Lifestyle & Entertainment

Presidents of FAMU, Howard, Spelman and SCSU Unite for FAMU Black History Month Virtual Town Hall on “The Rise and Relevance of HBCUs”

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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.


Black Men’s Thoughts on the Kamala Harris Ascendency to Madam Vice President

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Kamala Harris pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard University in 1986. The organization was founded on the campus with 16 students in 1908; it has grown to more than 300,ooo members.



On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, history was made when then Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, selected Senator Kamala Devi Harris to be his running mate. Harris, already a trailblazer in American politics, became the first Black women to run for Vice-President on a major political party ticket. Her nomination was celebrated by many Americans, especially Black women who are frequently touted as the backbone of the Democratic Party.

Harris’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters were often tapped by mainstream media to provide a perspective on Harris from her undergraduate days at Howard University and the significance of her historic candidacy. We reached out to Black men, to get their perspective on the Harris ascendency to the second most powerful position in American government. Like Harris, each of these men is a member of a Divine Nine organization. Their opinions are their own.

Taj Echoles

There is nothing "by chance" in this thing called life. Every move we make-every step we take leads to our destiny and end result. If you ask anyone who attended Howard University, even for a short period of time, to chronicle their experience at the MECCA they will all say the same thing: "U-KNOW" 

"U-KNOW" the education, experiences and relationships earned at "The Real HU" will prepare you for life in ways that you can never imagine.  It will prepare you to become a Supreme Court Justice, a member of the United States Congress, or an award winning actor/entertainer. But if you ask Kamala Harris it prepared her to be the first woman and person of African descent to serve as Vice President of the United States of America. "U-KNOW" the importance of brotherhood and sisterhood. Being apart of the Divine Nine is not only a rite of passage but a bond and pledge to serve. In return, the promise of solidarity to lift one another to the highest of heights. We witnessed first hand, the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and brothers and sisters across the Divine Nine united to create history not only for Kamala Harris but for the entire diaspora. "I-KNOW" as a graduate of Howard University and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated like Vice President Kamala Harris the importance and magnitude of our very existence:

"We are the Ancestors wildest dreams..."

Kenneth Williams

As a Kappa and HBCU alumnus I’m immensely proud of Kamala Harris. I view her election as clouded. As it is obvious she is a Black woman and she is Greek, I feel that the greatest impact is reflected in her being a woman. She has broken a glass ceiling that no other woman has. Obama shattered the ceiling for all minorities on being elected President. So the impact of her being Black is not the major emphasis. However her impact as a woman is monumental.

Kionne McGhee-3

The magnitude of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America as a woman and of African descent is beyond words. As a graduate of Howard University, Vice President Kamala Harris and I share an experience that only individuals who have attended the "MECCA" can relate to.  As a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. I am extremely proud that a soror/sister of the "Divine Nine" has been given the ultimate opportunity to represent all Americans at the highest level. As Vice President of the United States of America...

Andre Joyce

There was a lot of work to be done, and a country that was in need of healing. Kamala Harris would bring a wealth of knowledge to the administration. A junior senator, assigned to the Intelligence Committee and Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee, she would be a very good choice with great insight. 

I thought about how black men would see her and relate. Some older men, middle age men, because of her reputation, thought that she would only want to see them go to jail --- “locking black men up”. I see something very different. I see an opportunity to change the narrative for a Black woman to be a champion for not only Black people, but for everybody. I see a woman that young men would want their daughters to emulate, because if she could do it, so could they. I see her being an advocate for true justice reform.

It is time to rally behind her as she takes on her new role. We have to move on past those things that we may have heard and support her because she is our own, she is well-qualified, and has proven herself. We must pray for her and ask God to guide her as she moves. She has been the chosen one and she has the blessings of our ancestors. Kamala, you got this!

Eric Pettus

I took one look at her pledge picture and I knew that regardless of what one might think about her prosecutorial record, or her choice in a mate, she knows the struggle of Black America because she pledged in 1986 at Howard University. That was not a time....never mind. Lets just say that she could not and would not have survived pledging AKA at Alpha Chapter with 37 black line sisters and not have been one of us.

Kamala Harris reaching this milestone is what every Black Greek Letter Organization, particularly those in the Divine Nine were founded to do. Each and every member of the collective organizations should be overjoyed and extremely proud that one of us has made it to this point. It is a testament to the heights that we can achieve through our brotherhoods and sisterhoods. Applaud and support VP Harris’ achievement and dare to dream that in four years, or in eight, that she can move to President. In the meantime, the charge I will leave for my Brothers of Iota Phi Theta is to do our part to live up to our predominant motto… Building a Tradition and Not Resting Upon One! There are more Presidents and Vice Presidents among us. OW-OW



Florida City Residents Honor MLK Through Service

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Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kionne McGhee and staff clean up public areas in Florida City on Saturday, January 16, 2021, in tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Weekend.
South Dade community members keep Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 's dream alive through service and civic engagement. Led by Takevess Hatcher, community activist, Florida City residents rallied to participate in an area clean up project. 
 
Traditionally, residents assemble to celebrate Dr. King at their annual Homestead-Florida City MLK Parade and Festival but due to the ongoing pandemic, the parade was canceled. In lieu of the traditional celebration, Hatcher coordinated a community clean up project to honor Dr. King's legacy through service and reflection. 
 
Commissioner McGhee commended Hatcher for his work in the community, and for "providing this much needed service."
 
Participants were supplied personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, and socially distanced to complete the project. Volunteers were coordinated into teams to clean up previously identified zones within the South Dade area. 
 
