Broward County

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

Taylor’s Closet completes “The Bloom Bus” after being awarded $45,000 grant by StrikeForce 421 to help girls in need through faith and shopping

Bloom Bus
Mobile boutique bus caters to girls who would otherwise be unable to participate in life-changing empowerment programs

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Taylor’s Closet, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower teenage girls in need is pleased to announce that they have completed “The Bloom Bus” project after being awarded a $45,000 grant by the StrikeForce 421 Giving Circle, a group of 100 women committed to donating $100,000 annually.
In keeping with their goal to expand their outreach program, Taylor’s Closet strives to empower hurting teenaged girls by “shopping” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. “The Bloom Bus,” which is an entirely new concept allows the organization to help girls who do not have access to transportation or live further away from its location at 1227 NE 8th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL, by driving the bus to wherever the girls are.
“We are thankful for the generosity of StrikeForce 421 for making the dream of a haven for these girls a reality,” said Greg Martin, Principal with Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Taylor’s Closet. During the past few years, Taylor’s Closet has partnered with Fort Lauderdale High School and has seen tremendous results with the girls who have attended its programs for a one-year period; more than 90 percent of participants experienced improvements in the areas of attendance, behavior, and GPA. Additionally, Taylor’s Closet recently launched the “Bloom” program where they meet with over 50 girls weekly at the Fort Lauderdale High School to bring the mission of the organization to the classroom.
The weekly meetings have become a safe space for teenage girls to discuss success and failures and create life-long bonds that are typically missing in high schools. The sessions include icebreakers, refreshments, lessons on key topics, as well as open discussions. The meetings culminate with the girls holding hands and talking about all the good things that happened to them throughout the week.
The bus, which is open to the girls who attend and participate in the Bloom program, features a mobile store filled with new clothing and accessories from a variety of designers they can shop from at no cost to them. Taylor’s Closet wishes to use the bus as a gateway to reach each girl on a deeper level. “We are thrilled at the outcome of The Bloom Bus,” added Linda Giambattista, Executive Director of Taylor’s Closet. “We wanted to use the bus as a tool to accomplish our mission of helping teenage girls realize their value and worth, and we achieved that and more.”
With the mission to greatly impact local Christian ministries, StrikeForce 421 is a network of 100 women who pull together to give over $100,000 in grants annually in support of ministries that touch the lives of children on a daily basis. “Rather than leaving little impact to an abundance of ministries, our goal is to fund entire projects that could take a few ministries’ influence to a whole new level,” said JoAnne Daudt, Founder of StrikeForce 421.
Established in 2006, Taylor’s Closet is the result a then 14-year-old girl’s dream to share her love of shopping and fashion with less fortunate teenaged girls in her community. The mission of Taylor’s Closet is to create a community in which teenaged girls in need will be empowered to break the cycle of abuse and neglect and live happy, healthy, and productive lives, realizing their God-given destiny through the power of faith and shopping. The charity allows for hurting teenaged girls to “shop” for free designer clothing while engaging in a healthy dialogue about important issues that affect each of their lives. The organization also conducts weekly workshops focused on design and art to help teenaged girls unlock their creative talents. For more information about Taylor’s Closet, please visit

Miramar High School's Alvin Davis named Florida's 2012 Teacher of the Year

Alvin_davis Orlando - Following an evening of celebration, fun and the recognition of Florida's leading teachers, Alvin Davis, a teacher from Miramar High School in Broward County, was selected as the Florida Department of Education/Macy's 2012 Teacher of the Year. In addition to being named Teacher of the Year, Mr. Davis will serve as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for education during the 2011-12 school year where he will visit schools throughout Florida to share information about educational opportunities and challenges in the state.

Additionally, Davis will represent the Sunshine State in the national Teacher of the Year awards program, and will receive a cash prize of $10,000 from Macy's, a customized trophy and an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Davis is a Chicago native and graduate of Florida A&M University, and a former member of the Marching 100. He was Director of Bands at Crystal Lake Middle School (Pompano Beach, FL) and the Assistant Director of Bands at Blanche Ely High School (Pompano Beach, FL).

