On this past Wednesday evening, by a 5-2 vote, despite significant constituent opposition, the City of Miami Gardens Council followed through on what residents feared. They reversed the decision of last year’s council and voted in favor of a resolution that paves the way for Formula One Grand Prix racing to be held in Miami Gardens for at least a decade starting in 2022.
Public comments at the council meeting were overwhelmingly in opposition to bringing Formula One racing to Hard Rock Stadium. There were reminders about environmental concerns, noise, and the vague promises delineated in the resolution. Individuals who spoke in support of the resolution had business ties to Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins organization. Owners of small, black-owned businesses shared testimonials on how the Miami Dolphins organization made it possible for them to operate during the pandemic.
The last two in-person commenters at the council meeting, Shirley Gibson, the first mayor of the City of Miami Gardens, and Barbara Jordan who served as Miami-Dade County Commissioner for 16 years, brought out some crucial points on why the resolution and Formula One are detrimental for Miami Gardens.
Mayor Gibson also advised the council to read the resolution, especially the threat to the future of the Jazz in the Gardens concert weekend for which the city has earned international notoriety. “Jazz in the Gardens is not worth what we are going to lose,” said Mayor Gibson. She also reminded the council, as did others, that $5 million over a decade is not a lot of money.
Commissioner Jordan pointed out the unrealistic financial benefit to the City since many of the Formula One patrons would likely be shuttled to Hard Rock Stadium and spend their money in the all-inclusive stadium environment rather than patronize surrounding small businesses in Miami Gardens.
Despite last year’s unanimous council vote rejecting Formula One, it was a foregone conclusion when Mayor Rodney Harris introduced the proposal via mainstream media that a sufficient number of council member votes had already been secured for its passage. Many residents questioned what changed since then. It would be easy to blame it on new members to the council, but two of the four new council members voted no - Shannon Campbell and Shannan Ighodaro. The remaining two new members - Linda Julien and Robert Stephens and the three veteran members - Mayor Harris, Vice Mayor Reggie Leon, and Katrina Wilson voted yes.
It’s not lost on observers that Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins organization made smart, strategic moves that used black people to represent them and speak in favor of Formula One, thereby placing the all-black governing council of the City of Miami Gardens in the precarious position of direct conflict with their constituents who are also mostly black.
I caution you to think critically and be careful as news is reported about this situation. Some media outlets reporting on the issue will have you believe the Miami Gardens homeowners are unreasonable. Still, the devil is in the details of the resolution the council eventually approved.
It’s also important to remember that the City of Miami Gardens is embroiled in this situation because residents in the City of Miami no longer wanted Formula One racing in their community for many of the same reasons the residents of Miami Gardens don’t want it in their neighborhood. What’s terrible for one community is good for another community? Really?
It’s embarrassing that a majority-black-led city would accept the trinkets, yes, trinkets as Commissioner Jordan referred to them, it will receive from multi-billionaire Stephen Ross and almost grovel when speaking of the Miami Dolphins philanthropic community endeavors as if they are the only organization feeding people in need. Like many businesses who do the same, they also write these donations off on their income taxes. No doubt, the gifts that were supposed to be given freely actually came at the cost of some folks integrity or exposed their lack thereof.
It would be a mistake for Stephen Ross, the Miami Dolphins organization, and anyone else to think the homeowners, UP-PAC and the NAACP will quietly accept this latest vote. Stay tuned.
In 2018, Formula One Grand Prix racing on city streets was rejected by residents in downtown Miami due to excessive noise, environmental pollution and traffic chaos. In 2019, real estate developer, sports team owner and philanthropist Stephen Ross sought to move the multi-day event to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Residents rejected the event for many of the same reasons it was rejected in downtown Miami. It’s 2021; rather than find another location for the racing event, Ross appears to have been strategic and waited long enough for supportive leaders to be elected or selected to the Miami Gardens City Council to approve his event.
At tonight’s Miami Gardens City Council meeting, Mayor Rodney Harris will proffer a resolution that is purported to satisfy Ross and concerned residents. His resolution addresses major critical concerns surrounding noise and environmental pollution. Moreover, his resolution also indicates the event will not be held on 199 street or 27th avenue. There are also promises of $5 million to the City, funding for STEM programs at schools, opportunities for local restaurants and paid internships for students.
Those all sound great to most people, but the devil is in the details. First of all, on its surface, the body of the resolution appears to have been crafted by the Dolphins organization. Secondly, that $5 million amount might sway many people, but it translates to $500,000 or less per year over a 10-year-period. In the multi-billionaire world of Stephen Ross, that’s less than chump change, don’t sell yourself cheap, Miami Gardens. Thirdly, if this is such a great idea, why did residents have to find out via local media?
