We’ve been talking about the 10 Days of Connection a lot, because we think its mission is a pretty important one: breaking down Miami’s barriers, at least for a few days, and connecting with people beyond your community.
For us, the most meaningful moment thus far was Monday night’s Facebook live, when three women shared their stories of transitioning from prison to everyday life.
Café has been out for two years, Sheila has been out for a few more than that, and Rebecca has been out for just a month. They’ve all had to find jobs, find housing, find a stable center, and navigate their post-prison relationships with partners and family.
For all of them, prison became a time to get their head on straight and take advantage of education opportunities without distractions. “I treated prison like a high security college,” Rebecca said.
Thank you to LEAP: Ladies Empowerment and Action Program, who introduced us to these three women and helped them and so many others get on their feet in that tough transition period. Want to show some support? Go on a shopping spree at the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique, where we filmed this convo. The store is chock-full of finds, the proceeds go to funding LEAP programs, and you can meet Rebecca behind the counter!
We recommend skipping the first minute and a half, which is basically us just explaining how a Facebook Live works. Always check that you’re on mute! Doh. 🙈
Tonight’s “Lean on Me: A Concert by and for Miami ” is where it’s at. Connect Miami has brought together Guitars over Guns, New World Symphony, Young Musicians Unite, and Thomas Armour Youth Ballet and others to perform together at The Wynwood Yard. We’ll be there! Come say “hi” at the photobooth.
In honor of tonight’s jam session, here’s today’s Facebook Group challenge: how has music helped you connect with new people, cultures, and experiences? Get in the mood with this Spotify playlist of silo-busting music, crowd-sourced from the group.
Head to the Facebook group to join the conversation and see the whole calendar of events here.
Tough curve. FIU launched a new class this semester on understanding and preventing sexual assault on campus, a super timely offering in the #MeToo era. And the final exam is more legit than any paper you pulled an all-nighter to write in college – the 50 students wrote sexual assault prevention plans for the school, and then presented them to administrators. It was so successful that the university has already doubled the class size for the next semester. (Miami Herald)
SMH. Tourists buzzing around Miami Beach on motorized scooters have become such a safety hazard – weaving in and out of traffic, crossing onto sidewalks and bike lanes, and taking selfies while driving – that Miami Beach is considering banning scooter rentals for the whole month of March and Memorial Day Weekend, aka the city’s busiest tourist weekends other than Art Basel. Scooter shops say the move would devastate their businesses. (Miami Herald)
#NeverAgain. Everyone is in agreement that Liberty City’s challenges with gun violence need to be addressed, but there’s a lot of disagreement about how – and who should be leading the efforts. When students walked out of Miami Northwestern High School a few weeks ago, many community leaders were not about it. “I’m the adult in this environment — if something is broken, then the adults fix it,” T. Willard Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, told The New York Times. That criticism has caused some students to go silent, but it’s emboldened others. (New York Times)
MAGA? When President Trump came into office, he vowed to make America great again by bringing back heavy manufacturing. It felt like a pretty abstract thing here in South Florida, which has never had much of a manufacturing industry – but a local investment group says there’s plenty of room for SoFlo to get in the game. It’s pitching the construction of an “eco-friendly” steel mill in Homestead – although environmentalists are very skeptical of that “eco-friendly” claim. (Miami Herald)
Get your kayaks ready. Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is leading the Democratic field in the race for Florida governor. A lot of that has to do with his serious personal wealth – he’s worth about $100 million. The entrepreneur made his millions, at least his early ones, in the cruise ship industry, coming up with super successful marketing strategies for passengers that made him a lot of money but also earned him quite a few enemies. If you’ve been wondering who is Philip Levine, well, this deep dive covers not just his cash, but also his SoFlo childhood and how he became the poster child for sea level rise. (Miami Herald, Miami New Times)
Three for three. The once-crowded race for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat has thinned once again. Mary Barzee Flores, previously one of the many Democratic candidates for Ileana’s seat, has jumped over to the neighboring 25th District race (she can do that because you don’t have to live in the congressional district you represent). That seat belongs to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican who until then didn’t have any realistic challengers. Barzee Flores’ move means that all the South Florida congressional districts – all held by Republicans right now – are in play for Democrats in the November 2018 midterm elections. (Miami Herald)
Check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you’ve been meaning to get flood insurance since Hurricane Irma, the clock is ticking. Most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, and hurricane season starts sooner than that. (WLRN)
We’ve got some great news! Curbed found that Miami has a tech scene. 🎉 Their deep dive into our tech ecosystem sounds like it was written in 2014 (it called The Lab, Miami’s OG coworking space, “new”), but we’re still happy to see so many companies, organizations, and initiatives building this city getting a national-level shoutout. Props to everyone who’s putting in the work.