<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/voiceshttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.pngNBC 6 South Floridahttps://www.nbcmiami.comen-usThu, 19 Jul 2018 03:43:31 -0400Thu, 19 Jul 2018 03:43:31 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Can This Game Determine If You're Right or Racist?]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 10:42:16 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Can_This_Game_Determine_If_You_re_Right_or_Racist_.jpg

NBC 6's Keith Jones talks to the creator of the trivia card game "Right or Racist" about the inspiration behind the game.

<![CDATA[Maroon Poetry Festival in Liberty City]]>Mon, 25 Jun 2018 15:07:43 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Maroon_Poetry_Festival_in_Liberty_City.jpg

The Maroon Poetry Festival brings some of the icons of the Black literature to Miami's Liberty City June 30th.

<![CDATA[American Black Film Fest Returns to Miami Beach This Weekend]]>Fri, 15 Jun 2018 12:53:09 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/061418+SuperFly+Movie+Screening+at+ABFF.jpg

Some of the best and brightest in Hollywood are in South Florida for the 22nd annual American Black Film Festival. The festival kicked off in Miami Beach on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

The event celebrates African-Americans onscreen and behind the scenes. It’s also become a breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow, and that includes Miami director, producer and writer Nicanson Guerrier.

His film “The Flea” is one of the featured films at this year’s festival. Guerrier is competing in the short film competition which boasts “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler as a previous winner. Guerrier hopes to take home the $10,000 cash prize with his comedy that details a day in the life of a flea market manager. The film is set at the USA Flea Market in Northwest Miami-Dade.

“There’s a kind of rule in filmmaking that you write about what you know. I know all of South Florida, so I want to continue to be that Miami filmmaker and tell Miami stories that haven’t been told before,” Guerrier said.

Other spotlight screenings at ABFF include the remake of the 70s film “Superfly,” “The First Purge,” “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” and the documentary feature “Whitney.”

Director Coogler along with big box office names like filmmaker Ava DuVernay and actor Jessie Williams are participating in master classes and celebrity conversations.

Organizers said they expect up to 10,000 attendees at this year’s festival. For tickets, go to ABFF.com.

Photo Credit: ABFF]]>
<![CDATA[Psychiatrist Talks About Depression in Men]]>Mon, 11 Jun 2018 14:31:40 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Psychiatrist_Talks_About_Depression_in_Men.jpg

On this episode of Voices with Jawan Strader, Dr. Delvena Thomas talks about the factors, symptoms and ways to help men dealing with depression.

<![CDATA[Marine Turned Felon Helps Vets Seeking Clemency]]>Tue, 29 May 2018 13:31:09 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Marine_Turned_Felon_Helps_Vets_Seeking_Clemency.jpg

Cece Espeut had a promising career in the Marine Corps until she was convicted for drug trafficking. NBC 6's Trina Robinson talks to her about how she later became a clemency advocate.

<![CDATA[Haitian-Born Doctor to Head UM's School of Medicine]]>Thu, 17 May 2018 16:24:39 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/051718+Dr+Henri+Ford+UM+Dean.JPG

The University of Miami made history after it named Haitian-born pediatric surgeon Dr. Henri Ford dean of the Miller School of Medicine. Ford is the first Haitian-American doctor to head a medical school in the United States. The appointment is one of many milestones Dr. Ford has reached throughout his prolific career. He’s best known for making history in Haiti back in 2015 when he separated conjoined twins on the nation island.

“That example is a combination of what is possible when you’re committed to excellence and committed trying to build an infrastructure,” Dr. Ford said about that historic procedure.

The surgeon emigrated from the Caribbean nation to Brooklyn at 13 years old. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. He worked for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for more than a decade and served as the institution’s Vice President and Chief of Surgery.

Dr. Ford will begin his role at UM June 1st. He called the appointment a surprise.

“I never thought that was going to happen, but here we are!” the surgeon said.

Moving to South Florida is sort of a homecoming for the doctor since the area is home to the largest population of Haitians in the U.S.

“It really feels like a homecoming,” said Dr. Ford. “Wherever I go, a number of people have expressed a desire to meet me; it really warms my heart.”

The surgeon doesn’t forget his roots. Ever since the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Ford travels to his native country several times a year to lend his special services as a pediatrician.

“I felt I was uniquely positioned, uniquely qualified to intervene personally in Haiti at the time. It wasn’t about sending money, they needed my skills,” said Dr. Ford. “We pretty much handle all of the pediatric and surgical critical care.”

He wants to bring that same dedication to the UM health care community.

“My desire has always been to make the biggest difference possible in the lives of others in my community. And, what better opportunity exist than to help the University of Miami and Miller School of Medicine achieve enduring preeminence while at the same time serving a community of people that means so much to me,” Ford expressed.

The surgeon encourages others to dream big and to go after those big dreams no matter their circumstance.

“Yes, it is possible for a French-speaking, funny-looking Haitian kid that ends up in Brooklyn can ultimately can grow up and become the Dean at the Miller School of Medicine. Why not you?” Ford said.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Voices: Being Afro-Latino]]>Mon, 14 May 2018 17:12:06 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Being_Afro-Latino.jpg

On Voices with Jawan Strader, four South Florida Afro-Latinos talk about the struggle with their racial identity and their relationship with both the Latin and African-American communities.

