Lizzie Polly Robinson Brown Sams Jenkins is an Archer native, a proud graduate of Archer Negro Public High School, 1956, completing her senior year at Lincoln High School, Gainesville, Florida, 1957.
The supporting impact of the community people that raised her and knew her best united with her immediate family and a new life chapter pointed her to Florida Memorial (College), currently Florida Memorial University, Miami, Florida, home of our Negro National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, where she earned a meritorious degree in elementary education, 1961, completing an MS with honors in 1978, Nova University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Her thought-provoking teaching career extended more than three decades in Alachua County schools.
She is an avid community builder and a champion for chronicling black history charting ethics, justice, and truthfulness. She is exceptionally recognized as a trailblazer, consensus builder and passionate campaigner enlightening her population to stand in solidarity inclusively, diversely demonstrating equity.
Her interest in reading and documenting black history started early at home amongst generations of historians, history makers and storytellers including study courses to learn from. Her life’s work exemplifies historical tour duties to live by orchestrated at home by parents where education starts.
She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the uninterrupted legacy of Rosewood is never forgotten and never repeated. Her family deadly experiences remind her of hope prevails when all else fails. Her strength was defined with an exploding lunch county sit-in in 1960 at the F.W. Woolworth five and ten cent store during the FMC Civil Rights movements in St. Augustine, Florida, under the demo leadership of Dr. Robert E. Hayling, DDS.
Studying her cultured heritage helped increase awareness in several chapters throughout her lifetime, such as, researching black history and book publishing to capture the importance of preserving and sharing our history.
She is a pronounced fourth generation historian and an advocate for social justice and Jim Crow injustice she lived through her parents during that era.
As president of the Real Rosewood Foundation, Incorporated, Lizzie is a fierce advocate for improved truth. Far too often Black History is embellished, derailed and misrepresented by incompetent journalists with little or no connected knowledge or moral understanding. It is the duty of the achievers who have lived this truth to tell this truth, our truth, interrupted.
Aside from researching, authenticating, and studying to print her truth of the REAL Rosewood history, she is also recognized for her stage work through songs, poetry, videos, radio, newspaper, speaking, concerts, dance, documentaries, plays, movies, museum exhibits, interviews and a private podcast. She is a legend, a Queen as we await her private hologram.
Recently the Grand Opening of “An Elegy to Rosewood” January 25-April 16, 2023, an exhibit of The Real Rosewood Artifacts was welcomed at Patricia and Phillip Frost Arts Museum located on Florida International University campus, Miami, Florida, in alliance with FIU chief curators, faculty, professors and staff. This Rosewood breakthrough acknowledging our ancestors, Rosewood survivors and descendants are forever remembered.
She is grateful to the Stones of Rosewood, Florida, Ian and Hannah, owner of the Rosewood John Wright house, who felt passion for the victims of Rosewood and thought it proper and fitting to donate their house to The Real Rosewood Foundation, Inc., 14738 SW 159th Avenue, Archer, Florida
The relocation of the John Wright house will reside on the Browns/Sams historic property where the Rosewood schoolteacher, Mahulda Gussie Brown Sams Carrier and my mother Theresa Brown Sams Robinson and other Browns siblings were born and reared. TRRF will shelter this Rosewood house the same as John and Mary Wright sheltered the Rosewood survivors during their terror-stricken wait for the Cedar Key train to arrive in Rosewood bringing them to safety.
Lizzie is a life member of St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church, of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. a Silver Life member of the NAACP, life member of BEMCRO, AHS, APCO, ACAAHS. And a member of HBCU and NPHC, SAC and ACREA. Member of FMUAA and holds memberships in other organizations.
She has received numerous awards acknowledging her community worth. Recently graduating from Leadership Gainesville 48, Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, 2022, and currently enrolled in the Dale Carnegie class, graduating April 2023. The executive board plan of action is to create a Rosewood curriculum in Alachua County, Florida, to educate students about Rosewood and other indefensible histories.
