Memorial Day Weekend

Fort Lauderdale Beach
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Along Fort Lauderdale Beach, heading north on State Road A1A, few joggers and pairs of walking partners braved the gray clouds, stong wind and the pelting rain on Monday. 

Thousands of people who had planned to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C., this holiday weekend were forced to cancel this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. That includes veterans traveling with the nonprofit network Honor Flight, which recently suspended all trips at least until this fall.

"Our veterans that travel with us are still living, so their day is Veterans Day not Memorial Day," says Honor Flight CEO Meredith Rosenbeck. "But they go to honor their friends and comrades, those who have fallen."

Terrisa Mark / WLRN News

A floating digital billboard in the ocean off South Beach Monday afternoon aimed to make black visitors feel relaxed and at home at the beach. 

The project, called “Water Rights,” was created by artist Johanne Rahaman with support from the Knight Foundation and a $20,000 grant from Oolite Arts, a local organization that fosters visual artists. 

VACO Studios

The City of Miami Beach is attempting to change people's perspectives of Memorial Day weekend by hosting its very first arts and cultural festival, called ReFrame.

Local artists will showcase works of art that spark crucial conversations about inclusion, blackness and relationships.

Octavia Yearwood, one of the festival's curators, says the media has historically portrayed visitors, particularly people of color, in a way that makes residents feel they should flee for the weekend. She hopes ReFrame can reshape the weekend's past "energy and vibe."

Screenshot from Octavia Yearwood's Instagram

For almost two decades, Memorial Day Weekend has meant Urban Beach Week on South Beach, featuring hip-hop music, parties and high fashion. But in recent years, city officials have been criticized for their treatment of visitors during the weekend, most of whom are black. Critics say visitors are scrutinized more than those who attend other events, like Art Basel.  

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants changes in alcohol and noise regulations in the city after two people died over Memorial Day weekend in related shootings. 

At a press conference Tuesday, the mayor proposed ending the sale of alcohol on Ocean Drive at 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. Levine unsuccessfully proposed a similar ordinance last summer. On Tuesday, he also suggested removing an exemption to a noise ordinance that lets clubs play loud music.