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D. Kevin McNeir

Stories by D. Kevin

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Black boys learn the real message of Mandela

Local philanthropists, encourage local youth to fulfill their dreams

What makes for a legend? That is the question that is addressed in the recently-released biopic, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” While the filmmakers wanted to show the more personal side of Nelson Mandela, they also faced the arduous task of presenting a hero while also trying to

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Stories of positive Black men in the ‘hood’

A recent study just released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that contrary to longstanding stereotypes about Black fatherhood, those who live with their children are just as involved as other dads who live with their kids – or more so. Seventy percent said they bathed, diapered or dressed their kids every day as compared to 60 percent of white fathers and 45 percent of Latino dads. Among Black

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Haitians challenge injustice in Dominican Republic

Black Miami stands firm in criticism of efforts to “purge” shores of Haiti’s neighboring country

Last September, the high court of the Dominican Republic [DR] ruled that thousands of men, women and children of Haitian descent would retroactively lose their citizenship — even if they were born in the Dominican Republic, allegedly because they were “undocumented.” But after public outcry from Haitians in the Diaspora, including here in Miami, and from Blacks across the country, the U.S. State Department recently commented on a plan by the DR to restore legal status to those affected by the controversial citizenship ruling. The State Department said it still has “deep concerns” about the impact the decision will have.

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Suffering from the holiday blues?

New Horizons CEO: ‘Mental illness hits Blacks at alarming rate

We’re supposed to be happy and jolly during the five-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. We’re supposed to look forward to the holidays and anticipate a time of happiness and fellowship. But experts say that many people find their anticipation and excitement turning into feelings of depression, commonly called the holiday blues. Symptoms vary: headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems and unnecessary conflict with family members and friends.

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Famed muralist premiers film about the power of art

Kyle Holbrook brings team from MLK Mural to Little Haiti

“I want to treat ‘Art of Life’ like an organic piece of public art — we capture everyday normal life and incorporate it into our film,” says Kyle Holbrook, who recently made his debut as a film director after establishing himself as one of the country’s most talented mural artists.

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Fort Lauderdale’s “top dawg” in the world of spoken word

Former NFL star now makes the stage his playing field

Jerris Evans, a proud Ft. Lauderdale native, was recently reminded by his third grade teacher, Mrs. Maltimore at Nova Middle, that he has always had a penchant for reciting poetry and being the center of attraction. Since those formative years, he’s honed his skills in efforts to become a formidable force in the spoken word entertainment business. And from most accounts, Evans, known on stage as “QuickThePoet,” is doing very well.

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Young Black Men YBE Magazine finds its niche

Founder marks first full year of publication

A new magazine that brings to light the experiences of America’s young Black men has reached a milestone with its fourth quarterly issue in December — marking its first year of publication. Based out of Atlanta, YBE Magazine was started 10 years ago by Eric Foster, who serves as the chief editor of the publication.

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Miami Times prepares for million dollar makeover

Will relocate to temporary space at Brownsville Center

The home of the award-winning and oldest Black newspaper in the South, The Miami Times, is about to change — but just for an approximate four months. Beginning Monday, Dec. 30, the Times will relocate to the Brownsville Center, 2537 NW 54th Street, so that a million dollar renovation of the current office on 900 NW 54th Street can begin.

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Multicultural coalition targets education, economic justice

Miami citizens join 60 other cities in National Day of Action

A newly-formed group of parents, teachers, students and community members have teamed up to form the Dade Coalition for Education and Economic Justice [DCEEJ] with the goal of demonstrating the connection between education and economic opportunity. In their first press conference held earlier this month, they announced their platform as similar groups in 60 other U.S. cities jointly participated in the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.

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Miami pays tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela

Celebration includes dance, songs and the words of Madiba

Close to 300 people attended a moving but joyous celebration last Thursday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center where they recalled the numerous contributions of Madiba — the name affectionately used when referring to the South African civil rights activist Nelson Mandela.

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Black Male Revisited to make its world premier in South FL

Nigerian uses multi-media to reconsider impressions of the black male body

When conversation moves to the Black male body, the dialogue rarely evokes positive images worthy of celebration. Instead, what we more often find throughout society, particularly in the U.S., are views that criminalize, demonize and sexualize the Black male body. It is this distorted reality that moved Detroit-born, Nigerian-American Jaamil Olawale Kosoko to develop his part installation, part live performance spectacle, Black Male Revisited — a one-man show that is coming to South Florida.

