“I want to make sure something good finally comes to Liberty City”
In a unanimous decision, the Miami-Dade County commissioners recently approved the transfer of four affordable-housing projects from Carlisle Development Group to another local builder, Atlantic/Pacific — despite Carlisle being under a federal criminal investigation.
15 leaders inducted into school’s Hall of Fame
There’s something special — almost magical — about being a student and subsequent alumnus of Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
It may depend on how voters see the puzzle
It may be hard to believe, but in six weeks [Tuesday, Nov. 5] the voters of the City of Miami will return to the polls to select a mayor and to chose commissioners for Districts 3 and 5. But for Blacks, all eyes are particularly fixed on District 5
Black college coaches fought to end southern racism
One of the most overlooked events in history that helped advance the goals of the civil rights movement was the Orange Blossom Classic football game — an annual championship often referred to as the “Black Rose Bowl.” Conceived in the 1930s by J.R.E. Lee, Jr., the son of Florida A&M University’s [FAMU] then-president, the game migrated between Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa until 1947 when it settled in Miami.
Says she hopes to share inspiring stories with viewers
It’s not easy being a talk show host. Just ask Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Tavis Smiley or Ricki Lake
Pens his autobiography to “set the record straight”
In July 2003, Charles U. Phillips, now-60, resigned his post as Miami-Dade County’s first Black fire chief — two months after County officials began investigating allegations that he had sexually harassed an employee.
Majority approve use of reserves in order to balance budget
Miami-Dade County [M-DC] commissioners participated in a marathon public hearing last week as hundreds of concerned citizens addressed issues including library, fire department and waste management services — all viewed by the public as essential to the well-being of County residents
Is rationale to help the unfortunate or eliminate an eyesore?
In August 2012, The Miami Times published a front page story that tackled the issue of hunger, poverty and homelessness in Miami. At that time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 46.2M U.S. citizens had slipped into poverty
Developers says the real winners will be the residents
It was standing room only at last week’s City of Miami commission meeting, with Overtown residents and supporters arriving by the busload to weigh-in on two multi-million dollar proposals.
Wilson says 22nd Avenue will see “needed revitalization”
After the outdated Miami-Dade County Health Department’s Juanita Mann Clinic and the Jessie Trice Community Health Center were both closed many years ago, the residents of Liberty City found themselves without a health clinic in their community. What ensued were funding delays, broken promises and years of scandal after scandal – but no health clinic. But finally, last Thursday, community leaders and residents, health advocates including those from the Florida Department of Health and elected officials celebrated at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new $12M Liberty City Health Clinic [2520 NW 75th Street]. Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson [FL-24] and Miami-Dade County [M-DC] Commission Jean Monestime led words of victory before they and other participants donned their construction hats and placed their shovels into the ground to mark the long-awaited move forward.
Readying for the new age in media, bringing news to the community
When an enterprising immigrant from the Bahamas, H.E. Sigismund Reeves, founded The Miami Times in 1923, he followed the examples of a handful of determined Black men, all intent on “pleading the cause of their people.” Now marking its 91st year in South Florida, the award-winning Miami Times, one of the oldest Black newspapers in the U.S, continues in that same tradition. Still family-owned, the paper is led today by Rachel J. Reeves, the granddaughter of its founder. In two of the last three years, the Times has been chosen as the top Black newspaper in the U.S. by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. During that same time span, Reeves and her staff have garnered a total of 15 awards for distinction in a variety of categories, including layout and design, general excellence, and best news, faith and family, entertainment and business sections.
Eighty volunteers go “over the edge” of the Marriott Marquis
As this writer can personally attest, rappelling 19 stories (200 meters) down the JW Marriott Marquis Miami [255 Biscayne Blvd. Way] is not for the faint-at-heart. But after an essential training course and with a bit of needed cajoling, some 80 volunteers demonstrated their commitment to improving the lives of Liberty City’s children and families last Friday and Saturday during the second annual “Over the Edge” fundraiser, sponsored by the Miami Children’s Initiative [MCI]. According to Cecilia Gutierrez-Abety, managing director, MCI, pledges for the event totaled $110K, with each participant raising a minimum of $1,500 in donations. “It is inspiring to see so many South Floridians ready to literally go ‘over the edge’ for Liberty City’s children – it’s truly a testament to the importance of our mission,” she said.
Will Overtown residents profit from $250M project?
The third-floor meeting room of the Camillus House [1607 NW 7th Avenue] was filled to capacity last Wednesday as Overtown residents, grassroots advocates, business owners, non-profit organization leaders and members of the clergy showed up in force to hear from the two top bidders for a $250M multi-use project. Both made their pitch to the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency [SEOPW/CRA], hoping to get the nod for a highly-prized project that will bring affordable housing, retail businesses, office space, public parking and much-needed jobs to the Overtown community. The Gateway Project and All Aboard Florida are the developers that want to build on Blocks 45 and 56 — prime property with great potential both for the company chosen to develop the property and the community itself. But after almost four hours that included presentations from the two top bidders, public comment from close to 50 people and statements from the CRA’s chairperson, City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, it still was unclear which one of the two firms had gained the upper hand.
