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February 2016

January 2016

US Civil Rights Commission to Examine EPA, Civil Rights and Coal Ash

US Civil Rights Commission

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a hearing next Friday, Jan. 22., to examine EPA’s  track record of protecting civil rights with regard to the placement of coal ash disposal facilities near minority and low income communities. Coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned in power plants. EPA has found that communities of color and low-income communities suffer greater risk from coal ash pollution than the general population.

Among those testifying are leading environmental figures like Lois Gibbs, who spearhead the response to  Love Canal, a suspect disease-causing industrial and chemical dumpsite, buried beneath homes, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Gibbs’ work led to the designation of the first superfund site with federal funds designated for environmental cleanup.

Earthjustice Attorney Lisa Evans, who has led the national effort to regulate coal will testify along with Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engleman Lado, who filed a civil rights complaint against the EPA  in 2013 for failing to protect the civil rights of residents of Uniontown, Alabama, a nearly all-black community that received 4 million yards of toxic coal ash from the largest coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn in 2008. Kingston, Tenn., is a predominantly white community.

Ester Calhoun, a resident of Uniontown Alabama, and president of Black Belt Citizens for Health & Justice, will testify at 9 am. 

Lisa Evans and Marianne Engleman Lado are scheduled to testify at 2:30 pm.

PowerMoves expands to Miami to foster diverse, inclusive entrepreneurship 
with $1.2 million from Knight Foundation

Launching February 2016, PowerMoves Miami will provide high-impact 
entrepreneurs of color with mentors, capital and support.

MIAMI  — PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth and high-tech companies led by entrepreneurs of color, will open in Miami in February 2016. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $1.2 million to support the launch of PowerMoves Miami.
While black and Hispanic students earn nearly 20 percent of computer science degrees, they make up only 9 percent of the technology industry and less than 1 percent of technology company founders. To help close this gap, PowerMoves began in 2014 as a hyperlocal program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. Since then, it has rapidly grown to become a national initiative, connecting entrepreneurs of color to mentors, capital, support and investment opportunities. It has helped 100 companies from across the country secure more than $27 million in capital commitments. 
Miami will be the first city outside of New Orleans to host a PowerMoves office and year-round programming, including pitch competitions, boot camps, networking events and fellowships. The local office will also provide a space for entrepreneurs to grow ideas and collaborate. A community manager, working with a team of entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors, will help local entrepreneurs refine their business models and market strategies, as well as connect them with advisers and capital to launch and scale their businesses. 

“We are excited to establish a strong local presence in Miami, a city with a strong appetite for entrepreneurship and a growing community of innovators,” said Earl Robinson, the CEO of PowerMoves. “This ‘long view’ strategy will enrich the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by broadening participation to include typically underrepresented groups, like African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. It will also grow the Miami early-stage deal footprint as these entrepreneurs will add compelling businesses to the pool of Miami investment opportunities.”
“The wealth of talent, experience and innovation that comes with diversity is often lost because minority entrepreneurs do not have the same access to capital and support that is necessary to grow their businesses and develop their ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “In Miami we have seen great progress in building an inclusive startup community that is representative of our diversity—but we have to do more. PowerMoves will help establish pathways to opportunity for black entrepreneurs and others working to make Miami a global innovation hub.” 
PowerMoves Miami will host monthly public meetups across the city. In addition, PowerMoves boot camps will include up to six weeks of virtual classroom participation with advisers and entrepreneurs, and include three days of intensive in-person classroom development. Six high-growth entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a 12-month PowerMoves Miami Fellowship. The fellowship includes free rent at a local co-working space, ongoing mentoring and coaching, connections to potential customers and advisers, investment capital and in-kind legal, marketing and financial services.
PowerMoves Miami will launch on Feb. 15, 2016 in conjunction with Black Tech Week, for which Knight is the founding sponsor.PowerMoves has helped source talent from across the country to participate in the weeklong series of entrepreneurship events as part of Black Tech Week from Feb. 14-Feb. 20. 
In spring 2015 PowerMoves expanded outside New Orleans and held a pitch competition and business event in Detroit, another community where Knight invests. The event was supported by Knight Foundation in collaboration with other partners. Programs in additional cities will be announced in the coming year.
Support for PowerMoves Miami is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past three years, Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.



Miami Gardens, FL. – Arlington Academy presents the 4th Annual Health Fair: Promoting Health Living as a fresh way to kick-off the New Year for 2016. The fair will take place on Saturday, January 9th from 10 am to 2 pm at Arlington Academy which is located at 4814 NW 167 Street, Miami Gardens, FL, 33014. “We are here to serve the community,” said Aundrea Blye, Principal and Director, Arlington Academy. “Healthy living has always been a mantra that we live by at Arlington Academy so annually we provide an opportunity for the community-at-large to gain knowledge on the keys to live a healthy life for free.”