<![CDATA[Maternity Glam Shots for Moms on Bed Rest]]>Fri, 11 May 2018 12:01:00 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/178*120/AyeishaSolomon.JPG

During pregnancy, some women struggle with feeling beautiful and normal. And, it’s worse for expectant moms who are on bed rest. That was true for Ayeisha Solomon who was on bed rest for two months of her third trimester.

Doctors ordered the 39-year-old to stay in the hospital due to complications during her pregnancy. Even though Solomon was excited about carrying twins -- a boy and a girl -- she was still worried that she would not get to enjoy a baby shower or a maternity photoshoot.

“The fact that you’re on bedrest that means there’s something happening that’s not entirely normal and you may feel distraught and may feel depressed,” Solomon said. “But, there’s some part of the experience that you actually get to enjoy.”

A bedridden Solomon got to enjoy a maternity photo shoot thanks to photographer Alexis Beckford-Knighton. A nurse at the hospital told her about Beckford-Knighton’s work with bed rest mothers. The photographer is the founder of Aquas Images and has recently focused her photography on pregnant moms who are confined to a hospital bed.

“An opportunity like this allows persons who are on bed rest to kind of not feel left out,” Solomon said with a huge smile.

The day Beckford-Knighton arrived at the hospital, she brought along a glam squad. Solomon was overjoyed.

“I’m enjoying the makeup session, so far. I don’t do this often and I’m not in front of the camera often. So, it’s just surreal,” the pregnant mom said.

Beckford-Knighton started doing bed rest glam shots last year after her close friend wanted a maternity photoshoot even though she was stuck in the hospital. When she posted the final pictures and the mom’s story to social media, other bedridden mothers immediately reached out to the photographer.

“There’s beauty in the struggle,” Beckford-Knighton said. “It’s a hard time, you can still smile and you can still be gorgeous.”

Solomon’s final photo has no evidence that the bedridden mom posed just inches away from her hospital bed. The photographer created a new world outside the bland walls that surrounded them. She creates the magic with her editing skills.

“When I walk into the hospital and I’m in such a small space, I don’t see it. I’m already thinking of the big picture. I literally just need their body,” Beckford-Knighton explained.

“For all of this to happen now, it’s just like is almost surreal, like it’s too good to be,” Solomon rejoiced.

Beckford-Knighton said she loves seeing the energy shift in her bed rest moms during the photoshoots.

“There’s always a sweet spot in the photography session where mommy kind of relaxes and lets her guard down and really starts to come in to herself,” Beckford-Knighton said.

The photographer’s work isn’t limited to bed rest moms. She also creates magical moments for moms of premature babies. She safely does the photo shoots from the hospital and the final images capture the preemies without feeding tubes and bandages.

Photo Credit: AquasImagesbyAlex
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Harmonik' Set to Headline 20th Annual Compas Fest]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 15:52:44 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/050718+Harmonik+Haitian+Compas+Fest.jpg

NBC 6 talks to popular Haitian-born band Harmonik about headlining this year's 20th annual Haitian Compas Festival during Haitian Heritage Month.

<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Cop Who Lost Legs Walks at Daughter’s Graduation]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 10:56:35 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/050318+maj+ricky+carter+graduation.jpg

Nearly a year after a life-altering motorcycle crash, Miami-Dade police Maj. Ricky Carter fulfilled a promise he made to his daughter Thursday night.

Maj. Carter walked during his daughter’s college graduation on his brand-new prosthetic legs. NBC 6 was the only station to capture the moments when Maj. Carter walked into the Sun Dome arena in Tampa. Seeing her father take those steps was inspiring to Jennifer Carter.

"Just a year ago, I didn’t think he would be here," the University of South Florida grad said. "To see him stand again felt like old times. It was the best feeling ever."

For months, Maj. Carter spent hours in physical therapy learning to walk again for Jennifer’s graduation.

"She propelled me to get to what I achieved today. She’s been my motivation," Maj. Carter said. "I want to be the best man that I can be for her. I need to do this to show her that life has no limitations. That we can still chase our dreams. So, don’t let obstacles or hurdles in your way define you."

He also hung a sign on the wall of his Doral office that reminded him daily of his goal. He put it up three months ago.

"I wrote that when I clearly defined what my goals are. I wrote that and I put it there so I can look at it every day," the officer explained.

On May 7, 2017, the 23-year police veteran was riding his personal motorcycle on Interstate 75 when he crashed into the guardrail. He lost both legs in the accident.

"I can recall waking up in a hospital bed and seeing broken arms, so I’m trying to move my legs under the covers and my legs aren’t cooperating with the moves I’m trying to make. So, I lift off the covers and see that I don’t have any legs," Carter recalled.

In that heart-sinking moment, the police officer questioned how he would move on.

"It was extremely difficult. The process was trying to cope with that. How can I be the man that I wanted to be? How can I be the officer I wanted to be moving forward? How can I be the father I wanted to be moving forward? I had no idea how I was going to do this," he said.

He says every day since that crash has been a struggle.

"I didn’t know how difficult this journey was going to be, I had no clue," he said.

Nearly every day of the week, Maj. Carter takes a trip to physical therapy at Neuro Fit 360 in Pembroke Pines. One by one, he puts on his prosthetic legs to get ready for his grueling sessions.

“Quite honestly, it’s like learning how to walk all over again. At times, I feel like a toddler with my balance, trying to walk,” Carter described.

