North Miami

Meet North Miami Mayoral Candidate Dr. Smith Joseph


by Starla Vaughns Cherin

North Miami mayoral candidate Dr. Smith Joseph campaigns to win the run-off election November 4, 2014. With only 523 votes between them in the special election Ken Burns and Dr. Smith Joseph work to rally voters for a decisive win.

True to his word, Dr. Joseph’s goal to serve all residents of the City of North remains foremost in his mind and campaign promises. Improve the beauty and community feeling in North Miami through strong home ownership programs, improve safe neighborhoods through a cooperative approach to community policing and improving city government transparency and responsiveness to the City of North Miami’s residents.

“Having a firm grasp on one’s personal ethics is an essential prerequisite in running for public office,” says Joseph. “One’s personal code of ethics should be high with the determination to help those people who have placed in him their trust.

“I empathize with them and know their problems. I love them and want to work for them for a better tomorrow for our children and our grandchildren.”


With the help of his wife attorney Patricia Saintvil-Joseph family and friends Joseph maintains his connections to the people and organizations he feels helped in his success. He is especially grateful to Florida A&M University (FAMU), where he graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy and where his daughter now attends.

“We were embraced and I discovered a world I didn’t know existed. When you are in class at FAMU you have good professors. You will learn about organic chemistry and you will learn about history, the people that paved the way for me to have the opportunity to be at FAMU,” says Joseph.

From FAMU working as a pharmacist at Walgreens and later the Miami Heart Institute Joseph continued his education. Coming to America from Haiti at 17, Joseph knows what it takes to work a job, support a family and continue your education for advancement. “When I came here barely speaking a full sentence of English, I worked at a rubber making factory and so many restaurants. After graduating from Miami Dade College with a laboratory tech degree I worked for seven dollars an hour,” says Joseph. “The money wasn’t enough so I worked at JMH from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. went to school from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then woke up to deliver papers for the Miami Herald from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. then to another job.

“I understand what families go through to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.”


Joseph’s love for people comes naturally especially through his work as an Osteopathic physician specializing in Internal Medicine. After completing his residency at Grady Memorial Hospital/Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia and certification by the American board of Internal Medicine he founded the Universal Medical Centre medical clinic on West Dixie Highway, in the heart of North Miami.

Treating the whole person and focusing on preventive and comprehensive health care Joseph helped save a young man’s life by diagnosing a brain tumor. Her son unable to walk, his mother brought him to doctor Joseph knowing she had no money to pay. He had previously been diagnosed with stroke but Joseph’s eye for looking at the internal causes of illness, consulted with doctors at North Shore Hospital and Univ. of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital who operated on the boy saving his life and enabling him to walk again.


Joseph’s dad passed away when he was 10 years old. Mom came to America to make a better living to send money back home to her parents who took care of Joseph and his siblings. One by one she made enough money to send for each of her children.

Joseph’s uncle Joanel Joseph was responsible for the children and came every morning to quiz them on their lessons before going to school. “He was the academic person in the family. He would always make sure he came to our house and make us recite all of our lesson before we go to school. If you didn’t know it he was harsh. He said if I don’t make you cry now, you will make us cry later and become a bum. Once you become a bum you will be a burden on the family. The only way to get a better life is to stay in school and make a better living. It was hard on the family to have my father dead and my mom overseas working to support us,” Joseph remembers.

North Miami

Living and working in North Miami Joseph sees first-hand the needs of the community. “People have told me when they have complaints and come to the appropriate department it is very difficult to speak with someone and get a solution. I want the City of North Miami government to be accessible and responsive. It should be an environment where everyone has access to city government.

“Economic development is important to the life blood of the community. Working together with the City Manager and fellow council members to establish an advisory board and business forum for small business,” says Joseph. “The advisory board would help identify state and federal monies to help small business and the forum will provide expertise and information on starting, maintaining and growing a small business in North Miami.

“The crime rate has decreased from five years ago and we want to keep the trend going. I will work closely with the City Manager and Chief of Police to utilize resources and manpower for increased visibility through the use of community satellite stations. Visibility will make it less likely for a crime to be committed and the police and community can begin to work together to understand more about each other and the diversity within the community of North Miami.

“In addition Task Forces and community crime councils are two other elements I hope to introduce. Task Forces comprised of business owners, homeowners and law enforcement officials will analyze the community using geographic grids. Each grid will be responsible for introducing strategies to reduce crime and improve public safety.

