Community

Dr. Steve Gallon’s Fourth Annual Black History Showcase pays homage to HBCUs and the Divine Nine

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Brilliance, creativity, and talent were on full display at Miami Carol City Senior High, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as District 1 School Board Member and School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III held his 4th Annual District 1 Black History Showcase. This year’s show entitled “D1 Chella” celebrated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) also known as the Divine Nine. Performances included dance,  step, chorus, spoken word, drama, jazz band, and  drumline.

 

The event master of ceremonies was District 1 and Andover Middle School’s 8th grader Ramaria St. Hilaire. Schools represented in this year's showcase included: Golden Glades Elementary, North Dade Center for Modern Languages, Parkview Elementary, Rainbow Park Elementary, Scott Lake Elementary, Norland Middle School, Carol City Middle School, North Miami Senior High, Miami Norland Senior High, Jan Mann Educational Center, and Miami Carol City Senior High. There was also a special performance by Ricky Danco, a Haitian American dance company.

 

Event partner was City of Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson. More than 500 were in attendance and included Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Councilman David Williams Jr., Councilman Reggie Leon, Trayvon Martin Foundation executive director Sybrina Fulton, North Region Superintendent Jose Bueno, UTD Vice President Antonio White, and North Region administrators and school staff.

 

A special visual presentation was featured reflecting on the past and highlighting the present status of HBCUs and the Divine Nine. The showcase received a long and resounding standing ovation and continuous praise by everyone as the audience exited the auditorium.

 

“Once again, our community has been able to serve witness to the artistic beauty and brilliance of our students, as well as the power that the arts plays in their education and empowerment,” said Dr. Gallon. “The night also provided an opportunity for us to reflect, recognize, and celebrate the educational journey of Blacks in higher education and the powerful role and influence that Black fraternities and sororities have played in binding us in power and purpose. The night’s performances also provided us with a challenge. How do we top this?”

 

To view highlights from the show, visit:

https://youtu.be/M9HVmXPlfDI

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CALL TO ACTION: Turning Around Public Schools or Taking Away Public Schools?


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Turning Around Public Schools or Taking Away Public Schools?
 
The public school Turn Around bill (SB 1498), which would push privatization to new levels, advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education meeting today. As written, this bill would:
 
  • Throw a school district into instant turnaround status upon earning its first D or F grade (currently, a school would not face a turnaround model unless it receives two consecutive D’s or one F grade).
  • If a D or F turnaround school does not earn a C or better within one year, the Commissioner of Education may recommend closing the school, re-purpose it as a charter school, or assign it to an external operator.
  • Allows state universities or colleges to be considered as external operators, therefore bypassing school board authority.
  • Makes no provision to restore “turnaround” schools to the district.
  • Shortens the time allowed for school districts to help struggling schools.
  • Accelerates path to privatize or close low performing schools.
  • Robs districts of their constitutional authority to oversee their own schools.
  • Grants the Commissioner of Education new powers to deny district requests by closing schools.
 
In the words of a fifth grade public school student who testified in the committee meeting today, “My school grade doesn’t tell you the best parts about my school. My school has helped me grow as a student and as a person. If the state forces her school to close, her family will lose its education choice and her neighborhood will lose a place that brings people together.” We couldn’t agree more.
 
We need to unite our voices to save our public schools! Please contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (the next and final committee stop) and tell them to amend Senate Bill 1498 by leaving school districts, particularly those that are “A” and “B” rated with a proven track record of improving schools, the full flexibility to improve school performance locally.
 
