Memorial Day: Remembering the first South Florida soldier killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq - Sgt. Edmond L. "Dakie" Randle

Sgt. Edmond L. Randle
On Jan. 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.
Today is Memorial Day. It is the day we honor those that have given their lives in military service to this country. It is not just a day off from work or school or a day to have a barbecue with family and friends; it is a day to celebrate men and women such as Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr., known by family and friends as Dakie.
On Jan. 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 their vehicle was struck by a homemade explosive device near Baghdad. I recall sitting through Dakie's funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Miami, listening to the FAMU Band play and the moving tributes to him by friends and military officials. I'd known Dakie's parents from high school; his dad and I were classmates at Miami Central and later at Florida A&M.
Dakie 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 Dad, Dakie was a standout musician in the Marching Rockets 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, Dakie gave up his music scholarship and volunteered for the Army which would help fund his educational plans. He was the type of young man not celebrated enough, in life, in this community.
The war in Iraq takes on a different meaning when you actually know a soldier that was killed. Like Sgt. Edmond L. “Dakie” Randle, many other lives have been lost and are being lost in service to this country. On Veteran's Day, I honor several men and women I know, living and deceased, who have served and are serving this country. Dakie, however, is the only soldier I know personally that died in military service. I have remembered him each Memorial Day since his death, that is the least I can do.
If you have loved ones who died while serving this country, take a moment to thank them, feel free to leave their names in the comments section. For all of our fallen heroes, known and unknown, thank you, you are not forgotten.


Va-va sig 75x39



#MemorialDay2016 #NeverForget


5000 Role Models Awarded Scholarships


Congratulations to the 81 college bound young men awarded scholarships last night, at Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom in Miami during the Academic Signing Day Ceremony for the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project’s Wilson Scholars. 

IMG_2821FAMU Alumni Miami-Dade Chapter President Denetra Collins and FAMU Vice President Dr. William Hudson with Wilson Scholars who will be attending Florida A&M University.

IMG_2820Florida A&M alumni Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Thomas Jones, Alonzo Jackson and Kenneth Williams with a future Rattler at the 5000 Role Models Academic Signing Ceremony.


Photos:   Courtesy of Kenneth Williams


Related Links:

5000 Role Models of Excellence Project Scholarships Recipients

History of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project





South Miami-Dade County Alphas Honor MLK through Community Service

The Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated participated in the fourth annual SoMi Lights MLK Service Day Project on January 18, 2016.  Over 100 volunteers took part in the event hosted by Branches South Miami to revitalize four homes in the community, landscape a children's playground, and build butterfly gardens at the Branches satellite location and in the surrounding area. Volunteers were assigned to teams to paint, perform general home maintenance, housing restoration, and manicure property within the community.  The Alphas adopted the task of repainting the home of an ill resident in the neighborhood.  
The event was sponsored by Gem Water, AmeriCorps and Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Branches is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate community members on opportunities that can improve their social condition. For over 40 years, Branches has been a vehicle to advocate and tackle social injustices on behalf of disadvantaged citizens. 
Mission Accomplished - Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity members Mario Lewis, Vernon Smith, Bryan Jones and youth participants pose for a picture outside the residence they painted.

APhiA Knights of Gold Youth Mentoring Program


Enrollment is open, until October 30, for the Knights of Gold (KOG) youth development and leadership training program presented by the Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the Beta Beta Lambda Alpha Phi Alpha Educational Foundation, Inc. Through the KOG program, young males, ages 14-18, will be mentored on several life skills for success including: goal setting, time management, career choices, financial aid, study skills, interviewing skills, college life experiences, test – taking skills, financial responsibility, managing money, and social outings.

For questions, and to request an application, contact Anderson Eldridge, program coordinator, at or call (786) 531-3097.


Related Links:

Beta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Save the Date: Pumps, Pearls, & Politics 2015, 07/25/2015

The Conversation Continues…Is There Still Hope for #OneAmerica?



Save the Date as Miami's most influential and civic-minded women (and men) will gather again to network, talk politics and address other domestic and international issues at Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2015. The event will begin at Noon at The Rusty Pelican Restaurant on beautiful Key Biscayne. With many local and national incidents regarding racism; access to healthcare; education and immigration, the conversation is sure to be lively.

