🔑 Meet the Miamian getting a shoutout from BET tonight
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🔑 Meet the Miamian getting a shoutout from BET tonight

Recognize that server?
(📷 Rob Biskupic-Knight)

That’s because Make the Homeless Smile – Miami is getting some props. BET held the annual Hip Hop Awards at the Fillmore on Friday and wanted to highlight some locals doing good work in Miami.

They found Make the Homeless Smile, and founder Valencia Gunder.

She started the group in 2014 to feed the homeless in Downtown once a month. Three years later it’s grown into a monthly event that offers not just food, but toiletries and services like haircuts. When BET airs their show tonight, it’ll have a segment all about them.

“I used to just tell people I wanted to make the homeless smile… and then the name stuck,” Valencia says.

She started the all-volunteer group with about $250 a month to buy food for the monthly event, called “Smile Day.” BET asked her to host one while they were in town, and they brought out a pretty dope guest to help serve☝️: DJ Khaled.

Tune in to the awards show tonight at 8 p.m. to learn more about Vee and her organization. Interested in making an in-kind donation? E-mail her at [email protected].

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We said Jessy Schuster, who we featured in yesterday’s newsletter for her insanely awesome Carnival costume, is from Guadeloupe. But she’s from Miami. Her fam hails from the island.

Head downtown to Art Days for three days of cultural experiences, special programming, and free events from Oct. 13-15! Learn More ».
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Not so lit. Ocean Drive restaurant and bar owners sued Miami Beach to try and stop a citywide vote on whether to roll back last call. A judge threw the suit out today, which means it’s headed for a vote on Nov. 7. Miami Beach has long been super divided about who the neighborhood is for: tourists or residents? What voters decide will say a lot about where all of SoBe could be headed. (Miami New Times)

#ItsComplicated. It’s about to get a bit complicated again to make that Cuba trip. The U.S. just told Cuba to send home 15 diplomats working at the embassy in Washington, leaving just one person in the department that handles things like visas. The Miami Herald has the deets on what that means for you if you’re planning a trip.

Progress. Florida got a grant to expand its use of Narcan, a nasal spray that can save the lives of people who overdose on opioids like heroin and fentanyl. That will put the overdose-reversal drug in the hands of a bunch of Miami-Dade police departments to help the county deal with a drug crisis that’s growing here and across the U.S. (Miami Herald)

Ban the box. Miami-Dade will no longer ask on county job applications if applicants have been convicted of a crime. Background checks will still happen for finalists, so it’s not like the county won’t find out – but the change gives applicants a shot at wowing employers with their resumé and skills first. (Miami Herald)

Ain’t nobody got time for that. Lots of South Floridians, especially those with fam in Puerto Rico, are getting impatient with the slow pace of federal help for the island. So, Miami style, they’re skipping over the government entirely and doing it themselves, chartering their own planes and running their own collections. They’re calling it the “guerilla flotilla.” (Miami Herald)

RIP “Reefa.” Back in 2013, Miami Beach police fatally tasered local graffiti artist Israel “Reefa” Hernandez after they caught him tagging a building in North Beach. His death set off a big debate on excessive force by police, but the police department never faced any charges. Last week the city settled the final wrongful death lawsuit with Hernandez’s family for $100,000, bringing the episode pretty much to a close. (Miami New Times)

All that blow. The Miami Dolphin’s offensive line coach resigned this week after a video of him snorting cocaine in the team officers showed up online. How’d the video get out there? Via Kijuana Nige Sherrod. The Sun Sentinel has the details on who she is.


Things to do

Check out this event from our advertiser, unbound.

🚀 Celebrate innovation at unbound Miami This Nov. 1-2, discover grassroots innovation and hear from big brands at unbound Miami, Mana Wynwood. Readers save 50% with code tntum50.


🎉 10/13-10/15: Dwntwn Art Days

🎤 10/13: Speakfridays: Flavors of Wynwood


Do you have an idea for helping Miami get back on its feet after Irma? Awesome Foundation – Miami, which dishes out $1,000 grants for projects that make Miami better, is now accepting pitches specifically for hurricane recovery. The deadline is Oct. 15. Put “IRMA” in the title of your project if you apply.

Thanks for all you do to make Miami awesome already. We’ll see you mañana.


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