Recently, she launched Queen Lizzie Podcast, a weekly voice for TRRF and Black history tailored to expound on the future for the next generation, DEI, diverse, equity and inclusion. My undying commitment to truth and liberation positioned me as, “the voice” of those who were silenced in Rosewood – heinously and prematurely. Silence is mute and when we are silent, we all lose.
In her inauguration literary work, Lizzie’s Rosewood Race, takes her readers on a journey of reliving her truths, emancipation, and sincere forgiveness. It’s no wonder she was predestined to be “the voice” of family and Rosewood exclaiming, “She will share historic facts without prejudice to educate and increase the knowledge of the unaware.”
Credits on the oral history manifesto is bestowed to her Mother Theresa Brown Sams Robinson and her Aunt Mahulda Gussie Brown Sams Carrier, the Rosewood schoolteacher, 1915-1923, for their courage and far-sightedness to reinforce Lizzie’s life’s journey. She embodies the sacred beauty and excellence of Rosewood’s truths. Undeniably, she has been and continue to be a human bridge between research and resource to provide factual accounts that connect her family to Rosewood, irreproachably.
She and cofounder husband John M. Jenkins, Sr., are her mother’s appointed gatekeepers to protect Rosewood history, troubleshooting fear while serving as custodians for the Archer Robinson/Brown family history. Believed ordained by God to take on this dangerous journey of researching and authenticating Rosewood history.
Yes, fearful, but she was courageous enough to formulate the alarming paths for the next generation to increase their knowledge base making them aware of our ancestors’ struggles and sacrifices.
Her reviews can be found on her Facebook pages and the Rosewood website.
For more information to connect with The Real Rosewood Foundation, Inc.
Visit and donate to the success of Black History at: www.rosewoodflorida.com.
Carla Bryan-Sheard, a Broker-Associate of Elite Realty Partners. Inc. has been a licensed Realtor since 1999. She put Real Estate on hold for many years as she taught in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Miami area) Clayton County Public Schools (Atlanta area), and United Arab Emirates (Dubai area). As a teacher, she developed curriculum at the local and state level. She also presented at local and national conferences.
Upon her return to the United States. She resumed her real estate career, earning honors from the Brokerage, such as Rising Star and Leap of Faith awards. Elite Realty Partners, Inc. is unintentionally, vet unapologetically, an all-minority brokerage, which also happens to be the top Black-Owned Real Estate Firm in Florida. Its mission 15 to promote diversity, not only in housing, but also amongst real estate professionals.
Dr. Carla was born and raised in Miami Gardens. FL. After graduating from high school and Miami-Dade College, simultaneously, through Dual Enrollment. she enrolled at Florida Memorial College majoring in Biology.
While there, she was initiated into the Zeta Tat chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She graduated in 1995 at the age of 19. She went on to earn her Masters in Educational Leadership and PhD in Education.
These days, Dr. Carla has taken her educational skills back to the school system as a Science/Math Coach, in which she coaches and supports teachers. She was honored recently by Empowered Magazine as one of the top 50 Women to Watch in 2023. She is also co-authoring 2 books, one for release this year and the other will be released next year. Additionally. She owns a Teacher’s subscription box service and a Real Estate Agent Merchandise company. In addition to her businesses and the Coaching position. Dr. Carla enjoys time with her husband and 2 teenage sons-a freshman in high school and a freshman in college.
Congratulations to Sherline Joachim, recipient of the Village Award in the city of Detroit!
The Village Award, which comes with a $500 scholarship, was established by the Strategic Community Partners to recognize an exceptional teacher in the Detroit area. This year, our very own alumna Sherline Joachim (class of 2006) was selected to receive this prestigious award.
Sherline serves as the Middle School ELA teacher at Pembroke Academy in Detroit, MI. Among her scholars’ many outstanding accomplishments this year is the 100% proficiency in ELA attained by her 8th grade class (Preliminary Results-PSAT), and one of her 8th grade scholars receiving a $5000.00 toward her future college education.
