In March 2016, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the Youth and Community Safety Initiative. The unveiling came shortly after two high-profile deaths of children under 10 years old: Amiere Castro and King Carter. The program’s goal, the mayor said at the time, is to keep children safe. He called it innovate touting that the program was not only community-based, but also home based. The Youth and Community Safety Initiative, under the direction of the Miami-Dade Police Department, was to provide 25 police officers who would mentor at-risk juveniles, identified in targeted zip codes. Families would get connected to job placement and drug treatment programs.
Miami Gardens’ residents will elect a mayor and heads of three council seats Aug. 30. They will also vote to accept or reject an amendment to the charter.
St. Mary First Baptist Church of Coconut Grove invites the community to Youth Ministry Annual Back to School Jam on August 20, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 305-775-5750 or 305-443-8166. Norland United Methodist Preschool will provide free meals and snacks for students enrolled during the school year. Call 305-510-6173.
Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. in partnership with the Florida Summer Food Program, will be offering free meals for children from infancy to 18 during the summer. Call 305-693-1301. Norland United Methodist Preschool, will provide free meals and snacks for students enrolled during the school year. Call 305-510-6173. Golden Bells cordially invite you to their 38th singing anniversary August 20, 7 p.m. at New Beginning Church in Miami Gardens: August 21, 3 p.m. at New Covenant Church in Ft. Lauderdale. Call 786-251-2878.
Last week underscored another bloody milestone in American history. At the center of the dispute this time, and all too, often: law enforcement. Social media churned with conflicted messages as to whether Black people should continue on a nonviolent path as Black people become human targets for some police officers or to rise up with militancy and aggression. At least one deranged person may have misunderstood those messages and performed executions on Dallas police officers. The cause for the alleged actions of Micah Johnson could have stemmed from the spate of police violence against Black people, mostly Black men by white police officers.
The world woke up Sunday morning to find out that an Orlando gay nightclub filled with people had been sprayed with bullets from an automatic rifle. First, the death toll was 20. By midday Sunday, that number leaped to 50 people, with as many injured, many barely clinging to life. The unspeakable crime has been labeled the worst mass shooting in American history. Ongoing investigations have revealed that the gunman visited the club many times; had contacted gay men through a gay app; had been investigated by the FBI twice
Last week, Miami Gardens made a giant leap toward having control related to land use and permitting at the new Dolphins Stadium. It is about time. It should have happened sooner so that Miami Gardens could have had some say in the ongoing $450 million renovation to the stadium. However, in future, Miami Gardens will issue zoning permits with the county able to hear appeals from developers if needed.
On Thursday, May 26, Miami City Commissioners designated the boundaries of Little Haiti. For the Haitians, it was the culmination of 16 years of waiting to have a slice of Miami. For the historic preservationists and descendants of Miami’s pioneers, it was a loss and a slap in the face. Both groups had valid arguments. The Haitians wanted to create an enclave that they could call home, much like the Cubans did in Little Havana. And they did. The new immigrants say they built up a blighted area and made it livable. Miami natives say, no such thing.
Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. in partnership with the Florida Summer Food Program, will be offering free meals for children from infancy to 18 during the summer. Call 305- 693-1301. St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church in Coconut Grove will host an Alcohol Literacy Challenge Training Workshop on June 20 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 305-790-58936. Persons interested in traveling to Tampa to attend the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education (NBCC) June 20-24 contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-858-4347. Ebenezer United Methodist Church will host a women’s empowerment conference themed ~ “Women Empowered through Prayer for this Generation,” on June 24 – 26. Call 786-295-8764 or 305-635-6413. Norland United Methodist Preschool will provide free meals and snacks for students enrolled during the school year. Call 305-510-6173.
Opa-locka Commissioner Terence Pinder died last week after his city-owned SUV crashed into a tree at Opa-locka Airport. The news of the early morning crash rippled through the city that is already hurting from news of FBI investigations into corruption and an unresolvable financial crisis by the city. Pinder’s untimely death has added a layer of chaos to an already turbulent situation. Indeed it is tragic since with him are explanations to malfeasance that will never be told. However, city leaders must not slow down in clearing the financial hurdles over which they need to climb.
