Dec 222017
Community News by Arida Wright

by Arida Wright……. A landmark vote was passed at the BVRAC (Bahama Village Redevelopment Advisory Committee) meeting held December 7, 2017 at City Hall. The BVRAC was established in 2008 by the City Commission. Their duties are to recommend to the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) projects within Bahama Village best suited for the use of redevelopment trust funds and to review applications from individuals and organizations eligible to receive TIF (Tax Increment Finances) funds.

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:00 pm ~ Column ~, Arida Wright, Bahama Village, Issue #248, News No Responses »
Aug 252017

See comments from Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers about the issues brought up in this documentary by clicking here. [Commissioner Carruthers was traveling and unable to participate in a video interview.] See the acceptance letter and application for the inclusion of the African Cemetery at Higgs Beach [including the area of the Little Dog Park] in the National Register of Historic Places by clicking here. See the Higgs Beach Park Master Redevelopment Plan by clicking here.     Below is a follow-up comment from Corey [continue reading…]

Aug 252017
Femi Returns to Key West

by Arida Wright……. Marilyn Kay Femi Manners, a/k/a “Femi” returns to Key West bringing her unique style of teaching traditional West African dance at the Coffee Mill. She is well known here being featured at Mallory Square Sunset performances, Coffee Butler and the Key West Junkanoos, dancer for cruise ships arrival on city dock, Fantasy Fest parade, Caribbean Queen Junkanoos weddings, Conch Republic Kickoff parades, parties and memorials. Last year I was so impressed when she taught a traditional African head wrapping class and hosted [continue reading…]

 August 25, 2017  Posted by at 12:26 am Arida Wright, Bahama Village, Issue #233 No Responses »
Jun 302017
Key West Africana Festival: Inspiring

by Arida Wright……. Celebrity in Town Actor Malik Yoba served as the 2017 Keynote Speaker and Ambassador for the 3rd Biennial Key West Africana Festival (KWAF) held June 22 – 25, 2017. He is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J.C. Williams on the Fox police drama NY Undercover and the cultural classic movie, Cool Runnings. Malik Yoba has a long list of theatre, tv and film credits but what I didn’t know is that he is also a singer and a passionate [continue reading…]

Apr 292016
“The Voice From the Other Side of the Band Room Controversy”   

Dear Editor: On January 20, 2016, the six (6) members of the City Commissioners voted to approve funding for the “White Boxing” of the Douglass School Band Room & Shop Building and held their vote on whether the building should house the Roosevelt Sands Health Clinic.  The members of the Frederick Douglass School Black Educators Memorial Project (FDSBEMP) had asked for consideration to be given to the fact that Commissioner Clayton Lopez had met with and promised their group over a 5 year period that [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
Key West’s Black Community Fighting for Survival

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Even though the debate at City Hall this week was not officially about race, it shed an unflattering light on Key West’s cultural divide in ways that no journalist could express better than the passionate speakers did on Tuesday night. You’re just going to have to listen for yourself and be amazed. But before you click on the video, we need to make you privy to a few basic facts and to the one little secret that no one “in the know” that night had [continue reading…]

Apr 012016
GUEST EDITORIAL: Let’s Keep the Park a Park and Not Build a Big Development Project

by Ben Volpian……. As an Advisory Board member of the Truman Waterfront Park, but commenting here strictly as a private citizen, I would like to make a comparison between my Park Plan and two other plans – the Truman Waterfront Master Plan and a Conceptual Plan that was recently released to the public. First, my Park Plan: I have preserved a great deal of open space while still taking under consideration the need and/or the stated REQUIREMENT of having revenue producing features. Two open spaces [continue reading…]

Mar 252016
District VI Community Meeting, March 31

Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez is hosting the monthly District VI community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 31st at the Martin Luther King Community Center at 300 Catherine Street. Discussions will include the Bahama Village Visioning and Capital Work Plan and the creation of a District VI beautification award. Commissioner Lopez will discuss the upcoming Bahama Village bike tour and the results of the Biggest Loser Contest sponsored by the Monroe County Health Department.

