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.
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.
Miami filmmaker Dorian Munroe receives $14,000 to produce film
MIAMI BEACH – Seeking to tell the stories of the Liberty City bike riders who fill the streets on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in an act of community and protest, filmmaker Dorian Munroe took home the top prize in The Block, Oolite Arts’ new short documentary contest.
Munroe received $14,000 from Oolite Arts to produce the documentary “These Kids This City,” which he began to shoot during the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. This year, some of the bike riders, who were protesting redevelopment in Liberty City, were confronted by an angry man on the Brickell Bridge, who threatened them with a gun and racial slurs, and was ultimately charged with a hate crime.
“Growing up in Miami, I was always curious about this movement. Why Liberty City, and why on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? I’ve always seen it depicted negatively by the media, so this year I set out to see this movement first hand and to answer these questions for myself,” Munroe said. “In light of the hate crime and the viral video that captured it, this movement has been catapulted into the national spotlight.”
Munroe pitched his idea before a live studio audience and a jury of national and local film professionals for The Block, one of the ways Oolite Arts seeks to build a pipeline of local filmmakers. With stories from Hialeah to Westchester and the waters off Coconut Grove, each of the finalists received a cash prize for their film – with a total of $32,000 invested in the documentaries.
“Miami is a city of stories, and winners of The Block are helping to shine a light on them all over our county. We’re delighted to be able to give them the support they need to bring these stories to our screens,” said Dennis Scholl, Oolite Arts’ president and CEO.
All of the finalists will receive access to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive.The top three winners will receive help making their films from the University of Miami School of Communication’s Department of Cinema and Interactive Media. The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation is the lead sponsor for this program.
"By supporting these filmmakers, we're supporting the communities whose stories they're sharing,” said Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts program manager. “Homegrown films such as these allow us to understand ourselves and our neighbors across Miami more deeply."
The other winners, and their award amounts, are as follows:
Guadalupe Figueras, for “Isle of Mine” ($8,000)
What is it like to come of age on an island threatened by the effects of climate change? A group of Normandy Isle children explore their own future, by reconstructing an exact replica of their neighborhood on the gaming platform Minecraft. In this virtual world, the children rehearse future scenarios of climate change-induced disasters, in a telling re-enactment of their own trauma following Hurricane Irma. The mixed media documentary “Isle of Mine” will provide a way for them to express their feelings about the future, while imagining other possible solutions and outcomes for their hometown.
Ariana Hernández-Reguant, for “Seminola, Hialeah” ($6,000)
Every two years on a summer Saturday, the descendants of Seminola’s original settlers gather at the Hialeah neighborhood’s central green for Cotson Day, a celebration of community and history. Once a vibrant community of about 2,500 African Americans, the neighborhood has been decimated in recent years. The film will document this history, and follow past and current residents preparing for the big day.
Annik Adey-Babinski, for “Mooring” ($2,000)
For more than 30 years, 500-plus residents have called the mooring field and anchorage off Dinner Key Marina home. After monster storm Irma shredded docks and sank boats in 2017, landlubbing city officials left the community bobbing in disrepair. In “Mooring,” Mike and fellow liveaboards will reflect on the current state of the neighborhood and its storied past, and face the precarious future of their unique community.
Vincent Rives, for “El Afilador” ($2,000)
El Afilador– the knife sharpener – drives around the neighborhood in what appears to be an ice cream truck, complete with its own jingle. Yet a muffled voice blares from the speakerphone, offering the man’s services as a knife sharpener. To those not from the Westchester area, it sounds unusual. Why is this man sharpening knives in his truck? Locals know the man has brought a humble blue collar job from Cuba to the United States, and is, just like everyone else, trying to make a living.
In addition to the five finalists, the following filmmakers earned a special jury mention for their submissions, and will receive $1,000 for their projects: Daniel Rivero, Vanessa Charlot, Nicole Martinez, Alicia Edwards, Nadia Tahoun and Matthew Abad.
The Block is part of Oolite Arts’ new Cinematic Arts Program, which provides training and opportunities for local filmmakers, including a Cinematic Arts Residency which offers funding for filmmakers to make a microbudget narrative film.
On Friday, November 30, 2018, twelve days after embattled Broward County Supervisor of Elections (SOE), Dr. Brenda Snipes, submitted her letter of resignation — effective January 4, 2019 — Florida governor and US Senator-elect Rick Scott issued an executive order suspending her from office. Scott’s Order cites reasons for the suspension; prohibits Snipes from receiving any pay or allowance; and appoints her replacement, Peter Antonacci.