“We also want community crime councils to go into the schools speak with young people about public safety and listen to their concerns. We want to make them feel comfortable enough to come forward and report risky behaviors. This is one of the most effective ways to help isolate trouble and pierce the code of silence in communities that have let crime go unpunished.




The Miami people don't see [Parental Advisory]

Raw. Explicit language. Real. Powerful. Covers a lot of subjects. The Field: Miami. The Miami people don't see. 





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Today is Election Day in North Miami!


Today is Election Day in the City of North Miami. If you live in that city and are a registered voter, exercise your right to vote for the candidates you feel are best for your community. 

Voters will elect a mayor to succeed the term-limited Andre Pierre and a councilman for District 2 and District 3. During this cycle, election controversy and drama have run the gamut of ethnic polarization; attacks using voodoo; fist fighting and the latest, an endorsement by God.

Mayoral Candidates

  • Gwendolyn V. Boyd
  • Kevin Burns
  • Modira Escarment
  • Smith Joseph
  • Jean Rodrique Marcellus
  • Michael McDearmaid
  • Anna L. Pierre
  • Lucie M. Tondreau


Council Candidates District 2

  • Michael Blynn
  • Mary C. Irvin
  • Joseph Haber
  • Carol Keys


Council Candidates District 3

  • Philippe Bien-Aime
  • Michael A. Etienne
  • Hans Mardy
  • Jacques Despinosse
  • Katiusquie Pierre


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Shooting death of Will "Da Real One" Bell takes toll on community



by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard Byers


Willie L. Bell, Jr. BKA Will “Da Real One” Bell, was gunned down early last Sunday morning as he was leaving his North Miami club, The Literary Café and Poetry Lounge. Various news reports describe him as a “poet” but Da Real One was more than that. He was a businessman, poetry guru/advocate and community activist.  

I learned of his death through William “DC” Clark’s Facebook profile page. Clark was in disbelief as were others. I did what I usually do when there is breaking news, jump on Twitter and search for tweets on the topic. Oh yeah, it was true. Another victim of gun violence. When does the madness stop?

Here is but one of the touching tributes to Bell from a friend on Facebook:

Day two without WILL DA REAL ONE !!!

by Errol Bigdee Bryant on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 11:26am

Day two with out WILL DA REAL ONE,still trying to wrap my head around it but cant.thinking back many years ago while talking with him,he said he was going to change the poetry game he was going all in full speed being the negative person i was at the time i said poetry is for "SUCKERS",he just laughed and looked at me and in comedic Will fashion told me then just sit back and watch me "SUCK" the life outta everybody with the words im gonna spit out my mouth.Lesson learned bro,you said it and you did it,and we all love you for that and the person you were to will forever be an iconic figure,not just in the hood but world wide,because you touched lives any and everywhere you graced with your presence.

I only met Bell once several years ago. He was a cool guy. The spoken word community was devastated. Friends and those he mentored poured out their hearts on social media outlets. Mainstream media captured his tragic death from local news to CNN International.

Several fans showed respect for Bell at a candlelight vigil today. Of course there was candlelight, spoken word and tears. Will Bell overcome many obstacles in his life to provide an outlet for poets and, ironically, encourage young people to stop the violence.

There were witnesses to his shooting and it’s likely someone will come forth with information. Will Da Real One was loved by too many for this case to go cold. Anyone with information on this crime should contact the North Miami Police Department 305-891-8111 or Crimestoppers at 305-371-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Will Da Real One Facebook Tribute Page


Related Links:

Readers react: Will “Da Real One” Bell remembered

Local poet Will “Da Real One” gunned down in North Miami

What Will "Da Real One" Bell Sounded Like

Miami-area poet Will Bell gunned down

Miami slam poet killed outside his cafe

Well-known Miami poet shot dead outside his cafe

Friends Pay Tribute to Slain Poet

Poet gunned down outside his business

Miami-Area Poet Gunned Down

Poetry slam champion killed at his North Miami cafe

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Will Bell was shot outside his Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge early Sunday ...


Don't miss Bruce Weber's exhibition Haiti/Little Haiti at MOCA


The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami presents Bruce Weber: Haiti / Little Haiti through February 13, 2011. This extraordinary exhibition of photographs of Miami’s Haitian community by celebrated photographer Bruce Weber is part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series and includes approximately 75 photographs taken by Weber from 2003 to 2010. Bruce Weber: Haiti / Little Haiti is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami and is curated by MOCA Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater.

