Previous month:
May 2016
Next month:
July 2016

June 2016

The Invisible Face of Voter Suppression:  Our Youth


BALTIMORE, MD - Three years ago, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Shelby v. Holder, nearly dismantling the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The court ruled that 16 states no longer needed to pre-approve their voting changes with the federal government.  These were the states with some of the longest and continuous histories of voting discrimination. Since then, our nation has witnessed the greatest assault on voting rights since the Jim Crow era. 
This year will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.  With the Shelby decision, we have seen an onslaught of new voting restrictions in states across the country – laws severely limiting early voting, states purging voter rolls, passing strict voter id laws, and implementing new restrictions on voter registration.  Instead of the federal government blocking these laws before they are even implemented, the Shelby decision allows discriminatory laws to take effect and cause confusion and potential disenfranchisement in their wake.  These barriers affect not just African Americans but the elderly, the disabled, the poor and people of color. But what may be more insidious and least obvious is the effect these restrictions have on suppressing the millennial vote. 
“Our youth are the bruised but invisible faces of voter suppression,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP. “This is not the voter suppression of a seemingly ancient civil rights era, but rather Jim Crow 2.0 in 2016. This is not your grandparents white versus black voter suppression, but rather a multigenerational older versus younger, as well as race-based voter suppression. When college IDs are not honored at the ballot box, but concealed weapons permits are, when polling places are moved off college campuses, when DMVs are closed at the moment when high school seniors are getting a license for the prom or an ID to vote, this is nothing less than a generational assault against young voters. This kind of voter suppression is not partisan gamesmanship, but rather the corruption of our democracy. The NAACP is opposed to race-driven voter suppression and youth-targeted voter suppression.  In this first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, with millions of millennials being the largest voting bloc, we can do no less.”    
“It is very clear that the Shelby v. Holder decision precipitated voter suppression laws by state legislatures across the country to intentionally disenfranchise people of color and millennials and silence their voices at the polls,” said Stephen A Green, national director of the NAACP Youth and College Division. “As a result, The Youth and College Division of the NAACP will engage in a rigorous and relentless civic engagement campaign which couples voter registration, voter education and voter mobilization efforts with voter demonstrations, a call for resistance and non-violent direct actions across the country.”
Here are the facts:
  • According to the US Census, in the 2008 presidential election 48.5% of 18-24-year-olds voted.  In the 2012 president election, 41.2% of those aged 18-24 cast a vote.
  • In the 2012 election, in states where online registration was available, 12.8% of young voters registered online.
  • In same-day registration states, 47% of young voters registered at polling sites, making it clear that young voters utilize more convenient methods of registration.
  • According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the requirement in some states that photo ID must show the voter’s current address significantly affects young voters who are more likely to change addresses due to college matriculation or simply moving out of their childhood home. Additionally, states like Tennessee where government refuses to the accept student ID from any of the state’s 23 universities as a form of voter ID, it becomes difficult for students in particular to vote.
Efforts to suppress millennial voters could have a significant impact on voter turnout as the millennial population surges. A Feb. 21 New York Times Editorial reports that the total millennial population in the 2016 election is equal now to the baby boom generation in the voting age population (both making up 1/3rd).  Of all eligible voters, 21% or 49 million are 18-29. Since the 2012 election, 16.5 million youth have turned 18. One-third of 18-29-year-olds are eligible to vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016—there will be 16.9 million potential new young voters in 2016.

Happy Father's Day

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” - Unknown

Happy Father's Day

The most important thing a father can give his child is love. Not material things but love. Happy Father’s Day to all Dads everywhere.

Thank you! We love you! 


Will & Heather Packer Host Private, A-List Screening of Nate Parker's 'The Birth of a Nation'

Big Boi
Rapper/actor Big Boi, left, with Will and Heather Packer at private screening of Nate Parker's 'Birth of A Nation'

(ATLANTA) Famed film producer, Will Packer, and his wife, Heather Packer, hosted a private A-list screening of the upcoming Nate Parker film, The Birth of a Nation, at their home in Atlanta, GA.