Scott could have allowed Snipes to leave her position quietly, but no. Snipes has not been publicly humiliated enough for him; Scott wants her punished. During the midterm elections, Snipes became the face of election fraud, corruption and incompetence depending on to whom one spoke. After Scott quickly accused Snipes of fraud, without any proof, Republicans, the far right and some Democrats called for her to be jailed or fired. Snipes was accused of sabotaging Senator Bill Nelson, whom Scott defeated, and also being a double agent working for the Republicans.
Dr. Snipes and her legal team held a press conference yesterday. It was attended by a few black elected officials, some black ministers and several black women dressed in red as identified by mainstream media. For the record, the ladies in red and Snipes are members of Delta Sigma Theta, a black Greek-letter sorority. During the press conference, attorneys Burnadette Norris-Weeks and Michelle Austin Pamies refuted the claims outlined in Gov. Scott’s executive order. The suspension of Dr. Brenda Snipes is on the verge of becoming a one-dimensional racial issue when it is that and more. The suspension of Brenda Snipes is a power play. For whatever reason, white critics of Gov. Scott’s executive order were conspicuously missing.
Not condoning any missteps by Snipes and her staff, recognize what’s at play by targeting her and heavily-Democratic Broward County. The new Broward SOE has the power to easily suppress the vote just in time to deliver Florida and the presidential election to Donald Trump and other down-ballot Republicans in 2020. The SOE determines the early voting sites, hours, precinct staffing, etc.
Lest we forget, Dr. Brenda Snipes was appointed SOE in November 2003 by then Gov. Jeb Bush. She was subsequently elected in 2004 and overwhelmingly re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Does Gov. Scott not respect for the will of the people of Broward County? If the people were not satisfied with her performance, there were several opportunities to elect one of her opponents. As a candidate on the ballot, Scott really should not have made the inflammatory and potentially slanderous statements about her.
The immediate suspension of Dr. Snipes by Gov. Scott placed the final decision on her removal from office on the agenda of the Florida Senate and prolonging this unpleasant situation. Gov. Scott’s decision to suspend Dr. Snipes after she had already submitted her resignation demonstrates poor leadership. Suspending Dr. Snipes and withholding her pay is the height of pettiness and maliciousness.
Black media professionals honored at 2018 BOMA Awards.
MIAMI – It’s not often that you’ll hear a faith-based economist quoting the rapper Drake or have the opportunity to sit in a room filled with 150 of South Florida’s most talented black media professionals, but that’s exactly what happened Thursday, September 20, at 11 a.m. when the Black Owned Media Alliance (BOMA) held the Second Annual BOMA Awards at Miami’s Hilton Airport Hotel.
Experts from various aspects of the industry came together to honor the multi-talented individuals who have dedicated their careers to not only authentically telling the African Diaspora’s stories, but also creating economic opportunities to build its wealth and strengthen its core.
WMBM’s Debra Toomer served as the Mistress of Ceremony and Dr. Lance McCarthy – a nationally recognized Faith-Based Economist and Investment Advisor with a specialty in Urban Development – delivered the keynote.
After giving some staggering statistics, McCarthy challenged the audience to implement the 3Cs of consciousness, currency and communications to enrich the Black community.
“We’ve had the DNA of black business owners since the beginning of time. We know black history, but not black business history. …We don’t need any more programs, we need projects. How do we put information out there continuously on black wealth? How do we create a platform to be able to move our agenda forward,” McCarthy asked.
“The sin is not being blind, the sin is not being deaf, the sin is not doing what God called you to do,” McCarthy continued, saying Drake got it right when he said “YOLO (You Only Live Once),” “God’s Plan” and “Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here.”
Honorees included: Teri Williams, President of OneUnited Bank as BOMA Champion of the Year; Bernadette Morris, Founder and Chairman of Sonshine Communications as BOMA Icon of the Year; Publix as BOMA Advocate of the Year; Sandy Walker, Publisher of The Gospel Truth, as BOMA Vanguard of the Year; Peter Webley, Publisher of Caribbean Today, as BOMA Visionary of the Year; and John Yearwood, Yearwood Media Group, as BOMA Luminary of the Year.
