News

City of North Miami Beach Commission Names Street in Honor of Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime

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NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL __ The North Miami Beach City Commission has voted to name Northeast 159th Street in honor of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime for his advocacy and trailblazing leadership in the community.  The Commission voted unanimously to name the road from West Dixie Highway to Northeast 8th Avenue "Jean Monestime Street," making it one of the longest roads named after a Haitian American in South Florida. Commissioner Michael Joseph was the prime sponsor of this resolution, and  Commissioner McKenzie Fleurimond was the co-sponsor.

"The City wanted to recognize Commissioner Monestime for his leadership, vision, and longtime support of our community's quality of life. May is Haitian Heritage Month, which makes the timing of this honor especially meaningful," Commissioner Joseph said.

Commissioner Monestime represents District 2 on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, which includes parts of North Miami Beach. He is the first Haitian American to serve as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and the first to serve as its chair. He is also in his last tenure of office due to term limits.

The resolution passed by the North Miami Beach Commission also urges the Miami-Dade County Commission to co-designate the remaining county road section of 159th Street, from Northeast 8th Avenue to Northwest 6th Avenue, in solidarity with the municipal resolution. The co-designation awaits the confirmation of the Miami-Dade County Commission before becoming final.

 

 


NAACP Florida State Conference Infuriated with Gov. DeSantis’ Signing HB 1 Into Law

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NAACP says this proposal is racist and discriminatory for black and brown Floridians.
 
Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1, his censorship and repression bill, into law as America awaits a verdict in the trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. The bad optics, but likely intentional timing, and an all-white contingent of supporters in the background at his press conference in Winter Haven, sends strong messages on who this bill targets. 
 
“Today is a sad day for Florida. The Governor signed H.B. 1 into law. The bill is racist, discriminatory, unwise, unlawful, and unjust. The Governor put his stamp on this discriminatory law filled with criminalization and civil rights disenfranchisement aimed at Black and Brown Floridians. We won’t sit silent on this issue and we won’t let this stop peaceful protests across the state of Florida,” says Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.
 
HB 1 is effective immediately.
 

Miami Gardens City Council Says ‘No’ to Homeowners and Paves the Way for Formula One Racing

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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. 

Optics matter

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.

 

Related Links:

City of Miami Gardens Council Meeting April 14, 2021, on YouTube

Formula One: The Racing Event that Refuses to Accept “No” from Black Homeowners 

 


Follow the Money: School Board Vice-Chair Dr. Steve Gallon Proposes Item to Address the Receipt, Plan and Accountability for the District’s Nearly $1.1 Billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

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At today’s Miami-Dade County School Board Meeting, Vice-Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III will propose an agenda item regarding the almost $1.1 billion the school district receives from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress. It intends to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession, which developed as a consequence. First proposed on January 14, 2021, the package builds upon many of the measures in the CARES Act from March 2020 and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 from December 2020. 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, and $14 billion for vaccine distribution. It also provides $130 billion to elementary, middle, and high schools to assist with safe reopening, with Florida slated to receive approximately $7.4 billion. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district and having the highest proportion of economically disadvantaged students, is estimated to receive $1.1 billion. The bill will also directly impact local students and families through individual relief measures, including child tax credits that are projected to reduce child poverty substantially. 

With the infusion of these funds, the District will enhance its capacity to mitigate and address the adverse impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its students and their learning for over a year, with studies anticipating that learning loss will be more significant among low-income, Black, and Hispanic students---a demographic highly concentrated in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and whose anticipated academic, social, and emotional needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in large part and generated the unprecedented amount of federal funds.

Gallon’s proposal also directs the Superintendent to schedule a Board Workshop to discuss and review the allocation and allowable use of these funds, as well as,  review the prior allocation, expenditure, and planned use for remaining funds allocated to the District through the CARES Act from March 2020 and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 from December 2020; and establish a system and structure for quarterly reporting of all funds expended through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and make available for easy public access and review on the District’s website.

“This will ensure that the Board provides increased focus, transparency, and accountability as well as an opportunity for the public to be informed about and serve witness to the School Board’s policy, practices, and procurement decision-making processes involving nearly $1.1 billion that have been allocated to enhance and uplift the learning and lives of our students---especially those facing the greatest challenges and with the greatest needs,” said Dr. Gallon.