One thing is clear: Black people love coming to South Florida. Every year, for the last 10 years, thousands of Black young visitors come from all over to converge and party on Miami Beach. The crowds have dwindled and surged -- depending on who you ask -- but still it is clear that Black people want to be in Miami during Memorial Day weekend. Another event that draws Black people – mostly of Caribbean descent – is the Best of the Best concert. It too has a 10-year history in Miami. Finally in 2016, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau sanctioned and supported the event. It was about time.
Last week a Republican who is seeking U.S Sen. Marco Rubio’s post called President Obama an “animal” during a speech. Republicans and Democrats have called on Carlos Beruff to apologize for calling the Commander in Chief such a derogatory term. He refuses. He defends his vitriolic diatribe by saying it was taken out of context. It is hard to say how his comments, said on tape, could be taken out of context. He discounts the president’s military policies, saying that they have hurt the nation. The White House has not commented on Beruff’s inexcusably bad choice of words.
On May 11, Miami Beach made a bold move. Its commission voted to raise the minimum wage to $10.31 per hour, starting July 2017. A rate increase of $1 per year would raise the rate to $13.31 by 2020. The final vote is expected to be June 8.
Opa-locka officials knew late last year that they needed a recovery plan in order to request help from Gov. Rick Scott. So it’s no surprise, that residents are angry by the memo from Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel demanding that City Manager David Chiverton submit the necessary paperwork.
The Miami-Dade National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) holds a Miami Greek Picnic on Saturday, April 30 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Historic Virginia Key Beach. Visit MiamiGreekPicnic.EventBrite.com. Miami Northwester Class of 1966 will have their 50th reunion dance on Saturday, May 7 from 8 to 1 at Miami Firefighters Benevolent Hall. Call 305-338539. Lincoln Memorial Cemetery and Evergreen Cemetery will be open for Mother’s Day. Call 786-520-0552 or 305-758-2292.
New Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said it takes a village to raise children, as he discussed a new initiative in which police will mentor youth, even in the youth homes. Miami-Dade County has rolled out a program in which 25 at-risk youth will be matched with 25 police officers who will provide mentoring in an attempt to steer them away from a life of crime and further depth into the criminal justice system. On the surface it may seem intrusive to some, especially those who have had negative experiences with police. Besides, there is plenty of room for abuse of power if the wrong officer is paired with a maladjusted youth. The hope is that the officers are well-trained in dealing with the wiles of youth. In a perfect world, every youth in the program will be saved from a life of criminal behavior. But if a few of them find a path to job training and furthering educational opportunities it will be successful.
The saying goes: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Cuba is an enemy that is already close, so close that just last week a group of Cubans were found floating 130 miles from the Florida coastline. In the scenario with Cuba and the United States, it is probably best not to have an enemy this close, about 90 miles from Miami. It makes us too vulnerable if Cuba were to harbor an enemy, such as it happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The Cold War has long been over but U.S. relations with Russia still remains unstable at best. History could repeat itself.
As federal agents swooped in with dozens of boxes to collect evidence in Opa-locka March 10, some residents heckled asking that their leaders be also taken away. Signs of the times. What the residents of Opa-locka deserve and need is a government who can manage the day-to-day operations, provide services and pay the city’s bills. Right now Opa-locka has proven once again it cannot handle the tasks at hand. Miami-Dade County, which is owed millions of dollars by Opa-locka, rightfully recommended that Tallahassee step in. But with the FBI barking at the gates, it is unclear what will become of the current leadership of Opa-locka.
AFLAME Ministry School classes began on Jan 30th at 10 a.m. Call 954 919-9757. True Faith invites the community to noonday Bible study every Monday. Call 786-262-6841. St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church invites you to the 26th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration services for Rev. Zachary Royal at 7:30 p.m. on March 17th , 20th, 23rd and 30th. Call 305-775-5750.