The distinguished panel is in formation and includes: Keynote speaker Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson; Adora Obi Nweze, President-Florida State Conference of the NAACP and President - Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP; Annette Taddeo, Past Vice Chair - Florida Democratic Party & Past Chair, Miami-Dade Democratic Party; and Attorney Patricia St. Vil-Joseph, alsoFirst Lady of the City of North Miami. Entertainment will again include Pumps, Pearls & Politics Poet Laureate and Grammy-nominated Spoken Word Artist Rebecca  “Butterfly” Vaughns. Women's organizations will also be recognized for their social service and civic accomplishments.



SATURDAY - 07/25/2015



3201 Rickenbacker Causeway

Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Admission: $35 [Seating is Limited.]


To pay by mail: Make check or money order payable to and mail to Gamma Zeta Omega, PO Box 530711, Miami Shores, FL 33153. (Payments must be received by 07.11.2015.) Online payment instructions are forthcoming.

For more information or to RSVP, call or text Vanessa Byers at 305.323.7614 or email


Presented by The Connection Committee of Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


Miami Alumni Kappas initiate four


The Miami Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity initiated four gentlemen into their distinguished brotherhood. Congratulations to (left to right) Fougere Jacquelin, Sean Chinn, Randall Heidelburg and Fredrick Alan Morley.


About a Champion: Shoutout Saturday to Wesley Frater

About a Champion

Yes, it's Shoutout Saturday!

by Dr. Steve Gallon III

While everyone is gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday and the "talking heads" and prognosticators are staking their claims on who will be victorious--who will be the crowned champions of the NFL (I'm riding with Seattle, Roland Smith--IJS), my shoutout goes to Wesley Frater. Wesley, where you at? As an advocate for children and education, real recognizes real! I see you and respect and admire your longevity in this work.

10955217_1587842604763921_586471551624428141_n 10957672_1587842614763920_6517207512795197956_n

A champion is not relegated to those who only compete on the field of competition. A champion may be an evangelist, a visionary advocate who clears the field for the triumph of an idea--who advances a mission or cause.

For decades, Wesley Frater has brought vision, leadership, and genuine advocacy to the area of high school sports in South Florida and across the nation.

It's been nearly two decades since I came in contact with this brother while serving as principal of Miami Northwestern. Before, during, and since that time the name Wesley Frater has remained synonymous with excellence in high school athletics and in providing a platform for both performance and preparation for our student athletes to prepare for school and life after "the glitz and glamor" of local high school sports. To prepare for the "real world." To prepare for life.

The MLK Basketball Tournament---Wesley Frater. The Dade/Broward All Star Football Game, as well as the North vs South---Wesley Frater. His Tournament of Champions also provides seminars for student athletes on preparing for college, recruiting, leadership, and character development---giving them insight into avoiding exploitation and the pitfalls that too often malign young student, as well as college and professional athletes from the urban core.

Wesley Frater is not a coach or holds no official position in any local government bureaucracy. Yet, he has stood and continues to "stand in the paint" for our youth as he has for decades---just because! I've 
never seen him in or seek the spotlight for himself---he puts and keeps the lights shining on the kids.

Shout out to Wesley Frater, a proven marathon runner for young people aspiring to leverage athletics as a pathway to their dreams and life's work. And thanks, Wesley for helping the dreams of countless youth over the years come true.


Telling Our Story in 2015! Negotiating Hope...Shout Out Saturday--Ramone Davis

Educator; school administrator; author and businessman 

Dr. Steve Gallon III

Dr. Steve Gallon III creates a weekly post on his Facebook profile he calls "Shout Out Saturday". Through his storytelling, an effective teaching method for all ages, he gives praise and recognition to young black men doing great things in the community. The contributions and hard work of these young men do not receive high-profile coverage from mainstream media but are worthy of such.

Here is Dr. Gallon's post from yesterday in its entirety. Thank you Dr. Gallon!


Negotiating Hope...Shout Out Saturday--Ramone Davis

It's "Shout Out Saturday." 

Shout back to you Ramone Davis. 

In this time of peril, profiling and unfair criminalization of young Black males (some thought it okay to use their images as target practice) I am proud to see unpublicized hope in Ramone Davis. 


Ramone Davis
Ramone Davis

This young brother is positive, humble, and hardworking in pursuing his business flow in the heart of Liberty City. He's also well educated--attended Miami Northwestern and Florida Memorial University. 

Growing up many of us were too often taught that college degrees mean jobs and not businesses--taught to only work for a business or bureaucracy and not own or control one. He's learned and applying lessons from both. 

