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May 2016

Memorial Day: Remembering the first South Florida soldier killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq - Sgt. Edmond L. "Dakie" Randle

Sgt. Edmond L. Randle
On Jan. 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq.
Today is Memorial Day. It is the day we honor those that have given their lives in military service to this country. It is not just a day off from work or school or a day to have a barbecue with family and friends; it is a day to celebrate men and women such as Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr., known by family and friends as Dakie.
On Jan. 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq. Randle was one of three soldiers who died that day when their vehicle was struck by a homemade explosive device near Baghdad. I recall sitting through Dakie's funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Miami, listening to the FAMU Band play and the moving tributes to him by friends and military officials. I'd known Dakie's parents from high school; his dad and I were classmates at Miami Central and later at Florida A&M.
Dakie attended American Senior High for part of his high school years but continued the family tradition by graduating from Miami Central Senior High. Like his Dad, Dakie was a standout musician in the Marching Rockets at Miami Central and continued at Florida A&M University where he earned a music scholarship and was a section leader in the famous Marching 100. Because he wanted to be a pharmacist, Dakie gave up his music scholarship and volunteered for the Army which would help fund his educational plans. He was the type of young man not celebrated enough, in life, in this community.
The war in Iraq takes on a different meaning when you actually know a soldier that was killed. Like Sgt. Edmond L. “Dakie” Randle, many other lives have been lost and are being lost in service to this country. On Veteran's Day, I honor several men and women I know, living and deceased, who have served and are serving this country. Dakie, however, is the only soldier I know personally that died in military service. I have remembered him each Memorial Day since his death, that is the least I can do.
If you have loved ones who died while serving this country, take a moment to thank them, feel free to leave their names in the comments section. For all of our fallen heroes, known and unknown, thank you, you are not forgotten.


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#MemorialDay2016 #NeverForget


Remembering our fallen heroes on Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day. It is a day to honor military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Memorial Day is frequently confused with Veterans Day, which is observed in November and honors all who served in the military. 

In remembrance of all military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank You. 

#MemorialDay2016 #NeverForget 🇺🇸

Plan now to see new Birth of a Nation film to be released October 7

Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker The Birth of a Nation

Set in the antebellum South, this new movie that audaciously takes the title THE BIRTH OF A NATION, as in the 1915 race movie by D.W. Griffith, follows slave and preacher, Nat Turner, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat Turner’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. No doubt there will be comparisons of the preacher's role in traditional religion today but let me not digress. As Nat Turner witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - he orchestrates a slave rebellion in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

Nate Parker wrote, stars, produces and directs the film which received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. Set for an October 7, 2016 release, see it in the theatre. Use it as a teachable moment for your older teens and young adults, regardless of ethnicity.









Prince Rogers Nelson
The EBONY June Black Music Month Commemorative Issue features a 13-Article Spread In The Words Of Veteran Music Journalists and People Who Were Granted An Up Close And Personal Perspective


June Highlights: “96 Till Infinity”, how 1996 became the year that birthed musical legends; “How The 90s Changed Everything” salutes the artists who reinvented standards in the music industry; and “Daddy’s Home”, an inspiring profile of Gerald Hamilton’s life fostering over 100 children 


CHICAGO  – Known as one of the most prolific, and talented musicians of our generation, we honor Prince Rogers Nelson’s lifetime of music and artistry.  In this special edition, EBONY reflects on Prince’s career, humanity, and all around genius in a 13-article tribute (p. 89).  In the feature, “Prince: The Ebony Experience”, former EBONY editor Lynn Norment writes of the poignant and personal interviews she captured with Prince and his father, musician and composer, John L. Nelson.  In his words to her, Prince states, “I was always different. I continued to evolve.  Thank God.”  

CNN political commentator Van Jones, ESPN Host and Op-Ed writer Bomani Jones, and veteran music journalist and Author Marshall Lewis are among the writers that share their thoughts, experiences, and insight in this rare and informative edition celebrating the life of Prince.