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Blacks represent with pride under The Fusion MIA banner

Black artists from across the Diaspora are finally getting their just due as part of the now internationally acclaimed event known as Art Basel. And as Miami continues to make its name in the global art world, one of the reasons these artists are getting noticed is due to the efforts of Fusion MIA — a local group whose mission is to bring greater awareness, attention and business opportunities to the African and Caribbean Diaspora’s modern and contemporary

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Oliver Gilbert talks troubles facing his city

Goals include increased safety and better police-citizen relations

Since mid-summer, Miami Gardens has had more than its share of violence, including an 11-day period during which time 10 people were shot. Readers may recall our lead story in October which asked if, based on recent data, it was appropriate to refer to the mostly-Black City as “South Florida’s murder capital?” Now with a recent lawsuit filed by a local store owner along with several of his customers and employees who allege harassment and racial profiling by Miami Gardens police, both the City and its recently-elected mayor, Oliver Gilbert, find themselves with a severely damaged image.

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“Wiz Winter Wonderland” to usher in the holiday spirit

Quietly becoming one of the most talked-about singing ensembles in South Florida, the Girls’ Choir of Miami is preparing for their 2nd annual holiday extravaganza featuring songs from “The Wiz” along with other seasonal

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Hardemon talks people, politics and plans for Dist. 5

Youngest commissioner since the switch to single-member districts

Liberty City-born Keon Hardemon, 30, has 10 days until he officially settles into his new City Hall office as the city commissioner for District 5. But he says he’s already had meetings with Miami’s top brass including the city manager, attorney and mayor. And he’s learned a lot since his first failed attempt for public official two years ago when he

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Teen singer makes the world his stage

Adore brings magic of Christmas to Liberty City stage

Adore, 19, a Liberty City native, has been singing since he was a child in the choir at Miami’s St. James AME Church. And like many youth, he has long had dreams of becoming a professional singer and traveling the world. And on Saturday, Dec. 21, he’ll be featured in “A New Christmas Eve” at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center [6161 NW

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Gun violence out of control

Four killed during holiday gunfire

Last weekend, many families were renewing old acquaintances, eating turkey and dressing — while others began their Christmas shopping at area malls. But Thanksgiving also brought tragedy and sadness for some here in Miami as shots rang out in separate incidents leaving police in the search for one or more gunmen that left two young women in Liberty City dead and two others injured.

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Empower “U” gets $700K grant to expand health care in Liberty City

But HIV/AIDS and health disparities among Blacks continue to be at top of list

For over a decade, Empower “U,” Inc. a not-for-profit, minority peer-based AIDS service organization, founded by people living with HIV/AIDS, has been one of just a handful of beacons of hope in Liberty City, lighting the way for those who face prejudice, stigma and even outright scorn simply because they are HIV-positive.

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Prodigy: Rap legend now works to empower today’s youth

New projects include novellas on dangers of street life

Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, 49, is one half of the legendary rap duo Mobb Deep — Havoc being his equally-talented partner behind the mic. But one of the things you realize when sitting down with Prodigy is that he is not the stereotypical rap star. His grandmother, Bernice Johnson, who he says taught him about the world of business and a

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Police bank on tips

Law enforcement hope rewards will bring answers in Liberty City shootings

Miami-Dade police are searching for two Black males who entered a family-owned business, Hong Kong Nails [14832 NW 7th Avenue], last Friday evening, robbed customers and workers and then fled in a black Dodge Ram pick-up — firing off bullets in their departure. Two bullets found victims: a father

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John Lewis: A life dedicated to the tenets of nonviolence

Says the scars of racism are still deeply imbedded in U.S.

Congressman John Lewis, 73, was recently in Miami, speaking to students at Booker T. Washington Senior High School who were joined by young men from the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence. His remarks centered on his recently-published graphic novel trilogy, specifically Book One entitled “March.” The novel is a first-hand account of Lewis’

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Hardemon wallops Dunn to win District 5 commissioner seat

Friends and supporters of Keon Hardemon celebrated well into the night last Tuesday after hearing that he had defeated his opponent, Rev. Richard Dunn, by a landslide in the runoff race for City of Miami County Commissioner.

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Marissa Alexander hopes for bond after being imprisoned over two years

Attorneys for Marissa Alexander, 33, the Florida mother of three who has spent over 1,000 days in jail and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot over the head of her allegedly abusive husband, have won a new trial for their client. Now they and Alexander are hopeful that a Jacksonville judge will grant her bond.