It’s seems the lack of governmental experience on the North Miami City Council has come home to roost. In its second attempt to fill a high profile position – this time the city manager post– it was clear some council members did not get their first choice. We have reported about the fledgling leadership in North Miami and no time was it more evident than with the hiring of Valria Screen, when an offer for the city attorney job was extended and then rescinded. In addition to the city manager’s job, North Miami still needs to fill the city attorney’s job and now has to fill the executive director post at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), after its leader was dismissed for sexual harassment and other allegations.
On Feb. 18, a selection committee gave the most votes to redevelop Liberty Square to Related Urban. It was a reversal of a previous vote that had put Atlantic Pacific Communities in the lead. The new vote results have been forwarded to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. He in turn will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners, who can accept or reject his choice for developer. The mayor has said his recommendation could come as early as the end of February. That has not happened. And the limbo continues again for the residents of Liberty Square and the developers.
South Carolina Black voters resoundingly showed support for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when she showed up in the state with Black mothers whose children died tragically. After Bernie Sanders won handedly in New Hampshire he went to Harlem to meet with Reverend Al Sharpton in hopes to align himself with Black voters. The importance of the Black vote is not lost on the Democratic candidates and they are pulling out all the stops to get it. The importance of your vote shouldn’t be lost on you. You are an important part of the political fabric of the nation and your vote matters.
Instead of being a salve for community leaders and Liberty Square residents who have been anxious of the future of the housing project, the announcement that the mayor wanted the best and final offers from the two top-ranked firms created yet another wound. In the move, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has alienated almost all if not all the stakeholders. But the biggest slap in the face goes to Sara Smith, president of the Liberty Square Resident Council. Smith served on a nine-member selection committee, tasked with scoring the developers’ proposals to rehab Liberty Square and recommending a company for the job. Smith over-scored on a developer, skewing results and causing the process to get legal review. It is not clear if the legal review recommended that the mayor whittle down the developers to those with the top two scores. No matter. By asking the top two vote-getters to resubmit their best and final offers, the
The handling by all levels of government of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been nothing short of abominable. The residents of the mostly poor, Black suburb received little to no attention for more than a year and a half as they tried to tell city leaders and the nation that their water was tainted and their children were getting sick. Flint sunk into poverty when the automotive industry that supported its residents collapsed, leaving a trail of unemployment and neglect. So, that another poverty stricken town calls on government to hear the troubles that plague it, and getting no response was par for the course.
The BTW Alumni Association will meet Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. in the BTW cafeteria. Call 305-213--0188. Booker T. Washington Class of 1956 will meet Friday, Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. at Michael’s Restaurant. Call 786-351-6558. The Hadley Park Homeowners and Tenants Association will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. at Carrie P. Meek Senior Center. Call 305-758-5966. The African American Cultural Arts Center presents “Simply Simone-The Music of Nina Simone” Wednesday February 17 thru March 13. Call 305-638-6771 or visit www.ahcacmiami.org.
With two weeks left before the first votes in Iowa, it is time for Democrats to try and steal the spotlight from the Republicans – if that is even possible. The Democratic candidates for the highest office in the nation have been overshadowed by noise and poorly scheduled debates. In a large field, it is understandable why the Republicans are unsure who they want as a nominee. But for the Democrats with a field of only three candidates, it is unsettling that it is unclear who Democratic voters want to be the nominee. Young white people are listening to and taking affinity with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a plain spoken, likable man. Sanders wants to take on establishment politics and Wall Street. It is unclear how that will benefit Black people. Hillary Clinton, while she has tried to warm up her personality and engage voters, still has work to do. If you followed mainstream media, you would think she is unelectable. But the truth is, she is electable, experienced in several areas such as foreign and domestic policies, and she is the other half of a former U.S. president.
