Christmas Greetings from Blogging Black Miami

Christmas Together by Mary Nagy

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I hung the decorations
and I trimmed the christmas tree.
What really means the most of all
is that you're here with me.

You make the season special
without spending lots of dough.
Your neverending friendship
means more than you could know.

I can't say what it means to me
to share this special time.
I thank God for another year
that He's let you be mine.

Let's deck the halls and celebrate
with family and friends.
But, lets take time for you and me
before the season ends.


Longest Running Local Public Kwanzaa Celebration Moves to The ARC in Opa-locka on 12/29/18

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Miami, FL December 23, 2018: For almost three decades the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association has celebrated the seven-day Pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa. This year, due to renovations at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and the absence of many members traveling to witness the University’s famous marching band participate in the Rose Bowl and surrounding activities, it seemed the event would not take place. 

When one of the organization’s community partners found out the celebration was going on hiatus this year, the true Spirit of Kwanzaa took over and plans were quickly changed. On Saturday, December 29, at 3 pm, the 29th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration will take place at The ARC (Arts & Recreation Center), 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054,

“We are deeply appreciative that Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe’s Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy reached out to help. Their support lets us know our teaching the Principles of Kwanzaa at this celebration through the years, has not been in vain,” said Vanessa Woodard Byers, event chair, and daughter of the late Mary Williams Woodard, educator and Kwanzaa advocate for whom this celebration is named. 

Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political community-building and family-strengthening holiday. The community is invited to come out and learn more about it. There will be music, dance, poetry and other artistic demonstrations. One of the highlights of the event is the distribution of dolls by young philanthropist, speaker, and business executive, Zoe Terry. Through her company, Zoe’s Dolls, dolls are given to little black and brown girls as a vehicle for building self-esteem and pride in their self-image. 

The event is free but register online at KwanzaaMiami29.eventbrite.com. Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys, for children in the local community, are appreciated. Potluck food donations for the Feast are also welcome. It is hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. of Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor in partnership with the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe's Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy.

For more information, email Vanessa Woodard Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343- 9088. Event updates are available on Facebook at Celebrate Kwanzaa in Miami and on Twitter at @KwanzaaMiami. 

HARAMBEE!

Here's video of last year's event courtesy of LaShannon of PrPlMiami.

 

 


Florida NAACP President on National Tele-TownHall on #LivingWhileBlack on Thursday Dec. 20

Leaders, activists, and organizers join in a candid conversation about #livingwhileblack,  justice reform, protecting our vote, Facebook and more issues impacting black America

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BALTIMORE (December 19, 2018) – NAACP will host its final national tele townhall of the year on Thursday, December 20that 8 pm EST. The townhall is an opportunity to have a candid conversation about #livingwhileblack, what we learned from this year’s elections, the shifting political climate, and the work before us in 2019. Panelists will also speak on NAACP’s #LogOutFacebook protest and the passage of the prison and sentencing reform bill.

Panelists:

  • Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
  • Marc Morial, President and CEO, The National Urban League
  • Adora Obi Nweze, President, NAACP Florida State Conference
  • Leslie Redmond, President, Minneapolis Branch

Thousands of listeners may participate in the call which will discuss #livingwhileblack, the 2018 midterm elections, the current status of the themes expressed in NAACP’s poll about voter attitudes, the political climate and what lies ahead in 2019 for the Association.

“From organizing historic turnout for voters of color to fighting back against problematic judicial nominations, we made incredible progress on the road to turning America into a country that is equal and just for all of its people,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “However, there is still much work ahead fo us, and resistance remains high, we must use our collective power and voices to express our concerns and ensure our future stake in this country.”

Interested participants and media can RSVP for the event here.

 

 


Broward County Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes Suspended Without Pay by Gov. Rick Scott

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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.

 

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Page 5 of 5 of Executive Order filed by Florida Governor Rick Scott suspending Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes and naming 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.

 

@vanessawbyers

 

Related Link: Executive Order of Suspension 

 


Thankful in 2018

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No doubt many will gather today to eat, watch sports, talk and just enjoy each other's company. Today is Thanksgiving Day in America. Like most holidays celebrated in this country the history of the holiday has been forgotten. In some ways that's not a bad thing as many Native Americans were killed and this land taken from them. We can't pretend that we are unaware of the truth. To them, this is a day of mourning. So, let's just give thanks for family and friends today and everyday. 

To everyone who subscribes to this blog and follows us on social media, we are grateful. Thank you.

Happy Turkey Day! 

 


TODAY is ELECTION DAY! Let's Get Out and Vote!

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This has been a very exciting election season in Florida thanks to the excitement of the campaign of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. According to conventional wisdom and many political folks right here in Miami said he didn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell of winning because he didn't have any money. They aligned themselves with other candidates and Gillum kept on pushing. I'm not surprised. As I wrote on this blog when he announced his candidacy and have told many friends, there is something special about Andrew Gillum. Well, the world has come to see that and his energy and personality are carrying the Democratic ticket in Florida.

