Faith & Family
“Raw, gritty, powerful, and unapologetic,” were the words used by DeAnne Connolly Graham to describe the film. She was among the over 100 attendees for the advanced screening of “Light Found in the Dark: The Life Story of Dr. Steve Gallon III”, a new documentary capturing the life story of School Board Vice-Chair and lifelong educator Dr. Steve Gallon III. The advanced screening was held on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at the Historic Ward Rooming House and hosted by the Point Comfort Art Fair and Show, along with the Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA. Gallon, who has served as a teacher, principal, district administrator, and Superintendent of Schools before being elected as School Board Member for District 1, teamed up with local artists Arvis Lawson and James ‘Munch” Mungin II on the project as Executive Producer with Lawson serving as Director and Mungin as Producer.
“Yes, this is an art gallery focused on art, specifically Black art,” said Christopher Norwood, organizer of the Point Comfort Art Fair and Show who reached out to Gallon and his team about featuring the film. “Tonight, Dr. Gallon, Arvis, and James are artists. They are using Dr. Gallon’s life as a canvas, a work of art, to educate, enlighten, and inspire,” he said as he gave opening remarks before presenting the film.
Light Found in the Dark focuses on the life of renowned educator, Dr. Steve Gallon III, who rose from the streets of Miami’s Liberty City to become a teacher, principal, Superintendent, and now the Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade County School Board, the nation’s 4th largest school district. Part 1 of the three part documentary examined and explored Gallon’s deeply personal, often problematic, and even painful period growing up in Liberty City. The 1980’s Liberty City riots, the deaths of childhood friends and even the senseless killing of a popular Miami-Dade County Schools teacher by a childhood associate provided grim context and setting during Gallon’s formative years. The film uses Gallon’s real life in framing the narrative and struggle of young Black males decades ago and even today, and their continued struggle, no matter their place in today’s society, to avoid pitfalls which too often lead to prison, poverty, or an early death.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher and Liberty City native and activist Amber Hayward took to Facebook to give kudos to the production. “Goosebumps all night! Talking about an event that left you feeling amazing,” she said. “I felt so proud to be a product of Liberty City. I was so proud because Dr. Steve Gallon told his story, so many of our stories, and he made us feel good.”
Among the attendees with one of Gallon’s older brothers who was highlighted in the film and served time in prison, was another person featured in the film, who Gallon expressed strong respect and adoration for, and who was the “brother” from another mother. Leon, who Gallon recognized in the audience, served 25 years in federal prison and was released in 2012 to join him and his family when Gallon buried his late mother, Virginia. “It was a tale of two criminal justice systems---two different outcomes for essentially the same charge. My brother pleaded guilty and served 5 years. Leon went to trial and was sentenced to 30 years and served 25. The system essentially punishes you more harshly for fighting…for challenging it,” Gallon shared with the audience during the Q & A with him, Lawson, and Mungin which was moderated by Norwood.
“Gallon’s life story and journey reflect yet another iteration in the narratives told by Claude Brown in Manchild in the Promise Land and Nathan McCall in Makes Me Wanna Holler,” said Norwood and we are proud that the film was debuted at the Point Comfort Art Fair and Show right here in Overtown.
The evening included a live performance by local HipHop/Rap artist Gemhe Real, who performed his original song “Tunnel Vision” which served as the film’s lead soundtrack. Gemhe Real is a former student of Gallon’s at Miami Northwestern where Gallon served as principal. Real shared the impact that his former principal had on his life. “Dr. Gallon saved lives” said Real. “I know because he saved mine and never gave up on me. I am blessed to be up here reppin’ Overtown, the West, and this film and Doc’s life and message through my music.
The next screening is planned for February 2021.
View the film’s trailer at https://youtu.be/jxTRh1VQiec
Photos: Dennis Manuel
(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:
Customers appearing at the above sites will be assisted with applying online and uploading required documents using computers onsite.
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.
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.; and City 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!”
To view the event, visit: City of Opa-locka’s Facebook page.
Photos: Gregory F. Reed
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.
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.
Photos: AJ Shorter/AJShorter Photography
Online Donations Help Sorority to Exceed Its Goal
CHICAGO, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® isproud to announce that for the third consecutive year, the sorority has successfully raised $1 million in 24 hours for the benefit of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The sorority's annual HBCU Impact Day on September 21 exceeded its $1 million goal in online donations alone from local AKA chapters, private donors and corporate matching dollars from across the globe.
"We did it, we did it again!" Dr. Glenda Glover, AKA International President and Chief Executive Officer shared with excitement in a video message to sorority members. "The online receipts alone totaled more than $1.3 million. We can now continue to provide endowments to our treasured HBCUs."