Award winners included: Hip Rock Star, Marketing Firm of the Year; S.A. Nelson & Associates, PR Firm of the Year; WOW Factor, Advertising Agency of the Year; The Mosaic Group, Black Advertising Agency of the Year; Calibe Thompson, Blondie Ras Productions, Inc., Best TV Communicator of the Year; Lynda Harris, Independent Financial Advisor, Best Radio Communicator of the Year; Russell Motley, MIA Media Group, Best Print Communicator of the Year; Tracy Timberlake, Timberlake Ventures, Best Digital Communicator of the Year; LaShannon Petit, PRPL Miami, Best Social Media Communicator of the Year; David Muir, Photo/Video Journalist of the Year; and Arriale Henry, The Westside Gazette, BOMA Rising Star Award.
In addition to serving as the MC, Toomer received the President's Award for her commitment to excellent service and BOMA President Dexter Bridgeman received the first Spirit of Dexter Bridgeman Award, an annual award created in his honor as the organizing founder of BOMA.
Bridgeman said the organization was created in 2015 to address the disparity that exists in South Florida for black-owned media outlets when it comes to receiving viable economic and financial opportunities.
Last Sunday night's episode of Hot Talk with Jill Tracey was the personification of HOT. It was LIT! Click Jill's photo to listen. The fireworks start about 56:15.
Last Sunday night’s episode of Hot Talk with Jill Tracey was smoking hot and took an odd turn when the anticipated discussion between the candidates in the upcoming Florida Senate District 38 race, incumbent Daphne Campbell and challenger Jason Pizzo, turned into a bickering session and civics lesson but not the way one would have anticipated.
Campbell was a no-show. She sent Brian Dennis to serve as her surrogate. Dennis said her son fell and hurt himself and she decided to stay home with him. Maybe not the best move and does not convey the best message to her constituents but that's what was said. Dennis, a minister, is a well-known community activist and columnist for The Miami Times. After the explanation of Campbell’s absence, there was some levity regarding children being closer to their mother. Then, as Dennis was asked about Campbell’s platform, the conversation went downhill rapidly. Dennis accused State Rep. Roy Hardemon of not giving Campbell credit for the $2 million in funding garnered for the Poinciana Industrial Park. Dennis said the bill was vetoed but Campbell brought it back. He also referenced a Miami Times article on the funding that features Hardemon, Dr. Mae Christian, author of the bill and “Broadway” Cuthbert Harewood, a local businessman and community organizer. Dennis took issue with Campbell being excluded from the photo and media coverage regarding funding for the industrial park.
Min. Brian Dennis speaks on behalf of State Sen. Daphne Campbell.
From left, "Broadway" Cuthbert Harewood, Dr. Mae Christian and State Rep. Roy Hardemon in photo from the March 22, 2018 edition of The Miami Times show the $2 million appropriation for the Poinciana Industrial Park in the 2018-19 State Budget. Min. Brian Dennis said Senator Daphne Campbell helped secure the funding but was not credited by Hardemon and was unfairly excluded from the photo.
Hardemon called in to give his take on the Poinciana Park funding issue and the bill that was approved during the last Legislative Session. Christian also called in. She reiterated that she is the author of the bill. She said she doesn’t have a problem with Campbell and accused Dennis of trying to cause trouble. The bickering denigrated to the point that Christian called Dennis a liar. She went on to disclose that the money has not been received. It was supposed to be handled by the City of Miami but the property on which the transport center is to be built is in Miami-Dade County. Christian said they have been unsuccessful in getting a meeting with County budget director Jennifer Moon-Glazer. She also mentioned other funds of more substantial amounts that Dennis should be looking into rather than only focusing on the $2 million for the Poinciana Industrial Park.
Jason Pizzo interjected with an analogy that basically explained that both chambers of the Legislature (House and Senate) are required to get a bill passed. A bill beginning with HB identifies it as a House Bill and SB means a bill originated in the Senate. Dennis promised to provide Jill with e-mails supporting his position. He also promised to look into the status of the funding. Community activist Tangela Sears also called in. She explained that Legislators in different chambers do not share publicity with the sponsors of their companion bills. It’s not a slight to the legislator in the other chamber, that is just the way things are done.
Without getting caught up on who got the credit for funding, there are indeed questions that need to be answered about the process and the funding for the Poinciana Industrial Park Intermodal Logistics Center. Researching myfloridahouse.gov shows that there might be some validity to the points Brian Dennis made. Hardemon’s HB 2767 indicates "indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration" on March 10 but included in the Appropriations Act, or State Budget, on March 11. That seems strange. Please note that there is no indication of a companion "Senate Bill" for Hardemon’s House Bill but Senator Campbell did submit a Local Funding Initiative Request via Senate form 1203. Folks more knowledgeable in the legislative appropriations process are following up on what happened. [Download FY2018-19_S1203]
Highlighted language of the history of HB 2767 shows it was indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration on 03/10/2018 but included in the State Budget on the following day.
