Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Celebrate Bloomsday, James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in Coral Gables

Mary Ann Kerr and Ollie Kerr will act the parts of fictional characters Molly and Leopold Bloom at the upcoming Coral Gables celebration of Bloomsday, a worldwide event that celebrates novelist James Joyce’s masterpiece, ‘Ulysses.’
Mary Ann Kerr and Ollie Kerr will act the parts of fictional characters Molly and Leopold Bloom at the upcoming Coral Gables celebration of Bloomsday, a worldwide event that celebrates novelist James Joyce’s masterpiece, ‘Ulysses.’

Feel like showing off your bowler hat, waistcoat and high collar shirt, or Edwardian hat, flapper dress or frock?

Well, even if you don’t want to dress like it’s the early 1900s, feel free to join in the Bloomsday Celebration, an event marked around the world by millions of people every June 16.

On that day, 111 years ago, fictional characters Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom embarked on converging and puzzling journeys throughout Dublin. Their travels and wild adventures, both real and imagined, were memorialized in James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses, one of the world’s most highly acclaimed modern novels.

The event has become a tradition for Joyce enthusiasts everywhere. Dozens of cities hold Bloomsday celebrations including Tokyo; Sydney; San Francisco; Buffalo, New York; Trieste, Italy; and Paris.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free events starting 6 p.m., June 16 (of course), at The Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave.

Popular singer, instrumentalist and songwriter Paddy Kelleghan will begin the celebration with tales and songs of his native Dublin. Next, Patrick A. McCarthy, an English professor at the University of Miami and editor of the James Joyce Literary Supplement, will provide commentary on Ulysses and read his favorite passages.

There will then be a short “odyssey” parade around the block, led by a bagpiper and drummer, to John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant for “ReJoyce,” the Bloomsday Feast, with a special menu at low prices.

Park on Miracle Mile and in the city garage on Aragon Avenue. The South Florida Emerald Society and the St. Patrick’s Day Festival Committee are sponsoring Bloomsday for your enjoyment.

Ulysses background and a quick rundown of the “episodes” are at, but you didn’t get that from me, you students who have summer reading.

Young writer honored

Congratulations to Olga Rocio Rivas for her third-place win in the national Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. Olga, a student at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, titled her essay “America Believes.” She placed first in the regional competition in which dozens of entries from South Florida fifth graders were considered.

The event is sponsored nationally by the American Immigration Council (AIC), and locally, by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) South Florida Chapter. It encourages students to write about why they are glad America is a nation of immigrants. This is the second year that our regional winner has placed nationally.

Olga was honored in a recent ceremony at school along with her two Carrollton classmates who placed second and third in the regional contest.

Torivia Castro won second place with her “In The Land of Tomorrow,” and Alexandra Dominguez placed third with her “Untitled” entry. The inspiring teachers of these young writers also were recognized at the local ceremony.

“We congratulate Olga Rocio Rivas for her placing nationally in the Celebrate America contest with her wonderful piece on the importance of immigration to America,” said AILA South Florida President Jacob Ratzan in a release. “Our local competition received an incredible number of wonderful and insightful entries, and it’s a remarkable honor to once again have South Florida represented among the national winners.”

In recognition of Olga’s accomplishment, a flag will be flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor, and her writing will be published in Skipping Stones magazine, a multicultural publication for youth that “encourages communication, cooperation, creativity and celebration of cultural and environmental richness.”

The essays in the national competition were reviewed by renowned judges including Gerda Weissmann Klein, founder of Citizenship Counts; Edwidge Danticat, author and National Book Award finalist; Valentino Achak Deng, the Minister of Education in South Sudan; and Charlotte Leigh, the contest’s 2014 Grand Prize winner.

AILA South Florida is encouraging local schools and teachers to include the contest as they plan their curriculums for the upcoming school year. To learn more visit

Helping art students

Sometimes great teachers just need to keep on giving their time.

Patricia Tuttle, a retired art teacher from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, taught art for 38 years and now she is dedicating time volunteering with “The Fund 4 Design & Art Education.”

Two other retired art teachers, Marilyn Traeger and Marlene Kohn, started F4D&AE less than two years ago and the group started giving scholarships to graduating high school students starting in 2013.

Tuttle said the group “thrives on volunteers and donations,” and all funds that are raised benefit art students.

The 2015 Isaiah Fund Scholarship recipients were recently announced. To learn about the winners and get involved in this group that encourages the creative development of Miami-Dade art students go to


Robert L. Parks has been named one of the Best Lawyers of America every year since 1983, and a top lawyer in the South Florida Legal Guide since 2003. And now the veteran trial attorney has the 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society’s 2015 Legal Legend Award to add to his list of honors.

The award recognizes Parks’ significant contributions “to the law, legal system or the administration of justice in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit for at least 25 years or more.” He was among seven who received the prestigious honor.

“Bob Parks richly deserves the 2015 Legal Legend Award and I only wish that there were more attorneys in Florida who would surrender with a smile and joyfully volunteer their time to make our state a better place to live and work as Bob has,” Nathaniel Reed, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, said in a news release.

Four years ago, Parks received the esteemed War Horse Award, the highest honor given by the Southern Trial Lawyers Association in recognition of his contributions to the cause of justice. He also received the Perry Nichols Award from the Florida Justice Association for lifetime achievement.

Parks currently serves as litigation chair and is on the executive committee for The Everglades Foundation, which is dedicated to a restored Everglades. And he served through three governors to help restore the Miami River.

“Bob Parks is a credit to the legal profession, not only because he is a great trial lawyer, but he exemplifies the need to be a community-minded person and to give his time to those who are less fortunate,” said friend and fellow trial attorney, Aaron Podhurst, in a release.

To learn more about the 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society’s 2015 Legal Legends, and all that HistoryMiami brings to our community, visit

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at