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July 2016

Community Leaders and Policy Makers Tackle Local and National Issues at Pumps, Pearls & Politics Forum and Luncheon

PPP2015 audience
Many of South Florida's civic-minded women and men are looking forward to the conversation and networking at the fourth annual Pumps, Pearls & Politics.
FILE Photo: Denetra Collins/Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2015


Miami, FL – July 21, 2016 – The fourth annual Pumps, Pearls & Politics forum and luncheon hosted by the Connection Committee of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is scheduled for 11:30 AM, Saturday, August 6, 2016, at the InterContinental Miami in Doral. The event is women-centered and women-focused, but men are included on the agenda and encouraged to attend. Many topics to be covered are gender neutral and impact the entire community. This year’s theme, Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2016: How Do We #UniteAmerica?, is particularly timely and is certain to generate thought-provoking conversation.  

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson will bring the View from the Hill. Panelists include State Senator Oscar Braynon IIAdora Obi Nweze, President of the FL State Conference of the NAACP and Member of the National Board of Directors of the NAACP; United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats; Political consultant Makeda McLune; Attorney Ronda Vangates; and social justice activist and Dream Defenders leader Umi Selah. Public relations practitioner and journalist Beverly Counts Rodrigues will serve as moderator and entertainment will be provided by Grammy-nominated spoken word artist Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns.

“In light of recent local and national incidents regarding police-involved shootings and the upcoming presidential election, this event provides the perfect opportunity for the community to engage in serious dialog,” said chapter president Andrea Robinson, “our guests will also be able to interact directly with participating political candidates.”

If You Go:

When: Saturday, August 6, 2016, 11:30 AM

Where: InterContinental Doral Miami, 2505 NW 87th Avenue, Doral, FL 33172 

Admission: $40 (Includes food and beverage.)

To pay online: (Sales close 7/30/2016.)

For more information send an email to Natasha Hines at [email protected].



Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2015
FILE PHOTO: Some of the fabulous guests at Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2015.


FILE PHOTO: Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson with Riley Davis and family at Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2015. / Denetra Collins


Wright versus City Hall, Part 2

Miami Gardens City Hall

The case of James B. Wright v. City of Miami Gardens continued yesterday in the courtroom of Judge Bronwyn Miller in downtown Miami. Wright was represented by Jason Murray of Murray Law and the City of Miami Gardens by J.C. Planas of KYMP. At issue is Wright’s attempt to be placed on the ballot for the upcoming Miami Gardens mayoral race after he was disqualified because the check for his qualifying fee was “returned” by Wells Fargo Bank.

The judge and attorneys for Wright and Miami Gardens largely agreed that candidate Wright followed the law in the submission of the required paperwork and qualifying fee. Florida law indicates that if a candidate’s check is returned by the bank, the filing officer (Miami Gardens City Clerk) is to notify the candidate immediately. The candidate has until the end of the qualifying period to pay the fee with a cashier’s check from the campaign account or be disqualified. Wright's attorney's challenged the immediate notification issue as Wright was not notified until 20 days after submitting the required paperwork and qualifying fee. 

The City and County elections department cited prohibitive cost to add Wright’s name to the August 30 ballot since absentee ballots have already been submitted for printing and some have been mailed to military voters overseas. In offering a means of satisfying Wright and not requiring the City to incur additional costs, Wright’s attorney offered that the Miami Gardens mayoral race be placed on the November General election ballot. The City argued that would unfairly advantage Wright; would be cost prohibitive if the race resulted in a run-off; and would not allow for sufficient citizen engagement as the run-off would be held in December when many voters are on vacation.

Judge Miller mentioned more than once that she is constrained by law in making her ruling. The Levey decision was also mentioned several times during the proceeding. Basically, Levey was a candidate for office who was disqualified because the bank erroneously caused her check for her qualifying fee to be dishonored. In spite of admittance of the error by the bank, Levey was denied having her name placed on the ballot. Judge Miller indicated she will make a ruling by this morning. Wright will provide an update on the case via Facebook Live at 10 AM today.

Several key issues regarding this situation still need to be clarified. The City of Miami Gardens has not provided requested documentation that would answer several specific open questions regarding how and when checks are processed in general and how Wright’s check and other candidates checks were processed specifically.

It's also crucial to note that this case is bigger than Miami Gardens. It shines a spotlight on Florida Law that allows for duly capable and qualified candidates to be disqualified due to errors not of their own doing. There is something inherently wrong with that. Stay tuned.

Miami Dade County Court
Courtroom 6-1, Upon adjournment of hearing




Wright continues fight to remain on the ballot for City of Miami Gardens mayor

James B. Wright
James B. Wright continues his fight to remain on the ballot for City of Miami Gardens mayor.

There is a saying that you can't fight city hall. As quietly as it is being kept, James Wright, disqualified by the City of Miami Gardens in its mayoral race, is having none of that. Wright continues his fight today as he seeks to remain on the ballot. 

