24 hours | 130+ people | 4 themes | 15 ideas

Building a Miami Where All People Can Thrive

On August 1-2, 2014, the Community Justice Project (CJP) of Florida Legal Services, together with the Bertha Justice Institute of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Bertha Foundation, sponsored a creative workshop to bring together Miamians with a range of skills and backgrounds to work together on specific issues facing low-income renters, youth of color, taxi drivers and plant nursery workers in Miami.

Artwork by Olalekan Jeyifous (vigilism.com)

Artwork by Olalekan Jeyifous (vigilism.com)

The choice of these particular issues came directly from CJP's client base: active grassroots groups organizing in low-income communities of color.  Working with these groups on a broad array of issues has offered CJP a unique vantage point from which to analyze the current social and political climate in Miami. 

We have seen the extent to which these groups--across issues--are left out of conversations about the future of Miami and exercise relatively little influence with decision-makers.  At the same time, we have witnessed an increase in civic energy among other groups of Miami residents coming from the tech, design, social entrepreneur and art worlds who want to contribute to shaping Miami into more than just a tourist destination.  In an effort to create a space to channel that civic energy towards the groups organizing some of the most disenfranchised communities in Miami, we convened a 1.5 day creative workshop to ask:

How can we work together to ensure that all of our neighbors thrive in Miami and have a hand in shaping our collective future? 

On the evening of Friday, Aug 1, we hosted an opening kick-off reception to lay the groundwork for the workshop the following day. Six individuals, together with video testimonies, creatively presented stories to illustrate their lived experiences surviving in Miami's current economic and social landscape.  They included youth, taxi drivers, a public housing resident and plant nursery workers. These stories served as the basis for a deeper dive into the next day's problem solving. On Saturday, Aug 2 we built on those stories in a day of discussion and creativity as we worked in small groups across disciplines—design, law, art, activism, technology, social enterprise—to generate concrete ideas responding to specific challenges facing diverse communities in Miami in order to make Miami’s future more inclusive.


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All photography by Jayme Gershen