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 am Bahama Village, Issue #159, Public Notice No Responses »
Feb 192016
Goombay & Fantasy Fest: Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

by Ken Sullivan……. As the lead organizer of the family friendly opening event of this two weeks of fun, frolic and fundraising, I have something to add to the debate about Fantasy Fest. We have endured insults and accusations that questioned the integrity and motives of our worldwide charitable organization that gives tirelessly to the members and community we serve. If you live in Bahama Village, the neighborhood that surrounds the graveyard, low income areas of Stock Island and other depressed regions in lower Monroe [continue reading…]

Jan 152016

City offices will be closed on Monday, January 18th to honor the birthday of the Nobel Peace Prize civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The community is urged to join in the celebration with a family day from noon until 4 p.m. at Willie Ward/Nelson English Parks, topped off by a 4 p.m. march. The celebration in the park features free food and drinks and games for the kids. The parks are located at the Martin Luther King Community Center and Pool [continue reading…]

 January 15, 2016  Posted by at 1:16 am Bahama Village No Responses »
Oct 022015

Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez is hosting the monthly District VI community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 8th at the Martin Luther King Community Center at 300 Catherine Street.  This is an important meeting for the community as we discuss the possibility of naming the roads at the Truman Waterfront in honor of members of our community. These monthly community meetings are part of the Key West Police Department’s community policing initiative. They provide an open forum to talk frankly with elected officials and local [continue reading…]

 October 2, 2015  Posted by at 12:33 am Bahama Village, Issue #134 1 Response »
Jul 242015
Your Chance to Join in: Visioning and CRA Work Plan for Bahama Village

  Save The Date – July 28 and 29, 2015 Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center – 35 East Quay Road Roundtable Meeting Sessions Day 1: Tuesday, July 28 from 9 to 4 Day 2: Wednesday July 29 from 9 to 2:30 Public Community Meeting Tuesday, July 28 from 6 to 8 For the Fiscal Yer 2010, the BVRAC and Community Redevelopment Agency have funded a Work Plan that is intended to guide and prioritize future improvements and spending on CRA projects within Bahama Village. The new Work Plan [continue reading…]

 July 24, 2015  Posted by at 12:18 am Bahama Village, Issue #124 No Responses »
Jul 242015
Revealing Black Men During National Black Family Month

By Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters……. July is National Black Family Month, which is a good time to take a moment to celebrate the role of Black men in their families and in society at large. Let’s take a moment to reveal Black men to America. Let’s upend the stereotypes and honor what is best about the men who are raising children in our communities and our country. Tell somebody that according to the U.S. Army, Black men serve this country in uniform at a [continue reading…]

 July 24, 2015  Posted by at 12:14 am Bahama Village, Issue #124 No Responses »
Jul 102015
Goombay Controversy Exposes Key West's Racial Tensions

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Do you think White business owners should take over the management of a Black heritage festival? That’s the tricky question that City Commissioners were set to resolve last Tuesday when once again they were faced with having to choose between two groups that wished to run the coveted Goombay Festival. One group consists of nearly every church and non-profit in the Black community of Bahama Village. They call themselves ‘The Coalition’. The other group is essentially made up of Whites, [continue reading…]

Jul 102015
Are You an Aspiring College Journalist of Color? Apply to [ProPublica's] Emerging Reporters Program

This story was originally published by ProPublica. Are you a college student of color interested in doing great journalism? ProPublica wants to help. We are a nonprofit investigative newsroom and we’re offering stipends to five minority students who work or want to work at college journalism outlets – newspapers, websites, radio stations or TV stations. We want to make college journalism accessible to students for whom it would otherwise be economically out of reach. Students can apply for the stipends annually. Those selected will [continue reading…]

 July 10, 2015  Posted by at 12:22 am Bahama Village, Issue #122, Public Notice No Responses »
Jun 192015
Protecting Sexual Predators

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. She’s a ten-year old Key West girl. He, her stepfather, crawls into her bed, “grabs her hand and puts it on his penis.” He touches her breasts and at times he tries to touch her “private parts” but she fights him off when he does that. Sometimes she “gets sticky stuff on her hand.” The whole thing is repulsive, heart-wrenching, and according to an FDLE investigation, it went on for over a year where he would come into her bed [continue reading…]

May 292015

by Ronald Sands……………….. For decades I have existed in the realm of darkness; a place of deceit, the precise location of iniquity. And I was totally resigned to die there, with a crack pipe in my mouth, a drink in my hand and the facial orifice of someone vehemently bobbing on my lap. On the twenty ninth day of June 2014, I for reasons at that time unknown to me, left my family’s estate in Key West and voyaged in what, looking back to that [continue reading…]

 May 29, 2015  Posted by at 2:56 am Bahama Village, Issue #116 3 Responses »
May 222015
"Just 4 Kids" Summer Camp 2015!

