Liberty City

Allison Diaz / Miami Herald

Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon was born and raised in Liberty City.

When he was elected into office eight months ago to represent District 5, Miami’s poorest district, he noted his personal connection to the area in his acceptance speech.

Hardemon, 30, was born in the James E. Scott public-housing  projects in Liberty City to a single mom.

He says he's experienced some of the storylines that come out of the neighborhood first-hand.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Pastor Billy Strange is dressed in a floor-length black robe, his funeral attire.

A silver-blue casket topped with flowers rests near the altar.

Strange’s Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church sits just blocks away from the site of a June mass shooting that left seven people injured and two dead.

Strange tells the 100 mourners crowded inside the purple-and-white church he’s going to keep it real. 

Walter Michot / Miami Herald

In Miami-Dade County, one organization is working to improve the quality of life for residents who live in neighborhoods affected by gang violence.

On Monday, the Miami-Dade Anti-Gang Strategy focused its efforts in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after a spate of shootings in the past two months left four dead.

WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Miami's Liberty City community will rally in an anti-violence protest on Saturday. The residents will gather in response to a recent mass shooting that left two dead and five injured.

Since the mass shooting in June, a man riding on his bicycle was shot dead and 67-year-old Pastor Kenneth Johnson was also murdered in the neighborhood. Johnson was attacked by two young men who tried to steal money out of his hand and a gold-plated chain from around his neck.

Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The Urban League of Greater Miami wants parents to consider sending their children to charter schools. The organization hosted a town hall in Miami Wednesday night to build support for their idea of "school choice."  

T. Willard Fair is the League's president. He says charter schools abide by  contracts promising to produce certain outcomes, and if they fail, the contracts get canceled. 

"What would happen if every poor performing school in Liberty City had to sign a contract? They all would be closed up," says Fair. 

Miami Herald

It was the kind of cold they could feel in their bones, made worse by 30-mph winds that barreled across the North Dakota plains and whipped between the goal posts.

“At some point, you are going to walk out there, and your body is going to say ‘I’m cold,’” their coach had warned before kickoff. “Your body is going to try to say, ‘I can’t do this right now.’ You ignore that. You ignore that, understood?”

“Yes, sir!” they replied in chorus with their teammates.

But what did four kids from Liberty City know about playing football in freezing temperatures?

For the third Saturday in a row an under-utilized patch of land in South Florida was transformed.

Theo Karantsalis

Barrel-chested Leo Thalassites squints like Clint Eastwood, hops around like Jackie Chan and has been an active cop for nearly six decades. He is 86 years old.

He first joined the Miami-Dade Police Department in 1956. He moved to the Hialeah Police Department in 1963, where he has been on active duty ever since.  And now, according to the International Police Association, he is the oldest active police officer.

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Photo from Miami Dade College's Facebook page

Lonnie Robinson fell on hard times in the early 80s with drugs and alcohol. Addiction kept him out of college for decades, and he found himself living under a bridge. During the day, Robinson found solace at a Miami Dade College library in Liberty City, where a reading program changed the future course of his life. He graduated from the college in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

"No other college would accept me," said Robinson, who’s 59. Today, Robinson visits the same library daily, where he hopes to mentor and inspire younger students.

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