The evening kicked off with a light reception, complete with full bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, and transitioned into the Packer House theater where Will and Heather welcomed guests into their home and shared why they felt it necessary to host this film. They also spoke about the importance of historical presentations like his mini-series reboot of Roots and The Birth of a Nation.  Liquid Soul CEO, Tirrell Whittley, then took the stage and thanked everyone for being at the forefront of support for this amazing film. 

In the audience: Ambassador Andrew Young (Civil Rights and Political Icon); Ludacris (Rapper, Fast & Furious franchise) and Eudoxie BridgesBig Boi (OutKast); Kandi & Todd Tucker (Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta); Michael Ealy (Actor, The Perfect Guy); Naturi Naughton (Actress, Starz’Power); LeToya Luckett (Singer/Actress); Chaka Zulu (Music Exec/DTP); Rob Hardy (Film/TV Director/Producer); Ceasar Mitchell (President, Atlanta City Council); Ebony Barley (Director of Special Events, City of Atlanta); and many more!

Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Cast: Nate Parker, Aja Naomi King, Gabrielle Union, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis. 

The Birth of a Nation opens nationwide on October 7.


The Birth of Nation - Will Packer Private Screening from LIQUID SOUL on Vimeo.



Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson to Host Free HIV Testing Event to Observe National HIV Testing Day

Frederica Wilson

MIAMI – In observance of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), Monday, June 27, 2016, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) and other elected officials will take confidential HIV tests and encourage the public to join them in taking the test.  Free HIV testing will be available on Monday, June 27, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at six locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. 

“Miami-Dade and Broward counties have the highest number of new HIV cases in the country.  We have to end the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS so that we can end the spread, and it all starts with taking the test,” said Congresswoman Wilson, “We cannot continue to ignore the problem and think that it will go away.  HIV/AIDS robs our communities of talent and productivity.  The best way to fight the spread of the disease is to get tested, know your status, and get the treatment you need if you are HIV positive.”

Congresswoman Wilson sponsored several bills to boost HIV/AIDS education and awareness throughout her career in public service.  This year marks the 14th anniversary of a bill she sponsored in the Florida legislature to mandate HIV testing for prisoners upon their release from Florida prisons.  The purpose of the bill was to confirm prisoners’ HIV status as they re-enter society and connect them to care if they were positive for HIV.

Congresswoman Wilson will take the test and deliver remarks at a press conference at 10 a.m., at Frederica Wilson and Juanita Mann Health Center, located at 2520 NW 75th Street, Miami 33147.  Also joining Congresswoman Wilson to take the test are State Representatives Cynthia Stafford (D-109) and Daphne Campbell (D-108), and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson.  Congresswoman Wilson and other elected officials will visit the six testing sites throughout the day. 

Free, confidential HIV testing will be available at the following locations:

1.      Frederica Wilson and Juanita Mann Health Center, 2520 NW 75th Street, Miami, FL 33147

2.      Borinquen Health Care Center, 3601 NE 4th Court, Miami, FL 33137

3.      Center For Haitian Studies, 8260 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33138

4.      Jessie Trice Community Health Center, 4692 NW 183rd Street, Miami Gardens, FL 33055

5.      Koinonia Worship Center, 4900 Hallandale Beach Boulevard, West Park, FL 33023

6.      New Horizons Community Mental Health Center, 1469 NW 36th Street, Miami, FL 33142

The purpose of NHTD is to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and promote HIV testing.  According to the CDC, 1 in 8 people living with HIV in the United States is unaware that they have the disease.  Miami-Dade and Broward were Nos. 1 and 2 in the U.S. in new HIV infections in 2014 per 100,000 residents, according to state and federal data. This understates the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.


Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center to Host Miami’s 18th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival       


Miami  – The 18th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance FestivalAugust 11 – 13, will get South Florida dancing once again to the sweet rhythms of Cuba. The festival is a celebration of Afro-Cuban culture through dance and music, featuring workshops, panel discussion, live performances, after parties, and the premiere of the new choreography Ciudad de Orishas (City of Orishas). All events will take place at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Koubek Center, 2705 S.W. 3rd St.  

