Inarguably, 2020 has been a year of many changes and challenges. If you have been paying attention, as have many of us, you are just grateful to be alive. Almost 270,000 Americans are not due to COVID-19. More than 12 million Americans have been infected and our lives disrupted. We are resilient. We are grateful. Our movement, for many, has been restricted and our means of communication has changed. We fired Donald Trump. He and most of his minions will be out of The People’s House and we look forward to 2021. Our local elections resulted in the first female mayor or Miami-Dade County but exposed and poured salt on wounds that required our attention for healing.
We are thankful for each subscriber, reader and follower. We will use our platforms to elevate and educate. We will not, however, hesitate to call folks out, when necessary. The fierce urgency of now, still exists, so let’s commit to making our community better. Life is precious. Please be safe. Cherish your family and friends. We love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.
(Opa-locka, FL) — The City of Opa-locka recently announced that its Housing Assistance Program and COVID Relief Grocery Gift Card Program are now available for qualified City of Opa-locka residents. Both programs will assist City of Opa-locka residents in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 state of emergency brought about economic hardships to residents and businesses. In response, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law, March 2020. Funding is granted through the Florida Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was created as a provision of the CARES Act. On July 21, 2020, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners approved $10 million to be used in aiding landlords who have not received payments since the COVID-19 outbreak began. The following includes two City of Opa-locka programs funded by the CARES Act.
Proposed City of Opa-locka Housing Assistance Program
The City has been awarded $2.1 million to assist residents of Opa-locka with arrears payments for mortgage and/or rent. The proposed Housing Assistance Program (HAP) will assist homeowners and tenants with up to six (6) months or $6,000 maximum and will be paid directly to the mortgage company or owner of the rental property.
Reside within City of Opa-locka boundaries
Show proof of identification with primary address of residence
Proof of household income at or below 140% of Area Median Income (AMI) for Miami-Dade County
Submit proof of loss/reduction of income due to COVID-19
Submit proof of mortgage/rental payment up to February 2020
Must not have received mortgage/rental assistance from any other source for same period covered by HAP award
State Picture Identification matching lease address (utility bill with applicant’s name and address if ID does not match)
Social Security Card of applicant
Layoff or Furlough Notice
Evidence of loss of wages (bank statements, paycheck records}
Paid mortgage statement as of February 2020
Current statement showing arrears
Payment instructions for mortgage holder
Signed current lease
Receipt showing rent was current as of February 2020
Contact information for landlord
Proposed COVID Relief Grocery Gift Card Program
Residents of the City of Opa-locka who have been adversely affected by the state of emergency imposed as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible to apply for assistance through the Grocery Gift Card Program. Residents may apply for a grocery gift card in the amount of $250.00, while supplies last and limited to one gift card per household.
Reside within City of Opa-locka boundaries (photo ID required)
Must be at least 18 years of age
Must have faced financial hardship, due to COVID-10
Submit notarized affidavit attesting to residency and financial hardship. Affidavit will be provided on line
Application will be available online
Gift cards will be distributed at two locations – Segal Park and Sherbondy Park
How to Apply
The Housing Assistance application will be available on the City of Opa-locka’s website as well as www.miamidadecovidrelief.org. The customer will need to upload all required documents.
In-Person at the following Park & Facilities locations:
The COVID Relief Grocery Gift Card application will be available on the City of Opa-locka’s website. Residents will need to print the and complete the application and bring, along with required documents, to Segal Park, 2331 NW 143 Street, Opa-locka FL, 305.953.3092 or Sherbondy Park, 380 Bahman Street, Opa-locka FL, 305.953.2875. Applications will, also, be available at the sites. Notarized affidavit must be submitted at time of application.
Nashville, TN — Curb Records is excited to announce the much-deserved GRAMMY® nomination of its June 2020 release of the Fisk Jubilee Singers® album, Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album) in the Best Roots Gospel Album category. Listen to the album HERE.
