Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)
Written by Jesse Muhammad
Originally published 10/11/08
I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 2pm EST on October 10, picked up by Joseph(pictured below) of the Miami Workers Center, which hosted our visit to the city. It was extremely hot outside. As we hit the freeway heading to Miami, Joseph, who is originally from NY, started giving me some interesting history about the city of Miami that had me eager to visit the poor neighborhoods. The fight against gentrification, the history of Haitian power, the racial disparities and how organizations like his is making grassroots moves to impact the lives of the poor.
When we arrived at the Miami Workers Center building, I noticed it was situated right off of Martin Luther King Blvd, which of course you know I said to myself ‘This must be a Black neighborhood’…and it was! One of the of the unique things about their MLK Blvd unlike Houston and other cities I have been to, the have Dr. King’s image painted up and down the block and even have a center named after him..Dr. King’s face and quotes are even painted under the freeway to go along with a sign that says ‘Welcome to Martin Luther King Blvd’.
I was given a tour of the MWC offices which is plastered with images of their years of fighting against injustice in the streets. This was also the same day that they were doing an orientation for people who are going to hit the streets and register people to vote as part of the MWC’s Take Back the Vote Campaign. But the instructor of the session was also emphasizing the critical need to follow up with people AFTER the election is done. Good point!
Afterwards I walked the streets to talk with the natives about their perspectives of the condition of the poor in the city. I first met a brother who is in rehabilitation at the JESCA Transition and Stabilization Program.
He asked me why was I in town and I told him I was speaking about the case of the Jena Six and said “I have never heard about that”. He then shared with me his personal struggles with cocaine and I uplifted him when I told him that I have actually experienced living in a crack house being that my mother was battling with the same thing years ago. But he smiled when I told him that my mother is now counseling people to overcome what she had to defeat herself. That was a touching conversation. Then I talked with MWC worker Cora Lipscomb (below) who has a passion for fighting injustice.
I spotted a young Black girl, named Jennifer, wearing a short that read “I’m N Da Hood”. She was on the corner passing out coupons for a company that pays her extra cash on the weekends. She didn’t mind talking a picture for me.(see below)
Then, just like when I visited Oakland, I had a opportunity to eat at a Rastafarian restaurant. Good food once again!
Then I met up with the three other presenters for that night. Jordan Flahtery, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Puck Lo. Alexis (pictured below) is a great poet, journalist and a professor at Duke University.
Puck (pictured below) works for Free Speech radio and is an audio master!
Jordan is the editor of Left Turn Magazine and is the one who organized this entire tour.
We all presented before a huge diverse audience and received rave reviews. There is more coming soon. Until next time here are a few more pictures!