Oolite Arts has partnered with the Community Justice Project to focus on the cinematic storytelling of some of Miami’s most pressing issues—evictions, food insecurity, and incarceration amid COVID-19.
This collaborative model pairs a filmmaker with real community experts, the people closest to the issues and on the front lines, for community-centered storytelling.
The work spotlights organizing and community power happening in local collectives like Beyond the Bars and the Village (Free)dge.
On March 31, Oolite Arts will premiere the resulting films by Alicia Edwards, Fxrbes, and Vanessa Charlot, commissioned by Oolite Arts. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Nadege Green, Community Justice Project’s director of community research and storytelling. We hope the films will encourage deep listening and inspire more people to understand and get involved in these issues faced by many Miamians.
Have questions? Please contact Cinematic Arts Manager Danielle Bender.
Alicia G. Edwards, a storyteller, began her career as an investigative news producer with stints at CNN and NBC. She has written for numerous newspapers including The Miami Herald and The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Currently, she is a Contributing Editor at the Progress Report for UnidosUS, formerly La Raza. Her previous work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Florida Humanities Council, and Oolite Arts. Her BA, with a major focus in Latin American and Caribbean History, was earned at Florida State University. She holds an MA in Transnational Communications and the Global Media from the University of London, UK.
Danny Agnew is co-founder of a three-tiered platform called The Roots Collective. The Roots Collective umbrella is home to Roots Clothing, a pro-black and afro-centric apparel company, Roots Printing, a full service black-owned printing company and The Roots Black Marketplace, a black and brown specific marketplace geared toward building wealth in South Florida. The mission of The Roots Collective is to support our communities so we can invest in ourselves. The collective has a storefront in Liberty City.
Sherina Jones is a South Florida business owner with a passion for helping her community. Jones is an esthetician and owner of Snob Beauty Box, a lash extension and skincare business in Miramar. She also recently launched her own skincare brand, 11|Seven Skin Essentials. After the pandemic hit, she wanted to help the Black Brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by economic hardships related to COVID-19.
Jones partnered with Roots Black Collective in Liberty City to set up a free community refrigerator that neighbors in the area who were struggling to purchase food for their families would be able to access. That initial idea set the stage to launch three additional community refrigerators in Miami-Dade for families who are facing food insecurity during the pandemic.
Fxrbes is a Miami-based award-winning Director whose work has helped launch a generation of creatives. Most notable for his youtube platform & vision, Fxrbes has built an outlet for other creatives to be heard. This platform, “Fxrbes” brought together a network of musical artists, garnered over 60,000 subscribers and collectively his videos have amassed over 100 Million views. Today, Fxrbes is taking the same creativity which has helped him, direct musical artists, & has moved into the world of storytelling through documentary
Lizbeth Torres of Puertorican and Cuban descent was born and raised in Miami-Dade County. She is a mother of four beautiful girls.
Her husband is incarcerated at MetroWest Detention Center in Miami-Dade and she has had other family and friends incarcerated in local jails. The stories she’s heard from her loved ones on abuse of power, excessive force and inhumane treatment are the reasons she’s fighting for them and others who are incarcerated. Torres is a member of Beyond the Bars, a collective of families with loved ones in Miami-Dade jails.
Vanessa Charlot is a Haitian- American documentary photographer and filmmaker working in Miami, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Sociology from Florida Atlantic University. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of spirituality, socio-economic issues and sexual/gender expression within marginalized communities. The purpose of her work is to produce visual representations of varied human existences that are free of an oppressive gaze.
Her work has been published in New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Vogue, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, The Guardian, Artnet News, Buzzfeed and other publications.
Mychelle Bentley, known as Mermauant Mishell, was born in Venezuela and raised in Miami. Coming from a creative family, she constantly thrived to discover new ways to communicate through the arts. She attended Design Architecture Senior High School and went on to pursue the arts professionally from creating small illustrations, acrylic paintings, live caricature commissions at events, short animations, and massive three-story murals.
When Covid hit, Bentley started losing family and friends to the virus and then started facing her own financial hardships and retaliation from her landlord. After being threatened with an eviction she teamed up with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Community Justice Project, and the Miami Tenants Union to win her case out of court. In honoring the amazing people who helped her, she joined the Miami Tenants Union to continue the fight for housing rights in Miami-Dade.
Community Justice Project is a group of community lawyers and researchers that supports grassroots organizing for power, racial justice and human rights with innovative lawyering, research and creative strategy tools. Based in Miami, Community Justice Project is deeply and unapologetically committed to Black and brown communities throughout Florida.