His therapist and owner of Neuro Fit 360, Guy Romain, says it’s rare to have a double amputee walk on prosthetic legs in less than a year.

"This is not easy. If you see what he’s doing and how hard he’s working, it is not easy," Romain explained.

Maj. Carter said any time an obstacle gets in the way, he finds a way.

“I dig deep and I find that fighter inside of me,” Carter said with a big smile on his face.

He says the steps he took at his daughter’s graduation are just the beginning. The father wants to eventually run again one day.

No matter his goal, he has a community rooting him along the way. Since the crash, supporters have donated more than $86,000 to a GoFundMe page dedicated to Maj. Carter. If you’d like to donate, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[The Untold History of Liberty City’s Segregation Walls]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 10:54:44 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/050418+liberty+city+segregation+walls.jpg

People walk past pieces of Liberty City history every day without knowing it. Concrete slabs that line the sidewalk along Northwest 12th Avenue north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard were once 8-foot tall segregation walls.

During the Jim Crow era, the walls were built to separate blacks from whites. Decades later, the slabs are still a mystery because it’s unclear who approved the construction of the walls.

Leonardo Jackson, 17, is among the few young people in the neighborhood who recently learned the history of the walls.

“I was shocked. And, I was kind of disappointed in myself to have something so historic and important to the black community’s culture right here in my own community and I didn’t even know about it,” Jackson said.

The 17-year-old is a student at William H. Turner Technical High School. He lives near the cement barriers that represented the racist laws that existed at the time they were built.

Historian Timothy Barber, Executive Director at The Black Archives of South Florida, has researched the walls for years.

“Liberty City was an all-white suburb that blacks did not live in,” explained Barber.

That changed in the 1940s when the federal government built the Liberty Square Housing Project on the outskirts of the suburb. It was the second housing project built in the U.S.

Barber said the white residents were not happy about their new black neighbors.

“They did not want to look out their doors and see black people in their neighborhood. So, for some reason, as they built Liberty Square the wall went up as well,” Barber explained.

The historian said there’s no official record of the construction or demolition of the wall.

“When you pull the federal architectural plans for Liberty City — the wall doesn’t exist. You go to the city to try to get plans for the wall — it doesn’t exist,” Barber said.

He added that he’s had a hard time even finding media clippings on the walls.

NBC 6 Jawan Strader asked Barber why he thinks there’s no record of the walls.

The historian said, “I think just like all of history in America and what America did to people of color, to black people over the period of time — it’s a black eye to it.”

The remnants of the walls have been designated as a historic monument in the City of Miami.

This summer, a student project called Wall-In plans to create art out of the ugly past. It’s led by Moonlight playwright and Liberty City native Tarell Alvin McCraney. He teamed up with Arts For Learning Miami and lead artist Chat Traveiso.

“This project is meant to have young people involved in naming their history in understanding the past, but also having a hand creating and shaping the future,” said Traveiso.

Jackson has participated in the program, which he said allowed him to trace the walls and conceptualize the structure of the slabs.

“It’s put me on that path of all the other black people whose eyes are a little bit more open to the history and to what’s actually going on in their own community,” Jackson said.

He and two dozen students will create an art installation that will tell the story of the now low-lying barriers. The program is housed in Liberty City’s African Heritage Cultural Center.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Voices: Mental Wounds Left Untreated]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 10:53:18 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NBC_6_Voices__Mental_Wounds_Left_Untreated.jpg

Jawan Strader has a conversation with Dr. Delvena Thomas and Dr. Michael Nozile from Gang Alternative, Inc. about untreated mental wounds in high-crime neighborhoods.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Voices: Little Haiti Book Festival]]>Sat, 05 May 2018 11:59:31 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NBC_6_Voices__Little_Haiti_Book_Festival.jpg

The Little Haiti Book Festival is underway this weekend.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Voices Driving While Black Discussion]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 16:12:31 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NBC_6_Voices_Driving_While_Black_Discussion.jpg

NBC 6 anchor Jawan Strader talks to Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates, attorney Marwan Porter and The Dream Defenders co-founder Phillip Agnew about the interaction between police officers and African-American drivers.

<![CDATA[Black MSD Students Speak About Youth Movement]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:30:53 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Black_MSD_Students_Speak_About_Youth_Movement.jpg

NBC 6 anchor Jawan Strader speaks with MSD students -- Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, Brandon Dasent, Tyah-Amoy Roberts and Kai Koerber - about the youth movement.

<![CDATA[Program Helps Girls Embrace Their Inner Power]]>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:38:00 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Program_Helps_Girls_Embrace_Their_Inner_Power.jpg

A Liberty City native gives back to her community by helping young girls embrace their inner power. NBC 6's Trina Robinson met the young girls impacted by the program.

<![CDATA[15-Year-Old Author Chanice Lee Talks About Teen Activism]]>Wed, 04 Apr 2018 13:51:38 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_100000006227345_1200x675_1200760899711.jpg

NBC 6 Anchor Jawan Strader talks to Chanice Lee, 15, about her recently published book Young Revolutionary: A Teen's Guide to Activism. 