Sherline was one of the 40 Under 40 alumni who were honored last homecoming at Florida Memorial University. She is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti currently residing in Southfield, Michigan. She shares her personal journey of her courage and resilience in her autobiography, Along the Way.
Sherline is on a mission to use her life experiences to continue to inspire scholars to desire better for themselves, to take ownership of their academic success, and change their narratives. She does this every year by building positive relationships not only with her scholars but also with their parents. The results are life-changing!
In addition to being an educator, Sherline’s greatest joy is being a mother to her own two children, Grace (7) and Josiah (4).
Born and raised in South Florida, to his namesake Gordon, Sr. and Vernese Weekes. Gordon Weekes is the youngest of three siblings. He attended school from elementary to senior high in Miami, Florida, graduating from North Miami Senior High School. While in high school he was also dually enrolled and attended George T. Baker Aviation and studied electronics, avionics, and aircraft maintenance (airframe and power plant). After graduation, he attended Miami-Dade College and then went on to attend Florida Memorial University. In 1994, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Control. Mr. Weekes then went on to earn his Juris Doctorate in 1997 from Nova Southeastern University School of Law.
For over twenty years, Gordon Weekes has dedicated his life to public service and the pursuit of justice. In 1997, he began his career as an Assistant Public Defender at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office where he proudly represents the poor, the mentally ill and children of our community. For a brief period, Mr. Weekes entered private practice and was the managing partner in the Law Offices of Gelin & Weekes. After practicing in the area of civil litigation and employment law, he then returned to his passion – public service at the Public Defender’s Office.
Under the leadership of “Help Me” Howard Finkelstein, Mr. Weekes became the first Public Defender to specialize in representing children charged as adults. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Weekes was appointed as the Chief Assistant Public Defender in charge of the Juvenile Division. Mr. Weekes has been instrumental in implementing a host of programs that have drastically reduced the number of young people entering the system.
As Chief Assistant, he has tackled head-on abusive practices in adult jails and juvenile facilities. As a result of his efforts Florida ultimately cut ties with one of the nation’s largest for-profit prison contractors. He also spearheaded a campaign to shed light on the deplorable conditions within foster homes and mental health facilities. He moved for policy reform that would prohibit the excessive sedation of mentally ill children and successfully shuttered abusive residential commitment facilities. His expertise has been recognized statewide in the areas of conditions of confinement, prison privatization and the reduction of the school-house-to-jail-house pipeline.
In addition to his work with children, Mr. Weekes has been a tireless advocate against police misconduct and the use of force. He has championed community efforts to address predatory policing. He continues to work on reducing minority over-representation and disparate treatment in the justice system.
He was also at the center of the push to stop reality television shows like COP’s and the Police Women of Broward County from exploiting the community for ratings. Mr. Weekes has also been a watchdog for wrongdoing and has uncovered a number of issues that directly impacts the public’s confidence in the judicial system.
Mr. Weekes has appeared as a panelist and acted as a moderator for a number of community forums and has lectured throughout the State on various topics ranging from ethics, scientific evidence, and community / police relations. He currently serves as a community stakeholder on several boards including the Circuit Seventeen Advisory Board, FPDA Juvenile Subcommittee, Disproportionate Minority Contact & Zero Tolerance Committee and Broward Schools’ – Prison Pipeline Committee, which has been nationally recognized for reducing the number of children arrested, expelled or suspended from school.
However, Gordon’s greatest accomplishment is being a Husband to his beautiful wife for over 10 years and Father to his two boys.
Councilman Ighodaro is an educator with a solid background in public management, urban justice, urban education, curricula design and implementation of best practice methodologies, educational public policy and the intervention and resolution of school and community based conflict.He holds a Ph. D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University (2007). He graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Justice Administration from St. Thomas University (2000) and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Florida Memorial University (1997).
