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Memorial Day Weekend Fiasco Could Have Been Avoided Long Ago

Categories: Luke's Gospel
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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times.This week, Luke explains how his efforts to organize Memorial Day Weekend festivities in Miami Beach were thwarted by city and county officials.

Miami Beach could have avoided the deadly mess that occurred this past May 31 had they invested in making Memorial Day Weekend an event we can all be proud of as Americans. Nine years ago, I stepped forward to help the city of Miami Beach get a handle on Memorial Day Weekend. I graduated high school on Miami Beach. I owned a nightclub in the city too. I love the place. And I want to see everybody get along. So I came up with Umoja Festival, which is derived from an African word that means "coming together in oneness and unity."

I wanted to recreate the success of the Essence and Carribana festivals in New Orleans and Toronto, respectively. So I worked with other African American promoters to bring in quality entertainment that included R&B and soul acts alongside rappers. I also secured food and retail vendors -- small business owners from all over Miami-Dade -- to create a street bazaar along Ocean Drive so visitors could eat and shop, similar to Art Deco Weekend. But the Ocean Drive restaurants had a problem with that so greed killed it.

But for any large event in a major city, you need the financial and operational support from the host government. Instead, city officials, along with Miami-Dade Community Relations Board executive director Larry Capp, undermined my efforts while pretending they wanted to help me create an event the city could support like it does the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. In fact, Capp, wearing his county employee hat, even incorporated the name Urban Beach Week in 2002 to make it appear that the city and the county sanctioned the event.

All he did was create a web-site to post club parties. Meanwhile, Umoja failed from a lack of support. When you have a weekend like Memorial Day with no structure and no free entertainment, you are inviting thugs and the criminal element, who ruin it for the out-of-towners who have the money to pay for an airplane ticket and a $500-a-night hotel room. To avoid deadly situations like the police shootings that occurred this past May 31, someone has to accept responsibility for organizing and structuring city-sponsored events on Memorial Day weekend.

What we don't need is reactionary political rhetoric that borders on racism like instituting a curfew.That's an idiot idea. If you put a curfew on one event weekend, then you need to put a curfew on every other event that comes through Miami Beach. And you can't ban an unofficial event and tell an entire group of people that they are unwelcome in the city. Not all of them are criminals or part of an "unruly and dangerous mob" like gay activist Herb Sosa put it so eloquently.

I never thought I'd see the day when a gay man would call for the disenfranchisement of a group of people. I was appalled by his open letter to Mayor Matti Bower and the city commissioners. Thankfully, Bower is a very good mayor and a fair and honest lady. But she and her fellow elected officials need to get back to the original plan of having somebody in charge of Memorial Day, whether it's me or another trusted community leader.

They can't have that many people coming into Miami Beach without organizing free public events to give folks something to do other than hanging out on the streets getting liquored up. And we can't let Miami Beach be classified as a racist city. Remember, African Americans visit Miami Beach year round, not just on Memorial Day.

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33 comments
Pntr4hire
Pntr4hire

The problem with black events, the dumb n*****s show up too, always gonna be the case !

Streets Kingpin
Streets Kingpin

We've heard from The Gays, The Blacks, The Hispanics, The Residents and The Government Officials from South Beach, but no one has heard from the Business Owners, the one's who sell the liquor, the one's whom prostitute their parking lots for 100 parking spots so what you all call "these people" can "blast their music" and "smoke their weed"! C'mon everybody if Calle Ocho were to last 4 days then It would be the same result. lets not forget "El Mal Elemento" that is the reason your not allowed to sell glass bottle drinks during Calle Ocho festivities. The fact of the matter is the same laws we all rush to use to protect us are the ones that harm us! Hotels need to take a proactive approach in protecting their properties and hotel guest. Hire more security guards to patrol your grounds. With all the bike cops on the beach there should never be any loud music playing, am i the only one that lived in Miami when we used to be able to cruise ocean? if you want to control traffic limit it! you want to know why you attract the "Drug Dealer" because you have to be one to be able to enjoy that weekend in Miami Beach. $32 usd for a vodka and cranberry???? and you wonder why people are wild and unruly! you wanna try to control the madness or stop it altogether, have random check points, if you dont want to have your vehicle searched, ride a shuttle, bus or cab it! its simple. With all the profit that is generated by over charging and pimpig the tourist you are trying so desperately to keep safe, maybe hire someone people to patrol the streets and enforce the laws. We can make excuses until the sun comes back up, unless we get real and call it how it is, we will never solve the problem. 

White wimmins!
White wimmins!

What are the "progressives" going to do when no one trembles anymoreat the thought of being called a "racist"? It is their only weapon! Wake up to reality. Reality is racist. Nature itself is completely racist from top to bottom. Absolutely everything about animal life on Earth is "racist". Face the cold hard facts of life, you fact-denying, evolution-denying "progressive" faith-based religious fanatics!

