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Meet Emmanuel George of Sistrunk-A-Fair in Dania Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emmanuel George.

Emmanuel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Born in Overtown Miami September 24th, 1988, growing up as a youth in North Miami then spending my coming of age years in Hollywood Florida, I’ve always been passionate about history. My father always taught me about afro Caribbean history, African history and of course African American history. Growing up in Hollywood I hung out throughout the city, from Adam street to Liberia I was there, I was not sure about where my life was going… After the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown made me want to get involved, I was tired of just sitting down, I wanted to take action. In November of 2014, me and my friend Rick Morvant decided to canvas Miami Dade college south and central campus, Broward college south and central campus as well as walking through the streets of Liberia and Danie just aiming to build with Like minded people.

In January 2015 everything changed when I met Valencia Gunder, she is a profound activist in Liberty City and has traveled the world due to her work, she took me under her wing and she became my mentor. It was then I started to meet many like-minded folks from those in Dream Defenders, The Nation of Islam, Power U and The Miami workers center. I ended up meeting Danny Agnew and James “Munch” Mungin that summer of 2015 and I became apart of “Roots Collective” which is a collective of Black men from the black inner city seeking to improve their respective communities through community development and economic growth all while coming together to create events in Miami. As time went on I was doing so much work in Miami but I have always seen Broward as my home, I’ve been in Broward since 2002. I then decided that all I learned from those in Miami I had to apply it to Broward County. In Broward, there is several people aiming to better our communities and I wanted to implement my own way I feel would be transformative towards bettering my hometown of Hollywood and Dania Beach.

I wrote a few screenplays in High School and became an avid documentary lover and seen that as a way to help out my community as well as other neighboring areas in Broward County. I conceptualized The “Black Broward Film Project” in 2016 after being moved by Marvin Dunn’s “Black Miami in the 20th century” and Kitty Oliver’s “Race and Change in Hollywood Florida” both of their works really inspired me on how they spoke of the local black experience and that’s when I wrote the black Broward film project, a documentary series telling the past, present, and future of Black communities in Broward County, using film as a way to bridge the gap between elders and millennials. While organizing for this project, many people took interest but only two people decided to stay along for the whole ride, Premimathieu Sterlin and Ian Mann seen the vision and importance and we have still been working As a team to this day. As time gone on, I ended up becoming more involved with my city and I ended up joining the C.A.C.(Cultural arts committee) of Dania beach. I joined to be a difference maker and to have a say so in the rising amount of Art tourism that was coming into Broward County.

While in the C.A.C. I met Al Huggins who is the founder of “ArtNSoul” in which he focuses on all things art locally and globally. Myself and Al both had visions of creating a week-long exhibit dedicated to Art for the black communities in Broward County. The “Sistrunk-A-Fair” was born and here we are today as it will debut January 17th-26th of 2019. The Sistrunk-A-Fair will feature two art exhibits, one located at the African American Research Library called “We Love Art Too” an exhibition dedicated to South Florida artists as well as global artists from all over the U.S. The next exhibit is “B.A.S.E.” (Broward’s Artistry N Soul Experience) an exhibit that’ll feature local black artists from Broward paying homage to pioneers from historic black communities in Broward as well as landmark places in Broward. This exhibit will take place at Old Dillard Museum. Other events during this week will be a paint & sip for adults, a youth art workshop for the kids, an Art Warz showdown featuring the winners from this year and last year facing off against each other.

Additionally, there will be a panel titled “The history of Black Broward” which will feature a pioneer from each historic black community in Broward sharing their stories on the earliest beginnings of Broward County, how their communities intersect as well as where they see the future going with all the redevelopment happening. “Support The Reel” which will also be happening at Old Dillard Museum will feature short films by local black filmmakers in South Florida. The goal of The “Sistrunk-A-Fair” is to establish a platform for local black creatives in Broward, tying in community development with black creativity to bring forth transformative change.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Some of the struggles I’ve dealt with has been the politics that come with community development and being a community advocate. Many people who you’d think have good intentions often times do not and only use their positions for power and control, but the real will always prevail in the end.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a local black history historian, a writer, a creative, a public speaker, a community advocate, curator, and overall a man on a mission. I’m proud of constantly going even though the odds are against me. What sets me apart is my passion for local black history. Often times people look at global black history all while forgetting about the local black history in their backyard.

How do you define success?
Success is being able to freely do what you do when you want to do.

Contact Info:

  • Website: Www.sistrunkafair.com
  • Email: EmmanuelAbdulGeorge@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @BlackBroward
  • Facebook: Emmanuel George

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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