I'm proud of the folks in Miami who have taken the time and energy to educate voters not just about the historic campaign of Andrew Gillum but also what's at stake in this election. There were many forums, sessions and radio shows on the candidates for office, charter amendments, referenda, and constitutional amendments as well as that humongous, confusing ballot Florida voters are faced with in this General Election. 

Shout out to my buddy Andre Joyce for his insistence on the Chill, Chat & Chew conversations that we hosted at Lil Greenhouse Grill in Overtown. A special thanks to all of the candidates who participated and to our conversation starters Christopher Norwood, Jessica Garafola and Tony White. Thanks to Nicole Gates, Chef Karim Bryant and their team at Lil Greenhouse Grill for their always delicious food, great atmosphere and awesome service. Not matter the outcome of the election, we are going to continue our conversations on various tops from relationships to finances and other topics never too far away from civic engagement and improving our community.

A number of political and entertainment celebrities visited South Florida to encourage people to vote. The importance of this election has registered with many because the number of folks taking advantage of early voting surpassed all expectations. 

Everyone has to do their part by voting. If you can't vote, you can make sure someone else does. This is serious. Public education, health care, judicial appointments and jobs depend on our vote. Some folks will be happy when they wake up tomorrow. Others will be quite sad. No matter the outcome. Let's remain engaged in our community and help make it better for us and future generations.

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Local columnist and retired educator Vennda-Rei Gibson transitions

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Vennda-Rei Gibson

Shock and tremendous sadness overcame many in Miami’s Black community upon learning of the death of Vennda-Rei Gibson, long-time columnist for The Miami Times highly-anticipated weekly record of community social events and celebrations, The Social Whirl. 

An avid reader and prolific writer, Gibson was also a retired Miami-Dade County Public Schools educator. She was a proud alumna of Tennessee State University and Miami Northwestern High School, a member of the Dade County Chapter of The Links, Incorporated; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Just Us and other organizations. 

Gibson’s family and friends will celebrate her life via the following schedule:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2018

The Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church
1750 NW 3rd Avenue
Miami FL 33136

6 PM - Memorial Services
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The Links, Incorporated 
Just Us, Inc.

7 PM - Litany Service

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER, 10, 2018

The Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church
1750 NW 3rd Avenue
Miami FL 33136

 

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@vanessawbyers

 

Related link: Celebrating the Birthday of Bea Hines and the Birth of Miami's Black Scribes

Miami's Black Scribes

 

 


Souls to the Polls Sunday! Last Day to Vote Early!

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Today is the last day of Early Voting in Miami-Dade County. Many churches have collaborated to encourage voting via a “Souls to the Polls” initiative that includes a march and a rally. Several celebrities are in South Florida to maximize voter turnout for Democratic candidates. 

Here are the locations of early voting locations. Get in line by 7 pm; don't leave until you vote.

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Here are the Blogging Black Miami candidate endorsements for the 2018 General Election. Download it and take it with you to the polls.

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White Man Goes On Vulgar Racist Rant at Dunkin' Donuts on Miami Beach [VIDEO] ***WARNING: NSFW***

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A video was posted to YouTube two days ago showing a white male customer hurling profanity and racial slurs at a young Black female employee of Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins at 341 W 41 Street (Arthur Godfrey Road and Sheridan Avenue) on Miami Beach, Florida. The video was posted by Veronica Timpanaro.

Apparently, the male customer was upset that he was not served as soon as he entered the store. The lone employee was serving a female customer and a young child but that did not matter to him. It was bad enough that he exhibited such disgusting behavior, but he also did it in the presence of a young child.

When he couldn't have his way after dropping f-bombs, he proceeded to drop n-bombs at the employee, threatened her and even called her a coon. He's a really classy guy. There's a very clear picture of his face and him throwing up his middle finger. Prayerfully, social media will work its magic and identify him. Then, the Miami Beach Police need to arrest him for disorderly conduct, ethnic intimidation and other charges. 

 

Racist, hateful behavior cannot become the new normal for America! 

 

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@vanessawbyers


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Miami Kappas Get Out the Vote Saturday 10/27

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The men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity will be hosting voter mobilization and education events across Florida on Saturday, October 27. The Miami Alumni Chapter’s event will be held at Miami Dade College North Campus, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Come out and learn more about the ballot, cast your vote and fellowship with the brothers of the frat so nice they had to name it twice. Don’t miss the free food, entertainment, games and much more. For more info, visit #ItsAKappaPartyFL on Facebook! 

 

Va-va signature with butterflies

@vanessawbyers