Faith & Family

What is Juneteenth? Know the Truth

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Juneteenth became a federal holiday when President Joseph Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021. To much fanfare, the holiday has received much media coverage and commentary. This year, the actual date, June 19, fell on Father’s Day to the chagrin of many people who don’t support Juneteenth. Those same folks said Juneteenth overshadowed Father’s Day. It's crucial to know the real history of Juneteenth and separate fact from folklore. June 19 is a Texas holiday that has now become a holiday for America. Please watch this interview with Dr. Carl Mack to put the Civil War, the legal end of chattel slavery in America, and Juneteenth in context for an accurate understanding.

 

 


Celebrating Mamas + Mama Figures on this Mother's Day

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Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere. If you can give your mother a hug or talk to her on the telephone, understand that you are blessed. If your mother is no longer with you in the natural, understand that you are blessed because she is always with you. Most of all, understand that you don't need a 'special' day to show love to your mother or anyone else. 


CNN Senior Legal Analyst and SiriusXM Talk Show Host Laura Coates Will Lead the Miami-Dade NPHC Virtual Voting Rights Symposium at 6 PM ET on Sunday, Feb. 20

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As Americans witness the advancement and passage of laws making it more difficult to vote throughout the nation, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is hosting an important symposium on Sunday, February 20, 2022, 6 PM ET, “Voting Rights Act-The Power of Now: Why it’s important to you!” This virtual event is designed to educate, inform, mobilize and empower voters.  Visit https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj to pre-register for the event. 

The NPHC is a collaborative council of Black Greek-letter fraternities and sororities informally known as the “Divine Nine.” These organizations have historically played a significant role in fighting for civil rights in America and in Get Out The Vote initiatives. 

Laura Coates will lead this conversation on voting rights. She is a CNN senior legal analyst, SiriusXM talk show host, attorney, author and college professor. Other panelists are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (AKA), State Senator Shevrin Jones (ΑΦΑ), State Representative Christopher Benjamin (ΩΨΦ), Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association Trelvis Randolph (ΦΒΣ), and Vanessa Woodard Byers (ΑΚΑ), creator and editor of Blogging Black Miami. 

Don’t miss this lively, engaging and informative discussion Sunday,  February 20, 2022, at 6 PM ET. Join the conversation by pre-registering at https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj. 

Dr. Keietta Givens (ΔΣΘ) is president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the NPHC. 


CHI Partners with the American Dental Association to Offer Free Dental Care to Children 

CHI partners with the ADA

MIAMI – February 3, 2022 – Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI), is proud to host Give Kids A Smile Day on February 4, 2022. The annual event provides free dental screenings, cleanings, vanish, sealants and giveaways to children ages one to 16 years old.

“Every year we see children who have never been to the dentist on this day,” said Dr. Sheri Watson Hamilton, D.M.D., CHI Dental Director. “That’s a sad state of affairs, as lack of dental care can leave a child in pain or suffering with other health related consequences.”

CHI, a non-profit healthcare company has been a beacon of hope providing access to high quality healthcare for all regardless of insurance status, income level or background since 1971. To mitigate against the COVID-19 virus, various safety protocols have also been implemented to promote a safe, welcoming environment. As such, appointments will be required to ensure patient safety.

In partnership with the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation, the Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program provides oral healthcare to underserved children at no cost. Since 2003, local GKAS events have helped more than six million children get access to dental services with the help of dentists and healthcare organizations across the United States.

“With so much focus surrounding the pandemic, it is important to remember not to neglect routine healthcare,” said Dr. Watson-Hamilton. “Children should not be deprived of good oral health, which studies have shown can have a positive impact on the body’s overall health and wellbeing.”

CHI will be offering these free services for children at the following locations:

  • Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami FL 33190

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • West Perrine Health Center 18255 Homestead Ave. Perrine FL 33157

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • South Miami Health Center 6350 Sunset Dr. South Miami FL 33143

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • West Kendall Health Center 13540 SW 135thAve. Miami FL 33186

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

  • Martin Luther King Health Center 820 SW 1st. St. Homestead FL 33030

8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Appointments are required, call (786) 272-2100.