Just 4 Kids & Bahama Village Art Center is gearing up for it’s 2015 Summer Day Camp, beginning June 8th, 2015, through the final week of summer.  Summer Camp is going to be filled with awesome art, excursions, beach parties, and so many surprises! With various themes, Just4Kids will take your kids on a journey to the far corners of the world with our “International Passport to Color,” we’ll create an old western town during our “Cowboys & Sea Horses in an Old West Town,” [continue reading…]

May 012015
GUEST COLUMN: Black in Key West (or anywhere in America)

by Kenneth Sullivan… In this age of tweet, Instagram and sound bites, we have learned to shorten our opinions to a limited number of characters. This means we do not give complete thoughts in our public opinions. I read in the Citizen a comment that inferred that Black Folks are inherently bad people. This is not true. The fact is the police in Key West, and nationwide, target Black Folks; particularly young Black males. That’s why there appears to be more crime in the black community, [continue reading…]

Apr 242015
Selective Enforcement:  Blacks 6X's More Likely To Be Arrested On Drug Charges

by Naja and Arnaud Girard… The issue of racially selective law enforcement has finally erupted at the highest levels of Monroe County’s criminal justice system. Sheriff Rick Ramsay is “outraged” at the words of Chief Assistant Public Defender Trish Gibson. Data and statistics are flying around. This is a taste of the problem: A female voice is heard, very loud: “Illegal search! Illegal search! What they stop the man for?! They stopped him for nothin.” Spread-eagled, in the middle of Emma Street, being recorded by [continue reading…]

Mar 272015
Bahama Village History Tour Saturday

Celebrate our biking community this weekend with a Bahama Village History Tour, led by City Commissioner Clayton Lopez with Monroe County Historian Tom Hambright and Bruce Neff, whose efforts are bringing a series of historical markers to Key West. Just meet the group Saturday, March 28th at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the Frederick Douglas Gym on Olivia Street. From there, you’ll enjoy an entertaining 2-hour tour of historic sites throughout Bahama Village. In addition to learning about the historic churches, the lighthouse, [continue reading…]

 March 27, 2015  Posted by at 3:15 am Bahama Village, Issue #107, Public Notice, Special Event No Responses »
Feb 062015
Fantasy Financing

by JD Adler…… As pressure continues to mount on the Key West City Commission to find a way to reform Fantasy Fest, the details of its operations start to come under greater scrutiny. Included under the looking glass are its marketing decisions, the relationship with The Bahama Village Goombay Festival, and general financing. The Key West Friends of Fantasy Fest have been taking the lead on critiques of the marketing of Fantasy Fest; requesting an approach more focused on creative costuming rather than an “adult [continue reading…]

 February 6, 2015  Posted by at 1:00 am Bahama Village, Issue #100, JD Adler, MOST POPULAR TWO 1 Response »
Oct 172014
The Burglar, the Vigilante, and the Axe of Justice

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. “He saw me. I wasn’t even in the room and he shot me.  He shot me through the open door.”  What Troy Singleton had just experienced was the instant of thunder, blinding flash, and burning flesh of a 9 mm pistol shot right at his face. Troy, you see, was the ‘cemetery burglar’ of twenty-four years ago.  Only at the time it was ‘the hotel room burglar.’  In the winter of 1990, a rash of burglaries at Key West hotels [continue reading…]

Sep 262014
Monroe County's Secret Roadmap To Resegregation

by Naja and Arnaud Girard…… It’s 7:30 am at the bus stop on Truman and Emma.  Eleven-year old Dimitri is about to climb into the morning school bus.  Like him, most of the kids sitting on the bus are African American.  Like them, he has a mere 40% probability of graduating from high school with his classmates; a stark difference from his white brothers, who have an 83% graduation rate [2013 data]. When we interviewed parents in Bahama Village about this disparity their responses raised [continue reading…]

Aug 222014
Could Key West Reach The Ferguson Flashpoint?

by Arnaud and Girard……. “Cartwright began yelling as loud as he could, and almost immediately a large crowd began forming around us […] Within minutes a crowd of at least 50 bystanders surrounded us and Det. Wormington called for additional Officers while I held down Cartwright.” Police officers were arresting bad boy Ricky Cartwright who had ridden his bicycle through a stop sign while texting, allegedly with a beer in his hand.  They tased him in the back.  He was now screaming in pain in the [continue reading…]

Aug 012014
Police Point Gun at Six-year Old ... and More...

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. It’s 6:27 p.m. — Sheila Carey and her two children are riding in a rented limo, a special treat to celebrate their outstanding report cards.  They’ve just dropped off their friend, eleven-year-old Shanyia Winn, who is now home alone taking a shower. A few minutes later, at 6:29 p.m. — the limo is stopped at gunpoint and surrounded by Key West police officers.  The mother is thrown to the sidewalk and handcuffed.  Her six-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter are seized by [continue reading…]

Jul 252014
Amazing Showing of Support for Old Man Chapman!

“He had gray shoes.  That’s the only thing I could tell about him because he had a hood on his head and a noose around his neck.  When I saw what was going to happen, I almost fell off the tree.  I jumped, sorry I had even wanted to know what was happening on the other side of that wall, and I ran.  I ran home as fast as I could.” For years now, sitting in his yard at the corner of Petronia and Chapman [continue reading…]