Miami-Dade County just learned it lost a front-runner for Miami’s Blacks who worked to bridge the gaps in understanding between integrating communities. Robert “Bob” Simms died in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Dec. 16. He was 87. Born in Alabama in 1927, Simms moved to Miami in 1953 for a job at George Washington Carver schools. It was there that he met Clyde Stephens Sr. The two instantly hit it off, becoming fishing buddies who planned trips for decades, even after being separated by the integration of schools in the early ‘60s.
With new laws and new members to come
A Miami-Dade County committee responsible for giving youth a second chance is growing in size. The Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) will expand its Youth Action Committee (YAC) from nine to 11 members after pulling from a pool of applicants. It’s the first time since the organization was established in 2009 that MDEAT has accepted applications for the committee. The YAC applications, which were due Dec. 8, represent one of several changes to the agency spawning from recently updated bylaws.
Feds ban Terence Pinder from participating in U.S. contracts
The scrutiny of Opa-locka’s newly elected officials continues, this time from the U.S. government regarding returning commissioner Terence Pinder. On Nov. 5, one day after Pinder was elected an Opa-locka commissioner, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swiftly debarred him from participating in federal contracts. The government sanction comes after Pinder in February accepted a plea deal on four counts of conflict of interest. The commissioner is currently serving two year's probation.
A thunder of voices resounded as protesters, like a dark cloud, shadowed the sunny Coral Gables campus at the University of Miami (UM). Michael Brown. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Joe Ferrell. Sean Bell. Rekia Boyd. John Crawford. Ezell Ford. Amadou Diallo. These were the names students blared over a megaphone -- names of unarmed Black people who were killed by police officers.
The failed indictments of police officers who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown have unleashed ideas that the Jim Crow era of racism is still disguised in U.S. society. Recent images of hostility displayed toward mourning protesters in Ferguson, Mo. rehashed parallels to violent police tactics during the civil rights movement. Those images ripped the Band-Aid off a sore that festered openly after a white police officer killed unarmed Brown. And while many police publicly defend the actions of cops, Black people across the country are angered by what many view as aggressive mistreatment.
Final urban poetry night is Dec. 10
Whether it was strong, punchy verbs popping over a microphone or smooth, sultry adjectives sending out stories of passion into the room, the Bohemia Room was the place for poets and listeners alike. Miami has become a notable city for visual arts, which is never more apparent than the bustling celebration during Art Basel. But while one art scene flourishes, a smaller form of creative expression that nestled a home in downtown Miami is giving the city its final kiss goodbye.
Community servants to be honored at celebration gala
One of Florida’s oldest Black business institutions is turning 40 years old — a milestone marked by celebration even as it faces the future with apprehension. The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC) has been a resource to the Black community since it was founded in 1974 by five business people who were barred from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Residents believe city ignores voters
The process to remove one longtime public servant from office has turned to the courts as disagreements in Opa-locka continued last week. Attorney Benedict Kuehne filed a civil lawsuit on Nov. 24 on behalf of an Opa-locka organization called Citizens on a Mission for Change, requesting a judge to declare Timothy Holmes ineligible as a city commissioner. Kuehne attempted to file an injunction Nov. 6 to delay Holmes from being sworn in after Holmes garnered the majority of votes to win the seat. The city declined to remove Holmes.
On Tuesday, men and women who have fought and continue to fight for Black civil rights, politicians and educators shared their reaction to the grand jury declining to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Aug. 9.
Some opposition, confusion stopping discrimination legislation change
A familiar Black county leader is backing a marginalized community in the name of equality for all. District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson has sponsored a change to county law to include protections from discrimination for transgender people. The Miami-Dade County Commission Board will vote on an agenda item about the changes Dec. 2. If passed, the blanket of protection will cover transgenders in addition to others. Concern over differential treatment is huge for Blacks, who are covered in the current ordinance. The law has been amended to protect people from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, nationality, marital status, pregnancy and sexual orientation. It covers a lot of individuals, but some think the transgender community is left out.