Urgent, Inc’s annual “This Woman’s Work” event at the Overtown Performing Arts Center was a celebration of women leaders and youth talent.
Black and gold embellishment and an array of artwork from youth artists in the Urgent, Inc.
program enhanced the usually stark white room, where a highlight of the event was the first ever 3-D printed award with an actual “Bronze Bra” on the top which was designed and created in Urgent, Inc.’s state-of-the-art multimedia lab.
The Bronze Bra symbolizes those individuals and organizations that have shown support, provided direction and served to uplift the community and the Miami-based youth and community development organization.
Emcees Marcus Williams and Monica Bissanthe gave the first Bronze Bra award to Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner Barbara Jordan, a new sponsor of Urgent which is funded by The Children’s Trust.
The program also provided attendees a chance to experience the talents of students of all ages.
High school freshman Leonce Luma walked off the stage to connect with the audience on a more intimate level as he orated his poem, “Beautiful, You Are.”
There were videos showing young people expressing their life experiences through literary workshops led by author Octavia Yearwood.
The finale, a dance rendition to “Oh Freedom,” was performed by fifth-grader Mia Hyppolite.
Recording artist Ramon “Absoloot” Robinson, a partner of the program who inspires students to create stories in comic book form as a tool of expression, shared his hip-hop rendition of “Beautiful” in honor of a special woman he lost recently.
The festivities rounded out with giving more “Bronze Bra” Awards. The Impact Funder of the Year and only male recipient of the year was Miami District 5 Commissioner Keon Hardemon, whose award was received by Martha Whisby of the Southeast Overtown Parkwest Community Redevelopment Agency.
Macy’s Linda Blankstein was recognized as the Business Partner of the Year for her nineyear relationship giving young girls confidence with the right fitting bra.
Fran Katz was honored as the Mentor of the Year. “I’d like to personally thank Fran not only for serving as a mentor to the organization, but for being a personal mentor to me,” acknowledged Urgent’s Vice President Saliha Nelson. “She would challenge me and pull me out of my comfort zone which helped me grow in this industry. So thank you. I’m very grateful.”
Honey Shine was recognized as the Community Partner of the Year; Director of Programs and Development Ayari M. Aguayo accepted the award for the organization. Miami Times Editor Carolyn Guniss was Media Partner of the Year; her award was accepted by Nyam Daniel.
Caridad Hernandez, a past producer at CBS4 News, was named the Board Member of the Year; Shani Curry-St. Vil accepted her award. Rose Marie Saint Simon is Parent of the Year, nominated by program intern Leonce Luma who accepted the award on her behalf.
The final recipient was a surprised Monica Bissanthe who was recognized as the Youth Member of the Year. Monica began her time with Urgent, Inc. in the Rites of Passage Youth Media Program as a junior at Miami Edison Sr. High School.
“It’s because Urgent, Inc. is such a close knit community, loving environment with motivating mentors that I’m able to conquer my fears and be here today on this stage, slightly nervous to speak to you,” Bissanthe said as part of her acceptance speech.
“I owe a lot of thanks to Urgent, Inc. because if it wasn’t for their program, I wouldn’t know that public speaking is something I’m good at and something I’m still trying to perfect. Urgent gives me opportunity upon opportunity to speak publicly and to perfect this skill,” Bissanthe is a student at Miami Dade College studying physical therapy.
“This Woman’s Work’” began four years ago as a collaboration between the Rites of Passage Youth Media Project and FACE (Film, Arts, Coding & Entrepreneurship) Programs. “Our organization continues to grow its impact because of the support we receive from the community,” said Nelson, Urgent, Inc.’s vice president and executive director. “This is our chance to give something back and recognize others who positively contribute to the collective social good.”
For more information visit urgentinc.org.