Liberty City

Courtesy Coach Carmen Jackson

Carmen Jackson has trained thousands of track runners in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. She’s the longtime coach of the girl’s track team at Miami Northwestern Senior High School--and her Lady Bulls team dominates. This year they won their eighth consecutive state championship.

Jackson was in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics cheering on one of her former athletes, Liberty City native and Miami Northwestern grad Brianna Rollins. Rollins won big.

She is the first athlete from Miami to win a gold medal in an individual Olympic track and field event--the 100-meter hurdles.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Diaunte Jenkins’ introduction to dance was at family gatherings and barbecues.

When the beat dropped, he was the kid delighting the crowd with the latest hip-hop moves.

“From that point on I realized this is my gift because I would be doing it really everywhere I go,” he said.

In church, he was more subdued. That’s where he picked up worship and liturgical dances.

And by the time he figured out he wanted to pursue dance formally, he knew his neighborhood school in Liberty City, Miami Northwestern High , had a performing arts magnet program.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Robert Battle is the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

He was raised in Liberty City by his cousin Dessie Horne,  who he calls his mother. Horne is a deeply spiritual woman who helped shape his love for the arts.

Battle rarely lets an interview go by without mentioning her impact on him.

She’s his biggest cheerleader and his inspiration. 

On a recent afternoon,  Battle and Horne sat down  at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City and reminisced.

Listen to the  conversation below:

Nadege Green

Miami’s Police Chief is encouraging officers to engage with the communities they patrol beyond arrests and traditional law enforcement actions.

Daniel Mocombe is a neighborhood resources officer in Liberty City doing just that. When he's not answering emergency calls, he's building relationships in the community.

His approach to the job comes from his own negative experience with a police officer when he was a teen.  This is what the job boils down to for him: "People just want to be treated like human beings."

Justin McGregor / Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine a community without police. That’s the topic of a workshop in Liberty City Wednesday (Oct. 28).

Organizers say this workshop is in response to national and local conversations happening right now around policing in communities of color.

But beyond examining the current police model, the workshop is pushing the conversation even further --like what a community would be like if there were no police officers at all.

More than a week after a video surfaced of a Miami officer appearing to jump on a handcuffed suspect in the Liberty Square housing projects, residents and activists in the neighborhood are still talking about the confrontation.

One of those residents was Dorothy, who was inside the Liberty Square Community Center one recent afternoon discussing the video.

The 47-second video shows Miami Officer John Hinson walking a handcuffed man to a patrol car. And then, suddenly, Hinson appears to strike the man and jump on top of him.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Daniel Mocombe was about 13 years old when his family moved to the Village of El Portal, a small municipality just north of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.

Mocombe was exploring the new neighborhood on a bike when a police officer stopped him.

“The officer asked me where I stole the bike from. He assumed I didn’t live in the neighborhood. He was belittling me and talking down to me like I was nothing,” Mocombe recalls.

He told the officer the bike wasn't stolen and that he lived in the neighborhood. The officer said he didn’t believe him, but let him ride off.

Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Studies a $1.45 million grant to fund a health clinic at Miami Northwestern Senior High (MNW).

The Liberty City-based campus will begin providing family and pediatric care services in November. These will include preventative care, vaccines, flu shots, physical therapy, speech therapy and athletic training.

Alexander Gonzalez / WLRN

Sixteen-year-old Christian Harris says knew he wanted to become an artist since he was 4 years old. 

He did one of his early works in seventh grade for Hispanic Heritage Month. The medium was a concrete wall that was spray-painted gold and carved into a symbol that was supposed to be “ancient” but he says resembled more of an “alien text.” 

Harris, who is finishing his junior year at Miami Jackson Senior High School, has been honing his craft, painting portraits of rappers A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. 

Lisann Ramos

Elementary students in Liberty City are getting lessons from a professional poet through the O, Miami poetry festival.

For four weeks students at Orchard Villa Elementary are getting a crash course in poetry from an actual poet.

“This is my first time knowing about poetry, and it is fun. And I get to write my own poetry stories and we could talk about our family,” said Kindra Oriental, a third grader.

Oriental is one of the students in the third grade class learning from poet Laurel Nakanishi.

These Liberty City Tenants Are About To Lose Power

Feb 19, 2015
Lisann Ramos

A Liberty City apartment complex has been in the spotlight recently due to complaints from its tenants about the deplorable living conditions. Now the building is facing a power outage this Friday due to illegal and outdated power meters, which the landlord has not updated.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency, is promoting the rich history of  two of Florida’s historic black neighborhoods for Black History Month.

Miami’s Overtown neighborhood will be featured in a national commercial that highlights its past as “The Harlem of the South.”

Big name artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole would perform on Miami Beach, but because of segregation they stayed in Overtown hotels. At night, visiting celebrities would go to the local nightclubs, performing and jamming with locals.

NiteCap Debut

Inside his Liberty City music studio, Miami rapper Loksamillion keeps his Bible open to Songs of Solomon on a small black leather couch.

“There’s a reward for those who are diligent and listen to God,” he says.

Across the room, a small padded recording booth anchors the space next to a keyboard and computer. From the outside, this is a quaint yellow and white home on a quiet residential Liberty City block.

But this is where Loksamillion, also known as Loks, creates.


Six weeks after President Barack Obama announced efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, former Cuba leader Fidel Castro writes a letter of reserved-approval for the plan.

Cuba President Raul Castro said this week that relations with the United States can only be rehabilitated if  the U.S. returns Guantanamo Bay to the island and the embargo is lifted.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Miami-Dade County’s oldest and largest housing project, Liberty Square -- or the Pork and Beans, as many locals know it -- is going to be redeveloped.

The county is rolling out an ambitious plan to transform the sprawling Liberty Square site into a mixed-income housing development. 

The project, still in its infancy stages, will require several votes from the county commission and a competitive bidding process to choose a developer.