The Work!
Issue 8, Volume 2 * August 2020
From the
President's Desk
Greetings fellow freedom fighters and welcome to this edition of the work
 
COVID-19 has taken our nation and the world by storm. In Most of our lifetime we have never seen a pandemic of this magnitude. This pandemic has changed our way of life, and disproportionately affected Black people with increasing death rates succumbing to the virus. Due to high rates of Co-morbid factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma to name a few. This pandemic has revealed to some and confirmed to many the overwhelming health care disparities in the black community.

Economic hardships have also disproportionately affected the black community. Forcing most low- to moderate-income black families who work essential jobs to put their lives at risk and return to work prematurely so bills can be paid. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, businesses were forced to close or in some cases reduce their staff, and now federal government officials are quarreling over whether to extend unemployment assistance and provide a second stimulus package to help Americans weather this financial nightmare.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the senseless murder of George Floyd by the hands of an officer sworn to protect and serve all people. Unfortunately, police shootings and murder of black people are occurrences that we are far too familiar with in the black community. This time, however, something was starkly different, the outrage of George Floyd's murder transcended race, age, ethnicity, and creed. In my lifetime I've never seen so many people of different backgrounds and walks of life rally in support of condemning the murder of a black man by a police officer. As we watched officer Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and as the other officers stood around watching him do it with little regard or concern for George Floyd's life, it became clear to the world the deep level of racial strife and hatred in this country.

The confluence of these pandemics of racism and COVID-19 has forced issues of racial hatred and systemic injustice to become front and center. The world is finally seeing and acknowledging Black people so much so that the mantra of "Black lives matter" has seemingly been embraced by institutions such as The NFL , the NBA, and corporate America. These entities previously frowned on the very mantra that they now embrace.

These two pandemics seem to have caused a rebirth of our nation. Conversations about race and racial attitudes are happening on topics such as dismantling systemic and structural racism, police reform, and investing in economic diversity and inclusion in all sectors of society. The Miami Dade Branch of the NAACP participated in these discussions via a series of Virtual Town Hall meetings in addition to releasing our list of demands as a means of addressing the outcomes of the social justice protest.
 
As a 501C4 The Miami Dade branch cannot endorse candidates running for political office; however, we can support issues on the ballot. To that end, We have embarked on a series of political candidate forms to ensure that Miami Dade residents gain a clear understanding of each candidate's political platform. The goal is to educate the electorate to assist them in making an informed decision when casting their votes.

I know that there are many unknowns about our collective future and challenges that are beyond our control. I encourage everyone that reads this newsletter to take charge over the things that you can control like casting your vote (take Five People with you) and completing your census forms. As we enter the rebirth of this nation and social justice movement, we have to do our due diligence to be in the game no longer on the sidelines. It is my belief that in the end, we will be the victors!
 
Your Fellow Freedom Fighter
Ruban Roberts
President of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP.
Members In-Focus
Roger Williams: Helping to Move the Branch Forward!
This month, we spotlight Roger Williams, a dedicated member of the Communications and Housing Committees. Roger officially joined the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP in 2015, and he has been extremely active since then. We caught up with him in a recent Zoom conversation in preparation for this article:


The Work: What prompted you to join the NAACP?

Roger: I think it was back in 2015, when there was a spate of police shootings and incidences of brutality against Black and Brown people that got a lot of media attention, and I got very angry. However, I saw the work that the NAACP was doing nationally, but I wanted a deeper connection locally, and my dear friend, Ms. Daniella Pierre, one of our current VPs for our Branch had been pushing me to join for quite sometime before that, and so I finally decided to do it.

The Work: And why is having local branches of the NAACP so important for social justice and civil rights work?

Roger: That local connection is so important because a lot of the racism and injustices that Black people and other people of color face are structural or systemic and therefore political, and as the old saying goes, “All politics are local”, and so having a local presence in this community lets the people know that we are there for them, and it makes us more flexible in addressing local issues that flare up in our community. The NAACP national-state-local structure is actually very effective and quite coveted by other organizations doing similar work.

The Work: And when you’re not doing “the work” of the committees and the branch, what do you do in your spare time?

Roger: In my spare time, I read A LOT! In terms of fiction, I enjoy a good murder-mystery, but I love reading non-fiction as well, particularly, books on Black history, Black social movements and African/Black racial and social theory. I also do some advocacy work around public transportation and micro-mobility. I also enjoy listening to music, primarily Soul and House Music and, every now and then, a little bit of Black Gospel. 

The Work: Very nice! Now, one of your mantras as it relates to NAACP is "Moving the Branch Forward". What do you mean by that?