<![CDATA[Martin Luther King Jr.'s Miami Visits Before Assassination]]>Mon, 02 Apr 2018 16:01:00 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*121/Martin+Luther+King+Swimming+in+Miami+pool+at+Historic+Hampton+House.jpgHere's a look back at some of MLK's iconic moments spent in South Florida before his assassination in 1968:

Photo Credit: Historic Hampton House ]]>
<![CDATA[Preserving the Tradition and History of Soul Food]]>Mon, 02 Apr 2018 12:07:37 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Preserving_the_Tradition_and_History_of_Soul_Food.jpg

Popular Miami Chef Ernisha Randolph wants to preserve the tradition and history of Soul Food. She's doing it through her company Sweet Butter, which hosts pop-up dinners inspired by Black Southern cuisine.

<![CDATA[Reformed Gang Leader Mentors Through Ministry]]>Mon, 02 Apr 2018 10:24:39 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Reformed_Gang_Leader_Mentors_Through_Ministry.jpg

Renee Martinez aka Level talks to NBC 6 Anchor Jawan Strader about his past life and how his spirituality helped him change his life and other men like him.

<![CDATA[Urban Gardens Flourish in South Florida's Food Deserts]]>Tue, 13 Mar 2018 10:37:04 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/030818+urban+garden+in+liberty+city.jpg

At the center of a cluster of apartment complexes in Miami’s liberty city lies a thriving garden.

On any given day, you can find long-time resident Nicole Fowles and her granddaughters tending to the garden. The grandmother is the Garden Manager at the sprawling urban farm which was set up by the non-profit organization Health in the Hood.

“I can just walk out my door if I want a salad. If I want to make a sweet potato pie, I have the sweet potatoes right here. And, so do my neighbors,” said Fowles.

Health in the Hood sets up gardens in communities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in an effort to help residents gain access to healthy, fresh vegetables. Asha Loring is the founder of the group and she says healthy attitudes are being adopted in these communities.

“Kids are growing up with vegetables in their backyard where they would not be able to that if they were 10 blocks away from the garden,” said Loring. “We’re really getting to see people’s trajectories changing from growing up in a food environment.”

The targeted areas are deemed “food deserts” by the U.S. Drug and Food Administration. These communities have 500 or more residents that don’t have access within a mile to a grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables. There are more than a dozen food deserts in South Florida.

“Getting to the store sometimes is hectic. You might not have a ride at that moment. Or, your car might not be running,” Fowles explained.

Dr. Joseph Mosquera, a general practitioner, says many food deserts are located next to very wealthy areas. “Food deserts contribute to almost all the chronic diseases and conditions people are familiar with,” said Dr. Mosquera.

The common health problems seen in these areas include diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and basic forms of cancer. A person’s zip code can have a bigger impact on their health more than their genetic code, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chad Cherry is the resident chef for the Northwest Gardens, located in Fort Lauderdale’s Sistrunk District. The area is also deemed a food desert. He says he sees many of his neighbors suffering with these chronic diseases.

“The connector is that they’re food preventable,” Chef Cherry explained. Northwest Gardens is run by the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority. Chef Cherry provides nutrition education to more than 4,000 people living in community. They also get free veggies from the gardens.

“It’s a shame because the common knowledge that we take for granted, especially for me as a chef, it’s like I know what this vegetable is and I’ve worked with it. They don’t have that,” said Chef Cherry.

A study by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services suggests if as little as 1% of the population in food deserts gain access to fresh produce, more than 600 premature deaths could be prevented.

Photo Credit: NBC 6
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Family Fights Against Deportation Ahead of TPS Deadline]]>Tue, 13 Mar 2018 11:48:24 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/030718+Rony+Ponthieux+Family+Haiti+TPS.jpg

“I will fight until the last minute.”

It’s a fight Rony Ponthieux and nearly 60,000 other Haitian TPS recipients hope to win. The Trump administration terminated the temporary protection for the group and now they have until July of 2019 to leave the United States. The termination of the program is a harsh reality for Ponthieux and his family who have called South Florida home for the last 18 years.

“We don’t know what to do or what to choose. [Go] back to Haiti with our kids or leave them here. It’s very scary, “Ponthieux explained. “I have no house in Haiti. I have nothing left in Haiti.”

Ponthieux left his native country in 1999 for political reasons. His request for political asylum was denied back then. However, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ponthieux and his wife qualified for the TPS program.

“I was able to work, to drive. I was already a Licensed Practical Nurse. I went back to school. I became a Registered Nurse. And, with that I worked and I take care of my family and some friends and some people in Haiti,” the father of two said. He currently works at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“I pay taxes, I’m saving lives. I am not a criminal. I’m not a terrorist. I am a health care provider. I contribute. And, the only thing I need is a safe place to raise my family,” Ponthieux said.

He and his wife have two U.S.-born children – a son, 17, and a daughter, 10.

TPS beneficiaries from Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador have about 273,000 U.S.-born children, according to the Center for Migration Studies.

Ponthieux’s daughter, Ronyde Christina , is active in the family’s fight for permanent residency. The 10-year-old attends meetings and press conferences held by the non-profit Haitian Women of Miami. She is even featured in a video message addressed to President Trump. In the video, the 5th grader urges Trump to reverse his decision.

“It’s a bit disappointing, but I am not ready to give up yet,” Ronyde said. “Whether I’m with my parents or without my parents, I know I will keep fighting hard so that they can stay with me.”

The family says the government should not remove good people from the U.S.

“There are bad people, we are not,” said Ponthieux.

The father of two said they will sit tight, hoping for a solution from Congress before the 2019 deadline.

“I will fight. I will show myself. I think that the best thing is to fight.”