A town hall meeting or workshop with the mayor, council members, and the public could have been an excellent vehicle for introducing this resolution. There could have been dialog, and questions could have been asked and answered if it was all above board. Instead, this resolution seems rushed, forced, and shady. Instead, residents and a coalition of organizations — Miami Gardens Families Unite, UP-PAC (Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council), and the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP continue to protest Formula One racing in Miami Gardens.
Not surprisingly, local politicians who seek support from Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins organization for philanthropic purposes and are trying to walk a fine line regarding this situation. It’s simple, though; the Black community should never be for sale. Not for toy drives or a luncheon or frozen turkeys or backpacks. Not for anything. Will the Miami Dolphins discontinue their philanthropic efforts if the Miami Gardens City Council rejects the mayor’s resolution? No, that would be bad public relations for the Miami Dolphins organization.
Pay attention. A protest is scheduled at 4 p.m. today at Miami Gardens City Hall. The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the City’s website via the Agenda Web Portal at /Portal/Video.aspx and YouTube Live. City Council Chambers are closed to the public, but an exemption will be made for one individual at a time to enter Council Chambers to address the City Council during the Open Public Comment portion of the City Council meeting on a particular item.
The mayor’s resolution is Agenda Item 12.1. It is toward the end of the printed agenda but could be taken out of order. If you wish to give public comment, pre-register with the City Clerk no later than 6 p.m. by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brilliance, creativity, and talent were on full display at Miami Carol City Senior High, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as District 1 School Board Member and School Board Vice Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III held his 4th Annual District 1 Black History Showcase. This year’s show entitled “D1 Chella” celebrated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) also known as the Divine Nine. Performances included dance, step, chorus, spoken word, drama, jazz band, and drumline.
The event master of ceremonies was District 1 and Andover Middle School’s 8th grader Ramaria St. Hilaire. Schools represented in this year's showcase included: Golden Glades Elementary, North Dade Center for Modern Languages, Parkview Elementary, Rainbow Park Elementary, Scott Lake Elementary, Norland Middle School, Carol City Middle School, North Miami Senior High, Miami Norland Senior High, Jan Mann Educational Center, and Miami Carol City Senior High. There was also a special performance by Ricky Danco, a Haitian American dance company.
Event partner was City of Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson. More than 500 were in attendance and included Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Councilman David Williams Jr., Councilman Reggie Leon, Trayvon Martin Foundation executive director Sybrina Fulton, North Region Superintendent Jose Bueno, UTD Vice President Antonio White, and North Region administrators and school staff.
A special visual presentation was featured reflecting on the past and highlighting the present status of HBCUs and the Divine Nine. The showcase received a long and resounding standing ovation and continuous praise by everyone as the audience exited the auditorium.
“Once again, our community has been able to serve witness to the artistic beauty and brilliance of our students, as well as the power that the arts plays in their education and empowerment,” said Dr. Gallon. “The night also provided an opportunity for us to reflect, recognize, and celebrate the educational journey of Blacks in higher education and the powerful role and influence that Black fraternities and sororities have played in binding us in power and purpose. The night’s performances also provided us with a challenge. How do we top this?”
To view highlights from the show, visit:
Two Iconic brands join forces to produce the 3rd Annual Miami Gardens Food & Wine Festival - City of Miami Gardens and The Hungry Black Man
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. – Presented by the City of Miami Gardens and powered by The Hungry Black Man, the 3rd Annual Miami Gardens Food and Wine Festival (MGFWF) is set to take place Labor Day Weekend, August 29th – September 1st, 2019. As one of the largest minority culinary gatherings, the star-studded four-day festival celebrates the culinary heritage of Miami Gardens and showcases the talents of South Florida’s most renowned chefs, wine and spirit producers, culinary personalities, and lifestyle experts. The Miami Gardens Food and Wine Festival launched three years ago as a one-night event, and has now expanded to a multi-day festival for Residents and visitors to experience the diverse flavors and tasty cuisines available in Miami Gardens. The City joined forces with the Hungry Black Man, led by Starex Smith whose unabashed passion for spotlighting high quality Black restaurants promises attendees a unique and tantalizing experience during the festival.
The event kicks off on Thursday, August 29 at the award-winning Yarumba Restaurant and Bar (4740 NW 167th St, Miami Gardens, FL 33014.) Hosted by Hot 105’s Jill Tracey, Chef Danny Dominguez, executive chef and owner of Yarumba will be joined by world-renowned vegan Chef Jenn Ross of DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery—voted Best Vegan Restaurant in Orlando, and Chef Yasin Nana Kofi, personal chef of A-list celebrities.