Roger: I actually stole that phrase from Vice President Pierre! (Laughter) But, anyway, from setting out the chairs for our "End-of-Year" Gathering to helping to set-up the Zoom environment for our virtual townhalls and general meetings: I don't care how small the work is, I try to make myself available to do it. As members, every thing we do, big or small, moves the branch forward, so as long as what I am doing is putting the Branch on a path of growth and excellence that allows us to carry out the work that the community expects of us, I am there to make it happen! And that's what I mean by "Moving the Branch forward!"

Committee Spotlight
The Young Adults Committee: Mobilizing Our Young-Adult Leaders
The Young Adult Committee of the Miami-Dade Branch NAACP, chaired by Nandy Goddard, is mobilizing the next generation of branch and community leaders through community activism and economic empowerment. In the last few months, YAC has participated in demonstrations in Downtown Miami, near the Torch of Friendship, drawing attention to the rampant police brutality that has been taking place across the nation. These demonstrations were recently sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Nandy believes that mobilization is critical for young adults to feel engaged to feel empowered to create change:

"It’s important to mobilize young adults for social justice and activism because we understand we are the future leaders. We as young adults know we have a responsibility to pave the way for the youth, just like it was done for us. We also want to see change in the world, we actually care! We believe everyone deserves equal economic, political, & social rights and opportunities. Our voices are very powerful and unapologetically loud, especially when it comes to issues we feel strongly about. The quote “we are not our ancestors” represents the young adults today, we will not be silent or tolerate hate or discrimination from anyone. We are the change!"

Would you like to get involved with the YAC: The Young Adult Committee meets every first Monday of the month. Currently, meetings have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, navigate to www.miamidadenaacp.com or look for the YAC on Facebook & Instagram: naacp_youngadults for information on future meetings.
The Branch in Action

Town Hall Meetings Bring Candidates to the People...Virtually
On Thursday, July 23, 2020, our branch hosted the 7th in a series of political-candidate town hall meetings for candidates running for Florida State House Districts 102 & 108. At this meeting, Krystina Francois, who moderated, asked pressing questions covering issues from public transportation funding to the reopening of schools in Florida to strategies for COVID-19 and future crisis planning. It was a lively conversation that attracted many viewers, some even participating with probing questions for the candidates. Florida House District 102 spans both Miami-Dade and Broward counties and includes portions of east Pembroke Pines, central Miramar and west-central Miami Gardens. Florida House District 108 is primarily within the boundaries of Miami-Dade County and includes portions of Biscayne Gardens, Golden Glades, Biscayne Park, North Miami, Miami Shores, El Portal, and the neighborhoods of Little Haiti and Liberty City within the city of Miami. We will be voting for these candidates in the Primaries, slated for Tuesday, August 18, 2020. However, early voting is from Monday, August 3, 2020 until Sunday, August 16, 2020. Remember to help get out that vote! If you missed any of the town halls, don't worry, log on to the Branch's Facebook page to view the meetings at http://www.facebook.com/MiamiDadeNaacp
Virtual Education Town Hall Meeting Tackles the
"Re-opening" of Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Some of the greatest minds in education in South Florida were featured on a panel for the Branch's Education Town Hall Meeting that was held on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 via Zoom and simulcast on Facebook Live. The virtual town hall was spearheaded by our Education Committee, where Ms. Dannie McMillon is chair. The topic was a serious one: how the Miami Dade school district should reopen safely in the face of a rampant pandemic. It was a lively discussion that touched on issues ranging from how educators and paraprofessionals would have to work with children with special needs & their families to how the district would obtain and disseminate PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment) for educators, bus drivers and other school district staff. If you missed the live broadcast, check it out on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MiamiDadenaacp
The State View
Weekly Prayers Going Up for Our State Conference
The NAACP Florida State Conference's Religious Affairs Committee takes its charge seriously. Many members might not know this, but each week, the Committee meets via conference call for a time of prayer and meditation.
The National Connection
The 111th National Convention Goes Virtual for the First Time... Ever!
For the first time in its history, the NAACP will host its annual National Convention completely virtually! Due to the continued spread of the Coronavirus, the national board voted to host the National Convention online in order to keep attendees safe. Originally, the convention was scheduled to take place in Boston in mid-July.

Community
Tools & Resources
Upcoming Events
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT
THE CENSUS

The decennial Census is a crucial facet of our Republic because its results serve as the basis for redistricting, the enforcement of voting rights laws, and allocating congressional seats to each state. Census population data is also used by the federal government to distribute billions of dollars to local, state, and tribal governments.



College Board
Scholarship Opportunities
Take advantage of these free opportunities.

Click the following link for details on how to apply: Opportunity Scholarships
A Timeline for the Re-opening of Miami-Dade County Public Schools
BECOME AN NAACP MEMBER TODAY

If you care about fighting the racial disparities that are still too prevalent in America, the NAACP is the place where you can make a difference.  
To join the Miami Dade Branch of the NAACP, visit the following link. Our Unit Number is 5116 and our Zip Code is 33056