Across the nation there is a growing sentiment that our elected officials are largely ignoring the will and best interest of their constituents—We the People. A recurring theme in this election cycle has been the corruptive influence that corporate lobby money and campaign finance have had on the legislative and election process.
Make no mistake, this is no proverbial bogeyman—over the past few decades corporate interests have flat out hi-jacked our democratic process. Many politicians have become more accountable to their donors and cronies than they are to their constituents.
There could not be a better example of this than the recent passing of SB1010 (as amended) in the Florida State Senate. This law includes an amendment filed by Senator Alan Hays of District 11, which prevents local governments (city or county) from passing any new legislation banning or regulating polystyrene products.
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Physical illness is a drain on your body; it’s part of the human condition. Unfortunately, our nation’s seriously ill must deal with their symptoms while at the same time manage the complicated financial reality of being sick. Modern-day healthcare requires sick people and their loved ones to navigate difficult medical jargon, coverage complications and endless phone calls.
There is a better way though; as someone familiar with the healthcare industry, I am aware of the valuable resources that can aid people in need. When my father fell ill, my family relied on my insider-knowledge to survive the most difficult time in our lives. A perfect example was when my father needed costly speech and physical therapy during his recovery from brain surgery. His insurance did not cover therapy and we were scrambling to put together the money for the upwards of 200 dollars per session necessity. Using my knowledge of healthcare programs, I decided to apply for an aid program, offered by Baptist, which covered speech and physical therapy if you meet their requirements for aid. This not only helped my family afford the therapy but transformed my father’s quality of life.
The more that I talk to people about such free services the more I realize the astonishingly few number of patients that know about free medication, procedures and diagnostic services available in our community.
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We’ve got a great community service activity lined up for next Monday! Join Emerge Miami and friends as we join in a neighborhood clean up in Little Haiti!
Sweat Records resides in Little Haiti, like a gem inside of a treasure box. Emerge calls Sweat Records its home-base, a community Batcave, where folks build relationships and connect to build a better Miami. On Monday, January 18, from 10 am – noon, Emerge will host a neighborhood cleanup of the blocks surrounding Sweat Records.
Who: Lovers of Sweat and Little Haiti
What: A community clean-up
Where: Meet at Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave, Miami 33157
When: January 18, 10 am-noon
Earlier this month, the Urban Environmental League honored Emerge Miami with an award for community organizing! They recognized Emerge’s efforts to turn “Parcel B” into Dan Paul Park with a fancy certificate and a lovely orchid at their “Orchids and Onions” ceremony. We appreciate the props, and will do everything we can to keep our orchid, and the dream, alive.
As I sit here, having just finished preproduction for tomorrow’s Buskerfest Miami Street Performance Festival 2015 and enjoying a delicious beer (Stay-Puft Porter from JWakefield), it seems like a good time for reflection. It was just three years ago that Buskerfest Miami was born in a very random community meeting and here we are, about to throw our biggest festival yet with over 45 local performance groups participating, an absurd number of volunteers pitching in and with the support of dozens, LITERALLY dozens of community organizations. Not bad for a toddler!
None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of some very devoted individuals (I’m looking at you Amy San Pedro, Monica Soderman, Eddie Padilla, Chris Sopher and Gary Ressler!), but there’s absolutely no way it could have happened if Emerge Miami had not been an early supporter of the project. From the drop, Emerge has been ready to contribute in whatever way possible. From promotions, to fundraising, to volunteering – Emerge Miami has been a big part of the Buskerfest Miami’s evolution. Cheers to them for continuing to do good when good needs doing.
I won’t bore you by repeating all the awesome features of this year’s festival. If you’re reading this, you’ve no doubt been bombarded with that stuff all day. Instead, I want to share one reason this project is so important for me. I’ve lived in Miami for almost 10 years. It’s been a tumultuous relationship, but like anything worth pursuing, it’s also provided many wonderful moments along the way.
Miami is changing at an incredible clip. Large swaths of the urban core are up for the highest bid and some of our most prominent cultural meeting houses (Tobacco Road, Grand Central, The Stage, Vagabond etc. etc.) have become victims of “progress.” You know what keeps me in Miami? It’s not the empty promise of Miami Worldcenter or the megamall or Beckham’s stadium or any of the ridiculous developments on the horizon. It’s the people and artistic culture that are hear NOW and unique to our melting pot. It is our responsibility to insure that culture is properly recognized and preserved because it is the most important thing. It is what defines us and makes us whole. Buskerfest Miami is our way of pushing that agenda forward.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you tomorrow in Downtown Miami. For more on the festival visit BuskerfestMiami.com.
Justin and the Buskerfest Team
You all have known me for 10 years. I’m Emerge, a spunky grassroots community organization dedicated to bringing progressive folks together in Miami. I love bikes, potlucks, board games and parades. You can catch me hanging out at Colony 1, Sweat Records, The Magic City Bike Collective, LAB Miami, on the metrorail, and at the library. Most importantly, I care for others. I’m there when my friends need help, if another awesome group needs elbow-grease, collaboration or promotion, I’m on it.
I’m an informal cat. I collect donations in a coffee can and I have no rigid structure, rules, or hierarchy.
In the past 10 years, I’ve built a community of active, energetic Miamians who want to take responsibility for the direction of their hometown. We show up to commission meetings, we write to our leaders and we learn enthusiastically about the issues affecting our community. Our friendships inspire us to get up early on the weekends to celebrate and support each other.
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Have you ever been stuck in your car on US-1, burning up gas and patience? It doesn’t have to be that way, and a five-day event called WHEELS can show you how.
WHEELS will take place in South Miami from November 11th– 15th to spotlight the existing alternatives to traveling by car in South Florida and demonstrate how to connect these resources for car-optional living. By using public transit (e.g. Metrorail, Metrobus, Tri-Rail) and trails (the M-Path/Underline and the Ludlam Trail) in combination with biking, walking, or even skateboarding, WHEELS will show you that, yes, another kind of commute is possible in Miami.
Over the course of WHEELS, attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a wide array of organized group bike rides, runs, and walks appropriate for all ages and ability levels. On Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th, WHEELS will also host a free conference where national and local leaders—including Ryan Gravel (visionary behind the Atlanta Beltline) and Meg Daly from Friends of The Underline—will share insights into how they are transforming cities through successful local green mobility policy and infrastructure. (Note from the organizers: seating is limited, so please register for the conference at this link). Thanks to Miami-Dade Transit and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the first ___ conference attendees will receive free rides on the Metrorail and Tri-Rail to and from the conference.
That Saturday will also include a Bike-In Family Festival and Street Bash tin downtown South Miami, a closed street event for all ages, including a bike safety rodeo for kids as well, live music, and–of course–beer. If you’re curious about making a switch to car-optional commuting by biking, walking, and/or taking public transit to work or elsewhere, you’ll have a chance to chat with commuter “mentors” who can answer all of your questions (Don’t you sweat? What if it rains? How much money do you save?). Guests 21 and over who arrive by bicycle to the Street Bash will get a ticket for a free beer.
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