Sm42466
Sm42466

Luther Cambell is nothing but a racist himself he knows damn well what happens during Memorial Day why don't you ask him where he spent memorial day I can almost guarantee that he was no where near the beach. Luther Cambell for mayor another joke nut then again black people have the shortest memories....

Sfdgsdfg
Sfdgsdfg

So Luke, what happened at that "Night Club?"

Blacks with guns
Blacks with guns

Luke is a racist.

Memorial Day weekend on South Beach is out of control because of all the loud rude low class black people. Most are fat. Too many bring guns.

No wonder taxpayers hate black people. No wonder the residents want their town back.

TISHA
TISHA

IF YOU WANT TO SEE HOW RACIST THINGS ARE  JUST LOOK AT THE INTRODUCTION NEW TIMES ALWAYS PUT AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS ARTICLE EVERY WEEK! THEY DON'T INSULT KNOWN OF THERE WRITERS THIS WAY BUT LUKE AND HE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT DOES NOT HAVE A DIRECT EMAIL ADDRESS SO ''HE'' CAN GET MAIL THAT DON'T COME TO ''THEM'' FIRST!

Elmo
Elmo

If I wanted a thug week in Miami Beach I would Enjoy it. Why doesnt the klan have a white pride week in ATL or any other ghetto in Miami.

Gknocout
Gknocout

It's not the fear of black people that we the beach residents have. I would dare to say that the congestions to get in are far worse that the boat show. Yet Centerplate at Global Spectrum both managing agencies of the convention center are major contributors to the City of Miami Beach and underpriveladged youth. Memorial Day weekend does nothing for the city but spend well over a million dollars in security and still be out numbered. What they need to do is make it more local friendly And attract a different crowd. Let's be honest what I'd memorial day really about. It's not the day to remember Urban communities.

get real
get real

None of this addresses the groping of women on the street.   Huge ammounts of trash everywhere. Aggressive out of towners who cause acts of violence.  Destruction to home and cars.  Do you seriously think freaknic would have been solved by some street venders?

Yan1976
Yan1976

I live on the beach and this bullshit has to stop!!!! The reason people want a curfew for this event is because these ghetto wannabe thugs can't control themselves!!! We host many events on the beach that bring as many people, yet those crowds don't feel the need to bother everyone with their music, or stab each other and shoot guns in public!! WTF YOUR TELLING ME ACLU CONDONES THIS BEHAVIOR???!!! If you live here then you should join the rally friday at 6pm in front of city hall to end this ghetto event!!! It has nothing to do with race cause every colored civilized and upstanding citizen is ashamed by these people!!!

Sdfasdf3
Sdfasdf3

The real problem is that when black people invade miami beach - they turn it into a mess, full of violence and lewd acts.  

Its not racism, its reality.  You go there on memorial day and check it out.  Even regular black people dont like to be there that weekend

Sanchez
Sanchez

" never thought I'd see the day when a gay man would call for the disenfranchisement of a group of people."

How about all the black leaders (churches, etc) who actively supported the disenfranchisement of gay people with Amendment 2?

Fred
Fred

This is not an issue about black people. Goombay is this weekend in the Grove, and is usually very peaceful and quite. Why? It's locals out having a good time, not a bunch of hooligans running amok. Maybe Uncle Luke is right, maybe it does need to be more organized!

Laszlo
Laszlo

I have lived on the Beach for 12 years, and worked at Level (now Mansion), and let me tell U that the only weekends where gang violence and shootings ever occurred there were, um, MEMORIAL WEEKEND -inside the club or on the streets!  You have to be a resident to see the dramatic difference of events unfolding on that one weekend and Every other major weekend or beach event!

Stop hiding under the "racist" shield.  This is an issue of utter lack of civility that whether anyone likes it or not, it ONLY occurs during the Memorial Weekend!  If the glove fits....

Jcaldwellwin1
Jcaldwellwin1

Seep thats crazy! Have you been down here for memorial day? It's terrible, its the worst of the worst black people that you can find drunk as ever all in one place. Oh and by the way Im a 28 year old black male and I was actually there this year and last year and the year before. I just so happen to live here. What Luke is taking about makes no sense at all, you can do all that and you will still have ignorant people mess it up. Look at the taste of Chicago, almost every year there is a shooting or a fight, and guess who causes it??? hmmmm. Lets just call a spade a spade here. I feel like Miami Beach was wrong in the shooting and the overall way they handled things this weekend, however, they need to find a way to stop this weekend from happening or we will continue to read stories like this. SMH#alossrace

Carly
Carly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I agree with Seep. Residents fear black people. The Spring Break college kids do more damage, but people don't fear them as much because they are white. And the police would probably not be so quick to shoot at them (and at the crowd) either.  If this were a white college kid spring break situation, it is likely that the cops would assume the young guy driving the car was drunk, and not have shot to kill like they did this past weekend.

