Black History

Miami-Dade County, It's Election Day! Let's get out and vote! [RECOMMENDATIONS]

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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.

BBM 2020 General Election Ballot Breakdown

 


Alpha Phi Alpha Encourages, Motivates and Educates Voters with "Alpha Train" Caravan [VIDEO]

Alpha Train

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.

In June 2006, AlphaLand Community Development Corporation was created and incorporated under the leadership of Gregory D. Gay, Dana C. Moss, Sr. CPA, Lyonel Myrthil, and Eric Hernandez, Esq. The foundation and CDC are 501©3 not-for-profit organizations. The chapter’s executive board also serves as the Board of Directors of the foundation and the CDC has a separate board of directors with membership from the chapter.

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.

 

Related Links:

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Facebook)

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated


Photos: AJ Shorter/AJShorter Photography


2020 Election Could be Historic for Miami-Dade School Board

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Election 2020 could be historic for the School Board of Miami-Dade County. Joining Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall who is not up for re-election and current Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III who was re-elected without opposition, could be long-time, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss and professor and long-time community advocate Dr. Marie-Flore Lindor-Latortue. 

There have never been more than two Blacks on the school board, concurrently. Term-limited in his County Commission seat, Moss has thrown his hat in the ring for the District 9 school board seat which is open because the incumbent, Dr. Larry Feldman, is not seeking re-election. Lindor-Latortue is seeking the District 7 seat currently held by Luby Navarro.

Every election is important. These races could be decided as a result of the August 18 Primary Election, so it’s crucial to get registered by July 20 and vote. 

 




MLK Youth Symposium to explore the role of youth in activism

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The WISH (Women Involved In Service to Humanity) Foundation, Incorporated and Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated invite youths, mentoring groups, and auxiliary groups in Miami-Dade County and Broward County to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 19, 2020, from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, at Miami Carol City Senior High School, 3301 Miami Gardens Drive, Miami Gardens, FL. Registration is scheduled for 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Please RSVP on Eventbrite by January 15, 2020.

This is the ninth year of this annual gathering of youth from throughout South Florida in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The theme is ”Never Too Young: A Youth’s Role in Activism”. The event is designed to empower young people to activate Dr. King's teachings to address modern day issues confronting our community, country and the world.

 

 


Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

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3:30 pm- Gathering at the Statue of Toussaint L’Ouverture (62nd St and North Miami Avenue)

4:51 pm- Moment of silence 

5:00 pm- Processional march to the Little Haiti Cultural Complex (260 NE 59th Terrace)

5:30 pm- Program at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex


Juneteenth

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Today is a significant day in American history. It is the day commemorated as the end of enslavement of African Americans in the United States. So, as the story goes President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved Africans, that was effective January 1, 1863. The enslaved people in Texas were not officially notified until some two and a half years later on June 19, 1865. 

Of course there are various tales and opinions about why it took so long to notify the people in Texas. Of the states that seceded, Texas was the last of the confederate states to rejoin the United States. There are tales of the messenger being killed along the way. The delay was also likely attributed to the plantation owners who wanted to get another season of harvesting crops out of their slaves. It was about the Benjamins back then and, truth be told, it still is. 

Many people, Black and white, don't like to discuss the horrible period of slavery in this country. It's important that we know our history. It's also important we share our history with our children, even the unpleasant parts. The reality is that enslaved Africans built this country. In spite of the criminalization of educating enslaved Blacks, we not only learned to read, we create, we invent, we produce. On this day and everyday, let's be proud of what our ancestors overcame. Let's build on their legacy and not allow our families and children's consciousness to be poisoned today. Let's continue to fight for our true freedom.

 

 


Judge Rodney Smith Receives Lifetime Appointment to Federal Bench

Judge Rodney Smith
The Honorable Rodney Smith, Judge, US District Court for the Southern District of Florida

On June 12, 2019, at 2:43 pm ET, Florida Circuit Court Judge Rodney Smith ascended to the position of judge, US District Court for the Southern District of Florida via confirmation vote of 78-18 by the United States Senate. The position of federal judge is a lifetime appointment.