“I had many great experiences today, including the news of the Fisk Jubilee Singers’® GRAMMY® Nomination. This is VERY EXCITING!!!,” shares Dr. Paul Kwami, Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers® and Album Co-Producer. “It is the result of hard and diligent work put together by many great minds. As the Fisk Jubilee Singers® prepare to celebrate their 150th anniversary in 2021, this nomination gives us much inspiration to celebrate the anniversary in a grand way. This GRAMMY® nomination is a great honor for the Fisk Jubilee Singers® and me, and for this I am very grateful to everyone for their tremendous contributions.”
The album, which is more than 150 years in the making, is a collection of 12 songs that beautifully represents and communicates the powerful and vibrant history of Fisk University, Fisk Jubilee Singers®, and the city of Nashville. It features the group from the stage of Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, with guest appearances by Ruby Amanfu, Keb’ Mo’, Lee Ann Womack, The Fairfield Four, Rod McGaha, Derek Minor, Shannon Sanders, Rodney Atkins, Jimmy Hall and CeCe Winans.
“I am proud to be a part of this historic moment,” shares Shannon Sanders, Album Co-Producer. “I am beyond excited for the Fisk Jubilee Singers®, Dr. Paul T. Kwami, and Fisk University. I am grateful to Mike Curb, the team at Curb Records and all of their affiliates for their incredible belief and support. This is a big day for Music City.”
Mike Curb, Chairman of Curb Records, also shares, “We’ve worked for many years with the Fisk Jubilee Singers and we are very excited that they have such an important GRAMMY® nomination at this time.”
Clockwise, from top left, City of Opa-locka Mayor Matthew Pigatt; former Judge Shirlyon McWhorter swears in Vice Mayor Veronica Williams; former City of Opa-locka Mayor Dr. ML Taylor swears in son John Taylor Jr.; andCity of Opa-locka Commission, from left, Commissioner Chris Davis, Vice Mayor Veronica Williams, Mayor Matthew Pigatt, Commissioner Alvin Burke, and Commissioner John Taylor Jr.
(OPA-LOCKA, FL) — The City of Opa-locka hosted a Swearing-In Ceremony for the newly-elected Commission Members Vice Mayor Veronica Williams and Commissioner John Taylor Jr. on Thursday, November 19, at the Sherbondy Village Community Center.
City of Opa-locka Mayor Matthew Pigatt served as the Master of Ceremony which began with an invocation from Rev. Dr. Ranzer A. Thomas, Sr., Senior and Founding Pastor of New Generation Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Dr. Kay Williams-Dawson, Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Praise, introduced newly-elected Vice Mayor Williams. The Honorable Judge Shirlyon J. McWhorter, former Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge, swore in newly-elected Vice Mayor Williams.
Next, newly-elected Commissioner Taylor was introduced by his wife Monica Taylor. Dr. M.L. Taylor, former Mayor of the City of Opa-locka and her husband Bishop John Taylor then swore in their son, newly-elected Commissioner Taylor. Other program participants included: John E. Pate, City Manager; Commissioner Chris Davis; and Commissioner Alvin Burke.
“I believe that now more than ever we needed more leaders that will talk less, listen more, and work together for the community and the citizens that we were selected and elected to serve. So, time’s out for secret agendas, time’s out for cliques, time’s out for ununified behaviors. We were elected by the people to support the people,” said Commissioner Taylor. “Let me fight for you and be your advocate. To the 1,600 plus people that reside within the walls of the great City of Opa-locka, I stand here for you and because of you.”
“Service for people has always been at the forefront of everything I do. I follow the footsteps of many trailblazing African-American women in politics in Miami. To the many black and brown women stepping up to the plate to shape our communities and our country⎯⎯this is why I decided to be the change agent that I wanted to see in my community,” said Vice Mayor Williams. “I am ready to work with everyone to form a new vision to create a new and better reputation for the City of Opa-locka because I am Opa-locka!”