Any one who knows the MB Police situation here, knows that they can be bullies.  The police grabbed people who were videoing the shooting and threw them down to the ground!  I'm a white professional female who should have no concern with police, but after hearing so many stories from my friends, I'm more frightened of the police than the memorial day crowds.

Herby Garcia
Herby Garcia

According to an article in the Miami Herald this morning, city sanctioned events where tried at Freaknik in Atlanta and had no success.  I think the violence and issues being reported from residents is overrated.

seep
seep

The only real problem with this event is that Beach residents are irrationally afraid of black people.  Does nobody else sense how creepy this fear is?  It creeps me out, and I am white.

I hope you fight curfews and any other repressive measures with great zeal.

Laszlo
Laszlo

This is ridiculous!  Go ahead and make up yet more excuses (if it makes U feel any better),

Same skyrocketing prices are seen on every major weekend event, same lenient behavior by the police too.  Yet, there is no such chaos and destruction, such violence and mayhem.  It is ONLY in that one weekend, that it seems that it is overrun with savages.

And yes, savages are savages, despite race, color, ethnic background, politial afiliation, or sexual orientation!

Alvarado1
Alvarado1

Hey Black with guns. Quite a number of blacks are taxpayers too in case you didn't get the memo.

Alvarado1
Alvarado1

Tisha it's not an insult to Luke. It's a play on one of his most commercially successful albums, you know the one that led him to fight for freedom of speech all the way to the Supreme Court, but obviously that part flew over your head in a failed attempt to paint New Times as racist. If Luke felt insulted by the intro, trust me he would have no problem letting us know. And if you want to reach Luke directly you can hit him up on Twitter, @unclelukereal1, where he instantly replies to any questions and comments about his columns. 

Gabe
Gabe

colored????? LMAO, and you're not racist, huh?

Laszlo
Laszlo

Besides, "disenfranchisement of a group of people" seems a bit melodramatic. 

The right to use it as most civilized group was openly given, it was misused and abused.  The residents have the right to take it back if they feel their city miused.

seep
seep

Yes I lived on Euclid for 4 years.  I actually partake in and enjoy the Weekend, so I'm a little biased.

Goodman
Goodman

Go to Youtube and watch the videos of spring break in Panama City. You will see a bunch of drunken white kids acting as bad or worse than the kids that come here over Memorial Day Weekend. As a white female, a crowd of drunken idiots is all the same to me; whether it be white spring breakers, old white Super Bowlers or black ballers..  whatever.. they all get drunk and pee on everything, leave trash around and break things..

BUT...Would the police have fired shots into a crowd of white kids or stood in a line to shoot to death an unarmed white kid (who had come to a stop at the light) for drunk driving? Probably not.

If it were a white kid that almost ran over the bike cop, they probably would have given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was just a college kid who had to much to drink. They would have put him in jail for a long time, but lining up to shoot him gangster style?

I cannot believe that more people are not upset about this. Oh.. I know why. Because the police confiscated every bit of evidence from the people around them. The Miami Beach police took the video cameras out of people's hands, and even threw innocent bystanders to the ground to take their video cameras.  Nothing new.

soulofmiami
soulofmiami

I call it "white fright" and, as a white person, it makes me sick.

Dfgsdfg
Dfgsdfg

Luke is an idiot. He was fighting to sell albums, plain and simple.

Jackinmix96
Jackinmix96

Were those white kids in panama shooting guns? There were shots fired and not reported on the news kiddo. Like on ocean drive..were u there for that one? No body got shot or killed during ultra..

musichandra
musichandra

I think it's tensions between Latinos and blacks... there are not many traditional white Americans in Miami Beach...  The city is corrupt and it's police is out of control as a result, that's the real problem here.  Miami Beach police attacks gays as well, there are a number of lawsuits coming up.  The gay leaders there are pretty corrupt as well, and don't deal with real issues such as attacks on gay men, and single men in general, by police.  It seems that the citizens of Miami beach are very oblivious when it comes to politics.  To have such corrupt organization that is draining their taxes is pathetic.  the Miami Beach police department is a pure liability for the citizens and a danger for tourists.  The officers never pay a penny for their mistakes and obnoxiousness, it's the tax payers that pay for lawsuits, who also pay officer's huge salaries, and the union that protects those officers...  

Goodman
Goodman

 Google, 'Panama City Spring Break Shooting', and you will get a long list of headlines.

Kvickson
Kvickson

the real problem is not the city nor the police, is the undesirable visitors, why they don;t go and do this here they live, like georgia, they have beches there too. we the miami beach resident paid hight taxes, and we want to keep this city clean of those animals.   

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