To read the full item, click here: 

http://schoolboard.dadeschools.net/documents/agenda/h17.pdf


Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo to Lead City of Miami Police Department

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Today, the City of Miami is expected to announce Houston police chief Hubert Arturo “Art” Acevedo as Miami’s next police chief. 

Acevedo, 56, was born in Havana, Cuba. His family emigrated to the United States in 1968, when Acevedo was four years old. He grew up in California and received his bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of La Verne. 

Acevedo began his law enforcement career with the California Highway Patrol in 1986 as a field patrol officer in East Los Angeles. He rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. From July 2007  through December 2016, he served as Chief of Police for the Austin, Texas Police Department. In November 2016, Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed Acevedo to lead the Houston Police Department. Acevedo is the first Hispanic to be named to that position. With Turner’s term coming to an end, the availability of the Miami position was good timing for Acevedo. 

Comfortable on camera, as evidenced by his appearances on national news programs, the Cuban-born but West Coast reared Acevedo will be thrust into the Miami culture where his political affiliation and actions appear contradictory. Although a registered Republican, Acevedo appeared in a video segment on the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. He is also one of the few to push back on Donald Trump openly. He also condemned the killing of George Floyd and walked in the procession for the burial of his remains. 

Acevedo did not formally apply for the Miami position. There was an expectation that something was amiss as there were several applicants for the Chief of Police position and the announcement of the selection was delayed by more than a month. Insiders expect more changes at the top levels of the Miami Police Department as there are rumors that Acevedo will bring staff with him.

Acevedo follows Chief Jorge Colina, who led the Miami police department for three years and announced his retirement earlier this year. 


Fisk Jubilee Singers® Win GRAMMY® Award for Best Roots Gospel Album

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 Nashville, TN (March 14, 2021) — Curb Records is excited to announce a 2021 GRAMMY® win for the Fisk Jubilee Singers’® album, Celebrating Fisk! (The 150thAnniversary Album), in the Best Roots Gospel Album category. Listen to the album HERE.

“I am very thankful to my students – 2016 and 2017 Fisk Jubilee Singers – Shannon Sanders, guest artists and everyone who contributed to us winning this award,” shares Dr. Paul Kwami, Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. “It is the first GRAMMY Award won by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in our 150-year history. The Fisk Jubilee Singers established and introduced a unique form of American music to the world in the 1800s and the legacy lives on!”

Shannon Sanders, album producer, also shares, “I am both humbled and honored to be a part of this historic moment. Congratulations to Dr. Paul T. Kwami, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Fisk University, Curb Records, and all of the phenomenal artists, musicians and engineers that contributed to this incredible project.”

The album, which is more than 150 years in the making, is a collection of 12 songs that beautifully represents and communicates the powerful and vibrant history of Fisk University, Fisk Jubilee Singers, and the city of Nashville. It features the group from the stage of Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, with guest appearances by Ruby Amanfu, Keb’ Mo’, Lee Ann Womack, The Fairfield Four, Rod McGaha, Derek Minor, Shannon Sanders, Rodney Atkins, Jimmy Hall and CeCe Winans, and was produced by Shannon Sanders, Paul Kwami, Jim Ed Norman, and Mike Curb.

“How exciting for the Fisk Jubilee Singers to be recognized for their hard work and dedication, not only on this album, but throughout history,” shares Curb Records Chairman, Mike Curb. “I have been blessed to work with Paul Kwami, who is a musical genius and a national treasure. This GRAMMY also honors Fisk University’s 150th Anniversary, which is so important for Nashville and our entire country. This is a momentous day for Fisk, the Curb Records team, and everyone that has been part of this project.” 

For more information, visit fisk.edu

Track-listing:

  1. Wade In The Water
  2. Blessed Assurance (feat. CeCe Winans)
  3. I Believe (feat. Keb’ Mo’)
  4. Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right (feat. Lee Ann Womack)
  5. Rock My Soul (feat. The Fairfield Four)
  6. I Want Jesus To Walk With Me (feat. Ruby Amanfu)
  7. When The Saints Go Marching In (feat. Rod McGaha)
  8. ‘Way Over In Egypt Land
  9. Glory / Stranger (feat. Derek Minor & Shannon Sanders)
  10. Working On A Building (feat. Rodney Atkins)
  11. My Lord Is So High
  12. I Saw The Light (feat. Jimmy Hall)

 

 


Important County Commission Meeting on West Grove

See Public Notice below. A Public Hearing has been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 9:30 AM, to address issues including the establishment of a West Grove Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and to prepare a community development plan for the area. The meeting will be webcast. See instructions to participate by Zoom or by phone. 