It's finally here! It's Election Day! From the presidential race to other races on the federal, state and local level, TODAY is our LAST DAY to voice our choices in this election cycle. Every election is important and every vote counts. This year is truly important as our country has definitely gone in the wrong direction over the last almost four years.
Please refer to our recommendations and make sure you vote for people who will represent you. Even if the candidate you support is not victorious, it's crucial to hold the people who are elected accountable. Check out an excerpt from The Bakari Sellers Podcast. It was a conversation between Sellers, Angela Rye and Andrew Gillum. A few choice adult words are used so consider yourself warned. The bottomline is we, as voters, have a responsibility to make sure our elected officials are representing us and not just themselves.
Some folks are apprehensive about the aftermath of the election if Trump loses. He has signaled to White nationalist organizations to be disruptive and violent so we need to be aware but not fearful. The polls will close at 7 p.m. tonight. Get out and vote. Our lives truly depend on it.
Perhaps the Black community in Miami is on the precipice of a political and cultural revolution. Perhaps this generation of millennials will usher in a resurgence of Black unity and Black power reminiscent of Miami’s past. On Sunday, November 1, 2020, the men of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, executed a community caravan to bring awareness of the importance of the using the right to vote to effect change for our people and the community at large.
For this ambitious project, the fraternity partnered with Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only HBCU. Before the fraternity members and their supporters set out on their journey, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included dignitaries from the university’s Board of Trustees.
As the attention-getting caravan, with full escort, rolled into the first of four stops, the early voting site at the Miramar Branch Library & Education Center, the energy was immediately apparent. The featured speaker at that location was the honorable Wayne Messam, mayor of the City of Miramar and member of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter. The fraternity distributed t-shirts and bottled water to early voters waiting in line.
The excitement continued at the next stops, the early voting sites at the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens and the North Miami Library. The caravan concluded at the Joseph Caleb Center early voting location, in the City of Miami, with messages from community leader and past chapter president, Pierre Rutledge and current chapter president Michael Grubbs.
More than 200 people in 70 vehicles participated in the caravan. At each of the stops, hundreds of voters and onlookers were educated on “A Voteless People is a Hopeless People,” a national program of Alpha Phi Alpha since the 1930’s when many African-Americans had the right to vote but were prevented from voting because of poll taxes, threats of reprisal, and lack of education about the voting process.
“Yesterday...I looked into the eyes of children and our seniors across South Florida and saw the impact of the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, "Alpha Train" Road to the Polls. It offered hope and meaning to a community struggling to believe in the Democratic process within our country. We endeavored to wake up South Florida and let our name, example and action(s) lead the way,” said Taj Echoles, chair of Beta Beta Lambda’s Alphas In Action Task Force, the civic engagement arm of the chapter.
About Beta Beta Lambda Chapter (adapted from Chapter's website):
Beta Beta Lambda Chapter has been an active part of the Greater Miami community since its inception on November 19, 1937. Like many chapters across the country, it was established by men with a common interest in improving the community through education and public service.
The chapter’s founding members are Felix E. Butler, MD, Nathaniel Colston, MD, Ira P. Davis, MD, Aaron Goodwin, MD, Frederick J. Johnson, Samuel H. Johnson, MD, Leo A Lucas, and William H. Murrell, MD. Under the leadership of Solomon C. Stinson, Ph.D., the chapter was incorporated in the State of Florida as a legal entity on November 30, 1978. Under the leadership of Earl H. Duval Ph. D., the Beta Beta Lambda/Alpha Foundation was created and incorporated on September 25, 1995.
Beta Beta Lambda Chapter and its subsidiaries are providing leadership through its many service activities such as Alpha Outreach, Project Alpha, Alpha-Dade Youth Sports Program, Alpha/Big Brothers & Big Sisters Partnership, Sankofa Project, Knights of Gold, Boy Scouts Troop 1906, Alpha/Head Start Partnership, Voter Education Project, and Scholarship Award Program.