Miami, Fla. – The Circle of Brotherhood was promised $1 million by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez who applauded its work in the Black community including collaborating with agencies to provide affordable housing programs, mental health challenges and reducing gun violence.

But instead, the funding was watered down prompting outrage from the nonprofit group and the Black community.

The public outcry came ahead at the October 27 City of Miami Commission meeting when the funding was placed on the agenda which allocated up to $1 million to the organization as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

But Leroy Jones, executive director for Circle of Brotherhood, said the mayor offered the group $250,000, which fell way short of the amount the mayor pledged to the organization.

"The mayor called us here and awarded us the funding for the work we are doing in the community," Jones told city commissioners. "But we only get $250,000."

Jones said he and his group will not accept the $250,000.

He said the group will push until the mayor keeps his promise for $1 million. "People say I’m ungrateful because I want a little more money to help our community," Jones said. "If it’s $250,000, we don’t want it. We are not taking $250,000 because it’s not the $1 million we were promised. The Circle of Brotherhood is not backing down."

The alleged broken promise is prevalent to the Black community.

Circle of Brotherhood and its supporters said it’s unfair how blacks are treated in the funding department compared to White and Hispanic organizations that are subsidized by the city.

They alluded to two checks to Camillus House this year by the mayor’s office in the amount of $250,000, $250,000 for Lotus House Women’s Shelter which helps homeless women and put their lives back together, and over $500,000 last year to the Miami Foundation.

Eric Knowles, president of the MiamiDade Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Circle of Brotherhood, told commissioners the amount offered is unacceptable.

"We will not stand for $250,000," he said. "We were promised $1 million by the mayor."

A community supporter said the Black community is not being treated fair.

"We in the Black community deserve $1 million," he said. "We are being left out."

He said Suarez is avoiding the issue by not showing up to the meeting to discuss the funding.

"The mayor should be here to address it and he’s the leader of the city," he said. "If he’s loyal, he should stand by his word. Let’s all be fair."

Mayor Suarez and his administration didn’t respond to several requests for a media interview.

City Commissioner Manolo Reyes said he was at the press conference when the mayor announced the $1 million allocated to the Circle of Brotherhood.

He suggested deferring the item until the next meeting to give the mayor a chance to explain the funding disparity.

"I was there when they were promised $1 million," he said. "I will not accept $250,000. $1 million is what they were promised and $1 million is what they should get."

The Circle of Brotherhood, headquartered at the Dr. Dorothy Bendross Mindingall Social and Economic Institute, 5120 N.W. 24th Avenue in Brownsville, has been making an impact in the Black community with its anti gun violence campaign, economic development and education opportunities, youth mentorship program and civil servant training.

The group made news in 2019 when members waged a hunger strike for about a month, hoping it would reduce gun violence that plagued the Black community.

At the time, gun violence and deaths peaked that year.

The anti-violence campaign includes the group placing over 350 placards with the faces of slain victims in the right-of-way and median areas throughout the Black community to remind people the toll gun violence has taken on the community and their family members.