Founded by world-renowned choreographer and dancer Neri Torres through her non-profit organization, IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company, the festival welcomes everyone, from novices to professionals, to participate in a variety of classes and workshops over the course of three days, including sonsalsaruedarumba (guaguanco, columbia & Yambu)Gaga from the Eastern part of Cuba, orishasreggaeton, and Afro-Modern, among other dance disciplines.        

Afro-Cuban traditions have impacted music, fashion, visual arts, literature, and dance through rich mythology and cosmogony. This year’s festival centers on the fusion of Santeria traditions in urban settings as a testament of the continuous influx of the Cuban exodus for more than 50 years. In addition, there will be a panel discussion, Cuban Modern Dance: A Tribute to Victor Cuellar, dedicated to the late Cuban choreographer Victor Cuellar. IFE-ILE musicians will perform following the panel. 

Choreographed by Torres, Ciudad de Orishas will premiere at 8 p.m., on Saturday, August 13. This special performance is a collaboration with guest Afro-House singer Frank Oba Lords and DJ Oscar G, who fuse Afro-House compositions by Lords with traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms to recreate the symbolic essence of the orishas (deities) and their pervasive presence in today’s life. Meet the artists after the performance at the theater lobby.

To register, or for more information about the Festival, please call Neri Torres at 786-704-8609, or visit www.ife-ile.orgFollow IFE-ILE: Twitter @IFEILE | Instagram @ifeiledance |


BMe Community Awards $100,000 to 10 Black Men for Building Community

2016 BMe Leaders - Miami-2BMeLeaders - Miami, Left to right, top row, Marlon Hill Esq.; Brandon Okpalobi; Derick Pearson; Marvin Wilmoth; and Webber Charles Bottom row - Justin Pinn; Daniel Agnew; Melvin Deleveaux; Loubert Senatus; and Jonathan Spikes


Miami, FL – Ten inspiring black men will receive $10,000 a piece for their community programs after being named Miami’s first “BMe Leaders.” This prestigious honor is presented by BMe Community, a social network for people of all races and genders who care about making communities stronger. BMe Leaders are black men chosen for their community service and their ability to inspire.

BMe Community was incubated by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation until it’s 2013 spinoff. Today BMe has 165 BMe Leaders in 6 cities providing education, public safety, and economic services to over 500,000 people every year.

“Our mission is to build more caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men,” said BMe Community founding CEO, Trabian Shorters. “BMe Leaders do that, and they represent millions of unsung black men who lead the nation in service, enterprise and generosity every day. BMe shows this is who we are, and builds upon it.”

BMe’s strong position on black men as positive community catalysts has powerful backers as well.

“I share that belief,” said Knight Foundation President, Alberto Ibarguen. “From the beginning, the basic BMe premise has been that black men and boys are community assets.  At Knight, our ideal is an informed and inclusive community where all citizens can engage in deciding their true interests.  We couldn’t be prouder of the Miami BMe Leaders who are living that ideal.”

“Caring communities are a basic human need,” said William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust Executive Director, Douglas Zinn. “These BMe Leaders also provide inspiration, role models and hope. That is why we are proud partners in this important community-building work.”

BMe posits black men are assets but the social network is open to all people and has over 22,000 members of all races and genders.

On June 30th BMe and its partners are hosting “Better Together Awards” to celebrate Miami’s diverse men and women “Community-builders.”

“That’s because BMe isn’t about black men,” said BMe-Miami Community Manager, Benjamin Evans III. “We’re about better communities. We’re the social network for people who believe we can make things Better Together.”

BMe is backed by donations and leading philanthropies including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The Heinz Endowments and The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.

Congratulations to the 2016 BMe Leaders:

 Daniel Agnew - Founder of the Roots Collective 

Daniel believes in community building through collective economics, and he wants to better connect people to entrepreneurial resources. Daniel will use his BMe Leader Award to train and employ South Florida youth. He will offer tangible outlets for youth to learn skills like graphic design, business management, and event planning.