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Miami-Dade County Libraries to be Used for Pick up and Drop Off of Unemployment Applications

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Miami-Dade Public Library System to provide Reemployment Assistance Applications at 26 library locations

Printed copies will be available in English, Spanish and Creole

MIAMI ( April 06, 2020 ) — 

In an effort to help Miami-Dade County residents applying for state unemployment benefits, especially those who do not have computers at home, the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) will be providing printed copies of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Reemployment Assistance Applications at 26 library locations beginning Wednesday, April 8.

Unemployment applications in English, Spanish and Creole and envelopes to return them in will be available for pickup at tables outside the library entrances from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Residents can take the application home to fill out and then return it in the sealed envelope by dropping it off in the library location’s book drop or at any CareerSource South Florida location. Applications will be picked up from the book drops every day and delivered to CareerSource South Florida where trained staff will send them securely overnight to DEO in Tallahassee for processing. Residents can also download and print a copy of the application from DEO's website and return it to any participating library’s book drop.

MDPLS will be practicing social distancing at the library sites, with informational signage and markings on the ground spaced six feet apart.

The following are the 26 library locations where residents can pick up an application:

  • Allapattah Branch
    1799 NW 35 Street
    Miami, FL 33142

  • Arcola Lakes Branch
    8240 NW 7 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33150

  • California Club Branch
    700 Ives Dairy Road
    Miami, FL 33179

  • Coconut Grove Branch
    2875 McFarlane Road
    Miami, FL 33133

  • Concord Branch
    3882 SW 112 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33165

  • Coral Reef Branch
    9211 SW 152 Street
    Miami, FL 33157

  • Country Walk Branch
    15433 SW 137 Avenue
    Miami, FL 33177

  • Edison Center Branch
    531 NW 62 Street
    Miami, FL 33150

  • Fairlawn Branch
    6376 SW 8 Street
    West Miami, FL 33144

  • Golden Glades Branch
    100 NE 166 Street
    Miami, FL 33162

  • Hialeah Gardens Branch
    11300 NW 87 Court
    Hialeah Gardens, FL 33018

  • Hispanic Branch Library
    1398 SW 1 Street
    Miami, FL 33135

  • Homestead Branch
    700 N. Homestead Boulevard
    Homestead, FL 33030

  • International Mall Branch
    10315 NW 12 Street
    Doral, FL 33172

  • Kendale Lakes Branch
    15205 SW 88 Street
    Miami, FL 33196

  • Miami Beach Regional Library
    227 22nd Street
    Miami Beach, FL 33139

  • Miami Lakes Branch
    6699 Windmill Gate Road
    Miami Lakes, FL 33014

  • Naranja Branch
    14850 SW 280 Street
    Miami, FL 33032

  • North Dade Regional Library
    2455 NW 183 Street
    Miami Gardens, FL 33056

  • North Shore Branch
    7501 Collins Avenue
    Miami Beach, FL 33141

  • Northeast Dade - Aventura Branch
    2930 Aventura Boulevard
    Aventura, FL 33180

  • Palm Springs North Branch
    17601 NW 78 Avenue
    Hialeah, FL 33015

  • South Miami Branch
    6000 Sunset Drive
    Miami, FL 33143

  • West Dade Regional Library
    9445 Coral Way
    Miami, FL 33165

  • West Flagler Branch
    5050 West Flagler Street
    Miami, FL 33134

  • West Kendall Regional Library
    10201 Hammocks Boulevard
    Miami, FL 33196

Residents may also call 305-375-2665 to find their nearest library location providing the printed applications. CareerSource South Florida is available to provide assistance with completing the application by calling 305-929-1547.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, information and resources, visit www.miamidade.gov/coronavirus.