Being a regular guest conductor and instructor at the largest band camp in the country, he is also currently the Director of the Broward County All-Star Band, and the Director of Bands at Miramar High School where his students in Marching band, Concert band, Symphonic band, and Wind Ensemble, have received numerous accolades including Superior and Excellent ratings at the district and state level.

For the past three years, every student that was a regular participating member of the Miramar Band Program has been accepted to a post-secondary education institution or program - much in part to Davis' strategies. In order to do this, he established certain rules and regulations. Every student receives one-on-one counseling with a member of the band staff and he personally reviews a copy of every band member's report card and interim reports. Every after school band rehearsal includes a one-hour study hall where students participate in peer tutoring and additional tutoring is provided after rehearsal as needed. He even keeps a resource library of every textbook of every class the school offers. All Davis' students who are seniors must show proof that they have registered for the SAT or ACT in order to be allowed to perform, and by January, they must prove that they have applied to a college or university. He always strives for excellence and high student achievement.

Macy's also awarded the other four finalists - Lora McCalister-Cruel from A. Crawford Mosley High School in Bay County, Belinda Nease from Southside Elementary School in Nassau County, Stephanie Thetford from Fort Walton Beach High School in Okaloosa County, and Tracy Staley from Ponce de Leon Elementary School in Pinellas County - a $5,000 check and a $500 Macy's gift card. Each of the finalists' respective schools was also presented $1,000 to be used toward educational programs.

"Teachers generously give of themselves everyday to educate children, but elevate and empower future generations to achieve great things," said Karin Darmanin, Macy's Senior Vice President, Regional Director of Stores. "Macy's is thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate with and honor Alvin Davis for his dedication and commitment to education and to always helping students reach for the stars."

The Florida Department of Education/Macy's Teacher of the Year is chosen from district nominees by a selection committee comprised of teachers, principals, parents, and the business community. Florida's top educator is selected on the basis of demonstrating outstanding accomplishments in teaching, the ability to communicate with other educators and stakeholders, and exceptional professional and community service. The winner must also show a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.


Sources: FLDOE; Broward Schools; Miramar High School


Grand Jury Report: Broward schools culture of corruption and ineptitude?


I just finished reading the Grand Jury Report on Broward County School Board and the Broward County School District. The report was released to Judge Victor Tobin on January 21 but was released to the public last Friday. Can you say mayhem and foolishness?

The report has been described as scathing, blistering, and a number of other terms that should make the public nauseous considering the amount of money allegedly squandered. There are folks knowledgeable of the goings-on in Broward Public Schools that have been singing this tune for years. You know sometimes you don’t want folks to be right, well it appears they were very much on point. So sad.

You can click here to read the entire report but know that it describes a culture of corruption, ineptitude and intimidation that is hard to be believe exists until one considers the grand financial scam that resulted in the bail out of Wall Street but let me not digress. The Grand Jury Report is 114 pages long; 63 pages are exhibits. To set the tone of the report, check out this excerpt:

“The evidence we have been· presented concerning the malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance of the Broward County School Board (Board) and of the senior management of the Broward County School District, (District) and of the gross mismanagement and apparent ineptitude of so many individuals at so many levels is so overwhelming that we cannot imagine any level of incompetence that would explain what we have seen. Therefore we are reluctantly compelled to conclude that at least some of this behavior can best be explained by corruption of our officials by contractors, vendors and their lobbyists. Moreover, many of the problems we identified in our inquiry are longstanding and have been pointed out by at least two previous Grand Juries. But for the Constitutional mandate that requires an elected School Board for each District, our first and foremost recommendation would have been to abolish the Broward County School Board altogether.”

Wow, that’s serious. Here’s what gets me though, the report points out that the Broward County School District is the sixth largest in the nation and the second largest in Florida. The Broward District has also been strongly criticized by the Grand Jury in the past. It won’t take a genius to connect the dots and use these findings to continue to chip away at public education in Florida.

Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter has already begun to defend himself and the Broward School Board and it has been pointed out that the Board now consists of four new members. That may be true but not enough to satisfy the public. The calls for Notter’s resignation have gotten louder and there will surely be at least one scapegoat before this issue is laid to rest.