 
Chair Sen. Rob Bradley - 850.487.5055 - @Rob_Bradley - bradley.rob@flsenate.gov
 
V. Chair Sen. Wilton Simpson - 850.487.5010 - @WiltonSimpson - simpson.wilton@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Aaron Bean - 850.487-5004 - @AaronPBean - bean.aaron@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto - 850.487.5027 - @lizbethkb - benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Lauren Book - 850.487.5032 - @Book4Senate - book.lauren@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Jeff Brandes - 850.487.5024 - @JeffreyBrandes - brandes.jeff@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Oscar Braynon, III - 850.487.5035 - @OscarJB2 - braynon.oscar@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Anitere Flores - 850.487.5039 - @anitere_flores - flores.anitere@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. George Gainer - 850.487.5002 - @senatorgainer - gainer.george@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Audrey Gibson - 850.487.5006 - @SenAudrey2eet - gibson.audrey@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Travis Hutson - 850.487.5007 - @TravisJHutson - hutson.travis@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Tom Lee - 850.487.5020 - @TomLeeFL - lee.tom@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Debbie Mayfield - 850.487.5017 - @debbie_mayfield - mayfield.debbie@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Bill Montford - 850.487.5003 - @BillMontford - montford.bill@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo - 850.487.5028 - @kathleen4swfl - passidomo.kathleen@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Bobby Powell - 850.487.5030 - @BobbyPowellJr - powell.bobby@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Darryl Rouson - 850.487.5019 - @darrylrouson - rouson.darryl@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. David Simmons - 850.487.5009 - @DSimmonsFL - simmons.david@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Kelli Stargel - 850.487.5022 - @kellistargel - stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Linda Stewart - 850.487.5013 - @LindaStewartFL - stewart.linda@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Perry Thurston, Jr. - 850.487.5033 - @SenatorThurston - thurston.perry@flsenate.gov
 
Please share this Alert!
 

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


Local Kwanzaa Celebration Marks Thirty Years

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The week long Pan-African holiday known as Kwanzaa was first observed in 1966 in California.  This year marks the 30th consecutive year of the local celebration hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association. Recognizing the uplifting and community-building potential of it’s core values or seven principles, Dr. Freddie G. Young initiated the push to celebrate Kwanzaa. Event chair Vanessa Woodard Byers recalls the meager beginnings of the celebration being held in the living room of Dr. Young’s condominium with the kinara and other symbols being sketched on poster board by her brother, Harlan Woodard. Their mother, Mary Williams Woodard chaired the presentation of the event for many years. Since it was a labor of love for her, the organization’s members chose to name the event in her honor after she transitioned in 2010.

In keeping with the spirit of Kwanzaa, the free event grew from a FAMU alumni association event to a true community celebration in collaboration with other organizations and international artists. The event grew from private homes to public facilities with attendance as large as 500 the year Tavis Smiley was the featured speaker. Byers would like to see the event garner enough support to present a countywide coordinated event each day of the week as the holiday was designed. In the meantime, an invitation is extended to this year’s milestone celebration with a challenge to everyone to make Kwanzaa a lifestyle.

If You go:

30th ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION. This joyous celebration of family, friends and community is the largest and longest-running local public celebration of the Nguzo Saba (Principles of Kwanzaa) in the Miami area. 

MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

3:00pm - 6:00pm

City of Opa-locka Municipal Complex

780 Fisherman Street

2nd Floor

Opa-locka, FL 33054

 

Hosted by City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, 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. 

The event is FREE. Register at KwanzaaMiami30.eventbrite.com. Remember that Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political, family-friendly holiday. Enjoy the Soul Food Feast (Potluck donations are welcome.), music, dancing and celebrating with friends.

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated. This year’s donated books and educational toys will benefit the Children’s Unit of New Horizons Mental Health Center, Inc.

If you have any questions, email Vanessa Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343-9088. Thank you. HARAMBEE!


2019 Greater Miami Links Inc. Book & Author Event features author and political analyst Karine Jean-Pierre

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Karine Jean-Pierre

MIAMI - The Greater Miami Chapter of The Links, Incorporated will present its signature fundraising event Linked in Action Book & Author Luncheon on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami.  