The June issue of EBONY magazine typically celebrates music, dads, and the anticipation of summer.  With the untimely death of Prince, rap legend Phife, and Chicago radio legend Doug Banks, EIC Kierna Mayo boldly confesses that “Sometimes It Snows In April.”  In her Editor’s Letter (p. 12), she writes, “You may want me to have words, but, dearly beloved, I have none.  My peers have spoken for me – and all of us – in this, what you are holding, the Black Music Month Commemorative Issue of EBONY that we cried our way through.”

Sean A. Malcolm’s article “96 Till Infinity” (p. 18) exposes the infamous year when an elite group of Hip Hop and R&B Legends were crowned.  Artists including Tupac, The Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, Maxwell, D’Angelo, and Erykah Badu created quintessential music that defined a generation and influenced a musical landscape.  In addition, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, NWA, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, P. Diddy, and Whitney Houston are featured in the article “How The 90s Changed Everything” (p. 120).  This group of mega artists flipped the recording industry and instituted a new way of how American listened and consumed music and defined pop culture.

Alongside Black Music Month, EBONY celebrates fatherhood.  “Elevate Daddy’s Home” (p. 68) is a strong and bold real life story of father and retired Chicago Detective Gerald Hamilton.  Staff writer, Ian F. Blair, captures Hamilton’s life as a foster father to more than 100 children in the span of 40 years.  Hamilton’s grandmother – to whom he was a caregiver while she battled Parkinson’s disease – inspired him to open his home and care for the many children caught in the foster care system.  He felt that he needed to step up to the plate and aid children in need of a good home.  Hamilton also says, “My mother, who was an administrator for the Detroit Public Schools, once told me that the most important role a Black man can fulfill is that of a father, and to be involved in his children’s lives.  I took that seriously.”

Additionally, the June issue also breaks down “Juneteenth” (p. 87), a celebration marking which marks when the last slaves in the United States were freed; how to cash in on AirBnB (p. 84); and how to balance life when you’re trying to do too much in the article “All Poured Out” by EBONY Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux (p. 26).


DanceAfrica Adds Miami to Nationwide African Festival Network

Delou Africa Dance Ensemble
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble

Miami is the latest city to be added to the nationwide DanceAfrica festival network and join the likes of New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago. As the country’s most renowned festival celebrating African dance, music, and culture, DanceAfrica Miami is spearheaded by South Florida-based Delou Africa and will be presented in August in conjunction with the organization’s 7th Annual African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival of Florida (A.D.D.D.F.F). The relaunch is the second for DanceAfrica Miami and was first presented to the South Florida community during the 1990’s. 

“We are excited to present DanceAfrica Miami to the community through a series of cultural, artistic, and educational events and programming that celebrates the entire African Diaspora inclusive of African-American, Caribbean, and Afro-Latin heritage,” shares Njeri Plato, Executive Director of Delou Africa Dance Ensemble and Delou Africa, Inc. “Our vision for relaunching DanceAfrica Miami is to bridge cultural gaps through a diversity of multi-cultural programming similar to the success that DanceAfrica New York has enjoyed over the past 39 years at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We anticipate that the network strength supporting DanceAfrica Miami will position the festival as South Florida’s premier cultural arts destination festival.”

DanceAfrica Miami will expand and enhance Delou Africa’s annual African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival of Florida to present a concert extravaganza featuring New York’s Forces of Nature Dance Theater, which celebrates 35 years of producing ballets and educational programming in the U.S. and abroad. The festival will also feature world renowned performers and talented local artists representing Africa, the Caribbean, the U.S, and the Delou Africa Dance Ensemble. Immediately following the concert is a gala reception fundraiser to benefit ongoing programs and events with entertainment provided by Pantastick Steel Orchestra, Fun Generation costume showcase for the 2016 Miami Broward One Carnival, and DJ Isis.  

The two-day high-spirited family friendly multi-cultural arts and educational event will include African, modern, and Caribbean dance, drum and music workshops, international dance choreographers, a global bazaar and artisan marketplace, a health fair, and a Children's Village Zone. South African Airways will also sponsor a raffle drawing for two round trip tickets to South Africa. 

