Faith & Family

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.

 

 


In Remembrance of Two Fallen Hometown Heroes on Memorial Day: Staff Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. and Sgt. La David Johnson

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Today we observe Memorial Day, previously known as Decoration Day, to honor men and women who died in active military service to this country.

The very first Memorial Day was on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, S.C. when formerly enslaved Africans held a ceremony to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp.

They spent the next two weeks digging up each body and giving them a proper burial to honor them for fighting and dying for their freedom. The gracious African Americans then held a parade of 10,000, led by a procession of nearly 3,000 black children dancing, singing and marching in celebration.

In keeping with the original spirit and honor of the first Memorial Day observance, we recognize the sacrifice of two heroes from Miami Gardens who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edmond L. Randle Jr. and U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson.

Sgt. La David Johnson

Miami Gardens hero Sgt. La David Johnson gave his life after being ambushed in Niger on October 4, 2017. Johnson and his team members — Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed. His death captured the attention of the nation and mainly South Florida when the current occupant of the White House politicized Sgt. Johnson’s death and insulted Congresswoman Frederica Wilson in the process.

Video of Sgt. Johnson’s beautiful then-pregnant wife, Myeshia slumped over his casket in tears as it arrived home and their adorable children at their father’s funeral, tore at the heartstrings of anyone who is a human being. For many in South Florida, questions remain about Sgt. Johnson’s death. Inarguably, the nation owes him and his team members gratitude and tremendous honor forever.

Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr.

On January 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq. Randle was one of three soldiers who died that day when a homemade explosive device struck their vehicle near Baghdad.
 
Sgt. Randle attended American Senior High for part of his high school years but continued the family tradition by graduating from Miami Central Senior High. Like his father, Edmond Randle, Sr., Sgt. Randle was a standout musician in the Marching Rockets Band at Miami Central and continued at Florida A&M University where he earned a music scholarship and was a section leader in the famous Marching 100. Because he wanted to be a pharmacist, he gave up his music scholarship and volunteered for the Army, which would help fund his educational plans.
  
Despite its origins, the African American impact on the shaping of Memorial Day is mostly forgotten and ignored by the mainstream. Let’s do our part in making sure all soldiers are remembered who gave their lives in service to this country. Let’s remember the origins of Memorial Day and especially never forget Staff Sgt. Edmond L. “Dakie” Randle and Sgt. La David Johnson.

 


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 community Kwanzaa Celebration continues at The ARC in Opa-locka [VIDEO]

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The Spirit of Kwanzaa lives in Miami-Dade County. On Saturday, December 29, 2018, it was demonstrated at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center) in the beautiful City of Opa-locka, Florida. The 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration evolved into a true community event welcomed by various groups and entities beyond its local beginnings. 

More than 150 people were in attendance as the traditional procession of the Council of Community Elders was announced via drummer Jah Will B. Elders are not recognized because of age but due to their contributions to the community. Many are often unsung heroes. This year’s elders included Chief Nathaniel B. Styles Jr. who also served as event MC; HRH Iya Orite Adefunmi; School Board Member Dorothy Bendross Mindingall; Bernadette Cecelia Poitier; Rubye Howard; Thomasina Turner-Diggs; Eric Pettus; “Broadway” Cuthbert Harewood; James Wright; Amare and Amani Amari; Netcher Hopi Mose and Angela Berry.

Because of construction at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, where the event has been presented for many years, its consecutive presentation would have been interrupted were it not for Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis; Nakeisha Williams and the Opa-Locka CDC; and Nakia Bowling of Zoe’s Dolls. 

As is customary, the Nguzo Saba, Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and symbols of Kwanzaa were explained with the assistance of audience members and the Ivy Rosettes of Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority who also served as hostesses. Tracey Jackson delivered the welcome on behalf of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association. Remembering those who have transitioned is an important aspect of Kwanzaa. Dr. Natasha C. Stubbs delivered a moving recognition of local and national individuals who became deceased since last year’s Kwanzaa event. Entertainment was provided by the Next Generation Dance Academy and poets Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns and realproperlike. New World School of the Arts junior, Nicholaus Gelin, serenaded attendees with his trumpet during the feast portion of the evening.

“We enjoyed the event,” said a mother who traveled from Coral Springs with her son and his best friend to attend the celebration. They said they will attend next year and the boys want to participate on the program. 

The Kwanzaa Celebration is hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur and Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture; and Osun’s Village African Caribbean Cultural Arts Corridor.

 



 

 

 

 

 


New Year New Possibilities

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It's 2019! We made it to see another year. (Praise God!) We have been gifted with the possibility of living another day. We have been charged with the responsibility of making the world better for our family, especially the children who are our legacy. We each have a voice. Let's use it to advocate for children, family, community and culture.

We are living in a precarious time. Some folks are playing chess while we are asleep at the wheel, numbed and dumbed down by the media, so-called entertainment and government. Let's have fun but let's not forget self-determination and unity. We have the power. Power to the People!

Happy New Year!

 

 


Everything you need to know about Kwanzaa through The Kwanzaa Song [VIDEO]

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This spoken word video presentation explains everything one needs to know about Kwanzaa --- how, when, why it was started and its purpose. If more Black people, regardless of place of birth, would practice Kwanzaa, it would shift the balance of socioeconomic power throughout the world and restore us to our traditional and rightful place of prominence. Listen. Learn. Share.

Written and performed by Clinton Sockwell II. Music - “Rubber Soul” by Herbie Hancock

 

 


Happy Kwanzaa! Day 7: Imani - Faith

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Greeting: Habari Gani?! (What's going on?)

Response: Imani! [ee-mah-nee]

 

Today is the seventh day of Kwanzaa. On this day we celebrate the principle of faith. According to the Nguzo Saba (seven principles), faith means: "To believe, with all our heart, in our Creator, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle." 

We must have confidence in ourselves, in our leaders, teachers, parents and in the righteousness and victory of our struggle, faith that through hard work, we can regain our rightful place of prominence as a free, proud and productive people. 

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration for a year-long practice. Remember the Nguzo Saba all-year-long!

Harambee!

Harambee!

Harambee!

Harambee!

Harambee!

Harambee!

HARAMBEE!

 


Happy Kwanzaa! Day 6: Kuumba - Creativity

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Greeting: Habari Gani?! (What's going on?)

Response: Kuumba! [koo-oom-bah]

Today is the sixth day of Kwanzaa. On this day we celebrate the principle of creativity. According to the Nguzo Saba (seven principles), creativity means: “to do always as much as we can in the way that we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.” We are a creative people. 

Harambee!


Kwanzaa Day 5: Let's Celebrate Nia (Purpose)!

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Greeting: Habari gani!

Response: Nia!

 

Today is the fifth day of Kwanzaa, the principle we celebrate is purpose. “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.” 

This principle is about legacy. It clearly indicates that it is our responsibility, as a people group, to do what we must to build and develop our community to restore our people to their rightful place of prominence.

Pay attention. In communities throughout the United States, the legacy of the people of the African diaspora has been or is being destroyed. Let’s protect our communities. Let’s protect our legacy.

 

Harambee!