In 2003, The Miami Herald published a magazine supplement of Bruce Weber's photographs of Miami's Haitian community. The photographs were Weber’s response to an unjust U.S. immigration system in which Haitian men, women and children were detained indefinitely unlike refugees from other countries who were typically released to family or friends while awaiting asylum hearings. The documentary film, The Agronomist, by Jonathan Demme, had been Weber’s call to arms.  In it, Demme chronicled the life of Haiti’s most famous journalist, Jean Dominique, the founder of Radio Haiti Internationale, and his murder by unknown assailants in 2000. Incensed by the violence, political strife, and poverty depicted in the film, Weber asked Demme what he could do, and Demme suggested turning his attention to what was happening to Haitians in Miami, where Weber had a home. Compelled to tell the story of the struggle of Haitian immigrants, Weber immersed himself in the Haitian community, which he has continued to chronicle through the present.

Bruce Weber is renowned for revolutionizing fashion photography and the same formal elements that make his fashion and celebrity photographs so forceful contribute to the impact of his Haitian photographs.  As Bonnie Clearwater notes, “The strong sense that the figures exist in real space and can be touched, caressed, and embraced makes us feel as though we know or would like to know each of these individuals, and consequently we become concerned with their fate.”

“In his fashion shoots he captures what he sees in the models – beauty, youth, strength. This holds true as well for his Haitian photographs.  These images convey what he sees and admires in the Haitian children and adults he photographs, -- their strength, pride, resilience, elegance and beauty,” Clearwater said.

Weber chose primarily to work in black-and-white for the project, but switched to color film when photographing Haitian Flag Day celebrations. Over the years he has built up a large archive of photographs of Haitian celebrations, church congregations, Little Haiti stores and boulevards, as well as portraits of individuals, groups, and families. Weber’s presence is welcomed in Miami’s Haitian community. 

Miami’s rising Haitian leaders, politicians, artists and entertainers have also posed for Weber.  He generally photographed these professionals in their element. The immigration crisis earlier in the decade made it imperative for Haitians to become more visible and influential. In his unique way, Weber has captured images of a dynamic, diverse and evolving community, bringing the Haitian neighborhoods of Miami to a wider international audience.

A catalogue featuring an essay by Bonnie Clearwater, poems by Edwidge Danticat, and writings by Bruce Weber and Alberto Ibarguen, will accompany the exhibition.

Bruce Weber: Haiti / Little Haiti is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami and is curated by MOCA Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater.

The exhibition is made possible with major support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Media sponsorship is provided by The Miami Herald. The exhibition coincides with Art Basel Miami Beach.  Additional support is provided by Irma and Norman Braman.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami, FL 33161. For information, call 305.893.6211 or visit


NAACP political forum features the Rev. Al

The Reverend Al Sharpton is scheduled to participate in the upcoming political forum sponsored by the Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP on Monday, October 18, 2010 at New Birth. The forum, which is sure to be well-attended, starts at 6 pm. The church is located at 2300 NW 135 Street, Miami.

There are a number of important races and amendments on the ballot. Don't miss the forum and come out so you can be an informed voter. Please spread the word.

NAACP political forum features the Rev. Al

Some donors outraged money collected for Haiti earthquake relief not released

Posted on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010


Where is the money? City sits on Haiti fund


In the days after the January earthquake devastated Haiti, residents and business owners opened their pocketbooks to help the crushed nation, giving thousands to the city of North Miami -- purportedly for American Red Cross relief efforts.

Mayor Andre Pierre, who was born in Haiti, flew to the Caribbean nation in July and presented a ceremonial, oversized check to Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

Yet, nine months later, the $116,300 in donations sits in a city bank account, outraging donors.




Andre Pierre is North Miami Mayor

Congratulations to Andre Pierre, North Miami's next mayor. Also victorious were Michael Blynn and Jean Rodrigue Marcellus who won council seats.

Frank Wolland who lost to Pierre in the mayor's race, congratulated his opponent in the hard fought race. Potential drama may be defeated candidate Michelle Garcia's challenge to the eligibility of Marcellus. Garcia alleges Marcellus has not lived in North Miami for a year.