Initial discussion, on social media, of Wright's disqualification due to his returned check  led many to believe the check for his qualifying fee was returned due to insufficient funds. According to correspondence from the City to Wright, the check was returned because the account number could not be found. According to Wright’s bank, the check was never submitted for deposit.

City of Miami Gardens Clerk Ronetta Taylor notified Wright on June 20, 2016 that his check was returned and since it was after the qualifying period, he was disqualified. Wright submitted the check on the afternoon of June 1, 2016. Qualifying closed on the following day, June 2. 

Wright takes issue with the lapse in time between the date of submission of his qualifying documentation, including his check, and the notification of disqualification. Wright also asserts that City procedures were not followed when he submitted his qualifying documents. The City typically escorts a candidate to its finance area where the availability of funds in a candidate's account is determined on the spot. Wright notes a candidate for one of the council seats was notified that funds were not available in his account. That candidate opened his campaign account and filed his qualifying documents on the same day, the funds would not be available until the next day. That individual was not disqualified by the City Clerk. 

Well-known elections law attorney, J.C. Planas, has been hired to defend the City of Miami Gardens. Should the City prevail, there is evidence of change needed in the elections qualifying period, process and procedures. Should Wright prevail, this situation also warrants investigation of possible violation of established procedures. The City of Miami Gardens did not respond to requests for comment for this article. Stay tuned.

Watch the videos of Wright’s guest appearances on the Chief Jimmie Brown Show. 

June 26, 2016  - Chief Jimmie Brown Show on WMBM guest hosted by Eric Pettus


July 3, 2016 - Chief Jimmie Brown Show on WMBM


Va-va sig 75x39


Wilberforce University Announces New President


Long-Standing HBCU Fund-Raiser/Administrator, Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr., becomes the University's 21st President

HFeltonWILBERFORCE, Ohio, July 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilberforce University, the country's oldest private historically black college and university, today revealed that Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr has been chosen as its 21st President. With the hiring of Dr. Felton, Wilberforce University enters into a bright new era that promises to build on its 160 year legacy of developing great leaders.  "Dr. Felton's experience in day-to-day operations, and his proven leadership abilities in multiple areas including, fund raising made him a top candidate for this position," says Mark Wilson, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "Our search committee comprised of leaders across our faculty and alumni, were thrilled to get a chance to meet with Dr. Felton for the second time in this process.  He was highly regarded by our students, staff, and faculty during our last search, and we look forward to him joining us on campus in the coming weeks." 

Before joining Wilberforce University, Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr. was the senior vice president, COO and vice president of institutional advancement at Livingstone College where he provided executive level leadership in the areas of strategic planning, fund raising, management, administration and assessment while overseeing all day-to-day operations for the college.  During his time at Livingstone, Dr. Felton also increased annual alumni contributions from seven to 19 percent in three years, in addition to serving on the school's executive committee for its accreditation process. Prior to Livingstone College, Dr. Felton was the director of development at Murray State University. A Co-Founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, Dr. Felton is committed to ensuring our nations HBCUs identify and cultivate the next pipeline of highly skilled, transformational, and principled leaders to lead.  Dr. Felton received his Juris Doctor from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, and his bachelor's degree in political science from Edward Waters College.  Dr. Felton also served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.

"I'm looking forward to joining the Wilberforce community.  It is an honor that the oldest private HBCU in the country has chosen me to lead them into a new era," states Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr. president of Wilberforce University.  "Over the last two years, I have seen the dedication of all who love and cherish this great university. From the students, faculty and staff, to the ever supportive alumni, what this community has accomplished over the last two years is commendable. I know that with the determination and spirit I've seen, we will continue to lead this University into a rewarding future." 

About Wilberforce University
Wilberforce University was founded in 1856 on a relatively radical principle for mid-19th Century America: to provide African-Americans, many who were fleeing slavery, with a quality, advanced education. It was a progressive concept that has evolved to inspire its current students to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Known today as the first predominantly African-American private university in the nation, it welcomes students of all faiths, races, colors, and national and ethnic origins. The school is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church as well as many collegiate organizations and associations, including the United Negro College Fund. For more information, visit


Ankara Miami Debuts Swim Week's First African Runway Show

Traci Young-Byron in 3 Elements Fashion & Ankara Delights by Evelyn O
Traci Young-Byron of Lifetime's 'Step It Up' and Young Contemporary Dance Theater in 3 Elements Fashion & head wrap by Ankara Delights by Evelyn O


MIAMI, FL – Ankara Miami, Inc. made history by launching Ankara Swim – Swim Week’s first series of African swimwear productions.

The runway show and pop-up shop welcomed emerging and established swimwear, resort wear, and accessory brands from all over the world to showcase never before seen African print and African-inspired designs to an audience of fashion and cultural enthusiasts, media, and consumers.

