marlon-hill_web.jpgHe helped organize President Barack Obama’s Florida campaign.  He drafted an agreement that will bring competing Caribbean carnivals in Miami-Dade and Broward together.  He is a radio personality who engages the community through dialogue.  He is a corporate attorney and community advocate.

Now, as Caribbean American Heritage Month kicks off,  Marlon Hill is taking on his latest challenge by working to bring more economic development to South Florida through the Orange Bowl Committee.

Hill, 38, of South Miami-Dade, is the newest active member of the 2009-2010 Orange Bowl Committee, a non-profit organization of more than 300 members who are dedicated to coordinating and marketing events that provide economic revenue.

The committee will host the 76th FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 5, 2010.  Beyond its tourism and promotional benefits, the committee generates diverse youth sports competition and strong community outreach each year. It funds grants, community programs and scholarships that benefit thousands of South Florida youth.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of the committee because of the impact that the organization has on South Florida’s economic development and tourism,” Hill said. 
“I think I will bring a youthful perspective to the committee and I’m looking forward to it.”

Hill’s responsibilities within the committee will include participation in football events, marketing, hosting teams and their families, and community involvement.

Hill also said that as he works with the committee, he would like to see the incorporation of carnival elements into the Orange Bowl festivities.

“I think there should be a party themed around Caribbean music and food to promote things related to the Orange Bowl events,” Hill said. “I hope I can bring that type of cultural competency to the committee.’’

Lynn Washington, the Orange Bowl Committee executive committee member,  said in a prepared statement, “The Orange Bowl Committee is much more than the name of a football game or the name of a festival,  it is also about tradition, public service and caring about one’s community.’’

Washington continued: “I was pleased to sponsor Marlon Hill because I know that he cares about those same things and was already a valuable asset to the South Florida community. I have no doubt he will be a valuable asset to the Orange Bowl Committee.’’

Hill, who was originally born in Kingston, Jamaica and migrated to Miami in 1985, has a strong resume in both community and professional service. As one of the founding partners of the Miami law firm of delancyhill P.A., Hill is a corporate attorney and community advocate from sun up to sun down.

He currently serves on several boards, including the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas Inc., the Miami-Dade Parking Authority and the Florida Caribbean Students Association.

Beth Boone, executive director of the Miami Light Project, another organization for which Hill volunteers his time and service, described her colleague as an outstanding, positive and dedicated soldier for his community.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Marlon for almost 10 years,” Boone said. “During that time, I’ve watched him emerge as one of our most passionate and engaged citizens in the community. Among many wonderful characteristics, Marlon has a deep emotional intelligence and is capable of motivating people better than most. He keeps his eye on the big picture—but pays attention to every important detail. We’re lucky to have Marlon living in Miami and I know that he will continue to make important contributions to our community for years to come.”

Even with the numerous organizations and committees of which he is a part, Hill—who has been married to Carla Hill for 11 years—still found time to become fully involved in the 2008 presidential election.  According to Hill, he first met then – U.S. Senator Obama in 2006 when Obama traveled to South Florida for a book fair at Miami Dade College.

The following year, when Hill learned of Obama’s plans to run for the presidency through colleagues and supporters of the senator, Hill immediately became involved as he helped raise money for the campaign, motivated people to vote, and served as an attorney at the polls to help ensure citizens who had issues with registration and rights restoration were properly addressed.

“Obama’s campaign was an extraordinary experience for a lot of people in different ways,’’ Hill said. “Many people who were disenchanted with politics as a whole found a renewed sense of connection. The campaign elevated the engagement of young people in the process and gave the black community hope that if they get involved, things could potentially change.’’

Hill is continually striving to keep the community engaged through his weekly commentary, D’ Peoples’  Politics, which airs  on WBAZ 880 AM every Saturday at 4 p.m. 

He uses this opportunity to provide the minority community a media outlet to address issues ranging from education and employment to immigration reform and the economy.

“What we learned having done the commentary for more than five years, is that every citizen has an acclamation curve but they don’t always know how to engage in their community,” Hill said.  “There were listeners who were calling in that weren’t necessarily a part of an organization like the Urban League or NAACP, but wanted to get involved and volunteer a few hours of their time.’’

Eddy Edwards, who also hosts a commentary show on WBAZ, said, “The Caribbean community is often underrepresented in organizations such as the Orange Bowl committee and Hill has opened the door through his commentary and service for all of South Florida to see the value of participation from the Caribbean community.”

On Oct. 11, South Floridians will be able to take part in a historic event that will merge members of the Caribbean culture from both Miami and Broward counties. With an anticipated crowd of more than 200,000 local residents and tourists, Miami Carnival Inc. (MCI) and Broward Caribbean Carnival Inc. (BCCI) will join forces to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Miami Carnival in Bicentennial Park.

After the two organizations signed an agreement on May 11 to merge into one event after hosting separate carnivals in their respective counties for the past six years, the
One Carnival Host Committee Initiative will reflect the diligent efforts and legal counsel of Hill.

Hill, the former representative for the Jamaican Diaspora of the Southern United States, helped bring the two organizations together.

The power brokers of both events collectively recognized that merging the two events would be a better economic opportunity for South Florida than running the carnivals separately, as they had done for several years.

Hill, who has served as the Miami carnival’s legal counsel for several years, played an essential role in drafting the agreement that partnered that group with the Broward carnival. He also provided the companies with legal advice about the working relationship they will have with the Miami and Broward municipalities.

“Parts of both the city of Miami and Broward County were founded by people from the Caribbean,’’ Hill said. “Even though people may think that Caribbean Americans have differences, we are really more common than they think. The food we eat, the music we listen to and the cultural traditions that we have are reflected in carnival, and in order to host the best possible event, we must be committed and push the message that it’s one passion, we’re one people and it’s one carnival.’’

Photo: Marlon Hill