From adults behaving badly to Formula One driving a wedge into the community, it seemed like in 2019 we just couldn't catch a break.

Yet, we survived it. We made it into a whole new decade.

But not without a whole lot of bumps, bruises and despair.

Let's take a look back of what transpired.

White man brandishes a gun on MLK Day


On a day we pay tribute to one of our nation's renowned civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 40 youth from Liberty City got on their bikes along with Dwight C. Wells, founder of the Bikes up, Guns Down and took a ride to Brickell to protest against gentrification happening in their neighborhood.

Wells was the originator of the protest. When the group arrived to the Brickell neighborhood, they were met with traffic. Then, they were confronted by Mark A. Bartlett, a white man of Hollywood Beach, his girlfriend and his gun.

Bartlett, for good measure, dragged in the “N” word, too.

Videos of the incident spun viral.

Bartlett, who was later arrested and appeared in court for his actions, was later acquitted.

Black woman runs for mayor, and wins


After a city existed for 87 years, a Black woman tested a run for leadership and won.

Crystal Wagar elected the mayor of Miami Shores on Tuesday, March 9.

She is the first Black woman to ever be selected for the position.

She beat out two incumbents and four other candidates by garnering 1,440 votes, which gave her 21 percent of the ballots to earn the position as mayor.

Wagar attributes her win to “Black Girl Magic.”

Community shocked by MDEAT's move to end 10-year disparity study


Way before the McDuffie Unrest even took place in 1980, economic prosperity for Blacks was bleak.

And, after 30 years of disparity studies and report cards of economic activity in predominantly Black communities, Blacks in this town still aren't that far ahead.

As a result of the unrest, the County government took responsibility for the unstable race relations because of the disparity in socioeconomic conditions affecting Black communities.

From that, Miami Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) was created; initially it was called Metro Miami Action Plan until 2009.

Its mission then and now has been to ensure the equitable participation of Blacks in Miami-Dade County's economy.

But after years of reporting the disparities, teen court programming advanced while the economic prosperity of Blacks fades away.

On July 10, 2019, MDEAT recommended to the Board of County Commissioners chairwoman Audrey Edmonson to end the required study of how Black economic progress.

The community spoke up boldly about the need to continue the disparity study because of how far behind Blacks are in owning a home and higher rates of unemployment that plague this group.

Because of grass-roots efforts and the obvious need, the disparity study continues.

Black woman gives birth in jail cell, all alone


Having a baby is regarded as a joyous occasion.

And it's one occasion that customarily requires medical attention.

But 34-year-old Tammy Jackson, a mentally ill inmate of the Broward County Jail, was denied medical attention when she went into labor. She gave birth in a cell in Pompano Beach, all alone.

The incident made it to national news. Even Sen. Kamala Harris, a former Democratic presidential candidate, called it “outrageous."

Activists from all around the state joined forces to speak out against the mistreatment toward Jackson.

After input from the activists, then-Broward County Vice Mayor Dale Holness spoke and said that the Commission would address the concerns raised and speak to the Sheriff’s Office about what was going on.

An internal investigation was launched and was concluded in September. A report found there [was] no evidence that any BSO employee mistreated or neglected Jackson, or failed to provide proper care."

Missing school teacher found dead in Miami Gardens canal



Kameela Russell, was a mother, a school teacher, cheerleading coach and a violinist.

She was 41 and also a native of the Bahamas.

In high school, Russell was a part of Miami Northwestern's Performing and Visual Arts Center magnet program where she even performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

But on May 15, Russell vanished from her family and kids.

Ten days later Russell's remains were found wrapped in a tarp and floating in a Miami Gardens canal.

Police received tips and a near confession. It led them to their primary suspect, Russell's longtime friend and colleague, Ernest Roberts.

Roberts was arrested on June 14.

Family and community members mourned her death at Russell's funeral held on June 22.

Roberts has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge.

If convicted, Roberts could face life in prison.

Adults gone wild


Usually we have to tell and remind children to be on their best behavior in public and to keep their hands to themselves.