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Real or make believe — The Illuminati, angels and demons

Da Vinci Code’s author discusses the paradox between science and religion

The Miami Book Fair International kicked off its 30th anniversary last weekend with bestselling author Dan Brown as its keynote speaker. Brown, 49, who doesn’t make a lot of public speaking appearances, was clearly in his element last Sunday, talking about how he became a writer and his fascination with science and religion

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Transparency, oversight needed at JHS

Voters have approved $830M bond — new committee will review how dollars are spent

Voters recently approved an $830M bond request that will raise their property taxes and will allow Jackson Health System to proceed with a list of long-term needs that include upgrades and new equipment for Miami-Dade County’s public hospital network. Plans laid out by hospital officials call for $477M in construction projects, including a new

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Murdered GA teen’s family seek justice and answers

Crump: “Judge’s ruling was a slap in the face”

In a report recently obtained by CNN, Bill Watson, the County coroner investigating the case of Kendrick Johnson, a 17-year-old Georgia athlete found dead on January 11, 2013 inside a rolled-up gym mat, said he disagrees with how the initial investigation was handled. Officials in Georgia’s Lowndes County say Johnson fell into the mat and suffocated while attempting to retrieve a sneaker.

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Miami Book Fair International

Topics include Haitian art, hip-hop culture and a personal memoir

This year the Miami Book Fair International marks its 30th year and the buzz is already on about some of the talented authors and spectacular activities that will be part of the eight-day event that begins on Sun., Nov. 17th on the campus of Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2nd Avenue. Nationally-known authors include:

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Sylvia’s stirs up sweet memories on Veteran’s Day

ALF welcomes vets, seniors and those looking for a good meal

Celebrating Veteran’s Day was the theme last Monday at Sylvia’s Retirement Home in Liberty City [1823 NW 94th Street], where about 50 vets, retirees and seniors who have made this community their home for most of their lives listened to their favorite tunes from “back in the day,” while munching on barbecue ribs and chicken, salads, green beans, peas and rice and of course, “Sylvia’s special souse.”

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Gun law repeal efforts fail — at least for now

Bipartisan Senate-based bill could be a breakthrough in ending stand your ground

Close to 300 people were on hand at a recent House Criminal Justice Subcommittee hearing in Tallahassee — a five-hour, often emotional discussion that focused on efforts to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law.

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Runoff election scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19th

Last Tuesday, 6, 525 votes were cast — that’s 16 percent — in the heated race for City of Miami commissioner. But it will be another week before we’ll know who will take the District 5 seat vacated by outgoing Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

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Perry Thurston to run for state attorney general

Four-term state rep would be first Black elected in history

Pompano Beach native and four-term State Representative Perry Thurston, Jr., 52, has added more political intrigue to the upcoming 2014 general election after recently announcing that he is a candidate for state attorney general. A victory would make Thurston the first Black in Florida’s history to hold the position.

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Black voters stay home

Some said they were unfamiliar with both the candidates and the issues

In 2012 and 2008, Black voter turnout exceeded the white turnout rate — something that had never occurred in U.S. political history. Using census data and exit polling, the Associated Press determined that in 2008, white turnout was 66.1 percent and 65.2 percent for Blacks.

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Smooth, sultry singer talks music, family and life off stage

Super-talented Brian McKnight returns to South Florida

Anyone who has a passion for songs that focus on romance, heartbreaks and makeups — or what Shakespeare referred to as “unrequited love” — is no stranger to the musical genius of Brian McKnight — the younger brother of Claude McKnight III who formed the Grammy-winning a cappella group Take 6 in the early 90s.

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Hardemon to face Dunn in District 5 runoff

Liberty City attorney beats out former frontrunner by 2-to-1 marginIt was an easy run for Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, City of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez and the J

It was an easy run for Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, City of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez and the Jackson Health System $830M bond issue — all of whom cruised to resounding victories in last Tuesday’s election. The race for Homestead mayor went down to the wire before Jeffrey Porter was able to pull away

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New city manager hired; police chief to retire

Cameron Benson now responsible for City’s daily operations

A former Hollywood city manager who stepped down after facing heated criticism of his job in overseeing the City’s ballooning budget deficit of $10.3M, has been hired to take over as city manager for Miami Gardens.

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Crime rate drops but murder rate now five-times the U.S. average

Miami Gardens police employ citizen patrol as murders surge

Last Monday evening, a barrage of bullets was unleashed from a shopping center alley in Miami Gardens. And once again, an innocent 13-year-old girl, sitting on the back patio of her home in the 20400 block of Northwest Second Court, was shot.

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“12 Years a Slave”

a movie that viewers will never forget

If there’s one film you must see this fall, the hand’s down choice has to be “12 Years a Slave,” which opens on Nov. 1st at the Coral Gables Art Cinema for a one-week run. When the movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year,

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Haitian Cultural Center, Allapattah kids program, vie for Knight grants

Community can vote for People’s Choice Award through Nov. 15th

Five local small arts organizations are each vying for $20K as the eventual winner of the Knights Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award — unrestricted funds they’ll be able to use for a project of their choice.