Smith’s confirmation is reason for many to celebrate throughout Florida and around the nation. He graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High School, a historically-black public school in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. To complete his undergraduate studies, he attended Florida A&M, a historically-black public university. He continued to reach his educational goals by earning a degree from Michigan State University College of Law, a non-Ivy League law school. 

His path to the federal judgeship began with the nomination by President Donald J. Trump for the judicial seat. Smith completed an extensive questionnaire and was advanced for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2018. He was selected as one of ten finalists for federal judge. As part of the process, the committee sends a blue slip to senators from the home state in which the judicial nomination was received. A senator from the nominee's home state can approve the nominee and advance the nomination to the full Senate or disapprove or take no action regarding the nominee thus ending the process for the nominee becoming a federal judge.

Smith interviewed with Senator Marco Rubio and then Senator Bill Nelson. He also interviewed with White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice. He was formally nominated in May 2018, but upon the adjournment of the 115th Congress in January 2019, Smith’s nomination was returned to the President. He was re-nominated later that month upon the convening of the 116th Congress.

Fifty-one affirmative votes were required for Smith’s confirmation. With a final vote of 78-18, he received many more votes than needed. There was still concern that 2020 presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren were among the 18 senators voting against his confirmation while Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders were among the four senators who did not vote at all.

Smith began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office in 1999. He later practiced at several private law firms before joining the Office of the City Attorney for Miami Beach as a Senior Assistant City Attorney in 2007. He was appointed County Court Judge by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2008. In 2012, Smith was appointed circuit court judge by Gov. Rick Scott where he served until his elevation to federal judge.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida includes the following counties: Miami-Dade; Broward; Palm Beach; Monroe; St. Lucie; Martin; Highlands; Indian River and Okeechobee. The Southern district has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases in those counties that fall under federal law.

Smith is a highly-regarded attorney and highly-respected in the community. He is proof that faith, hard work and a great attitude can take you far in life. He is a member of several organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, 100 Black Men of South Florida, Jack & Jill Dads, Boy Scouts of America; FAMU National Alumni Association, and 5000 Role Models of Excellence. Judge Smith and his family are active members of New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International.

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Judge Rodney Smith was sworn by Judge Donald Graham on Monday, June 17, 2019 at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse in Miami.
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Judge Rodney Smith and son with Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and fellow  5000 Role Models and staff.
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Judge Rodney Smith and fellow members of 100 Black Men of South Florida. From left, Judge Darrin P. Gayles, Stephen Hunter Johnson, Pierre Rutledge and Torrence Phillips. 
Judge Smith with Kappa brothers
Judge Rodney Smith with his brothers of the Miami Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
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Judge Rodney Smith with fellow FAMUans Kenneth Williams and Thomas Jones who are also his Alpha Phi Omega brothers and members of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association.
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Friends accompanied Judge Rodney Smith for his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2018. From left, Christopher Norwood, Larry Handfield, Hans Ottintot, Samuel Mustipher and Robert Tyler.



 


Happy 93rd Birthday to the Honorable Carrie P. Meek!

Carrie P. Meek
Happy Birthday to one of the true living legends of Florida history, the Honorable Carrie P. Meek!

 

The daughter of Willie and Carrie Pittman, Former Congresswoman Carrie Pittman Davis Meek was born on April 29, 1926, in Tallahassee, Florida. Her grandmother was born a slave in Georgia. Her parents began their married life as sharecroppers. Her father would later become a caretaker and her mother, a laundress and owner of a boarding house. The youngest of 12 children, Meek grew up in segregated Tallahassee, Florida. An honors student and track & field star athlete, she graduated from Florida A&M University (then Florida A&M College) in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in biology and physical education. At that time, Blacks were not allowed to attend graduate school in Florida. The state of Florida paid her graduate school tuition for her to go north to continue her studies. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1948 with a Master's degree in public health and physical education.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Meek was hired to teach at Bethune-Cookman University (then Bethune-Cookman College) in Daytona Beach, Florida, and then later at her alma mater, Florida A&M University. She moved to Miami in 1961 where she served as a professor, administrator, and special assistant to the vice president of Miami Dade College, then Miami-Dade Community College. The school was desegregated in 1963. Meek played a central role in pushing for integration. Throughout her years as an educator, Meek was also active in community projects in the Miami area.