But last year, some adults and even a pastor needed similar reminders, too.

First up is Liberty City pastor, Reverend Willie Strange.

Instead of saving souls and fellowshipping with parishioners, Strange was accused of domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and battery charges after police said he attacked his sister.

Police said Strange became upset with his sister after she missed work for two weeks.

Strange appeared in court Tuesday, April 30, where he was ordered held in lieu of an $11,500 bond. He was also ordered to stay at least 500 feet away from his sister. County records show Strange’s case was closed on June 24.

Strange has since returned to the pulpit and preaches every Sunday.

Next up is Solomon Stinson.

Stinson, a retired board member of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is well known in the Black community as a pioneering educator.

But on June 2, police identified Stinson as an alleged gunman and road rager who entered into a shootout with police.

There were a total of six felony charges filed against Stinson. He is being held without bond.

When the news broke that 81-year old Stinson was arrested, Black Miamians expressed shock while others were concerned about his mental health.

Stinson’s attorney said his client has dementia and Parkinson’s disease. In September, Stinson was found mentally competent to stand trial.

Miami-Dade County officials OKs 6,000 public housing units to be privatized


A federal program which was authorized by Congress back in 2012, has made its way to Miami-Dade County. The program is called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).

RAD is supposedly designed to "preserve public housing" and provide access to funding for renovations. But essentially, Miami-Dade County officials said yes to privatize 6,000 public housing units.

But after the county applied for RAD, residents expressed concern and confusion about the process.

What RAD does is basically convert public housing into the section 8 program, but the rental subsidy is assigned to the apartments, not the occupants.

Under RAD, the county applies for the federal funding that is then passed on to developers to fix up run-down public housing developments.

In Miami-Dade, Public Housing and Community Development would own the land for 20 years, oversee the program, administer some maintenance but no longer manage the day-to-day housing program.

RAD lacks the approval, popularity and buy-in of most residents but has very strong support from commissioners and the full recommendation from PHCD.

Public housing residents being impacted by RAD are awaiting educational training about the program.

A funding source for the educational program for residents, has yet to be identified.

Community loses iconic flea market


Flea Market USA was a part of the community for over 30 years. Flea Market USA closed its doors to the public on Sunday, March 3. Nine months later, in December 2019, it was torn down and bulldozed.

Three high school football teams win




Seven high school football teams went to the Florida High School Athletic Association football championships and all of them returned home winners.

In past years, this feat could not have happened especially for schools in Miami-Dade County’s inner cities because the teams all had to "beat up” on each other to make it to the coveted state championship game.

That all changed about a year ago after Miami-Dade County Public Schools Vice Chair Steve Gallon called for the reclassification of athletic programs in the entire school district. Miami Northwestern, Miami Central and Carol City senior high schools, among others, were broken up as a result of the reclassification. These three schools competed in the same division, allowing only one of them to compete for the state titles.

The new reclassifications saw Miami Northwestern and Carol City high schools move to division 5A and 4A, respectively, which allowed them to compete for their respective divisional state tile and not have to eliminate each other. The change also allowed the county teams at least three chances of moving on beyond the district level.  

The saga of Formula One revs up



After being driven out of the city of Miami in March, proponents of Formula One racing tried to speed into Miami Gardens but ran into some road blocks. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross ditched plans to bring a race to Downtown Miami because residents did not want the road closures, traffic problems and noise. Then they considered Miami Gardens. Once Miami Gardens residents heard about that, they joined together in an attempt to put the brakes on that plan. Over a series of months, residents of the city protested against it, speaking in opposition at their city's council meeting and at the Miami-Dade County Commission Chambers, too. After hearing the concerns of the residents, Miami Gardens City Council members voted unanimously not bring Formula One into the city.

But the legislation that would slow down the deal bringing the annual race to Miami Gardens fell through when Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez vetoed the commissioners.

Now, the decision hangs in the balance.

Residents have joined forces with the Unrepresented Peoples Positive Action Council (UP-PAC) and other community groups in their fight.