All Aboard FL ups the ante for $250M Overtown project
All Aboard Florida may not have been the top choice by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency’s [SEOPW/CRA] three-person selection committee in the bid for an historic $250M neighborhood development project, but their team says they believe that when the dust has settled and the paperwork signed, they’ll be the developer with the contract. And they’ve been talking to as many stakeholders as possible, they add, including City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, in order to make sure they meet both the requirements established by the CRA and the needs of the community. “Between March 2012 and now, we’ve been listening to residents, business owners, the clergy, elected officials — whoever could help us shape this project so that it can be a transformative way to change the lives of the people of Overtown,” said Jose M. Gonzalez, vice president, corporate development, Florida East Coast Industries. “Our goal has always been to understand the key issues for the community and the CRA — and that was even before the additional parcels were on the table. For us, this started with the train project. Later we realized that with the additional parcels we could develop the train station in a truly integrated manner. For example, if we are allowed to acquire lots 45 and 56, we’ll immediately move the All Aboard headquarters and begin to develop all of the land.” All Aboard Florida is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries [FECI], the legacy company of Miami entrepreneur Henry Flagler. FECI has developed many noteworthy projects in Miami-Dade County, including Bacardi USA Headquarters, Deering Bay, Downtown Doral, Office Depot Global Headquarters and the Palms at Town and Country.
Paralyzed By Fear
September 11, 2001 started like any typical day for me. I was a beat reporter working for a weekly newspaper in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and had just begun finishing my stories for the front page. Since it was a Tuesday, and we went to press that day, it was hectic. The newsroom was buzzing as my fellow reporters and the editor made final preparations for the Wednesday edition. One of my colleagues said they had heard rumors of several passenger jets being hijacked in New York and so we did what any good reporter would do — we began to ask questions. With the radio and television both on, and with fingers flying furiously along our keyboards, we soon realized that this day would not end in typical fashion. It would be a day that we would remember for the rest of our lives. It would change the way we viewed our world. A communication came across the fax machine from Michael Powell, then-director of the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] warning us to “tread softly.” I remember wondering if there had been some sudden repeal of the First Amendment — you know, freedom of speech and the press? Looking to our publisher for direction, we continued to move very slowly, to listen, to watch and to pray. Meanwhile, things in Chicago, just a few miles away from our office, had digressed into utter bedlam as panic had overtaken the City. People were rushing out the hundreds of skyscrapers and running towards the trains. At that point we didn’t know if the U.S. was under attack or not, nor did we know if other cities like ours might be in danger.
Last Wednesday, the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency [SEOPW/CRA] invited the public to listen to the two top bidders for a $250M multi-use project that is anticipated to bring affordable housing, retail businesses,
Book gives chilling details of mother and daughter’s fight to survive
It started out like any New Year’s Day evening in 2006, when Lilly Ann Pauley, 56 and her daughter, LaToya Pauley, 30, both of Richmond, VA, were doing things like recuperating from a fun-filled party at a relative’s home the night before and throwing away rumpled paper from Christmas gifts.
Ex-DCF director says “District 5 needs a leader people can trust”
Jacquetta “Jacqui” Colyer, the former regional director for the Department of Children and Family [DCF] for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties who began her career in the area of social work many years ago, has
Seniors and children to be most severely-impacted by ‘food insecurity’ in state
An estimated 3.2 million men, women and children in Florida will see a reduction in their SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], formerly referred to as Food Stamps, on November 1st, equating to around $5M by the end of 2014 to once-eligible households in the State.
UM-trained vocalist, song writer builds on her devoted fan base
Shenita Hunt is making the rounds in South Florida, doing what all entertainers must do before scoring that “big break” — taking gigs at all kinds of more intimate venues and filling the place with her powerful, melodious voice. And from her most recent gig, she’s definitely making the best of it.
Agenda remains the same: jobs, voting rights and “justice for all”
Blacks, whites and Hispanics exchanged hugs, handshakes and high-fives along Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s Capitol last Saturday morning as tens of thousands of Americans retraced the steps of their ancestors, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.
Mayor, commission approve $20K fund to elicit community “tips”
Residents of Miami Gardens are in an uproar — angry and frustrated by a recent wave of shootings and deaths that have rocked the relatively young City to its core.
Check out Real Talk Real People and find out
Miami Central graduate Edwin Sheppard, 39, was working on raising funds for his class  reunion a few years ago when he came upon a novel idea: provide a forum where Blacks could assemble in a comfortable setting and invite them to discuss the hot topics of the day.
Unions, churches team up in honor of King’s March on Washington
To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, the A. Philip Randolph Institute [APRI], Miami-Dade Chapter, along with other local unions, elected officials and members of the faith community, held their own “pre-march on Miami” last Sunday morning. About 150 enthusiastic marchers lined up at the 93rd Street Community Baptist Church where the pastor, the Rev. Carl Johnson, reminded those in attendance of the importance of the original March and the significance of its 50th anniversary.
Ingram: “It’s more like an itinerant workforce”
In an educational environment where teachers are often compelled to prepare students for standardized tests rather than employing more creative ways to teach the basic skills, the task of a classroom instructor has become more stressful and difficult. Here in Florida, even things like promotions, raises and continued employment are often linked to how well students do on the FCAT and now on the Common Core exams.