For tips on what to do as a TPS recipient ahead of the July 2019 deadline, visit cclsmiami.org.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami 'Project Runway' Contestant Mentors Inner City Youth]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 12:19:11 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/020217+project+runway+contestant+merline+labisierre.jpg

Miami native Merline Labisierre made her mark on the hit fashion competition show Project Runway Season 14 and Project Runway All Stars Season 6. The SCAD alum lives in South Florida where she works from her studio in Liberty and also mentors youth from the surrounding community.

Labisierre talked to NBC 6 about what inspires her and what she thinks the fashion industry is missing.

 When were you first introduced to textile art and design?

Labisierre: “I remember there was this one teacher [who] was crocheting and I asked her ‘can you teach me that?’ She said ‘yeah, just ask your mom.’ So, I asked my Haitian mom and she [the teacher] taught me how to crochet. From there, I went to high school and I was selling my crochet bags. For me that was a symbol of one person taking their time off to teach me an art form and how that sparked so many different opportunities – so many different of layers of what art is. Now, I’m on a mission to give back.” 

How are you giving back to the community?

Labisierre: “Through my company, I started a non-profit where I get to mentor the next generation. The non-profit called Provoke Style Fashion Camp. I get to basically teach them [children] everything I’ve learned, from sewing to drawing, even showing their work down the runway. I’m very passionate about evoking the eyes of the next generation.”

“One thing I’ve learned in watching my students is a lot of people come into the inner city and they make promises. They don’t keep those promises. So, for a long time I kept saying ‘we’re gonna have a fashion show. We’re gonna have models’. And, they were like ‘yeah, whatever’. But, when the show happened and the chairs happened and their parents showed up they saw their clothes come down the runway – it was such an emotional experience because they were like ‘wow, she was for real.’ So, I think just showing up made a big difference. And, also keeping my word – just really impacted them.”

How important is mentoring inner city youth to you?

Labisierre: “I feel like I’m leaving a legacy. I’m not just an artist – just creating dresses – which is awesome. But, I think when you’re impacting the next generation, you’ll leave a legacy that you don’t even see for a generation. When my students walk out the door, they have their drawings as a portfolio, they have their work and also their logo to take them – to let them dream. I think that’s what I love about me as an artist cause of the possibility. Just giving them that gift of dreaming is the reason why I do it is because I wish someone who’ve done it for me.”

What’s your favorite part about being a fashion designer?

Labisierre: “The creative process. I think I have that foundation because of architecture. I went to Miami-Dade [College] and got my Associate’s in Architecture. I love the idea of merging fashion and architecture. The creative process helps me dream. One thing that I love about my brand – my brand is just not creating garments, but my brand is giving back to the next generation. I want to people to see my brand and say ‘wow that brand made an impact in the community’ – ‘that brand moved a culture’ – ‘that brand moved the next generation to be great artists.’”

What influences your designs and your mission to give back?

Labisierre: “I feel like my [Haitian] culture has a lot to do with it. My mom came to the U.S. from Haiti on a boat. My mom is always like ‘You’re crazy. How you just do this and start your business with no money?’ I’m like ‘No Mommy. You’re crazy. Who gets on a boat from Haiti to America and risks their lives?’ That’s insane to me. I think having that foundation…. gives me that drive every morning to wake up at 4:30, hit the gym, go to my studio and impact people.”

 Describe your brand.

Labisierre: "I love merging architecture and fashion and bringing couture. I want my brand to redefine what beauty is in fashion. I design for the modern woman. That modern woman that dreams. I want to provide that modern woman – even in my ready-to-wear line, every-day garments – that can satisfy her every day work as she’s a businesswoman, an entrepreneur and an artist.”

 How has Project Runway changed your life?

Labisierre: "Being on Project Runway – giving me a platform to go back and to teach these kids. To go back to get those resources. It helps me to accomplish those big dreams."

What do you think is missing in the fashion industry today?

Labisierre: “I feel like what’s missing in fashion is impacting and giving a voice to the next generation. As designers, we can consume. We can create beautiful garments. I think sometimes in the industry we don’t take time to take someone along with us and say ‘hey, I can help you with this. I’ve done this. I’ve been there.’ Fashion by itself rocked generations, but what I think what’s missing is going back to our communities. I think when we do that we build another generation of designers that is impacting their communities and the world also.”

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Voices: Vetting Online School Threats]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:12:34 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/030517+vetting+school+threats.jpg

The conversation with Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett and Miami Herald reporter Monique Madan continues on how to vet school threats in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.

<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Speaks on School Safety]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:26:51 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NBC_6_Voices__Keeping_Schools_Safe_Segment_1.jpg

Jawan Strader talks with Miami-Dade School's police chief Ian Moffett and Miami Herald reporter Monique Madan about keeping schools safe.

<![CDATA[Little Haiti Poet Uses Art, Activism to Unite Community]]>Mon, 26 Feb 2018 10:59:18 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/022618+Aja+Monet+Poet.jpg

Aja Monet shares her poetry work and her efforts in raising awareness for social justice on this segment of Voices.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Runcie Applauds Students Protesting Gun Violence]]>Sun, 25 Feb 2018 18:34:24 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Runcie_Applauds_Students_Protesting_Gun_Violence.jpg

Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie is applauding the students of South Florida schools for speaking out against gun violence.

