Miami-Dade County

A prayer for peace, justice in our Miami Community

When I was a little girl and something terribly wrong happened in our neighborhood, or even in some other place, I would hear my mom and her friends discussing the incident. Inevitably the phrase: “Lord, what is the world coming to?” would spill out one of their mouths.

As I grew into womanhood and saw the pain some people suffered at the hand of their fellow human beings, I began to understand the frustration and helplessness Mom and her friends felt. Sometime, there just is no way to comprehend the ruthless actions of others.

I have repeated that phrase many times throughout my life whenever something horrible happened to another person; rendering me helpless to do something that would change the situation. I relented to the only safe space I know: I prayed. I prayed for the person or persons who did the violent act, that the Lord would deal justly. And I prayed for the victim and for his or her family, that the Lord would comfort them, as only He could.

And more often than not, I would utter the familiar phrase, “Lord, what is the world coming to?”

The phrase came to mind, when not too long ago a black preacher, who had tried to help the youth in his community, was gunned down in front of a neighborhood store. I felt pain and shame over the murder.

I felt the same pain and frustration last week, when I learned of another holy man, this time a Jewish rabbi, gunned down as he walked to worship.

Have we come to this place - a place where not only is there no respect for the common man, woman or child - but no respect for our holy men, either?

“Lord, what is the world coming to?”

Last Monday, I watched the news on television as hundreds gathered in Brooklyn to honor the rabbi, who was killed in our city as he visited family here. And as I watched, I uttered a prayer that I am sure, is familiar to the Lord:

“Lord, please let the guilty ones be caught and brought to justice. And please, Lord, comfort the loved ones of the victim, as only You can...”

To some, my prayer might seem insignificant. It is a simple prayer, but it’s all I have. More importantly, it comes from my heart.

‘Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow’ exhibit at Coral Gables Museum

A very interesting exhibition, called Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow, will be coming to the Coral Gables Museum this fall. It tells the story of Jewish professors fleeing Germany, and when no mainstream American universities wanted to shelter them, black colleges and universities welcomed them.

“The result was a powerful synergy,” said Nathan Katz, Distinguished Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

In addition to the exhibit, FIU’s Jewish Studies will host the premiere of a film based on this story at the Jewish Museum of Florida.

A number of programs and events connected with the exhibit will be held around town.

One such event will be a Black/Jewish discussion at the Coral Gables Art Museum at 2 p.m. Nov. 16.

The event will feature a gallery tour and an interfaith/inter-ethnic discussion with a panel of two blacks and two Jews. It also will include audience participation.

For more information on this event go to: or

Date SMART program funded by Verizon grant

A warm Friends and Neighbors salute to Verizon for presenting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade with a $100,000 grant check to create a Date SMART program to promote healthy teen relationships. The grant, from Verizon’s HopeLine, was presented on July 28, at the Northwest Club. It is targeted to serve 400 members, aged 12-18.

The Date SMART program will be placed at Boys and Girls Clubs in Kendall, Northwest, Hank Kline and South Beach clubs.

According to a press release, the program is intended to increase young people’s understanding and build the skills they need to achieve healthy relationships free of violence and abuse.

One in five female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. In 2013, 4,800 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault were documented in public schools across the United States.

New school year, now school leaders at Palmer Trinity School

Palmer Trinity School has a new head of school and a new school chaplain.

“After an extensive, nationwide search, Palmer Trinity has found the right person to lead the school and continue our mission of academic excellence and social responsibility,” said Michael Baiamonte, chairman of the board.

That person is Patrick H.F. Roberts, who comes to Miami with more than 20 years of educational leadership and administrative experience from the private sector.

“Patrick’s exceptional record of success in institutional and advancement is a strong asset that complements the traditions of our school and meets the needs of our diverse community. We are thrilled to welcome Patrick and his family to our community.”

Roberts, 45 , moved with his wife and four children from Nashville, TN., where he served as Associate Head of School and Head of Advancement for Battle Ground Academy. In addition, his other appointments included Headmaster of St. James Episcopal School in Texas, and Head of Middle School , Episcopal School of Arcadiana in Louisiana.

Roberts later was able to welcome the Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Cassini as new chaplain at Palmer Trinity, 7900 SW 176th St.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Cassini to our faculty,” he said. “She is highly esteemed as has decades of experience working in the Episcopal educational system. We are confident she will be a tremendous asset in bout her administrative and pastoral roles.”

Cassini comes to Palmer with more than 35 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator. She taught English, history and drama for 20 years before becoming the Head of Middle School at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton.

She was ordained to the deaconate in 2006 and to the priesthood in 2007, and served as chaplain at Saint.Andrews for seven years before serving as the Associate Rector at St. Mark’s Church and School in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to joining Palmer, she returned to education and became the Head of School at St. Christopher’s Montessori church and School.

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