Nationally acclaimed as the festival of all African dance and music festivals in the U.S., DanceAfrica was created during the 1960’s under the artistic direction of Dr. Chuck Davis. Over the course of nearly four decades, DanceAfrica has grown as a movement to showcase the rich social, religious, and ceremonial traditions of African heritage through performance, art, film, and community events. 

Delou Africa was created to facilitate cultural programming and artistic education through traditional African dance, drum, music, and arts. The organization is currently in residency at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex in Miami and has attracted nearly 10,000 participate to its annual festival since 2010. 

DanceAfrica Miami and the 7th Annual African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival of Florida will be held from August 5-7, 2016 with festival activities and workshops at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex and the concert extravaganza at the Miramar Cultural Center. More information about the festival can be found at



Networking event brings Miami’s brightest business minds together

Miller Lite Tap the Future Miami
Pictured from L to R: EZ VIP Founder and CEO Al Nelson, Managing Director of Milestones Marketing, LLC Stephanie Clark, CEO and President of Tudor Ice Nestor Villalobos, and Founder and CEO of Rolling Out Munson Steed at the Miller Lite Tap the Future Business and Beer networking event in Miami. (Photo provided courtesy of Sachiel Asencio/MillerCoors)

Miller Lite Tap the Future, the business plan competition that offers entrepreneurs a chance to win over $200,000, hosted its first Business and Beer networking event in Miami. Hosted by Founder and CEO of Rolling Out, Munson Steed, the event featured a panel discussion with industry leaders including prior Miller Lite Tap the Future winner Nestor Villalobos, business coach and entrepreneur Stephanie Clark, and ABC’s Shark Tank participant and winner Al Nelson


Entrepreneur and past Miller Lite Tap the Future regional winner, Nestor Villalobos, shared winning tips and practices at the Miller Lite Business and Beer networking event in Miami. (Photo provided courtesy of Sachiel Asencio/MillerCoors)


A capacity crowd of entrepreneurs and business people attended the Miller Lite Tap the Future Business and Beer networking event to talk business and learn from the best and brightest in the industry. (Photo provided courtesy of Sachiel Asencio/MillerCoors)



Hobbs Added to Miramar Cultural Trust Board of Directors

Tameka Hobbs, Ph.D.

Tameka Bradley Hobbs, Ph.D., currently the Interim Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, has been added to the board of directors of the Miramar Cultural Trust. Dr. Hobbs is also University Historian and Assistant Professor of History at Florida Memorial University.

A noted author, Dr. Hobbs is also a nationally recognized expert on African American issues and has been published in several media outlets. Dr. Hobbs received a B.A. in History and Anthropology at Florida A&M University, and M.A. in U.S. History and Doctorate of Philosophy in U.S. History, Historical Administration and Public History from Florida State University. She founded the FAMU History Association, the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society at Florida A&M University the Lions for Justice at Florida Memorial University. She is a member of the Association of African American Museums, American Historical Association, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Association of Black Women Historians, Florida Historical Society and Southern Historical Association. She is a resident of Miramar.


MDT10Ahead 2016 Annual Update Survey Now Available


MDT10Ahead, the Fiscal Year 2017-2026 Transit Development Plan (TDP), is a ten-year strategic vision for Miami–Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) to promote the operation of an efficient, reliable, and financially sustainable transit system.

Share your ideas about mobility needs and transportation issues to help arrive at public consensus and shape direction for TDP development.

Learn more about the MDT10Ahead document and complete the online survey by visiting the MDT10Ahead website. Share your ideas, suggestions, and comments on Facebook (MiamiDadeTransit) and Twitter (@IRideMDT #MDT10Ahead) or submit by email at [email protected] or mail to: Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works, Planning & Development, 701 NW 1st Court, 15th Floor, Miami, FL 33136.  Correspondence must be postmarked no later than July 31, 2016 in order to be considered for this TDP annual update.

