The NAACP Florida State Conference, in collaboration with the Florida A&M University School of the Environment and National Technical Association Space Coast Florida Chapter will present a discussion on the very important topic of Environmental and Climate Justice.
This virtual event will highlight the science of climate change, its impacts, and a discussion on local advocacy and solutions. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, May15, 2021.
Presidents of FAMU, Howard, Spelman and SCSU Unite for FAMU Black History Month Virtual Town Hall on “The Rise and Relevance of HBCUs”
FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., will be joined by presidents from Howard University, Spelman College and South Carolina State University for the University’s annual Black History Month Town Hall. The 90-minute virtual event, themed “The Rise and Relevance of HBCUs,” will feature Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., and South Carolina State University President James E. Clark. It will be streamed live at 7 p.m. ET, on Thursday, February 11, 2021, via Zoom and the Florida A&M University Facebook page.
In Remembrance of Two Fallen Hometown Heroes on Memorial Day: Staff Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr. and Sgt. La David Johnson
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.
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.
Miami, FL December 23, 2018: For almost three decades the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association has celebrated the seven-day Pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa. This year, due to renovations at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and the absence of many members traveling to witness the University’s famous marching band participate in the Rose Bowl and surrounding activities, it seemed the event would not take place.
When one of the organization’s community partners found out the celebration was going on hiatus this year, the true Spirit of Kwanzaa took over and plans were quickly changed. On Saturday, December 29, at 3 pm, the 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration will take place at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center), 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054,
“We are deeply appreciative that Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe’s Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy reached out to help. Their support lets us know our teaching the Principles of Kwanzaa at this celebration through the years, has not been in vain,” said Vanessa Woodard Byers, event chair, and daughter of the late Mary Williams Woodard, educator and Kwanzaa advocate for whom this celebration is named.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political community-building and family-strengthening holiday. The community is invited to come out and learn more about it. There will be music, dance, poetry and other artistic demonstrations. One of the highlights of the event is the distribution of dolls by young philanthropist, speaker, and business executive, Zoe Terry. Through her company, Zoe’s Dolls, dolls are given to little black and brown girls as a vehicle for building self-esteem and pride in their self-image.
The event is free but register online at KwanzaaMiami29.eventbrite.com. Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys, for children in the local community, are appreciated. Potluck food donations for the Feast are also welcome. It is hosted by 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.
For more information, email Vanessa Woodard Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (305) 343- 9088. Event updates are available on Facebook at Celebrate Kwanzaa in Miami and on Twitter at @KwanzaaMiami.
Here's video of last year's event courtesy of LaShannon of PrPlMiami.
$1.1M Available to Black-Owned Businesses in Florida. Come Out Thursday, August 23 to See If Your Business Qualifies
Thanks to a $1.1 million grant included in last year’s budget, black-owned businesses across the state can now apply for a loan through a program administered by the Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union in partnership with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Locally, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union will present LOANS AND LENDING FOR BLACK BUSINESS OWNERS, 6:30pm-8:00pm, Thursday, August 23, 2018, St. Paul AME Church, V.F. Mitchell Fellowship Hall, 1866 NW 51 Terrace, Miami, FL 33142.
“The MDCPS Office of Economic Opportunity is excited to partner with the FAMU Federal Credit Union and provide meaningful information on loans and lending to local black businesses,” said Torey Alston, head of OEO for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Learn more about the application process and requirements to access these funds. The event is FREE to attend. You may RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introducing-florida-am-university-credit-union-tickets-48927176502. Please share this information with your networks.
Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) announced that the $1.3 trillion spending package Congress unveiled last night includes funding for several projects and programs important to Floridians including: increased spending to fight the opioid epidemic, additional funding for citrus greening research and significant funding for democracy programs in both Venezuela and Cuba, as well as provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence.
Funding for the following Florida projects and programs sought by Nelson have been included in the federal spending package:
· $3.3 billion to fight the opioid epidemic and mental health crises. An estimated 2.6 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder. In Florida alone, more than 5,200 people have died from an opioid-related event in 2016 – a 35 percent increase from 2015. Nelson requested additional funding for treatment, prevention and research.
· $67.47 million in total funding for citrus greening research and the Citrus Health Research Program. As citrus greening has hurt growers across Florida, Nelson has advocated for increased funding to study and address the problem to help the state’s citrus industry.
· $895 million for Kennedy Space Center to modernize launch facilities, more than doubling what the center received last year. Nelson requested the increased funding to bolster work on launch and processing infrastructure needed for NASA’s initiative to explore deep space.
· $121 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase a reliable backup for its aging hurricane hunter jet. Nelson has been pushing for a replacement since 2015. The funding comes in the wake of several incidents over the last two years when the jet NOAA uses to gather hurricane measurements was grounded during hurricane season.
· $76.5 million in total funding to protect and restore the Everglades. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing additional funding for Everglades restoration.
· $82 million to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing for additional funding for dike repairs.
· $279.6 million, a 14-percent increase, in funding to support Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The four historically black colleges and universities in Florida—Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville – prepare over 16,000 students for careers in STEM, aviation, law, nursing and other fields.
· $250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants. Positive train control technology will help prevent deadly crashes on our railroads. It’s critically important for those railroads that carry passengers, like Sunrail and Tri-Rail. Nelson, the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, pressed for the funding to help passenger railroads meet a federal deadline to install the lifesaving technology.
· $100 million for research and development program for automated vehicles. The SunTrax facility at Florida Polytechnic University is a qualified proving ground and will have the opportunity to benefit from the program.
· Restored and increased funds to $35 million for democracy programs in Venezuela and Cuba. Nelson requested Congress “redouble, not eliminate support for democracy and human rights” in Venezuela. The democracy programs support civil society organizations and promote human rights.
· Included $60 million for the Nonprofits Security Grant Program. The program helps certain non-profits harden their facilities against attack, such as organization like the Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in Orlando and Miami and elsewhere. Nelson requested this funding after JCCs across Florida received a series of telephone bomb threats.
· Increased funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program to $5 million. Nelson requested $5 million in funding to provide long-term support and services for Holocaust survivors.
The spending package included several provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence in Florida and across the country, including:
· Fix NICS Act. Nelson cosponsored this bipartisan bill, which requires federal agencies and states to develop implementation plans to upload to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) all information prohibiting a person from purchasing a firearm, rewards states who comply with these plans through federal grant preferences, and reauthorizes and improves programs that help states share information on criminal records with NICS, among other things.
· STOP School Violence Act. Nelson co-sponsored this bipartisan bill that would allow schools to access federal funds to invest in programs, training and technology to keep students safe.
· CDC Gun Violence Research. The spending package included language to clarify that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can conduct research on gun violence.
Florida A&M University president Dr. Larry Robinson, the University’s performing troupe, the FAMU Connection, various FAMU staff and student leaders will make their Miami stop of the 2018 President’s Recruitment Tour at 6:30 p.m., Monday, March 12, 2018, at Miami Jackson Senior High School Auditorium, 1751 NW 36th Street, Miami, FL 33142.
All interested high school students and their parents are invited to attend. Attendees will have an opportunity to chat one-on-one with University academic representatives, student leaders and alumni. Scholarships will be awarded on the spot to graduating seniors contingent upon qualifying GPA and test scores.
Interested students can apply online at www.famu.edu/admissions.
Memorial Day: Remembering the first South Florida soldier killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq - Sgt. Edmond L. "Dakie" Randle