A former Miami Dade Council Public School Teacher and Chief of Staff to School Board Member Dr. Robert Ingram, he serves as the Miami-Dade School District’s Administrator for the Ingram Africa School Alliance (IASA) “Rites of Passage” Project and leads a delegation of students, teachers and parents on the district’s annual excursion and student exchange opportunities with schools in Africa.
The Reverend Allen Paul Weaver, Jr., is the Senior Pastor for Bethesda Baptist Church of New Rochelle. He is a native of Orlando, Florida. Dr. Weaver graduated Cum Laude in 1969 from Florida Memorial College with a B.S. degree in Religious Education. He furthered his studies at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree with a concentration in Christian Ethics in 1972. He received the Doctor of Ministry degree in 1994 from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Dr. Weaver has served as President of the prestigious Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity, the New Rochelle Branch of the NAACP, and the Pastors’ Interdenominational Council of New Rochelle. Demonstrating his love for missions, Dr. Weaver served as a member of the 1987 Preaching Team (to over nine countries in Africa) of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention.
Major: Bachelor’s degree in Biology; M.B.B.S Medicine, University of the West Indies, Kingston Jamaica; Post-Graduate Training: Plastic & Reconstructive surgery and Hand surgery: Dalhousie University: Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Profession: Medical Doctor
Dr. Fitzcharles-Bowe is the first Bahamian born female surgeon in the department of surgery at the Doctors Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital. She is recognized for her contributions to hand surgery in the Bahamas and is responsible for starting the comprehensive hand clinic. Dr. Fitzcharles-Bowe is keenly focused on reconstructive surgery to improve the function in hands, lower limbs, face and trunk, she also performs cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Whitest and his team at Wayne Pharmaceuticals, recently completed several months of negotiations that resulted in them acquiring a licensing agreement for a Vaccine in development at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that will prevent the contraction of HIV. This vaccine which is showing great promise is slated to begin clinical trials in early 2016, and will continue to be developed at the medical school. However, Dr. Whitest and Wayne Pharmaceuticals own the exclusive license agreement for the vaccine and will manage the vaccine at their new location in Cordele Georgia. They are acquiring a school, A.S. Clark, in Cordele in partnership with their non-profit partner the M.D. Whitest Medical Institute and converting it into a Biomedical center that will house the management of their Vaccine programs inclusive of the HIV Vaccine technology program. This is a historic event as it represents the engagement of the African American community in the search for a cure for HIV infection in a major Research capacity, as Dr. Whitest is of African American descent.
Dr. Sparkman received his early education in Nassau, Bahamas. After high school, he entered Florida Memorial College as a Biology major in 1971. During the summers of 1973 and 1974, he attended Fisk University, Nashville Tennessee for a special pre-medicine programme sponsored by the Kellogg foundation. He then graduated from Florida Memorial College with a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1975.
As a direct result of his exposure at Fisk, Sparkman gained insights into the field of dentistry, and chose to pursue enrollment into dental school. He was accepted to attend Howard University, and enrolled in 1975 as a member of the dental class of 1979.
After graduation from Howard University in 1979, Dr. Ferguson returned to the Bahamas where he has been, and still is engaged in private practice.
His primary goal was to educate and increase the dental IQ in his country. So immediately after graduation, he set out lecturing to small groups and writing dental articles, which were published in the local newspapers. To this day, he continues to lecture and write educational dental articles for the local newspapers. This commitment was so passionate, that it caught the eyes of Dr. Hal Leyland, a Canadian WW 11 dentist who nominated Dr. Ferguson to receive fellowship in the American College of Dentists in 1991. He was the first Bahamian dentist to achieve this fellowship.
In 1989, the Bahamas Government introduced legislation to regulate dentistry for the first time as a separate entity from medicine. Dr. Ferguson was selected and named the first Chairman of the Bahamas Dental Council. He served in that position until 1994.