The Martin Luther King holiday generally is a time for reflection, reverence and revelry for the life of this nation’s greatest civil rights leader. How ironic it is that this year’s local holiday celebrations for a Black man who stood for peace took on a much more somber tone because of the deadly gun violence that is stealing away our Black children? But this is where we are. The deaths of Black teenagers and children – by some estimates there have been 30 to die in the last year – has affected much of Black Miami. All of our neighborhoods are impacted. The images of grieving mothers, siblings and other relatives that come with each deadly shooting should give everyone cause for concern. But the comment by Umi Selah of the Dream Defenders at the Carol City High Youth Symposium that Miami is attempting to rival Chicago for deadly gun violence shows that people outside South Florida are taking notice.
How commendable it is that Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie is committed to offering 15 percent of the district’s contracts from its voter-approved $800 million general obligation bond to Black businesses. After receiving data from a five-year disparity study, Runcie and his staff decided to implement the recommended solution. This sounds familiar. Miami-Dade County Public Schools also conducted a disparity study after it got approval for its $1.2 billion bond in 2012. The problem for Miami-Dade schools is that the disparity study was flawed and it took dogged challenges to the study by community leaders to affect change. And while Miami-Dade did agree to changes to more level the contracting playing field, a definitive percentage of how many contracts should go to Black, minority and women-owned business was not decided on. To be fair, Miami-Dade implemented new policies that makes it easier for Black businesses to do business with the system.
The turnaround of the Belafonte TACOLCY Center is notable and remarkable. The institution that has served Liberty City since 1966 was in serious trouble in 2014 and still isn’t out of the woods. It is still carrying enormous debt -- $180,000, though it has gone down from a high of $200,000. The new CEO Horace Roberts has a daunting task and will need the entire community’s support to take the TACOLCY Center out of the financial woods. It is unclear who is responsible for growing the debt so high at Tacolcy. Clearly there was mismanagement of funds and a lack of oversight. An investigation by the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General did not reveal wide-scale wrongdoing.
A 7-year-old boy lost his life Dec. 27. He was a boy with a bright future, played for the Palmetto Bay Broncos and made his family happy. His mother said she sent him to visit his cousin in Richmond Heights because it was safer than her hometown of Goulds. Or was it? It is even more disturbing that Amiere’s parents didn’t feel safe in their part of town. That Sunday evening, a group of young men drove by the house. A 19-year-old fired shots from a high-powered rifle; a bullet hit Amiere Castro in the head, killing him. Police say the shooting was retaliation because of a dispute earlier in the day. Adults have the responsibility to keep their homes safe. If not children like Amiere will get caught in the crosshairs. In this state of Stand Your Ground and the potential for loosened gun laws, it is ever so important to limit confrontation and deescalate arguments.
The 2015 Haiti elections started as if democracy would take center stage. There were 54 candidates vying for president alone. And other offices of the government were set for elections as well. International agencies flooded the island to keep a watchful eye on the elections process. The elections took place in October and Jovenel Moïse took top votes, followed by Jude Célestin. A run-off was scheduled for Dec. 27. It did not happen. Instead, violence and protests erupted in Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital. The Haitian people have been questioning whether the October elections results were tainted because Moïse is outgoing President Michel Martelly’s preferred candidate. Right now the country barely has leadership. Parliament was disbanded in January when terms for the members ended. Since then, Martelly has been ruling by decree. He is set to leave office Feb. 7.
Compiled by The Miami Times staff
David Beckham’s search for a site for a Major League Soccer stadium may be over. He is assembling parcels of land in Overtown on which to build a venue that could host up to 30,000 people. He joins a long list of developers with their sights on Overtown. With prime locations in the county almost completely built out, the inner-city historic neighborhood, which is directly adjacent to downtown Miami with easy access to the Interstate, is very attractive. Overtown has been a political football, kicked around for far too long. Ever since I-95 sliced the community to bare bones there have been promises of restoration and recovery. The latest round of builders have all promised to be good citizens, providing jobs, building affordable housing. All Aboard Florida even moved its headquarters to Overtown. All this could be a perfect storm of growth and economic stimulation if, once and for all, the developers and operators of the businesses in Overtown indeed act as corporate citizens.