This is the chapter’s fourteenth Book and Author event celebrating accomplished and talented authors such as Ambassador Andrew Young, Judy Smith, Terry McMillan, Natalie Baszile, E. Lynn Harris, Bebe Moore Campbell, Edwidge Danticat and others.
 
This year’s luncheon will feature author and political analyst Karine Jean-Pierre, whose book, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America, was released today and has been described as astute and insightful. It offers a blueprint for anyone who wants to have an impact on the political landscape. Both influential and inspirational, Ms. Jean-Pierre will have a powerful and timely message for attendees, all of whom will receive a copy of her thought provoking book.  
 
The Links, Incorporated, established in 1946, is an international, not-for-profit organization comprised of nearly 15,000 professional women of color in 288 chapters across 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. 
 
The Greater Miami Chapter was organized in 1955 and has made significant contributions to the South Florida community and beyond through its transformational programming in five facet areas: Services to Youth; The Arts; National Trends and Services; International Trends and Services; and, Health and Human Services. 
 
Proceeds from the Linked in Action Book & Author Luncheon will be used to support the chapter’s charitable and educational programs and benefit The Links Foundation, Incorporated. 
 
Tickets are $150 per person. Doors open at 11:30am with a reception and auction. Please contact greatermiamilinksinc.org for more information.  
 

NABJ to Host 'Breathing While Black' Town Hall Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019

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Miami, FL –  The South Florida Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ-South Florida) is hosting a Town Hall meeting entitled "Breathing While Black." This public event precedes NABJ's Convention and Career Fair, Aug. 7-11 at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry.  The town hall will be hosted by Jawan Strader and Trina Robinson of NBC 6. It will be live-streamed on www.nbc6.com during a special edition of “Voices with Jawan Strader.” The event will take place on Tuesday, August 6, at Florida Memorial University. 
 
“We’re proud supporters of NABJ,” said Larry Olevitch, President and General Manager at NBC 6.  “Voices with Jawan Strader gives a platform to South Florida’s diverse community every week, talking about real issues and highlighting true difference makers, so it made perfect sense for us to be partners in bringing this town hall to life.”
 
Confirmed panelists for the event include FIU Police Captain Delrish Moss, Miami Civilian Investigative Panel’s Rodney Jacobs, Jr., BSO Deputies Association President Jeff Bell, activist Phillip Agnew, Dyma Loving and her attorney Justin Moore.
 
“We think it’s important that we have these inclusive conversations impacting the community, particularly, the black community,” said Russell Motley, president of NABJ-South Florida. “We appreciate NBC 6 and NBC 6 Voices for guiding this discussion to help work toward solutions.”
 
For more information, visit NABJ’s Convention site here.
 

 


Take Your Advocacy to the Next Level with a Legislative Bill Writing Workshop with State Rep. Shevrin Jones

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The legislative process has always been about each of us working together to create laws that help our communities rather than hurt us. On Thursday, August 22nd at 7pm, join State Rep. Shevrin Jones for an interactive #ForThePEOPLE Bill Writing Workshop. 

Come and hear about bill ideas, learn how bills are written, and help craft a community bill for Florida’s upcoming 2020 Legislative Session. No one is going to help us but us. Take your advocacy skills to another level to be more effective in helping help your community or organization.

If You Go:

#ForThePeople Bill Writing Workshop
Thursday, August 22, 2019
7 PM - 9 PM
Miramar Multi-Service Complex
6700 Miramar Parkway
Miramar, FL 33025

 


The School-to-Prison Pipeline is Real: School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III Calls for Review of M-DCPS Student Arrest Data

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At today’s regular monthly meeting of the Miami-Dade County School Board, District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III will proffer Agenda Item H-11 on the Review of Student Arrest Data. The item is crucial to the Black community due to the disproportionate number of Black students impacted.