For his entire 35-year career, Dr. Ferguson has been a member of the Bahamas Dental Association. In that organization, he has served three terms as president, and two terms each as secretary and treasurer.
In 2005, he was selected to serve on the Government’s Healthcare and Facilities Board. This board is charged with the regulation of the premises where all healthcare disciplines are practiced. He served on this board for six consecutive years.
The Bahamas Government announced Dr. Ferguson’s greatest service to his country in June of 2013 when he was appointed as Dental Registrar of the Commonwealth Of The Bahamas. As the registrar, Dr. Ferguson is responsible for all regulatory matters that pertain to the practice of Dentistry. These range from the examination of dental candidates for licensure, to overseeing all the laws governing the practice of dentistry, and their enforcement.
Apart from his private practice, and the administration of the office of the registrar, Dr. Ferguson serves as Titular organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Nassau. He has been involved in church music for 48 years, and offers a benefit organ recital each January since 2000.
Dr. Ferguson has been a brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity since 1972. He supports the activities of his local chapter.
During these years, Dr. Ferguson has raised a family of three along with his wife Dawn of thirty-seven years. They are the parents of Sherise (A neurosurgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas), Sharad (Bahamas Gov.) and Sherelle (A Sociology PhD student at U. of Pennsylvania).
Terrell D. Brown is a proud alum of Florida Memorial University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Dr. Brown has worked as a Gerontological Social Worker for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services—Adult Resources Bureau. Dr. Brown was a Frederick Douglass Doctoral Fellow in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard University, a former intern for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and AARP. Dr. Brown was awarded the Gerontological Social Work Pre-Dissertation Award from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE SW). His interests broadly include aging and diversity issues; ethno-gerontology, HIV/AIDS, social work education, and social welfare policy. In his doctoral work he explored how the intersections of age, race, spirituality, and sexual orientation impact psychological well-being among Black middle aged and older gay HIV positive men. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University and a Master of Social Work and PhD degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC. This fall, Dr. Brown will join the faculty in the School of Social Work at Barry University.
Lizzie Polly Robinson-Brown Jenkins was born in Archer, Florida, October 25, 1938, growing up on a farm with parents, Hura and Theresa Brown Robinson, skilled farmers who purchased a 285 acre Farm in 1940, industrialized parental commandments, shaped young minds, build work ethic, mounted morals aspirations for their children using good judgment. Jenkins, the youngest of five children reared in a nurturing home, where she was expected to not only excel, but become a beacon of light for others. A lover of books at first glance and believed born to explore, research, authenticate the history of a people while preserving community life.
She is a lifelong resident of Archer, Florida, where she attended Archer Negro Elementary/High School, graduating from Lincoln in 1957, Gainesville, Florida. She matriculated through Florida Memorial College following in the footprints of her Rosewood Aunt, Mahulda Gussie Brown Carrier, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in 1961. She furthered her education at Nova University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Administration 1978. During her transition years she attended both Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Both parents emphasized, knowledge is power that would open doors that would result in triumph. She prides herself by giving back to education in the spirit of scholarships.
Rosewood Descendant, Jenkins, has amassed more than twenty-five years of community research authenticating and preserving Rosewood and family history. Her Aunt, Mahulda Gussie Brown Carrier, an Archer, Florida, native, was the Rosewood schoolteacher, 1915-1923 and a 1923 Rosewood survivor. Carrier, the first and only African America female principal in Levy county and believed the second African American female principal in the state of Florida. Robinson’s strong advice, “Never forget my sister’s suffrage. Carrier’s story is Jenkins’ story, orally passed down by Carrier’s sister and Jenkins’ mother, the family historian. Other accomplishments proved her Aunt the Rosewood schoolteacher, Mahulda Gussie Brown Carrier, was believed the second African American female principal in Florida and was honored as one of the 2000 Great Floridians and only African American female principal in Levy County.
Jenkins is a Life Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., NAACP, and ACPO. In addition, she is a member of several other organizations.