This is how the funding for the Poinciana Industrial Parl Intermodal Logistics Center is listed in the State 2018-19 General Appropriations Act (State Budget). Please note that the original request was for $25 million.
Here is a link to the show. Please take the time to listen to the entire show as it shares crucial information about the New Florida Vision PAC and the push to elect Andrew Gillum governor of Florida, the grand opening of Jonathan Spikes’ AFFIRMing Youth Center, comments on Pumps Pearls & Politics 2018 and other important topics. The heated discussion starts about 56:15 of the recording after Jill introduces the folks in the studio.
At the end of the day, most people will listen to the July 29, 2018 episode of Hot Talk because of the bickering. Let’s look at it as a teachable lesson and a learning opportunity. Most of us have a lot to learn about the detailed machinations of our government and laws. Let’s take the time to do so and hold our elected officials responsible for communicating with us about the laws they approve or disapprove. It is also crucial to note that the original funding request for the Poinciana Industrial Park Intermodal Logistics Center was for $25 million. How effective will the project be for $2 million? Or will it be another project in which funds are squandered in the Black community? #STAYwoke
The City of Miami Police Department, in conjunction with the ladies of the Miami Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, is holding a gun buyback event to reduce gun violence in the city.
The buyback allows anyone to surrender weapons anonymously in exchange for cash/gift cards, valued at $250 for rifles .223 caliber and higher (AK-47, AR-15, etc.) and at $50 cash/gift card for any firearm.
Bring your weapons to the Belafonte-TACOLCY Center, 6161 NW 9th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33127 on Saturday, June 16, 2018, between 10 AM and 1 PM. No questions asked!
The first South Florida Gubernatorial Debate of the 2018 election cycle will be held this evening, June 11, at 7 PM EST at Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL 33025. SEIU (Service Employees International Union) has partnered with several organizations to host this debate, dubbed the Florida Freedom Forum. Four of the five democratic candidates are scheduled to participate: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, Chris King, and former Mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levine. Recently declared candidate, businessman Jeff Greene, is not scheduled to participate in this debate.
Washington, D.C. –Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson issued the following statement on the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018:
“Although I am extremely disappointed that a DACA fix was not included, I am pleased that Congress has finally passed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 that President Trump signed today. After numerous temporary funding measures and unnecessarily stringent budget caps, this bill, although imperfect, funds several items that are critical to Florida and to the nation.
“In addition to rejecting the Trump administration’s cruel anti-immigrant agenda, the omnibus invests heavily in key priorities like child care, education, transportation and infrastructure, national security, affordable housing, public safety, election protection, medical and health care research, our nation’s veterans, and many other line items. These investments are certain to help boost job creation for America’s workers, economic growth, and support badly needed by those living in disadvantaged communities.
“Wins for Florida and District 24 include:
A 14 percent increase in funding for historically black colleges and universities, including Florida A&M, Florida Memorial University, Bethune-Cookman and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville
Additional funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending target established by WRRDA 2014, which will benefit PortMiami
$250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants to prevent deadly crashes on Florida railroads
$416 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants
Restored proposed administration cuts to Everglades restoration projects
$610 million increase for Head Start, a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program and a $300 million increase in grants to Title I schools
$3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants
$22 billion for public housing vouchers for needy populations, including the elderly, disabled, and persons living with HIV/AIDS
“I also was very pleased that I was able to insert in the legislation $10 million for support of a “multi-partner trust fund or other multi-lateral efforts to assist communities in Haiti affected by cholera resulting from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”
Miami's WSVN News Producer Robin Cross has been terminated following video of her using a racial slur.
Miami’s WSVN-TV Channel 7 News producer Robin Cross has been terminated. Cross was the subject of international media coverage as the woman caught on cell phone video yelling at her neighbor about vehicleparking. Cross’s profanity-laced tirade ended with her using a racial slur in reference to the Black girlfriend of her neighbor’s son.
It is unfortunate and disappointing that WSVN allowed this story to linger for five days before taking action beyond suspension of Cross. It is also unfortunate that WSVN didn’t use this as a teachable moment and opportunity for healing via a community conversation about race. America will never be as great a nation as she can be until that very painful and shameful issue is addressed and overcome.
Thank you to everyone who contacted WSVN to voice their opinions regarding the situation. This is what happens when people unite. This is what happens when we are more than just keyboard soldiers. This is what happens when we take action.