In these days of young brothers gunning each other down in the streets of Miami its a blessing to see a young brother building his business up in these same streets---choosing business over bureaucracy. Being an entrepreneur requires special skills and qualities---discipline, focus, organization, and self-drive. These combined reflect character. There aren't any clocks to punch in and out of or a set schedule to follow other than the one you make. You're your own clock and as Dee Lancy says--you have to "go get it." 

Each morning Ramone does. He is in the heart of Liberty City not negotiating with his customers but negotiating "hope" that has been too often lost and hard to find in the area among small, minority business owners. Yet, still, he maintains his and barters it to move closer to his hopes and dreams. 

Let's support each other's goals, hopes, and dreams, and businesses large and small. 

Keep your head up, Ramone Davis. Stay the course. Finish your race. And keep dropping the best loaded conch balls---with shrimp, crab, and conch--in the country right on 54 street and 19th avenue. Call in advance to make sure they are piping hot and you don't have to wait--305-771-1147. The lemonade is great too. 


Loaded Conch Balls
Loaded Conch Balls


Maybe the media will do a story on this! Maybe not. 

Give your "Shout Out" this 
Saturday to someone you know who is quietly and without much fanfare or fame making a positive difference in the community, in your life or the lives of others.

Enjoy your MLK weekend! 



P.S.    Because of Dr. Gallon's ringing endorsement, I stopped by yesterday to try the loaded conch balls. Since seafood is expensive and the conch balls were reasonably priced, I was curious about this business's costs and profit margin. I didn't get a chance to talk to the owner because he wasn't in.

Here's what I can tell you though. The place is not fancy, the best description for it is probably a "hut" for take out orders only. It is just west of The Church of the Incarnation on NW 54th Street and 19th Avenue in Miami, on the same property as a gas station now used as a car wash. (I must post on the car wash at a later time.) 

One of the things that turns me off about a business is poor customer service. The product offered can be the bomb but if the service is lousy, I'm no longer a customer and I'll make sure my friends know about it also. Well, poor customer service is not an issue for this place. The young man who prepared the food was super friendly and accommodating.

The food was presented well. The ample portion size (it was enough for two people) and just right combination of seafood and batter let me know the business owner is on his game when it comes to the bottomline of dollars and cents. The food was tasty and the free drink with the special was a nice touch.

Ramone Davis has a great thing going and he's employing another young black male. That is commendable and impressive. As Dr. Gallon mentioned, too many of us, especially with college degrees, are conditioned to be workers and not employers. The only way to true equality will involve economic equality and we do have a lot to overcome in that arena. I do hope that folks in the black community will understand the requirement to support businesses in our community. Ramone's business can only improve if WE help him to do so.  

Ramone Davis, thank you for doing what you do and thank you, Dr. Steve Gallon III, for giving him a shout out. By the way, to my brother Dr. Gallon, it's 2015, YOU are the media --- there's nothing like citizen journalism.

Peace...Love...Prosperity in 2015 and beyond.





Moms of Color Organize Peaceful Protest of Ferguson Grand Jury Results

Millions Rally for #BlackBoysMatter


UPPER MARLBORO, Md./PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the Ferguson, MO grand jury's failure to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed teen, Michael Brown, Mocha Moms, Inc. organized a #blackboysmatter social media campaign to combat the negative stereotypes of black and brown boys. At the time of this press release, that social media campaign had exceeded 10-million impressions in less than two weeks.

Moms of color from across the country are submitting photos of their sons in an effort to put real faces to, and humanize black and brown boys in America. 

"What these shootings in the last couple of years have shown us is that, for too much of America, black boys are threatening," commented LaShaun Phillips-Martin, National Social Media Director for Mocha Moms, Inc. "We can't change the grand jury decision but we can change the way America sees our boys. So we took to social media with positive images of our sons and the hashtag #blackboysmatter."

In a statement issued shortly after the grand jury decision was announced, Mocha Moms, Inc. issued the following statement, which read in part:

"While we are disappointed, few of us are surprised. We respect the process of justice we have in this country. However, we will never accept the culture of preconceived notions and stereotypes that drives our sons unfairly and disproportionately into that process. We are so tired of our boys being killed. We are so tired of courts failing to recognize the value of our children's lives.

We will continue to teach our children to be respectful. We will continue to teach our children to value themselves and others. The only way America can truly become the great society we claim ourselves to be is if Americans commit to doing the same, and stop marginalizing and criminalizing our black and brown children."