- Accepted position as Senior Associate with Justice & Sustainability Associates, LLC.
- Led Workshop. Led a free, live-streamed workshop–The Arts & Civic Engagement-sponsored by the Broward County Arts Division in partnership with ArtHive Magazine. Part of a “Business Skills for the Modern Creator” series.
- Awarded Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) from the University Graduate School at Florida International University. The DYF is a highly competitive award that supports “highly-qualified FIU doctoral students during the data analysis and writing phase of their dissertation.”
- Organized Conference Panel. I organized a conference panel to Harvard University’s BLACK PORTRAITURE[S]: The Color of Silence conference has been accepted; joining me on the panel are will fellow scholars (and friends) Yesenia Fernandez Selier (New York University) and Nichelle Calhoun. Our panel is called, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Race, Space and the Memorialization of Black Bodies.”
This conference brings together artists, activists, and scholars to “reflect on the visual expressions of national imaginaries and political ideologies that negate racial differences and render black subjects invisible.” Here’s a description of our panel: “Official memorials and commemorations can serve to legitimize what Jean Muteba Rahier calls a “racial/spatial order,” as evidenced by current debates and violence over the removal of Confederate monuments in the U.S. How—and where–are black lives commemorated and memorialized in ways that make them both visible and invisible: hidden in plain sight? How do (or have) social actors use(d) these forms of public memory to contest, subvert or reinforce racial/spatial orders?” The conference is organized by Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.
- Fellowship Received. I received a prestigious 2017 Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowship with the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) at the University of Miami. The fellowship funds a month of my dissertation research in the CHC’s archives, beginning in mid-August 2017. I am one of six scholars selected from across the country to receive this fellowship, among them graduate students from universities such as Yale, Rutgers, and the University of Southern California.
These fellowships give emerging scholars an opportunity to engage with CHC materials. We fellows will draw upon these materials in our scholarly contributions to Cuban, American, [email protected], hemispheric, and international studies. The Cuban Heritage Collection “collects, preserves, and provides access to primary and secondary sources of enduring historical, research, and artifactual value which relate to Cuba and the Cuban diaspora from colonial times to the present.” Read more about the CHC and its history.
- Served on Council. Asked to serve on the Advisory Council for ¡Little Havana Me Importa!
- Received a Dissertation Year Fellowship from Florida International University.
- Formed Little Havana Experiences as an LLC and brought fellow guide Ralph de la Portilla as a contractor.
- Speaker. Delivered a speech for the “Places We Call Home” Arts and Lecture Series, sponsored by The Arts at St. Johns and The Betsy Hotel. I spoke on, “When Home is Everywhere and Nowhere.“
- Teacher/Advisor. Served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow and Advisor for “Civic Engagement & Neighborhood Revitalization: Issues and Options for Miami’s Little Havana.” This final planning project for Master’s students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University involved connecting students to local stakeholders, leading walking tours of the neighborhood, and assistance with research projects focused on the neighborhood, with final presentations to the community (Miami, FL, 2015-2016).
- Instructor. Faculty for the Mandela Washington Fellowship summer program for young African leaders, held at Florida International University.
- Book Published. The History Press published the book co-authored by myself and Dr. Guillermo Grenier: A History of Little Havana. This book is the first to provide an in-depth history of the neighborhood focusing on the contributions of Cubans and later Latino residents. Look for it on your bookshelves.
- Workshop Presentation. I presented a workshop on Creative Engagement: Connecting Arts & Culture with Community for Civic Impact at the Brevard Cultural Summit in Melbourne, Florida. The event is an opportunity for artists, business and community leaders and elected officials to meet and share ideas for nationally renowned speakers. and network with elected officials and business and community leaders. Americans for the Arts, the National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Business Institute, Florida Cultural Alliance and other entities are supporting and participating in this gathering.
- Fellowship Recipient: One of 12 students selected nationwide to participate in the Smithsonian’s Latino Museum Studies Program in Washington, DC. The first component of the program (June 30 – July 7) includes lectures and workshops, aimed at the exchanging of ideas with Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian professionals. Graduate fellows also participate in behind-the-scene tours of Smithsonian museums and collections, led by curators, researchers, historians, archivists and professors; we will see and hear first-hand the best practices in museums and cultural centers.
During the second component (July 8 – August 1), I participated in a practicum project with the Anacostia Community Museum. I assisted with preparations for the 20th anniversary of BLACK MOSAIC: Community, Race, and Ethnicity among Black Immigrants in Washington, D.C. This 1994 exhibit explored the diversity of Black community life in the DC area and “examined how the perceptions and the realities of race, color, and ethnicity have shaped the experiences of immigrant peoples of African descent from Central and South America and the Caribbean.” The Anacostia Community Museum explores topics and issues in contemporary urban communities. It is “dedicated to a community-focused approach to research, documentation, and educational and cultural programming.”