Meek was elected Florida state representative in 1978. She would go on to make history as the first Black female elected to the Florida State Senate in 1982. As a state senator, Meek served on the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Her efforts in the legislature also led to the construction of thousands of affordable rental housing units.

In 1992, Meek was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 17th Congressional District. This historic election made her the first black lawmaker to represent Florida in Congress since Reconstruction. Upon taking office, Meek faced the task of helping her district recover from Hurricane Andrew’s devastation. Her efforts helped to provide $100 million in federal assistance to rebuild Dade County. Successfully focusing her attention on issues such as economic development, health care, education and housing, Meek led legislation through Congress to improve Dade County’s transit system, airport and seaport; construct a new family and childcare center in North Dade County; and fund advanced aviation training programs at Miami-Dade Community College. Meek has also emerged as a strong advocate for senior citizens and Haitian immigrants.

Meek has received numerous awards and honors. She is the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degrees from the Florida A&M University, University of Miami,  Barry University, Florida Atlantic University and Rollins University. The Foundation that carries her name focuses on improving the lives of individuals in Miami-Dade County and throughout the broader community of  Florida.

We are delighted to join family and friends in celebrating the ninety-three years of awesomeness of the legendary Carrie Pittman Davis Meek and wish her many more.

[Biography adapted from The History Makers and U.S. House of Representatives History.]

 


African American Read-In at Miami Dade College Feb. 4

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Hey book lovers! The 2019 African American Read-In takes place at Miami Dade College’s North Campus tomorrow, February 4. The goal is to make literacy, education, and community a significant part of Black History Month.

This year’s African American Read-In presenter is Glory Edim author of Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves.

This event is open to high school and college students, as well as, local community members. RSVP here. 

 

If You go:

African American Read-In
Monday, February 4, 2019 @ 10:00 am
Miami Dade College North Campus
11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167 


Longest Running Local Public Kwanzaa Celebration Moves to The ARC in Opa-locka on 12/29/18

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Miami, FL December 23, 2018: For almost three decades the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association has celebrated the seven-day Pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa. This year, due to renovations at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and the absence of many members traveling to witness the University’s famous marching band participate in the Rose Bowl and surrounding activities, it seemed the event would not take place. 

When one of the organization’s community partners found out the celebration was going on hiatus this year, the true Spirit of Kwanzaa took over and plans were quickly changed. On Saturday, December 29, at 3 pm, the 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration will take place at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center), 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054,

“We are deeply appreciative that Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe’s Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy reached out to help. Their support lets us know our teaching the Principles of Kwanzaa at this celebration through the years, has not been in vain,” said Vanessa Woodard Byers, event chair, and daughter of the late Mary Williams Woodard, educator and Kwanzaa advocate for whom this celebration is named. 

Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political community-building and family-strengthening holiday. The community is invited to come out and learn more about it. There will be music, dance, poetry and other artistic demonstrations. One of the highlights of the event is the distribution of dolls by young philanthropist, speaker, and business executive, Zoe Terry. Through her company, Zoe’s Dolls, dolls are given to little black and brown girls as a vehicle for building self-esteem and pride in their self-image. 

The event is free but register online at KwanzaaMiami29.eventbrite.com. Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys, for children in the local community, are appreciated. Potluck food donations for the Feast are also welcome. It is hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. of Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor in partnership with the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe's Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy.

For more information, email Vanessa Woodard Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343- 9088. Event updates are available on Facebook at Celebrate Kwanzaa in Miami and on Twitter at @KwanzaaMiami. 

HARAMBEE!

Here's video of last year's event courtesy of LaShannon of PrPlMiami.