CHI to Hold News Conference and Announces Change In COVID-19 Testing Locations

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Miami, FL - Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) will hold a news conference on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 10am at Loren Roberts Park, 627 NW 6th Ave., Florida City, Florida to announce the first drive through Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to come to both Florida City and Homestead. CHI will be providing drive-through COVID-19 testing at Loren Roberts Park in Florida City on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. In addition, starting Monday April13th CHI will conduct drive through COVID-19 testing at its Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Plus, April 8th from 9am to noon will be the last day for COVID19 testing at the Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami FL 33190. CHI is scaling back its Doris Ison COVID19 operation due to the new testing location down the street at the South Dade Government Center.

“I am so proud of our teams, they are giving their all to make sure that people have access to this critical test,” said Brodes H. Hartley Jr., President and CEO of CHI. “We have done so at no cost to those in need and ensured that our testing is for everyone, regardless of age or profession.”

Unlike some other testing locations throughout South Florida, CHI’s testing operations are completely free. 

“Thank you, Colonel Hartley, for being so responsive and meeting the tremendous need in the deep South Dade area,” said Florida City Mayor Otis T. Wallace.

Those looking to get tested need to meet the following criteria: They have recently traveled to any of the high-risk countries or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath. 

Drive through testing for CHI’s three locations is as follows:

Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami, FL 33190; last day of testing here on April 8, 2020. (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

Loren Roberts Park, 627 NW 6th Ave., Florida City, Florida every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm. (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

Martin Luther King Jr. /Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr. in Homestead on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm starting April 13th.  (No need to call first for this testing location and no appointment necessary)

 

CHI Marathon Health Center 2805 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Must be a resident of Monroe County and meet testing criteria. Call first (305)216-2107 or email KeysCovid19@chisouthfl.org

 

CHI has also integrated behavioral health staff into its COVID-19 testing operations. This team of therapists and mental health technicians helps to ease anxiety and stress related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

CHI’s health centers remain open during this time as patients are being screened at the entrance for COVID-19 as a precaution for safeguarding the general patient population. Those with symptoms are not allowed inside so that primary care, behavioral health, dental, OB/GYN, pharmacy, vision, radiology and urgent care visits can continue. (only emergency dental visits will occur at this time) In addition, CHI is now offering telehealth visits for primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health for adults and children, OB/GYN and dental to improve continuity of care. Most insurances cover telehealth and CHI offers a sliding fee scale based on income for the uninsured. 

 
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The ‘Tammy Jackson Act’ One Step Closer to Becoming Law

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The bill ensures protections for pregnant incarcerated women and their babies 

 

Tallahassee, FL — Today, the Tammy Jackson Act (SB 852, titled Restrictive Housing for Incarcerated Pregnant Women) by Senator Jason Pizzo (D-West Park) passed the Florida Senate. With newly amended language, the bill now needs one final House vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk. On the House side, HB 1259 was co-introduced by Representatives Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) and the bill has passed unanimously in all committees and both chambers.  

The Tammy Jackson Act ensures that pregnant incarcerated women are transported to an appropriate medical facility without delay, given proper medical care, and not placed in restrictive housing involuntarily while in labor. The legislation also sets critical standards for the treatment of pregnant incarcerated women by aiming to create a safer, more respectful environment for women behind bars. 

The Dignity Coalition, a grassroots effort led by formerly incarcerated women and supported by several community organizations in Florida, works to advance the rights of incarcerated women and girls in Florida. Just last year, the Coalition won the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, a bill to ensure that incarcerated women have access to hygiene products. Passing the Tammy Jackson Act was a team effort, led in large part by Valencia Gunder, a community activist and formerly incarcerated woman herself who also serves as Campaign Manager for Dignity Florida.

“We now need the Florida House to act one more time with a final vote, to send this bill to the Governor’s desk and do right by our incarcerated women and babies,” said Valencia Gunder, Campaign Director for Dignity Florida and the New Florida Majority. “Our women are more than prisoners; they are mothers, nurturers, and caregivers and it is time they are treated as such, with dignity, respect, and humanity. The future is female, she’s strong, she’s Black, she’s Brown and she will not be incarcerated.”

No pregnant woman should ever be put in solitary confinement; it is inhumane, unsafe and cruel, both for the mother and her child. Currently, Florida has the second-highest incarceration rate for women in the United States, and yet, women’s basic needs and rights are not being met or respected. Ensuring that incarcerated people, including those who are pregnant, are safe, healthy and treated with dignity, especially during labor, is the responsibility of the state.