About Corinna J. Moebius, PhD

Corinna J. Moebius, Ph.D.

Corinna J. Moebius, Ph.D. is a Little Havana-based writer, educator, walking guide, catalyst and consultant. She helps individuals, groups and organizations build capacity, develop policies, and shift paradigms. She reminds us of our interconnectedness with one another and with the Living Earth, opening hearts and minds.

An interdisciplinary, “border-crossing” thinker and doer, Corinna is trained in cultural anthropology, critical geography, public history, critical race/gender studies, African & African Diaspora Studies and Latinx/Latin American Studies, as well as Permaculture, ecology and eco-spiritualities.

Consulting

Corinna is a Senior Associate with Justice & Sustainability Associates, LLC (JSA), leading its Governance practice and also contributing to the Parks and Open Space and History and Conciliation practice areas.

JSA specializes in designing and implementing large and small group multi-stakeholder agenda setting and decision-making processes. The firm uses alternative dispute resolution techniques in public policy, civic engagement and organizational development processes related to achieving sustainable community development, environmental justice, and smart growth.

Corinna’s most recent project with JSA provides facilitation, documentation and strategic advice services for the newly formed Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality in West Palm Beach, Florida. The mission of the Task Force is to identify and help address issues of racial/ethnic equity through education about racial and ethnic inequities, research of best practices, and issuance of policy/funding recommendations to address racial/ethnic inequity in the City of West Palm Beach.

Teaching

Corinna is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the Global & Sociocultural Studies department at Florida International University. She teaches classes such as the Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity, the Sociology of Gender, and the Individual in Society.

Her academic research focuses on forces of global white supremacy as they materialize in the design and regulation of neighborhoods, heritage districts and spaces of memorialization and commemoration. She has conducted extensive research on Little Havana and racial dynamics within Miami’s Cuban diaspora.

Writing Projects & Walking Tours

With Cuban-American sociologist Dr. Guillermo Grenier, Corinna co-authored A History of Little Havana (The History Press, 2015), a “people’s history” of the neighborhood.

She is currently working on a major book project based on her Ph.D. dissertation, which investigated the racial politics behind the development of Little Havana’s Calle Ocho district. She is currently working on a digital arts project highlighting Little Havana’s little-known black history.

Corinna designed and still occasionally leads walking tours (on hold due to COVID-19) that promote critical thinking about the role of the built environment in shaping racial narratives and practices.

Miami New Times article mentions Corinna Moebius leading walking tours as a part of the Jane's Walk initiative.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, she was working as a tour guide (or tour leader) for several of the world’s top tour operators: Classic Journeys, Road Scholar and Excursionist.

She was also designing and leading unique field trip experiences for students and professionals. She served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow and Advisor for “Civic Engagement & Neighborhood Revitalization: Issues and Options for Miami’s Little Havana,” a graduate level course at Florida Atlantic University. In addition to leading field trips for the students, she guest lectured students and connected them to local residents and stakeholders. The findings of the student research projects were shared with the community.

For the 2019 annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Washington, DC, she designed and co-led (with Afro-Latino community leader Roland Roebuck) a field trip focused on remembering the heritage and history of people of color in Adams Morgan and Malcolm X Park.

Civic Leadership

Corinna has earned an international reputation for her civic leadership and involvement in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. She has organized numerous neighborhood-based efforts aimed at bringing diverse neighborhood stakeholders together, protecting mom and pop businesses, and ensuring equitable development in the gentrifying neighborhood.

PBS featured her in its Women Who Lead series, and in 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation featured her in its Little Havana Me Importa exhibit highlighting “The Faces and Places That Define a Neighborhood.”

In 2019, Calle Ocho News recognized her with a Community Champion Award.

AfroOchoDance founder/producer Corinna Moebius and choreographer Marisol Blanco standing between community activist Raissa Fernandez and County Commissioner Eileen Higgins (photo courtesy of Calle Ocho News)
Receiving the Calle Ocho Community Champion Awards, from l-r:
civic leaders Raissa Fernandez and Corinna Moebius,
Little Havana dance educator Marisol Blanco, and County Commissioner Eileen Higgins.

Inclusive Placemaking

World Cafe
Corinna facilitated World Cafe dialogues at the Imagine Miami
Summit on Arts, Culture & Civic Engagement.
DC Comprehensive Plan
Corinna was a consultant to the
DC Office of Planning for revision
of the DC Comprehensive Plan:
“A Vision for Growing an Inclusive City.”