Jenkins, a retired educator, researcher, and published authorand historian is credited a real storyteller organizing Rosewood tours for interested schools, organizations and churches. Plans are in place to produce a play, “Rosewood on My Mind”, followed by a documentary, “The Reel Rosewood”. Jenkins is married to John M. Jenkins, Sr.
Paul Jeremiah Joseph is a native of Miami and is the sixth child of the late Albert and Nellie Joseph. After graduating from George Washington High School, he enrolled in Clark College in 1949, but subsequently transferred to Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial College in 1952, graduating with his bachelor’s of arts degree in elementary education in 1954. Joseph later earned his master’s degree in education from Barry University in 1965. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, having served his country during the Korean War.
Joseph began working as an educator in the Dade County Public School system in 1956. He enjoyed a very successful career with the school system and held numerous classroom, administrative, and leadership positions over 34 years. Joseph retired in 1990 as the assistant principal at Southridge Vocational High School.
His love for his alma mater, Florida Memorial, has been manifested in his support as an alumni for the past 60 years. He and his wife, Florence, with an endowment of $10,000 established the Paul and Florence Joseph Scholarship Fund. They also provided an additional $10,000 to establish the Paul and Florence Joseph Emergency Student Loan Fund to assist students who needed short-term financial assistance.
In addition to his work on behalf of Florida Memorial University, Joseph is a very active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for the past 60 years, holding the positions of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Dean of Pledgees of the Iota Pi Lambda chapter.
He is married to the former Florence Glenn, also an alumni of Florida Memorial University, and is the father of three children, Jeffrey, Cheryl, and Maurice, and is the proud grandfather of four.
Ms. Stephanie N. Williams is a 3rd year law student at the Michigan State University College of Law (MSU). In 2010, Ms. Williams graduated Cum Laude with her B.S. in Broadcast Communications from Florida Memorial University. During her tenure at FMU, Ms. Williams was an active member of the Honor’s Council, Editor of the “Lion’s Tale” student newspaper, and a representative in the Student Government Association as Miss Freshman. Currently, Ms. Williams is a National and Regional Mock Trial Champion, Chair of the Diversity Consortium, and recipient of numerous academic scholarships. Ms. Williams is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
In May, Ms. Williams will be graduating from MSU Law and obtaining her Juris Doctorate degree. At that time, she will be returning to South Florida to take the Florida Bar exam to become a licensed attorney. Ms. Williams is committed to serving her community through her legal endeavors and looks forward to giving back to her alma mater, Florida Memorial University.
Meet Brittany the Culture Changer. She breaks barriers and has a desire, and a passion for serving. In a society that is fixated on narcissism and “all about me”agenda. The Culture Changer is concerned about the agenda of the family, community, and society. What is a Culture Changer? Culture changer– is one who is willing to put self-last in order to empower and/or invest in the advancement of society/people.
1. Give your background/ tell us about yourself-Living in the DC area for over 8 years, I was born and raised in Florida I am a graduate of Florida Memorial University and currently obtaining my Masters of Science in Administration at Trinity Washington University. I currently work as a contractor as a program analyst, but my heart and passion are serving others. Once a quarter, I solicit donations from family and friends to distribute personal hygiene care packages and lunches to those who are less fortunate in the Washington, DC area. I started this initiative a little over 2 years and within that span, we have distributed over 450 care packages and lunches.
2. What or who inspired you to serve?
My mother has inspired me to serve, she has always instilled in myself and my sister the old proverb “If I can help someone as I travel along the way, then my living shall not be in vain”. I try my best to live by that motto every day of my life.
3. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people what would your message be?
That they are loved, I know it may sound cliche considering the recent world-wide events, but I am a firm believer that everyone wants to know that they are loved. So, through my giving back initiative, I want every person that receive a package and/or meal to know that it came from a place of love and if I never see them again, to know that someone loves them. That’s what this world needs for people to show love to their fellow mankind.