Persistence pays off for Miami Gardens barber Michael Stephens
By his own account, Michael Stephens, 46, led an uneventful life during his formative years in Miami — first living in the Brownsville community and then moving with his parents and two siblings to Carol City where he completed high school.
Sextet reminiscent of classic groups like The Four Tops, The Temps, The Stylistics and The Spinners
Before the advent of computerized instruments, entertainers relied on a talented band to provide the beat, the harmonies and the essence of their sound. As for their voices, they had to be on the money — distinct, projectable and always in tune.
Local chef Nuno Grullon blends instincts with mom's tips
If the old adage, “you are what you eat,” has any truth to it, then people of color, particularly Blacks, may be guilty of eating their way into obesity, diabetes and other avoidable health problems simply because of their diets.
UTD president assembles panel for engaging Q&A session after the movie
Recently-elected United Teachers of Dade President Federick Ingram continues to show that he’s willing to think outside of the box in order to lead and inspire over 21,000 teachers and 8,000 educational support professionals
Summer camp shows Black youth can excel in the fine arts and business
Young adults from Overtown have heard the negative comments before — suggesting that they are doomed to failure, that the community in which they live will never recapture its glory days of the past
Critics blast District for excessive testing, lack of accountability and inadequate resources
“As the money rolls out, there should be more of our own people, not just those handpicked by the school superintendent, to make sure Black-owned businesses get their fair share. Just look at how things went during the last bond issue.
Edison High grad writes scripts that give the “straight raw deal”
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith in order to make one’s dreams come true. And that’s exactly what Miami native Denise Lee, 42, did after hearing stories continue to swirl in her head. Lee was working as a volunteer for the State of Florida, distributing condoms and talking to people in her community about the importance of having safe sex when she hit upon an idea for a play.
Three-day celebration to include kids’ expo, bazaar and concert
With workshops led by some of the top drummers and dancers from West Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S., a health symposium, a global bazaar and a children’s village, the 4th Annual African Diaspora Dance & Drum Festival of Florida will return to Miami this weekend, August 2 - 4, at the Little Haiti Cultural Center [NE 59th Terrace]. The culmination of the Festival, whose theme is “Bridging Cultural Gaps,” will be a concert extravaganza on Saturday evening. Other highlights will include the presentation of the 2013 Cultural Community Outreach Award to Essie “Big Mama” Reed — a fixture in South Florida who has dedicated her life to helping many of the “village’s less fortunate children.”
Time is running out before the Miami-Dade County commission and the county mayor must decide what budget they will approve for the new fiscal year. In the next few weeks, Mayor Carlos Gimenez will be traversing the County holding town hall meetings where he’ll give his dog and pony show and then allow for a few questions from the audience. But there’s a problem.
Fifty years later we're still marching for civil and voting rights
Florida may be a long ride from our nation’s Capitol, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred a committed group of mostly faith-based congregations located in the State that are now making plans to join colleagues from 60 chapters and 150 cities scattered across the U.S. on their way to the 2013 March on Washington.
Will Blacks bear the brunt of layoffs?
It’s hard to tell exactly what version of the 2013-2014 budget Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will submit to the county commission when a final vote is held next month. Several weeks ago, the Mayor indicated that he would raise taxes in order to balance the budget and maintain services for the county. But when citizens and the commission railed against an increase in the property-tax rate, Gimenez backed down and recommended a flat tax rate.
Will the nation boycott Florida in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict?
Tourism is Florida's most lucrative form of generating income. Just consider two recent conventions that brought millions of dollars to the State: the National Association of Black Journalist [NABJ] and the National Bar Association [NBA].
Thousands flood downtown Miami — Trayvon’s dad says “our kids matter too”
It’s been more than a week since a Florida court ruled in favor of the defense and made George Zimmerman a free man. He faced a lengthy jail sentence had he been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But while the verdict has
Miami native Dr. Robert Malone, Jr., 45, knows something about running a political campaign, having run and lost in a bid for District 109 state representative and then falling short in a nine-man race for City of Miami commissioner. Now he hopes that the third time will be the charm as he kicked off his campaign earlier this week for another run at the city commission.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT
It’s been more than a week since a Florida court ruled in favor of the defense and made George Zimmerman a free man. He faced a lengthy jail sentence had he been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Criminalization of Black and Latino youth on the rise in America
Why are Black men and Black youth sentenced more often and to longer stays in prison that those of other races? Does America’s criminal justice system deal more harshly with Blacks and are the cards stacked against Black and Latino youth from the very beginning?
Libraries, fire stations in poor neighborhoods among hardest hit
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has taken an about-face when it comes to first raising taxes and then leaving them as they are. But in order to make sure the budget is balanced, and without raising the property-tax rate, the County will have to make cuts in services.
Daughter of M.L. King, Jr. says we must arm today’s youth for the future
The youngest daughter of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rev. Bernice King, issued a challenge to the City of Miami during her address at a packed golden anniversary luncheon hosted by the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board [CRB] last week.