Alpha Kappa Alpha Presents MLK Virtual Youth Symposium, Sun. Jan. 16, 2022, 2pm ET

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The W.I.S.H. Foundation (Women Involved in Service to Humanity), Incorporated, in partnership with Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated presents the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 16, 2022, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  This year’s theme is "Are we Social Distancing from the Dream?".

This event is free and open to students of all grade levels from elementary through senior high school. Organization mentoring groups, church youth auxiliary groups, parents and organization members are encouraged to attend. The deadline to register to attend this event is January 12, 2022. Please note that parents must register separately and join the Parent's Forum on event day via a separate device.

Dr. Martha Johnson-Rutledge is the president of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter. Islamiyat Nancy Adebisi Elus is the Chairman of the W.I.S.H. Foundation, Incorporated. This is the eleventh year the organizations have presented this community event. Click HERE to register.


The Links Host Virtual Conversation on Estate Planning Oct. 21

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The Miami-Biscayne Bay Chapter of The Links, Incorporated will host an Estate Planning Virtual Conversation designed to educate communities of color on the importance of drafting a will to communicate final wishes and determine inheritance rights to the assets of their estate. A panel of legal and financial experts will share strategies for the process of probate/succession assets and property, ways to protect the legacy of land/home ownership and financial planning. The panelists are Marva Wiley, Esq., Vernita Williams-Eganti, Esq., and Amy Dawkins, Financial Advisor. 

Virtual Conversation on Estate Planning: How to Create Generation Wealth

Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Multiple Platforms: Zoom and Facebook

The entire community is invited to attend this free virtual event, but register in advance at: https://tinyurl.com/65ha4nh4


Gallon Calls for Revolutionary Change in Powerful Keynote at National School Board Leadership Conference

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Miami-Dade County School Board Vice Chair and CUBE (Council of Urban Boards of Education) Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III welcomed CUBE 2021 attendees to their national conference, held in Atlanta, Georgia, September 16-18, 2021. Gallon delivered a powerful and insightful speech on the State of Urban Education. School Board members and other educational leaders from around the nation listened intently to his words, encouraging them to become “deliberate disruptors in the fight to improve education for the children, districts, and the communities they serve.”

 

He reminded school board members that they “hold the key to unshackle large populations of students who are trapped in perpetual failure and generational poverty.” His message focused on revolutionizing education through school board policy by encouraging attendees to “be a revolutionary for respect, be a revolutionary for resources, and be a revolutionary for the restoration of education as a moral, professional, national, and spiritual imperative,” he said. The nation’s school districts and children “need you to be revolutionaries.”

 

The CUBE Annual Conference is designed to foster effective school district leadership through practical clinic sessions and peer-led district workshops. CUBE has convened school board members from across the nation for the past 53 years to network and share the continually evolving strategies they are using to address the unique educational challenges that exist in our nation's urban centers. 

 

“It was a tremendously blessed, professional, and beneficial experience to join school leaders from around the nation,” Dr. Gallon said. “I am  humbled and honored to not only serve as CUBE Chair, but to kick off this sold-out conference and deliver words that prayerfully moved those in attendance to action on behalf of their districts, schools, and most importantly, their students.”


If you care about children and public education, you owe it to yourself to watch and listen to Dr. Gallon’s multifaceted address. And after you watch it, ask yourself if you are complicit or a culprit? Whether we are educational professionals or parents of students, or taxpayers, we must get off the sidelines and be advocates for our children. We must reject the status quo and shift the paradigm in education. Let’s work!