Compiled by The Miami Times staff
It was heart wrenching to hear on local TV that there isn’t any leadership in the Black community when it comes to address the rising and disturbing violence — especially among young people. Drawn to the fore by the death of a fourth student at Northwestern Senior High School in recent months, the violence has been spiraling all year, some incidents culminating in death, others in serious injuries. Of the four youth at Northwestern who were killed, there has been one arrest.
Black students all over the nation at more than 20 universities have stepped out of the shadows to speak about blatant racism that they face every day. Some may wonder why so many students now are raising concerns about how they are treated on campuses across America. The students feel empowered after seeing how the students at the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus pushed back against racist elements who tried to thwart them by ignoring them. Their push didn’t come without consequences. More racist statements and threats on the lives of Black students were issued after the forced resignation of the president and the chancellor of the university. Professors caught in the crosshairs resigned amid missteps. Then Ithaca College and Yale University students spoke out about racial tensions on their campuses. Soon, student voices everywhere were saying no to racism, segregation and divisions.
No one should have to live with anxiety every day as what their home will look like, when will they have to move and where they will be going unless they impose the situation on themselves. But when the anxiety is brought on because of county officials, it is egregious and insensitive. It has been almost a year since Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced his grand redevelopment plan he dubbed Liberty Square Rising. The plan is to build public housing units at Lincoln Gardens in Brownsville, level the current homes at Liberty Square a section at a time, move residents to Lincoln Gardens while their homes are rebuilt at Liberty Square and then move them back after their homes are developed.
Last Friday, at Clark Atlanta University, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton attempted to deliver a speech as part of the kickoff of her Hillary for African Americans campaign. For more than 12 minutes, protestors with AUCShutItDown, an Atlanta-based group affiliated with Black Lives Matter, chanted while Clinton tried to deliver her speech. This was not the first time that the Black Lives Matter movement would faceoff with Clinton. Back in August she met with the group, who demanded that she develop a plan to address the numerous inequalities against Blacks in America. And this was not the first time that the Black Lives Matter group interrupted a Democratic nominee candidate’s speech. Activist Marissa Johnson on Aug. 8 shut down a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle. That confrontation happened just weeks after the movement interrupted Sanders at a Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix. Since both incidents, Sanders and representatives of the movement have met.
Corey Jones was shot and killed by a police officer as he awaited a tow truck for his broken down car in Palm Beach Gardens. Some media accounts have focused on the fact that Jones was arrested in 2007 for having concealed weapons in Miami-Dade County in 2007. In that incident, according to WPLG-Channel 10, Jones pleaded and entered a Deferred Prosecution program in lieu of prosecution. However, there is nothing to indicate that Jones was a troublemaker. It’s clear that he expected to get home the night he was fatally shot. The latest revelation that he used his Riviera Beach-issued phone to call for roadside assistance and Florida Highway Patrol at least four times that fateful night, shows he was not out to make trouble.
A law to liberate the way how the 1.4 million people in Florida who have a concealed weapons license carry their firearms cleared the Senate Criminal Justice committee, 3 to 2. At the same time a law to allow guns on colleges and universities have cleared the Senate. Both laws, one called Campus Carry and the other, Open Carry, will allow South Floridians to openly carry guns for which they have permits. The gun lobby has plenty of ammunition in support of this open carry legislation since Florida is one of only five states that ban open carry guns in public places. Most recently, Texas passed a licensed open carry bill this past June, which goes into effect in January. Florida is not what is considered an open carry state. Hunters, target shooters and campers are allowed by Florida law to carry weapons when going to or from these types of activities.
It looks like all the Miami Dolphins needed was some new leadership. After losing three games in a row this season, the Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans 38-10 in Dan Campbell’s debut as interim coach on Sunday. Former head coach Joe Philbin was fired Oct. 5 as a result of the three-game loss. With only one win under his belt so far this season, the losing streak didn’t show Philbin in a good light as a leader. Add to that the fact that in three years as head coach, Philbin never did lead the Dolphins to the playoffs, let alone a national championship.
Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church will hold a food and clothing distribution 4 p.m. every Wednesday. Call 786-541-3687. New Resurrection Community Church invites the community to the annual 2015 Arise Women’s Conference. It starts Wednesday, October 21, through Friday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. and ends October 25 at 11 a.m. for the Sunday morning service. First Haitian Church of God hosts a food drive every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 7140 North Miami Ave. Call 786-362-1804. 59th Street Pentecostal Church of God will present an Outdoor Food and Fellowship Festival on October 24 at 12 p.m. The Hospitality Ministry invites you to its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Program on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. at St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church in Coconut Grove. Call 305-775-5750.
The Democratic candidates debate on CNN last Tuesday showed the nation that Black lives really don’t matter. Don Lemon selected a question to ask the four presidential nominee candidates that has been debated for months, but has produced no real, definitive answer: “Do Black lives matter or do all lives matter?” It was the only time a pointed question was asked about race relations in the United States. It seems since the majority of Blacks vote for the Democratic Party, there should have been a broader discussion about race, criminal justice reform, high Black unemployment, incarceration disparities, the almost-civil war in Chicago and other urban neighborhoods and the shrinking of the fledgling Black middle class.
The arbitrary way Miami-Dade County qualifies development projects for no-bid approval is confounding and confusing. Comes Miami Yacht Harbor with a $250 million project proposal to develop an area in PortMiami. Without serious reason, other than they are looking for iconic projects to which to award no-bid, Miami Yacht Harbor was shut out of the no-bid process. The same day, three other projects, including one for Bongos, the restaurant owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, proceeded with no bids.
So many big events come to the Greater Miami area and they end up on Miami Beach or Brickell Avenue. Revolt Music Conference was one of them. Its first year, the majority of the events happened on the beach. This year, its second in Miami, Revolt is holding a film festival in what the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau calls one of Miami’s Heritage neighborhoods, Overtown. Too often, the cameras come to town and they roll and send out images of Miami that gives an almost one-dimensional look: palm trees, flat abs and tiny bikinis – though nothing is wrong with that.
It is time to declare War on Mass Shootings. But there will be no declaration. Because the mass killings land smack on the shoulders of white Americans, who thrive in their suburbs, in their small towns and remote villages. Historically, whenever there is national call for a war, whether be it drugs, crime or poverty, it was code word for let’s invade minority, urban communities and make them as uncomfortable as possible. To carry out these wars, civil rights must be violated, the presumed enemy must be jailed or, as in the case of the war on poverty, entitlement programs were replaced by low-pay, work-based initiatives, leaving mothers to work several jobs to provide for their children.
City leaders take note of a bold move by Miami Gardens. It had been warning companies with which it does business to add diversity to their teams. Wells Fargo and Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) failed to heed their customer, Miami Gardens,’ request. And they were summarily fired. And rightfully so. Wells Fargo held most of Miami Gardens’ $60-million bond fund but it did not show any sensitivity or business acumen. Miami Gardens is the largest city in Florida with a majority of Black residents. The mayor, Oliver Gilbert III, is Black and the council is diverse. Wells Fargo and FMIT got complacent since they were not listening to the council’s requests when they put in their bids and the council was complicit. But not anymore.
Opa-locka for the third year in a row will end the fiscal year with a deficit. A city manager who tried to preach reason about the city’s spending habits has resigned. A new city manager, with a questionable past, especially in the area of managing public money, has taken the reigns. Many residents are outraged. And, rightly so.
Missteps and mistakes have been the hallmark of county leaders these days. In recent weeks, short-sidedness about fairness and ignorance about diversity have plagued County Hall. On Sept. 1, some county leaders decided to name a street in West Miami-Dade after a developer whose companies had faced three housing discrimination law suits, one whose