This event is in partnership with the City of Miami Gardens for their healthy living initiative and is open to the public. Vice Mayor Felicia Robinson is the Keynote speaker. Guests will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one health evaluations, mini physicals, health care gift bags, HIV & STD testing, witness dental presentations, activities for the children and more! Sponsors include Molina Health Care, Miami Dade College, Union Positiva, The Big Red Bus, Jackson Memorial Healthcare, WMIB; 103.5 The Beat, Advanced Neuro & Spine Institute, City of Miami Gardens, Higher Learning Entertainment, and Oh So Sweet.

WHO:       Arlington Academy presents the 4th Annual Health Fair: Promoting Healthy Living

WHAT:    This free health fair will provide guests with one-on-one health evaluations, miniphysicals, health care gift bags, HIV & STD testing, witness dental presentations, activities for the children and more!

SPECIAL GUESTS: City of Miami Garden’s Vice Mayor Felicia Robinson & City of Miami Garden’s Chief of Police Antonio Brooklen

WHEN: Saturday, January 9, 2016 | 10 am to 2 pm

WHERE: Arlington Academy 4814 NW 167 Street, Miami Gardens, FL 33014

Government Services Offered by the Office of Community Advocacy in January


(MIAMI, FL) – The Miami-Dade County Office of Community Advocacy will hold its monthly government service events for residents in January.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

FedAssist and Immigration Services – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

FreshFromFlorida – 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128


Representatives from USCIS will be assisting residents with a variety of federal issues such as U.S. passport applications, housing, transportation, child support, military/veteran affairs, and more. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also will be on site providing assistance to residents with different concerns or questions about their immigration status.


In addition, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will provide assistance and information regarding consumer protection and Florida's agricultural economy.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) – 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128


The Advocate Program’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) will be providing services for low-income veteran families: Short Term Case Management, Rental Assistance, Utility Deposit/Rental Assistance, Security Deposit Assistance, Patriot Pass Assistance, Emergency Supplies, and Childcare Assistance.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) – 10:00 a.m. to noon

Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) will be offering its Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) Program, which provides the following services to Floridians: Temporary Cash Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Refugee Assistance.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Miami VA) – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Miami VA) will be in the lobby of the SPCC conducting community outreach. Subsequently, Miami VA will continue to bring their outreach services to the SPCC the third Tuesday of every month.  


Take the Train…Take the Test

Tuesday, January 20, 2016

1 to 6 p.m.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza (MLK) Metrorail Station, 6205 NW 27 Avenue


The Miami-Dade County Office of Community Advocacy, with the support of Chairman Jean Monestime, the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade Transit and 3-1-1, offers free HIV and STD testing as part of its monthly “Take the Train…Take the Test” events at select Metrorail stations. HIV test results will be available in as little as 20 minutes. Counseling also will be available on site. For more information, please call 3-1-1 or visit: For information about additional testing sites, call 1-800-352-2437 (English), 1-800-545-7432 (Spanish) or 1-800-243-7101 (Creole).


Thursday, January 21, 2016

DMV to Go – 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) SunPass Giveaway – 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Stephen P. Clark Center lobby, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128


Residents can receive assistance in obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or identification card, as well as several federal services. Due to high demand, residents must make an online appointment. Those with appointments must bring proper documentation as required by the DMV. A list of suitable identification is available at DMV to Go representatives do not administer driving exams. 


MDX will provide all attendees with free SunPass-minis for all vehicles in their household. In addition to providing a free SunPass-mini, MDX will inform residents about the SunPass Tag Swap Program. Those interested in opening a new SunPass account and activating their new SunPass-minis during the event will need a credit or debit card ($10 minimum is required to activate) and provide their email, name, address and phone number, as well as the vehicle license plate number, make, model, year and color.


For more information, please call the Office of Community Advocacy at (305) 375-5730 or visit


Happy Founders Day, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated!

Today is the 105th anniversary of the founding of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. Congratulations to all of the men who are members of this prestigious organization. A special shout out to Florida A&M University alum (Alpha Xi Chapter) and Miami Central High School alum, Thomas L. Battles, Jr. who leads this international brotherhood of more than 150,000 men.

Other prominent local members include: WPLG Channel 10 news anchor Calvin Hughes; U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings; Senator Dwight Bullard; Rep. Ed Bullard; Judge Rodney Smith; Commissioner Dorrin D. Rolle; Atty. H.T. Smith; Dr. Fred Morley; Henry Goa; Dr. Steve Gallon III and Carnell White.

Here is a brief history of the organization from their official international website:

Kappa Alpha Psi , a college Fraternity, now comprised of functioning Undergraduate and Alumni Chapters on major campuses and in cities throughout the country, is the crystallization of a dream. It is the beautiful realization of a vision shared commonly by the late Revered Founders Elder Watson Diggs; John Milton Lee; Byron Kenneth Armstrong; Guy Levis Grant; Ezra Dee Alexander; Henry Tourner Asher; Marcus Peter Blakemore; Paul Waymond Caine; Edward Giles Irvin and George Wesley Edmonds.