<![CDATA[Liberty City Native's Journey with Alvin Ailey Theater]]>Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:41:56 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Liberty_City_Native_s_Journey_with_Alvin_Ailey_Theater.jpg

NBC 6 Reporter Michael Spears explains a Liberty City native's journey with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

<![CDATA[Fins Host Youth and Police Conference at Hard Rock Stadium]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:19:23 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*126/022018+Miami+Beach+PD+at+Fins+Event.jpg

A powerful meeting played out at the Hard Rock Stadium between black youth and dozens of law enforcement officers. The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project teamed up with the Miami Dolphins Tuesday to host a police and youth conference. The event is designed to promote a positive interaction between young black men and law enforcement.

More than 600 high school students, who are members of the program, attended the conference along with officers from different police agencies, including Miami Gardens Police, Miami Beach Police, FBI and DEA.

The group assembled also took a moment to honor law enforcement and first responders for the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, works with community leaders to help black teen boys get on the path to success. The teens are mentored by prominent leaders in South Florida’s black community, including NBC 6 anchor Jawan Strader. Strader spoke at Tuesday’s event, encouraging students to continue their education to ensure a bright future. “Education is the key to success,” Strader told the mentees.

The teens participated in workshops and demonstrations with officers. 

“In these workshops, the police and youth reverse roles to learn each other’s responsibilities, and how to respect each other and cut that tension," said Congresswoman Wilson. "To have the Dolphins, our hometown team, involved as well, and have them teaching a lesson to the children is just phenomenal.”

 The program is part of the Dolphins’ RISE initiative – which is supported by a yearly fund for social justice programs. Several Fins players have been vocal about police brutality and racial inequality since the kneeling protest spread throughout the NFL last season.

Players Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas have worked with the team to create events that serve to bridge the gap between the black community and law enforcement. The Dolphins host CommUNITY Tailgates at every home game, allowing members of the 5000 Role Models and other members of the community to bond with players and law enforcement officers.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Making Kids Feel Safe After School Shootings]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:19:37 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Making_Kids_Feel_Safe_After_School_Shootings.jpg

NBC 6's Jawan Strader sat down with licensed psychotherapist Isabel Rodriguez to discuss how parents should talk to their kids after tragic shootings.

<![CDATA[How to Prevent School Shootings]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:43:29 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/How_to_Prevent_School_Shootings.jpg

Jawan Strader sat down with Larry Lawton, the founder of the Reality Check Program, to discuss how school shootings can be prevented.

<![CDATA[Bridging the Cultural Gap: African Americans vs Caribbean]]>Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:37:39 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Bridging_the_Cultural_Gap__African_Americans_vs_Caribbean.jpg

Is there a cultural divide between African Americans and blacks from the Caribbean? NBC 6 Voices host Jawan Strader sits down with a panel of blacks from various backgrounds to discuss the topic.

<![CDATA[Hollywood Man Fought to Rename Confederate Streets for Years]]>Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:47:36 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/BenjaminIsrael.jpg

Before the nation turned its attention to remove Confederate symbols with protests that turned violent, 80-year-old Benjamin Israel, a black Orthodox Jew, was quietly leading a battle in Hollywood to replace three streets named after Confederate leaders.

“We have a concept known as Tikkun Olam, which means we have a responsibility to make the world a better place,” said Israel.

The activist says a friend asked him to take on the issue since he served on the city’s African-American Advisory Council. But, some within the council dismissed the so-called problem that Israel brought to their attention.

“They said, N-word you crazy! We don’t have time for this kind of nonsense. We got more important things to do,” recalled Israel.

So he decided to take his fight before the City Commission and that went on for three years.

“It took a while to get their attention, because they were not concerned. When the new Mayor came, that changed the situation. That changed the dynamics,” Israel explained.

Finally, commissioners started to hear the soft-spoken New York native –who now calls South Florida home. He had done his homework on all the Confederate name and one stood out the most: Nathan Bedford Forrest. That street runs right through Hollywood’s Black Liberia neighborhood.

“He ultimately became the founder of the KKK, and he also was the first Grand Wizard,” Israel lamented. “As a black man, it was particularly hurtful. Being that you could have a street running through the middle of the black community named after the founder of the KKK, whose purpose it was to destroy, to frighten and to chase away black people.”

Word of Israel’s campaign spread to other activists including Black Lives Matter.

“There involvement was very helpful to us, because they came out in force to the meetings and it made a difference,” he said.

One voice turned into many.

In August 2017, the Commission voted 5-1 to change the street names, because, according to Israel, city leaders looked beyond race.

“Do the right thing not because you’re white, not because you’re black, but because you have a moral obligation,” the activist explained.

Israel’s hard work earned him an honor from Black Lives Matter. The organization called him a community hero.

It was a special honor for the man surrounded by his books with a love and passion for history.

Israel’s advice for the next generation of black leaders who want change may surprise some.

“We got to stop blaming the white man. When we come together and do what we need to do for ourselves. Everything else will fall into place,” Israel said.

<![CDATA[Millennial Works to Preserve Dania Beach's Black History]]>Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:30:21 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Millennial_Works_to_Preserve_Dania_Beach_s_Black_Histor.jpg

NBC 6's Erika Glover reports on a 29-year-old man who is working to preserve the Black History of Dania Beach.