Webber Charles - Senior Site Director, Breakthrough Miami at Ransom Everglades School

Webber understands that being exposed to new cultures early in life can totally change the way people see their future. So he is extending opportunities to young people who wouldn’t normally have them. Webber is using his BMe Leader award to support his international mentoring program to help youth gain exposure to diverse experiences by traveling abroad.

Kelvin Deleveaux - COO & Co-founder of Daddy Knows Too LLC

Kelvin knows all too well the struggle of being a single father. After his divorce he had no idea how he would take care of his daughters. After searching in vain for information online he decided to create an app, “Daddy Knows Too.” Kelvin will use his BMe Leader Award to put the answers fathers need in the palm of their hands and to connect them to a network of support and resources. 

Marlon A. Hill, Esq. – Partner of Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP

Marlon is truly a mentor to mentors and works to make sure immigrants have a seamless transition into American culture.  Marlon will use his BMe Leader Award to support the acclimation, assimilation and integration of young Black men, especially of immigrant heritage, into the Miami community.

Brandon Okpalobi - Founder of DIBIA Dream, Inc. CEO of DIBIA Athletic Development 

Brandon works very hard to teach his students a unique way of making every life experience transform into a story that can be used as a learning lesson. Brandon will use his BMe Leader Award to develop STEM programs through his DREAM Academy (Development through Recreational Education for Athletic Minds).

Derick Pearson - ‎Co-Founder and President of Code Fever & ‎Black Tech week

Derick has dedicated his life to inspiring a new generation of leaders through his conversational talks on business, technology and Pan African empowerment. He is the co-owner of a Miami-based Gourmet Popsicle company, Feverish Ice Cream, and a youth tech entrepreneurship foundation called Code Fever. He will use his BMe Leader Award to hep teach 10-21-year-olds entrepreneurial skills through tech workshops and summer camps.

Justin Pinn - Program Coordinator and StarBot Academy Director Breakthrough Miami

Justin believes that Black men are remarkable in every way and that we lead in much more than sports and entertainment. Justin will use his BMe Leader Award to expand Breakthrough Miami’s paid teaching fellowship to include 30 low-income high school students of color. Upon completion, these students will have access to professional development, SAT/ACT prep, college trips, and an on-staff mentor at Breakthrough Miami.

Loubert Senatus - President of Forward Thought, Inc

Loubert has a strong passion for bringing post-secondary educational resources to students and parents. He will use his BMe Leader award to build a mobile college & career resources truck. The concept is similar to a food truck; however, college planning, FAFSA completion, college application, and vocational assistance will be the main dish. 

Jonathan Spikes – President of Affirming Youth

Jonathan is a proud cancer survivor and author who has dedicated his life to providing relevant conflict resolution programs (Let's Talk It Out) to help Black communities deal with trauma. He will use his BMe Leader award to provide quality social services to schools in Miami-Dade County.

Marvin Wilmoth - Vice President – Development of KCG Development

Marvin works every day to help all local black-owned businesses to thrive, grow and become sustainable to further help Miami’s Black economy. Marvin will use his BMe Leader Award to support an eco-friendly workspace for Miami’s social entrepreneurs.

South Florida Spelman College Alumnae Honor Educators 6/12


The South Florida Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College (SFC-NAASC), a 501(c)(3) organization will celebrate Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County community leaders at their annual  All That Jazz, the scholarship fundraiser: 

  • Dr. Dorothy Bendross Mindingall, Vice Chair of Miami-Dade County School Board
  • Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools
  • Noble Lockhart-Mays, Founder and Executive Director of Faith’s Place Centers

and Spelman alumnae working in the field of education, making a difference in the South Florida community.



Sunday, June 12, 2016 

3:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EDT) 



Adena Grill at The Village at Gulfstream Park

900 Silks Run #1740

Hallandale Beach, FL 33009 


Purchase tickets online at Eventbrite

For more information about All That Jazz event, email