4. How important is the family in our community?
Family is HUGE in our community; I believe the family helps shape you into being the person that you are. To me, a family does not include those who are biologically connected to you, but it could be a neighbor or close friend(s). I was blessed to grow up with a close-knit family(biological and non-biological)and friends who are my family. A strong and loving support system from family is contagious in what has been instilled in you, you would naturally want to spread it to others.
5.Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Wow, in 5 years…. I see myself with a Master’s Degree and with a non-profit organization continuing to serve the less fortunate men and women in the DC area.
6. How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who believed in spreading love to everyone no matter their background. I am a firm believer that at the end of the day everyone wants to feel and be loved. So I want to be a light that spreads love to anyone that I come in contact with.
7. Anything else you would like to share?
It’s never too late to live in life’s purpose.
Jarlens Princilis, originally from Haiti and raised in Miami, FL graduated from Florida Memorial University in December of 2013 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration. After graduation, Jarlens took a gap year from study to work for the Florida Democratic Party as a campaign organizer. In August of 2015, Jarlens joined the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clark School of Law, pursuing his Juris Doctorate degree.
While in law school, Jarlens was actively involved outside the classroom, holding memberships and offices in many student organizations, including the UDC Black Law Students Association, and the Student Bar Association in which he served as a first and third year Senator. After his first year in law school, he became an Equal Justice America Fellow working in the UDC Housing and Consumer Law Clinic where he had the opportunity to help protect tenants against unlawful and deceptive practices. In June of 2017, Jarlens worked as a student attorney for the UDC Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. Along with his law school clinic partner and under the supervision of two UDC law professors, he won his first asylum case for a Honduran mother with two minor children.
Jarlens finished law school early in December of 2017 and passed the Florida Bar Exam as a first-time taker. He is currently working on a Certificate of Economics for Lawyers from George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School and planning to start his own law practice in Miami, FL, focusing in immigration and criminal law–with a mission to provide zealous advocacy for those who are on the right side of the law. In the near future, Jarlens has aspirations to run for public office and serve his community to best of his abilities. He is a firm believer in Colin Powell’s famous eloquence: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Jarlens is a proud member of the Florida Memorial University Alumni family.
Reverend Khalia J. Williams is the ecstatic and supportive wife of Rev. Dr. Damon P. Williams, Pastor of the historic Providence Missionary Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta, Georgia. She is an ordained minister and liturgical artist, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Graduate Theological Union in the area of Liturgical Studies with a focus on theology and worship. Prior to her matriculation at Graduate Theological Union, Rev. Williams earned the Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary, and the Master of International Business Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Florida Memorial University.Rev. Williams is a native of Los Angeles, California and is a professionally trained classical ballet and modern dancer. Following God’s call, Rev. Williams founded Trinity Praise Dance Company in 2006, a Miami-based Christian dance company that is focused on spreading the gospel and empowering the nations through the arts. Her work as a liturgist and liturgical dance artist has been called upon by churches and conferences throughout the country and abroad. She is sought after for her ability to train dancers, and to teach ministries in the areas of worship planning, leadership, and the integration of worship and the arts. Rev. Williams greatly impacts the Christian dance community with her desire for technical integrity, passion and Christ-centered ministry. In addition, she has spent several years in the corporate sector as a consultant in human resources management, executive recruiting, and new business start-ups.In ministry, Rev. Williams most recently served as the Dance Ministry Director at Berkeley Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Berkeley, California. In this capacity, she was solely responsible for directing the dance ministry and incorporating worship arts into the weekly services. Prior to this role, Rev. Williams served as a member of the Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry Council at Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, and as a dance ministry leader at New Birth Baptist Church in Miami (Florida). In addition to her ministry work, Rev. Williams serves on the board of trustees for the Disciples Seminary Foundation, and the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Rev. Williams also continues to mentor young women across the country. In all her endeavors, Rev. Williams is driven by her passion to empower the people of God to reach their full potential in Christ.
