Celebrate Diversity Miami
Team Member: Sharie Blanton
Naomi Ross wrote -
In summer 2014 I became inspired to begin the journey of following my personal mission statement: To creatively develop spaces that spark conversations on diversity, encourage collaboration, and inspire action to address social change. I was taking a course for my master’s in Community & Social Change program, and happened to learn about an organization based on the west coast of Florida called ‘Embracing Our Differences’ (EOD). The EOD mission is to promote diversity and inclusion throughout their community, and for over 10 years it has collaborated with schools in Sarasota County to produce a free large-scale, outdoor art exhibit that’s been seen by 1.5 million visitors. So I thought, “Why not bring a similar exhibit to greater Miami?” and the idea for ‘Celebrate Diversity Miami’ (CDM) was born!
For the past ten months CDM has evolved from a simple (albeit initially super ambitious) concept written on paper, into a more feasible project that it is well on its way to becoming a full-fledged reality in less than a month. On Saturday, April 11, 2015 the very first CDM Photo-voice Exhibit will premiere at Museum Park, thanks to a wonderful partnership with South Florida’s annual civic engagement festival, PhilanthroFest. The exhibit features a vibrant selection of 60+ images submitted by local residents, schools, and community-based organizations from across Miami-Dade County. Afterwards, it will commence a countywide tour and travel to various neighborhood venues throughout the year, starting with Pinecrest Gardens on April 29th. In addition, thanks to another great partnership with MCCJ, it will be accompanied by group dialogue opportunities that are open to the public.
From the very beginning, CDM has been a grassroots initiative. It would not have progressed to where it is today without an on-going supportive network of friends and family who have volunteered their skills and time. I am grateful for the guidance on facilitating a strategic planning session and to those who attended, for the help with initiating CDM’s social media presence and drafting press releases, for the design of our kick-off event flyer and all the promotional outreach, for everyone who submitted a photo to our exhibit, for the exhibit’s incredible panel of guest judges, for the spaces that will host our traveling exhibit, for a growing number of community partners that make our overall activities possible, and last but certainly not least YOU, the person reading about this fundraiser.
Your contribution, whether it’s $5, $10, $15, or $20+, will become a key part of the positive impact I believe CDM is going to have on contributing to a deepened sense of connectivity between our diverse communities of greater Miami. An application to the Awesome Foundation Miami’s mini-grant program was submitted, but unfortunately it wasn't considered for their latest monthly grant cycle, so funding raised via Crowdrise will go towards the costs for printing custom, color exhibit panels. Additional money collected beyond the goal for this fundraiser will be applied to our group dialogue programming. I would also like to explore options for producing a limited edition book that tells a visual and descriptive story of the 2015 exhibit.
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about CDM and why I have launched this fundraising campaign. If you’re not able to donate funds personally, I invite you to pass the info along to others who might be able to. To stay updated on what’s to come for CDM, please “Like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CelebrateDiversityMiami and/or follow us on Twitter @DiversityMiami. The social media hashtag is #DiversityMiami just in case you want to share anything related to our efforts. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with “CrowdRise Question” in the subject line.