Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: 2015 Women’s Impact Conference and Luncheon on March 20 in Miami Gardens

The city of Miami Gardens will have its 2015 Women’s Impact Conference and Luncheon 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 20. The keynote speaker will be television personality and “Super She-ro” Omarosa Manigault, who will discuss, “There’s No ‘S’ On My chest, But a Hero Lives Within.”

The event is in celebration of Women’s History Month and is in conjunction with the 10th annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival. It will be held at the Miramar Culture Center, 2400 Civic Center Place in Miramar.

The conference was created five years ago and this year’s program promises to be packed with “punch” and “pow” when a slate of women join forces to share superpowers.

The Women’s Impact Conference and Luncheon also includes an authors lounge, a relaxation oasis, a sponsor and merchandise row, a liquid lounge and a meet-and-greet reception.

Tickets for the conference alone are $99 each; and $135 for the conference and luncheon. They may be purchased at

Christian Homes for Children cookout

Christian Homes for Children will have a day of food, fun and activities starting 11 a.m. March 21 at TY (Topeekeegee) Park, 3300 N. Park Rd. in Hollywood (1nterstate 95 and Sheridan Street).

This is the 26th annual Cookout for Kids event, that helps to raise funds for abused and neglected children throughout South Florida. Admission is $12 for ages 13 and up; $8 for ages 5 through 12, and $3 for ages 2 through 4.

The admission price include food and drinks, face painting, art and crafts, games and prizes, cotton candy, bounce houses, and a competitive volleyball tournament. For more than 38 years, the Christian Homes for Children have provided a safe space for more than 1,100 abused and neglected children throughout South Florida.

If you want to support this effort, come to Pavilions two and three at TY Park and help a child, while having some great family fun.

Alhambra Orchestra free concert

The Alhambra Orchestra will present a free concert, “Early Travels,” at 7 p.m. March 22 at Ransom Everglades School, 3575 Main Hwy. in Coconut Grove.

Directed by Zoe Zeniodi, the concert will feature the virtuosic works by composers Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss. The program will include Dr. Hon Mayhew, a local French hornist performing Strauss’s Horn Concerto, written when the composer was only 18.

The program will continue with the orchestra performing Mendelssohn’s rousing Scottish Symphony, written when he was 20.

Admission is free to this family-oriented event. Parking is also free in the school’s lot.

For more information call 305-668-9260 or email

Doctor to discuss growing up in Nazi Germany

Dr. Bernd Wallschlaeger, who grew up in Germany as the son of a World War II Nazi officer, will discuss the struggles he had living in his father’s shadow 7:15 p.m. March 25 at the Aventura Community Center, 3375 NE 188th St. The event is presented by the Hadassah Mitzvah chapter.

Wallschlaeger eventually converted to Judaism and emigrated to Israel, serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as a medical officer. He is a local physician and has written several books.

Admission to this special presentation is $10 and proceeds will go to the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Call 305-725-5928 for more information.

Workshop for writers of color

Here’s good news for writers of color: Starting this summer, Voices of our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices), the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the United States, will relocate to the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The workshops will move following a long stint at the University of California at Berkeley. The organization will offer its two-week intensive writing workshops in cooperation with UM’s Creative Writing Program.

Since it was founded in 1999 by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Diaz, Victor Diaz, and Diem Jones, VONA/Voices has guided more than 2,000 writers of color. Its alumni include Tayari Jones, Maaza Mengiste, Laila Lalami, Miami Novelist Patricia Engel, and UM alumnae Daisy Hernandez.

In addition to Junot Diaz and Elmaz Abinader, VONA/Voices’ faculty has featured such luminaries as Mat Johnson, Jeffrey Renard Allen, Cristina Garcia, Chris Abani, David Mura, former Miamian Tananarive Due, Suheir Hammad and UM professor M. Evelina Galang.

During the summer workshop, Books & Books Coral Gables will host Thursday night VONA/Voices faculty readings. The readings are free and open to the community.

To apply for the program, go to The application process is open through Sunday. Scholarships are available.

Talks about the Inquisition, Jews of Spain and Portugal

You are invited to hear Dr. Clara Estow of the University of Massachusetts speak on “End of Convivencia: from the Mid- 14th Century to 1492” at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Johns on the Lake Church, 4760 Pine Tree Dr. in Miami Beach.

Estow is a renowned scholar in Castilian medieval history, and has taught for 40 years at University of Massachusetts in Boston in the university’s Department of Hispanic Studies. Her well-respected book, Pedro the Cruel of Castile 1350-1369, examines one of the most notorious figures in the annals of Iberian history. Her free talk will address the factors leading up to the Inquisition and the Expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

At 2 p.m. March 22, Dr. Abraham Lavender of the Department of Sociology at Florida International University, will speak at St. Johns on the Lake Church about “Crypto-Jews of Spain, Portugal and the Americas.”

Lavender is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews, published by FIU.

After the Inquisition and dispersal of Jews in Spain in 1492, many Jews attempted to hide their identity and migrated to other areas, including northern Europe, northern Africa, and the Ottoman Empire. Others went on ships to various areas of the New World, and set up communities in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America and even the American Southwest.

The event is also free.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.