Dr. Elicel Similien was born and raised in Miami, FL, to two amazing parents of Haitian descent. He is currently 33 years old and the youngest of four siblings. Having parents with limited education and preliminary reading, writing, and speaking skills, he always thought he was at a disadvantage to his peers growing up in the public education system. His realization that education was an essential foundation that any human can have come from having to read and translate information for his parents at such an early age. Therefore, he pushed himself to succeed academically throughout his entire K-12 educational career.
Dr. Similien earned a full academic scholarship to Florida Memorial University, the premiere HBCU in South Florida. He attained a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in Reading K-12. While at Florida Memorial University, Dr. Similien joined the Delta Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He was also actively involved with the student government association and the FMU pre-alumni council. He felt his calling to be a teacher when he began mentoring and tutoring elementary male students during his sophomore year, along with his fraternity brothers. Teaching and working with urban youth have always been his passion and hidden talent.
Dr. Similien seeks to break every stereotype and expectation set for a young black man in society to show his students that everything they want in life is attainable. He desires to change the outlook of a successful black man in the eyes of young men at Miami Norland Senior High School and our surrounding community. His sole purpose is to instill the message that we all are illimitable with the power of education. Students must understand that their educational talents are just as valuable as physical ones. For this reason, he decided to further his education by attaining his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Organizational Leadership in 2022.
Educating and mentoring is not only his profession but is now his hobby and a part of his lifestyle. In October 2018, he founded the Kings of Glory Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization to provide more scholarship opportunities, college exposure, and positive activities for young men striving to make a progressive change in their lives. With five years of leading this mentoring program, he has maintained 100% graduation rates and at least a 90% retention rate of members once they have joined the program. Dr. Similien also serves as the site director for 5000 Role Models of Excellence and Empowering Youth Inc., providing tutoring sessions, financial literacy workshops, college readiness, and social-emotional learning sessions.
He dedicates everything he achieved as an educator to every student and mentee he has encountered. In 2019, Dr. Similien was selected as the Miami Dade County Public Schools North Region Rookie Teacher of the year and became one of the top four finalists in the district for this prestigious recognition. He is currently Miami Norland’s Senior High School Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023. Dr. Similien refers to all of his students as “scholars.” Society already does a great job of placing negative labels on urban students, so he uses his platform to speak life into each student he encounters. By not allowing titles to dictate their growth, He strives to prepare his students for life after high school, providing them with valuable skills, strategies, and knowledge to help them navigate college and life after high school.
Dr. Tikiy`a Henry is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fl. She attended Stranahan High where she found her love for cheerleading and dance, graduating in 2008 and enrolled in South Florida’s only Historically Black College and University, Florida Memorial University. On campus, she was very involved in making the cheerleading team and becoming Miss Freshman all within her first year in college. She didn’t stop there and was an active student leader taking on roles in Student Government, Miss United Negro College Fund, and NAACP. Graduating with her Bachelors in Communication/ Television Broadcasting in 2012. Furthering her education worlds ahead at Miami`s Top-tier research institution Florida International University studying Higher Education Administration, graduating in 2013.
Dr. Henry, Higher education career start at Broward College taking on many roles as a Success Coach, College Advisor, and Enrollment Services officer. Her career took off as she served her beloved Alma Mater, Florida Memorial University as the Admissions Transfer Counselor. It was in this position, that she found her passion for higher education, HBCUs, and ensuring students have a welcoming college experience.
Since then she has had the pleasure of helping students with their college matriculation at institutions such as Lincoln University, PA, Florida International University, and currently Florida Atlantic University as the Associate Director of Student Activities and Involvement, advising Student Government and the Black Student Union.
Recently graduating in June 2022 with her Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University, Tikiy’a completed her dissertation topic on Surviving or Thriving: Examining Issues Surrounding Enrollment Declining at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
She also is a leader in the community serving as the Director of College Readiness for Ignite Empowerment Community center.
Her philosophy is to “always walk into a room and OWN IT, no matter who is there”!