Don’t let this opportunity slip by. Have your say on transportation in this community.



Miami-Dade School Board District 1 Race: Let's Stay Focused!

FullSizeRender 2Miami-Dade County School Board District 1 candidates - Holloway; Bush and Gallon

The Miami-Dade County School Board District 1 Race is shaping up to be one of the hottest races of the 2016 local election cycle. Thus far, the candidates for the District 1 seat are Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway (incumbent); Rev. Dr. James Bush III; and Dr. Steve Gallon III. In addition to Holloway’s current service as the District 1 School Board Member, both he and Bush are former state representatives. Gallon, a first-time candidate for public office, has momentum in his favor as he has a tremendous lead in fundraising and presence on the ground and on social media.

In the spirit of transparency, I have known each of these candidates personally for at least thirty years. I think they are all fine gentlemen, and I respect each of them for their accomplishments and service to this community. I am, however, solidly on Team Gallon because I know his experience and leadership as a school district leader, educator and business person are what our students desperately need, and parents expect today.

Both Holloway and Bush deny any involvement in an anonymous letter sent to the Miami Times recently regarding Gallon and his tenure as superintendent of schools in New Jersey. It appears that attempts to smear Gallon have not changed his campaign strategy nor diminished his support among several local leaders including Dr. Solomon Stinson; Rev. Arthur Jackson; Atty. Larry Handfield and DC Clark.

It is likely that any efforts to keep Gallon out of that seat involve powerful people who are keenly aware of the energy and power shift that a Gallon victory brings to the School Board and in the Black community. That shift could also lead to a change in how District resources are allocated and spent. Stop playing checkers while other folks are playing chess. While many Black folks are easily manipulated by what are essentially emotional, not substantive topics, local political puppet masters continue to quietly build-up other communities while sometimes redirecting funds from the Black community. Pay attention, family. Wake up. Stay woke.

A change in leadership in the District 1 School Board seat has major positive implications. For sure folks in the community must get more involved in their neighborhood schools and state level education matters. We’ll discuss this race and more as we approach the Primary Election on August 30, 2016.


Our Time Is Now. Let's Take back our children. Let's take back our schools. Let's take back our communities.


See you on the campaign trail, 


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Living with Nature in the African Diaspora: A Lecture and Community Conversation at the Historic Hampton House featuring Dr. Edda Fields-Black

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 5.52.38 PM

FieldsblackCelebrate “Homegrown Achiever” Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University and the author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (2008). Dr. Fields-Black will speak about her research into the history of West African rice production. Mangrove rice farming techniques used hundreds of years ago by farmers in West Africa's Rice Coast later played a key role in the commercial rice industries in the American South.

Dr. Fields-Black will offer new ways to think about how the environment has shaped Diaspora experience. Other speakers will discuss current environmental issues threatening our land and communities. Did you know that climate change and sea level rise are likely to trigger a new wave of gentrification in our area? How can we come together to recognize the value of our land and our heritage? How can history and culture help us defend our place in Miami?


Registration and Coffee


Opening Remarks and Welcome   Dr. Hilary Jones, Associate Professor, Department of History and African & African Diaspora Studies Program, FIU


The Work of Our Hands: Rice and Rice Farmers in West Africa's Upper Guinea Coast Lecture by Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black

Go on a journey to West Africa’s Upper Guinea Coast to learn about one of Africa’s best kept secrets, agricultural technology that made the Upper Guinea Coast West Africa’s “bread basket” hundreds of years before the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


Coffee Break


What is Our Land Worth?

Brief Presentations and Small Group Discussions

Hear about the threats from sea level rise in Miami-Dade and how it is likely to affect property values and residential patterns. Discuss strategies to organize and prioritize. 


Closing Discussion and Wrap-Up 


Book Signing with Dr. Fields-Black


WHEN:    Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM (EDT) 

WHERE:    Historic Hampton House - 4240 Northwest 27th Avenue, Miami, FL 33142 - View Map


Click Here for Registration Link