 

 


City of Miami District 5 Candidate Forum, 6 PM, Tuesday, October 5

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One of the hottest local political races is the City of Miami District 5 Commissioner race. A forum is being held this evening, Tuesday, October 5 at 6 PM at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 740 NW 58th Street, Miami, FL 33127. The election will be held on November 2, 2021. The run-off is scheduled for November 16, 2021 should no candidate realize more than 50 percent of the votes cast. 

The candidates for the City of Miami District 5 seat are François Alexandre, Zico Fremont, Michael Hepburn, Christine King, Revran Shoshana Lincoln, Stephanie Thomas, and incumbent Jeffrey Watson. Hot 105’s Rodney Baltimore will serve as moderator. 

The forum is being hosted by Faith in Florida and the African American Council of Christian Clergy and Central Dade Pastors. It will be presented in person and online.  Should you choose to attend in person be advised that CDC guidelines must be followed.

The forum will be broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook. Get informed and Go Vote!

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Miami-Dade County Schools in Mask Mandate Spotlight

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Almost three million people in Florida have contracted COVID-19, and more than 41,000 have died. Of those statistics, Miami-Dade County represents more than 583,000 of those cases and almost 6,500 deaths. The Delta variant of COVID is much more contagious and severe. Yet, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican leaders have manipulated some parents to use a CDC (Center for Disease Control) preventive measure to protect school children, parents, and employees as a first amendment parental right. No matter how much the Board of Education says it’s not about mask-wearing, it clearly is. To suggest or declare anything different is a lie. Risking lives by politicizing COVID is shameful and illegal. It is tantamount to child endangerment.

 

This unbelievable attempt at political bullying and intimidation will come to a head in Miami-Dade County at 11 AM today when the school board convenes. The School Board and Superintendent are in the media spotlight and in the crosshairs of Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Board of Education, and the State Commissioner of Education because of non-compliance with the governor's ban on mask mandates. 

 

Gov. DeSantis threatened to withhold budget from non-compliant districts and Pres. Joseph Biden interceded in support of Broward County and Alachua County school boards and superintendents who have stood their grounds. 

 

Will the Miami-Dade County School Board and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho protect the District, or will they cave to the authoritarian Republican leadership of the state? Based on public comments, it appears that at least one Miami-Dade School Board Member has already said no to the mask mandate, and others might try to please everyone, which will be a sure failure to the students, parents, and employees of the District. 

 

Situations such as this test the integrity and courage of leaders. There are few if any, options to compromise while the Delta variant ravages our community and more COVID mutations are on the way. It’s so unfortunate that elected, and appointed leaders are willing to choose politics over people, but we’ve seen this before when they choose profits over people.

 

Here is the link to the subject board agenda item, H-17, proffered by the Vice-Chair of The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida,  Dr. Steve Gallon III -   http://pdfs.dadeschools.net/Bdarch/2021/bd081821/agenda/h17rev.pdf. Please tune in online or attend  in-person  today. 


Celebrating Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Should Know

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American history will forever remember the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, officially signed into law a Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 17, 2021. Juneteenth is short for June 19. On that day in 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger notified the enslaved African Americans in Texas that they were free, or at least that is the big lie, so many of us were told and have repeated ad nauseam.

For 156 years, blacks in Texas have celebrated this holiday. One woman, Opal Lee, made it her life's work to see that Juneteenth became a national holiday in the United States. It took her decades, but she accomplished her mission. She is proof that persistence wins and the power of one person can move mountains.

If you don't understand anything else about Juneteenth, know that its history is messy, brutal, painful, and shameful. Depending on your ethnicity, age, and academic training, you might know a lot about Juneteenth, or you might know very little. Either way, the establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday has triggered interest and much-needed conversation about the Civil War, Reconstruction, reparations, and the vestiges of anti-black racism that remain in society.

Here are five facts you should know when celebrating Juneteenth:

1.    Blacks knew they were free BEFORE U.S. Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

In his article, The Hidden History Of Juneteenth, historian Gregory P. Downs documents a conversation of former slave Felix Haywood. He was one of more than 2,300 former slaves interviewed during the Great Depression by members of the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal agency in the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

"We knowed what was goin' on in [the war] all the time," said Haywood, "We all felt like heroes and nobody had made us that way but ourselves."