The Grand Jury makes several recommendations (see page 48) but I pray the superintendent position never becomes elected; there is already too much politics in public education as it is. In the meantime, the Grand Jury report should be required reading for current school board members, superintendents, and senior school management officials throughout Florida.


Tournament of Champions along with Nike and The Miami Children’s Hospital To Host Annual Sports Festival

Miami, FL-Momentum and heightened global anticipation is growing in South Florida as they wait for two of the biggest sporting event to take place. With a reputation for producing quality sporting events in South Florida, Tournament of Champions, Inc.  will present their Sixteenth Annual Nike All-Star Football Game (Dade vs Broward) at North Miami Athletic Stadium (2555 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL) on Thursday, January 6, 2011, at 7:30pm. This is the fourteenth year that Nike has partnered with TOC Inc. as a title sponsor. The Miami Children's Hospital is medical sponsor for the game. Publix Supermarket is the presenting sponsor. The game includes some of South Florida’s most elite players ( Dade vs Broward) competing for the coveted notoriety title, bragging rights and scholarships. Admission to the game is $10. 

On Friday, January 7 & 8 2011, the anticipated TOC Inc.‘s  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Basketball Classic at Blanch Ely High School (1600 South Andrews Ave, Ft. Lauderdale, FL). This is Ninteen (19) of Florida’s top teams and hoop stars competing for bragging rights and scholarships. The Classic first session are on January 7 at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm, second session starts Saturday January 8 at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, Third session starts 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm and 9:00pm. The games are $10 each session or $25 for all day pass. VIP tickets are $15 per session and $40 for an all day pass. 

TOC Inc. is also partnering with the City of Pompano Beach to host a free books and basketball camp for 100 community youths January 8 at Mitchell Moore Park from 10am-12noon. The camp will be facilitated by NBA legend Wali Jones.  Coach Kevin Sutton, of national powerhouse Montverde High School in Orlando will conduct team practice and instructions to the youths on basketball fundamentals.  

TOC, Inc. is a sports management company whose core community philosophy is demonstrated in their outreach initiatives that also include their annual South Florida Student Athlete Academic Human Development Symposium and annual basketball clinic in Jamaica . Partial proceeds for the sports festival will be donated to the Dade County Football Coaches Association to support high school football coaches and athletic training. Student scholarships will also be awarded to the 100 Black Men of South Florida, Inc. 

“This is an excellent opportunity for the elite players of South Florida to showcase their talents and skills. TOC Inc. will continue to foster the academic and athletic growth of  our community’s young aspiring athletes. We hope the players will take this experience through their college careers and beyond”, states Wesley Frater, Founder & Executive Director of Tournament of Champions, Inc.

“We are delighted to be a part of the Nike South Florida All Star Football Game and the Tournament of Champions. Miami Children’s Hospital will be the provider of sports medicine services for the athletes participating in the game. We are pleased to be able to offer quality care to these talented young athletes and students as an extension of our commitment to children throughout the region, “states Stephen Swirsky, DO, Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Physician at Miami Children’s Hospital.

"Publix is committed to supporting youth activities, specifically those that promote active lifestyles and develop character," said Kim Jaeger, Publix's Miami media and community relations manager. "We are thrilled to be a presenting sponsor of the All-Star game again this year, an event that does both while bringing our South Florida communities together in support of these young athletes."

Additional sponsors include: Powerade and the US Army.


Remembering Charles Hamm, one of Broward’s First Black Mailmen

By Wallis Hamm Tinnie, Ph.D.

Charles Hamm, 83, one of Broward  County's First Black Mailmen 001[2] Charles E. Hamm, 83, one of Broward County’s First Black Mailmen, died October 24.

He was the third child of eight children born to the union of Lauza and Marion C. Hamm, Sr., early pioneers of South Florida.

Charles left Ft. Lauderdale in 1945 after finishing Dillard high school to attend Clark College of Atlanta, Georgia, a tenure interrupted by the Draft notice that sent him to Korea. He had not completed his tour of duty in the war effort when he was called to return to the family homestead as the official military escort for the flag-draped casket carrying the body of his brother, Albert, who had given his life in the Korean War effort.