HBCU Impact Day is one part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal set by Dr. Glover, who has challenged the women of AKA to lead the charge in helping to secure fiscal sustainability and success for accredited HBCUs around the country. The sorority was successfully able to reach the $1 million goal consecutively in 2018 and 2019, supporting the organization's HBCU for Life: A Call to Action platform, which aims to promote HBCUs by encouraging students to attend and matriculate through these institutions.
Last year, AKA gifted $1.6 million to the first 32 of 96 HBCUs through the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Each HBCU received $50,000 in unrestricted endowment funds as part of a phased approach to help schools reduce student debt through scholarships, fund industry-specific research, recruit and retain top faculty, and other critical operations especially during this global pandemic.
On Sunday, September 20, the sorority held a virtual brunch to launch the next round of 32 HBCU endowment recipients. Four more recipients were announced: Delaware State University, Lane College, St. Phillips College, and Medgar Evers College. Four additional grants will be announced on Friday, September 24, the last day of HBCU Week. The sorority will then announce 24 more recipients -- six schools every Thursday for the next four weeks.
"These institutions continue to make a powerful impact in our communities and throughout our country, graduating 22% of all African Americans with bachelor's degrees, nearly 80% of all African-American judges and 50% of all black lawyers," said Dr. Glover, who is also the president of Tennessee State University and an HBCU graduate. "It's gratifying to know that funds raised will establish endowments, providing sustainability to our historically black colleges and universities."
Dr. Glover thanks everyone who contributed to the success of the 2020 HBCU Impact Day and notes that the $1.3 million raised online does not include checks in the mail and other contributions. Although HBCU Impact Day has passed, individuals or organizations interested in supporting the effort can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.
For more information on the sorority's commitment to HBCUs, visit www.AKA1908.com.
Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 24
The Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated presents the second in a series of Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meetings! On Thursday, September 24th at 9 PM EST, witness "Politics, Faith & Media: Harnessing the Collective Power of When We All Vote." Joining the one hour 15 minute discussion will be one of the most powerful men in politics, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, renowned activist and faith leader, Bishop William Barber and journalist/talk show host Roland Martin. The meeting will be shown live via Facebook telecast, on the Southern Area Website (www.salinksinc.org) and via Youtube.
NAACP/BET Unmasked A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Beginning on Wednesday, April 8, at 8pm EST/ 5pm PT
As reports from around the United States confirm what many have suspected -- blacks are hardest hit by the coronavirus global pandemic, the NAACP has partnered with BET to present the 4-week community program, ”Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series”.
The first virtual town hall will be presented this Wednesday, April 8 at 8pm ET, 5pm PT. Part one of the four-part series will feature a candid discussion on the health, mental, and economic tolls this crisis has had on our communities and how people of color can apply pressure to ensure the congressional response to this pandemic is equitable.
Miami, FL - Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) will hold a news conference on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10am at Loren Roberts Park, 627 NW 6th Ave., Florida City, Florida to announce the first drive through Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to come to both Florida City and Homestead. CHI will be providing drive-through COVID-19 testing at Loren Roberts Park in Florida City on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. In addition, starting Monday April13th CHI will conduct drive through COVID-19 testing at its Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Plus, April 8th from 9am to noon will be the last day for COVID19 testing at the Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami FL 33190. CHI is scaling back its Doris Ison COVID19 operation due to the new testing location down the street at the South Dade Government Center.
“I am so proud of our teams, they are giving their all to make sure that people have access to this critical test,” said Brodes H. Hartley Jr., President and CEO of CHI. “We have done so at no cost to those in need and ensured that our testing is for everyone, regardless of age or profession.”
Unlike some other testing locations throughout South Florida, CHI’s testing operations are completely free.
“Thank you, Colonel Hartley, for being so responsive and meeting the tremendous need in the deep South Dade area,” said Florida City Mayor Otis T. Wallace.
Those looking to get tested need to meet the following criteria: They have recently traveled to any of the high-risk countries or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.
Drive through testing for CHI’s three locations is as follows:
Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm starting April 13th. (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)
CHI Marathon Health Center 2805 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Must be a resident of Monroe County and meet testing criteria. Call first (305)216-2107 or email KeysCovid19@chisouthfl.org
CHI has also integrated behavioral health staff into its COVID-19 testing operations. This team of therapists and mental health technicians helps to ease anxiety and stress related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
CHI’s health centers remain open during this time as patients are being screened at the entrance for COVID-19 as a precaution for safeguarding the general patient population. Those with symptoms are not allowed inside so that primary care, behavioral health, dental, OB/GYN, pharmacy, vision, radiology and urgent care visits can continue. (only emergency dental visits will occur at this time) In addition, CHI is now offering telehealth visits for primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health for adults and children, OB/GYN and dental to improve continuity of care. Most insurances cover telehealth and CHI offers a sliding fee scale based on income for the uninsured.