I’ve never been called Black Media until today. It was an abstract thought for me, but a passionate community resident called me out and said I need you to share what’s REALLY going on in BLACK Miami – you’re on the ground and no one can report better than those of us who are actually out here doing the work.


So here goes…

I’ve seen a lot of post go on about looters in Miami. Many of the faces plastered across the news are those of black faces which feeds into a narrative that us ‘black folk’ work extremely hard to negate – that Black is criminal.

My next sentence does not justify criminal activity but it needs to be stated as a reminder to everyone:  There are criminals in every culture.

(Shout out to Fox news for reporting the white folks stealing power lines) and  for whomever will report  all those non-black folk who are about to defraud the hell out of their home owner’s insurance. It’s all criminal and should be punished by the fullest extent of the law.


I can feel the anger and frustration by extremely amazing people who aren’t looking for a photo-op or a write -up, but doing work to ensure their communities are taken care of – just to turn around and be smacked in the face with  the news  that is seemingly screaming, “ see Black neighborhoods were just fine during Irma – so much so that THEY’RE on the street looting footlocker and Simon’s – on & on & on.”  Of course the media will say, “well that’s not what we mean” “we’re only reporting the facts” “ there’s no way anyone will think that this Is representative of ALL Black people”.

But the media rarely provides balanced perspective. 

So, here’s a story to balance out the perspective. Here’s the  work being done in the communities of Black Miami.  And if you’re in Miami, below is some relevant information you can use to make a difference and  support some of the vulnerable residents who are still without power.  (Please  Note – these are the places that I know – there are more I’m sure.  But these are closest to my circle of influence. Please add any other places in the comments)


 Little Haiti, Overtown, Liberty City

Commissioner Keon Hardemon came through and ensured that more than 500 seniors had food at (4)  senior homes. In the evening, the grills were fired up and Hadley Park became a central space to get out, get some air and get some food (this is happening tonight as well).  Three locations  also served as water and ice distribution (3) times per day and will continue to do so until the power is restored.

You can get water & Ice (1 bag of ice & (6) bottles of ice per family) at the following locations:


  • Charles Hadley Park: 1350 NW 50th Street, Miami , FL 33142 (Liberty City)
  • Gibson Park: 401 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33136 (Overtown)
  • Notre-Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church: 110 NE 62nd Street, Miami, FL 33138 (Little Haiti)


Charles Hadley also serves a central hub for meal prep for our Seniors and residents. You can go help prep at 2pm today. Stay connected via social media @keonhardemon for updates any changes on times and distribution. 


Echo Tech Visions is a hub that needs volunteers to help with food delivery and distribution to these areas as well. Valencia Gunder, Janey Tate and James Mungin are heading up this location. Thanks to Dr. Gibson for opening her space for the cause.  They needed volunteers today at 10AM but you can still stop by to see what is needed:  Address: 670 NW 112 Street, Miami | Phone: 305. 399. 5556  (if you don’t get a person on the phone  – just show up!)



Opa Locka

Commissioner Matthew A. Pigatt has worked diligently to keep the residents informed on when power would be restored. He has called out the community churches and non-profits to get out and support the community. While the city gets the trash and debris off the street and works on  power and public safety – its up to the residents and organizations who are able-bodied to ensure their neighborhood is fed and clothed. Shout out to  Dr. Steve Gallon III for answering the call! Dr. Gallon and Bridgette Washington- McKinney came out and made it happen.

Commissioner Pigatt & Dr. Gallon share a moment of gratitude

If you need service or want to volunteer  – please go to Sherbondy Village Community Center. Volunteers are needed for distribution of resources and assisting debris removal. You can call 786.269.1252. But if you don’t get through just stop by and offer the support. Address: 215 Perviz Ave, Opa-locka, FL 33054

Additional Food Distribution Centers include  The ARC in Opa-locka, headed up by OLCDC, Community organizer Chris El Rukn and Commissioner Pigatt.  Address is: 675 Alibaba Avenue, Opa-Locka Blvd, Florida 33054 | 305.687.3545



City of Miami Gardens :

The city of Miami  Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert has been EXCELLENT in keeping citizens informed on when residents can expect power. The city has been able to get 62% of the power back on and working closely with FPL to push further and faster to get the other 38% Running.  Banks and dining establishments are open – even amongst the trees waiting for pick-up.  Within twenty-four hours he was on the ground and continues to be there for resident’s concerns, provisions, and pushing the city to get 100% back online


Churches in the area like Harvest Fire Worship Center are serving up hot meals to the public at noon each day until food lasts. Address: 18291 NW 23rd Avenue, Miami Gardens 33055.

Trinity Church has hot meals today and ice as well. Address: 17801 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 

And if you can’t get out to volunteer, in the words of Mayor Gilbert, “share a wing with a neighbor.  It can’t hurt”.




There are so many more neighborhoods who are doing the work. So many elected officials and residents out there going hard in the paint. We’re not waiting on the Red Cross. Many of us are not reading the newspaper right now – but I’m pausing for the cause, so that ALL the world understands:


Black does not equal criminal

Black does not equal poor


We are human with all of the same complexities as every other human being on this planet. We are not to be boxed into mainstream media’s perception of us and then churned out as a trope. We are a community, like every other, that when in a time of need, come together to support our communities.

Put some respek on it and report the news in a balanced manner. (but ratings)

And Black People – Hug your elected official. Call them. Shower them with love. They work DAMN HARD and get none of the praise. Their cities are colored on the front pages of mainstream media as the dim dark world of crime, despair, and poverty.

With no glory – they continue to do the work.

And if your Commissioner didn’t show up (side eye to a few) Call them out.

Hold looters accountable, hold elected officials accountable.

Hold yourself accountable.


To whom much is given. Much is required.




Ashlee Thomas


I am  the president of MUCE, the Miami Urban Contemporary Experience. This is a personal piece written to express my experience  post-Hurricane Irma. In line with the mission of transforming the narrative, I found it necessary to include my narrative to the story.

If you have more to add – please do in the comments and follow her @ashleekatrice | @muce305 | @soflowebfest