Always a trailblazer, Charles completed a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Clark College but found no teaching vacancies available to him in the South Florida segregated school system in 1952.  He applied for a position with the Federal Government and was accepted by the United States Post Office in Broward County as one of its first Black mailmen. 

With job in hand, he proposed to Virginia Anderson. Their marriage produced two daughters, Kimberly Walls and Karyl Zackery whom he leaves to mourn along with a sister, Helen Hamm, a brother, Robert Hamm, and a host of grandchildren, other relatives and friends.

The African proverb, “A Tree Cannot Stand Without its Roots,” speaks volumes about the life and legacy of Charles E. Coffee Hamm whose parents were natives of South Carolina.  His father was from Timmonsville.  His mother’s ancestors were straight out of the beautiful Sea Island low Country that defines the land of the Gullah/Geechee people.

The  Gullah are known for preserving more of their African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African-American community in the United States. They speak an English-based Creole language containing many African loanwords and significant influences in grammar and sentence structure from African languages.  Gullah storytelling, cuisine, music, folk beliefs, crafts, farming and fishing traditions, all exhibit strong influences from West and Central African cultures.

At the start of the Civil War, when Union forces arrived on the Sea Islands in 1861, they found the Gullah people eager for their freedom, and eager as well to fight and defend it. Many Gullahs served with distinction in the Union Army’s First South Carolina Volunteers, a fighting unit of Black soldiers. The Sea Islands of South Carolina were the first place in the South where enslaved people got their freedom. 

It was also fertile ground for education.  Penn Center, now a Gullah community organization on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, began as the very first school for African American Freedmen.

In fact, the late JFK, Jr., himself, loved Charles’s Mother’s Sea Islands so much that he and his wife, the late Carolyn Bessette, were married there at the First African Baptist Church, a small clapboard Chapel on Cumberland Island. The Church, its altar a simple wooden stand, and its cross consisting of two sticks held together by string, was decorated with wild flowers.

These are the roots of Charles E. Coffee Hamm, called Coffee, he said, because his grinds are so fine, a man who went off to Korea to fight in the tradition of his Sea Island ancestors. 

When he stood his ground for freedom on the bus ride through the racist South of the 1950’s, he did so in the tradition of the First South Carolina Volunteers, a Black fighting unit  of the Civil War who were eager to fight for their freedom. 

When he went away to study Chemistry at Clark College in Atlanta, he was following the tradition started in his mother’s Sea Island homestead where the first school for African Freedmen was established. 

Indeed, his Mother, the daughter of a well-to-do landowner from the Sea Island area, had instilled in each of the children the idea that each sibling had to help the brother or sister following him or her to complete his education. These are Charles Hamm’s roots.

In 1942, when the members of Charles’s class entered high school, the film, Casablanca, hit the movie screen. It was a film about love and war in the Moroccan City of Northern Africa,  In it, Humphrey Bogart, the Hollywood screen idol of that time, in a so-called noble gesture, gave up his married lover, played by Ingrid Bergman, allowing her to leave Morocco with her husband.  And then, he took his bitterness out on Sam, the Black musician.

“I said, Play it Again” he demanded angrily after  Sam had said he was tired and wanted to leave. This very bitter scene has been romanticized so that Bogart is remembered as making a gentle request, “Play it again, Sam.” This falsely-remembered interaction epitomizes much of what Charles and his generation experienced in America. Black pain was romanticized, exoticized and/or ignored and repackaged as “Soul.”

 In Charles E. “Coffee” Hamm, we have an African American man who knew the contradictions of his time but would not acquiesce to conformity. Some say he was a man who did everything “his way.” But, in fact, what really characterized the elegant Charles Hamm were his strong, unassailable roots,  roots that nurtured and sustained what Alice Walker calls “racial health,” the sense of Black people as complete, complex, undiminished human beings.                