Florida City is the southernmost municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area. Primarily a major agricultural area, this Miami suburb is affectionately regarded as the gateway to the Everglades and Florida Keys.
 
The Florida City  Clean City Project sponsors included the Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; Miami-Dade County Commissioner - District 9,  Kionne McGhee; Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace; Florida City Vice Mayor Sharon "Sheep" Butler; City of Homestead Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough-Staggers; Florida City Police Department; Florida City Public Works;  HTC Tax Services; Subway; Darren Baldwin; James Steward; and Dr. Kelli Hunter-Sheppard.  
 
FL City MLK Project 2021
Takevess Hatcher, project leader, directs participants to their respective volunteer sites.
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South Dade High School students give back to community through service on MLK Weekend.
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Black Lions Homestead Motorcycle Club with Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace, Florida City Vice Mayor Sharon Butler and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kionne McGhee.
 
 
 

High Marks for Gallon’s “Light Found in the Dark”

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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 reppinOvertown, 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

 

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Dr. Steve Gallon III, James “Munch” Mungin II, and Arvis Lawson


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Photos:   Dennis Manuel

 


Alpha Phi Alpha Encourages, Motivates and Educates Voters with "Alpha Train" Caravan [VIDEO]

Alpha Train

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.

 

Related Links:

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Facebook)

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated


Photos: AJ Shorter/AJShorter Photography


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® Does It Again and Raises $1 Million in Support of HBCUs

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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.


Oprah Winfrey, NAACP and National Voting Rights Leaders Join Together for National Town Hall: “OWN YOUR VOTE: OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT”

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Winfrey To Discuss Her New Initiative “OWN Your Vote” with NAACP President and CEO and Other Key Leaders in the Fight for Voting Rights, Focused Specifically on Mobilizing Black Women to Vote 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22, 2020) – Oprah Winfrey and OWN have joined together with the NAACP and national voting rights leaders to host “OWN Your Vote: Our Lives Depend On it,” a virtual conversation aimed to inspire and equip thousands of voters and community leaders with specific steps they can take to register to vote, request their absentee ballots, and mobilize voters throughout their community. Slated to take place on September 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM EST, the hour-long conversation will include remarks from leaders in the fight for voting rights, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Stacey Abrams (Fair Fight), Minyon Moore (Power Rising), Tiffany Dena Loftin (NAACP Youth and College), Judith Browne Dianis, and other key leaders. Join this conversation by visiting bit.ly/OprahZoom and registering today!

“We are excited to work with OWN, Ms. Winfrey and other key voting rights leaders as we engage our members, activists, and community leaders around the country about the importance of this election and their vote,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “Her voice during this critical time when communities not only need reassurance in their ability to affect change but encouragement and enlightenment on how to do so with clear impact cannot be overstated.”

As the nation reels from the effects of COVID-19, racial injustice, and voter suppression, OWN Your Vote seeks to shed light on the solution through a bipartisan registration and a get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at providing OWN’s audience of Black women with tools and resources to overcome voter suppression in the November election. The pro-social campaign connects people to urgent political actions and gives their concerns a powerful microphone by placing a spotlight on crucial community issues.

“OWN is proud to partner with the NAACP and prominent voting rights leaders to hold this important conversation to energize and engage our community to vote this November,” said Tina Perry, president of OWN. “This is a critical time in our history to come together and raise our voices.”

Along with shedding light on why this moment is paramount for Black women to use their voice, Ms. Winfrey will also moderate a panel discussion that will bring attention to barriers to voting, what everyone should know about this election, and how they can overcome voter suppression in their community.

The OWN Your Vote campaign has been informed by a study OWN conducted with over 700 Black women of voting age to identify critical issues affecting them. The political impact tracking study determined that affordable health care and racism/discrimination are the two most relevant issues to Black women this election season.

OWN Your Vote Partner Organizations include:

Advancement Project National Office

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

AME Church Social Action Commission

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Fair Fight Action

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights

The Kapor Center

The King Center (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Links, Incorporated

NAACP

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Council of Negro Women

National Urban League

Power Rising

Power to the Polls

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

Sistahs in Business Expo

Vote Run Lead

Vote.org

VoteAsIf.org

When We All Vote

Woke Vote

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated


Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing and the New South Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, September 24

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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.


Bahamas Re-Opens for U.S. Travelers; 14-Day Quarantine Required

Bahamas Re-Opens

Bahamian government officials have reopened their borders to U.S. travelers, but upon arrival, visitors are expected to quarantine in a government facility for 14 days. The change was made to create a uniform standard for visitors during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on travel guidelines to the Bahamas, click here.


URGENT: COVID-19 Testing Protocol for Visitors to The Bahamas

Bahamas Protocol

Effective immediately, all travelers to The Bahamas will be required to complete an electronic Bahamas Health Visa application before departure from the place of embarkation. This can be found at travel.gov.bs. Travelers are required to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test and provide contact information. 

The Government of The Bahamas will accept the negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test if the sample was taken within (10) ten days of arrival. Tests over ten (10) days old will not be accepted. 

An automated response will be provided once the application is completed. The only persons approved to travel are those who have received a green color-coded response, as proof of approval. This confirmation must be presented upon arrival in The Bahamas. The Health Visa application process will take twenty-four to forty-eight (24-48) hours and should be completed with adequate lead time. 

Failure to comply with the stated requirements will result in denied entry. It is recommended that all travelers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their traveling party at www.bahamas.com/travelupdates before booking a trip. 

For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit www.bahamas.com/travelupdates. You may also contact the Ministry of Tourism COVID-19 travel hotline at (242) 502-0829 Monday to Friday, 8 AM – 6 PM, or via email at contactusteam@bahamas.com.