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Colyer surprises voters in final District 5 forum

Reveals an unseen passion in her quest for the commission

On Tuesday evening, the Hadley Park Homeowners Association sponsored a forum — or debate depending on whom you ask — with the four candidates vying for the City of Miami District 5 commission seat. This time next week, Michelle Spence-Jones will have to give up her place on the dais as either Keon Hardemon, Dr. Robert Malone, Jr., Rev. Richard Dunn II or Jacqui Colyer replaces her — assuming they can come up with 50 percent plus one of the total votes cast. If not the top two vote-getters will go to a run-off election. Colyer presented a very different face and presentation at Tuesday night’s debate — something that her supporters say they have been expecting for sometime. She was on point in terms of her responses and did not allow her three male candidates to overshadow her. In fact, she was actually aggressive and concise. From this writer’s perspective, Colyer emerged victorious.

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Norland High alums hold Carvalho’s feet to the fire

Superintendent says promises associated with bond will be kept

It was approximately one year ago that the voters of Miami-Dade County approved a $1.2B bond intended to upgrade deteriorating schools — some which hadn’t seen improvements since they were built over 50 years ago. The other revenue from the bond was to be used to bring the County’s schools up-to-date with the latest technology. Over 280 schools were listed as renovations candidates based on the age and condition of their buildings.

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Urban youth seeing dreams of college come true

Breakthrough Miami targets high-achieving minorities using innovative approach

When Ariel Edwards, 31, was a student at Miami Central, she knew that the odds were stacked against her. But the mostly-A student says she was determined to attend college. Today, after earning her B.A. in English Literature

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Thousands swarm Caleb Center seeking food

Congresswoman Wilson’s town hall addresses cuts in SNAP and concerns over hunger

Liberty City residents filled a Joseph Caleb Center meeting room totaling well over 1,000 men, women and children last Saturday in order to address their concerns about how imminent Nov. 1st cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]

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UTD gets new deal worth $70 million

Once ratified, will be largest increase in years

Last Monday, Miami-Dade County Public Schools [M-DCPS] and the United Teachers of Dade [UTD] reached a tentative agreement on contract negotiations for over 21,000 teachers and 4,600 support and clerical personnel.

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America's Got Talent hosts auditions in Miami

Host Nick Cannon says he’s excited about season nine

Do you think you have what it takes to win $1 million and to be named the most talented act in America? Well join the crowd as thousands of eager contestants from across South Florida converge at the Miami Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27 for “America’s Got Talent” season nine auditions. After Miami

Regalado campaigning hard for final term as mayor

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, 66, is considered the odds-on favorite in next month’s mayoral election — particularly since the sudden and surprising withdrawal of City Commissioner Francis Suarez from the race.

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Candidates still raising funds to win the big race

Will victory go to the one with the largest war chest?

The District 5 race for City of Miami Commissioner continues to have its ebbs and flows, with one of the final debates of the campaign season scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 17 at the Hadley Park Community Center [1350 NW 50th Street] beginning at 6 p.m.

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The Jackson bond referendum -— why it matters for Blacks

JHS board chairman says “we must modernize our facilities”

On Tuesday, Nov. 5th, registered voters of Miami-Dade County will have an important decision to make — whether they support a request from Jackson Health System [JHS] for the issuance of General Obligation Bonds not exceeding $830M.

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Heads clash on proposed $2.5M community fund

Are leaders putting the “horse before the cart?”

When the next full Board of Miami-Dade County Commission meeting convenes (Tuesday, Oct. 22), one of the most anticipated agenda items will be a $250M multi-use development project, proposed by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency [CRA] and approved last September by the City of Miami commission.

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AAPACT takes on the work of the iconic August Wilson

“Fences” pushes local Black theater group to new heights

August Wilson, the late, prolific Black playwright who snagged not one — but two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama — was a writer dedicated to perfecting his craft for the theater. As an interracial child of a family of six children raised mostly by his Black

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“Jazzy Classics”-Miami vocalist Rochelle Lightfoot can serenade, scat and praise with ease

Rochelle Lightfoot says she’s been singing since she could barely walk — shocking her mother by belting out an Aretha Franklin classic, “Respect,” at the tender age of 18 months, in perfect pitch. Like many gifted singers before her, she began to sing in church, also picking up a few instruments including the viola and flute. As she entered her 20s, Lightfoot, 41, began to pursue her passion for music as a professional vocalist. But, as she says, she also had to worry about “paying the bills.” Ironically, her career got a big boost when she returned from lunch three years ago and was told that her position had been terminated. That’s when she knew it was time to go after her dream. She has proven that she can tackle several musical genres: jazz, gospel, praise and worship and R&B — even a bit of country when the mood is right. “When I first began singing professionally, I was still trying to find myself,” she said. “I also had to contend with recovering from the ‘death’ of a divorce, so my message was different. By the time I found myself unemployed, I had experienced and witnessed some things. I had been writing music too and the words came from a place of pure emotion — I wanted to help others move forward in their lives like I had.”

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