There just is no substitute for growing up in a family and community of Black people who have enormous respect for themselves and for their own ability to govern themselves. For Charles E. “Coffee” Hamm it was a community which affirmed his right to exist and one that loved him as an absolute extension of itself.

Funeral services have been held.


Lileth’s Couture Collection Feature To be Held on Saturday, November 6, 2010, at the Environ Cultural Center in Lauderhill at 7pm.

Miami-FL-October 2010-The Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce will host an evening of elegance and glamour as they unveil the “Lileth’s Couture Collection” on Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 7pm. The event will be held at the Environ Cultural Center at 3800 Environ Blvd, Lauderhill Fl, 33319.

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. With the daring and unique designs of the collection, this show promises to be unpredictable and enticing to the discerning eye of the fashion-forward residents of South Florida.

While some people at the young age of 71 are retiring, designer, Lileth Hogarth is jump-starting her fashion career to the next level. A designer all of her life, this vibrant and passionate woman fashionista has an innate eye for avant-garde fashion. Spend just a few moments with her as she works on her creations and she will have you believing you are in the dreamy city of Paris.

Her impressive collection is technically solid, and is a potent mixture of style, couture and avant-garde glamour. Although her signature use of fabrics and colors takes many risks, her designs have become a consistent fashion favorite in the celebrity world of the elite trendsetters.

“Lileth Couture is bold, feminine and highly romantic.The line speaks to a strong, confident and modern woman who is not afraid to show her vunerability and her feminity. Women always like to be dressed in designer clothes and are always looking for exclusive designer clothing for themselves. A woman feels more confident if she is dressed in an extraordinary outfit which makes her look different from the crowd. I believe that our collection offers our clients just that, states Lileth Hogarth.

Hogarth’s use of hard fabrics twinned with soft and whimsical fabrics, is not unique in fashion but the effect is totally hers. Dramatic. She has mastered the art of separates and her clothes can be taken apart in pieces and reassembled to form a completely different look. Hogarth is poised to be a mainstay in the fashion industry.

For ticket information please call Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce at 954.318.6118 or 954.608.9200.

Lileth’s Couture Collection Feature To be Held on Saturday, November 6, 2010, at the Environ Cultural Center in Lauderhill at 7pm.

From Hallandale Beach Blog: Errant driver's crash highlights Broward's embarrassing neglect of property; give that driver an award!

As it appeared:

South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,6587586.story

Driver runs red light, puts big hole in Broward government building, police say

By Alexia Campbell and Scott Wyman, Sun Sentinel

10:19 PM EST, March 12, 2010

Car into building

A view of the damage done to Broward County's personnel building after a car slammed into it early Friday morning. (Broward County, Handout / March 11, 2010)


A vehicle hit Broward County's personnel building early Friday and left a huge hole in a wall, forcing government workers to relocate.

The accident at Andrews Avenue and Broward Boulevard happened at 1:53 a.m., said city Fire Rescue spokesman Matt Little.

A woman ran a red light on Andrews, lost control of her vehicle and hit the wall, said police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa.

The woman was treated by Fort Lauderdale firefighters and then taken to Broward General Medical Center, Little said. Her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Little said.

No one was in the building at the time, said county spokeswoman Judy Sarver.

Officials determined the building is unsafe until repairs can be made.

The county will have to temporarily relocate its job application processing services, which were handled in the building, Sarver said. People seeking county jobs should go to Broward's government website — — to apply online.

Sarver said the damage was still being assessed Friday and county officials were not sure when the building would reopen.

Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Reader comments at:

As I wrote it

Errant driver's crash highlights Broward's  embarrassing neglect of property; give that driver an award!

My comments follow the article.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,6587586.story

Westside Editorial Board on BSO Leap Frogs over blacks with promotions

Do read the Westside Gazette's editorial on Sheriff Al Lamberti's lack of diversity in Broward County Sherrif Office leadership and overlooking qualified blacks for promotion: Leap frog synonymous with promotions at the Broward Sheriff's Office.

It's also important to note that Wiley Thompson, who is black, is over the BSO human resources department.

This issue is definitely worthy of review by the NAACP or the EEOC.

h/t:  The Black Perspective