<![CDATA[Miami Dolphins Social Justice Initiatives]]>Mon, 05 Feb 2018 15:02:05 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Miami_Dolphins_Social_Justice_Initiatives.jpg

NBC 6's Michael Spears explains how the Miami Dolphins are taking steps to try to bridge the racial divide.

<![CDATA[Eula Johnson, 'Wade-Ins' Desegregated Ft. Lauderdale Beach]]>Fri, 02 Feb 2018 19:22:30 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/020218FTLBeachDesegregation.jpg

Taking a stroll along the shores of Fort Lauderdale Beach, you’ll find people of all shapes, sizes and colors basking in our slice of paradise. But, there was a time when the color of your skin would determine whether you were allowed to frolic on the sand off Las Olas Boulevard.

Activist and business owner Eula Johnson became the key figure in fighting for equality on South Florida beaches. Some people called her the Rosa Parks of South Florida. Johnson planned wade-ins at Fort Lauderdale Beach during the summer of 1961, even when the Ku Klux Klan threatened to ambush the protests.

Tony Thompson, a historian at the Old Dillard Museum in Fort Lauderdale, researched Johnson’s journey to desegregate the beach. He said he learned about Johnson and her efforts through interviews with people in the community over the years.

“I put her right up there with Martin Luther Kings, you know, the other civil rights leaders, because she had the same courage,” Thompson said.

Johnson became the regional president of the NAACP in 1958. On July 4, 1961, she led her first wade-in at Fort Lauderdale Beach along with fellow activist Dr. Von D. Mizell.

“[They] loaded some teenagers in their cars and they drove them to the beach,” explained Thompson. “They parked their cars and walked on to the beach. White people started to crowd around them and they just kept walking towards the water. And the crowd parted.”

Thompson said no one bothered the protesters and there were no arrests. Images of that first wade-in are on display at the Old Dillard Museum. Johnson’s efforts were challenged by whites who opposed integration.

“There was a political newspaper publisher named Gore – who called her and asked her to stop…because white people did not want to swim with the colored people,” Thompson explained. “And that he would pay her money and give her access to things other colored people did not have if she would cooperate.”

Johnson did not give in to the offer and continued her fight. She planned another wade-in on July 23, but she got a tip that the KKK had plans to disrupt the protest.

“She called the FBI, she was smart,” Thompson said. She went on with the protest, but tensions were high.

“There were FBI agents on the roofs of hotels on the beach and in boats in the water. There was one colored woman arrested. And, that was the only real incident,” Thompson explained. “The KKK did show up with ax-handles – but the police kept them at bay.”

Johnson held several more wade-ins after until the City of Fort Lauderdale filed a lawsuit against her, claiming that she causing chaos and becoming a public nuisance. The case went to a federal judge who sided with Johnson.

“The federal courts decided that since colored people paid taxes just like everybody else they deserved to use public beaches just like any other citizen,” said Thompson.

Johnson put her life on the line to crush racial barriers on the shores on South Florida.

“She was courageous, and accomplished a feat that nobody thought she would accomplish,” said Beauregard Cummings, 92. He played youth football with Johnson’s son. Cummings said as a teen, he watched in awe as the activist refused to back down.

“I don’t think enough people do know about the people who helped to bring us where we are today,” said Thompson.

Johnson died in 2011 at the age of 94.

In 2016, Broward County’s colored beach during Segregation – John U. Lloyd State Park -- was renamed for Eula Johnson and Dr. Von D. Mizell.

Photo Credit: Old Dillard Museum
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[‘My Life Unraveled’: Retired NFL Star Says He Has CTE]]>Mon, 05 Feb 2018 15:04:46 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/013118+Larry+Johnson+NFL+Running+Back+Retired.jpg

Former NFL star Larry Johnson, Jr. says he fights self-destructive impulses, mood swings and fits of rage, all symptoms of past victims diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Though the degenerative brain disorder, linked to more than 100 former NFL players, can be confirmed only after death, Johnson says he is sure he suffers from CTE.

“I didn’t grow up with mental issues, being bi-polar or anything being wrong with me. I was a shy kid,” Johnson told NBC 6 anchor Jawan Strader. He added that once he started playing football at age 9, he noticed changes in his character.

“Once you bang your head against other helmets and you’re hitting [it] all the time in practice and all the time in summer camp, you understand that your personality starts to change,” Johnson said.

[[472781543, C]]

Johnston's football career spanned over two decades. He was a 2002 Heisman Trophy finalist at Penn State and a two-time Pro Bowler. While playing for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006, Johnson set an NFL record with 416 carries.

That same year, Dr. Bennet Omalu, the famed forensic pathologist portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 movie "Concussion," published his second research reporting another case of autopsy-confirmed CTE linked to football-related head injuries. Omalu's findings triggered a crisis within the NFL that continues to haunt the league today.

Johnson was never diagnosed with a concussion during his tenure as an NFL player. He spent six years with the Chiefs before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. He also played for the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphis.

Since Johnson playing his last game in 2011, the league has changed standards for detecting and dealing with concussions. The 38-year-old believes he may have suffered a concussion years before his professional career, dating back to his time playing pee-wee football.

“You take four days of practice, four days of hitting at 9-years-old, you elevate that to 10 years of the same thing,” Johnson explained, highlighting the repeated blows his young body endured. “There’s a lot of us walking around with brain issues and they’re not saying anything.”

