Community Voices

Some people just don’t understand others with truly big hearts

It isn’t always easy to know another person’s heart because all too often we tend to judge one another by our own personal lifestyles or moral standards. And all too often, that is not a good compass.

I know people who are totally decent, working for the good of others in nearly all they do. Yet, that same person is viewed suspiciously by some, simply because they don’t know the person’s heart. And by heart, I mean that spot deep inside you that tells you to do good, no matter what other might think of you. It is your spiritual compass. It tells you which direction to travel when you come to a fork in the road. One way will lead you into destruction while the other way points to a life of giving and good.

I thought much about the heart of people this weekend after having a long conversation with my longtime friend Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mingindall. It’s true, Bendross-Mindingall is a politician. But I have known her long enough to know her heart. Way back when she was an elementary school principal, Bendross-Mindingall showed the community where her heart was. It was with them — helping welfare moms get off public assistance, encouraging them to go back to school, even taking money out of her own purse to help them, and showing those young women who seemed to have no hope, that they could make it. She did it by finding work for those who had a prison record, teaching them common manners and basically being a surrogate mom for many who were often close to her age. After taking her advice, many of them even became teachers under her.

Still many people have forgotten that before Bendross-Mindingall ever ran for public office, she showed us her heart.

I thought a lot about her after our conversation, because I know a lot of people with big hearts who are often misunderstood. Their good works are often frowned upon because some people just don’t understand that some people really do have a great big warm heart.

Usually when a person discredits another’s good deeds, it is usually because they use themselves as a compass. And perhaps their heart is not as good and warm as it should be.

I have a friend who was accused of having an affair with another woman’s husband. My friend was innocent, but nothing she could say or do could convince the wife that she had no interest in her husband. After the accusation went on for what seemed like forever — making my friend’s life miserable — it was revealed that the wife who was accusing her husband of having an affair was herself having an affair. I remember saying to my friend: “She was judging you by her own moral standards. Because she was doing wrong, she thought you were, too.” The wife was simply judging an innocent woman by her own deeds.

I know so many people with big hearts, who make it their business to try and make life better for others. They don’t go around boasting about what they do. They just do it. They don’t care if their gift to the poor is tax deductible or not. They just give.

And that, my friend, is the heart of the matter.


It’s kind of hard to believe, but it has been just under 100 years since women in America were granted the right to vote.

In fact, it was on June 4, 1919, that Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. The amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.

When I think about how far we women have come, I also think about how long it has taken us to get here. That’s why none of us can take for granted the gifts of freedom we have. This comes to mind a lot when I hear people — especially many African Americans and women — saying they will sit out this election. In my book, we can’t afford to sit out any election. Our votes do matter.

With that said, the fourth annual Women’s Equality Day Celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Roxcy O’Neal Bolton Women’s History Gallery at the Women’s Park, 10251 W. Flagler St., Miami.

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County; Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, and Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, the theme of the event is: “On the Road to the Centennial: A 2020 Agenda”.

The program will feature a panel discussion on women, campaigns, and elections and the showing of the film, “Forward Into Light: Inez Milholland.” The panel will consist of Palmetto Bay Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham, Miami Gardens Vice Mayor Felicia Robinson and political consultants Shellie Levin, Niaya Patterson and Sasha Tirador.

RSVPs to or call 305-375-4967. Refreshments will be served.


You are invited to the Community Fireside Gathering presented by the Baha’is of Miami Dade at the Miami Bah’a’i Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. The topic of discussion will be “Finding Faith in an Age of Doubt” and will be hosted by Gerald Schwartz.

“Many people — including some of humanity’s finest — believe that the universe expresses nothing more than a bewildering silence,” Schwartz said. “Yet, throughout history and in our won time there have been extraordinary individuals who have reaffirmed te importance of faith in a spiritual dimension of life.”

In his presentation, Schwartz will attempt to answer the question of what faith is and how one can find it.

People of all viewpoints and faiths are welcome and are free to discuss these questions and to explore the “enriching experience which faith offers to each of us,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz’ background includes actively participating in the civil-rights movements, to participation in the intentional community movement, to membership in the Bah’a’i Faith, a worldwide community devoted to world peace and the elimination of prejudices. He has taught English at Wayne State University in Detroit, at the Instituto Pedago’gico de Barquisimeto in Venezuela, and for the past 12 years at Miami Dade College.

The gathering is open to the community and light refreshment will be served following the discussion. Call 305-915-7247 or visit for more information. You are also welcome to the center’s Community Devotional at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 28. There is never an admission charge or a solicitation of funds a these events.


Kudos to the Archdiocese of Miami, which on Aug. 27 will team up with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami to begin construction of a home in Liberty city in honor of Pope Francis. This will be the second time that the local Archdiocese has teamed with Habitat for Humanity to build a home in Liberty City in less than 12 months, encompassing the Pope’s designated Year of Mercy.

The day will start at 10 a.m. with Miami Auxiliary Bishop Peter Baldacchino blessing the volunteers and ground where the home will be built, 4435 NW 23rd Ave.

The event will draw volunteers from different parishes of the Archdiocese to aid the Garcia-Calderon family, a family of six, build their home.

Funds for construction will come from a 2013 Archdiocese of Miami gala fundraising event. The new home will be constructed in three months and will be completed and blessed on Nov. 19.

For more information, go to


This is a good one for the entire family: the second annual Community Pride Day, presented by the Buena Vista West Neighborhood Association, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at North Bay Vista Park, 4835 NW Sixth Ave.

The theme of the event, which promotes community pride: “Rewind Your Mind: Put the Guns Down.”

The event will include food, entertainment, voters registration, HIV/AIDS testing. CareerSource, restoration of felons’ rights, mobile mammogram unit, information about sickle cell anemia, and day care information.

For more information, contact Alma Brown at 305-546-9168.


A warm “thank you” to the Jewish Community Services of South Florida, which recently announced an expansion to its popular free Senior Ride Program.

The program will be expanded to include afternoon service to North Dade seniors 60 and older living in the boundary from Northeast 215th Street to the north, to Northeast 163rd Street to the south, and from Biscayne Boulevard to the east, including the Aventura area to Interstate 95 to the west. An expanded area including California Club is being considered for September.

Senior Ride provides more than 27,000 rides per year to people 60 years and older, who are unable to use public transportation to locations such as meal sites, senior centers, doctors’ offices, and shopping centers in Miami Beach and North Miami Beach.

“Senior ride provides fast, friendly and efficient door-to-door service to the most popular shopping and medical destinations in North Dade,” said Ela Goldfarb, vice president of Senior Adult Division. “Our No. 1 priority is keeping seniors active, healthy and able to live independently in their own homes for as long as it is safe and appropriate.”

To sign up for the program, participants must be at least 60 and must register to use the services, which are funded in part by the alliance for Aging and the Department of Elder Affairs. Call Allene Pace or Luz Moll in the Senior Ride office at 305-673-8658.

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