“We are extremely proud to have provided a platform for such beautiful designs, models, and textured hair styles by Natural Trendsetters Salon and media sponsors, TXTURE Magazine,” said Evelyn Onyejuruwa, Founder/CEO of Ankara Miami, Inc and Executive Producer of Ankara Swim. “We look forward to continuing to raise the bar for authentic and progressive African events in South Florida. This is just a sneak peek of what’s to come next February during Ankara Miami 2017 – Florida’s Premier African Fashion Week!”

Ankara Swim was hosted by BET’s ComicView alum, Marcellus “Chello” Davis and included comedy by Caribbean radio personality, Rayzor. Feature guest Traci Young-Byron, Founder/Artistic Director of Young Contemporary Dance Theatre and star of Lifetime’s docu-series, “Step It Up”, opened the runway show and introduced the latest collection of head wraps and fabric by Ankara Delights by Evelyn O. Sponsors included Arik Air, CURLS, Miss Jessie’s, MD Simmons Productions and our returning style teams, Natural Trendsetters Salon and The Fashionistis, LLC.

Feature runway designers represented Nigeria, Kenya, Haiti, and other nations of the African Diaspora. Apparel (in order of appearance): Dahil Republic of Couture, A Beautiful Piece by Harmony, Wamuiru Couture, Fabian and Mom, ÖFUURË by Tehilah, and 3 Elements Fashion featuring Ankara Delights by Evelyn O head wraps. Accessories: Pink Empress, Sankofa’s Child, and Utamaduni Wear.


Taasha Renee in 3 Elements Fashion & Ankara Delights headwrap
Taasha Renee in 3 Elements Fashion (USA). Head wrap by Ankara Delights by Evelyn O (Nigeria)


Shalandra in A Beautiful Piece by Harmony (USA).  Hair by Natural Trendsetters Salon
Shalandra in A Beautiful Piece by Harmony (USA). Hair by Natural Trendsetters Salon


Shania in Fabian And Mom (Nigeria)
Shania in Fabian And Mom (Nigeria)


Claire in Wamuiru Couture (USA). Hair by Natural Trendsetters Salon
Claire in Wamuiru Couture (USA). Hair by Natural Trendsetters Salon


Host Chello Davis in JZO (Nigeria)
Host Chello Davis in JZO (Nigeria)


Ankara Swim Exec Producer, Evelyn Onyejuruwa with production team and models
Ankara Swim Exec Producer, Evelyn Onyejuruwa with production team and models


Baltimore Ravens’ #58 Elvis Dumervil Building 58 Homes in Haiti 


Elvis Dumervil, Miami native and Baltimore Ravens' All-Pro DE/OLB, has returned from a weekend in Bercy, Haiti checking in on the construction progress of a 58 home community he has funded through New Story, a nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities. His big vision: create an entire NFL community in Haiti.

He pledged to build 58 homes in honor of his Baltimore Ravens #58 jersey number and went to Haiti before training camp to watch the first 24 of the 58 families move into their brand new homes. For $6,500 per home, New Story and Elvis Dumervil are uniting to rebuild parts of Haiti home by home. 

What Elvis has to say after the trip?

"It was a special experience to give back and visit where my family is from. I was blown away by the quality of the homes for only $6,500 and how grateful the receiving families were. Watching families move in after being homeless for 6+ years was incredible. We have land for about 200 more homes in this community." 

This is the start of a bigger vision for a 250 home NFL community. With 50+ current Haitian NFL players, Dumervil plans to build an entire NFL (player / corporate sponsored) community in Haiti with the help of fellow NFL stars and fans. 

Next steps: New Story and Elvis will be reaching out to NFL players to pledge their jersey numbers or "pledging a home for every touchdown, interception, etc." This growing community then becomes a centralized location for players to visit, off-season camps, and fans to experience. 

New Story has identified and secured land in Bercy with the help of their local partner on the ground, Mission of Hope. The community will be built by locals making fair wages using local materials. A school is already built for students on the same part of land

Quote from New Story CEO, Brett Hagler: 

"Safe homes are the foundation that give kids the opportunity for better education, health, and athletic dreams. Elvis and I hit it off because we both had the same vision of a thriving community - not just one-off housing. We're now on a mission to fund and build an extraordinary 250 home NFL Community." 

New Story's founders started the organization upon visiting Haiti in 2014 when close to 80,000 people were homeless. 6 years after the earthquake there is still an estimated 65,000 people displaced. 

They have created a simple concrete solution for $6,500 giving these families the stability of dignified housing they deserve and a foundation to build from with access to education, healthcare, and basic necessities like clean water and sanitation. 

New Story's 1st community: In 2015, New Story successfully built a 151 home community in less than 1 year in Leveque, Haiti.