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Felix Haywood




2.    The last of the enslaved people were not free upon the legal notification of the emancipation of blacks in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

Proclamations, pronouncements, and declarations did not free enslaved Black people. Some stubborn Texans continued to keep blacks in bondage months after Granger and some 2,000 Union soldiers rode into Texas.

Remember the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Confederate States still in rebellion in 1863 (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and North Carolina), but not those in North-South border states. Blacks remained enslaved in Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky for almost six months after Juneteenth because their state legislatures rejected the 13th Amendment after Congress passed it in January 1865. Slavery was legally banned upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Also, note that Native American territories were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction in the matter of slavery. Consequently, after Juneteenth 1865, about 10,000 blacks remained enslaved among five prominent Native American tribes --- the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. It would also be a year later before enslaved blacks were freed from Native American territories. So some of you need to think on that when you hear a black person brag about having "good hair" because they have Indian in their family. [Insert side-eye.]

3. President Abraham Lincoln was not an abolitionist.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lincoln was accused of supporting "negro equality" by his opponent, Stephen Douglas. On September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, Lincoln clarified his position during a debate.
 

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and Black races," said Lincoln. He also said he opposed Blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.

So, don't get it twisted, President Lincoln freed enslaved blacks not out of benevolence but for political reasons and as a war tactic. If the secessionist Confederate States had accepted Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, enslaved blacks would have remained in legal bondage. Still, since the stubborn Southerners refused to give up, Lincoln took away their best asset, the enslaved blacks.

4. The Compromise of 1877 marked the end of the Reconstruction Era and resulted in the dismantling of much of the progress of African Americans.

Despite Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws enacted after the Emancipation Proclamation, newly emancipated African Americans made tremendous progress. Blacks ran for political office, opened schools, and started businesses.
           
During this period of Reconstruction (1865-1877), Blacks were members of the Republican Party, and the Democrats were the Party of slaveholders. Republican Rutherford B Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden were candidates for President of the United States. The election results were highly disputed, much like what the country is still experiencing since the presidential election of 2020. During a secret meeting, an unwritten deal was made; Democrat Samuel Tilden agreed to allow Republican Rutherford B Hayes to become President of the United States if Hayes would agree to pull the troops from the South that were protecting emancipated Blacks.

The shock of the violence of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the White House was mild in comparison to the terror, death, and destruction heaped upon Blacks after the troops were pulled from the South. Yep, the Republicans and the Democrats. [Insert side-eye, again.]


5. While June 19, 1865, symbolizes our national day of observance of the end of slavery, those of us in Florida should know our state's Emancipation Day is May 20, 1865.

After the end of the Civil War, on May 10, 1865, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to take possession of the capital from Southern rebels. On May 20, 1865, after official control of the region was transferred to Union forces, he declared the Emancipation Proclamation in effect. That same day an announcement arrived in Tallahassee sent by Major General Quincy A. Gillmore via train from Jacksonville. General Gillmore's Special Order Number 63 noted that "the people of the black race are free citizens of the United States."

 

In conclusion:

As this first Juneteenth National Independence Day comes to an end, it is incumbent upon us to ensure the true history of Emancipation Day in Florida, Juneteenth, and the Reconstruction Amendments are taught. Preferably formally in our public and private school systems and definitely in our homes and community groups.

With the expeditious bipartisan approval of the 117th Congress to make Juneteenth a national federal holiday, let's always be mindful of what this holiday represents and the progress yet to be made for equitable treatment of Blacks in America. Let's not allow Juneteenth to become just another day off from work and school. Let us demonstrate the proper homage to our ancestors. Let's share our history not from the lens of trauma porn but from a perspective of pride in the achievements of our ancestors and commitment to duplicate their success despite obstacles and deception.