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In an annual tradition, the Homestead and Florida City Communities united to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community activists, students, distinguished dignitaries, and many other community members gathered for an elegant breakfast celebration at the Phichol Williams Community Center.
Students from the Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts opened the breakfast, sponsored by The Palace Gardens, with a version of Audra Day’s “Rise Up,” a theme seen throughout this year’s breakfast. Additional students from the Conservatory performed an inspired dance showcase later in the event.
Pastor Reginald Joseph opened the program with a passionate invocation. Then, Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace welcomed attendees with brief remarks reminding them of current issues in South Dade that need action. Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter then delivered an impassioned speech reminding attendees of the true spirit of the annual breakfast—resiliency and hope. Pastor Jeremy Upton closed the breakfast with a Benediction encouraging everyone to go out and honor Dr. King’s message with both words and actions.
Judge Fred Seraphin, of Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit, headlined the event as Keynote Speaker. Judge Seraphin, Florida’s first Haitian-American Judge, inspired the crowd with his story—rising from extreme struggles he faced in his native Haiti to come to the United States and excel. He also challenged the crowd to have the courage to act in the interests of justice and equality.
The program also included several special honors for community organizations. Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services Inc. was honored in the Non-Profit category for promoting positive youth development that strengthens and supports families to enable children to reach their full potential. The organization is driven by the vision of a community in which every child is able to access the full range of opportunities necessary to succeed in life. Miami Bridge’s services are designed to assist families by helping both parents and children open lines of communication.
Homestead Community Pharmacy was honored in the Business category for its commitment to being more than just a pharmacy. Its founder and manager, Dr. Claude Condo, told attendees that the Pharmacy considers improving the health of the community its ministry. In addition to being a full-retail pharmacy, Homestead Community Pharmacy also specializes in customized compounding and can offer alternatives for commercially available medications, as well as veterinary needs.
Start Off Smart, Inc. (SOS) was honored in the Education/Mentoring Category. SOS is an initiative of the Homestead Police Department that integrates law enforcement and social services in a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the community. The organization works as a multidisciplinary team that coordinates community based services to assist families in providing a loving, nurturing environment for their children so that they can become healthy, productive adults.
Bishop Irene Staggers Harris was honored in the Faith Based category. She grew up in the Homestead community, graduating from South Dade Senior High School and embraced her calling as a minister from an early age. She became the Shepherd of Greater St. Matthews Holiness Church in October 1997. Under her leadership, innovative ministerial programs. In 2013, she was canonized a Bishop in recognition of her faithfulness to God’s Call.