The following night, Friday, August 30, patrons will gather at Miami Garden’s newest restaurant, the spacious and beautiful Lorna’s Caribbean & American Grille (19752 NW 27th Ave, Miami Gardens, FL 33056.) This event will pay homage to over 120 years of Black mixology and spirit producing initiated in 1898 with the Black Mixologists Club. Guests will experience an evening of dynamic culinary excellence by DJ Khaled’s favorite chef, Chef D, famed local mixologists and special celebrity guest and foodie Angela Yee, host on “The Breakfast Club.” Serving as host Shelby Rushin from Hot 105. The evening will include live music and special spinning by a celebrity DJ!
On Saturday, August 31, patrons will celebrate Miami Gardens’ finest culinarians with celebrity chef Carla Hall. This event takes place at Reign Restaurant and Cocktail Bar (9940 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33024). Guests will indulge in unique bites from various chefs and culinarians along with a conversation with Hall of The Food Network and ABC’s “The Chew” and book signing alongside Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, actor and now author of "Cornbread Fish'N Collard Greens,” Anthony Hamilton.
The culminating event for this year’s festival is the Trick Daddy and Trina Lit Foodie Bus Tour on Sunday, September 1. Two (2) of South Florida’s most notorious rappers are collaborating for a soulful adult field trip for the twenty-one (21) and older crowd. The tour will take passengers throughout Miami Gardens and South Florida to enjoy the tasty side of the city.
For more a complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit mgfwf.com.
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.
An anonymous call was made to law enforcement yesterday to report a body floating in a Miami Gardens canal. As word of the discovery spread throughout the community, anxiety increased among many concerned about missing Miami Norland Senior High School teacher and mother, Kameela Russell.
The human remains were found in a canal (NW 203 street and 17 avenue) in the general vicinity of where Kameela’s car was last seen in her aunt’s driveway (NW 203 street and 8 avenue). That canal also borders a residential area (NW 203 street and 15 avenue) where an intense search was conducted as part of the missing person investigation. Prayerfully, the public will be updated on the medical examiner’s examination of the remains and the Kameela Russell missing person investigation very soon.
Please continue to pray for the family and friends of Kameela Russell. Also, pray for the family and friends of the yet to be identified person discovered yesterday.
Miami Norland Senior High School teacher and test chairperson, Kameela Russell is missing. Born in the Bahamas, Kameela is a beloved mother, daughter and friend to many who are praying for her safe return home.
Several of her classmates from Miami Northwestern High School and Florida State University speak of how smart Kameela is, as well as kind. She was born into a family of highly-educated people with many relatives in the medical field. Kameela was also musician. One of her instruments is the violin.
Contrary to rumors on social media, Kameela has not been found. Miami Gardens Police and other law enforcement entities have searched the Andover community in Miami Gardens where Kameela was last seen on the evening of May 15 when she went to pickup her younger daughter from her aunt's home. The aunt, Donna Blyden, thought she saw Kameela's car in the driveway. She texted Kameela but received no response.
If you know anything about the disappearance of Kameela Russell, please call Miami Gardens Police Department at 305-474-6473.
Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III vie for District 1 County Commission seat
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, broke local social media with the announcement of her run for the District 1 commission seat for Miami-Dade County (FL). She also garnered national attention from many media outlets as well as support from award-winning actress and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg from The View. Fulton’s decision disrupted plans of term-limited Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and his supporters. Gilbert was perceived as a shoo-in for the seat held by Barbara Jordan for the last 16 years. Jordan is ineligible to run again as term-limits kick in for the first group of county commissioners.
Fulton, a former long-time county employee, gained international notoriety because of the fatal shooting of her younger son, Trayvon. Since that horrible incident, she has become a community advocate, author, public speaker, executive producer, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and received an honorary doctorate degree. Although this is Fulton’s first run for elected public office, she checks all the boxes that are most essential regarding electability criteria --- name recognition and likeability.
During his tenure as mayor, Gilbert has been faced with law enforcement, sexual harassment and personal controversies but he is also credited with the business growth of the City of Miami Gardens and the return of the historic Orange Blossom Classic football game. It is also noteworthy that Gilbert has amassed more than $400,000 between his campaign account and political committee. While he faces a formidable opponent in Sybrina Fulton, Gilbert is not likely to shrink into the background. This race will be a battle until the end.
Unfortunately, there are already signs that this race will likely be very negative. In social media exchanges, supporters of both candidates are trying to have the last word in a situation that will be decided by the voters of District 1 in August 2020. The public discourse is expected. Politics is a contact sport and Miami politics can be particularly dirty. Stay tuned; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The general meeting of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP will take place 7 p.m., Monday, June 18, 2018 at the New Way Praise & Worship Center, 16800 NW 22 Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33056. The meeting is open to the public and new members are appreciated.
The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most influential civil rights organization in the nation. If you want to make a difference in the community, don’t miss this meeting. Everyone is welcome.