For decades, Corinna has worked to make cities and communities more equitable, inclusive and ecologically resilient. As a consultant, she has designed processes for inclusive community engagement in land use decision-making, such as plans to develop more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

While working with JSA in Washington, DC in the early 2000s, she initiated the city’s first convening aimed at increasing the participation of Latino stakeholders in urban planning and development. An interview with Corinna is featured in the public participation section of the textbook, Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design (Wiley & Sons, 2010).

Corinna also planned and wrote the curriculum for a 6-month youth civic engagement program implemented in after-school programs nationwide: “Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods.” Participating youth identified local assets, analyzed media representations, conducted interviews, and crafted proposals. Outcomes included youth meetings with mayors, youth-led community planning meetings, and the formation of youth councils.

Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods curriculum.

As the former director of Imagine Miami, the South Florida civic engagement initiative of Catalyst Miami, she led large-scale community dialogues and developed a series of “Changemaker Conferences” where grassroots leaders—including many from traditionally under-represented communities—connected for knowledge-sharing, capacity building and leadership development.

Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference II

She has facilitated numerous stakeholder gatherings and civic dialogues, from Task Force meetings to community meetings, board meetings to Charrettes, World Cafe dialogues to focus groups.

workshop
Corinna facilitating a workshop for Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida

Creative Community Connections

Corinna is a big believer in the transformative and healing power of the arts, including its role in civic engagement.

World Cafe

She designed and organized South Florida’s first summit on arts, culture and civic engagement. For nearly a decade since, she has led annual workshops on arts and civic engagement for ArtServe’s Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

In Washington, DC, she directed the city’s most popular neighborhood street festival, Adams Morgan Day (20,000+ attendees). She launched new features including the Dance Plaza, a participatory and educational dance space that remains a popular feature to this day.

Dance Plaza article
Corinna added a Dance Plaza feature to the Adams Morgan Day Festival when she served as director in 2006.

In Little Havana, she directed the neighborhood’s monthly arts and culture festival, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays.

Education & Training

Corinna standing with between her co-chairs Dr. Jean Muteba Rahier and Dr. Guillermo Grenier,
and the other members of her dissertation committee.

Corinna holds a Ph.D. in Global & Sociocultural Studies from Florida International University, with Graduate Certificates in Afro-Latin American Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies. She received an M.A. in Speech Communication from California State University, Northridge and an interdisciplinary, self-designed B.A. in “Communications and Anthropology,” with a Minor in Geography, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration).

She is a former fellow with the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami and the Latino Museum Studies Program of the Smithsonian Latino Center in Washington, DC.

Corinna earned a certificate in Arts Management from the University of Massachusetts’ Summer Institute for Arts Management. From childhood to her undergraduate years she studied music, and is a former semi-professional French horn player. She studied Afro-Cuban sacred and folkloric dance for nearly twenty years.

Corinna is also certified in Permaculture design. Permaculture centers on whole systems thinking and the simulation, or direct utilization, of the patterns and resilient features of natural ecosystems.

She received a Certificate in Visionary Leadership from The Center for Visionary Leadership in Washington, DC.

Spirit

Corinna acknowledges the role of spirituality in her work. She was raised a Christian (and as a child won an award for her reading out loud of 13 Corinthians), but felt Spirit embodied in the forest behind her house, the mountain in front of her house, the apple trees she liked to climb. She felt Spirit in the Living Earth and all who are a part of it.

While living in Washington, DC, she became interested in and later initiated in the Afro-Cuban religion of Regla de Ocha (Santería), eventually receiving initiation as a priest of Ochosi (hunter divinity of ethics).

fern

While she no longer actively practices this religion, her way of being in the world is forever shaped by her lived connections to African/Afro-Atlantic philosophy as expressed in dance, music, sacred stories and plant work.

Corinna currently embraces modern Druidry, which links her to her Celtic roots and aligns with her belief in Deep Ecology and her desire to live lightly on the land. She actively studies mystic, magical and Celtic shamanic traditions. She is a Druid Candidate with the Ancient Order of Druids in America.

Personal

There is no firm distinction between Corinna’s “work” and “personal” life, because her work is so meaningful to her it does not feel like work!

Corinna likes to weave using a back-strap loom, as her Southern grandmother taught her. Corinna writes poetry and stories, sings, draws, and dances. She studied Afro-Cuban dance for twenty years and is a passionate aficionado of rumba. As a young person she was a semi-professional, award-winning French horn player.

She is certified in Permaculture design and strives to live an ecologically responsible lifestyle. She still climbs trees and plants trees. She composts.

Corinna loves conversations with un-pretentious, “on the corner” neighbors: the storytellers. She’s is known to chat for hours with old folks, sometimes while smoking a cigar. When she lived in DC, the Sunday drum circle in Malcolm X Park was her sacred space.

She likes to wear hats.