It was the vision of these astute men that enabled them in the school year 1910 - 11, more specifically the night of January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, to sow the seed of a fraternal tree whose fruit is available to, and now enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or national origin. It is a fact of which KAPPA ALPHA PSI is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed, or national origin. The Constitution of KAPPA ALPHA PSI is predicated upon, and dedicated to, the principles of achievement through a truly democratic Fraternity.

Chartered and incorporated originally under the laws of the State of Indiana as Kappa Alpha Nu on May 15, 1911, the name was changed to KAPPA ALPHA PSI on a resolution offered and adopted at the Grand Chapter in December 1914. This change became effective April 15, 1915, on a proclamation by the then Grand Polemarch, Elder Watson Diggs. Thus, the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.

From its inception, and for the next six years, Brother Diggs served as the Grand Polemarch of KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity. Through his leadership and indefatigable application, augmented by the efforts of B.K. Armstrong, and John M. Lee, who comprised the remainder of the original Grand Board of Directors, the infant Fraternity was guided through the most perilous years of its life. Accordingly, much of the credit for the organization's survival through this period is shared by these three men.

From its inception, every endeavor was directed toward establishing the Fraternity upon a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, working together, Diggs and Armstrong had completed the ritual and had commenced work on the coat of arms. Work on the latter was completed during the following summer by Diggs, Armstrong and Lee while they were pursuing employment at a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In selecting a suitable motto, Diggs, Armstrong and Lee solicited the aid of a Professor of Greek Art at Indiana Technical College at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having adopted a motto which mutually suited them, they carried a sketch of the coat of arms to a commercial engraver in Fort Wayne, from which he made the first metal plate.

Kappa Alpha Psi

For years, in order to safeguard the ritualistic secrets of the Fraternity, Diggs laboriously typed and bound the rituals. It was not until he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met an old German printer in whom he had confidence, that he entrusted the esoteric materials of the Fraternity to a commercial printer.

In the spring of 1912 Diggs wrote in a little blue examination book the first Constitution, which was adopted in 1920 with but a few revisions. This edition remained in use until 1926 when it was supplanted by the codified edition jointly written by Diggs, J. Ernest Wilkins, and W. Ellis Stewart. In 1957 the Constitution again underwent major revision.

Now substantially established and provided with a Constitution, Ritual, coat of arms, motto, and guiding hand in a dynamic Grand Chapter, the Fraternity was ready for expansion. In the summer of 1912 Diggs visited the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois, where he met Earl B. Dickerson, President of the Old "Illini Club." This club constituted the nucleus of the University of Illinois Chapter, the Beta, which was chartered on February 8, 1913. Gamma Chapter (later changed to Indianapolis Alumni Chapter) was established on December 29, 1913, followed by the establishment of Delta Chapter at the University of Iowa, on March 7, 1914. The latter was subsequently changed to Gamma Chapter, and the designation of Delta assigned to the Wilberforce University Chapter at Wilberforce, Ohio. Epsilon Chapter, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was established December 4, 1915, as the first chapter in the East. Elder W. Diggs journeyed from Indiana to give this chapter his personal and official installation, recognition and blessing.

Thus ended the infancy of KAPPA ALPHA PSI, whereupon the Fraternity embarked upon an era of expansion. Except for the years of World War I and II, when several Grand Chapter meetings were suspended, KAPPA ALPHA PSI has grown and prevailed with unabating impetus.

KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity, relatively early, envisioned the modified attitudes of college administrators and administrations regarding certain frivolous activities previously identified with Greek letter organizations; and it initiated appropriate changes. Among the early changes brought about was the banning of paddling and other forms of physical abuse, and the introduction of constructive endeavors during pledgeship and probation. To date, KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity is organizationally and administratively mature. It moves steadily toward a tomorrow of promise, productivity and influence.

Taken from:

Happy New Year Miami

Today we begin a new year. New hopes. New dreams. New aspirations. We are blessed to see the beginning of the year 2016. Let us live up to our potential. Let us not be so hard on ourselves if we make mistakes. Let us love one another and fulfill our responsibilities as children of the Most High.

Peace and Abundant Blessings…

- V

Happy Kwanzaa! Celebrate the Principle of Imani

Greeting: "Habari gani?"
Response: "Imani."

January 1 is the seventh and last day of Kwanzaa. The seventh day focuses on Imani or faith. This principle focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind.

Imani affirms our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle. Imani is to believe in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The ancient Egyptian double symbol of the ankh, represents life, and also djed, the symbol of stability, endurance, and power.

(Adapted from African American Registry.)