The issue of school safety and security has been elevated since the tragic event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School on February 14, 2018. That tragedy lead to numerous state legislative and local policy reforms and provisions, including resources and requirements for school police and/or armed staff on school campuses throughout the state. Although the presence of increased police officers on school campuses appears to be a noble strategy, the unintended consequence of engaging police officers in school-related matters often results in referring students for school discipline related issues to law enforcement.

As Miami-Dade County Public Schools remains committed to both a spirit and practice of fairness, equality, and equity in the education of its students and administration and operation of its schools and departments, a review of data, policies, and practices relating to student arrests is prudent.

From the Miami New Times,

According to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, only 20 percent of Miami-Dade students are black, but black students account for more than half of all arrests within the district.

"Black kids are more likely to be suspended even in preschool," says Michelle Morton, the juvenile justice policy coordinator at the ACLU Foundation of Florida and author of the study. "The same behavior from a white child versus a black child will be viewed completely differently."

The school-to-prison pipeline is real.

"This issue of student arrests is one that perplexes school districts across the nation. The unfortunate criminalization of school related disciplinary issues needs to end. It is incumbent that we not only talk about data, but lean strongly into real, frank and open discussions about race and racism and the implicit biases that lead to these disparities among black student arrests as compared to their white counterparts and other groups within our system, in our collective efforts to find meaningful, sustainable and genuine solutions," said District 1 School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III.

The agenda item was supported and co-sponsored by School Board Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman, Vice Chair Dr. Martin Karp, Susie Castillo, Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Mari Tere Rojas and Dr. Marta Perez at the School Board Committee Meeting held Monday, July 22.

To view the full item, go to:

http://www.dadeschools.net/schoolboard/agenda/h11.pdf.


South Dade Alphas and County and State Agencies Collaborate to Provide Rights Restoration Resources to Local Residents [VIDEO]

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On Saturday, July 20, 2019, the Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity collaborated with Miami-Dade Pubic Defender Carlos J. Martinez and Omega Psi Phi member Florida Democratic House Leader State Representative Kionne McGhee to host a restorative rights resource clinic in Florida City, FL.  Legal experts, and representatives from local and state administrative offices, provided their services at no cost to attendees. 
 
Event attendees were treated to light refreshments and a range of restorative rights resources. Other community partners of the expungement clinic included the Miami-Dade State Attorney Office, Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections, Miami-Dade County Police Department, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Career Source Florida, Haitian Lawyers Association and Florida New Majority.

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South Dade Alphas with Omega Psi Phi member Florida Democratic House Leader State Rep. Kionne McGhee (wearing black hat) and Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez.
 

Urgent and Important Community Conversation: Let People Vote

Let People Vote Town Hall 7-29

Amendment 4 is one of the most significant Florida constitutional amendments in our lifetime. Florida voters overwhelmingly supported restoration of rights for some returning citizens, formerly convicted felons who had served their time and completed probation. 

Unfortunately, shortly after the 2018 General Election, it was clear newly-elected Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-led 2019 Florida Legislature had other plans. So, the Florida Legislature successfully inserted obstacles to the restoration of rights for many Florida returning citizens. In some cases, there are fines and restitution that must be paid before restoration. There is also a possibility that financial obligations can be waived and there are other means of satisfying requirements for rights restoration. Get an update on Amendment 4 and voter rights restoration in Florida. Don’t miss this important community conversation. Spread the word.  

Conversationalists:
Rep. Kionne McGhee, Minority Leader, Florida House, District 117
Senator Annette Taddeo, Florida Senate, District 40
Rev. Dr. Alphonso Jackson, Sr., Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church
Desmond Meade, Executive Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
Carlos Martinez, Public Defender, Miami-Dade County
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, State Attorney, 11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County

 

Let People Vote
Voting Rights Restoration Town Hall
6:30 PM Sharp
Monday, July 29, 2019
Second Baptist Church
11111 Pinkston Drive
Miami, FL 33176

For more information, call Juanita Olvera at (305) 256-6301.

 

@vanessawbyers