The anniversary of Black Mosaic will involve a symposium, community forum, and an academic-community manuscript. As the LMSP scholar for the project, I will work with archivist and anthropologist Ariana Curtis (I’m really looking forward to meeting her) to “amplify the discoverability of these significant community reflections and images” so they are included in the celebration activities.
- Workshop Presentation. Led workshop on Asset-Based Community Development and Civic Engagement (ABCDE), for the Miami Community Leadership Institute.
I make my workshops interactive with plenty of opportunities for participants to learn from and about each other, and not just me. At the workshop, we heard from two individuals from Miami’s Overtown who, separately, have organized family festivals with great success. Another participant spoke about how she had locked her doors tight as soon as she’d moved to Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, worrying about the safety of her family, but in time had come to love her community, its history and its potential. There were plenty of opportunities for participants to engage, ask questions, and think critically.
- Consulting. Participating in a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) organized by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) through its Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council. I am one of eight panelists who will be advising the Ft. Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and the City of Ft. Lauderdale regarding activation and redevelopment of Sistrunk Boulevard, an important historically African-American residential and business corridor contiguous to downtown Fort Lauderdale.
A TAP is comprised of seasoned real estate, planning, financing, marketing and development experts, who as volunteers share their pragmatic advice on complex land use and development issues.
- Conference Presentation: Presented a paper (“Show and Tell: A Case Study of Sustainable Tourism in Little Havana”) at the international conference, Tourism and Pro-Poor Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean: Comparative History and Policy Analysis, held at Florida International University. I was the only speaker to focus on Miami. The purpose of the conference, which takes place from April 4 through April 6, is to “facilitate the development of comparative research projects that will have a positive impact on tourism policy adoption for poverty reduction in both regions.” Pro-poor tourism is defined as tourism that provides net benefits for the poor, allowing economically poor people to engage in, and benefit from, tourism. See the conference announcement here, or read the conference program (pdf).
- Guest Alumna. One of 13 alumni at the 3rd Annual BDIC Alumni Networking Event for students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. BDIC is the degree program I participated in as an undergraduate: the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration.
- Conference Presentation: Presented an academic paper at the Ninth Conference on Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at Florida International University. The theme for the conference was “Dispersed Peoples: The Cuban and Other Diasporas.” The presentation, based on my paper called “Coming Together to Claim La Calle Ocho: Little Havana’s Santa Barbara Procession,” was very well received.
- Workshop Presentation. Led a workshop for young people in Miami’s Public Allies program (at Catalyst Miami) on the topic of Storytelling and Asset-based Community Development.
- Life Event: Began a Ph.D. program in Global & Sociocultural Studies (concentration in Anthropology) at Florida International University.
- Facilitator. Facilitated and designed the Broward Local Food System Community Roundtable (Hollywood, FL), a multi-stakeholder convening.
- Guest Speaker. Guest speaker for students in the BDIC program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) in 1989. BDIC is the perfect option for students who — like me — are entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary in their mindset. Through the program, students work with an advisor to plan their own course of study and design their major.
- Facilitator. Board Retreat, [email protected] (Miami, 2012)
- Facilitator. Facilitated group exercies for the Greater Everglades Local Food Summit (Miami, 2010, 2011)(led group exercises).
- Facilitator. Virginia Key Master Plan Public Planning Charrette (Miami, 2010)
- Facilitator. Strategic Planning Retreat, Neat Stuff, Inc.
- Facilitator. Board Retreat, Neat Stuff, Inc.
- Facilitator. Conversation Cafe Discussion on Urban Food Deserts.
- Facilitator. Facilitated World Cafe dialogue for Imagine Miami Changemaker Conferences.
- Facilitator. Preserving What Matters Workshop & Community Dialogue.
- Facilitator. Facilitated World Cafe dialogue for Summit on Arts, Culture & Civic Engagement.
- Facilitator. Facilitated World Cafe dialogue for Imagine Miami Changemaker Conferences.
- Consultant. Public participation consultant for revision of Washington, DC Comprehensive Plan.
- Consultant. Public participation consultant for Adams Morgan Transportation Study (DC).
- Consultant. Public participation consultant for Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station Area and Corridor Plan (DC). Subcontractor to JSA.
- Consultant. Public participation consultant for South Capitol Street Corridor Study (DC). Subcontractor to JSA.
- Consultant. Public outreach/engagement. Gateway Arts District (Mt. Rainer, MD)