Johnston racked up six arrests during what he calls his darkest times, with several of the incidents involving domestic violence. The former running back said his "toxic masculinity" worsened his condition as he moved on from college football to the NFL.

“All I want[ed] to do is go through rages,” Johnson explained. “I covered up my toxic masculinity with drinking, going out, plunging myself in toxic relationships with people I know I had no business being with. But, that’s who I was at the time …. I had to divorce football. It was a painful divorce.”

Johnson also says he has bipolar disorder and that his memory has deteriorated over the years.

“It became a point where I couldn’t remember 2007, 2008 season. I could not remember that,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t remember where I put my keys. I could have my car remote in my hand and try to open the car with the TV remote. I would pick up my daughter, knowing that I’m not supposed to have her on that day, and act like everything is fine.”

He said he could have ended up like former New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez. Johnson thanks his relationship with his father for steering him away from the path Hernandez took.

“That could have been me. I felt what he felt,” Johnson revealed to Strader.

Johnson’s 7-year-old daughter, Jaylen, also helped him change his self-destructive ways. “I don’t know where I would’ve been if I didn’t have a child in my life.” He said Jaylen grounds him and adds purpose to his life.

“I need support from her just as much as she needs support from me.”

The former Chiefs player said that therapy and being in solitude has also aided in his evolution. He explained that he can now identify the things that will trigger his violent impulses.

“It’s a feeling of un-comfortability. You don’t feel right. It’s just something in your heart. It’s a gut feeling that you know something’s not right,” Johnson explained. “I know how to excuse myself and leave a situation.”

“Now, I’m just more sensitive to things. I prefer to be alone a lot of the times because I know I’m at peace with myself,” Johnson said.

Nowadays, when Johnson isn’t spending time with his daughter, he’s working with the nonprofit organization, Motivational Edge. The retired NFL star serves on the board. The group works with youth in underserved communities by exposing them to culturally relevant arts to inspire them toward academic achievement.

Johnson said the organization allows him to speak truth to his struggle and help at-risk students get on the right path.

<![CDATA[High Schools Working to Prevent Football Head Trauma]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 17:41:46 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/189*120/013118+High+School+Concussions.jpg

The pounding sound of helmets colliding echoes through high school football stadiums across the country – teen bodies colliding while crowds cheer on. These hard hits on the field come with a price for some teen players.

Dylan King, a junior at Felix Varela High School, felt the brunt of the game one night.

“During halftime is when my body started cooling down and my head started throbbing,” King explained. He later learned he suffered a concussion. It was his second concussion.

“I couldn't think. My coach was talking to me. [I] couldn't focus on what he was saying,” said King.

Dr. Jillian Hotz, director at KiDZ Neuroscience Center at the University of Miami, diagnosed the junior with the brain injury.

Dr. Hotz works closely with injured high school football players as she serves as director of the concussion program for Miami-Dade County Schools.

The school district partners with UM to log, treat and prevent concussions that occur in sports programs at every public high school in the county.

Dr. Hotz says with the increased concern over concussions, coaches and players are taking more precaution.

“These are contact sports and kids are playing well and aggressive getting those plays done that the coaches are calling out,” Dr. Hotz explained. “I think there's more education. I think everyone is more aware now of how serious this is and if this does occur to get these kids out.”

Since the 2014-2015 school year, reported concussions at Miami-Dade high schools have dropped, according to data provided by the school district. Concussions were down to 161 in the 2016/2017 school year from 209 in the 2014/2015 school year.

The school district’s concussion program also includes training and providing players with the most effective gear.

Arthur de Mello is one of the athletic trainers at Felix Varela High School. He also works with King and other teen athletes. De Mello uses exercise techniques to strengthen players’ neck muscles to help reduce concussions and other injuries.

“The whole idea with this [training] is to prevent a whiplash by getting tackled,” explained De Melo. “The misconception is that you can only get a concussion if you get hit in the head, but the truth is through whiplash or just hitting the floor really hard that's also causes a concussion.”

Since his recovery, King has been cleared to play. He returned to the field feeling assured that his school has taken the steps to ensure his future is bright beyond football.

“It makes me feel warm inside knowing that they care about my health [and] not just me as an athlete,” said King.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Launches 'Voices With Jawan Strader' on Feb. 3]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:13:10 -0400https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/020118+voices+with+jawan+strader.jpg

NBC6/WTVJ will debut "Voices with Jawan Strader" on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 9 a.m., immediately after the NBC6 South Florida Today Saturday newscast (check local listings).

The locally produced weekly half-hour show will highlight the issues that affect black communities across South Florida.

"Voices is about giving a voice to those we don’t hear from every day," said Strader. "We’re proud to present a show that will be devoted to highlighting our South Florida communities. Through 'Voices,' our viewers will have an outlet to see the great things going on in their local neighborhoods and also discuss the difficult issues that affect them day in and day out."

"Voices with Jawan Strader" will provide analysis of social issues impacting the local black communities and will serve as a platform to create connections within the community. The program will feature interviews with South Florida dignitaries, grassroots leaders and residents.

"At NBC 6, we take our commitment to serving our communities very seriously," added Migdalia Figueroa, Vice President of News for NBC 6.  "'Voices' will provide a venue for change makers and local residents to engage in conversations that could jump start positive changes in the communities we all call home."

Story pitches for show consideration can be sent to voices@nbcuni.com. Viewers can also check NBC 6’s complete Saturday morning TV lineup by clicking here.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>