's top business minds and provide high-powered networking opportunities critical to their efforts to take their businesses to the next level, from successful launch to growth and profitability. 

The producers of the ABC reality series Shark Tank will be holding opening casting during the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo in their search to discover the next successful enterprise. Entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators will have a shot at pitching their ideas for a coveted spot on the show.

Shark Tank is looking for entrepreneurs who can pitch their breakthrough business concepts, products, properties and services to moguls in hopes of landing investment funds. If selected, five self-made, brilliant but tough investors (the Sharks) could be willing to part with their own hard-earned cash to give budding entrepreneurs the seed money they need to jumpstart their ventures.

"Shark Tank is intentional about its diversity and inclusion outreach initiative to provide more minorities, women and high tech entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch on the show. Given that less than 1% percent of all private equity in America is invested in black owned companies each year, Shark Tank is doing its part to reduce this access to capital gap amongst underserved and underrepresented communities. Seeing minorities pitch and get funded on Shark Tank furthers the conversation and engages the culture on the importance of angel investing in startups to create jobs, reduce poverty and close the wealth gap amongst people of color," says Rodney Sampson, an Angel Investor, Founder of Opportunity Hub and Executive In Charge of Diversity & Inclusion, One Three Media/Mark Burnett Productions (Producers of The Voice, Shark Tank, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, The Bible Series, and Son of God).

During the Shark Tank audition, you will be given the opportunity to do a 1-minute pitch of your business/product/idea to a member of the Casting Team -- just like you would as if you were on the show. Come prepared to wow and dazzle the judges. Only the first 500 applicants are guaranteed to be seen so arrive early to secure your numbered wristband. To apply at the Open Call you must have a completed Application Packet. Download the Application HERE and bring it with you to the Open Call. It is imperative that you complete your Application prior to the Open Call.

The 2014 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo boasts high-powered sessions on critical business topics such as Winning Corporate Clients, Finding Angel Investors, Social Media Marketing, Franchising, Doing Business in Africa, Business Coaching, Generating Cash for your  Start-up, Using Mobile Marketing, Using Search Engine Optimization to Sell Your Goods and How to do Business with the Government.

For more than 40 years, BLACK ENTERPRISE has served as the unprecedented leader in black business development. This year's Entrepreneurs Conference boasts high-powered speakers, including entertainment media mogul T.D. Jakes, CEO of TDJ Enterprises and Valerie Daniels Carter, president and CEO of V&J Holding, one of the largest women- and African American-owned restaurant franchise operators in the USThe Small Business Success™ Bootcamp offers practical advice on how to grow your business and take it to the next level. Plus, the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition will award $10,000 for the best new business idea and theTeenpreneur program will teach business fundamentals to youths, ages 13-17.

For updates, follow BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo page on Facebook and search the #BEEC2014 hash tag on Twitter


Miami-Dade Public Library celebrates National Poetry Month with contest for teens


April is National Poetry Month. Young adults, ages 12-19 years-old, are invited to enter the Miami-Dade Public Library’s fourth annual Poetry Contest to celebrate this special art of communication.

The contest runs from April 1-30, and the theme is Technology. Poems may reflect how teens use technology, the way it’s affected their lives or its impact on society. Poems should be 20 lines or less and will be judged on originality, artistic quality, and emotional impact. Submissions must be the writer's own work and should not have been previously published.

First, second and third place winners will receive Best Buy gift certificates valued at $100, $50 and $25.The top three poems will also be entered in a national contest held by Voice of Youth Advocates. 

Contest entry forms are available at any branch or online at Poems may also be submitted, on the Library’s Facebook page at Prizes were made possible by the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

Parents, encourage your children to enter this contest as it is an excellent opportunity not just for your child to win a prize but also to express themselves creatively.



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